Ireland Jumps onto Manhunt 2 Ban Wagon

June 20, 2007 -
Sure and begorrah, ye won't be buying yer copy of Manhunt 2 on the Emerald Isle.

In the wake of yesterday's U.K. banning, Manhunt 2 has now become the first game ever to be banned in Ireland, according to a report on Midlands Radio

The Irish Examiner has more, including a quote from the Irish Film Censor's Office (IFCO):
IFCO recognises that in certain films, DVDs and video games, strong graphic violence may be a justifiable element within the overall context of the work.

However, in the case of Manhunt 2, IFCO believes that there is no such context and the level of gross, unrelenting and gratuitous violence is unacceptable.

Comments

[...] Game Politics has the latest on the Manhunt 2 worldwide bashing. Ireland is the next nation to join in an outright ban of the Rockstar game Manhunt 2. The title has set a new precedent as the first game ever to be banned from the Emerald Isle according to Midlands Radio. [...]

A little late I suppose, but this is how long it takes government agencies to respond to the people they are supposed to serve :P

A member of the department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform mailed me after I asked if he would contact the IFCO and enquire regarding their Manhunt decision. I outlined how their excuse regarding a lack of context for the violence makes no sense when they gave an 18 rating to films with as much violence and as little context, and asked they should reconsider the decision based on this.

Here is the response:

------

I have been in contact with the Film Censors Office and have been informed
of the following:

'The Office of the Film Censor is an independent agency of the Department
of Justice, Equality and Law Reform and therefore the Department cannot
intervene in any decision made by the Official Censor.


Information regarding MANHUNT 2 Video Game on the Official Film Censor's
website is as follows:


A prohibition order has been made by IFCO in relation to the video game
Manhunt 2. The Order was made on 18th June 2007 under Sec 7 (1) (b) of the
Video Recordings Act 1989 which refers to 'acts of gross violence or
cruelty (including mutilation and torture)'.

IFCO recognizes that in certain films, DVDs and video games, strong graphic
violence may be a justifiable element within the overall context of the
work. However, in the case of Manhunt 2, IFCO believes that there is no
such context, and the level of gross, unrelenting and gratuitous violence
is unacceptable.'

I trust that the information set out in the above response will provide the
requisite clarification to your query.

Yours sincerely,


_______________
Gerard Canning
Corporate Services Division

------------

So, in response to my question as to why they have treated this game differently to similar movies based on the lack of context for the violence, they re-iterated my reason for complaint back to me. This is certainly a healthy and reasonable debate...

As a Irish citizen and a fan of Manhunt I am hugely disappointed with this decision.

I mean, I'll still be getting it via import but feel that this is a huge injustice and is just following suit with Britain just because we can.

Another Irish citizen here, and absolutely appalled at this. In order to stop children from playing the game, they have stopped everyone from playing the game.

@Denny
Bieng of strong Irish descent I think you made a good point, but were you really expecting them to say? "Lets' make a ultra violent game game legal!"

@Cheeselikescereal

What we expected (and I think what citizens of every country did as well) was for them to say "Let's make this ultra-violent game legal for sale, but not before it is given a rating indicating the appropriate age of person it should be played by, and labelled with that rating"

Yah.

Soooo, gore and slaughter in movies, books, comics = legal, button in videogames = illegal ?

They don't see the context ?
A story about a maniac that kills people in any way possible in a movie IS allowed, but said story can't be used as context in a game ?

I believe the descision to ban the game was the right one. However, that decision was made by the BBFC and the IFCO most likely followed their lead without judging the game for themselves (although I'm open to correction on that point).

According to them violence is accepted within 'context', which hardly explains why they passed The Passion of the Christ film with a 12 rating (or something to that affect), when IMHO it should have got a 15 rating at least. Context indeed.

I have just written a letter to the IFCO, complaining about their decision. I don't really expect any response, but if I get any I'll post it as well. Only change from the letter is the deletion of my name :)

---------

To whom it may concern,

My name is XXXXX XXXXXX, an Irish citizen, and I am absolutely appalled at your recent decision to ban the upcoming video game Manhunt 2 from being sold in this country.

