Poll: Are Any Video Game Topics Taboo?

August 22, 2012 -

Are there any themes or topics that should never be explored in a video game?

AO-Rated Manhunt 2 Gunning for PCs

November 2, 2009 -

Rockstar Games’ controversial Manhunt 2 is being released for the PC this week in an uncensored version that carries an Adults Only (AO) rating from the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB).

Originally released in 2007 for the Wii and PlayStation 2 platforms, the title drew fire over its content and a perception that using the Wii’s motion controls to enact virtual violence could carry over to real-world violence, despite evidence that eventually emerged to the contrary.

The BigDownload notes that Manhunt 2 will be offered via the digital delivery system of Direct2Drive for $29.95. Purchases are limited to those who live in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.  While Valve offers a full Rockstar Games collection through its Steam service, no mention of the pending availability of an AO-rated Manhunt 2 game can be found anywhere on their site or within Steam.

The ESRB content descriptor for the game states: “Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Drugs.”

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PC Version of Manhunt 2 May Carry an AO Rating, But How Will It Get Sold?

August 26, 2009 -

As noted by Joystiq, the ESRB is currently listing the upcoming PC version of Manhunt 2 with an Adults Only (AO) rating.

GamePolitics readers will likely recall that the console versions of Manhunt 2 generated a major controversy in the summer of 2007 when the game was banned in Britain and tagged with an AO here in the States. Rockstar subsequently released a toned-down version that earned an M (17+) rating for the U.S. market.

That was a critical milestone, because the Big Three console makers won't license AO-rated games for their systems, which makes it tough for a publisher to earn a return on its investment. That's why you don't see any AO-rated console games. While the open architecture of the PC negates licensing concerns, an AO-rated Manhunt 2 would still get thumbs-down from major retailers like GameStop and Wal-Mart.

That means that Rockstar is either planning a digital distribution campaign for Manhunt 2 or that it will edit the PC version - as it did with the console editions - to earn an M from the ESRB. Of course, there is a third scenario: Rockstar could ship an M-rated version to retailers while distributing an AO-rated version online.

We wonder how Valve might react to handling an AO game if its Steam service, which currently distributes Rockstar's GTA IV online, is under consideration as a potential digital distribution source for Manhunt 2.

T2 CEO: Government Should Not Determine the Games You Buy

June 24, 2009 -

Eurogamer caught up with Take-Two Interactive CEO Ben Feder for a wide-ranging interview which is now available on the site.

While much of the conversation deals with various T2 games, Feder did touch upon the Manhunt 2 controversy and the notion of government censorship of games:

We firmly believe that games are art. A), we have the right to produce art. B), the consumer should have the right to make their own choices, providing the labelling on the package is clear about the content of the game.

Apart from that, I don't think it's the role of governments to determine what you or any of your readers can, or should, buy. They should be able to make their own choices. Government has no role in that at all...

Asked whether the interactive nature of games requires them to be viewed apart from, say, movies, Feder said:

It's not a difference with distinction... It's as if to say art as a painting is different than art as a sculpture. For sure they're different art forms and they use different mediums, but they're art nonetheless - they're forms of expression.

That, at least in the United States, is something that's guaranteed by the constitution, and in democracies in Western Europe there are very similar concepts about the ability for individuals to express themselves. If you stifle that, then society and the economy pay a pretty heavy toll.

Of particular interest given the ongoing RapeLay controversy, Feder was asked whether T2 might theoretically permit edgy developer Rockstar to create a game featuring sexual violence or abuse of children, Feder commented:

Look, I suppose there's a line somewhere. I don't think we've even come close to it. At the end of the day, we're also a commercial enterprise and we do intend to turn a profit with our games. That, in and of itself, provides a certain boundary beyond which we won't go.

I suppose there are more lines [beyond] which we'd be uncomfortable, but I don't think any of our games in the past, or any of our games that I've seen in development, come even close to that.

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ABC News: 9 Video Games That Went Too Far

June 4, 2009 -

ABC News has posted a web feature on controversial games, listing nine titles "that went too far." The games chosen by ABC's Ki Mae Huessner are:

  • Rendition: Guantanamo
  • Six Days in Fallujah
  • Faith Fighter
  • RapeLay
  • Miss Bimbo
  • GTA IV
  • Manhunt 2
  • Super Columbine Massacre RPG
  • JFK Reloaded

Although Ki Mae interviewed me for the piece, I'm not clear as to the criteria she used to narrow her final list down to nine. Still, it's a thought-provoking article and should serve as a good starting point to discuss what makes a game controversial.

