With even the music industry turning its collective back — o? Sorry, force of habit. — on the deposed King of Pop, Michael Jackson is rumored to be taking another stab at the world of videogames.
MJJ Productions, the film creation arm of His Royal Popness' crumbling empire, is at work on a mysterious game which features MJ as its protagonist, assuming you believe the Googlified moon language at Dutch gaming site 9Lives.
Wipe that Jesus Juice off your chin and hit the jump.
Whether the rumor proves to be a bizarre ruse or an even more bizarre truth, this is far from the first time Jackson's name and that prolapsed fallopian tube he calls a face have been attached to a videogame.
Though its success was immediately overshadowed by all those pesky allegations that Joe Jackson's most lucrative spawn has a thing for diddling kids, his 1990 collaboration with Sega on Michael Jackson's Moonwalker (box art above), demonstrated an unforeseen level of critical and fiscal synergy built entirely upon Moonwalker's cross-platform media blitz and Jackson's fly dance moves (say what you will about Jacko's alleged love for naked kids, and his acute case of "lookin' icky as a muh'fucker," but the man can dance).
There's even evidence that the fat bags of cash generated by that game and its cinematic counterpart are still a motivating force behind all the crap film-to-game translations we have to suffer through every time Hollywood gets a hard on for kids spending their parents' money on glorified advertisements for McG's latest attempts at convincing Erik to tongue kiss a rifle.
To be honest though, as MJ's cranial features continue their inexorable shift from "charming African-American boy" to "shit that makes Todd McFarlane piss himself in terror," Japanese folk seemingly find him even more intriguing. In a very real, unfortunately eerie sense, Jackson offers the Japanese populace a chance to vicariously embrace their collective fantasy of the ethereal, kawaii-first-cry-later ideal they demonstrate to varying degrees in every piece of media to emerge from the island nation since Uncle Sam busted Mama Nippon's jaw with an atomic uppercut back in '45.
In the same way that Jackson is constantly striving towards a beauty that is both inhumanly pristine and oddly attractive, the Japanese have been expressing similar, if less literal inclinations. Is it then any surprise that MJ has completely unexpected, yet surprisingly lengthy cameo appearances in Sega's rhythm-game-cum-love-letter-to-JPop-weirdness Space Channel 5 and bizarro arcade-style Punch-Out!! clone Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2?
Admittedly, that second one was probably a case of R2RB:R2 publisher Midway offering Jackson an aloe-infused handy in a public park, but it does put him ahead of almost every other celebrity on the planet for "number of appearances in videogames in which one actor portrays himself (or a legally non-distinct doppelgänger)." As soon as those Guinness chumps start recognizing some real talent, maybe he'll finally be recognized by mainstream America.
Currently there's no word on what sort of gameplay one might see in the rumored upcoming game, nor what platforms it may appear on, but Jacko's propensity for the whole music thing, and the current popularity of rhythm games has me imagining something like Guitar Hero, only with 20 percent more worryingly attractive pre-teens, and the most
awesome terrifying awesome plastic peripherals ever created.