In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as Gaming Mag Fights Back

September 8, 2008 -

Although last week's report of a Dead Space ban may be spurious, violent video games continue to come under fire in Germany.

GamePolitics has heard from several European gamers who have cited anti-game comments made by Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann (left) to Zeit Online. Herrmann, a member of the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU), refers to violent games as Killerspiele (killer games). Big thanks to ECA forum member felix-reichert who has very graciously provided a translation of the interview:

ZEIT ONLINE: Mr. Herrmann, which "Killergames" have you played to come to the belief that they must be banned?

Joachim Herrmann: I personally don't play, but I have watched them [being played] extensively. I am shocked how the player is driven towards gruesome violence. He, so to speak, becomes a criminal himself and kills others to obtain money or to collect points. The more gruesome the killing the higher the score. We don't need something like this. Such games are unbearable.

ZEIT ONLINE: Obviously you are talking about the GTA-Series. The most recent GTA is rated 18. Why shouldn't adults be allowed to play these games?

Herrmann: From a cinema-owner I can expect that he actually only lets people over 18 years in. But if we're talking about Computer games its different. If an 18-year-old has a game, the next day he'll pass it to 17-, 16- and 15-year-olds. I don't believe that there's an entitlement for these games in our liberal society. The protection of children and the youth must be a priority. Its not about the playing [of these games] alone. There are numerous studies that explicitly prove: the more intensive teenagers engage themselves in these games, the higher the danger of them imitating this [behavior] in reality.

ZEIT ONLINE: Media-scientists haven't found common ground on that issue, though.

Herrmann: The criminologist Christian Pfeiffer provided corresponding evidence from his studies at our expert-round in Berlin. Of course not every player becomes a violent criminal. But even if games only cause a rise of a certain percentage in youth-violence it is reason enough to outlaw them. In other fields we also have clear bans, I'm thinking of child pornography.

ZEIT ONLINE: Still, the problem isn't that these games exist, but that children can still acquire them in spite of the German age-restrictions.

Herrmann: That is one of the problems. But the bigger the danger of such games getting to the hands of children and teenagers the more the state has to intervene. It is also forbidden for everyone to trivialize the crimes of the national-socialists.

ZEIT ONLINE:  However the [indexing] that exists today is in fact equivalent to a ban. For example indexed games can't be advertised.

Herrmann: That's not enough. Games that glorify brutal violence must generally be banned in penal law.

ZEIT ONLINE: The penal law already outlaws glorification of violence. A Bavarian draft for a new paragraph didn't find consent in Bundestag [German parliament, a bit similar to the House of Reps]. Also after six years of discussion the youth-protection-law was changed – and some say it wasn't even tightened. Do you really think a ban is possible?

Herrmann: We won't peg away at that, we want to continue this discussion. With the totally insufficient changes of the youth-protection-law this isn't concluded for us.

ZEIT ONLINE: The games-industry would call such a ban unconstitutional.

Herrmann: I'm very much hoping for a change of opinion there. Even today there are manufacturers that completely abandon the violence field. They want to make intelligent games, educational games, and many other fascinating things.

ZEIT ONLINE: But a number of manufacturers earn their money with games containing violence.

Herrmann: There's massive pressure from U.S. manufacturers. But we also do not have a different weapons law than America for no reason – over here not everybody can walk around at will with a firearm. We mustn't let certain aberrations of American society gain influence here.

GP readers Soldat Louis and David Ziegler report that in the wake of the Zeit Online interview, German magazine PC Games called on gamers to conduct a massive mail campaign to CSU leadership by way of protesting Herrmann's implication that violent game players are potential killers. The CSU responded with a press release calling for an urgent ban, and dismissed the gamer protest.

Apparently some younger officials of the CSU and other parties have voiced opposition to Herrmann's proposed violent game ban, which is an interesting development.

 


Comments

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

II *hate* fucking pretentious Yanks who make statement such as that.  The war started in 1939, LOOOOOONG before and many millions of casualities before the US joined

 

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

Find yourself a dictionary. A nice big heavy one; hard-cover would be perfect. Look up 'irony' and 'sarcasm'. Then club yourself unconscious with it.

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

ahh, you mean it is a typical exampe of American humour? Right, most educated people over here prefere a degree of wit, but carry on... easy to see why someone might have said such a thing, even if the comment was in jest given most American attitudes *personally encountered* towards the war.  It is still a sensitive subject to many nations in Europe.


Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

I find it amusing that your response to claims of sarcasm and irony is that you prefer a degree of wit.

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

You'll all notice that there is opposition from within his own party. The Bundestag isn't, unlike most European Nations, full of shit.

~You Could Be Mine, But You're Way Out Of Line..~

~You Could Be Mine, But You're Way Out Of Line..~

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

that far-right/far-right anti-free speech bullshit is exactly what makes CryTek want to pack up and leave

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

They already left the state of which this guy is minister of the interior.

They came to the more liberal Hesse, which isn't that difficult, because as everybody in Germany will tell you, over 50 years of undisputed CSU-reign in Bavaria have left their marks in the definetly most conservative of the 16 German states.

