Games News

 2009: Oct-Dec



23rd December   

Update: Tragedy in the Making...

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US nutters predict Modern Warfare 2 will lead to school killings
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Call Duty Modern Warfare DVDMaine's Christian Civic League is calling for a ban on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 .

The League writes that we live in a time where the public has been dangerously desensitized to violence, and that many find a thrill in participating in violent video games. It claims that Modern Warfare 2 goes too far, even in our own desensitized age, and specifically calls out the No Russian scene (which it calls the Massacre Level ) as most offending.

All decent people should denounce the game, continues the League, which goes on to suggest that the state of Maine should open debate into banning these games completely.

The League then attempts to play up the link between violent videogames and school shootings, and while Maine has yet to have a school shooting of its own, the danger is growing each passing day adds the League. The ready availability of drugs, violent video games, and outrageous rock music is a witch's brew which will eventually lead to tragedy here in Maine.

 

19th December   

Nutters Hit Hard Times...

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Video games nutters closed down
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National Institute of Family & Media logoDavid Walsh said when he was assembling his first report card on video game violence 13 years ago, children were attacking on-screen monsters or aliens with imaginary chain saws and guns.

That first report card, which singled out bloody first-person shooter games Doom and Duke Nukem , made an instant splash on Capitol Hill in 1996 and made the annual reports issued each holiday season by Walsh's National Institute on Media and the Family a news fixture.

But there was no video game report card this year, and there won't be any more. The institute is closing its doors, a victim of the poor economy. Walsh, the group's founder and president, is packing his books as his staff of eight full-time employees prepares to shut down Dec. 23.

Fundraising has been more and more difficult, Walsh said: It really wasn't that we put ourselves out of business, because the technology is changing so quickly, the issues just won't quit.

While some people have posted on gaming Web sites celebrating the institute's demise, others have praised its role in helping get retailers to post game ratings and ask for an identification when selling mature-rated games.

It was Walsh's group that announced in 2005 that the best-selling video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas contained graphic sexual images that could be unlocked using an Internet download. The ESRB conducted its own investigation and revoked the game's M (mature) rating and tagged it AO (adults only). That led to major retailers pulling the game from their shelves.

Last summer, the institute learned that founding sponsor Fairview Health Services was pulling out. After looking at going independent, the institute's board decided to shut down at the end of the year. Walsh said the organization is talking to three nonprofits about taking on its work.

 

18th December   

Updated: Predatory Censors...

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Australian censors ban the video game Aliens vs Predator
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Aliens Vs Predator PC DVDThe Australian Classification Board has banned yet another video game. This time around it is Aliens Vs Predator .

Slated for a February 2010 release on the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC platforms, Aliens vs Predator picks up on a rich cinematic and video game history to once again launch us into the horror tinged sci-fi world that has captivated many around the globe.

SEGA Australia's response so far? Well it is suitably annoyed yet determined in the face of the initial submissions rejection. A SEGA Australia spokesperson told iTWire; SEGA Australia can today confirm that the initial submission of Aliens vs Predator has been Refused Classification by the Classification Operations Board of Australia. We will continue to investigate all options available to us, including the possibility of appeal .

Ausgamers.com has been sent a document from Australian Classification Board with the actual reason for the games classification refusal in this country.

In short The game contains violence that is high in impact and is therefore unsuitable for persons aged under 18 years to play.

The game contains first-person perspective, close-up depictions of human characters being subjected to various types of violence, including explicit decapitation and dismemberment as well as locational damage such as stabbing through the chest, throat, mouth or eyes. Characters can be stabbed with a Predator's wrist blade or an Alien's tail in depictions reminiscent of impalement.

The Predator collects trophies by explicitly ripping off human heads, their spinal columns dangling from severed necks. Heads can be twisted completely around in order to break a character's neck. Eyes can be stabbed through or gouged, leaving empty, bloodied eye sockets. It increases impact; for example, a Predator can stab a character through both eyes with its wrist blade and then rip off their head, the spinal column still attached. Extensive post mortem damage, including decapitation and dismemberment, is also possible.

Depictions of violence such as the above are accompanied by copious amounts of blood and gore, including ample wound detail and visible skeleton.

In the opinion of the Board, the violence in the game causes a high playing impact due to its first-person, close-up perspective, conceptual nature and the level of explicit detail involved in the depictions. The game is therefore unsuitable for a minor to see or play and should be refused classification.

Update: Developers won't release a kids version for Australia

5th December 2009. Based on article from uk.gamespot.com

Many developers, including Valve and Bethesda, opt to censor their products by toning down the violence to adhere to the Classification Board's standards. However, Rebellion, the developers of Aliens vs Predator has decided to simply not release the game in the region.

In a statement, the UK-based studio noted that it was upset that the game was refused classification but said that it will not be altering the game to make it acceptable by the Classification Board's standards: Rebellion is disappointed that its upcoming title Aliens vs. Predator has been banned in Australia, Rebellion said. However, as we understand the law in that country, the authorities had no choice as we agree strongly that our game is not suitable for game players who are not adults.

The content of AVP is based on some of the most innovative and iconic horror movies, and as such we wanted to create a title that was true to the source material. It is for adults, and it is bloody and frightening, that was our intent. We will not be releasing a sanitized or cut down version for territories where adults are not considered by their governments to be able to make their own entertainment choices.

Update: Sega appeals ban

12th December 2009. Based on article from refused-classification.com

Sega have applied to have the ban on Aliens vs Predator examined by the Review Board.

The Board are asking for input from individuals or organisations that wish to make submissions as an interested party.

If an individual or organisation wishes to apply for standing as an interested party to this review, please write to the Convenor of the Review Board. The closing date to lodge your application for standing as an interested party and any submissions is Monday 14 December 2009

We are unsure what constitutes an individual interested party. However we can tell you that in recent times the New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties, the Australian Family Association, and Young Media Australia have all been accepted as organisations that are an interested party.

The review is due to take place next Friday. See more about submissions to the review board at refused-classification.com

Update: Sega wins appeal

18th December 2009. Based on article from gamesindustry.biz

Sega has won its appeal with Australia's Classification Board against the banning of Aliens Vs Predator meaning the game will be released in the country after all.

The uncut original game will now be released with a MA15+ rating.

It is with great pleasure that we announce the success of our appeal, Sega Australia's general manager Darren MacBeth told Kotaku. We are particularly proud that the game will be released in its original entirety, with no content altered or removed whatsoever. This is a big win for Australian gamers. We applaud the Classification Review Board on making a decision that clearly considers the context of the game, and is in line with the modern expectations of reasonable Australians .

 

14th December   

Update: Consultation Games...

Australian government launches consultation on adult rated games
Link Here  full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

R18+ bannedThe long-heralded public consultation process on whether Australia should introduce an adult rating for games commences; Federal Government releases discussion paper discussing pros and cons of the debate.

Aussie gamers will finally be able to voice their opinion directly to government, with a long-awaited public consultation launched by the Federal Attorney-General's Department.

The public consultation is asking for Australian's opinions on whether the country should introduce an adult R18+ rating for games. Currently, any game deemed by the Classification Board to contain content which is unsuitable for anyone aged over 15-years-old is refused classification, effectively banning it for sale down under. Australians are being asked to download a form from the Federal Attorney-General's website, and fill out a questionnaire outlining their views on the R18+ issue.

