Godfather II Swag Kit Packs Brass Knuckles

In advance of Electronic Art’s release of The Godfather II tomorrow, a promotional package for the game arrived this afternoon. Many others in the gaming press surely received the media kit as well.

As these things go, it’s very nicely done: a small wooden cigar box containing a cheap stogie, a pack of matches, a pair of dice and a length of wire (for garroting stool pigeons, no doubt). A few matches are missing from the pack, which bears the scent of burnt sulfur and has a dame’s phone number scrawled on the inside cover.

There’s also an authentic-looking immigration document with my actual picture attached. Three pages of folded, typewritten notes offer advice from "M. Corleone." The Godfather flavor is unmistakable.

In fact, the kit is so cleverly detailed that I almost hate to point out that one other included item – a set of brass knuckles – is illegal in Pennsylvania, where GP is based:

18 Pa.C.S. § 908: Prohibited offensive weapons

 (a) Offense defined.–A person commits a misdemeanor of the first degree if, except as authorized by law, he… possesses any offensive weapon. 


(c) Definitions

       "Offensive weapons." Any bomb, grenade, machine gun, sawed-off shotgun with a barrel less than 18 inches, firearm specially made or specially adapted for concealment or silent discharge, any blackjack, sandbag, metal knuckles… or other implement for the infliction of serious bodily injury which serves no common lawful purpose.

GP: The good news is that I think I’ll be able to beat the rap if I can persuade the judge to consider the brass knuckles a curio, since the law does provide an out:

(b) Exceptions.–


      (1) It is a defense under this section for the defendant to prove by a preponderance of evidence that he possessed or dealt with the weapon solely as a curio or in a dramatic performance…

Just to be clear, promo materials like this are sent in the course of my work covering games for the Philadelphia Inquirer, not in relation to GamePolitics. EA, clearly, is hoping I will write about The Godfather II for the newspaper.

UPDATE: Stephen Totilo of MTV has also written about unexpectedly receiving the brass knuckles today.

UPDATE 2: We have requested comment from EA on the decision to include brass knuckles in the press kits for the game.

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  1. deuxhero says:

    Because I totatly need a legal degree to read the 2nd amendment.


    And besides, if someone is going to be breaking the law with the objects, they sure as hell are going to give a damn that the objects themselfs are illegal.

  2. LimaBravo says:

    Indeed ltdan676 It begs the question is this why game review score creep higher and higher invalidating themselves.


    Special edition swag, aversion to fanboi bile and pressure from advertising to ‘talk good’ about a big page renter almost explains Empire Total Wars high score 😀

  3. Magic says:

    I’m not sure whether ths is some marketing ploy to get attention – GP has posted about it, but I can’t see a definite chance of major gaming networks doing so.

  4. MrKlorox says:

    Had a friend die in October last year of an injury from brass knuckles, due to a clot hitting his brain while he was comatose. Screwed up part is that he was attempting to disperse the fight in which he got blindsided.

    Pretty fucking retarded of EA.

  5. ltdan676 says:

    i saw the picture and was praying that was some kind of special edition. but i guess you have to be in the press to get the good stuff.

  6. Michael Chandra says:

    Nono, he’s perfectly right. See these gangs, that use these brass knuckles and knives because they prefer a lack of noise and tracability, right? That makes them the perfect guerilla. So basically they’re forming a militia, thus their arms should fall under the Second Amendment.

  7. T5 says:

    I say if you do not like them sell them and give the money to charity, I’ll start the bidding at $10.

  8. Michael Chandra says:

    I do hope these are low-quality so that anyone deciding to use them, will be in for a surprise.

  9. Liz Surette says:

    Oh well then I guess your learned self forgot that a law isn’t unconstitutional unless the highest court that reviews it says so. It’s still on the books, it has a presumption of constitutionality until stricken down.


  10. Father Time says:

    Real brass knuckles. That’s amazing.

    I remember Rockstar sending out hand grenades but they were fake (or maybe deactivated, don’t know)



    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  11. HarmlessBunny says:

    It is cool that you are getting such a package and recognition. Hell even MSNBC and other so-called mainstream news and media have used your name and referenced your articles…so glad you are getting some crediable recognition out there, Dennis 🙂

    Yeah poor judgement on EA’s part, but in any case cool to have such an odd ball memorabilia for a game promotion. Not the best move in EA’s favor, but interesting and fun none-the-less. I just hope that isn’t included in any special edition of the game…now that would be in sincerely poor poor taste. (and probably given more fuel to idiots like Thompson)

  12. The Hangd Man says:

    Considering that this is all part of a press kit and is not part of an actual item for sale, I’m pretty sure that this falls under the curio clause of the law. I know anf antiques dealer who initially ran into the same issues with some old switchblades that some random nut decided to complain about. I’m not exactly sure what the law on the books is, but the cops at the time originally told him to remove the knives from the set (they were parts from a collection, nice big mounted display), but later said that because they were part of a collection of items and were for display purposes only that it was ok to include them.

    I’ll agree that it is a move of questionable legality, but really, they went for that classic gangster’s touch with the set. Just be glad they didn’t mail out any Chicago Typewriters in the kits.


    P.S. I just thought about it. With everyone "being driven to kill" by video games, is it really such a good idea to be providing weapons to those who have the most exposure to video games, the gaming press? Still wondering why we haven’t seen "Journalist Goes on Killing Spree" in the news yet.