For whatever reason, you have seen fit to deny age-appropriate consumers from being able to obtain or enjoy this video game. Perhaps it is on account of scaremongering that occurs in the US and Britain, or because of an incorrect perception of video games as childrens' toys that you have decided to ban the game. I find it patently ridiculous that at 27 years of age, I will not be able to purchase this game because your office has decided on my behalf that it is too violent.

Your office has an 18 ratings which indicates that anything receiving it should only be purchased or enjoyed by adults. I cannot see why you have not given this game that rating. An equally violent and gratuitous film, Hostel, was given the rating, why not this game?

It has been reported (on www.rte.ie) that your view on the matter is that "in some films or video games strong graphic violence may be a justifiable element within the overall context of the work." but, "in the case of this game, there was no context and the brutality was unrelenting and gratuitous."

I would like to remind you that another product with no context and containing unrelenting and gratuitous violence and brutality, the film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, was given an 18 rating by your office. Can you explain why one example of gratuitous, no context violence is allowed with an 18 rating, and another is banned altogether?

If you do send me an answer to this question, please do not try and justify it with an answer claiming that video-games are more immersive, and more likely to be harmful. A recent study by the BBFC has found the exact opposite http://tech.monstersandcritics.com/features/article_1293778.php/Survey_r...
As well as that, it is painfully obvious that the game is designed and intended to be consumed by adults only. Does the IFCO believe that Irish adults are so fragile that they are better served by your banning of a game, rather than allowing them to make their own decision with the help of an appropriate rating?

I would ask that you rescind your decision, and re-rate the game with the appropriate 18 rating. The video game industry is one of the fastest growing and most profitable industries in the world. I would hate to see this mistake by the IFCO sending a message to potential game developers or investors that Ireland is a place where their creativity and freedom of expression will be restricted by our censors office.

Yours in disappointment,

XXXXXX XXXXXX

Censorship is never justified, and this is all that it is.

@Shoehorn
"In order to stop children from playing the game, they have stopped everyone from playing the game."
Total aggreement, all censorship of any kind is is the treatment of adults like children by their government.

I just wish, so much, that I could kill the person who runs this blog, Manhunt style, with pliars to the groin. That'd be ace.

Let me put this is simplistic terms so that even censorcrats and watchdog organizations can understand.

Ugh. Censorship. Bad. *scratches butt*

Simple enough?

@ Shoehorn O'Plenty

I second all your posts so far! Keep up the good work! I hope they actually respond to your e-mail.

@ Dr Alexander Thomas (?)

WTF? What kind of statement is that? I just don't know what to say...
I'm appalled.

@Gameboy

He's the kind of person the BBFC is trying to protect from Manhunt 2. :(

@ Gameboy:

I concur with your opinion on the good doctor. WTF?

I find it funny that the people who supposedly abhor violence have been known to say things to the effect of "I wish it could happen to you so you know what it's like!" Interesting... who's promoting violence now?

I want to play Manhunt 2 on the Wii, believe that it should be freely available and am also of the opinion that one should never kill another person with pliers to the groin or, for that matter, any other part of the body. Why would you do that?

Dam, is this game really this bad? Just by pure levels of violence alone its gotten banned in 2 countries and has been rated AO in the US. I'm guessing when R* came out and said they wanted to make the most brutal and violent game ever they didn't pull any punches. I'm almost tempted to buy this just to see what all the hub-bub is about, or at least watch a youtube video with some game play. The amount of blood and gore in this game must be absolutely insane, something like Kill Bill, and Saw combined. Hell, just Kill Bill alone had a comedic level of blood in it.

Well, as of right now Play.com is still listing it.

I feel that the upcoming Wii version will draw the player into it's seddy and grim world with the addition of the controls. And all that on it's stunning visuals and atmospheric soundtrack by Craig Conner set Manhunt 2 up nicly.