The Federal Attorney-General's Department has also released a discussion paper outlining the key arguments for and against an adult game rating for Australia.

Submissions will close on 28 February 2010. From there, all of Australia's State and Federal Attorney Generals must agree to introduce an R18+ rating before it can be introduced, which may continue to be a major stumbling block given the vocal opposition of South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson in the past.

 

12th December   

Updated: Predatory Censors...

Australian censors ban the video game Aliens vs Predator
Link Here

Aliens Vs Predator PC DVDThe Australian Classification Board has banned yet another video game. This time around it is Aliens Vs Predator .

Slated for a February 2010 release on the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC platforms, Aliens vs Predator picks up on a rich cinematic and video game history to once again launch us into the horror tinged sci-fi world that has captivated many around the globe.

SEGA Australia's response so far? Well it is suitably annoyed yet determined in the face of the initial submissions rejection. A SEGA Australia spokesperson told iTWire; SEGA Australia can today confirm that the initial submission of Aliens vs Predator has been Refused Classification by the Classification Operations Board of Australia. We will continue to investigate all options available to us, including the possibility of appeal .

Ausgamers.com has been sent a document from Australian Classification Board with the actual reason for the games classification refusal in this country.

In short The game contains violence that is high in impact and is therefore unsuitable for persons aged under 18 years to play.

The game contains first-person perspective, close-up depictions of human characters being subjected to various types of violence, including explicit decapitation and dismemberment as well as locational damage such as stabbing through the chest, throat, mouth or eyes. Characters can be stabbed with a Predator's wrist blade or an Alien's tail in depictions reminiscent of impalement.

The Predator collects trophies by explicitly ripping off human heads, their spinal columns dangling from severed necks. Heads can be twisted completely around in order to break a character's neck. Eyes can be stabbed through or gouged, leaving empty, bloodied eye sockets. It increases impact; for example, a Predator can stab a character through both eyes with its wrist blade and then rip off their head, the spinal column still attached. Extensive post mortem damage, including decapitation and dismemberment, is also possible.

Depictions of violence such as the above are accompanied by copious amounts of blood and gore, including ample wound detail and visible skeleton.

In the opinion of the Board, the violence in the game causes a high playing impact due to its first-person, close-up perspective, conceptual nature and the level of explicit detail involved in the depictions. The game is therefore unsuitable for a minor to see or play and should be refused classification.

Update: Developers won't release a kids version for Australia

5th December 2009. Based on article from uk.gamespot.com

Many developers, including Valve and Bethesda, opt to censor their products by toning down the violence to adhere to the Classification Board's standards. However, Rebellion, the developers of Aliens vs Predator has decided to simply not release the game in the region.

In a statement, the UK-based studio noted that it was upset that the game was refused classification but said that it will not be altering the game to make it acceptable by the Classification Board's standards: Rebellion is disappointed that its upcoming title Aliens vs. Predator has been banned in Australia, Rebellion said. However, as we understand the law in that country, the authorities had no choice as we agree strongly that our game is not suitable for game players who are not adults.

The content of AVP is based on some of the most innovative and iconic horror movies, and as such we wanted to create a title that was true to the source material. It is for adults, and it is bloody and frightening, that was our intent. We will not be releasing a sanitized or cut down version for territories where adults are not considered by their governments to be able to make their own entertainment choices.

Update: Sega appeals ban

12th December 2009. Based on article from refused-classification.com

Sega have applied to have the ban on Aliens vs Predator examined by the Review Board.

The Board are asking for input from individuals or organisations that wish to make submissions as an interested party.

If an individual or organisation wishes to apply for standing as an interested party to this review, please write to the Convenor of the Review Board. The closing date to lodge your application for standing as an interested party and any submissions is Monday 14 December 2009

We are unsure what constitutes an individual interested party. However we can tell you that in recent times the New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties, the Australian Family Association, and Young Media Australia have all been accepted as organisations that are an interested party.

The review is due to take place next Friday. See more about submissions to the review board at refused-classification.com

 

11th December   

Update: Game Over...

Japan censors the civilian killing in Modern Warfare 2
Link Here

Call Duty Modern Warfare DVDThe Japanese localization of Infinity Ward's controversial yet popular Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 has been censored rather crudely.

The famous airport civilian massacre received a rather inaccurate translation. The original line spoke by Makarov was, Remember, no Russian. The idea is that, in order to disguise the terrorist attack, it's paramount that the terrorists hide their own Russian nationality. But the Japanese audio dub for this line is, Korose, Roshia-jin da, which means, Kill them, they are Russians. Needless to say, this ichanges the entire context of the game.

The mission itself is censored, but still playable. It's not a parental lock that removes blood, gore or foul language, but it does something even more devious. If, at any point during the mission, you actually pull the trigger and kill any of the civilians spawned on the map, you will instantly get that terrible game-over screen and it's back to the last checkpoint.

Combined with wronged translation, this makes the airport scene a logical nightmare. If we look at the Japanese version of the game alone, without any other one to compare it with, the game first tells us to kill the Russians and, when we obey and actually do it, it kills us for it. To call it confusing would be quite the understatement.

 

8th December   

Update: Utter Bullshit...

Game developer comments on Australian games censorship
Link Here  full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

God of War 3 PS3Recently, God of War Creator David Jaffe commented on the Australian classification board, labeling its methods as utter BS . Jeffe was expressing his views on the possibility of cutting content from his own games.

There's a government board and if they say it's too offensive, in that case there's no fight to fight — it is what it is, he said. There's not much you can do if you're making games aimed at a mature audience. We never like to cut it, but what are you going to do? You're dealing with governments.ss

Jaffe then further commented on the attitude towards games as a form of entertainment. There's absolutely an inconsistency in the consciousness about video games. The reality is people still see a lot of these things as kids' toys. It's utter BS.

God of War III is set for a March 2010 release date in Australia and is yet to be classified. However, previous entries in the God of War series gained a MA15+ rating for violence and sexual references by the Australian Classifications Board. Hopefully mature content in God of War III doesn't stir any controversy.

 

7th December   

Update: Treat Us Like Adults...

Brisbane rally for R18+ video games
Link Here  full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

R18+ bannedThe rally planned to show the support of gamers for an R18+ rating in Australia drew about 50 people.

The event, promoted by the website Treat Us Like Adults, took place on Saturday, December 5 in Brisbane. Speeches were given by Ethan Watson from Treat Us Like Adults and Nicolas Suzor, CEO of Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA).

Suzor documented the proceedings on the EFA website, and four YouTube.

The next step in pressuring the government, according to Suzor, is to pressure the Commonwealth Minister for Home Affairs, Brendan O'Connor, to release the long-awaited R18+ discussion paper.

 

4th December   

Playing Easily Offended...

Brazil to ban video games that offend religions
Link Here

BrazilBrazilian Senator Valdir Raupp has authored a bill that would make it a crime to make, import or distribute offensive videogames in Brazil.

A story on the website UOL reports that the Education Commission of the Senate has approved the measure, which will now go to vote in the Committee on Constitution and Justice.

