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Bush League

April 19, 2001|ALEX PHAM

The diplomatic disaster over this month's spy-plane incident might have tarnished President Bush's image in Beijing, but it's fired up the approval ratings in China of his digital persona in a virtual pet game called PortaBush.

The game, designed for Palm-based hand-held devices, allows players to develop their own Bush characters. They can sign or veto bills, blow up people (Britney Spears) or places (Disneyland), fight off Al Gore's requests for a recount or dole out political pork--all with the goal of winning reelection.

Eruptor Entertainment, based in Marina del Rey, saw a spike in downloads of the game last week. When officials investigated, they found that 80% of the downloads were coming from China.

"Our servers have been clogged," said Brad Foxhoven, chief executive and co-founder of Eruptor.

"People have called asking if we could have a version of the game where he can either apologize to China or bomb it," Foxhoven said. "Maybe our next version."

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