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Some of you will remember the game Manhunt from the PS2. It featured a killer who was sprung from jail by a snuff film director so that he could go on a rampage against violent gangs. The gameplay was essentially very simple:

You start in one location and you have to reach another
You usually have only common street items (plastic bags, etc.) and what you steal from your enemies for weapons
You can hide in shadows and not be seen, even from close up
Enemies can hear you, so you had to sneak up on them
The closer you could sneak, the more violent the execution you would perform

There was a section where you protected an innocent, and it was always 'kill or be killed'. When the executions were happening you were no longer in control, instead you saw it as a cut scene.

It caused a massive controversy due to the themes and violence so, of course, they made a sequel.

In the sequel there appears to be lots of violence, but thanks to the motion sensing controllers the play is now more in control of these events. The game has been banned from distribution in the UK due to the violent content presenting too great a risk to consumers, and in the US it has been given an adult only rating (AO) so no-one is going to stock it. Somewhere in all of this, Sony and Nintendo in some of the regions have also said that they don't want to release AO rated games on their consoles.

I find this interesting for a few reasons:

The UK bans it for the potentially harmful psychological effects of the violence, but in the US this was acceptable to the ratings board
In the US retailers are the ones that control censorship
Why make a game that is so clearly going to have to endure massive cuts before it gets released? From the descriptions of the game, you perform the actions of sawing people's skulls in half, or ripping off private areas: it was never seriously going to be allowed.

As much as I'm up for freedom of expression, in this case I think I side with the UK censors: kids would get their hands on the game (mainly because lots of parents are rubbish at enforcing age ratings) and I don't think it's a healthy thing for them to play. What do you think?
I think that you're right - children shouldn't play this game. However, I think that it shouldn't be up to the government to dictate what I can and cannot see if I'm an adult. I think that games that violent (and Manhunt is one of the most gruesome games made) should be considered obscene material and be subject to the same laws as pornography. It shouldn't be legal to purchase it if you're a minor, nor should you be allowed to play it or watch it be played if you're a minor.
Sir Psycho Sexy
I read about this yesterday, it does seem a wholey unappealing game, I'm not surprised that it's banned and I'm not entirely bothered that it is.

QUOTE (pgrmdave @ Jun 22 2007, 09:24 AM) *
However, I think that it shouldn't be up to the government to dictate what I can and cannot see if I'm an adult.

A wonderful premise, but in the real world people just don't know what's good for themselves and unfortunately some people will argue until they're blue in the face to be allowed to do such things. A lovely example would be a work collegue who's convinced his personal rights are being infringed under a new company policy which states that he cannot smoke on the premesis (a whole three weeks before it becomes law) whether he's working or not, except in his accomodation above the pub.

People, in short, need protecting from themselves.
I think the fact that you can buy it for the Wii and therefore you can actually mime strangling/stabbing someone is beyond what I find acceptable. That's not to say that I agree with 'the man' banning something that I am quite capable for deciding is morally wrong for me. However, like SPS said, there are people in this world that can't make that distinction.

I didn't like Manhunt anyway as I'm not a gratuitous violence kinda' girl with video games. I like puzzles, running around and not being chased and scared half to death sad.gif
People, in short, need protecting from themselves.

I think you may be right in some cases - but I disagree that it is the government's responsibility to protect us from ourselves. I think that the government should play a very, very limited role in our lives, and passing laws because "daddy knows best" is a good example of something that the government shouldn't do. Passing a law to protect someone from somebody else (like protecting non-smokers from smokers for instance) is okay, passing a law because we're just too dumb to know any better...not only should it be insulting, but I think that it oversteps the bounds of what a government should be.
A good summary of the situation:
It's a pretty foul game, but I'm not sure I'd go with a ban. Put the rating up and need ID to get it, but an outright ban? Afterall the last game that was banned was Carmageddon, and that was a brilliant game. I have many fond memories of it. "Bonus for artistic expression!" Muahahaha.

I'm really not a fan of censorship.

As for why it was made.... it's done by Rockstar and Take Two, they are constantly pushing the edge of what is acceptable. This is just a natural progression, they are finding out exactly where the cut off is.

And frankly, the free advertising they get is immense. That's going to stick with the companies for a while, and probably outweighs the production cost of the game.
Silver Star Angel of Da Towers
I certainly don't think that children should be allowed to play excessively violent video games. They are very impressionable (although I'm not sure if that's the right word). But I also don't think that the game should be completely banned. If an adult wants to play it, he should be allowed to play it.

Parents have a high level of control in this arena. If a parent seems a game with a Mature or Adult-Only rating, he or she should use their jurisdiction regarding the game. Simply don't let your children play it if you think it's violent.
The problem is that parents and shops are notoriously bad at enforcing age guidelines for games so children would play it - an 18 rating just means that it will seem more alluring for many.

Do games need to be so violent to be fun? Is a game more enjoyable if you simulate ripping off a person's head? I wish the answer was easy, but there isn't a clear answer. The God Of War games are very violent and are great, the first Manhunt game was very violent too, but there wasn't the same level of interaction because the violence was done in cut-scenes.

There's a theory (that I support) that if a person is unstable and prone to violence then eventually something will set them off, whether it's listening to Marilyn Manson or rain on their birthday three years ago. the UK censors prevented the release of the game because they felt it presented an unacceptable public risk, and I can see why they might think like that. Violent lyrics make people feel violent and this usually works as a cathartic release (it let's them blow off steam in a harmless way), but in a tiny group it might fuel them to actual violence. The link is so small that it's considered that this connection isn't strong enough to deprive the rest of the public of that kind of music, but the link between physically acting out multiple acts of violence in a game and actual violence has got to be a lot stronger.

When you train in a martial art you repeat movements so that your body becomes naturally accustomed to them and so that you no longer have to think about deploying them should the need arise. Playing a game where you repeatedly axe people in the head just doesn't sound like it's going to have a positive effect on players. It's not a huge risk, but it would be ridiculous for the censors to have ignored it.

I don't think that this is a question of protecting children, although that is a factor, I think it's more about recognising that there are already members of society who feel violence is acceptable in far more circumstances than most people would be comfortable with. What impact would it have to encourage this further? Perhaps none, but I doubt it.

There are so many unanswered questions on the impact of games that censors have to play it safe when confronted by such an extreme example of virtual violence. To do anything else would be irresponsible.
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