Sneaking Behind A Monster's Back To Play More Casual Video Game

“Lord of the Rings” star Elijah Wood is starring in a new commercial in which he secretly gives the cold shoulder to a scary-looking Orc from the video game he's been involved with.

In the spot, the snarling hulk walks into Wood’s living room and catches him playing a different game. “Is Uzgahk the Horrid not enough for you?” he asks plaintively. 

Wood mounts a defense, but then confesses, “Look, I just want something a little more casual.”

Wood is playing around with “AFK Arena,” a game for people who sometimes have other things to do, like work. Its “idle gameplay” format lets players earn rewards without really making that much of a commitment, by using automated gameplay.



Indeed, the initials AFK is standard game-playing argot for “away from keyboard.”

Uzgahk the Orc, his seven-foot tall frenemy from the other (nonexistent outside this commercial) game, has been jilted for what game maker Lilith Games calls the “fun, casual action” in “AFK Arena.” 

The game, introduced last year, is in the uber-popular  “role-playing game” (RPG) category, 

Marketing a game because it allows -- even encourages -- less than total immersion is a new idea.  But “AFK Arena” took off and reached the top 50 on apps platforms shortly after it was released.

Lilith wouldn't release sales figures, but since “AFK Arena” launched, it's had 2.5 million Google Play reviews and 270,000 App Store reviews.

The ad, from  Wieden + Kennedy, is titled. “Cheat on your RPG.” which the Apple Apps store  description calls “The Best RPG for Busy You.”

This is the first in a series of ads launching on the Adult Swim channel.

Games that don’t have a time commitment might be a reaction to changes in the way people play them.

In 2015, 77% of gamers played on PCs, according to a research report from Deloitte. That’s now down to 48%, while the proportion of gamers who play on mobile devices has gone all the way up to 80%. With a shift like that, more players can play while they’re on the go, favoring games that, like short videos, are more “snackable.” 

Wood is a well known gamer and producer. Orcs were purely a Tolkien invention, but  this monster has nothing to do with the “Lord of the Rings.”

Wood stated,  “Just when I thought I wouldn’t encounter another Orc… here I am playing a version of myself that’s stuck in a love triangle between a needy Orc and a casual mobile RPG game, ‘AFK Arena.Surprisingly not the weirdest thing that’s happened this year.” 

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