Vice-president Dick Cheney's recent hunting accident has been lampooned by the best of them, including Jon Stewart, Jay Leno and David Letterman.
Here in video game land, more than a few wags suggested that Cheney might have been influenced by too many sessions of Duck Hunter.
But does Celebrity Hitman: Cheney's Fury, an online game which parodies the Veep's hunting accident, push the boundaries of taste - and perhaps U.S. law?
In the game players can choose their prey from menu which includes President Bush, Senator Hillary Clinton, Osama bin Laden, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, and convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and anti-war mom Cindy Sheehan appear as bonus targets during play. In the screen shot at left, President Bush is the character depicted in a bear skin.
GP got wind of the game via a press release from the host site, AddictingGames, which offers a wide array of free Flash and Java-based games. Cheney's Fury is a featured game on the site, along with the likes of Farting Dog Harmonics and Run Li'l Broccoli.
The AddictingGames press release reads in part, "Want to blow off a little steam Cheney style before heading into the long weekend? ...In the game, you're Dick Cheney, and you've invited your pals... on a little hunting trip. Play the game and see what happens to Cheney's "friends" when they rub him the wrong way..."
Cheney's Fury is distributed by Armegalo.com, a site registered to Richard Pringle of the U.K. The Cheney game is the second in the "Celebrity Hitman" series. The first title, Terrorist Alert, also featured Bush and bin Laden as targets along with Tony Blair, Arial Sharon and Saddam Hussein. Bonus targets include Britney Spears and Margaret Thatcher.
Developer Pringle is clearly no fan of American foreign policy. An entry on his site is quite critical of the war in Iraq:
"Well done UK and US, you'll get your oil... The media tells me that public opinion is split in the UK... I don't know anyone who supports this war. I don't know anyone who knows anyone... You might think it's a good thing... crush an evil dictator like Saddam... but replace him with what... another evil dictator like Bush or Blair?"
Here in the U.S., federal law criminalizes threats against the president or vice-president. Cheney's Fury, an obvious parody, wouldn't seem to rise to the level of an actual threat, although there are sure to be many who find it offensive. Remember the furor over JFK Reloaded?