UPDATE: October 17, 2002
Check out Acclaim's response to the
controversy detailed below.
officially changed the name from Dave Mirra BMX XXX to simply BMX XXX
last August, signalling a difference from the Dave Mirra franchise. Dave
Mirra 3 will be published by Acclaim, although not developed by longtime Dave Mirra
developer, Z-Axis, who have been bought by Activision.
October 15, 2002, Wal-Mart, Toys R Us, and KB Toys have all stated they
will not sell BMX XXX in their stores, citing the game's bawdy humor as
inappropriate. Wal-Mart spokesman, Tom Williams, stated,
We're not going to
carry any software with any vulgarity or nuditywe're just not going to
do it." Acclaim spokesman, Gregory Fischbach, stated
the retailers had missed the point of the game, which is a spoof.
Certainly this view is supported by our own experience speaking with
Shawn Rosen, producer on BMX XXX, at this year's E3 show.
is interesting that these retailers are putting their collective foot
down about a game featuring nudity and sexual innuendo presented in a
humorous manner, yet they have no problem stocking their shelves with
the many, many games featuring explicit, graphic violence. However, this
dichotomy has been an aspect of American culture throughout the 20th
Century, and showing people getting their heads blown off has never been
as inappropriate as showing people getting it on.
A source close to GameDaily, a videogame
industry newsletter, has said that the PS2 version of BMX XXX may be
toned down, although Xbox and Gamecube versions of the game will remain
as lewd as ever.
BMX XXX is set to release November 19,
What can we do with the
extreme sports genre? Sure, there are games like Tony Hawks Pro Skater and Amped
that really make the simulation experience sublime, but what about all the other extreme
sports and athletes. Activision has a pretty decent lock on the simulation genre with
their O2 series. SSX took snowboarding to the fantastic edge of hyperreality, sidestepping
any real comparisons with simulation oriented titles, and to a large extent thats
what Jet Set Radio did, too. THQ has tried to break out of the mold with Dark Summit and
Toxic Grind, both of which incorporate a storyline. Many companies are trying to satisfy
(or seize, depending on your point of view) a market made up of people who love the
extreme sports culture more than the sports themselves. So it wasnt surprising when
I met Shawn Rosen, a longtime Producer on the Dave Mirra series by Acclaim and Z-Axis, and
he described the latest installment, Dave Mirra BMX XXX, as "kind of like GTA3."
kind of like GTA3, but lets not take the comparison too far GTA3 is built
around cars while XXX is built around bikes, and although it lacks in the gratuitous
violence area, Dave Mirra BMX XXX is a much badder game than GTA3. And the gist of
Rosens comparison focused more on how both games strive to offer a freeplay style
rather than boxing gamers into the standard level-oriented play (although in XXX the
freeplay is divided into levels such as Monaco, Las Vegas, and the Dam). The game has shed
many of the traditional trappings of the Dave Mirra series, and although the trick and
riding systems are all there (and beefed up, even), this is a very different kind of
experience. In a pitch meeting I might sum it up as, "GTA3 meets Howard Stern on
lay it all out on the table right away I could tell you about how Mirras game
was always better feeling than Hoffmans and the solid parts are still here. Better
even. I could tell you about support for online rankings and trading custom parks online.
There is a feature that allows you to view challenges through the eyes of the computer AI,
making it perfectly clear what you should do in the game. I could tell you about how the
graphics engine has been improve and everything is looking a bit spiffier, and in general
this game seems like a good successor to the Dave Mirra series. But what you really want
to hear about is how Dave Mirra BMX XXX pulls out all the stops and offers loads of
swearing, tasteless jokes, random insanity, and actual, nekkid,
real-video-not-game-graphics footage of strippers. So there you go. All of that is there.
Its not hidden; its no extra easter egg; its completely, obviously,
blatantly, there. According to Rosen, the ESRB told him he could keep a "Mature"
rating on the game as long as it does not feature coitus, which would warrant an
"Adults Only" rating, and all three of the console biggies have been notified.
It looks like XXX will actually happen.
We dont want to condemn a game before it is
actually released, and we may not even want to condemn it afterward. But some folks are
very turned off by the limited details we do know. Create a rider is there, and you can
create female riders. Thats OK, but what upsets some folks is that you can ride your
female character topless and you have control over breast size. Also, the "boob
jiggle technology" is on par with the DOA series which might send you over the top if
youre squeamish about things like that. I can sympathize with the equal rights
issues here shouldnt we be able to take the pants off the guys? Why not?
has you starting in a city, cruising around doing tricks. You have no set goals until you
approach a non-player character. Each NPC will give you a challenge. Complete the
challenge and something exciting will happen. For example, you may come across a
prostitute. She will ask you to do tricks. If you fail, she says something along the lines
of, "You suck more than me." If you succeed she shows you her breasts. This is a
relatively simple task. Some scenes are much more complex involving things like street
cleaners, bums, children peeing in pools, flipping giant power switches, etc. In general
everyone is really foulmouthed and absurd. Some tasks involve getting add-ons to your
bike, like the one that requires you to attach the leaf blower to your bike and shoot it
towards the guy who just mumbles "Blow me!" all the time. Complete enough
challenges and you open new sections of the city, making for eight major levels overall.
As you progress youll find lots of easter eggs. For example, ride into Scores
("Its Howard Sterns favorite strip club," Rosen bragged during our
meeting) and you can pay strippers to get naked. Youll need to do a lot of tasks to
earn the bucks itll take to get them to go all the way, but you can.
enough, Dave Mirra BMX XXX just might prove that you dont have to offer lots of
homicide to create an involving experience on par with GTA3. Wacky mayhem and general
bawdiness could do the trick. Rosen and his team seem to have that angle, hiring
professional comedy writers to create the script, and I have to applaud him for that. I
believe that sometimes barriers like these just have to be broken for the sake of breaking
them. What can I say? I really dug Conkers Bad Fur Day. I
dont think videogames harm the youth, and I dont think things like South Park
or Black Sabbath do either. Rosen exudes the right attitude for the game, aware that
people will rail against it and that other people will line up to buy it. My biggest worry
about Dave Mirra XXX is that it wont live up to its Meatballs and Revenge
of the Nerds aspirations and will become a watered down pseudo-transgressive crapfest
like American Pie. If were going to get on this ride, then the ride better be
good, dammit. Dont wuss out on us, Acclaim.
Dave Mirra BMX XXX will be pissing off moms everywhere this Fall.