Raupp's goal is to, curb the manufacture, distribution, importation, distribution, trading and custody, storage, the video games that affect the customs, traditions of the people, their worship, creeds, religions and symbols.

The bill seeks a penalty of one to three years imprisonment for those committing an offense.

 

4th December   

Senator Leland Yee Recommends...

Violent video games for Christmas
Link Here

Resident Evil 5Games nutter and California State Senator Leland Yee is urging parents and holiday shoppers to avoid the purchasing of violent games in the coming month, referring to their potentially harmful effect on minors.

It is vitally important that parents and grandparents consider the content in video games before making holiday purchases, said Yee. There is mounting evidence that ultraviolent video games have negative effects on children, and can cause real behavioral changes.

Yee cited a Common Sense Media list of games to specifically avoid, which includes:

  • Manhunt
  • Resident Evil 4 & 5
  • Dead Rising
  • Grand Theft Auto IV & San Andreas
  • God of War II
  • Mortal Kombat: Deception
  • MadWorld
  • Gears of War
  • Saints Row 2.

 

2nd December   

Update: PC PC Games Bans...

Germans ban versions of Modern Warfare 2 and Left For Dead 2
Link Here

Call Duty Modern Warfare DVDBy authority of the BPjM ( Bundesprufstelle fur jugendgefahrdende Medien - A German censorship board basically), the PC editions of the US Modern Warfare 2 and the UK Left for Dead 2 were announced as banned titles in Germany. Related

As reported by PC Games Hardware, this decision was made in November and took effect 1 Dec, 2009. It seems likely that the US Modern Warfare 2 was nixed due to the controversial airport level, which apparently does not appear in the German edition.

Interestingly enough, the ban currently only affects the specific PC version of each title. Console and German versions can still be sold along with the UK Modern Warfare 2 and the US Left for Dead 2 .

 

2nd December   

Rating Apps...

ESRB provides iPhone app to give comprehensive video game age ratings and summaries
Link Here

ESRB app on iPhoneThe Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) – which assigns age and content ratings for computer and video games – has developed a free iPhone app giving parents instant, on-the-spot access to its new rating summaries, right at the store when making decisions about which games to give as gifts.

To educate parents about ratings, rating summaries and the new rating search app, ESRB developed a new series of TV and radio Public Service Announcement (PSA) ads that will begin airing nationwide in the coming days. Major video game retailers will also air the PSAs in their stores throughout the coming year.

Rating summaries, which are provided by ESRB but are not displayed on game boxes as are the ESRB ratings and content descriptors, give parents a detailed, straight-forward explanation of the context and relevant content that factored into a game's rating.

ESRB president Patricia Vance said: This new rating search app puts all this information at parents. fingertips when they need it most, right at the store.

The new rating search app is available for free via the iTunes App Store and offers access to ESRB rating information for over 18,000 titles. Rating summaries are available for all games rated since July 1, 2008, which means that many of the games likely to appear on kids. wish lists this year will have rating summaries.

 

2nd December   

Update: Electoral Games...

Australian Sex Party campaigns for R18 video games
Link Here  full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

Australian Sex PartyThe Australian Sex Party have produced a YouTube video to get some of their ideas across to the public

Fiona Patten, Sex Party Convenor, said:

The Australian Sex Party is the newest registered political party in Australia and the only party with a policy to legalise R rated games. We are also the only party actively opposing mandatory internet filtering. We are standing candidates in this weekend's by elections of Higgins in Victoria and Bradfield in Sydney. Unbelievably, the Greens are standing the architect of the government's internet filtering scheme, Clive Hamilton, as their candidate in Higgins.

Our ideological base is predicated on the fact that Australian parliaments are becoming more stacked with overtly religious MPs. Kevin Rudd is a well known committed Christian who goes to church every week and openly admits that his parliamentary life is strongly influenced by his religious one. The new leader of the Liberal Party, Tony Abbott, is a former Jesuit priest in training and close friend of Archbishop George Pell. His religious zeal is legendary.

R (and X) rated computer games are currently illegal because a religious Attorney General from South Australia, has the power to veto all the other Attorneys General on this issue. This is unlikely to change in the near future.

A vote for the Sex Party in the two by elections this weekend will send a strong message to the major parties about support for R rated games. We need to activate gamer networks in Australia to contact friends and colleagues who live in these electorates to vote for the Sex Party. We also need help on polling day in handing out How To Vote cards at polling booths. It's a fun day and the smartest way to support legalising R rated games and getting rid of internet filtering.

 

1st December   

Update: Censors on Drugs...

CrimeCraft banned over fictional drugs
Link Here  full story: CrimeCraft...Australian censors ban yet another game

CrimeCraft PcAustralia's Classification Board banned CrimeCraft for rewarding drug use with in-game benefits.

The board ruled that the online shooter could not be sold in the country because of boosts in the game which mimic real world drugs. In the board's opinion, there is insufficient delineation between the 'fictional drugs' available in game and real-world proscribed drugs, the report stated.

Boost parallels the names, chemical elements, administration, treatment and addictive elements of real-world proscribed drugs, and when used provide quantifiable benefits to a player's character. The game therefore contains drug use related to incentives or rewards and should be refused classification. In addition, the names of boosts mimic the chemicals and colloquial names of proscribed drugs. Examples include K-Dust, Birth, Chimera, Majoun, Betadyne ResistX and Zymek Stim-Ex, as well as the anabolics Raze and Frenzy.

There is no indication whether Vogster Entertainment, makers of CrimeCraft, will be releasing a version without the drug-use.

 

28th November   

Crime Against Humanity...

Australian censors ban another video game, CrimeCraft
Link Here  full story: CrimeCraft...Australian censors ban yet another game

CrimeCraft Pc Vogster Entertainment's CrimeCraft is the latest title to be banned by the Autsrlian Classification Board. This MMO game was 'Refused Classification' on Thursday.

In the U.S. the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) awarded it a Mature rating meaning that it is suitable for persons seventeen and older.

The speculation is that violence was responsible for causing the ban.

 

26th November   

Dabbling in Nonsense...

Church nutters whinge at Resident Evil variant for promoting the occult
Link Here

Resident Evil Darkside Chronicles Wii Church nutters have accused the video game  Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles of promoting the occult

Bishop Bryant of Jarrow, Archdeacon Brian Smith and Rt Rev John Goddard have all accused the game of promoting such interests amongst the UK's youth, with the latter stating: If we dabble in this area we open ourselves to influences and put ourselves at risk. I would regard any encouragement for children to be drawn into this behaviour with extreme horror.

Publisher Capcom spokesperson Leo Tan, however, is less convinced about the proposed risk: This is scaremongering and typical religious hysteria. You cannot blame society's ills on video games. It's just absurd.

Most games (and movies) like Resident Evil show characters fighting evil not supporting it. Unfortunately the clergy is showing a lack of understanding of the video games industry and is too quick to splash the holy water and lump video games players into stereotypical boxes.

 

24th November   

Enemy Combatant Nutters...

Swiss campaigners whinge at virtual war crimes in video games
Link Here

Call Duty Modern Warfare DVD Video games depicting war have come under nutter fire for flouting laws governing armed conflicts.

