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25th December   

Update: Dead Space in Bavaria...

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German state not keen on the game Dead Space 2
Link Here  full story: Dead Space 2...Dead Space 2 questioned in Germany

Electronic Arts Dead Space PS3 According to a roughly translated report in PCGames.de, Bavaria's Ministry of Social Affairs said that the PSP version of EA's Dead Space 2 needs to be re-examined before it can be approved for release in the region.

Producers EA say that this is the 6th time that the game has been examined by the German censors at USK.

The objection seems to be with the multiplayer mode, which lets human players kill other human players.

EA has filed an appeal to the decision.

Perhaps a few clues from the UK's BBFC who comment on the game in an article from bbfc.co.uk :

BBFC logo Dead Space 2 is a science fiction game played from the third-person perspective. It once again features Isaac Clarke, who must fight his Necromorph enemies on the moon of Titan. The game was classified 18 for strong bloody violence and gory images.

At 15 the BBFC's Guidelines 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 . Dead Space 2 features frequent strong bloody violence and gory images, during gameplay and the cut scenes . As with the first game the alien enemies must have their limbs blown off in order to kill them, with the player's character using weapons such as a plasma cutter and a spinning circular saw. As well as the removal of limbs, heads are seen being decapitated and blood sprays copiously from the bodies of victims as well as being visible on walls and floors throughout the various levels. While it's not possible to shoot the unarmed civilians occasionally seen during the levels, the bodies of people once dead can be damaged in a similar manner to that of the aliens, although progress does not depend on this. Some of the game's gorier sequences include the ability to stamp on the bodies of enemies as they lie wounded; the clear sight of a man drawing a knife across his throat with blood spraying from the wound as he slumps to the floor; a sequence in which a screaming man is pulled apart by an alien creature; sight of a character being stabbed in the eye by a frenzied attacker; and various animation sequences to denote the death of the player's character, such as his limbs being sliced off or his body crushed by elements of the environment. These moments went beyond the limits permissible at the 15 category.

Dead Space 2 also contains strong language.

 

20th December   

Offsite: Playing Chief Censor...

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New Zealand's acting chief censor talks about games
Link Here

OFLC logo NZGamer.com recently got the chance to sit down with Deputy Chief Censor Nic McCully for an in-depth discussion on the classification of videogames in New Zealand.

Nic is far from an ultra-conservative old man who has never touched a console in his life. She owns a Nintendo, has attended E3 and reads NZGamer.com.

Taking over from her predecessor, Bill Hastings (who just got a new job as a District Court judge), Nic is now the Acting Chief Censor and is in charge of the classification of all books, games, videos, movies and published material that is shown and sold in New Zealand.

NZGamer: Could you briefly run us through the process of how you would rate a game, as opposed to a movie?

Nic: There is a bit of a difference. Ratings are generally done by the labelling body – what we do is we classify. So, games that are unrestricted overseas (games that are G's PG's or M's) don't go to the labelling body. You don't need a label in New Zealand for those games, its only the restricted games that have been restricted overseas. But the labelling body rates product, and they rate the product by saying so, this game got an M in Australia, lets give it an M here . What we do is we classify – so a game will be sent to us as being MA15+ or whatever, but we will get it – then I schedule it to a classification officer and I also have an expert games player who comes in and sits beside my classification officer and he will play the game for however long we need to, to see what we need to see. So once examination takes place, the Classification Officer would apply the criteria of the Films, Videos and Publications Classification Act. But the criteria to be applied are the same ones we use for films or books – there is no difference, it's the same set of criteria.

NZGamer: New Zealand has only banned a very small number of games, I think it's four? Manhunt, Reservoir Dogs, Manhunt 2 and Postal. How high is the ban standard here? Especially as there seems to be quite a high standard in other countries.

Nic: Well everything is a bit different, take Australia – it bans things because they don't have an R18 rating. In New Zealand we are banning games because we say they are injurious to the public good. In Australia they are banning games because its above the MA15 guidelines and once they are above that there is nowhere to go.

NZGamer: Injurious to the Public Good - what does that mean?

