EA Wants Its Brass Knuckles Back

On Tuesday GamePolitics broke the news that Electronic Arts had shipped brass knuckles to some game reviewers as part of its press kit for The Godfather II.

While the promo materials for the game were cleverly done, brass knuckles are, as we pointed out, illegal in Pennsylvania, where GP is headquartered. Merely possessing them is a first-degree misdemeanor. Apparently, that’s the case in a number of other states, as well.

We asked EA for comment on Tuesday; a P.R. rep returned our call on Thursday afternoon. After delivering a brief script, the EA rep did the conversational equivalent of invoking the Fifth Amendment. Our chat went something like this:

EA: I hope you’re enjoying our Godfather II press kit, including the novelty brass knuckles. To help you take proper care to dispose of the item, we’re sending you a pre-paid shipping package.


And I can’t discuss this any further.


GP: Are you doing this with all of the journalists who received the brass knuckles? Or just me because I wrote about them?


EA: I can’t discuss this any further.

Despite the rep’s exercising his right to remain mostly silent, it’s now clear that EA has been contacting other media outlets in an effort to put the toothpaste back in the tube retrieve the brass knuckles.

Over at Joystiq, Justin McElroy writes that he’s waiting for EA’s return mailer to arrive. At Kotaku, Brian Crecente reports an EA phone call quite similar to mine:

The [EA] representative that contacted me said that the company wanted to make sure that the brass knuckles were "properly disposed of." He declined to comment any further… Electronic Arts did not respond to emails seeking comment about the legality of the items they shipped and whether they faced any legal actions for shipping them across state lines.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditEmail this to someone


  1. walikchris says:

    You can buy them legaly, you just have to say that they are belt buckles. Its funny because I was at a store and saw some so I instantly said I’ll take a pair of brass knuckles, the lady was like "you mean a belt buckle?" Crazy how you can avoid the law.

  2. G2 says:

    Blimey, I can’t believe EA would have sent them out in the first place when they have lawyers upto the eyeballs.

    A small edgy publisher could get away with it, but not EA.

    They should have gone to a local slaughterhouse and bought up all the horse heads instead, now that would have been a safer thing to send out. There again, Virgin Publishing UK sent out boxes of bloody offal to journalists for the launch of DOOM. Very funny, unless you’d recieved one of the packages.


  3. UhhKris says:



    I think brass knuckles would be pretty darn helpful when it comes to tenderizing meat. But that’s just me.

  4. gaspar says:

    and one more thing a law abiding citizen can’t own because government has overstepped its bounds.

  5. TheEpicJoe says:

     This was just a silly idea to start with. I mean, why do they send these kits out? To get people talking and thinking about the game right? Buzz! Well that obviously didn’t work.

    Oh wait…

    And as long as you keep them on your shelf as a display pice they are fine to have – A cop isn’t going to walk in to where you work and check for wepons. I could see this being a huge issue if they were packaged with the game and were being given to kids – they arn’t. 

    Grow up Press.

  6. Kojiro says:

    Brass knuckles exist for no other purpose than to cause physical harm to others.  They cannot be used for sport, defense, or cooking.  Thus they are illegal.  Think of it as one more thing to prosecute some douchebag the cops pick up off the street. One more offense on the list to help put him away for longer.

  7. Chadius says:

    I really wish they would come out and say "Oops, we screwed up. Can you return those Brass Knuckles and we’ll give you an even cooler press kit instead?" Instead of this "Oh we’d like to help you dispose of this" nonsense. It’s the Streisand Effect all over again.

  8. Bennett Beeny says:

    If it was made out of cocaine it wouldn’t be ‘authentic’.  That would be ‘real’.  Authenticity (like ‘realism’) requires the thing to NOT be real.

  9. PHX Corp says:

    So it’s pretty much a no win senario

    Watching JT on GP is just like watching an episode of Jerry springer only as funny as the fights

  10. mahesh1125 says:

    The concept of consequence has never been fully grasped by videogame PR. Whether they’re putting severed limbs around London or sacrificing goats, you can always count on marketing bods to do something stupid in the name of promotion. Take EA, for example, who has had to recall the illegal weaponry it sent out to press along with Godfather II. 

    For some mad reason, Electronic Arts believed that sending a set of brass knuckles with its game was a clever idea and that there wouldn’t be any trouble as a result. Now it’s had to ask them back, since possession of these "novelty brass knuckles" is a misdemeanor in a number of states. 