Nutter rights groups played various games to see if any broke humanitarian laws that govern what is a war crime.

The study condemned the games for violating laws by letting players kill civilians, torture captives and wantonly destroy homes and buildings.

It said game makers should work harder to remind players about the real world limits on their actions.

The study was carried out by two Swiss nutter rights organisations - Trial and Pro Juventute. Staff played the games in the presence of lawyers skilled in the interpretation of humanitarian laws.

Twenty games were scrutinised to see if the conflicts they portrayed and what players can do in the virtual theatres of war were subject to the same limits as in the real world.

The practically complete absence of rules or sanctions is... astonishing, said the study.

Army of Two, Call of Duty 5, Far Cry 2 and Conflict Desert Storm were among the games examined. those who violate international humanitarian law end up as war criminals, not as winners Trial/ Pro Juventute

The testers looked for violations of the Geneva Conventions and its Additional Protocols which cover war should be waged. In particular, the testers looked for how combatants who surrendered were treated, what happened to citizens caught up in war zones and whether damage to buildings was proportionate.

Some games did punish the killing of civilians and reward strategies that tried to limit the damage the conflict, said the study. However, it said, many others allowed protected objects such as churches and mosques to be attacked; some depicted interrogations that involved torture or degradation and a few permitted summary executions.

It noted that, even though most players would never become real world combatants, the games could influence what people believe war is like and how soldiers conduct themselves in the real world. It said games were sending an erroneous message that conflicts were waged without limits or that anything was acceptable in counter-terrorism operations.

Jim Rossignol, who writes on Rock, Paper, Shotgun, said: Perhaps what this research demonstrates is that the researchers misunderstand what games are, and how they are treated, intellectually, by the people who play them.

 

23rd November   

Update: Call of Censorship Duty...

South Australian Attorney-General to appeal MA15+ for Modern Warfare 2
Link Here

Call Duty Modern Warfare DVD South Australian Attorney-General and video game censorship nutter Michael Atkinson is to appeal the MA15+ rating handed out by the Classification Board to Modern Warfare 2 .

Speaking to Radio National, Atkinson was asked for his views on the recently released game, described by interviewer Peter Mares as violent and bloody and graphic and confronting.

I'll be appealing against that classification, I think it's wrong, said Atkinson.

Atkinson, who will be challenged for his Croydon seat at the March 2010 state election by Australia's first gamer rights party, went on to admit he had no faith in the Classification Board to do its job properly.

It doesn't surprise me. The Classification Board in Australia does everything to try to get games in under the radar. But just because the system is not being applied properly, it does not mean that the principles of the system are wrong.

What I want the Classification Board to do is to apply the guidelines properly. What I don't want is the extremely violent, sexually depraved, drug use games in Australia at all. At the cinema, we can stop people under 18 going in to see R18+ rated movies. We can't stop these games that are extremely violent and depraved from getting into the home or getting into the hands of children.

 

20th November   

Update: Left 4 Dead 2 Abomination...

Australian censored version doesn't impress
Link Here

Left for Dead 2 The Australian version of Left 4 Dead 2 has been mutilated to the point of mediocrity.

Everything that made Left 4 Dead what it is, the fear, gore and tension has been removed, and what is Left 4 us is an ugly rotting carcass of what was once a great game. The disparity between the censored and uncensored versions is huge, as shown by IGN's review scores. IGN AU, the poor guys who had to play through the censored version, gave the game a 5.0, a score unheard of for such a prestigious developer as Valve. On the flipside, the US team who had the uncompromised version of the game gave it a 9.0.

The level of change is ridiculous, to the point of looking glitchy. Bodies flash away before your eyes (As you can see in the video at the bottom of the page), burning bodies don't even catch on fire and zombies barely look like they have taken a hit as they crumple stupidly before your eyes. Wait for the part in the video where a zombie bait grenade is used, upon its explosion the 30 or so zombies simply vanish into thin air, leaving one body behind, which quickly dissipates.

This is a sad moment for Australian gaming. When it comes down to it, we would rather a game not be released rather than having this insult spread to unsuspecting consumers in Australia. That is also why Gamerz Ink will not be bothering to review this game until we can get a copy on the true version, just like Valve hasn't bothered to make at least an acceptable edited version for Australian stores.

More on the censor's reasons for banning the full version

Based on article from uk.gamespot.com

According to the recently issued review board report, EA argued that Left 4 Dead 2 should be allowed as an MA15+ game due to the unrealistic nature of the violence . Specifically, the EA rep called out the facts that: the game includes zombies who were not and never had been human; that zombies were fictional characters and that zombie killing was an ancillary component to the central objective of the game being played online and in multiplayer format; 15 year olds would know that the zombies were fictional characters and could distinguish them from humans and that therefore lessened the impact (but in any event it was not unlawful to kill zombies which meant that no crime had been committed); and there was no moral issue involved in killing fictional characters.

But the Review Board didn't take those arguments to heart, saying that there was insufficient delineation between the depiction of the general zombie figures and the human figures as opposed to the clearly fictional 'infected' characters . Even so, it was still the violence issue that sunk the appeal, with the Board report stating that whether the objects of the violence were fictional or real, and whether a 15 year old could discern the difference, is largely irrelevant where the game displays the level of realism this one does .

The Board listed specific examples of violent content within the game, including:

  • in the early stages, a body on the ground was shot at repeatedly, a body disintegrated leaving a head on the ground with copious amounts of blood
  • a fire left a visibly charred body
  • a body was lying face down on a bathroom floor with a trail of blood--screaming and moaning accentuated the impact
  • copious blood including repeated instances of blood splatter on camera lens
  • in a store with buses and trucks, blood splatters, a body on the ground having been dragged leaving a trail of blood
  • a person hanging by fingertips from a beam with fingers being stamped on, another person with arm shot off
  • swords used to behead and dismember with blood everywhere
  • in a swamp, with an aircraft crashed, persons being attacked, as they run towards camera some are shot with blood everywhere and fleeting glimpses of stomach entrails spilling out
  • a group between several buses shot at, copious blood including on camera lens, and several heads blown off
  • chainsaws used on attackers, heads cut off and lots of blood
  • exclamations and coarse language from time to time accentuating the impact of acts of violence.

 

20th November   

Update: Call of Censor Duty...

Activision removed airport scene from Russian PC version of Modern Warfare 2
Link Here

Russia flag Activision is denying a report claiming the console versions of Modern Warfare 2 had been recalled in Russia to remove the controversial Russian airport scene found in the game.

The publisher says a console version was never released in Russia, and that the PC version was only censored due to the country's lack of a formal game ratings system.

Reports that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 has been banned in Russia are erroneous, an Activision spokesperson told IGN. Activision only released a PC version of the game in Russia which went on sale on Nov. 10.

 

20th November   

Update: Call of Classification Duty...

BBFC point out that apart from 1 scene, Modern Warfare 2 would have been 15 rated
Link Here

Call Duty Modern Warfare DVD Just a reminder from the BBFC that, for all the nutter outrage about the violence of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 , the BBFC would have rated the general game play 15 (except for the civilian airport slaughter).

