Video games arguably have not had their Citizen Kane. Less debatable is the absence of a video game Seinfeld or Mel Brooks movie. Enter Ghostbusters, the rare game with a Jewish joke.

A writer from the online magazine of Jewish news and culture, Tablet, reports delight at playing enough of the new Ghostbusters game to unlock an Achievement (or Trophy, it seems) called "Kosher."

The Achievement is won by having your Ghostbuster use his or her proton pack on a honey-glazed ham that has been set up for a bar mitzvah in the hotel where Slimer is running amuck.

Tablet's Liel Leibovitz writes:

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.


Leibovitz blasted that Ham and then got the Kosher Achievement.

The official text for that feat reads: "Remedy a dubious food choice to make the bar mitzvah as orthodox as it can be." Honey-glaze ham, it should be known, is not kosher and therefore doesn't belong at a bar mitzvah.

A Jewish joke would be unremarkable in other forms of entertainment. But in games, Jewishness is perhaps even more absent than homosexuality or Eskimos. Jewish people are seldom even mentioned in World War II games. Why that is is fodder for another post.


For now, put Ghostbusters in the same category as The Shivah, one of the few games that even mentions Jewish people or culture. (UPDATE: Readers reminded me that Grand Theft Auto: The Lost and Damned had some Jewish jokes too, which as best I can recall are light jabs that the fellow gang members of Jewish protagonist Johnny Klebitz make to needle him.)

Haunted Ham - Tablet Magazine