Florida A.G. Once Fretted About Wiimote, Now on ESRB Bandwagon

November 28, 2008 -

When gamers last heard from Bill McCollum, the Florida Attorney General was fretting that the motion-controlled Wii version of Manhunt 2 would have a generation of kids practicing to be killers. As GamePolitics reported in June of 2007, McCollum apparently got that idea from Jack Thompson.

These days, McCollum is, like many political colleagues in other states, urging parents to follow ESRB content ratings while shopping for holiday gifts. A press release on his official website quotes the Republican A.G.:

Though the holiday season is one of the busiest times of year, it is also perhaps the most important time of the year for consumers to make sure they know what they're buying for their loved ones. The ESRB rating system provides parents and others with age and content information which can be informative tools when purchasing games for family and friends.

McCollum's press release also quotes ESRB head Patricia Vance as well as ESA CEO Michael Gallagher.

But not Jack Thompson.

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New Study: Wii Motion Controls Do Not Increase Negative Effects of Manhunt 2

November 17, 2008 -

If you recall the furor surrounding the 2007 release of Manhunt 2, you'll probably also remember claims by some critics that playing the Wii version of Rockstar's bloody game would enhance any potential negative effects.

Critics like Jack Thompson and Dr. Michael Rich of the Center on Media and Child Health at Children's Hospital Boston warned that the Wii's motion control system would effectively constitute a rehearsal of the body movements used in real-world beating, slashing and stabbing. Dr. Rich said at the time:

Video games are among the most powerful educational tools yet developed... players experience and learn the game’s skills, whether they be based in strategy, logic, or violence. The content of Manhunt 2 and the unique physical interaction with the Wii control combine to take this simulation a level closer to reality - we can expect that the effects of this experience will be even greater.

But new research by Dr. Patrick Markey (left) of Villanova University suggests that motion-controlled game violence has no more effect on the player than sessions in which a standard control device is used. Markey's study, which examined results from 118 college student participants, has been published in Computers in Human Behavior.

Study subjects first completed a measure of psychoticism and then played either Manhunt 2 or the nonviolent Tiger Woods Golf 2008 using either standard or motion control. Markey's findings are detailed in the study's abstract:

Immediately after the video game play period, participants’ current level of hostility and aggressive cognitions were assessed... Results indicated that the use of motion capture controls did not increase the negative effects of violent video games.

All of the news is not good for games, however. Markey also concluded that research subjects who tested higher on the study's initial measurement of psychoticism were far more prone to being affected by violent games, whichever type of controller was used:

Participants with elevated levels of psychoticism were much more affected by violent video games than other participants. Such findings suggest that only some individuals are adversely affected by violent video games and that those who are affected have preexisting dispositions which make themsusceptible to such violent media.

UPDATE: Read the full report here.

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In Parliament, Lively Debate on Video Game Ratings & Green Cross Man

November 14, 2008 -

The House of Commons had a lengthy and entertaining debate on video game issues yesterday. Also under discussion was the issue of Internet safety for children. Both topics, of course, were the focus of the well-known Byron Review.

MPs, including Labour Party game critic Keith Vaz argued about game ratings, game violence and whether the government does enough to support the British game biz.

The session had to be gaveled to order at a couple of points and Vaz made reference to a "secret tea" attended by Conservative MP Edward Vaizey and game industry execs. And, as if the ongoing turf war between PEGI and BBFC for U.K. ratings dominance wasn't complex enough, yesterday's debate also featured the light-hearted suggestion that British road safety icon the Green Cross Man (left) somehow be tied into the game rating system.

In this report, we've omitted the Internet bits to focus on the video game debate. Here's our abridged transcript:

John Whittingdale (Conservative): ...If one looks for empirical, hard, factual evidence that viewing a particular video or playing a video game has led someone to go out and commit a crime such as a rape or an act of violence, there is very little. Our view was therefore... that we should act on the probability of risk. Where there is a probable risk that someone would be influenced by exposure to such material, that is sufficient cause for intervention...

