Over Rated

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Over Rated

The current furore surrounding the Banning of Manhunt 2 is proof, if it was ever needed, that we’re living in a nanny state.

What makes it all the more annoying is the know-it-all parents commenting that they cant believe this sort of thing is available for kids. If the game is rated 18 then the only way those kids are seeing the content is if the know-it-all parents have let them play it, despite the certification.

I often wonder why censorship rules aren’t applied as strictly to books?

A couple of years ago I picked up a novel at my Aunty Mary’s place that presented itself as an espionage thriller, so I thought I’d read the first few pages to see if it was for me. However, by the end of page three, someone had been murdered by an assasin who had forced the blade of a knife into the base of his victim’s skill, leaving him paralysed while the assasin explained to him that he had just a couple of minutes to live, and the reason why he’d been killed.

To me that was quite a graphic description of a horrible murder, yet there was no warning of that kind of content on the cover. I’m a big boy – I realised the book probably wasn’t for me, so I put it down and no further “harm” was suffered. Yet, if it had been a game I suppose I’d almost be duty bound to phone the Daily Mail or contact the increasingly tabloid-esque BBC website to ensure that it got blown out of all proportion.

Personally, I haven’t played the original Manhunt, and the sequel doesn’t really appeal to me, either. I don’t have a problem with it being made, though. A lot of people seem to like those torture-horror films, like Saw, while I think they’re horrible and steer clear of them entirely. I don’t think that gives me any kind of right to demand that they stop making them, though.

In the case of Manhunt 2, it is looking like the censors and outspoken minority might partly have their way and ensure that the game is exceptionally difficult to get hold of; probably on import for those who want it.

I’m not affected because it’s not the kind of game I want to play. But, how long will it be before this kind of nanny state decision making is affecting the fairly non-offensive games I like to play?

I play a lot of games with guns in them – there’s the obvious argument against those. I also play a lot of racing games, which clearly promote driving fast and – worse – the waste of fuel which is harmful to the environment!

Somehow, violence in video games was okay when it didn’t look too real and games were just for geeks. With games in HD looking more real than ever before, the path ahead for the games industry is likely to be lined with censors, sensationalist journalists, and just about every other party with an axe to grind.

As a gamer who has eagerly anticipated then embraced each evolution of graphical quality over the last 25 years, it seems that the wait for high definition realism might have brought about more than I bargained for.


7 thoughts on Over Rated

  1. Firstly, the game you mention with the James Bulger image in it has been out for years. Yet, now it fits in with the agenda of the media in that it gives them a new angle of attack against games, so it’s suddenly deemed current news. The media went out of their way to link the Virginia Tech masacre to games. Guess what? The guy didn’t play games at all, he was just a nut job. Twenty years ago they’d have done their utmost to link him to video nasties.

    Just because you only know one person who plays games, it doesn’t mean it’s not a billion dollar industry – the end product of which is enjoyed by millions around the globe. The fact that you find playing with your son more fulfilling than you imagine playing games to be is missing the point by such a wide margin that I’m stunned that someone of your intelligence posted that. I certainly wouldn’t say that I enjoy playing games more than I enjoy spending time with my daughter, but when my daughter goes to bed or is having a nap then you can bet your ass that I’m going to have fun playing a game if the mood takes me.

    You could say the same for any pastime – be it following a football team or birdwatching, but your lack of understanding of the subject matter due to having no desire to play games yourself is indicative of the kind of audience the BBC and the Daily Mail are going after.

    My girlfriend enjoys playing The Sims – a game where you control a house full of people, responding to their whims, trying to make them better themselves by getting them to study or learn a craft. She gets a sense of achievement if the characters in her game successfully bring up their kids or have a career they enjoy, for example. Yet some fucking moron with an axe to grind branded it a “paedophile simulator” and demanded it be censured or banned because, if they wanted, people could just watch the kids in it.

    This is despite the fact EA go out of their way to ensure there’s no nudity or violence in The Sims. It’s about as clean as games can get, yet some idiot with an agenda gets on their pedastal, talks a lot of misinformed bollocks, and the masses who don’t play games assume they have a valid point.

    Here’s another example for you.

    What’s the point of favourite media villan, Grand Theft Auto San Andreas?

    The media would have you believe it’s a murder simulator. It’s a game where you can have sex with prostitutes and then beat them up. Where you pick off innocent virtual people with a virtual sniper rifle for your jollies. Where you can plough through a crowd of people in a speeding car. If you want, you can do all those things in GTA San Andreas.

    But, do you know what the real point of the story in GTA San Andreas is?

    It’s to better yourself. It’s to lift your character from a drug infested ‘hood to running a succesful auto repair shop and beyond. If you eat junk food in the game you become a fat bastard who cant run. If you visit the gym and eat healthy food you stay in good shape and you reap the benefits in game. You can rescue injured people in ambulance driving missions. If you want, you can do all those things in GTA San Andreas.

    But does that fit the agenda of the media to focus on those points of the game?

    No. It doesn’t. Because it’s easier to mislead the general public when you can shock them into thinking that games are the root of all evil. The sad thing is, some people seem to be falling for the propaganda without finding out for themselves.

  2. I wouldn’t know the slightest thing about grand theft auto, sorry. It is of no interest to me. I would rather find out something about the real world than find out something about a genre of entertainment which should have been left to kids…..mind you where would hollywood get all their ideas for movies then eh? but thats an aside i won’t get into here. i will admit that playing some sports game or something with buddies when the beers are out and you are playing against each other can be fun, i hear the wii is pretty cool for that sort of thing, but i wouldn’t waste my money on it to find out.

    Go on man, pick up another book, go for a walk, write a short story, let your thoughts florish instead of stifling them with some pointless video game.

  3. Thank you for reinforcing my original point;.

    The world is full of people who think they know what’s best for us, who have very little understanding of what they believe is bad (or pointless) for us.

    Anyway, instead of wasting time on the internet, shouldn’t you be off spending it with your son?

    After all, this is kind of pointless. 😉

  4. well seeing as i am at work then i couldn’t spend this time with my son even although i wish i could.

    but at least i can make the time between builds a bit more interesting.

  5. “Go on man, pick up another book, go for a walk, write a short story, let your thoughts florish instead of stifling them with some pointless blog”

    There you go – fixed that for you. 😀

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