Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Censorship Hits Manhunt 2

“Censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates in the end the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion.” - Henry Steele Commager

"Censorship is telling a man he can't have a steak just because a baby can't chew it."
- Mark Twain

It’s always amazed me that some people think that they should have the right to tell others adults what they can and cannot view. First it was books, then movies, and now videogames. Due to their ratings board refusing to issue a rating, Manhunt 2 will be banned from being sold in the UK. Ireland has followed suit as well.

So why exactly did they feel the need to ban the game? According to BBFC director David Cooke, “Manhunt 2 is distinguishable from recent high-end video games by its unremitting bleakness and callousness of tone in an overall game context which constantly encourages visceral killing with exceptionally little alleviation or distancing.” Both the Saw and Hostel franchises would fit this description quite well. So why were they given a rating equivalent to R? If the content is truly the issue, then shouldn’t the standards apply equally across different mediums?

The U.S. ratings board for videogames is almost as bad. The ESRB has given the game an initial rating of Adults Only (AO), which is equivalent to an NC-17 rating. It seems like we have another case of issuing a more restrictive rating due to the medium.

On the positive side, one might be able to make some cash buy eBaying copies of Manhunt 2 to people who live where freedom of speech is heavily restricted.

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