Hated AIG Lurking In My Wii Game

Not knowing much about soccer, I was in for an unpleasant shock when I turned on "Pro Evolution Soccer 2009" for Nintendo's home console.


For those who recognize AIG as one of the most hated three-letter combinations in America these days, be warned about Konami's new Wii soccer game "Pro Evolution Soccer 2009."

The game's opening cinematic has a bunch of guys wearing the company's logo. (It turns out they were not just any guys.)

Your response to that sight will depend on your reaction to the headlines that dominated last week of the company's plan to pay bonuses of at least $165 million to the employees who had been on the clock when the company played its major role in crippling the U.S. economy and then received U.S. taxpayer money multiple times to get propped up.

Don't let video games be accused of failing to teach, because I discovered through "PES 2009" that Manchester United -- one of the only European soccer teams whose listing on the Konami game's menu screen seemed familiar to me -- is sponsored by AIG. (Or, to be precise, used to be sponsored, as reports, like this one from Forbes, indicate that the U.S. government has nixed any renewal of this Manchester United AIG deal.)

I selected Man U. to be my team for the one sessions of this game I was going to play. I was trying this game because Konami's series is well-regarded and I needed to finally play an entry in it. What I got was a tutorial in Wii soccer controls and the sight of the Manchester United men, in visiting blue uniforms, jogging onto the field with the letters A. I. G. printed across their jerseys.

That was a sight more offensive than anything I could have feared to see in "Resident Evil 5," I write, half-joking.

And to think that, if not for the global financial meltdown, the most awkward thing about the "PES 2009" intro on the Nintendo Wii was that it includes a shot of stadium signage advertising… for PlayStation.