The BBFC passed the game 18 uncut with the following explanation:

Modern Warfare 2 is a combat simulation game for the Xbox 360 console in which the player takes the roles of various members of a Special Operations team attempting to thwart the plans of a Russian terrorist group. The game was passed at 18 for strong bloody violence.

The violence takes the form of the player's involvement in gun battles with various enemies in which an array of contemporary weapons such as automatic rifles, pistols and grenades are available, along with larger items of artillery and tanks. The player can also access bladed weapons for stealth attacks and hand-to-hand combat. The battles are intense and conducted from a first-person perspective with impacts registering as bloody splashes with further sight of blood decorating the various environments in the aftermath of fighting. Bullet impacts or explosions cannot, however, cause dismemberment and there is no opportunity for the player to inflict further damage on an enemy who has been killed. Whilst undoubtedly strong and bloody in terms of specific detail and cumulative effect, the violence in the majority of the game would have fallen within the allowance of the Guidelines at 15 which state that Violence may be strong but should not dwell on the infliction of pain or injury. The strongest gory images are unlikely to be acceptable.

The 18 category was, however, deemed more appropriate for a particular mission in which the characteristics of the violence differ from the rest of the game. In this mission, the player has infiltrated the terrorist group and joins them as they execute an attack on innocent civilians at an airport. The violence is bloody and intense, and aggravated by the fact that, unlike other combat sequences in the game, the civilians cannot fight back and are massacred. The player character can choose to join in the shooting or do nothing in order to preserve his cover, but he cannot intervene to prevent the massacre by shooting the terrorists since he is then discovered and is very quickly overwhelmed and killed. The evident brutality in this mission does carry a focus on the infliction of pain or injury which, along with the disturbing nature of the scenario it sets up, was felt to be more appropriately placed at the adult category and it is worth noting that the game itself gives the player the option to skip this mission without penalties to progress or achievements. Although the content of this mission was recognized as having the potential to offend, it was not felt to present a significant harm issue at 18 that would require further intervention.

The game also contains mild-to-moderate language with uses of shit , bollocks , ass , whore and bitch .

 

19th November   

Pulling the Wool Over the Eyes...

Talk of misleading the US games censor
Link Here

ESRB Speaking at the recent Montreal International Game Summit, the CEO of a game development company complained that publishers are deliberately deceiving the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) in a bid to receive lower age ratings.

Rémi Racine of Artificial Mind & Movement, creator of Wet and the upcoming PSP version of Dante's Inferno , said that publishers who attempt to trick the ESRB are looking for a wider audience—and subsequent profits— for their game.

Edge Online offered the following quote from Racine:

As a developer who has worked with a lot of different publishers, we're aware of many that have tried to cheat the rating. They say to the ERSB that it's a Teen rating [13+] rather than an Mature [17+] to try and sell more; you can do this just by sending them a video that doesn't show the most violent stuff and then you'll get the rating that you want rather than the rating you should get.

The ESRB's Eliot Mizrachi addressed Racine's claims, saying:

We regularly check games post-release to verify that submissions were complete, and it's very likely that if a game contains undisclosed content that would have affected the rating assigned, we'll find out about it. In such cases ESRB can actually impose fines up to $1 million as well as require corrective actions like re-labeling or even recalling product, both of which can obviously be very costly.

 

19th November   

Evils of Drink, Gangs and Video Games...

Resident Evil quoted about trial of brutal teenage attackers
Link Here

Resident Evil 5 A judge spoke of society's horror and despair as he sentenced two teenage girls and a boy to four years' detention each for torturing a girl of 14 and filming the sickening violence.

During a 45-minute ordeal in an underground car park, the naked victim's head was kicked like a football by the girls, aged 13 and 14, and she was beaten about the skull with stiletto heels.

She was made to lick her blood from the shoes of the assailants during the attack at Edinburgh's Omni Centre. The boy, aged 13, kept egging on his friends and called to them to put her to sleep . Referring to a violent video game and film, he gloated: It's like Resident Evil.

Sentencing the trio, Lord Malcolm highlighted underage drinking and youth gang culture as factors in a crime that he said had created a sense of shock because of its depravity and the level of cruelty shown by those so young.

Brian Gilfedder, acting for the boy, said everyone hoped the victim made a full recovery, both physically and mentally, from her extremely degrading and humiliating experience .

He said the boy had not known real, proper parenting and had suffered abuse and neglect from an early age, adding: You can add to that access to and viewing of inappropriate films and games involving extreme violence. That is his background.

Scottish Conservative justice spokesman Bill Aitken said the brutal attack was an appalling indictment of Scotland's violent youth culture.

He said: This is a shocking case involving the systematic abuse of a young girl. It is depressing that three (teenagers] can commit this sort of offence against another young person.

Aitken also called for greater restrictions on violent video games being made available to young people, saying: The video game referred to by these young people as they committed this crime seems to be particularly savage.

I do think we now have to look very, very carefully at the effects of such video games and films on the more susceptible juvenile mind. They may have 18 certificates, but children are still getting hold of these violent images.

 

19th November   

Offsite: Warped Minds...

Modern Warfare 2 has not made me a terrorist
Link Here

The hysterical campaign against the greatest videogame ever made is based on outdated effects theories.

Last week, what many are describing as the greatest videogame ever made was released. It sold five million copies in the US and the UK on the first day of sale, raking in a record £186million in 24 hours. It is an involving, intense and immensely playable game. Yet how have many politicians and pundits responded? By being curmudgeonly; by calling for the game to be banned; by suggesting that it will warp the minds of a generation and create an army of glazy-eyed, thumb-wagging terrorists who will commit violent acts in the real world.

...Read full article

 

18th November   

Update: Nutters Need a Health Warning...

Keith Vaz wants health warning on video games
Link Here

Keith Vaz In a recent radio interview, Labour MP Keith Vaz again had a whinge at video games:

If you look to the packaging of an 18-rated videogame, it's [the size of] a tiny 10p coin. What it should be is the same as cigarettes - it should be splashed across the front: This has the potential to damage your health - and that is not happening.

Vaz indicated that he would like to see 18+ rated games sectioned off at retail and put in their own section. Parents who buy games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 for their kids who are under the age of 18 are psychologically damaging their children added Vaz.

When it comes to keeping violent games out of the hands of children, Vaz put the onus on parents, before noting that he didn't really know what games his own 14-year old son was playing, I have a son who is 14 years of age - I don't know what games he looks at, but I shall ensure that in future I will look at the covers, to make sure that these games are not over the age of 18.

 

17th November   

Updated: Call of Nutter Duty...

BBC's The Big Question discusses video games
Link Here

The big Question The Big Questions on BBC 1 Sunday Morning?

Their first discussion was about the evils of computer games , they had Miranda Suit from Media March on there putting forward anecdotal evidence and personal opinion as fact.

There was a few gamers on there defending their hobby, but overall it seemed the pro-censorship lot were making a bigger noise.

From the BBC:

Nicky Campbell presents The Big Questions live from the Grace Academy, Solihull. Contributing their views are comedian Stephen K Amos, journalist and Muslim convert Yvonne Ridley, and the Right Reverend Stephen Lowe, the former bishop of Hulme.

Update: Modern Warfare: Nutters vs Gamers

17th November 2009. Based on article from mcvuk.com

Activision's Modern Warfare 2 was heavily criticised by UK religious leaders from across the belief spectrum on BBC One yesterday.