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

70 years ago, Hermann would have been shovelling jews into a furnace; who care what he thinks?

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

I'm thinking this may be the root of all this.

Germany's past, at least in the 30s and 40s is painted with violence, and now they're so scared of being viewed as violent once again they keep trying to eradicate violent media.

 

ANd again, his potshot at the USA was just uncalled for. I NEVER carry a concealed weapon of any kind

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

I NEVER carry a concealed weapon of any kind

So yours is always in plain sight? Sounds good to me.

E. Zachary Knight
http://www.editorialgames.com
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/okceca
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1325674091

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

*facepalm* Well played.

 

To reiterate, I never carry a weapon period.

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

I was joking. I understood what you meant. Just thought I would have some fun with it.

E. Zachary Knight
http://www.editorialgames.com
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/okceca
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1325674091

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

*pats Kurisu on the back* Aww, no worries. I wouldn't, either.

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I AM DOOMED TO HAUNT JACK THOMPSON'S DREAMS UNTIL HIS CRUSADE AGAINST VIDEO GAMES ENDS.



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I AM DOOMED TO HAUNT JACK THOMPSON'S DREAMS UNTIL HIS CRUSADE AGAINST VIDEO GAMES ENDS.

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

Real men open carry. CC is for pussys who can't shoot anything but a little sissy pistol AMIRTE??!?

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

@_@

All I know is when you work the Prison yard, a shotgun pump is the best way to end fights before they start. There is a program in Huntsville where they take troubled teens to the various prison units to show em what it is like (Generic Scared Straight program). Usually they get the inmates in on it by making a few of them get into a little scuffle in the court yard during rec to show kids how dangerous it is. Unfortunatley the coordinators neglected to tell my friend who was working the yard that particular day, so when they started arguing he pulled out his shotgun, cocked it, and told them to stop it before anyone gets hurt (since there were kids around he was taking precautions to protect them). It sure as rain stopped the "fight" and nearly scared the inmates half to death. Of course, this was years ago when they were actually allowed to have such guns in the yard. As far as I know the only people that are allowed to have guns are those in the towers and a few high ranking people. Kind of unrelated to the story, but funny nonetheless.

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

Depends on the caliber of the gun. I don't know anyone who can hide a 45 without looking Shady in baggy clothes to begin with.

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

I was joking. You carry what you can comfortably conceal and safely use.

INB4 Desert Eagle

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

CCW 1911 FTW!

A Colt 1911 70 Series, not one of those Colt Commanders.  FULLSIZE

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

"Herrmann: From a cinema-owner I can expect that he actually only lets people over 18 years in. But if we're talking about Computer games its different. If an 18-year-old has a game, the next day he'll pass it to 17-, 16- and 15-year-olds. "

 

Oh you mean like they can with the DVD when the MOVIE LEAVES THEATERS?

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

Never thought I'd see anyone worse than Thompson in that this jerkass actually has the political power Thompson wishes he had.

And what the fuck is up with some Europeans having this superiority complex over the United States? I'm not saying all are like that, but the goddamn international bashing is little more than adults calling eahc other silly names on the playground.

There are worse places than the USA, and other places aren't perfect either

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

Watched them played extensively... my ass. He makes so many idiotic assumptions and generalizations that it's not giving him any credibility.

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

By extensively, he likely means he saw one commercial for GTA involving a police chase or a bank robbery

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

Such a draconian law, the one that outlaws the glorification of violence in media, would need a police state to efficiently enforce it. And almost nobody wants that, right?

Also, games require suspension of disbelief on all counts. No sane person expects any game company to condone the acts that are in the games that they make/distribute. We have successfully suspended our belief that killing is bad in books, movies, and TV shows. But then, people say it's because books aren't interactive but games are? What about other interactive activities that glorify violence, like paintball or the age-old "cops and robbers" kids used to play? We have done very well as a civilization to get by with these things around.

If we have crime in real life, you could expect criminal themes to creep their way into everything that's recreational. What Herrmann is proposing, removing all violence in media, is almost an impossibility. It's the social equivalent of to creating absolute zero temperature around an environment that has anything but that.

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

 Does he know how many people coconuts kill each year when they fall in the peoples head?

About 100.

So how about banning coconuts and palms?

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

Hmmm...other races are savages (other than Germans).

America is causing all of this pain and suffering.

The government should step in and enforce these beliefs.

Um..."Who is Hitler" Alex?... Really/? I'm wrong? Sure starts to sound alike to me.

I have nothing against Germany...most of the people alive today had nothing to do with their history and are good people just as myself as a white person had (and has) nothing to do with racism and slavery (and try to be nice to people).  But this guy is getting a bit uncomforting with his views on liberal banning of media that he doesn't agree with and the amassment of government power to do it with while his own views and beliefs are free to go as they please.

Zen aka Jeremy Powers
Editor and Host of the Zenspath Podcast (now on iTunes)
www.ZensPath.com
XBL: "PsychoticZen" PSN: "Zenspath"
Nintendo Network: "Psychoticzen", 3DS: "0860-3238-7260

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

"We mustn't let certain aberrations of American society gain influence here."