Nic: It means that we have deemed the level of violence or cruelty in those games to be at such a high extent or strong degree and in such a manner that it would be injurious. The Act itself works in a number of tiers. The first one when a publication tends to promote or support various things it's automatically out – we have very little say over that. So, things in section 3(2) – the exploitation of children, the use of violence to compel a person into sexual conduct, the use of excrement or urine – which is what Postal 2 had problems with – acts of torture or the infliction of extreme violence or extreme cruelty – Manhunt fell into this category. Once we decided it promoted and supported that, the Act says that's it, it's banned. Kate: It's the promotion and support of these activities that is problematic. So if you can say, well OK, it's got these activities but its saying they are bad, then it's OK. Nic: You could argue that a lot of games have extreme violence in them, but they don't necessarily support it. Manhunt was different because not only were the clips videoed, like little snuff films, but there was an escalation – it was getting you to perpetrate those acts.

...Read the full interview

 

19th December   

Cinderella Gaming...

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South Korean PC online game companies believe that a midnight ban will push gamers to other platforms
Link Here

South Korea flag Games companies in South Korea are scrambling to adjust to the new online gaming restrictions soon to be imposed on young hardcore gamers. And it appears that many of them are putting more focus on games played on mobile phones to compensate for the expected loss in revenue from their PC games.

Despite fierce resistance from the games industry, the government has been moving to introduce strict limits on how much time youngsters can spend playing online computer games supposedly to combat addiction.

The measures, which are subject to approval by lawmakers prevent gamers under the age of 16 from playing between midnight and 6 a.m. Games providers will also be required to block underage users above 16 after midnight upon request by their parents.

Government officials expect the bill, along with a draft version on a renewed law on gaming, to be approved within the current session of the National Assembly.

Online games companies are livid about the so-called 'Cinderella rules,' which they claim target them unfairly and are unlikely to have a meaningful effect on improving gaming habits.

The government can only control the playing time of games played on PCs, not the ones played on consoles or mobile phones, and young users can easily switch to games provided on foreign servers after the Korean companies cut them off after midnight.

 

19th December   

Playing the Correlation Game...

Researcher finds that depression is a better predictor of aggression than violent games playing
Link Here

TAMIU logo New research by Dr. Christopher Ferguson from Texas A&M International University finds that depression in young people has more of a correlation to aggressive and violent behavior than gaming does - at least among Hispanics.

Ferguson recruited 302 (mostly) Hispanic youths between the ages of 10 - 14 years-old, from a small city on the border of Mexico. The population of this unnamed city was primarily of Hispanic dissent. Participants were interviewed at the start of the study and at the end of the study 12 months later.

He then looked at how much exposure the subjects had to violence in video games, television, and negative events in their lives. Negative events included neighborhood problems, bad relationships with adults, antisocial behavior, family attachment, delinquent peers, family interaction and communication, exposure to domestic violence, depressive symptoms, serious aggression, bullying, and delinquent behavior.

One year later, 7% reported being involved in at least one criminally violent act during the previous 12 months, with the common crime being physical assaults on other students or the use of force to take something away from someone else. 19% reported engaging in at least one nonviolent crime during the same period, such as shoplifting or theft on school property.

Ferguson found that symptoms of depressions were a strong predictor for youth aggression and rule breaking. Depression was especially influential in those who were identified as having preexisting antisocial personality traits. The research did not find that exposure to violence from video games or television at the start of the study was a good predictor of aggressive behavior in young people.

Dr. Furgeson's research will appear in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

 

18th December   

The Victim Mafia...

Italian Euro MP tries to get the video game Mafia II banned
Link Here

Take 2 Mafia II DVD Euro MP Sonia Alfano lost her father to the mob in 1993. She is also the president of Italy's association for the families of Mafia victims.

She has now come out against the video game Mafia II , claiming that it trivializes the violence and murder committed by organized crime.

She is fighting to get the game banned in Europe. Last week she asked the European Commission to consider banning the game.