Tanya Byron did a great deal of work on that. Her other conclusion, which was shared strongly by the Committee, was that we cannot completely insulate children from material that might pose a risk. Part of educating children involves teaching them how to deal with risks. If we insulate them to the extent that they never encounter risks, they will not know how to deal with them...

Providers such as Microsoft told us about the parental controls that they have installed into products such as the Xbox... We were impressed by the commitment that almost every major industry body, including internet service providers, social networking sites and hardware manufacturers, has shown regarding the protection of young people, but there is no commonality...

I want to talk about video games in the final part of my remarks. I know that Keith Vaz... has several concerns about this issue, so he has arrived [late] at just the right moment.

Part of the problem with video games... is that there is no hard evidence to prove that playing a game will lead someone to go out and commit a crime or physical attack. Nevertheless, we agree that there is a probability that it could occur, and there is anecdotal evidence to support that view. The Video Recordings Act 1984 provided that games should be classified, that it is necessary to restrict certain games to people over a certain age... and that there would be games that should be banned entirely. That system has been generally successful since then, although there is often controversy about individual games...

Edward Vaizey (Conservative): I invite my hon. Friend, in the tone of his remarks, to make the point that when we talk about harmful video games and films, we are talking about a small minority. Does he agree that it is incumbent on hon. Members to remind the House as often as possible, when they talk about video games, that we have a most successful video games industry in this country, which employs thousands of people?

John Whittingdale (Conservative): My hon. Friend is entirely right. The video games industry is increasingly important and generates more money than the film industry. It is something that we are very good at. We are a creative nation, and many of the most successful games were developed here. We strongly support the games industry's efforts to ensure that it remains strong in this country and is not poached by other countries such as Canada, which is attempting to attract it there.

Keith Vaz (Labour): ...The fact remains that some of those games, even though they are a minority, are very violent. The hon. Gentleman and I have both commented on the video internet game "Kaboom" in which people replicate the activities of a suicide bomber. It cannot be right that the makers of those games should choose such storylines to provide entertainment, especially on the internet, where our children and under-18s can access them more easily than if they were going into a shop to buy them, as with non-internet games?

John Whittingdale (Conservative): This is a very difficult area and "Kaboom", which has been around for a little while, is an interesting example. It is a remarkably crude, cartoon-type game and is not in the least realistic, as many games now are. It is undoubtedly tasteless and might be offensive to a large number of people. I suspect that it is probably distressing to anyone who has suffered a bereavement as the result of a suicide bombing. Does that mean that it should be banned? I am not convinced that it should, because it is so crude, and other games pose greater concerns.

Edward Vaizey (Conservative): May I make a point to my hon. Friend? In his response to Keith Vaz, he has implied that "Kaboom" is somehow a legitimate video game that breaches the boundaries of taste, but it is not. It was created by an individual in his bedroom. To say that we should ban "Kaboom" is, with the greatest respect to my hon. Friend, slightly missing the point."Kaboom" is not subject to any legal constraints. It cannot be submitted to a regulator to be classified, because it is made by an individual, effectively illegally, outside the mainstream... It is not at all part of the mainstream video games industry. (more after the jump)

Anticlimax: Manhunt 2 Released in U.K.

October 6, 2008 -

It was the gaming world's cause celebre of 2007.

Manhunt 2 was reviled by anti-violence activists, banned by the U.K.'s content rating organization, and criticized in Parliament and at No. 10 Downing Street.

After a protracted legal fight, England's High Court overturned the ban early in 2008. But, as Eurogamer reports, Manhunt 2 is just now being readied for sale in the U.K.

The street date is October 31st.

That's appropriate on two counts. Of course, it's Halloween. But it's also the one-year anniversary of the originally-scheduled Manhunt 2 launch.

 

14 comments

Report: Sega Cooperating with BBFC to Avoid Manhunt 2-like Ban in U.K.

August 25, 2008 -

Given the pre-release backlash from media watchdogs over the level of violence depicted in Sega's upcoming Wii title Madworld, publisher Sega is said to be in touch with officials of the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) and Pan-European Gaming Information system (PEGI) in an effort to head off the type of outright ban imposed on Rockstar Games' controversial Manhunt 2 last year.

Nintendic reports on the dialogue between Sega and the ratings bodies. Of particular significance is the BBFC. The organization was behind the Manhunt 2 ban, which was later overturned by Britain's High Court. More recently government officials have indicated that their preference is to turn the U.K.'s game rating chores over to the BBFC. The British game industry, however, would prefer PEGI.