>"Sure and begorrah, ye won’t be buying yer copy of Manhunt 2 on the Emerald Isle."

So that's how it is...in the interests of even-handedness, I demand you start every blog about America with "Wooooo! Fuck yeah! Eat it you faggots! U-S-A! U-S-A!"

Ok now taking bets as to when germany and australia decide to ban the game.

Within the week 1:4

Within the month but not the week 1:2

Close to the release date 1:2

NEVER 0:1

Anyway now that' all of great britain has banned it i want to see what all the fuss is about.

All of these posts are made by (presumably) mentally competent members of society. They are all balanced reasonable points of view and in an ideal world there wishes deserve to be respected without the hindrance of governing bodies of any kind.

But as we all know, it's far from an ideal world. People infringe the civil rights of others everyday. Though intimidation, rape, torture and murder people suffer unjustly. sometimes it's through greed, sometimes through distorted perceptions.

So, what do you want; a world were everyone does what they want without regard to laws to protect us from such people? Because if you want TOTAL freedom from controls or protection, that means everyone - including those out there who mean others harm - gets to do what they want regardless of the 'rights' of others.

Oh, and people who draw the comparison between video games (interactive) and Movies (passive) are over simplifying to suit there argument - which ironically is what many accuse the censorship bodies of doing. The differences are as obvious as they are complex.

I would rather miss out on the occasional interactive helping of mindless sadistic violence, than live in a world where any horror can be visited upon me without control or address.

@Damien

The BBFC has discovered through a study that movies are possibly more dangerous than games due to their nature. With games you actually have to move/push buttons/make decision, which breaks the interactivity andd reinforces the knowledge that "This is just a game". If you stop moving, so does your character. Movies are completely passive, which mean that you sit there and soak up all of the actions on screen with no choice. More can be read at the link I posted aboce in my letter to the IFCO.

"Because if you want TOTAL freedom from controls or protection, that means everyone - including those out there who mean others harm - gets to do what they want regardless of the ‘rights’ of others."

I think that this is a very silly thing to say. The laws and controls that protect us from "intimidation, rape, torture and murder" are completely diferent to those that restrict access to media. By your statement, if I want to be free to play a video game that others find distasteful, then someone else has the right to murder me?

Releasing this game with an appropriate age rating will not in any way increase crime or antisocial activity.

I think you are missing the point I was trying to get across. So long as there is a governing body appointed to control access to potentially dangerous things - be it games, movies, guns, drugs - they are always going to be decisions that will inconvenience a minority. I am saying that is a small price to pay for a safer world.

I'm sorry if that sounds 'silly' to you.

"Releasing this game with an appropriate age rating will not in any way increase crime or antisocial activity."

Presumably that means that you can categorically guarantee that if this game is distributed with a sticker on it it saying "18 only" it will not be played by minors. Nor that there are individuals who can possibly be adversely influenced in any way by it's content. If that is the case, I bow in acknowledgement your omnipotent wisdom.

The more important question is:

If this game wasn't released, does that mean that those same unbalanced people would never ever lose control. To quote Frank Zappa, yes, Media could set off an unbalanced person, so could a tie, or a coat or a moustache. It doesn't make the world ANY safer by banning it, it just means that the people who are capable of dealing with it can't get it, and those who are unstable will still go nuts at one point or another.

Everybody should email the IFCO much like I did. Try and keep your comments civil.

Let them know your disappointed.

info@ifco.gov.ie

@Damien
“Because if you want TOTAL freedom from controls or protection, that means everyone - including those out there who mean others harm - gets to do what they want regardless of the ‘rights’ of others.”
Total freedom means the ability to exercise all rights unless they infringe on those of others, not the ability to do anything you want, no one thinks that, that wasn't a silly thing to say, that was a stupid thing to say, I feel slightly less intelligent for having read it. That being said the release of a game does not in anyway infringe the rights of others, you cannot argue that it does. A proper rating designating it as targeted towards adults will grant parents the information they need to exercise their right of making informed decisions in the upbringing of their child, banning the game limits the rights of adults to make a decision about how they seek entertainment but does not protect others from having their rights infringed upon.

