'Mad World' is just one of many bangers by original British sad boys Tears For Fears, but the song gained another life after a cover was famously used in 2001's 'Donnie Darko'.

The slowed-down piano ballad version of the original 1983 hit quickly became the 'Everybody Hurts' of the iPod generation, eventually (and some would say, infamously) securing the Christmas number one slot in 2003 in the UK.

In 2006, Microsoft wanted to promote their new game 'Gears Of War', and needed a dreary, atmospheric song to underscore that their new third-person shooter will make players feel something.

Video game ads weren't anything particularly new or novel by 2006 (Sony somehow got David Lynch to direct some ads for them) but Microsoft wanted gravitas and weight to promote their game.

'Gears Of War' concerns a world turned upside down amid the outbreak of war, and the traumas that ensue.

It needed a director with a strong visual style that could tell a story without dialogue.

A young, talented advertisement director called Joseph Kosinski was tapped to direct the ad.

Kosinski was 32 when the ad debuted, but he already had some advertising experience under his belt, having done work with the likes of Nike.

Most impressively, the ad was created entirely using in-game assets and the Unreal Engine 3 which powered the game.

Kosinski is gifted at using visuals to tell a story with little dialogue, and his work with CGI elevates what could be a rudimentary TV ad into something approaching high art.

In his pre-director days, Kosinski was an adjunct professor in architecture which makes him an ideal candidate to direct a complex ad with heavy visual effects.

The swooping camera shots, panning shots, crane shots, all the tricks of the trade are there, all while Marcus Fenix pounds the streets of Sera, wordless, stoic.

Marcus briefly finds a reprieve before facing off against a monster, as the songs chorus hits.

A great ad is one that you can recall years after the fact down to the smallest detail, and this ad is no different.

It's one of those ads where you remember where you were when you first saw it, and in this writers case, it was on TV on a rainy November night in 2006.

Fresh out of football training and a roaring fire on in the kitchen, the ads for 'Coronation Street' came on when the first piano notes hit.

The proceeding 60 seconds entrance the two men in the room.

After the ad ends this writers father remarks "that was an ad for a video game? I thought it was a film."

To this day video games struggle with legitimacy and don't receive the same coverage or attention as a blockbuster film or album, but when all the stars align and you get an ad like this, video games are given a seat at the cultural table.

The process of creating a film within a video game engine is referred to as "Machinima" which powered a large part of the gaming section of YouTube early on in the site's life, and Kosinski helped bring the term to prominence.

As for 'Gears Of War', the game became a pop culture sensation, becoming the defining game for the Xbox 360 and helping make the cover-based shooter the design template for essentially every third-person shooter of the following 15 years.

The game had serious pedigree behind it and the gameplay chops were solid, but without the ad, the game would have merely been a solid hit as opposed to the generation-defining classic it became.

The Xbox 360 was the console of choice for the first few years of its lifespan while Sony tried to get their act together, and it's estimated that Gears Of War sold 2 million copies of the game within the first month alone.

Kosinski was tapped to direct an ad for 2007's 'Halo 3', which also helped market the game as something that wasn't merely another video game, it was an ad with depth and emotion, and does what all good advertisements do: it made you want to buy the game.

Kosinski later went on to direct films such as 'Tron: Legacy' and 'Oblivion' starring Tom Cruise, and Cruise apparently enjoyed working with him so much he was tapped to direct the upcoming 'Top Gun: Maverick'.

What are your memories of the ad?

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