    Destructoid received an early copy of Godfather II, so remained knuckle-free. Kotaku, Joystiq and GamePolitics, however, are awaiting the arrival of pre-paid shipping material so they can return their offensive weapons to EA. It is unclear whether or not EA has already been brought to task by authorities, or if someone in the office actually grew a brain and realized preemptively that this stuff needs to be disposed of. 



    foreclosed homes





  11. TK n Happy Ness says:

    EA, people will give up the brass knuckles when you morons give up the NFL exclusivity.

    When Jack Thompson runs his mouth, does anyone really care what he has to say anymore?

  12. Father Time says:

    Can’t we just repeal those old laws about brass knuckles? They gotta be antiques by now.


    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.

  13. chadachada321 says:

    Hey Dennis, if you don’t want them, you can send them to me! I’ll even pay for it, it sounds like a very cool toy.

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  14. MrKlorox says:

    Way to try and completely cover up your fuckup, EA PR. I hope you fail miserably and are reprimanded properly.

  15. Praetorian says:

    Dennis–I don’t care if it IS illegal. Don’t send them back! I’d consider it a prize from the morons that run EA.

    You know, like when you kill a deer and put it’s head up on the wall. I’d frame those brass beauties and put a placard under it saying: Logic — not as relevant as we wish it were.


    "If you sit by the river long enough, you will see the body of your enemy floating by."


  16. Hassei says:

    So EA broke various State laws by shipping them into states where brass knuckles are illegal.  

    Now EA is demanding that gaming journalists Break The Law by illegally shipping brass knuckles into California.  The law clearly states that "imports into the state" are ILLEGAL.  Shipping these knuckles back to CA would certainly qualify as illegal importation. 

    Any journalist that sends these back to EA is crazy.  Because even if brass knuckles aren’t illegal in your specific State, by sending them back to EA (in CA) you will be breaking the law. (Sure, it’s very, very unlikely you’d ever be prosecuted, but you would be breaking California law by sending them back and you could be prosecuted.)

    My take is that EA’s best course of action is to apologize profusely, then un-request the return of the "paper weight".  They should then ask the recipients to dispose of them in a proper fashion.  If the item is illegal in their jurisdiction, turn it over to local law enforcement.  All of course at the discretion of the recipient



  17. Zeke129 says:

    What if the paper weight is in the shape of a brick of cocaine? And for authenticity purposes, it is made out of cocaine?

    Would that be legal?

  18. PHX Corp says:

    There’s an update to kotakus article

    After a little research we found that according to California Penal Code even shipping brass knuckles may be illegal.

    According to California Penal Code Section 12020(a), it is illegal to for someone to:

    Manufactures or causes to be manufactured, imports into the state, keeps for sale, or offers or exposes for sale, or who gives , lends, or possesses any cane gun or wallet gun, any undetectable firearm, any firearm which is not immediately recognizable as a firearm, any camouflaging firearm container, any ammunition which contains or consists of any flechette dart, any bullet containing or carrying an explosive agent, any ballistic knife, any multiburst trigger activator, any nunchaku, any short-barreled shotgun, any short-barreled rifle, any metal knuckles, any belt buckle knife, any leaded cane, any zip gun, any shuriken, any unconventional pistol, any lipstick case knife, any cane sword, any shobi-zue, any air gauge knife, any writing pen knife, any metal military practice handgrenade or metal replica handgrenade, or any instrument or weapon of the kind commonly known as a blackjack, slungshot, billy, sandclub, sap, or sandbag.

    The law is punishable by a imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year or in state prison.

    @GP Could we chalk this up as a dumb PR move that nearly got people in trouble(who posses it) by the police

    Watching JT on GP is just like watching an episode of Jerry springer only as funny as the fights

  19. Weatherlight says:

    Then included in the box should be a comment listing the brass knuckles as a paperweight and they would be good to go.


  20. GRIZZAM PRIME says:

    I hope they remember to put holes in the box…I don’t need any more dead hoo- Uh… nevermind.

  21. Navi says:

    Silly EA,

    Press Kits don’t kill people, Impressionable kids who play rated M-video games kill people.

  22. Navi says:

    I am not sure about other states but in Kentucky, brass knuckles are illegal.  However it is legal to have and sell paperweights, even if it is in the shape of brass knuckles.  In fact, you can even buy "paper weights" at just about any flea market around here.  So perhaps if instead of giving the press brass knuckles they passed out "paper weights" they may not be in so much trouble.

  23. Firebird says:

    I suppose my suggestion for a "Special Edition Grand Theft Auto: Now with a free AK and Hooker!" press kit is out of the question…?

