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Friday, October 17, 2008

Offense Alert

posted by on October 17 at 10:26 AM


Sony announced today that they’ve begun a worldwide recall of their fall blockbuster game LittleBigPlanet. This “platformer 2.0” game, loaded with tons of user-made content and Pixar-esque art design, was set to hit stores one week from today—and is sitting in a lot of stores right now—but they’ll all have to come back to Sony while new discs are made.

Reason? A song by the Mali group Toumani Diabate’s Symmetrical Orchestra is in the game, and its lyrics contain lines from the Qu’ran. In spite of the same song seeing release by Nonesuch Records in 2006 with no complaints, Sony has chosen to recall all discs to stop this song from reaching our ears. Apparently the transfer of a Qu’ran-quoting song from a CD to a video game crosses an ironclad line in Islam. You know, the one that was created when Muhammad first went to that cave with a Game Boy in hand.

Or maybe Sony was concerned about the content of the quotes getting into the game, which translate to “Every soul shall have the taste of death” and “All that is on Earth will perish.” Because if it’s sung in Arabic, it must be a threat, rather than a contemplation on an eventual downfall and rebirth of all life. Good thing Sony took aggressive recall action before our PlayStation 3s became tools of Islam. Thanks, culture of fear!

In other gaming news, Nintendo’s cult smash series Mother (known here as Earthbound) saw an English release this morning. The third, Japan-only entry in the series has been translated by a small group of fans without Nintendo’s consent. This hack has been in the works for over two years, though, so if Nintendo was going to throw a legal hissyfit, chances are this thing never would’ve been released. (I’d know; I’ve been checking the fansub site four times a week since 2006.) If you have a soft spot for RPGs that slyly insult Western culture—AND WON’T GET OFFENDED—then click here.

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OMG! the top character has it's thingy all stitched up.

Posted by Simon | October 17, 2008 10:46 AM

You know, I, and everyone else and their mother...we were super pumped for Little Big Planet. Were. Over a year ago. They've delayed the living shit out of it. This is really the only reason to even have a PS3 right now, save Heavenly Sword and Drake's. Both of which you can beat in under six hours or so.

I haven't played the beta because I've simply lost all interest in the game. I don't want to give them money. I don't want to play it. I'm boycotting the shit out of it. Too little too late, guys.

Posted by i hate sony club USA | October 17, 2008 10:54 AM

@2 for the win.

Just don't care, I'm busy inscribing in WoW (level 85) ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 17, 2008 10:56 AM

How does a level 85 dork have time to date pageant contestants?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | October 17, 2008 11:17 AM

Damnit! I want to play this game.

@2 and 3

Seriously? You're going to boycott a game because it's been delayed? That's fucking retarded.

Heavenly Sword is all button mashing masturbation and Drake's many pirates do you seriously have to kill to get off the goddamn island?

I don't think we like the same games. At all.

Posted by bearseatbeats | October 17, 2008 11:18 AM

That is right BA, I'd forgotten about Will's dating history. Tell us Will, did any of these contestants you dated ever actually win Best in Show?

Posted by Mikki | October 17, 2008 11:21 AM

Best in Show...hahahhaha

Posted by Bellevue Ave | October 17, 2008 11:23 AM

I've been playing Mother 3 all morning. It's sort of boring so far.

Posted by Chris in Tampa | October 17, 2008 11:28 AM

A person can level inscription to level 85 in an evening.

but that doesn't mean he's still maybe a dork.

Posted by dork2 | October 17, 2008 11:33 AM


It's been delayed countless times, to the point where it's obvious they've been focusing more on their bongs than their game. "We're adding some new features," yeah, and here's my dick. Suck it.

Posted by Mr. Poe | October 17, 2008 11:34 AM

Gawd, I used to love Earthbound. The first one. Still do. How did I not know there were sequels? This is what you get when your gamer older brother moves out of town; your nerd-information pipeline is disconnected. Thanks, Sam for hooking me up.

Posted by Ariel | October 17, 2008 11:40 AM

Um, it's simply against Islamic law, always has been, to set the Quran to music other than chanting, which retains the original inflection of the arabic.
Marcel Khalife, the Lebanese Oud virtuoso, was caught up in a crazy prosecution years ago for setting a bit of the Quran about Yussuf to music, even though that was an attempt to create a modernized version of something close to the chanted version.
Why SONY feels compelled to respect Islamic law is beyond my ability to explain however. I would expect that most of the versions of any game played in the Islamic world are pirated.

Posted by kinaidos | October 17, 2008 12:08 PM

Jesus Christ someone's opinionated.
Stop and play with the possibility that they recalled the game not for offended Caucasian Americans, but because of the letters sent in by Muslims who'd felt they'd been disrespected.

Sacred text is sacred text. Some people are apathetic as to what form their particular brand of it is used for and how it's copied -and that's fine, have at it- but others are not and instead have strong feeling about how the words that they find meaningful are used in public spaces-- and it doesn't take that much humanity to respect another person's spiritual boundaries. Hopefully you have enough to look at this situation a different way from the role of Offended American.

Remember that these are First World Issues. You're privileged enough to think that this is worth writing about. Obviously, someone postponing access to your next form of distracting entertainment is now an issue to get radical about. But JESUS CHRIST, get yourself out of the roles you're so busy condemning before you can talk trash about anything potentially worthwhile in this argument.

Posted by mo | October 17, 2008 12:15 PM

Is this Sony bowing under extremist pressure from muslim groups?, or is this Sony expecting backlash and pulling the game before the shit hits the fan?.

Either way, Sony, you suck. If I even owned a PS3 I would boycott the game because of this horseshit.

The rest of the world has got to stop bowing down to these muslims, this is getting ridiculous.

Posted by Wurm | October 17, 2008 12:17 PM

@13: This song was released by someone who is called a "devout Muslim" (link - and therefore should be relatively aware of his use of lines in the Qu'ran and any related Islamic law. Question then--is he wrong in his use of the lines in a song? If so, why did Nonesuch Records not receive complaints in the past two years? Plenty of time for somebody to step up and challenge the song's lyrics.

And if he's NOT wrong, then what changes by transferring a song from a music-only CD to a game experience? Is it an issue of "entertainment value"? If so, I don't see how one is any better/worse than the other.

Either way, the game's only delayed a week. Even if it was delayed longer, I'd more than live. But it's a culture of fear that makes this a newsworthy event--and any further discussion of what people consider "sacred" will sound like the movie Religulous, so I'll back off at this point. Just wanted to make it clear that I'm not complaining as a "gamer denied" or any crap like that.

Posted by Sam M. | October 17, 2008 12:35 PM

I finally have a row consisting of 1 million attackers and 1 million defenders in mysqlgame!

Posted by stinkbug | October 17, 2008 12:38 PM

@13 Do don't teach you how to make a comprehensive arguement in your religion, do they?

Posted by Sirkowski | October 17, 2008 1:57 PM

Blah, fucking typoé

Posted by Sirkowski | October 17, 2008 1:59 PM


LMAO, cute.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | October 17, 2008 3:13 PM

This is why Sony is now a third stringer. Why the PS3 is such a sucking overpriced failure that every single game released for PS3 since it started shipping has been co-released with a PS2 version.

I mean, this level of shit-can complacency makes Nintendo's steady stream of complacent, Disneyish mush seem meaningful.

Posted by K | October 17, 2008 3:27 PM

What the fuck ever. I've still got plenty of GameCube games to work through.

Posted by Greg | October 17, 2008 4:14 PM

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