Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker was the name of several video games that loosely followed the story of the 1988 Jackson film, Moonwalker. Although released for computers, the most well-known adaptations were released for Sega-developed arcade games and Genesis, The Things reports.
Notably, the Sega games credit Jackson with the concept and design, and the games contained some pretty strange stuff.
For example, touching children powers up Jackson, restoring his health. The game has a button designated specifically for a crotch-grab even though that feature serves no gameplay-related purpose.
Another unique design choice is the way enemies die. When Jackson dances, The Things reports that other enemies become powerless to his rhythm and “break out in a choreographed dance routine.” However, when the dance numbers finish, the enemies die.
“That’s right… rather than just quickly dispatching… his enemies, Michael cruelly forces them to dance first,” writes The Things writer Christopher Hodges.
“In the Genesis version, they simply drop dead at the end of their dance but the arcade version has them dance until they literally explode.”
Although Moonwalker is certainly a memorable part of Jackson’s legacy, less favorable were the accusations of sexual abuse brought against the late singer by Wade Robson and James Safechuck. Their allegations were covered in the controversial documentary, Leaving Neverland.
“Whatever his life felt like from inside, from outside it was manifestly a work of genius. “ – David Gates pic.twitter.com/e3upmxViBI
— Michael Jackson (@michaeljackson) July 24, 2019
Jackson’s estate is currently in a dispute with HBO over the documentary. His estate claims that the movie violates a non-disparagement clause in a 1992 contract HBO signed.
HBO denies the presence of an agreement that hasn’t expired nor does any agreement specifically address Leaving Neverland.
U.S. District Court Judge George H. Wu recently allowed HBO to argue that free speech is being violated by being forced into arbitration by the Jackson estate, per The Inquisitr.
“While the Court agrees that attempting to enforce an arbitration agreement in a contract that includes a non-disparagement clause through the filing of a lawsuit does not initially suggest the presence of state action, the initiation of the litigation itself can trigger First Amendment concerns,” Wu wrote, per The Hollywood Reporter.
HBO must now file an anti-SLAPP motion, in which the network will argue that their First Amendment right is being violated by having been forced into arbitration by the Jackson estate. Afterward, Jackson’s estate will reply, and on September 16, a hearing will be conducted to address issues raised by both parties.
Despite the controversy, Leaving Neverland managed to nab five Emmy nominations, including outstanding directing for a documentary/nonfiction program and outstanding documentary or nonfiction special.