Even before its release this September, self-appointed anti-gaffiti mouthpiece Queens Councilman Peter Vallone is trashing a new Atari video game, called "Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure," which features a young graffiti artist up against corrupt officials and rival gangs as he spreads his tag around the city. The game was developed by Marc Ecko, features the voice of Talib Kweli and tags from 50 graffiti artists including Cope2 who created the Time Magazine graffiti board.
In a letter to Atari Chairman Bruno Bonnell, Vallone, who is concerned that game and the graffiti tips it provides encourage vandalism, wrote, "You are personally encouraging children to deface neighborhoods, break the law and wind up behind bars. This is an appalling lack of responsibility on your part." Atari has not yet commented on Vallone's comment.
Uber-graffiti overlord Bucky Turco, founder of of Animal magazine, told the New York Daily News, "Marc Ecko and Atari are giving graffiti artists an outlet to do something legal. You'd think Vallone would applaud that as opposed to opposing it."
For all Vallone's complaining, all he's going to do is bring more attention to the game and boost sales - not exactly what he had in mind. Many times the very important communications strategy of just keeping one's mouth shut eludes so many. Of course, if Vallone kept his mouth shut, he'd be cannibalizing his primary strategy which is to build political awareness of himself.