Brave New Films, a progressive viral film site born out of the 2008 election, has taken a sharp stab at conservative pundits. Unfortunately they did so by slandering a classic video game character in the process.
An email sent out of subscribers and an update on their home page shows a headline “Pac Man vs Palin? You Betcha!” paired with an image that depicts the Namco owned character chasing former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin like one of the enemy ghosts. In the text they refer to him as “Progressive Against Conservative” Man though there is little mistaking the character, right down to the basic yellow pie shape.
The game itself is identical to the original Pac Man, with a purple maze instead of blue, and the ghosts replaced with Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and Bill O’Reilly. When a player eats a power pellet and then eliminates an enemy ghost, an audio clip from one of the conservative pundits plays. Likewise, when a pundit catches Pac Man, a clip taunting the player also runs.
Parody and satire are well and good, and fair use laws when paired with non profits are generous and fair. However, it cannot be mistaken by my eyes that Brave New Films and its founder Robert Greenwald are guilty of stealing Pac Man for their own gain. There are millions of unique or even similar flash games available and plenty of like-minded developers who could’ve made a game for Brave New Films. Instead they took an existing idea and willfully modified the visuals and audio. The core game mechanic, the very thing that makes Pac Man an arcade classic, is completely unchanged.
Brave New Films did not respond to requests for comment, we will update if they do. The game is currently still available at http://bravenewpacman.com/