    (Yeah… I already made that joke.)

  24. Rodrigo Ybáñez García says:

    Well, I thinking, it could be worst. I can imagine what could be happening in the 80s if they were giving away PACMAN press kits…


    Games Journalist 1: What is this?

    Games Journalist 2: A press kit from that new game from Namco, PACMAN.

    Games Journalist 1: Looks cool. What contains it?

    Games Journalist 2: A can with a bunch of pills.

    Games Journalist 1: GIVE IT TOO ME! nom nom nom nom

    He dies before the ambulance arrives… 🙁

    Namco: We want our pills back…

    Survivor Games Journalist: Too fucking late, asshole… my friend died eating that shit.

    Namco: Bullshit, I appeal the 5th… I mean, I can’t discuss this any further.

    Survivor Games Journalist: Yeah? Want to check out my Donkey Kong press kit gift? (pulls a hammer from nowhere)

    Namco: Oh shi–



    The cynical side of videogames (spanish only): http://thelostlevel.blogspot.com/ My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship): http://www.darkknightstrikes.deviantart.com/

  25. gaspar says:

    Does anyone else find it completely absurd that this is even an issue? Why are brass knuckles illegal? If I want to hurt someone, there are much better ways to do it. How about a knife, or a baseball bat, or, oh I don’t know, a GUN? All of which aren’t illegal. WTF? It really perplexes me that people are ok with this kind of arbitrary legislation.

    America’s retarded laws never cease to amaze me.

  26. DarkSaber says:



    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  27. DeepThorn says:

    I think in some states there are certain rules about shipping them, but I could be wrong.


    Yeah, it looks like it depends on where you live…  All in all, the EA Execs are idiots, which we already knew with DRM and them trying to kill the second hand market and say they are going after piracy.  These guys deserve to rot in hell, or the closest thing do it.  So that would be Iran? or North Korea?

    Nido Web Flash Tutorials AS2 and AS3 Tutorials for anyone interested.
    How to set Xbox 360 Parental Controls

  28. Shadow D. Darkman says:

    Firebird: +1 i|\|73R|\|37$


  29. Firebird says:

    The [EA] representative that contacted me said that the company wanted to make sure that the brass knuckles were "properly disposed of."

    I can only assume they took it out in the middle of a lake and shot it, point-blank…

    you know…… Mafia-style.

  30. Bennett Beeny says:

    "It’s not like there’s going to be a bunch of journalist going around smacking a bunch of punks around."

    Hmm.  Obviously you haven’t seen ‘Three Days of the Condor’.  Brass knuckles are just the first step in a journalist’s journey towards contract assassin.

  31. garrett says:

    But I already sold my brass knuckles to an avid collector! Oh no! Didn’t catch his name, just did the transaction anonymously.

    This is silly. It’s not like there’s going to be a bunch of journalist going around smacking a bunch of punks around. And they wouldn’t leave it lying around, either.

  32. Shadow D. Darkman says:

    I looked that up on Wikipedia. You got it. Thanks.


  33. Shadow D. Darkman says:

    You ever see that movie, by any chance? I can’t remember the name of it.


  34. Shadow D. Darkman says:

    I wonder what they do to people who do discuss it further.

    Maybe they erase them, make it look like they never existed, like in that one old movie about the mission to Mars?


  35. Firebird says:

    You know, this the type of article that gives us the ability to comment on WHAT NEEDS to be added in Special Edition boxes…

    I’d suggest for Bioshock 2, to add a MaGuyver-style grenade launcher made from old Cambell soup cans. Or a life-sized Big Daddy suit with a working arm drill…

    I need to keep some kids off my lawn.

  36. Conster says:

    If they really wanted you to be able to properly dispose of them, they’d send you a bowl and some cement-mix.

  37. Charax says:

    Wonder what happens if you live somewhere they’re legal and respond with "No thanks, I’m perfectly capable of disposing of them properly myself"?

  38. DarkSaber says:

    Trust EA to ask for a gift back! 


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  39. PHOENIXZERO says:

    Last time I checked, cigars/tobacco wasn’t illegal anywhere in the US. Well, unless it’s Cuban, heh.

  40. Vake Xeacons says:

    It was a nice idea and added an effect touch to the kit, but EA’s probably in a lot of hot water over this. The brass knuckles probably should have been fake, like rubber or plastic.

    I wonder if anyone’s spoke up about the stogie. What about shipping tobacco? Are the anti-smokers going to throw a fit? 

Comments are closed.