Alfano recently said in an interview:

It really, really hurts. We can't allow this to happen, our wounds are still too fresh. These games transform the Mafia, a reality of death and destruction, into a thrilling and hands-on virtual pastime. Even if momentarily, players identify with brutal killers and for us who have experienced violence firsthand, it's appalling.

Take Two defends the game and compares it to other entertainment based on organized time. Alan Lewis, Take-Two's vice president for corporate communications and public affairs said:

Mafia II tells a compelling story about organized crime in America -- a subject that for decades has been featured in award-winning movies, television shows and novels such as The Godfather and The Sopranos .  We fully and completely stand behind our creative teams and products, including Mafia II.

 

18th December   

PEGI App...

Mobile database of games ratings and reviews
Link Here

pegi app UKIE, the trade body for the UK's video games and interactive entertainment industry welcomes the launch of a new PEGI app that will for the first time allow UK consumers to access age ratings and reviews for games in one place from their handheld devices.

The new free app has been created by PEGI S.A., the organisation that manages the pan-European age rating system for video game content, and it is available for iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad immediately, with an Android version launching soon.

The app allows consumers to browse the database of all the video games that have received a PEGI rating (16,000+ games) and get detailed information about the game and the type of content.

When looking up information about a game, the app not only provides the age rating and detailed advice about why a particular rating was given, but it is also possible to read reviews and see screenshots of the video game, provided by independent video games website Eurogamer.net.

The app features specific search filters to allow users to search per platform and/or age rating.

The age label clearly indicates the age suitability of a game. Content descriptors and specific consumer advice indicate the main reasons why a particular rating is given to a video game (eg. bad language, fear, violence, etc.).

 

16th December   

Updated: Playing Dumb...

South Australian politician dreams up another crackpot censorship idea
Link Here  full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

john rau censor The South Australian politician responsible for censorship matters has come up with a truely crackpot suggestion.

Now the call has been made to introduce an adults only rating for video games, Attorney-General John Rau has suggested that the MA15 rating should then be dropped.

Rau told The Advertiser video games were a far more interactive medium than films and attempts to use the same classification structure for both were flawed:

All of the ministers agreed that there will have to be some games that are refused classification all together, regardless of whether there is an R18 (rating) or not, because they're so bad, he said yesterday.

There's also general agreement that some other treatment needs to occur for games than what occurs for film, because of the interactive nature of games.

The proposition I put forward was that I would like the other ministers to think about putting in an R18 classification for games, but removing the MA classification altogether.

Rau said the new regime would grant parents greater certainty that non-R18 games were appropriate for children.

The current MA15 rating was a grey area that included both family-friendly games and material very, very close to being declared adults only, he said.

Removing the MA15 rating would force distributors to either clean up their games to the point where they could be classified PG or force them to accept an adults-only rating.

But of course the MA15 games would then be edited down to just getting a PG whilst again being in the wrong natural category.

Meanwhile...the nutters are happy with the delay to R18+

13th December 2010. Based on article from  australianconservative.com

Australian Christian Lobby The Australian Christian Lobby has welcomed the decision of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General not to provide an R18+ Classification for games.

The ACL's managing director Jim Wallace was one of the panellists at the Standing Committee of Attorney Generals. The meeting included seeing a series of clips of examples of both film and game classifications.

Wallace said:

It was very clear to me that the great majority of AGs were in a state of bemusement that anyone could want to make or play many of these games and particularly those proposed for an R18+ rating

It is clear that the meeting failed to get support for the R18 classification as a result.

The claims that the MA15+ rating for games contains a number of games that should be classified higher is simply admission of a failed system.

The Australian Christian Lobby has called for a comprehensive review across all technologies and mediums including advertising and entertainment, for some time and particularly of the political parties during the last election.

Update: The Official Minutes

16th December 2010. Based on article from  games.on.net

Following the recent SCAG meeting on whether the R18+ rating for games was going to go ahead or not, Australian Gamer has got hold of the decision summary from the December 10 meeting:

Ministers considered further work done to analyse community and expert views, including:

(a) a national telephone poll conducted during November which provided Ministers with additional community feedback from a random sample of Australians from all States and Territories

(b) a literature review of research exploring links between computer games and violent behaviour

(c) a study of parity between computer game classifications internationally

(d) a panel discussion between representatives in the fields of computer games, psychology and classification, and

(e) advice from the Classification Board on the operation of the current MA 15+ classification and options for an R 18+ classification.

