First it was US President Barack Obama's turn to stick the boot into PlayStation. Now, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is getting in on the action too.
In his weekly radio-TV show Alo Presidente, the outspoken US critic slammed Western video games and specifically the PlayStation brand, calling them "'poison." "Some games teach you to kill. They once put my face on a game [and instruct you] to find Chavez to kill him", Chavez is quoted as saying.
Presumably, the game Chavez is referring to is EA's Mercenaries 2: World in Flames, which saw the player assassinating corrupt government officials in — you guessed it — Venezuela. (Note: the Venezuelan president does not actually feature in the game).
Chavez went on in his address to link Western games to slick propaganda vehicles, implying that scenarios in which players "bomb cities or just throw bombs" exist to incite violence against Third World countries. He implored Venezuelan manufacturers to stick to more traditional products, such as dolls and "educational" toys (we foresee a lot of disappointed Venezuelan kids come next Christmas). Video games, meanwhile, promote "capitalism; the road to hell."
This isn't the first time Chavez has laid into the games industry. AFP reports that the president once slammed Nintendo for promoting "selfishness, individualism and violence." Last October, Venezuela passed a law making the import and sale of toy weapons and violent video games illegal, punishable by between three and five years in jail. The law reportedly goes into effect at the end of this month.
Additional reporting by Matt Peckham