When PopCap Games released a disco-themed version of its Plants vs. Zombies game this July, it didn't expect any controversy. After all, what's less offensive than giant blossoms battling the undead? But PopCap's decision to include a zombie Michael Jackson led to quick action on the part of the Jackson estate.
Popcap Games said: "The Estate of Michael Jackson objected to our use of the 'dancing zombie' in PLANTS vs. ZOMBIES based on its view that the zombie too closely resembled Michael Jackson. After receiving this objection, PopCap made a business decision to retire the original 'dancing zombie' and replace it with a different 'dancing zombie' character for future builds of PLANTS vs.ZOMBIES on all platforms. The phase-out and replacement process is underway."
The "Dancing Zombie" is a reference to Michael Jackson's famous Thriller video , which has inspired zombie-related events around the country . The character is dressed in an early 80s Jackson outfit: red leather jacket, matching tight pants, and white socks.
[youtube]0N1_0SUGlDQ[/youtube] PopCap has done well with the adaptation of its games for mobile devices. The iPhone and iPod adaptation of Plants vs. Zombies sold over 300,000 units in its fist nine days, breaking previous records and it remains one of the highest rated apps in the App Store. Seattle-based PopCap games is also the developer of the first paid app to reach the 3 million mark in the App store, Bejeweled. Other games from the company such as Bookworm, Chuzzle, and Peggle are consistently in the App Store's top 100.
Given that players can create their own "Zombatar" in the game, one wonders if it's possible that Michael Jackson might still be virtually shambling around. Zombatars can be used as Facebook, Steam, and Twitter profile pictures.