Law and Order game withdrawn due to picture of dead kid (no joke here, sorry)

Law and Order is one of the most successful series in the history of American television. After almost 70 years on television and more spinoffs than the Mary Tyler Moore Show, it stands to reason that the world of gaming would take notice and start churning out low-budget titles to capitalize on the insane popularity of murder in New York City. Unfortunately, it seems the latest cash-in title crossed a line usually reserved for Faces of Death videos and mainstream news organizations by including a background photo of one of the most infamous child murder cases in UK history. 

In 1982, a toddler named James Bulger was abducted by two ten year old boys who subsequently murdered the wee lad. The entire scene was caught by a CCTV camera, and in the following years, the images had become as familiar to the British public as Anglican corruption.

When Legacy Interactive released Law and Order II for the PC, they were seeking only to provide people with the kind of drama one can only see on NBC once a week (or, 28 times a week on TBS), but when it was discovered that they had included an image from that CCTV capture within the game, you can imagine the outrage. The game was pulled from shelves, and to this day, the zombified corpse of Jerry Orbach roams the moors, seeking vengeance. 

Legacy CEO Ariella Lehrer had this to say regarding the unfortunate (and hilarious) incident:

Legacy Interactive sends our most heartfelt apology to the family of James Bulger for the inadvertent use of a background photo in our Law & Order game. The image was included in the game years ago and without any knowledge of the crime, which occurred in the UK and was minimally publicized in the United States.

This horrendous mistake brings to mind urban legends such as the dead man in the background of The Wizard of Oz, or the priest’s unruly phallys in The Little Mermaid, and as disgusting as the crime was, what kind of American would I be if I didn’t point out that the original iteration of the title will see a tremendous jump in value due to the withdrawl?

[Muchas Gracias Gamasutra

[UPDATE: You guys were right. As opposed to what the Gamasutra article says, Lil’ James Bulger was indeed murdered in February of 1993.] 

Earnest Cavalli
I'm Nex. I used to work here but my love of cash led me to take a gig with Wired. I still keep an eye on the 'toid, but to see what I'm really up to, you should either hit up my Vox or go have a look at the Wired media empire.