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<I>BMX XXX</I> Hits A Speed Bump

17 Oct, 2002 By: John Gaudiosi

After promoting the fact that BMX XXX would be the first game to feature nudity at this year's E3 in Los Angeles, Glen Cove, NY-based game publisher Acclaim is facing a backlash from retailers who refuse to carry the ‘Mature'-rated game.

Wal-Mart, which accounts for roughly 20 percent of game sales domestically, Toys ‘R' Us and KB Toys have all said they will not sell the game, which ships Nov, 19 for Xbox, PlayStation 2 and GameCube, because of the content — nudity and vulgarity. Best Buy will sell a censored version of the PS2 game at its stores.

All three of those retailers carry Grand Theft Auto 3 and will carry its sequel, Vice City, which ships Oct. 22.GTA 3 was the bestselling game of 2001, despite harsh language, sexual content and vulgarity. The new game offers more of the same. Three of the top-selling games of 2001 carried an ‘M'-rating, but BMX XXX is the first to feature nudity.

Acclaim licensed the Scores strip club and took video footage of strippers, which is included in the game. Copulating poodles, cursing and sexual innuendo are heavily peppered throughout the game, which previously was the bestselling BMX video game franchise when it carried the Dave Mirra license. Minus the license, Acclaim has turned to nudity to try to grab gamers' attention -— and that it has.

With more than 60 percent of next generation gamers men over the age of 18, Mature games have sold well recently. But no game publisher has broken the nudity barrier, which is commonplace in R-rated movies and videos. Acclaim, which has been struggling for a hit in recent years, hopes this game can give it the same type of jump start that Rockstar Games received from GTA 3.

"While we acknowledge that we are setting new benchmarks with BMX XXX, we are disappointed that there are groups who fail to see how this humorous product is truly on par with such widely accepted mainstream entertainment experiences, including movies like American Pie and TV shows like The Sopranos and Sex and the City, said Greg Fischbach, co-chairman and CEO of Acclaim. "We fully believe that consumers should have a right to choose their entertainment, and with that right comes the importance of responsible consumerism."

All the media attention certainly won't hurt the company reach its demographic, which is being targeted with a tag line, "Keep it Dirty."

More than 500,000 downloads of the game's online trailer have already been viewed by gamers. And there's been plenty of buzz about the game since E3. Should the game ship with all of its current content, it could open the door for additional ‘Mature'-rated games to include nudity. A few years ago, cursing was taboo, today, many games are filled with harsh language.

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