Italian Americans want Mafia game axed

Italian American organisation UNICO National has called for a ban on Take-Two Interactive's forthcoming game Mafia II calling it "a pile of racist nonsense".

According to Gamasutra, UNICO's Andre DiMino has pondered, "Why would [Take Two] foist a game on their targeted audience of young people wherein they will indoctrinate a new generation into directly associating Italians and Italian-Americans with violent, murderous organised crime, to the exclusion of all of the other 'mafias' run by other ethnic and racial groups?"

In a letter to Take-Two godfather Strauss Zelnick, DiMino accuses the company of "directly, blatantly and unfairly discriminating and demeaning one group to the exclusion of all others," and is demanding they "halt release of the game and cleanse it of all references to Italians and Italian-Americans."

In response, Zelnick said, "Mafia II tells a compelling story about organised crime in America - a subject that for decades has been featured in movies, television shows and novels."

And in a final blow to the organisation's credibility, he adds a snarky, "Neither UNICO nor any other organisation purporting to represent Italian-Americans has seen or played Mafia II."

Rarely out of the news, Take-Two has built much of its business on the back of tabloid controversy and has previously upset Cubans, Haitians, Eastern European contract klllers, the US Army the entire population of Los Angeles and anyone who has ever read the Daily Mail.