Yes, that which is not European is wrong, disgusting and backwards.

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

The most important word in his sentence is "certain", not "abarrations" or "American".

If somebody had said "We mustn't let certain aberrations of European society gain influence here." I don't think you would have reacted that strongly.

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

It's so funny the way he mentions "aberrations" considering how wonderful some Germans turned out in the last century

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

Yeah. You do realize, that a German newspaper will interview a German politician in German, right? Quit blaming him for some guy's translation of his words.

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

You do realize I'm talking about the word's conveyed meaning and context rather than the literal meaning.

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

No society is perfect. America has it's own problems and crimes involving guns is certainly one of them. That being said, if you take away guns then people will just grab knives/machetes, and i'd honestly rather be shot in the arm than cleaved with a machete. Also, he COULD have said it nicer, but what do you expect?

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

 I'd rather be attacked by someone with a knife than someone with a knife.

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

 shit, i meant gun.

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

I was just talking about his word choice.

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

A more literal translation would have been "undesirable developments" instead of aberrations.

 

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

Well said.
He certainly could have said it better and above all more balanced (this is one sided and slanted against the US)
But the right to bear arms in the US something that many europeans probably feel is a little over the top.
Not to say that Europe doesn't have its share of problems. (just take the rapid rise in knife crime in the UK for instance, or the violence commited by young people in French sub-urbs.)
But societies are different, and what works in one does not by default work in another.
 

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

That wasn't what BrokenScope was talking about.

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

eh, removing this comment since it was already addressed.

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

Anyone got a link to the study Christian Pfeiffer did?  I havn't been able to find anything and I'm curious as to what sort of "revelations" this study produced.

Also, nice attempt to try and shift the blame to US gaming studios.  It's not like Crytek has ever created a violent game before...

"Christian Social Union party"...ok, it's Germany and as far as I can tell from that they don't have the same laws in place as the US for seperating church and state.  Nonetheless I've never been one to trust a religious organization with a political agenda or vice-versa.

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

You won't find a link to Pfeiffer's work anywhere. His studies are never ambigious, never leave any doubt and never provide anything but clear proof, that video games are somehow at fault. I think, his results are unique on this planet. There is never any talk about correlation, never any "needs further study", just clear absolut proof. As far as I know, he has never published any data whatsoever or said anything about his research methods except in the vaguest terms.

Also he pushes for abolishing the independent USK, and replacing it with a state-controlled ratings institute. As the nation's leading "expert" on video game violence, heading a crime research institute that already does a lot of "research work" in this area, his real agenda isn't hard to guess.

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

Ah, ok.  Should have guessed.

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

Personally Geoff, judging from how US politics looks from the outside, I'd say the german seperation of church and state (which I might add is just as lodged in their constitution as it is in the US one) is more succesful.

Yes you have political parties founded on religious ideals, those ideals will however be just that.
the Church has no political power, but that doesn't mean that a party can't hold themselves to religious ideals, that's not what that seperation of church and state is about.

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

"Personally Geoff, judging from how US politics looks from the OUTSIDE, I'd say the german seperation of church and state (which I might add is just as lodged in their constitution as it is in the US one) is more succesful."

That's exactly why you can say something like this because you are on the outside looking in.  Just like the ignorant politician in question here.  I have lived a substantial amount of time in both countries and can assure you that separation of church and state is much more firmly in place in the U.S. than in Germany.  In fact I will go as far to say that in Germany it feels like there is no separation at all.  I can in no way see why you would claim it to be "more successful". 

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

You'll have to explain that to me in some more detail.

Granted, church and state aren't completely seperate in Germany. For one there is the "church tax" (which you can only get away from if you drop out of church - lutherian or roman-catholic) which the state collects for the churches.

Then there is religion-lessons in public schools, and the churches can decide who teaches them and who can't.

But basically thats it.

Religion and the church might not be legally seperated from the state as much as in the US, but in public life, in stark contrast to the US, it plays almost no role. It has no significance whatsoever. The party might be called "Christian", but they already debated to drop the "christian" out of their name, because basically it is just a label that says nothing.

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

You'll have to explain what you've seen that indicates that religion is less separated here than in Germany.

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

In America many people "wear religion on their sleeve", so to speak.

Or, to make it simple:

In Germany (as in France, etc.), it is more of a private matter. The fact is that there are loads more atheists (or at least people not practicing their religion) in Europe (especially Germany), then in the US, which of course leads to less religious influence in all fields of society, including politics.

 

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

Parents in my country didn't have to sue to keep creation myths out of science lessons for one thing.

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

And yet, the suits were successful, because they violated the separation of church and state. If the suits had failed, you might have had a point.

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

 This time. But Palin supports it and McCain hasn't come out against it, so if the christian conservatives ( sorry, republicans) win, that might not hold.

Re: In Germany, Politician Urges Ban on "Killer Games" as

You do realize that it is perfectly legal to form a Religious political party in the United States as well.

 
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