Whatever happened to Advertising Games?

No no, I do not mean Advertising IN Games aka. "Why are the load times so long?" or "Daddy, why are the women on the advertised website nude?". I mean Advertising Games, that is Games created by companies with the main purpose to promote their products (and no, I do NOT mean EA's yearly sports games either!).

Back in the Amiga Games and in Germany, there were quite a few games that pretty much everybody who owned an Amiga had, games like Das Erbe and Das Schmutzige Erbe (created by the German Department of Nature*), Energie-Manager (by the Department of Economy*) or Das Telekommando (and Das Telekommando kehrt zurück) from Deutsche Telekom and two games from BiFi... (A list of Amiga Promo games is here)

Now I do not know if that is a German phenomenon (that Johnny Walker Game seemed to have some success outside of Germany as well), but those games were a relative success in terms of distribution. As they are free, they came bundled with magazines and shareware collections regularly. I just wonder: What happened to this genre? Sure, those games weren't really "Game of the Year" material (Although the adventures were surprisingly good - the somewhat dark atmosphere in Victor Loomes or the first BiFi game is excellent) and had little to no replay value, but they gave a few hours of entertainment. The reason why I'm thinking about those games is that I just finished Dorito's Dash of Destruction, a free ad game that is of mediocre quality, finished in about an hour, but it's free and it's a reasonably fun hour (and 200 free Gamerscore).

Do those games actually work out for the companies? Is it too expensive to develop them nowadays? Hard to believe, as said, ad games never took their appeal from the quality of their assets, they were simply appealing because they were free and did not suck too badly. Is it easier to reach people using Flash Games? Also hard to believe, but maybe I'm just the wrong audience. Heck, maybe it's just because all the good Ad Games are adventures and the adventure genre went on hibernation a few years ago.

I don't know. I don't even know if there is even a point in this posting, except maybe to say "Bring back some good free adventure games!"...

* Isn't in interesting how the German government saw computer games as a medium to reach people back in 1992, while in 2009 they seem to think that computer games are as evil as Hitler's Mein Kampf?**
** And yes, Godwin's Law on this post.