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.