Nintendic quotes Sega exec  David Corless:

Yes, [Madworld's] violent. We don’t try to hide that, but as publishers, we see it as a fantasy game - it’s fantasy violence. It’s over the top. It’s cartoony. We also take the violence very seriously. We are working with the age rating boards, with PEGI and with BBFC. We’re not at the end of the game’s development, but we’re working with them now to make sure that we don’t go over the top. The game has been banned in Germany; there’s no getting around that unfortunately. But we are taking it seriously and we’re going to make sure that this game is rated for the appropriate audience.

 

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Game Biz Guru: Bioshock 2 Next to be Banned in UK?

July 31, 2008 -

Video game industry consultant Vincent Scheurer (left), speaking the Develop conference in Brighton, warned that future game bans were possible in the UK.

As reported by gamesindustry.biz, Scheurer said:

The costs of the Manhunt 2 ban to RockStar were massive - an independent developer would be out of business... Call of Duty and BioShock could be banned under that criteria [that applied to Manhunt 2]… The next game to be banned could be BioShock 2, and then where would we be?

 

...It makes the business of making games that much harder.

Scheurer also spanked ELSPA boss Paul Jackson for praising the Manhunt 2 ban:

While we fail to fight back we will continue to be blamed for all of societies ills… In my view [European game developers group] Tiga was the only association to step up… Tiga realised, where the other's didn't, that this was about more than Manhunt 2.

Gamezine has more on Scheurer's remarks...

And GameSpot UK has even more...

UK Game Raters: What They Earn, What They Do

May 15, 2008 -

Among gamers, the British Board of Film Classification is best known for issuing a controversial ban on Manhunt 2 last summer.

In the wake of the Byron Review, however, the organization's game rating future is up in the air as the UK video game industry has expressed a preference for using the PEGI rating system. With that backdrop, Spong takes a look at the BBFC and how games get rated there. Press officer Sue Clark told Spong:

[Examiners] have to be good at playing games. There are no 'formal' qualifications... but you do have to have a good level of education and a good grasp of English as you are required to produce well argued written reports... Most games are played by at least two examiners and if necessary several may play the game.

Clark said that the average BBFC examiner is in his or her mid-thirties. Of the 32 employed, 19 are men and 13 are women. They are well-paid, earning from  £33.950 to £45,758 [US $66,036 - $89,003].

You also have to have an interest in film because games examiners don't just classify games. It also helps if you have an understanding of child development because the majority of the works classified are for people under the age of 18.

10 comments

Rockstar North Boss Compares GTA IV Fears to 1950's Elvis Panic

April 28, 2008 -
Are critics of the Grand Theft Auto series the same breed of culture cops who were mortified by Elvis Presley's hip shaking style of rock'n'roll in the 1950's?

Leslie Benzies (left), president of Scotland's Rockstar North, creator of GTA IV, says they are. Benzies told The Scotsman:
[GTA IV critics are] the same kind of people who complained about Elvis... There is a big fear factor here. It's [like] the coming of the railways, it's Elvis shaking his hips. It's cars going over 25 miles per hour and making people explode.

We've had such a beating over the past three years, by the US government, the British government, the Daily Mail. 'You kill prostitutes' – that's usually the objection. I ask if they've ever played the game. Invariably they haven't.

Benzies also offered his thoughts on another controversial title, Manhunt 2. The game was banned in the UK until Rockstar won an appeal earlier thus year:
We wanted to make a horror game that would scare you in the same way a film would. If it's a film or a book, you can do what you want. We seem to be in a different category. We're very careful who we market the game to, and what is in the game.
39 comments

Moralizing Against "Vile Games" in U.K.

April 1, 2008 -
In the wake of the Byron Review, Telegraph columnist Jenny McCartney writes about what she sees as a lack of morality in violent video games:
Dr Byron seems a sensible woman, and no doubt she has done her best to contain the spread of some of the more obnoxious material on offer without incurring the ire of the games lobby. But one of her remarks in an interview last week struck me as particularly, and depressingly, modern. "My review is not about making any kind of moral pronouncements," she said, "although I do think that it is important to look at the desensitisation to violence."

...The word "moral" still has deeply unfashionable associations with... the "moral majority" protesting against the "tide of filth" in books and television in the US. How tame and inoffensive that tide looks now.