Chief executive of the London Jewish Forum Alex Goldberg told presenter Nicky Campbell and the studio audience:

Surely this [scene] puts the gamer in the position of being a terrorist? The whole plot here is that it's a military commander – whatever – who doesn't want to blow his cover, so he blows up innocent civilians. We're asking gamers to be put in that situation. Article continues below

We fudge this issue about children time and time again throughout this debate. Let's face it – it's children playing this game. In the Holy scriptures, when Cain kills Abel, God asks him one question: Are you your brother's keeper? The rest of the bible is an answer to that – and it's a big yes. When I play this game I don't get that answer – I get upset.

Fazan Mohammed of the British Muslim Forum added:

You can't equate it with watching TV or a movie or reading a book. This is a much more intimate experience. You're mentally playing out the effects of violence. A lot of people make the excuse that this is sport – that it's just entertainment. But Joseph Goebbels – the propaganda minister of Nazi Germany – said his entertainment did more for the German people, in terms of creating the psyche for war and hostility towards others, than the speeches of Adolf Hitler. The idea this is entertainment is not justification whatsoever.

And the retired Bishop of Hulme, the Rt. Reverend Stephen Lowe – himself a proud fan of World Of Warcraft – said that the airport scene should have been cut out by the BBFC. He commented:

If you are in that role, which is a terrorist in a game killing other people with massive violence coming back at you on the screen, and [you're getting a] thrill from that, I think that's actually sick. We need to sort that out.

I don't think it should be in a game, because gaming for me is not about that sort of process. When I was young, [society was] worried about horror comics – because they were going to pollute the minds of young people and make them violent. This is very different from that; this is taking on the role of a terrorist in a way that relates to the news – what we actually see on our [TV] screens. That is fundamentally different. It somehow says: 'Maybe this is all right.' It isn't.

Other critics of the game that appeared on the show included Miranda Suit of anti-obscenity pressure group Mediamarch, who called for better regulation of violent video games.

 

16th November   

Update: Call of Nutter Duty...

If mass murder was ever to be committed in this country, it would be committed by a gamer.
Link Here

Michael Laws New Zealand's RadioLive host Michael Laws has slammed the release of record-breaking videogame Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and made a homophobic attack on the chief censor.

He talked about the game during the opening editorial of his radio show last Thursday – specifically, the controversial segment in which players go undercover to infiltrate a terrorist group and carry out an attack on civilians at an airport.

An outraged and misinformed Mr Laws exclaimed: Gamers are a very unusual group of people. If mass murder was ever to be committed in this country, it would be committed by a gamer.

Despite stating the game was restricted as an R18 item, Laws asked his listeners: Is this what we want for our kids? A glorification of the killing of innocent people by terrorists?

Laws questioned New Zealand's chief censor Bill Hastings' decision to allow the game to be sold in New Zealand and made special mention of his sexual preference. I know the gay guy we've got at the moment who is the Chief Censor Bill Hastings is a liberal sort of guy, said Laws. I don't care if he lets gay sex through because, well, that's what he enjoys watching in a darkened room somewhere and thinks everybody else of his ilk should be able to do so as well.

 

14th November   

Update: Gamers' Voice...

Tom Watson gathers a couple of MPs to support his Facebook group opposing nutters like Keith Vaz
Link Here

Call Duty Modern Warfare DVD Gamers' Voice, the pro-gaming Facebook group set up by West Bromwich East Labour MP Tom Watson, has drawn support from another pair of UK politicians.

Watson, who setup the group in response to comments made by Leicester East Labour MP Keith Vaz, invited Sion Simon, Minister for Creative Industries, and Shadow Minister Ed Vaizey to check out the online group, which they both did. Both left messages of support for Watson and the group.

Vaizey wrote, Tom, congratulations on setting up the group. It's about time gamers had a voice to represent the huge success of the UK video games industry. We spend too much time attacking games and not enough time celebrating their huge success and contribution to the economy.

Simon added, The government understands the importance of video games. we make games better and play games more in this country than anywhere else in the world. It's an important industry and an important part of millions of people's lives. But it's a very young industry which is still finding its voice. I think this group is an important step in that process, and I'm glad to be a part of it.

Watson wrote of the pair, Sion and Ed are a little bit different to other MPs though. They both have responsibilities in Labour and the Conservatives for policies towards the Games Industry. And I think they're both genuine in wanting to help.

 

11th November   

Update: Call of Nutter Duty...

Low grade comments about the game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Link Here

Vivienne Pattison My View by Vivienne Pattison, Head Of Mediawatch-UK

There are numerous studies linking exposure to violence in entertainment with violent behaviour. Vivienne Pattison

Bearing in mind the cost to society - and the misery of the victims of violent behaviour - if there is the slightest possibility that violent games can cause harm, is this worth the risk?

We know that violent games with 18 Certificates are being played by children.

Do we really want to find that we are training a new generation to be killers?

 

10th November   

Update: Call of Duty to Support UK Games Designers...

Tom Watson MP warns against Daily Mail moral panic
Link Here

Call Duty Modern Warfare DVD A political row has broken out over a violent video game as fans eagerly await its release. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is expected to break sales records after going on sale at midnight.

Modern Warfare 2 , developed by US company Infinity Ward and published by Activision, is 18 rated in the UK and rated Mature (17+) in the US for its blood, drug reference, intense violence and language .

Labour MP Keith Vaz called for action to ensure that children cannot buy the 18-certificate game, while fellow Labour former digital minister Tom Watson said it would be better to support the UK's video gaming industry.

Watson said that although the game wasn't pleasant , it was better for MPs to support the many thousands of games designers and coders and the many millions of games users, rather than collaborating with the Daily Mail to create moral panic over video games.

Gamer's Voice

Thanks to eMark
See also article from facebook.com

Tom Watson writes about Gamer's Voice Facebook Group:

Are you sick of UK newspapers and (my fellow) politicians beating up on gaming? So am I. The truth is, UK gamers need their own pressure group. I want to help you start one up.

I don't know how it should work yet but please register your interest if you agree that gamers need their voice hear in the corridors of power.

And if you have any ideas, please post them to the wall.

 

7th November   

Update: Call to Nutter Duty...

Keith Vaz will whinge at Parliament about latest video game
Link Here

Call Duty Modern Warfare DVD Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 , the latest in a series of first-person war games, features bloody conflict. It is so realistic that at some points a warning offers players the option to skip scenes.

In the course of the ten hours or so the game will take to complete in solo mode, the player will assume a variety of roles in a global war against Russian ultranationalists led by Vladimir Makarov.

One of the most controversial of these is an episode in which a character must choose whether to kill unarmed civilians in a Russian airport to infiltrate a terrorist group successfully.

The scene is 'so shocking' that Activision, the game's distributor, issued a statement. At the beginning of the game, there are two 'checkpoints' where the player is advised that some people may find an upcoming segment disturbing. These checkpoints can't be disabled, it said. Modern Warfare 2 is a fantasy action game designed for intense, realistic game play that mirrors real life conflicts, much like epic, action movies. It is appropriately rated 18 for violent scenes.

