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Old 02-28-2008, 06:50 PM   #1
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Default Gary Coleman authorizes his likeness for violent video game Postal 2

Coleman delivers

Whatchoo talkin' 'bout? Why, the ultraviolent game Postal 2, of course


Former child star Gary Coleman may stand only four-foot-eight, but he's not a man to be trifled with. Especially when he's aiming an assault rifle at your head.

Fortunately, being on the receiving end of a hot lead shower delivered by Gary Coleman only happens in the controversial computer game Postal 2, which landed on store shelves this month.

In one segment of the mature-rated video game, your on-screen alter-ego crashes a shopping mall book signing to get an autograph from the Diff'rent Strokes star. When police suddenly storm the mall to arrest the diminutive actor, an all-out firefight between cops and Coleman's heavily armed posse ensues.

If they so choose, players can dive right in and take out the gun-wielding virtual Coleman for themselves, using any of the game's weapons at their disposal: a shotgun, a hand grenade or even a rocket launcher. The end result: a tiny blood-soaked corpse in a natty white suit.

Coleman asks for just one favour: please don't try this in real life.

"Hey, as long as they don't do it in the street, they can blow me away in a video game as much as they want to," a jovial Coleman said in a phone interview this week from his Los Angeles-area home.

Coleman, 35, was hired by Arizona-based game developers Running With Scissors to lend his voice and likeness to the hyper-violent splatterfest, the sequel to a 1997 game that was pulled off the shelves of many retailers and banned outright in more than five countries.

"I hate to give people suggestions," Coleman said, cackling with laughter. "Believe me, if you shoot me (for real), I will die. If bullets enter my body, I'm going to bleed a lot, scream a lot, and then I'm going to die."

His sense of humour about the game, and the critics who will inevitably rail against it, might stem from Coleman's own experiences with the vagaries of bad press.

In 1989, three years after ending his run playing "Whatchoo talkin' 'bout?"-spouting Arnold Drummond in Diff'rent Strokes, Coleman sued his parents for allegedly mismanaging his multimillion-dollar fortune.

Nearly a decade later, he was charged with assault and battery (and later convicted on a reduced charge of disturbing the peace) after getting into a scuffle with a pushy female autograph seeker. Coleman, who had been working as a shopping mall security guard at the time, maintains to this day he was acting in self-defence.

"I'm not apologetic about that," he said. "If you're going to engage someone in a violent, in-your-face manner, then you'd better expect a like response.

"I don't hide behind my celebrity. I am a human being, first and foremost. I don't act like a celebrity and I don't live a celebrity lifestyle. Unfortunately, if you catch me on a bad day, you catch me on a bad day."

Coleman figures violent video games like Postal 2, in which players can bloodily massacre scores of innocent bystanders if they so choose, can even be a form of stress relief after the rigours and frustrations of a hard day.

"We take a shotgun and blow somebody's head off in a video game, we're not going to do it in reality," he said. "Sane people find constructive outlets for their angst and their anger and their disappointment and their sadness and their frustration."

As with his ongoing work for entertainment Web site, which held a "save Gary Coleman" Web-a-thon in 1999 to raise money for the actor's legal defence fund, the Postal 2 gig is Coleman's latest way of reinventing himself. Unlike his formerly troubled Diff'rent Strokes co-star Todd Bridges, who now produces and directs indie films, Coleman has had little luck as an adult in showbiz.

"Todd is doing well for himself. Meanwhile, I'm not doing as well in that arena for obvious reasons: a short black guy that's 35. I'm not a superstar hunk. I'm not a Rock, I'm not Wesley Snipes, I'm certainly not Denzel Washington."

Still, he's happy right now acting as Postal 2's spokesman, defending the game's blood-drenched, profanity-laced and politically incorrect content.

"Freedom is freedom, and part of that freedom in this country is playing video games. All kinds of video games. Lewd ones, shrewd ones, violent ones, bloody ones."

Just remember to leave the guns in the game, OK?
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