@Denny

"So long as there is a governing body appointed to control access to potentially dangerous things - be it games, movies, guns, drugs"

I do not believe that games or movies are dangerous in any way shape or form. Could they set a mentally unbalanced person off? Sure. But, as GoodRobotUs' quote says, so could my haircut. Or the weather on a particular day. A woman in America drowned her own children, and when asked why, she said that a spider had walked across her hand and it was a message from God to do so. http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/Central/10/20/children.drowning.ap/index.html

David Berkowitz, the "Son of Sam" serial killer, claimed that a neighbours' dog was psessed by a demon that told him to kill people. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Berkowitz

Another serial killer, Charles Manson claimed that music by the Beatles contained coded messages to him.

According to your argument, we should ban spiders, dogs and Beatles music, a minor inconvenience to normal people, but it should ensure that the mentally unstable few will not be triggered.

I have no problem with keeping the game away from children or the mentally unstable, but when you have to blanket ban it like this and prevent normal, age appropriate people from enjoying the game, it is unacceptable.

@Denny

I have mailed the Irish Department of Arts, Sports and Tourism, and the Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment regarding this idiotic decision.

The first because of the unfair treatment of one medium (Manhunt is banned for violence with no context, while Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a movie containing violence with no context is released with an appropriate 18 rating). The second because Ireland is producing some of the best IT graduates in the world. There is massive potential for new games developers to spring up. Havok is an example of this, an Irish created company who produced the physics software behind such games as Halo 2, Half Life 2, etc. A games developer should be able to create their games freely, but a developer who wants to make a game in any way similar to Manhunt will now think twice about developing it in Ireland. This decision will have a chilling effect on a country that cannot afford to miss out on the ever growing video games industry.

[...] Not wanting to be left out of the “ban wagon” (thanks for the pun, Game Politics), Ireland has banned Take Two / Rockstar’s Manhunt 2 from sale in the country. The previous Manhunt game taken off the shelves in Ireland after it was blamed for inspiring the murder of a 14-year old boy, the Irish Examiner reports. [...]

I really can't see how using a word like "banwagon" is supposed to help rational debate. Saying IFCO "jumped on the banwagon" clearly implies that they banned it for no other reason than that it was already banned somewhere else. In other words, they can't think for themselves, they don't have any real reason to have concerns about the game, they're not doing their job, etc.

I'm sure the people at IFCO take their job seriously, and I'm sure they have their reasons for taking this course of action. No doubt they're the same or similar reasons as the BBFC put forward, but that doesn't mean they didn't arrive at them themselves. Assuming otherwise, and using weasel terms like "banwagon", is a childish response to negative press.


PS @ Father Time: Ireland isn't part of Great Britain and hasn't been for a long time.

Germany,Aus and new zeland will be the next to ban it,it will be funny if they do not.

[...] Not wanting to be left out of the “ban wagon” (thanks for the pun, Game Politics), Ireland has banned Take Two / Rockstar’s Manhunt 2 from sale in the country. The previous Manhunt game taken off the shelves in Ireland after it was blamed (update: and later un-blamed) for inspiring the murder of a 14-year old boy, the Irish Examiner reports. [...]

From reading it ,it seems Manhunt 2 is not baned but restricted theres a big diffrance there.... if I am incorrect please point out my error.

Lookign at soem of the rating systems
PEGI and BBFC and the OFLCA have a 2nd level of mature gaming,the OFLCA being restricted by law(R18+) while pegi dose not have a AO /NC 17 level the BFCC dose which is restricted by law as well, theres no reason the game can not be set to R18+ to not give it the proper rating its due just shows politics in motion.

Not at all surprised.