Ministers:

(a) will consider draft guidelines to be developed for classification of games at their next meeting, including a possible R18+ classification, taking into account concerns raised by Ministers relating to the difference in nature of film and games; and the interactivity of games; and that there will continue to be a refused classification category, and

(b) do not support the dilution of the refused classification category.

 

10th December   

Update: Playing a Waiting Game...

Australia decides to draw up guidelines for adult computer games before approving an R18+ rating
Link Here  full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

brendan oconnor The Australian federal and state governments are to draw up guidelines for a possible new R18+ computer game classification.

A meeting of federal and state attorneys-general in Canberra failed to endorse the federal government's proposal for the new R18+ rating but Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor said what was achieved was still a step forward.

O'Connor said the meeting concluded there needed to be better protection for children and better guidance for parents so they knew what they were buying for their children.

He said the proposed guidelines would take into account differences between film and video games and consider the possibility of redefining the MA15 rating in the event of introducing the R18+ classification.

The system would maintain the refused classification rating, he said: There is some material that is in the view of the attorneys and I that is offensive and should not be accessed by anybody as is the case with film .

So this in my view is a step forward to ensuring we properly consider the classification scheme.

 

5th December   

Update: Playing Catch-Up...

Australia finally looks set to approve an adults only rating for computer games
Link Here  full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

brendan oconnor The Gillard Government has approved the R18+ classification for games.

The federal Cabinet approved the adult rating for computer games after finding that many classified as suitable for 15-year-olds in Australia had been ruled suitable for adults only overseas.

As many as 50 games are now available to children as young as 15 but should rightly be played by over-18s only.

Some of the world's top-selling titles, including Grand Theft Auto and Call Of Duty , will fall under the new rating.

Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor will take the Government's new position to a meeting of state and territory attorneys-general this week to seek their approval in changing the games classification system.

 

4th December   

Update: Politically Aggressive Research...

Australian review into computer games and aggression fails to find conclusive evidence of a link
Link Here  full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

brendan oconnor Supposed links between violent video games and increased aggressive behaviour in players have long been used by anti-R18+ proponents as a major reason an adult rating for games should not be introduced in Australia. But now it seems the Federal Government has officially denied that supposition.

The Australian Minister for Home Affairs, Brendan O'Connor, released a review into an R18+ classification for video games that looks at existing research in order to try to answer the question of whether those who play violent video games are at greater risk of becoming aggressive. According to the review findings, there is no conclusive evidence that violent games have a greater impact than other media.

The review found that evidence about the effect of violent computer games on the aggression displayed by those who play them is inconclusive, O'Connor said: From time to time people claim that there is a strong link between violent crime or aggressive behaviour and the popularity of violent computer games. The literature does not bear out that assertion.

According to O'Connor, Australia's censorship ministers requested this review be carried out in order to assist them in making an informed decision about R18+ for games leading into the next Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) meeting on December 10. The review also found that there is stronger evidence of short-term effects from violent games than long-term effects and that some research points to the fact that games are a small risk factor in aggressive behaviour over the short term. However, according to the review, these studies do not thoroughly explore other factors such as aggressive personality, family and peer influence, and socio-economic status.

According to O'Connor, censorship ministers will look carefully at the review findings during next week's SCAG meeting: Australia needs a consistent classification system that protects young minds from any possible adverse affect, while also ensuring that adults are free to make their own decisions about what they play, within the bounds of the law .

 

26th November   

Ban Splattered All Over German Gamers...

Germany bans video game Splatterhouse
Link Here

Namco SplatterHouse PS3 Game Captain is reporting that the gore-soaked Splatterhouse has been banned by the German classification board and, thus, will not be published in Germany.

