Bump Off Buddy Israel in SL’s Smokin’ Aces

The Smokin’ Aces promotion that NBC Universal has been running in the virtual world of Second Life this week under its new VirtualNBC initiative sounds like it’s been a great success — or at least has made NBC pretty happy. Produced by the Electric Sheep Company (sponsors of this blog), the promotion takes the form of an in-world game in which players compete to assassinate each other, and to bump off the big target, Buddy Israel. The game resembles an online game called The Ship, which works largely the same way. NBC has signed up more than 1,000 players since it went live January 17, 3pointD hears, and players have really gotten into the game, finding creative ways to kill each other and even hacking the scripted objects that make up the game. After all, there’s a L$1 million bounty at stake, to be awarded today. The movie opens tonight, and Smokin’ Aces director Joe Carnahan will do a live Q&A in Second Life at 10:00am SL time (1:00pm Eastern) in the Orientation Room at the Smokin’ Aces »Nomad Hotel«.

The game sounds like great fun. (I was a big fan of The Ship when it came out, so it’s no surprise I’d like the idea of the Smokin’ Aces game.) I’ve seen the television trailer for Smokin’ Aces, and I have to say that it’s the mere idea of the SL game that has done more to make me want to see the movie itself, despite the fact that I haven’t played it. Of course, the TV commercial reaches far more people than Second Life; the problem still remains of pushing SL out to a large number of people. But those involved with the game feel it was a great success. Check out the YouTube clip above, which mixes SL machinima with clips from the film. It seems clear to me that SL can bring you closer to something like an action movie than a TV commercial ever could.

One of my favorite things about the game is the emergent gameplay that’s arisen in the course of it. (That’s one of my favorite things about any multiplayer game, though.) At one point, I hear, a couple of players found ways to hack the bullets in their weapons to make them more accurate. The Sheep had to patch out that exploit before it unbalanced the results. Players have also found creative ways to more securely kill each other, shooting across the borders of sims and firing from within no-kill zones where they are immune from damage, or bumping their targets out of safe areas before popping them off.

Today will also see the appearance in SL of the avatarized Buddy “Aces” Israel himself, the main target for all the assassins, who’s worth a truckload of points in the game, should someone manage to actually kill him. You can still sign up for the game at the »Nomad Hotel«. If nothing else, it’s worth seeing one of the most creative promotions that’s hit Second Life yet.


  1. Prokofy Neva

    I condemn this in advance as anti-Semitic. You don’t name a character “Buddy Israel” and tell everybody to “bump him off” on a high-profile NBC and SL game without playing your hand as having taken a side in the Middle East wars — there is no way you can see this as anything but making a big, fat, political statement. It’s especially ugly when you think that Jews really are suicide-bombed in SL and that Iran’s president has wished for the RL Israel to be wiped from the map.

    It doesn’t matter if we haven’t seen the film yet and it “isn’t about that”. It doesn’t matter if this is only the trailer. I strongly object to making a character who is assassinated in a high-profile movie called “Buddy Israel”. “Israel” is the name of the country of the Jewish people. It’s not a “common last name”. It’s not a “typical detective series name”. It’s a name associated with the Jewish people.

    Of course, I’m not surprised at this idiocy coming from the same people — the Electric Sheep Company — who had the terribly bad taste and insensitivity to call one of their podcasts “Dirty Jew” and to say that “Hannukah is like camp-chairs in SL”. I mean — ugh.

    I don’t think this stuff flies even if somebody tries to pass it off as being arch and humorous and self-deprecating. Walker being Jewish doesn’t rescue it.

    It’s a terrible introduction to SL to have it associated with a racist and thoughtless move like this.

    And, yes, before all the leftist cranks up with their rabid self-justifying statements, I feel much of what passes as “anti-Israel” and “legitimate criticism of Israel” and “parody” is in fact anti-Semitic, as it singles out the Jewish people and their nation, alone among peoples and nations, for ridicule and censure and hate-filled and vindictve campaigns.

  2. dildo bagginstein

    well, dunno about the subliminal anti-semitism, tho israel IS usually a first name and not a last.

    I just thought…How fucking lame is the whole concept.

    Can’t you people come up with anything better than dope, guns, and running around killing people already.


  3. Prokofy Neva

    Forseti, Second Cast is hosted by Johnny Ming, an ESC employee who is now the MC and manager and whatever of many of the ESC gigs, doing things like running the whole

    You may not technically “exercise any editorial control” over your employee and close friend Johnny Ming when he is at his other gig, removed at one degree at best. However, you could consider being part of the community of people who say, “You know, Johnny, calling a podcast ‘Dirty Jew’ is not only stupid, and in bad taste, and lame even as being arch humour, it just looks like stark anti-Semitism to people following links. The fact that Mark Wallace, who happens to be Jewish, used it jovially about himself, isn’t a reason to name a podcast after it.” I mean, that’s what I would do!

    We were supposed to get away from media concentration and media empires by leaving real life and its dinosaur media, and coming into Second Life and the Metaverse where we would find all these thoughtful, independent, decent folks who would just make everything as wonderful as NPR and Channel 13…or something.

    But, it’s just the same old cronyism. Claiming something is unrelated to you when it is run by your actual employee.

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  5. her

    Not anti-semitic. I know someone with that as a first name and people are always trying to bump him off. He’s not jewish but the name was trendy in the late 70’s.