Nutters, however, have accused Activision of being disingenuous. Warnings of extreme content had a strong appeal to younger players, they said.

Keith Vaz, Labour MP for Leicester East, told The Times: I am absolutely shocked by the level of violence in this game and am particularly concerned about how realistic the game itself looks. Whilst I appreciate that this game has been certified as an 18, I firmly believe that certain levels of violence should not be made into interactive entertainment. This would include acting as a terrorist, as is the case here, or violence against women. I will be raising this issue in Parliament on Monday.

 

5th November   

Offsite: Killerspiele...

The politics and censorship of 'killer games'
Link Here  full story: Killergames...German politicians target video games

Rage Trash It Sega Saturn A skip has been put here to collect videogames: Killerspiele , the name given to violent games by Germany's tabloid press.

Midway through the day, a cameraman from a local television station clambers over the skip's side. He needs a compelling shot for the piece that will run tonight, a story about how swathes of Germany's youths have seen the error of their hobby and brought their perilous playthings to this public burning. Crouching on its floor, he angles the camera upwards, while a young boy in a beanie and a puffer jacket leans over and hurls a copy of Grand Theft Auto in with an echoic clack.

The cameraman captures the premeditated moment from this particular angle because any other would reveal the truth of the situation: the skip is otherwise empty. By the end of the day, that sealed copy of San Andreas will be joined by Def Jam: Fight for New York , OpenArena and Small Soldiers , a sorry clutch of ageing titles that represent the full extent of German gamers' ambivalence to this most uncomfortable stunt.

...Read the full article

 

5th November   

World Censor War...

Chinese internet censor wages online war against games censor
Link Here

World of Warcraft Mac PC Chinese players of World of Warcraft , one of the world's most popular online games, may be out of luck after a government regulator rejected an application from the game's new licensed operator.

The General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) has terminated Chinese Internet portal NetEase's application seeking approval for the game, the agency said in a statement.

NetEase violated a rule banning new account registration and collection of subscription fees during a trial period that started July 30, when the firm was ordered to revise harmful content in the game, it said.

World of Warcraft , developed by California-based company Activision Blizzard Entertainment, was previously licensed to another Chinese firm, The9, which ran the game in China for four years from 2005, earlier media reports said.

NetEase announced in April that it had won a three-year licence for the game from Blizzard after The9's licence had expired.

Analysts said it was uncertain if GAPP's rejection would lead to a permanent ban in China as NetEase in April received approval from the culture ministry, which is also tasked with regulating computer games.

The chaos is mainly due to the vague demarcation of responsibilities between GAPP and the Ministry of Culture, said Liu Ning, a Beijing-based analyst with research firm BDA China.

 

2nd November   

Update: Zombie Censors...

Left 4 Dead 2 Australian censor cuts detailed
Link Here

Left for Dead 2 Left 4 Dead 2 got banned in Australia. So Valve have had to release a censored version.

The aptly-named The Australian Version Thread   over on the Steam community forums has an excellent summary of what's missing from the local, censored edition of the game. Highlights include:

  • No Gore: When you shoot an Infected to you see a small splash of blood. You will not see any gibs at all.
  • No Blood Spatter: You will not see blood spattering on the screen.
  • No Dismemberment: You cannot shoot or melee any limbs, including the head, off an Infected.
  • No Corpses: As soon as they're dead, Infected bodies will disappear.
  • No Burning: Infected will not catch fire from, for example, a molotov. They will, however, still die.
  • No Riot Cop: The riot cop Uncommon Infected will spawn at all. In fact, if just one player on the server is running the Australian edition, the riot cop will not spawn at all.

See also Comparison Cut vs Uncut from youtube.com

The article also describes simple configuration file edits can change the cut demo version into the uncut demo version

 

2nd November   

Update: Adults Only...

Uncut Manhunt 2 set for release on PC in North America
Link Here

Rockstar Games Manhunt 2 PS2 If you're still wondering two years after the game's release exactly what the Adults Only version of Manhunt 2 would have looked like, you'll finally have your chance to see it on Tuesday. The Adults Only (AO) rated version of Rockstar's Manhunt 2 will be released for the PC via download through Direct2Drive for $29.95 on 6th November.

This release is limited to Mexico, US, & Canada

 

31st October   

Update: Fantasy Games...

Venezuela solves gun crime by banning violent video games
Link Here

Mercenaries 2 RiaNovosti reports that the Venezuelan government has now passed a law banning violent video games.

This new law extends as far as outlawing the import, production and sale of such video games, as wall as a similar ban on toy guns and strict rules regarding TV adverts with a military nature aimed at children.

Gun crime in Venezuela is believed to be one of the primary causes of death among 16 to 20-year-olds, and while censorship on this scale is seen as distasteful on an international stage, it's hard to blame the authorities for taking any measure possible to stem the flow of violence. It'll be interesting to see if a link between games and violence becomes evident in the results of the ban.

 

30th October   

Call to Nutter Duty...

Australian nutters whinge about game, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Link Here

Call Duty Modern Warfare DVD Children's lobby nutters are calling on the Australian government to review its decision to classify as suitable for 15-year-olds an upcoming video game that allows players to assume the role of a terrorist and shoot innocent civilians in an airport.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, a highly realistic shooter title due for release on November 10, is one of the most anticipated games of the year. Its predecessor, Modern Warfare , sold more than 14 million copies worldwide and garnered a slew of game of the year awards.

But the game has sparked nutter controversy after leaked footage revealed that, in one of the missions, players can join a group of Russian ultranationalist terrorists and massacre civilians with assault weapons in an airport. The mission effectively simulates a terrorist attack from a first-person view.

Jane Roberts, president of the Australian Council on Children and the Media, called on the Classification Board to review its rating decision. She said even if the game maintained an MA15+ rating it would still be easily accessible by people under 15.

The consequences of terrorism are just abhorrent in our community and yet here we are with a product that's meant to be passed off as a leisure time activity, actually promoting what most world leaders speak out publicly against, said Roberts, who is also the principal policy officer in Western Australia's Department of Premier and Cabinet.

We understand that it's a game but ... we're not far off when you look at the images that you could actually put it on a Channel Nine news report and you'd think maybe that is real.

Activision, the game's publisher, and its lawyers, have been working frantically to remove all traces of the footage from the web, arguing that it was released illegally before the game had come out. But the company has confirmed the footage is authentic and that the mission is part of the game.

Nicholas Suzor, spokesman for the lobby group Electronic Frontiers Australia, said the incident highlighted the need for an R18+ rating for video games. But he did not believe a video game could breed terrorism. He said previous games such as Counter-Strike have allowed players to assume the role of terrorists.

Films often show the villain's perspective and, by doing that, they get across the character's story and the heinous nature of people who carry out atrocities. Games, too, are becoming more expressive, and are telling more involved stories . We may make an argument that these sorts of topics are not suitable for children, but I don't at all accept that it is unsuitable for adults.

 

23rd October   

Update: Left 4 Dead Too...

Australian ban on Left 4 Dead 2 confirmed by review board
Link Here

Left for Dead 2 A three-member panel of the Classification Review Board has unanimously determined that the computer game Left 4 Dead 2 is classified RC (Refused Classification).

