Attack of the Mutant Artificial Christmas Trees

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"Attack of the Mutant Artificial Christmas Trees" is a free online video game developed as part of a marketing campaign by the National Christmas Tree Association in 2004. The game was meant to support the natural Christmas tree industry and received criticism from artificial tree producers.

Game[edit]

"Attack of the Mutant Artificial Christmas Trees" has been described as similar to a "whack-a-mole" themed game.[1] Players are called upon to pelt mutant artificial Christmas trees with snowballs, while avoiding the elves interspersed between the garishly colored mutant trees.[2][3] Mutant trees emerge from boxes that are marked "100% Fake" or "Made in China".[4] The trees, as the game says, have "mutated and are sucking the spirit out of Christmas".[2] The game features an "Xmas Spirit Meter" light which dims for every mutant tree missed or elf hit by mistake.[5] Between rounds the game provides "facts" about Christmas trees,[6] or, depending on your point of view, "didactic little warnings about the evils of fake trees".[1]

Development[edit]

The game was developed by a Dallas-based Internet marketing firm, Kewlbox;[5] Kewlbox is a launching platform for games created by Blockdot.[6] The National Christmas Tree Association, a trade group representing the Christmas tree farming industry, commissioned "Attack" to press their message that natural trees are the way to celebrate Christmas.[5] The game was released for free download or online play in November 2004.[6]

Reaction[edit]

Salon writer Andrew Leonard said of "Attack of the Mutant Artificial Christmas Trees", "(the game is) diverting for about three nanoseconds — less, if you give in to the urge to pelt the annoying elf, for which you are unfairly punished".[1] Despite Leonard's assessment, the game was played by 75,000 people in the first week of its release.[6] While the game was meant as light-hearted, some artificial tree producers were not amused. The CEO of Balsam Hill Company, a U.S. artificial tree manufacturer, said he was surprised at the negativity of the tree growers ad campaign, adding that it was not exactly "warm and fuzzy".[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Leonard, Andrew. "Attack of the mutant artificial Christmas trees -- from China", Salon.com, How the World Works (blog), December 21, 2006, accessed December 18, 2008.
  2. ^ a b c Barrett, Rick. "Tree sellers let the fir fly", Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, December 3, 2006, accessed December 18, 2008.
  3. ^ Munoz, Sara Schaefer. "The Fight Before Christmas: Real Trees vs. Fakes", Wall Street Journal, December 21, 2006, accessed December 18, 2008.
  4. ^ Wohleber, Curt. "Fake Fir", American Heritage, Winter 2007, accessed December 18, 2008.
  5. ^ a b c Napoli, Lisa. "Ready, Aim, Splat", The New York Times, December 16, 2004, accessed December 18, 2008.
  6. ^ a b c d Staff. "Attack of the Mutant Artificial Trees Ho! Ho! Whoa! Holiday Game Fun! , Video Game News (gamezone.com), November 23, 2004, accessed December 18, 2008.

External links[edit]