Distributors Namco Bandai aren't stupid or anything. I am certain that nobody was under any illusions as to whether or not this particular game would see release in Germany. Which means that there is a benefit to them submitting a game like this. Such as creating yet one more example for the public to cite when making an argument for the replacement of the USK board with PEGI. And, when the games get denied, people like me write stories about them providing further free publicity on a worldwide scale.

BBFC 18 Splattered all over the cover

See article from bbfc.co.uk

For comparison the UK's BBFC passed the game 18 uncut commenting:

BBFC logo Splatterhouse is a 3rd person beat 'em up for both the Sony PlayStation 3 and the Microsoft Xbox 360 platforms. The player assumes the role of Rick Taylor, a parapsychology student who, together with his girlfriend Jen, takes refuge from a storm in West Mansion. Whilst in the building Rick and Jen are confronted by the evil Dr Henry West himself. The latter is accompanied by two demonic creatures that drag Jen away and attack and fatally injure Rick. Rick is left for dead but is resurrected when he puts on a strange mask that transforms him into a Hulk-like creature. Thereafter, Rick searches the labyrinthine passageways and tunnels beneath West Mansion in search of Dr West and Jen. The game, which includes three earlier incarnations (arcade platform games dating from 1988, 1992 and 1993), was classified 18 for strong bloody violence and strong language.

The BBFC's Guidelines at 15 state Violence may be strong but should not dwell on the infliction of pain or injury. The strongest gory images are unlikely to be acceptable. Strong sadistic or sexualised violence is also unlikely to be acceptable . This game includes strong bloody violence throughout as Rick, the player-controlled character, encounters and slaughters hordes of demonic opponents and larger boss monsters using either empty hand techniques or weapons, some of which are bladed. Striking opponents with fists or weapons produces copious blood spurts, large pools of blood and big splashes of blood on the screen. Rick comes across a variety of weapons (clubs, baseball bats, axes, chainsaws etc.) as he progresses through the levels, although sometimes he merely rips off an opponent's arm and uses the limb as a blunt weapon. The game therefore includes frequent decapitations, dismemberments and other forms of mutilation. Different button combinations produce different attack techniques and from time to time the player is able to execute more spectacular splatter kills - the player is prompted to press a particular sequence of buttons, which if done correctly and in a timely fashion, enables him or her to, for example, manually crush an opponent's head, rip jaws apart, gouge out eyes, place a knee in the small of the opponent's back and either tear the arms off or rip the torso in two. Other moves include reaching into an opponent's mouth and pulling out the lungs and, in one case, ripping away the anus. All such manoeuvres are accompanied by plentiful amounts of blood and take place against a thumping heavy metal soundtrack. Although the violence clearly takes place in a fantasy setting and, with one exception, all the enemies are non-human, the very clear focus on the infliction of bloody injury was considered best placed at 18 in this case. The strongest and most realistic violence is to be found in the cut scenes. In the initial attack on Rick a reptilian creature impales him on its claw. Blood flows from Rick's chest as he is hurled through the air and when he hits the ground more blood oozes from his mouth. Thereafter, a very large pool of blood then begins to form. In another scene, which occurs towards the end of the work, Dr West is about to sacrifice Jen with a ceremonial dagger. Before he can do so, however, the arm holding the dagger is ripped off at the shoulder and arterial blood then begins to spurt from the stump.

SPLATTERHOUSE contains strong language throughout and occasional animation images of female breast nudity, in each case accompanied by some mild verbal sexual innuendo, all of which would have been acceptable at 15 .

Australia mature about splatter

26th November 2010. Based on article from  smh.com.au

rt australia ma15 With Australia's still missing R18+ rating for games in the news again this week, Namco's remake of Splatterhouse has been released at an interesting time.

Viewing the preview footage for the revamped game, I can remember thinking that such a shamelessly gruesome game would be lucky to dodge the Classification Board's banhammer. I think everybody who had been following the game's development was surprised when it was awarded an MA15+ rating (for strong horror violence, blood and gore).

 

23rd November   

Update: A War Against German Gamers...

Uncensored imports set to be banned
Link Here  full story: Call of Duty...Nutters wound up by warfare video game series

Call Duty Black Ops DVD Uncensored Austrian versions of Call of Duty: Black Ops are selling well in Germany, but are set to be pulled from shelves.