In the Review Board's opinion, Left 4 Dead 2 could not be accommodated within the MA 15+ classification. The computer game contains a level of violence which is high in impact, prolonged, repeated frequently and realistic within the context of the game.

In addition, it was the Review Board's opinion that there was insufficient delineation between the depiction of general zombie figures and the human figures, as opposed to the clearly fictional 'infected' characters. This was a major consideration of the Review Board in determining the impact of this game on minors.

 

23rd October   

Bad Nannies...

Nanny Association whinges at upcoming game, Dante's Inferno
Link Here

Electronic Arts Dantes Inferno PS3 The International Nanny Association (INA) is whingeing at the upcoming Electronic Arts game Dante's Inferno .

The game features Bad Nanny rewards for players who slaughter a yet undetermined number of unbaptized infants, leading INA to say that the game component was created out of poor taste and bad judgment.

INA is opposed to video games that promote and encourage players to kill babies, even in fantasy play. It is our opinion that this type of play may promote violence towards children. The name of the trophy or achievement, Bad Nanny, is offensive to our association in that we strive to promote and educate the public regarding the selfless work nannies do to support families by providing quality in-home child care.

INA urged its members to email the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) with concerns and complaints.

 

20th October   

Updated: Nutter Trash...

German nutters organise event to trash 'killer games'
Link Here  full story: Killergames...German politicians target video games

Rage Trash It Sega Saturn A German nutter group has organized an event designed to get participants to bring their violent video games, tagged killer games, to in order to dispose of them in a trash can.

Aktionsbndnis Amoklauf Winnenden, or Action Alliance (loosely translated), has setup the event for this Saturday, October 17 in front of the Stuttgart State Opera. One game tosser will win a signed jersey from the German national soccer team.

The Action Alliance is made up, at least partially, of the parents of children slain earlier this year at the awful school shooting incident in Winnenden, Germany, which claimed 16 lives.

Update: Rubbish Idea

20th October 2009. Based on article from gamepolitics.com

The Killer Game Drive put on by Aktionsbndnis Amoklauf Winnenden over this past weekend appears to have been a failure.

The group was attempting to get people to come and toss killer games into a dumpster, and, well, while the Action Alliance did have a huge, graffiti-laden repository, let's just say that it probably didn't take them hours to empty it.

From pictures posted online of the event, it appears that just three games made it into the dumpster: a copy of Grand Theft Auto , Small Soldiers for the Game Boy Advance and one other unknown title.

 

16th October   

Update: Playing a Mean Game...

China bans adverts and links for 'amoral' online games
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

World of Warcraft China has banned Web sites from advertising or linking to games that glamorize violence. A notice posted on the Culture Ministry Web site on Monday said games that promote drug use, obscenities, gambling, or crimes such as rape, vandalism and theft are against public morality and the nation's fine cultural traditions.

Such online games promote the glorification of mafia life . . . and are a serious threat to the moral standards of society causing vulnerable young people to be adversely affected, the notice said. The ban on the Web sites starts immediately.

No details were given on how the law would be implemented, but the notice called for law enforcement bodies to ensure Web sites adhere to the new law.

 

9th October   

Update: Left 4 Dead 2 Plan B Cert 15...

Edited version of game passes Australian censor as MA15+
Link Here

Left for Dead 2 A toned-down version of Left 4 Dead 2 has now been given a rating of MA15+ after the original was refused classification last month.

According to the Classification Board's report, the modified version removes considerable amounts of gore from gameplay.

The board notes that the game no longer contains depictions of decapitation, dismemberment, wound detail or piles of dead bodies lying about the environment, it said.

No wound detail is shown and the implicitly dead bodies and blood splatter disappear as they touch the ground.

The report said melee weapons such as axes, crowbars and chainsaws were still featured in the game.

 

8th October   

Update: Left 4 Dead 2 Plan B...

Edited version of game submitted to Australian censor just in case
Link Here

Left for Dead 2 Three weeks ago, Valve's Left 4 Dead 2 was refused classification by the Australian Classification Board on the grounds that the game contains violence that is high in impact and is therefore unsuitable for persons aged under 18 to play.

Speaking at a press conference in Sydney today, Valve's Gabe Newell confirmed reports that they had appealed the original decision. Newell said the Review Board would announce their findings on October 22.

Newell also revealed that an edited version of Left 4 Dead 2 had been submitted via the standard classification process. Newell said he thinks this Australian-only version is fully compliant with the guidelines for an MA15+ rating. The Board's classification decision on this edited version is expected to be announced soon.

We think Left 4 Dead 2 is a lot of fun, said Newell. It's a game for adults. But we're aware that different countries have different restrictions, and we want to make the choices that make the game the most fun for that country.

However, Newell stressed that this edited version is just a back-up plan in case the appeal fails or takes longer than expected. Our goal is not to ship this second version, he claimed, while declining to detail what elements had been edited.

 

7th October   

Update: The Venezuelan Blame Game...

Solving crime problems by banning violent video games
Link Here

Mercenaries 2 In a bid to curb rampant crime in San Augustin slums, Venezuela's National Assembly is on track to prohibit violent video games and toys. The proposed legislation, which received initial approval in September, is expected to get a final vote in the coming weeks.

Parents applaud the proposed ban. But critics argue the bill is little more than a public relations stunt by supporters of President Hugo Chavez to camouflage his government's inability to deal with Venezuela's rampant violent crime, the country's most pressing problem according to public opinion polls.

Lawmaker Jose Albornoz concedes that fighting crime requires a multifaceted approach. But he's convinced that authorities can reduce the murder rate by breaking what he says is a direct link between video games and crime, though most studies find no evidence that such games prompt violent behavior in youngsters.

Venezuela would be one of few countries to impose an all-out ban on the manufacture, importation, distribution, sales and use of violent video games and bellicose toys. The proposed law would give Venezuela's consumer protection agency the discretion to define what products should be prohibited and impose fines as high as $128,000.

The Venezuelan bill would also mandate crime prevention classes in public schools and force the media to implement permanent campaigns to warn against the dangers of violent games. Another provision requires the government to promote the production, distribution, sales and use of games that teach kids respect for an adversary.

 

2nd October   

Asking for a Punch in the Facebook...

US games nutter sues Facebook where gamers vent their anger at him
Link Here

Anti-video game nutter Jack Thompson is suing Facebook for $120 million, accusing the social website of causing him emotional distress by not removing threatening comments posted by gamers.

Thompson is best known for his ludicrous attempts to sue game makers over claims adult content in video games is directly responsible for acts of real-world violence. Last year, he was permanently disbarred by the Florida Supreme Court after it ruled he abused the legal system by submitting numerous, frivolous and inappropriate filings.

His ostentatious behavior both in court and as a talking head on news programs has also made him a subject of considerable anger and ridicule among gamers. In a lawsuit filed in Florida on August 29, Thompson said several user groups on Facebook are advocating physical harm against him.

There are literally hundreds of anti-Thompson groups on Facebook, usually with rude names but Thompson claims Facebook has allowed more insidious material to remain on the website, such as the user group Jack Thompson should be smacked across the face with an Atari 2600 and another that offers $50 to anyone who punches the former attorney in the face. The latter group has apparently been removed from Facebook since the filing.