A group of Florida politicians has slammed Atari for planning to release Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure, claiming the game could encourage children to become graffiti artists.
City officials in Hollywood, Florida are urging Atari to cancel the game's release, which is scheduled for February 14. Aware that Atari is unlikely to take heed, they are calling on the publisher to establish a campaign against real-life graffiti, and are also encouraging consumers to boycott the game.
Speaking to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Atari spokesperson Ryan Barr denied the officials' claims, stating: "By no means is Atari encouraging vandalism or criminal acts."
"Just as films depict fictional worlds, this game is amusement and escape into a fantasy world."
Mayor Mara Giulanti responded to accusations that the city was attempting to enforce censorship, saying: "What we are doing is purely making commentary and educating the public that we don't believe a game that glorifies criminal activity through graffiti or... violence needs to be perpetrated on the kids of America."
"If parents want to do it, fine. We're not banning it from stores in Hollywood. We're not the moral police."
This is not the first time the game has hit the headlines. In August, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg attempted to prevent Ecko from holding a party with graffiti artists demonstrating their work to promote the game. Bloomberg claimed that the event would encourage vandalism, but a judge ruled that the party could go ahead - stating that Bloomberg's objection was the equivalent of suggesting that "a street performance of Hamlet would be tantamount to encouraging revenge murder".
Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure is due out in Europe on PC, PS2 and Xbox next month.