Jewish Journal


June 23, 2009

Ghostbusters go kosher



Liel Liebovitz, an interactive media producer for the latest Nextbook project, an online magazine called Tablet, had been looking to get away from the Jews after a long week working alongside them. So before Shabbat began he ran out and purchased the new Ghostbusters video game. What he found was that one of his early mission as Dr. Peter Venkman was to capture Slimer without disturbing the Rodriguez bar mitzvah.

Liebovitz writes:

As Venkman snuck us in through the kitchen, blasting everything in sight with his proton beam, my mind wandered. The Rodriguez bar mitzvah? Sure, I thought, there were probably Jews named Rodriguez, but why choose such an atypical name in a medium not usually given to nuance? Finally finding my way into the hall, I realized that their last name wasn’t the only thing that made the Rodriguez’s simcha unusual: there on the buffet table, right next to the wine bottles and the silver candlesticks, were a few huge chunks of honey-glazed ham.

I froze in my tracks. It was time, I realized, to make a major decision about my identity. Was I a Jew first and a Ghostbuster second? Or was it the other way around? Do I catch the ghost? Or do I take care of the treyf? My heart beat fast. Then, suddenly, I knew just what I needed to do.

Ignoring Venkman’s repeated pleas to help him with the manic Slimer, I walked decisively over to the buffet. I took my time, making sure my aim was just right. Then, I pressed the button, and blasted the offensive ham into smithereens. I stopped and smiled. But what happened next left me astonished: a bright-colored tag popped up on the upper left-hand corner of the screen. I had accomplished, the game informed me, one of its many hidden mini-missions, little puzzles meant to keep gamers on their toes and help them score more points. “Achievement unlocked,” read the tag, followed by one more unexpected word: “Kosher!”

And you thought video games were nothing but treyf. Wired, which I mentioned in my GetReligion 5Q+1 as a good source of religion news, confirms Liebovitz’s tale of unlocking kashrut righteousness.

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