Imported copies are expected to be banned in Germany later this week.

According to a report by the German website Schnittberichte, the Federal Department of Media Harmful to Young Persons received an urgent action to ban all international versions of the game last week.

Indie retailers are apparently enjoying strong sales of imported copies of the shooter, while the uncut European version is proving more popular on Amazon Germany than the domestic edition.

The heavily-censored German version of the game removes rag-doll effects, blood spatter, a torture scene and Swastika images.

 

19th November   

Update: Sexualisation and Militaryisation...

US nutters call for boycott of Black Ops
Link Here  full story: Call of Duty...Nutters wound up by warfare video game series

Call Duty Black Ops DVD In light of the Cuban government's dissatisfaction with a mission in Call of Duty: Black Ops that has players attempting to assassinate Fidel Castro, the US-based Alliance for Global Justice (AFGJ) has called for a boycott of the game.

Noting that Wal-Mart, Best Buy and dozens of other retailers in your community are today dealing this pornography to the children in your community, AFGJ called Black Ops part of the whole culture of US militarism with the entertainment industry's role being to desensitize us to violence.

AFGJ has a goal of achieving social change and economic justice by helping to build a stronger more unified grassroots movement. The organization recognizes that the concentration of wealth and power is the root cause of oppression.

The organization urges people to send a letter to local retailers, pass out a provided flier (PDF) in front of stores selling the game and approach the local city council in order to declare the game a violation under local pornography laws.

 

18th November   

Shot Down in Bad Taste...

Catalan political party offend with flash game
Link Here

rescate alicia A game appearing on the website of a Spanish political party, in which players shot down illegal immigrants, was quickly yanked from the Internet after objections to its content.

The game, entitled Rescate (Rescue) appeared on the website of the Catalan branch of the conservative Partido Popular (or People's Party). Further describing the game, the Telegraph indicated that the goal was to shoot down targets including 'illegal immigrants' parachuting from a plane and donkeys intended to represent Catalan separatists.

Once completed, the game urged players to vote for the PP in the November 28 elections.

Rival political party ICV-EUiA called the game an apology for violence and trivialisation of human life, and an example of xenophobia.

 

10th November   

Offsite: Parental Duty...

Parents of teenagers need not fear the latest war videogame
Link Here  full story: Call of Duty...Nutters wound up by warfare video game series

Call Duty Black Ops DVD The annual pop-culture juggernaut which is Call of Duty has again rolled into town: this year's iteration, Black Ops , is in the shops today. Given that it's a much better game than was perhaps anticipated, that is good news for gamers. But its arrival will induce a certain amount of consternation among parents, especially of teenage boys, worried that that's the last they will see of their offspring until they emerge, all but zombified, at some unspecified point in the future. Such fears are understandable but, I would contend, fallacious.

The first debate is whether to allow your 15-year-old to play it, given that it is 18-rated. In fact, I'm always surprised that publisher Activision doesn't push harder to achieve a lower-age certificate for it. The 18 rating derives from violence, which is a tad inexplicable: if your teenager is particularly impressionable and has an unhealthy obsession with the military, then, fair enough, letting him have the game might not be advisable. But you could say that about any game that involves shooting. Black Ops is set in the 1960s cold war, and provides a considerably sanitised version of conflicts such as Vietnam – there isn't a drop of napalm to be seen it, for example. Your son should surely be able to cope with that.

...Read the full article

 

7th November   

Update: Adult Duty...

Call of Duty: Black Ops passed 18 uncut in the UK
Link Here  full story: Call of Duty...Nutters wound up by warfare video game series

Call Duty Black Ops DVD Call of Duty: Black Ops hit the news after censors announced cuts for German players.

In the UK the game has been passed 18 uncut with the consumer advice: Contains strong bloody violence and strong language.

The BBFC's Extended Classification Information provides more details:

Call of Duty: Black Ops is a military first-person shooter in which the player takes the role of a member of an elite C.I.A. covert action team operating during the Cold War and attempting to stop the threat of a Soviet chemical weapons project. The game was classified 18 for strong bloody violence and strong language.

