Beat Madden 11, Meet a Virtual President Obama

By  |  Thursday, July 29, 2010 at 9:35 am

In one of the most blatant uses I’ve seen of the U.S. President’s likeness in a video game, Barack Obama joins the festivities when you win the Super Bowl in Madden 11.

ESPN reports that as part of the victory celebration, players convene in front of the White House, where a virtual Obama gives a speech and unveils a team jersey with his name on it.

This isn’t the first time a likeness of the president has appeared in video games — notable examples include Bill Clinton in NBA Jam and “President Ronnie” in Bad Dudes — and Obama even advertised in some games when he was running for president. But the use of Obama’s name, while standing in front of the White House, takes the presidential imagery further than I’ve seen before.

Actually, I’m kind of surprised that EA Sports pulled it off. I don’t think using Obama’s image is illegal, but in January 2009 Bloomberg ran a story about how White House lawyers were trying to limit how the president’s image is used. The administration has cracked down on advertisements that look like a presidential endorsement, such as a Weatherproof jacket ad that appeared in Times Square.¬†And the Bush administration tried to stop The Onion from using an image of the presidential seal.

But I guess if U.S. presidents can invite real athletes to the White House when they win the Super Bowl, the same courtesy ought to apply to virtual ones. My prediction: Obama throws out the first pitch on opening day in MLB 2K11.

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