Yet the truth, surely, is that the majority of us would indeed recoil from the idea that our teenage son or daughter was upstairs playing Manhunt 2... It is insidiously corrupting to their view of themselves and other people... Perhaps if more people, including teenagers, were prepared to voice moral objections to this toxic stuff, it would no longer be possible to lampoon them for caring.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail asked British TV personality Anne Diamond (left) to render her opinion on some popular, violent games. Not surprisingly, Diamond issued a beatdown::
After seeing them Anne said: "Just reviewing these games, made my hair stand on end. I have never got into computer games.but my sons all love them.

"I have to guard constantly that they don't use my ignorance to play games that I wouldn't allow in the house, if only I knew their content.

"Some of the games were so mindless it would be hard to see them as a destructive influence. But others were sickening in their gratuitous use of violence and bloodthirsty imagery."

Her comments include:
Call of Duty 4: Perhaps it might be OK for older teenage boys, but only in small doses.

GP: "Older teenage boys" can join the real British Army and be shipped to Afghanistan. But it's best to limit their COD4?
Resident Evil 4: This game shouldn't be allowed to be sold, even to adults... when I played I was stabbed to death with pitchforks amid fountains of my own blood. This kind of violence can only be bad for you.

GP: News flash, Anne. Everybody who plays this game at one time or another gets stabbed to death with pitchforks amid fountains of their own blood. But it's virtual blood. It's a game. Are you suggesting that zombie movies be banned, as well?

GP: The link on the Jenny McCartney column was sent in by our old pal Jack Thompson, in between threats to sue us.
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BBFC's Value In Question After Year-Long Manhunt 2 Snafu

March 22, 2008 -
While the U.K. ban on Manhunt 2 ultimately failed, it certainly wasn’t for a lack of trying on the part of the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC). 

The content rating organization fought tooth and nail for the better part of a year to keep Rockstar’s game from being sold. Some say the campaign may have tarnished the organization’s credibility.

Said Darren Waters, editor of BBC News’ technology index:
The grudging nature of the BBFC’s statement, that it now has “no alternative” but to grant the title a certificate, coupled with the fact the body went to the High Court, twice rejected the game itself and tried to overturn the original judgment of the VAC leaves the organisation with its credibility bruised.

TechDigest’s Jonathan Weinberg weighs in with his thoughts:
The argument here is not whether Manhunt 2 is bloody, brutal, sick or whatever superlative people want to choose. What it shows is that the current certification system the Government can’t wait to get involved in is not worth the paper it is written on.

With the BBFC’s value under scrutiny and alleged consumer confusion over UK games that sport two rating certificates, one from the BBFC and one from the European rating body PEGI, could the British rating board’s future be in jeopardy?  Waters suspects that could be the case as early as next week:
Dr Tanya Byron is expected to deliver her report into video games, violence and children [on March 27th] and I understand she favours handing the job to PEGI.  The BBFC’s dogged fight to ban Manhunt 2, even though industry figures lined up to defend the title, might come back to haunt it.

Via: MCVUK.com

-Reporting from San Diego, GP Correspondent Andrew Eisen

British MP Attacks Appeal Board's Release of Manhunt 2

March 20, 2008 -
As has been widely reported, the controversial Manhunt 2 was cleared for release in the U.K. last week by the Video Appeals Committee.

However, Kent Online reports that Conservative MP Julian Brazier (left) has weighed in against the decision:
This shows once again that the BBFC and its appeals system do not meet the concerns of the public. The public wants a significant tightening up in this vital area.

We need a consensus that videos and video games involving extreme violence are extremely anti-social. Watching these things happen does affect people’s behaviour.

We’ve got to recognise that there’s a strong link between what people watch and what they do.

GP: Like, if they watch their elected officials wasting time on video games while important issues go unattended they feel a bit queasy?

Brazier hopes to introduce an appeals process to overturn rating decisions made the raters at the BBFC. As GamePolitics has reported, he and MP Keith Vaz, another longtime game violence critic, met with Prime Minister Gordon Brown on the issue earlier this month.
46 comments

British Government Will Let Manhunt 2 Decision Stand

March 16, 2008 -
On Friday GamePolitics reported that, following a months-long appeal process, the controversial Manhunt 2 had been cleared for sale in the U.K.

