Britain bans video game

by Paul Jay, CBC News

Vancouver-based Rockstar Games is no stranger to controversy (see links here and here), so it should come as no surprise that its latest offering, Manhunt 2, has sparked outrage.

Well, perhaps "outrage" is overstating things. But British censors have banned it, the first time to country has outlawed a video game since its temporary injunction against 1997's Carmageddon, a game in which players racked up points for driving over pedestrians.

Manhunt 2 follows the escape of an amnesiac scientist and a psychotic killer from an asylum, a story which quickly evolves into a killing spree.

As the Guardian writes:

Manhunt 2, a sequel to the original and controversial game Manhunt, has been condemned by authorities for its "casual sadism" and "unremitting bleakness". The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) rejected the game after finding it "constantly encourages visceral killing."

Rockstar responded to game website GamesRadar, saying they "emphatically disagree with this particular decision."

"We respect those who have different opinions about the horror genre and video games as a whole, but we hope they will also consider the opinions of the adult gamers for whom this product is intended," they said in a statement.

Film censors in Ireland have announced they too will ban the game.

And it appears that while the video game doesn't face a ban in the U.S., parent company Take-Two Interactive told GamePolitics the game would receive an Adults Only rating, a kiss-of-death likely to keep it off the shelves of Wal-Mart and other retailers.

The original Manhunt wasn't too popular either, in the UK or Australia.

The game is scheduled for a July 10 release on Nintendo Co.'s Wii and Sony Corp.'s PlayStation 2 consoles.