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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Rockstar Orders Online Art Taken Down

Art student Dave Beck had placed an online art installation at The piece was supposed to be an illustration of cultural violence and constituted solely of a looped clip from Rockstar's "The Warriors" of someone kicking a corpse. Every kick to the corpse added a point to a counter in the upper right hand corner.

Daily Page notes that Rockstar issued a cease & desist based on copyright violations and Beck took the site down, but not before proudly proclaiming on the site that his virtual foot had scored 286,987 ... which might actually go down in gaming history as the lamest boast of any score anywhere. Beck argues, and the Isthmus Daily Page soundly agrees, that "pointing out violence in their game is something they don't want out there."

Really? Personally, I'm all for defending art in it's various, even somewhat low, forms. This seems like a case where Rockstar won by threat and not necessarily merit. But let's be honest. Rockstar doesn't want people to know there is violence in the game? Does anyone not know there is violence in a game like The Warriors? Could anyone even try and hide it? More likely, Rockstar didn't want the perception that there is only violence in their games ... which is far more what it sounds like the website portrayed.

Beck believes he " just intended to make a statement about the situation our culture (I believe) happens to be in ... by making that statement, I was punished by higher powers." I'm not quite sure what statement of culture a high scoring virtual foot really makes, but I'm sure it could probably be made without someone else's assets. Sometimes it's just easier to get sued than to make a real statement, I guess.

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