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, grenades and other types of explosive ammunition are available, along with larger weapons such as missile launchers which are carried on ships, helicopters and road vehicles. 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 blood spurts which vary in strength depending on the weapon and the range at which it is used. More powerful weapons can also cause dismemberment with resultant gory detail and enemies can be set on fire. Although dead bodies can sometimes be used as shields against enemy attacks there is no opportunity to inflict post-mortem damage on downed victims. Whilst most of the intense fighting action, in which the player encounters hordes of enemies, does not linger on injuries or carry a personalised edge, some stealth attacks in which a knife is used to slit an enemy's throat contain more of a focus on the damage inflicted and some of the non-interactive cutscenes contain stronger bloodshed, for example, in the assassination of a political leader where the action plays out in slow-motion. It was these stronger, more focussed moments of bloody violence accumulating through the course of the gameplay that went beyond what may be permitted by the BBFC's Guidelines at 15 , which state that Violence may be strong but should not dwell on the infliction of pain or injury , and which determined the 18 category.

The game also contains uses of strong language which would not have been an issue at 15 where the Guidelines state that There may be frequent use of strong language (for example, 'fuck') .

Milder language in the game includes uses of bastard , shit and bitch .

 

3rd November   

Update: Taking Ages...

US Supreme Court reviews Californian law imposing age restrictions on computer games sales
Link Here  full story: Violent Games in the US...Attempts to restrict video games from minors

US Supreme Court Retailers who sell the latest Halo or Call of Duty video games to children would face big fines under a law being reviewed by the Supreme Court.

Despite receiving sympathy from some justices, the California law that aims to keep kids from buying ultraviolent video games faces a steep constitutional hurdle.

The high court has been reluctant to carve out exceptions to the First Amendment, striking down a ban earlier this year on so-called crush videos that showed actual deaths of animals.

California officials argue they should be allowed to limit minors' ability to buy violent video games because of the potential damage. The games are especially harmful to minors, said Zackery Morazzini, a California deputy attorney general.

The law would bar anyone under 18 from buying or renting games that give players the option of killing, maiming, dismembering or sexually assaulting an image of a human being.

Parents would be able to buy the games for their children, but retailers who sell directly to minors would face fines of up to $1,000 for each game sold.

Some justices wondered where the regulation would stop. What about films? asked Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. What about comic books? added Justice Antonin Scalia, wondering if movies showing drinking and smoking might be next.

Lower courts have said the law violates minors' constitutional rights, and courts in six other states struck down similar bans.

The Supreme Court's decision is expected next year.

 

29th October   

Updated: Call of Censor Duty...

Germany cuts upcoming game, Call of Duty: Black Ops
Link Here  full story: Call of Duty...Nutters wound up by warfare video game series

Call Duty Black Ops DVD Games developer Treyarch has revealed censorship details about the upcoming first-person shooter Call of Duty: Black Ops .

The German edition has been cut as follows:

Call of Duty Black Ops screenshot

  • A scene where an enemy is shot in slow motion with copious amounts of gore has been toned down for the German release.
  • A torture scene involving a prisoner has been completely eliminated from the German version.
  • The song Sympathy for the Devil by Mick Jagger has been removed.
  • No explosions that lead to limb loss.
  • Removal of what Germany deems anti-constitutional symbols .

Update: Steam Control Freakery

29th October 2010. Based on article from  computerandvideogames.com

German punters hoping to get hold of the PC version of the shooter won't be able to play PAL versions imported from other EU territories, meaning they'll have to make do with a cut, localised version, according to PC Games (via MCV).

According to the reports, the Steam network will only authorise fully localised German versions of Black Ops , meaning copies imported from other EU territories won't be playable.

 

20th October   

Update: Oh No, Not More Research...

Researcher finds that viewers of violence get bored and so less responsive
Link Here

national institute of health logoRepeated viewing of violent scenes in films, television or video games could make teenagers behave more aggressively, US research claims.

