An example of an advertisement for _Homescapes_.

Homescapes / Austin the Butler

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Updated Jul 27, 2021 at 01:32PM EDT by Zach.

Added Jul 23, 2021 at 06:29PM EDT by Rebecca Rhodes.

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About

Homescapes is a mobile game developed by Playrix. There is a large ironic following behind the game's main character, Austin Barrow, better known as Austin the Butler, and it's notorious for appearing in many advertisements, particularly those that represent the game as a puzzle-solving adventure, which have been met with legal action. The actual gameplay is similar to classic "match-three games," such as Candy Crush. Homescapes and its predecessor Gardenscapes have been the subject of numerous memes across platforms, as well as Austin thirst trap fan pages.

History

Gardenscapes was released on August 25th, 2016. As of July 2021, it has been downloaded approximately 468 million times, roughly five million more than Homescapes.[1] The latter was released in September 2017, and immediately after release, Homescapes ads quickly overtook mobile applications everywhere. One ad was particularly common and referred to as "creepy" by viewers. The ad (reupload seen below)[8] begins with Austin falling through the floor of his parent's mansion.



Online Presence

Following the release of the so-called creepy Homescapes ad, Twitter[2] user @makeshiftadult tweeted the first viral reaction to the advertisement and expressed annoyance at the misleading nature of the match-three game’s ads (seen below).


JØNESY @makeshiftadult After seeing #HomeScapes game ad a billion times I have broken down and installed it. Dang it to hell! match 3 games IT'S A MATCH! GIF 11:06 AM · Sep 27, 2017 from Wichita, KS · Twitter for iPhone

The most viewed Homescapes ad was uploaded on September 2020 to YouTube[3] by Aamir Obalaja. Titled "Cringey Homescapes Ad #14," it received over 45 million views by July 2021.



A Twitter account dedicated to Austin the Butler was created in December 2016. Known as @Austin_scapes,[4] it tweets fan content about Austin as if the account belongs to the character himself. One popular tweet is a video from 2019 (seen below) that received 282 retweets and 491 likes in roughly two years.


Homescapes ads became more irrelevant over the years. In 2019, variations of this ad (seen below)[5] were some of the most commonly seen advertisements everywhere, in which nearly all of them read "Why is this game so hard?" This particular advertisement in which Austin appears naked in his bathroom also contributed to the growing Austin the Butler thirst movement.



Puzzle Ads and Controversy

Homescapes puzzle-themed advertisements in 2020 gained a great deal of ridicule and frustration online since the match-three game does not incorporate these minigames except in some cases after the user has achieved hundreds of hours of gameplay, if at all. As a result, these advertisements were banned by the ASA in October of 2020. Seen below is an example of a misleading Homescapes puzzle ad.[6]



The lack of relevance towards the game’s content became mocked in numerous memes. For example, Redditor u/gogogothomas’s 2020 post (seen below) in /r/shittymobilegameads[7] received over 5,900 upvotes in six months.


Homescapes when they make an ad: In terms of Real, we have no gameplay Realy gameplay

Various Examples


Nobody: Homescapes: pLaY nOw I MIss my gay friend Austin JOHN JOHN THANK YOU JOHN Zeus: basically the CEO of all gods Hades: Guardian of the underworld Demeter: Caclenscapes

Search Interest

External References

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Top Comments

Z_2
Z_2

You know that fucking 'pull the pins to unleash the lava' add is used by like 10 different games, and NONE of them have that as their actual gameplay; and I keep wondering… fucking why?

Why do none of them have that gameplay? If you KNOW that's what attracts people, just make that be your actual game rather than this bait and switch garbage.

Was it too hard to figure out how to monetize? Or is it just that you can't procedurally generate levels and nobody on your dev team is capable of thoughts?

+25
RevvEmUp
RevvEmUp

I remember the original game on Big Fish Games. It was a pretty relaxing hidden object game where you're running a garage sale at your grandfather's house after his passing, leaving you his mansion and Austin. I spent good memories playing it with my mom, and I enjoyed the gameplay.

I hate what Playrix did to Austin now. He doesn't deserve this.

+24

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