GamesIndustry.biz has added a bit to the saga, receiving word from the British government's Department for Culture, Media and Sport that it would not intervene in the Video Appeals Committee's ruling on the Manhunt 2 case. A spokesperson told GI.biz:
The classification of Manhunt 2 is a matter for the BBFC and the Video Appeals Committee. It is important to note that there is no conclusive evidence of any link between playing computer games and violent behaviour in real life...

The Prime Minister asked Dr Tanya Byron to lead a review to assess the effectiveness and adequacy of existing measures to help prevent children from being exposed to harmful or inappropriate material in videogames and on the internet, and to make recommendations for improvements or additional action. Dr Byron's review will be published shortly and Ministers will give careful consideration to any recommendations then.
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After Lengthy Legal Battle, Manhunt 2 Ban Lifted in U.K.

March 14, 2008 -
British gamers with an urge to play Manhunt 2 will now have their chance.

As reported by The Guardian, a ban placed on Rockstar's gory sequel last summer has been lifted by the Video Appeals Committee (VAC). The game was originally refused classification - essentially, banned - by the British Board of Film and Literature Classification on June 19th of last year. At the same time, the ESRB slapped an Adults Only rating on Manhunt 2, negating its viability as a commercial product in the United States.

In October the BBFC also rejected a toned-down version of the game, although the edited edition was able to gain a M (17 and older) rating from the ESRB for the U.S. market.

In December, Rockstar won its appeal before the VAC, but the BBFC appealed that decision to England's High Court. The Court ruled that the VAC should reconsider the issue. That has now taken place and the VAC's decision means Manhunt 2 can be sold in the U.K. with an 18+ rating. Addressing the decision, a Rockstar statement read in part:
We are pleased that the VAC has reaffirmed its decision recognising that Manhunt 2 is well within the bounds established by other 18+ rated entertainment.

Lawrence Abramson, an attorney who represented Rockstar during the legal proceedings, added:
The [BBFC] system works in films, but the gameplaying experience is different.

MORE Bad News for Rockstar: Wii-mote Control Prompts Demand That Manhunt 2 Be Adults-Only in North America

June 19, 2007 -

Around the offices of Take Two Interactive, they're likely calling this "Black Tuesday."

In the wake of this morning's word detailing Britain's ban on Manhunt 2 comes more bad news for publisher Take Two and developer Rockstar.

Citing concerns over the Nintendo Wii's popular motion control system, the Center for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) has demanded that Manhunt 2 be rated AO (adults only) by the ESRB. The game is scheduled for release in North America on July 9th. 

Although Manhunt 2's rating has not been made public to date, the ESRB says that it has already informed Take Two and Rockstar of the game's rating.

The watchdog group's demand was made this morning via letter to ESRB president Patricia Vance. In a press release, CCFC also says that it will launch a letter-writing campaign "so that parents and advocates for children could share their concerns."

AO ratings for commercial video games are virtually unheard of and are considered the kiss of death at retail, since many stores won't carry AO-rated titles. The only commercial game to receive an AO in recent memory was Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas following the 2005 discovery of the notorious Hot Coffee animations and the game's subsequent recall.

From the CCFC press release:

In Manhunt 2, players can saw their enemies’ skulls in half; mutilate them with an axe; castrate them with a pair of pliers; and kill them by bashing their heads into an electrical box, where it is blown apart by a power surge.  On Wii, players will not merely punch buttons or wield a joy stick, but will actually act out this violence...


Said CCFC co-founder, Dr. Susan Linn of Harvard:

If ever there was a time for the ESRB’s strongest and most unambiguous rating, it is now. An Adults Only rating is the only way to limit children’s exposure to this unique combination of horrific violence and interactivity...

An “M” rating is more like a wink and a nod than an effective safeguard. The industry appears to be going through its paces, but as the FTC’s most recent data show, these games are still being marketed to children.


Also quoted in the CCFC press release is Dr. Michael Rich, Director of the Center on Media and Child Health at Children’s Hospital Boston:

Video games are among the most powerful educational tools yet developed... players experience and learn the game’s skills, whether they be based in strategy, logic, or violence. The content of Manhunt 2 and the unique physical interaction with the Wii control combine to take this simulation a level closer to reality - we can expect that the effects of this experience will be even greater. 