The National Institutes of Health study of 22 boys aged 14 to 17 found that showing dozens of violent clips appeared to blunt brain responses. Dr Jordan Grafman said it might make aggression feel more acceptable .

The US study, published in the journal Social Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience , involved 60 violent scenes from videos being collated, mostly involving street brawling and fist fights. The violence was ranked low , mild or moderate , and there were no extreme scenes.

The response of the boys as they watched the clips was measured in a number of ways. They were asked to rate whether they thought each clip was more or less aggressive than the one which preceded it, and were brain scanned using functional magnetic resonance imaging, which shows in real time which areas of the brain are active.In addition, electrodes attached to the fingers detected increasing sweat - a sign of an emotional response.

The longer the boys watched videos, particularly the mild or moderate ones, the less they responded to the violence within them.

In particular, an area of the brain known as the lateral orbitofrontal cortex, thought to be involved in emotional processing, showed less activity to each clip as time went on.

Dr Grafman said: Exposure to the most violent videos inhibits emotional reactions to similar aggressive videos over time and implies that normal adolescents will feel fewer emotions over time as they are exposed to similar videos. The implications of this include the idea that continued exposure to violent videos will make an adolescent less sensitive to violence, more accepting of violence, and more likely to commit aggressive acts since the emotional component associated with aggression is reduced and normally acts as a brake on aggressive behaviour.

However, another academic said it was almost impossible to explain violence in these terms. Professor David Buckingham, the director of the Centre for the Study of Children, Youth and Media, said that violence was a social problem with many contributing factors, not simply a matter of looking at how the brain worked: The suggestion is that, over a period of time, people can develop a kind of tolerance to these images - but another word for that is just boredom.

 

15th October   

Update: Opposing Censors...

Medal of Honor goes on sale with Taliban masquerading as 'Opposing Forces'
Link Here  full story: Medal of Honor...Video game that lets players play the baddies

Medal Honor Limited PC DVD The video game Medal of Honor (MoH) has gone on sale despite calls by the UK defence secretary to ban it.

The game follows the exploits of Special Forces troops battling insurgents in Afghanistan in 2002.

In August, Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox called for the game to be banned after it emerged that users could fight as The Taliban.

Its developer EA said the game was meant to be realistic, but eventually renamed The Taliban The Opposition .

Fox described the game as un-British and said it was shocking that someone would think it acceptable to recreate the acts of the Taliban against British soldiers .

The Canadian and Danish Defence Ministers also criticised the game.

EA weathered the storm for a few weeks, but in early October the firm bowed to pressure and took the term Taliban out of the multiplayer option. Despite the change, the game is still banned from sale on military bases, although troops can purchase it elsewhere and play it on station.

The game itself has received mostly positive reviews, scoring an average of 75% according to the review aggregator site Metacritic. Computer and Video Games Magazine described it as an accomplished, confident online shooter .

 

4th October   

Update: Getting the Military Cross...

Medal of Honor renames Taliban to 'Opposing Forces'
Link Here  full story: Medal of Honor...Video game that lets players play the baddies

Medal Honor Limited PC DVD Games producer EA has decided to drop the Taliban name from Medal of Honor in the face of political pressure and requests from the friends and families of fallen soldiers.

The in-game enemy previously known as Taliban will now be called the Opposing Force.

Executive producer Greg Goodrich said:

In the past few months, we have received feedback from all over the world regarding the multiplayer portion of Medal of Honor

The majority of this feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. However, we have also received feedback from friends and families of fallen soldiers who have expressed concern over the inclusion of the Taliban in the multiplayer portion of our game. This is a very important voice to the Medal of Honor team. This is a voice that has earned the right to be listened to. It is a voice that we care deeply about. Because of this, and because the heartbeat of Medal of Honor has always resided in the reverence for American and Allied soldiers, we have decided to rename the opposing team in Medal of Honor multiplayer from Taliban to Opposing Force.

While this change should not directly affect gamers, as it does not fundamentally alter the gameplay, we are making this change for the men and women serving in the military and for the families of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice - this franchise will never willfully disrespect, intentionally or otherwise, your memory and service.

 

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