The mainstream media has videogaming wrong again! This time: The dust-up is over the inclusion of O.J. Simpson in Take-Two Interactive's latest football game.
Take-Two Interactive has come to expect some amount of controversy from many of its gaming titles. Grand Theft Auto has long made headlines for its extreme violence, and their recent project, Manhunt 2 has run into problems with video games ratings boards on both sides of the Atlantic.
But now, some people think Take-Two may have taken things too far with their latest release, All-Pro Football 2K8… Wait, really???
All-Pro Football is Take-2’s way of getting around the now-legendary EA-NFL exclusivity agreement. All-Pro features fictional teams as well as former NFL legends who agreed to lend their likenesses to the new franchise. Among those legends is everybody’s favorite NFL-Hall-of-Famer-turned-comedic-actor-turned-alleged-murderer. No, not Jack “the Ripper” Youngblood, or “Crazy Legs” Steve Johnson, or even Terry “the Baby Killer” Bradshaw. It’s O. J. Simpson, of course!
Well, the recent controversy all started with a little video, hosted by our friends over at GameTrailers.com which features game play footage of The Juice hacking and slashing his way through the defense like a hot knife through…
Anyway, while O.J.’s presence is shocking (and probably a bad idea), it’s nothing once you include the fact that, in the video, Nordburg is playing for a team known as The Assassins.
When O.J. crosses the goal line, The Assassins not only earn themselves six points, but also a victory celebration executed by a giant hooded figure, wielding a large, menacing knife. The repeated stabbing motions performed by Cosmo the Assassin* as O.J. celebrates tests the limits of good taste at best, and absolutely shatters any notion of political correctness at worst.
Word of the video has reached the mainstream media, with the mother of all internet news, Drudge Report, featuring a link to a Street.com story regarding the issue.
Here's where the MSM got the story wrong: The article suggests O.J. is a default player for The Assassins, but the chances of him winding up on that team are actually very slim, unless the player chooses to have The Juice head the team.
Also, the video at GameTrailers.com is not a game trailer. The video is a user-created video featuring O.J. Simpson in a series of random plays and highlights. There is nothing on the site, nor in the video to suggest that Take-Two is directly behind the production of this video.
In short, is this an act by Take-Two to challenge our puritanical views on murdering young women? Hardly. This is someone noticing and taking advantage of a unique, albeit disturbing coincidence and confluence of gaming options. Is it questionable to include O.J. in a game of former NFL greats? Quite possibly. It’s a matter of taste, and that’s about it.
Anyway, here's a link to video that has everyone's panties bunched.