I'm glad to see that after 30 years of the IRA fighting against British Influence, the Irish are still quick to follow their (shitty) example.
Thank God I'm not in Ireland.
You all ought to be ashamed of yourselves.
Erin Go Bragh
Down with Censorship

It was a lot lot more than merely 'British Influence' and it was a lot lot longer than 30 years ;) It's probably best, however, that the IRA isn't bought up in a conversation involving Irish, British and Americans, that REALLY wouldn't end well one way or another ;)

"I’m glad to see that after 30 years of the IRA fighting against British Influence, the Irish are still quick to follow their (shitty) example."

What an ignorant statement to make. Did you come on this message board to add anything to the discussion of the decision made by the IFCO, or simply to insult Irish people?

"Thank God I’m not in Ireland.
You all ought to be ashamed of yourselves.
Erin Go Bragh"

It seems to be the latter.

Why is there even a "Irish Film Censor's Office"?
That is questionable practice in itself, but now banning something, without even seeing what was in it.

/\ is despicable.
Sorry for the double post.
All hail edit button. Edit button is life.

>"Why is there even a “Irish Film Censor’s Office”?
That is questionable practice in itself, but now banning something, without even seeing what was in it."

IFCO is the body responsible for giving age ratings to films in Ireland, and they review games that have been given a PEGI rating of 18+ to see if they will put their own legally binding 18 rating on it. Someone's gotta do it, I don't how it could be seen as "questionable practice"...

More importantly though, when did they ban something without seeing what was in it? Why does everyone jump to that conclusion?

Also, Austen Lewis...it never occurred to me that even half-arsed patriotism-by-proxy could be that wildly off the mark. I'm impressed.

[...] Source: GamePolitics.com [...]

I'm sorry if any of my opinions have caused offence to anyone. It certainly was not my intention. I take on board all of the points made. Ironically some of them even in their denial, confirm my own.

I just feel the the promotion of a franchise that glorifies and promotes violence and sadistic behaviour as an enjoyable method of amusement and escapism is setting a president that makes me uncomfortable. To deny this has no potential impact on individuals and their attitudes is a bit naive I think. To say that anything has the potential to do this is perfectly true (I work in social care and know this better than most), but does that mean that we shouldn't take steps to limit the potential if possible?

I feel that if the trend continues without intervention is will escalate in efforts to make it 'better' (i.e. gorier, more violent etc.). What next - the return of public executions? What does it say about our society if we are content to actively promote this sort of 'entertainment'? I'm don't want censorship and government dictating our boundaries either, but when we start to show that we aren't willing to maintain some standards, we give them the excuse to step in - and they have.

I see now that Nintendo and Sony have no suggested that they are withdrawing their support for this game. I don't see that as any victory, but maybe it will mean that Rockstar will think a bit harder about the quality of their product and perhaps produce something a little more worthy.

This is my last post on the subject. Reading back through the previous responses, It seems the point I was trying to express has not been correctly interpreted so I'll say no more.

@Damien

"It seems the point I was trying to express has not been correctly interpreted"

Your point hinges on the assumption that video games are more likely to have a potential impact on individuals and their attitudes. I do not believe this to be true. Banning is less preferable than regulation, and this is what should have happened here. Manhunt 2 should have been given an appropriate 18 rating, just like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and the Hostel movies, and the previous Manhunt release, and every other gory horror before it.

"I just feel the the promotion of a franchise that glorifies and promotes violence and sadistic behaviour as an enjoyable method of amusement and escapism is setting a president that makes me uncomfortable."

The franchise does not portray violent sadistic behaviour as enjoyable. I don't think that the character in the game enjoys what he is doing. I am perfectly content to be amused reading a book/watching a movie/playing a game that contains violent images/scenes. It does not harm me in any way. I can see how it potentially could affect a mentally unstable person, but if we are to "Maintain standards" and "limit the potential" for this to happen, we are going to have to ban all other kinds of media that have this kind content. If the IFCO wishes to stick to their decision, then to justify it they should go back and ban every violent movie or game in the same way.