On June 6th GamePolitics broke the news that, prompted by Miami activist Jack Thompson, Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum was looking into Manhunt 2 on the Wii. It is unknown what role, if any, Thompson may have played in the CCFC's action, but it's clear that he knew it was coming.

The original Manhunt, controversial in its own right, was rated M (17 and older) at the time of its release in 2003. In addition to the Wii version, Manhunt 2 is scheduled for release on PlayStation 2 and PSP.

A statement received by GamePolitics from ESRB president Patricia Vance said:

We have received the letter from CCFC and, while we might take issue with some of the statements made within, we sincerely appreciate their expressed concerns.  Our ratings are intended to provide guidance that allows parents to choose games they deem suitable for their children, and that is a responsibility we take extremely seriously.   

It should be noted that ESRB has already assigned a rating for the Wii, PS2 and PSP versions of Manhunt 2, and that rating has in fact already been communicated to the publisher.  However, we are unable to publicly release the rating at this time as it is our policy that ratings be posted to our website 30 days following assignment, unless the game is released prior to the end of that period. This is done to give publishers the opportunity to consider modifying and resubmitting their games for rating or appealing the rating assigned to our Appeals Board should they wish to do so.  We have not yet been notified by Rockstar as to what they intend to do with respect to our rating assignment.


GamePolitics Poll: Should Manhunt 2 be rated AO or M? We now have a poll running in the right sidebar. Be sure to vote.

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Matthew Wilsonalso, it looks like sony finally got a clue http://www.vg247.com/2014/11/26/sony-comes-to-senses-at-last-admits-playstation-is-going-to-save-it/11/25/2014 - 10:56pm
Matthew WilsonI wont say them, but there are other sites beyond youtube. it was a good move by HBO.11/25/2014 - 10:55pm
Papa Midnighthttp://www.pcgamer.com/dark-souls-to-move-from-gfwl-to-steam-a-month-later-than-expected/11/25/2014 - 10:30pm
Papa MidnightMatthew Wilson: Considering ContentID, I can't imagine that would necessarily be a problem for HBO.11/25/2014 - 10:19pm
Matthew Wilsonthey know if they dont, someone will.11/25/2014 - 8:40pm
Sora-ChanIt's a HBO show, which to be honest, considering it's HBO, it's actually surprising they even put any up on youtube.11/25/2014 - 8:36pm
Andrew EisenI imagine they hope the clips they do host (some of which are rather long) are enough to entice viewers to watch the show on whatever channel it airs on.11/25/2014 - 5:54pm
MaskedPixelanteIt's odd that these videos are missing from the official Last Week Tonight page.11/25/2014 - 5:51pm
Andrew EisenRelevant or not, the guy's pretty darn entertaining.11/25/2014 - 4:58pm
WonderkarpJohn Oliver : Corporations On Twitter https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rG_7xur1iRc I feel like this is relevent11/25/2014 - 4:53pm
WonderkarpBurt Macklin, Anthropologist. I look forward to Jurassic Parks and Recreation.11/25/2014 - 4:36pm
Andrew EisenYep.11/25/2014 - 4:16pm
E. Zachary KnightDid Jaws 3 take place in a theme park?11/25/2014 - 4:14pm
Andrew EisenHey, they're remaking Jaws 3. Sweet! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFinNxS5KN411/25/2014 - 3:22pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/11/25/sony-to-refund-vita-customers-in-ftc-settlement-over-false-ads/ Sony is offering a refund to Vita owners who fell for their false advertising during the Vita launch.11/25/2014 - 2:49pm
Matthew Wilsondoes not shock me. people have been representing this as right vs left, but in truth its more like left vs even more left. better put is social libertarianism vs liberal moralism.11/25/2014 - 2:36pm
WonderkarpOfficial Occupy WallStreet Twitter Supports GamerGate https://twitter.com/OccupyWallSt/status/536928387869474818 heh11/25/2014 - 2:11pm
Matthew WilsonI saw that given that the gc adapters have been sold out everywhere, I thought it was higher.11/25/2014 - 11:49am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/11/25/smash-bros-sells-over-490k-on-wii-u-in-three-days/ Some good Nintendo news for a change.11/25/2014 - 11:48am
ZippyDSMleehttp://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/7.865821-Irrational-Games-Rises-From-The-Dead-is-Hiring-Again11/25/2014 - 10:20am
 

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