    I hate broccoli/ and think it totally sucks/ Why isn’t it meat?

  13. Matthew says:

    From the review I just read, it’s probably so that you don’t hurt yourself too much when you punch out your monitor. That said, this strikes me as a monumentally bad idea that can serve no purpose beyond generating precisely this sort of negative press.

    Are they going for the cheapening Saint’s Row style “controversy sells” dollar?

  14. nightwng2000 says:

    I still say ya gotta be impressed that YOU are receiving stuff, Dennis.

    Let’s face it, if you were just someone writing a no-name blog that was looked over by the important people, you wouldn’t be receiving ANYTHING.

    The first time you received ANYTHING, that was when you knew you were being recognized.

    Never take it for granted.  🙂


    NW2K Software

    Nightwng2000 has also updated his MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

  15. Austin_Lewis says:

    The grenades are almost absolutely fakes.  A deactivated grenade will often have a large hole drilled in it somewhere.  Also, those grenades show far too little wear to be deactivated; they look to be fakes.

  16. mr_mlk says:

    OK, but then what about the hiding-guns-laws? Or the fact that any time The Gun Debate comes up "protection" is wheeled out (more frequently than hunting in my XP, but then even places with more restrictive gun laws have exceptions for hunting). And you could use a knuckle duster for protection (I’d go with the gun here, but hey).

    A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body. Benjamin Franklin

  17. gamadaya says:

    It’s because guns can be used for lawful purposes like hunting and stuff, but what are you going to do with partially filled sandbag other than beat somebody with it?


    Believe in something! Even if it’s wrong, believe in it! -Glenn Beck

  18. Ouroboros says:

    In this case, there talking about a sandbag that is only filled with a little bit of sand and is used like an impromptu blackjack or club. Basically, it’s an improvised gang weapon.

  19. The1WiTheGun says:

    Ah, I thought he was doing an Edward G. Robinson impression: "Nya, see? You’ll never take me alive, coppers! Nya!"


  20. Michael Chandra says:

    Sort of japanese version of "mrow". Most catgirl/catboy characters tend to end their sentences with it, sometimes every single one, to illustrate their catlike behaviour. In text people tend NOT to do it, subtitles often leave it out. It kinda looks moronic.

  21. catboy_j says:

    Tazers and stun guns are both illegal in NY state. Additionally said knives were not widely in use to stab people at the time switchblades were banned nya.

  22. Gift says:

    Hehe yeah, I bet Jack thinks Christmas has come early.

    Count down to emails decrying this story in 3.. 2.. 1…


  23. tuaamin13 says:

    I think the swag is very well put together.  Props to whoever thought of that.  It’s better than the "lets throw a bunch of things with the same logo in a box and ship it out" (Halo 3 swag comes to mind.  That was just a bunch of licensed products).

    Yes, someone probably should have checked with Legal before they set it off in the mail, but the intention here was not for you to go brawl with the neighborhood gangs.  They’re not sending you a loaded pistol with instructions to kill someone.  It’s most definitely a display piece.

    I only hope no one is stupid enough to hunt down EA or the people who received the PR kit and charge them with anything.

  24. Austin_Lewis says:

    It’s obvious that its meant as a curio piece, which means that there’s no problem with ownership.

  25. Ouroboros says:

    On the one hand, it is a pretty cool set-up. I think the package goes together really well and it does look rather authentic. If I got that package in the mail, I would definitely get a big kick out of it.

    On the other hand, this looks like an extremely bad case of “not doing the research”. Brass knuckles are illegal in just about every state in the USA, including in California where EA is headquartered out of. Fortunately, as near as I can tell, they did not violate any federal laws in shipping these over state lines; but whoever commissioned these knuckles violated California penal code 12020 (a)(1) which has a maximum punishment of 1 year for anybody who causes brass knuckles to be manufactured. That’s per set. Depending on how angry California is about this and how many of these press packages got made; somebody at EA could be facing a lifetime in prison several times over for this.

  26. lordlundar says:

    Yeah, "As a bonus, you get to be framed and go to jail!"

    Now THAT’s a swag gift no one will top. (or want to)

  27. SilverMelee says:

    While the whole brass knuckles aspect is somewhat concerning, it’s not like they’re giving these things out to just anybody, right? These were just handed to key press figures, after all.

    Nevertheless, I find the whole setup to be quite classy. Whoever did make these swag kits certainly put a lot of time into them. Very nicely done, indeed.

    — I do more than just play games. I draw, too: http://www.silvermelee.deviantart.com

  28. Ouroboros says:

    Because the laws are anachronistic, especially when something more powerful is on the market legally? Many of the current swinging lock blades on the market actually open faster that a switchblade; also, tazers and stun guns beat brass knuckles any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

  29. catboy_j says:

    I think handing out a weapon even to press is kinda tasteless nya. It’s not all that much different then if they had created a gang game and gave out switchblades in the release package. There’s a reason both are illegal nya.

  30. SeanB says:

    I have a number of "illegal" weapons in my collection, but since they’re either mounted to displays, in boxes, etc, i doubt i’d ever catch heat for them.

  31. MaskedPixelante says:

    Might wanna swing that by some officials, before Jack finds out and sends the cops out.

    —You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

  32. Neeneko says:

    Ack.  I never realized blackjacks were illegal in PA.  Good thing since I was pondering getting one….

    Though that brass knuckls are still illegal is kinda sad.

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