You talk about having to draw the line at some point. I agree, there are some lines that must be drawn (porn, child abuse, actively encouraging anti-social behaviour), but that goes both ways. I am less scared of boundaries being pushed with regard to more violence, than I am by the prospect of boundaries being pushed the other way, towards tamer, more "acceptable" media.

@Damien
You aren't "promoting" something if you don't ban it, that would be like saying that someone who holds a gun up to your head and doesn't pull the trigger is saving your life. And furthermore you cannot logically make the jump between allowing the sale of a video game (which evidently constitutes state promotion in your book) and allowing public executions.
"I’m don’t [sic] want censorship and government dictating our boundaries either, but when we start to show that we aren’t willing to maintain some standards, we give them the excuse to step in - and they have."
So basically you just don't want government censorship unless you feel it's necessary? This is not a matter of situations, either you're ok with free speech or you are not, you can't have gray areas because it's those very areas that are threatened by lack of free speech. I'm sure you're fine with "Smiley Face's Adventures in Happyland" guess what, so is everyone else, no one is trying to censor that game, the game they're trying to censor is Manhunt 2, so if you really "don't want censorship and government dictating our boundaries" this is where you need to step in, when free speech is actually being threatened, it isn't enough to just say you applaud free speech when everyone else does.

Damien
its like film theres no lil difference,in fact video games are less absorbing because you are involved in controling it, censorship for games and film is a bad idea because "X" group of people are offended it should be baned one can find a group of people to be offended by anything.

I hope this game passes on its own merit unedited, because the world needs to wake up and see video games re not for kids only anymore the world needs to become more mature and limit mature games to adults this way games like manhunt 2 wont fall into the hands of kids easily and this is the kind of "censorship" we need to "protect" children at the same time not offending adults and saying they can not have their steak because its too tough for children.

This is what they were blaming for violent crime back in 1893:

It is almost a daily occurrence with magistrates to have before them boys who, having read a number of "dreadfuls" followed the examples set forth in such publications, robbed their employers, bought revolvers with the proceeds, and finished by running away from home and installing themselves in the back streets as "highwaymen". This and many other evils the "penny dreadful" is responsible for. It makes thieves of the coming generation and so helps fill our gaols.

Ferox13
the US dose it to ,they just blame the medium(games,comics,tv,ect,ect) more.

The use of violence in entertainment is nothing but a sophisticated form of child abuse. 40% of games rated M (mature) are played by people under 17. The time has come for us, fans of these games and stock holders of the industry producing them, to wake up and ask for rules and laws to protect children from being «conditioned» to find pleasure in inflicting pain. FPS games give teens and kids the will, the skill and the thrill to kill. http://www.edupax.org/Assets/divers/documentation/1_articles/1_089_Pages...

What a load of cobblers. Manhunt is a game made by adults,for adults. How they could ban manhunt 2,after giving the original manhunt an uncut release is a mystery. They're practically the same game! They both contain very strong (though unrealistic) violence,practically NO story,and can be summed up as OTT gorefests,no worse than the SAW films and their countless imitators. Videogames ARE a form of artistic expression,like it or not. They have the ability to engage us in stories and characters like no other medium. WE,as the players,call the shots. A huge majority of gamers,are in the 18-28 age group,and as such we are perfectly entitled to play the games intended for us. Of course,children need to be protected. But this is the responsibility of the parents. Not the bbfc,not ifco. I firmly believe,had the bbfc given manhunt 2 a certificate, ifco would have too. After all,whats the point of banning the game in england when it can be purchased easily and quickly from this country? I have absolutely no faith in ifco. Films which clearly deserve 18 certs,have their certificates lowered while showing in cinemas(sweeny todd being a recent example),and then raised back up again once they hit dvd. This is so cinemas can get more underage customers,which means more money for everyone,yet the all righteous ifco has its certification decisions overturned by these cinemas all the time. So whats the point in the ifco then? I don't agree with them on the manhunt 2 matter,or that poll that was held recently. Load of crap.
 
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