gamesindustry.biz Editor on Rockstar: Juvenile, Shameful, Irresponsible

June 23, 2007 -
In the wake of this week's controversy, it's clear that Manhunt 2's unprecedented level of violence has raised concerns even among some veteran game journalists. Hence Rob Fahey's pull-no-punches editorial in gamesindustry.biz:
This isn't a case of knee-jerk reaction to the controversy surrounding the first game... Besides which, the [British Board of Film Classification] doesn't succumb to knee-jerk reactions... Time and time again, the BBFC has shown that it understands and respects videogames.

In other words, with Manhunt 2, Rockstar has crossed the line - and crossed it at a full tilt run...  this is judgement of a classification board which has happily classified Hostel and Saw, and indeed, the first Manhunt game.

This is killing, maiming and torturing for the sake of it; this may, in fact, be the game which lives up to the shrill claims of the conservative wing that games are "murder simulators".

In making such a game Rockstar has been juvenile, shameful and irresponsible. The right of creators to push the boundaries of media and society must be balanced out against a simple sense of social responsibility - something with Rockstar seems to entirely lack.

Comments

[...] Even staunch video game advocates have been pulled into the fray over the Manhunt 2 controversy. The game industry is polarized on the issues raised by the ESRB’s “Adults Only”rating in the US, and the ban in the UK , Ireland, and Australia. GamePolitics featured “Sick Filth?”, veteran game journalist and editor of GamesIndustry.biz Rob Fahey’s scathing article on the unprecedented level of violence in Rockstar’s Manhunt 2. This isn’t a case of knee-jerk reaction to the controversy surrounding the first game… Besides which, the [British Board of Film Classification] doesn’t succumb to knee-jerk reactions… Time and time again, the BBFC has shown that it understands and respects videogames. In other words, with Manhunt 2, Rockstar has crossed the line - and crossed it at a full tilt run… this is judgement of a classification board which has happily classified Hostel and Saw, and indeed, the first Manhunt game. This is killing, maiming and torturing for the sake of it; this may, in fact, be the game which lives up to the shrill claims of the conservative wing that games are “murder simulators”. [...]

@tempo: Consoles, unlike DVD players, are manufactured by only one company, and they retain proprietary rights on who can publish using their proprietary system. That's an inherent part of patent law - because they patented parts of the system involved in how the game system reads data, you're required to go through the console manufacturer to legally produce games on their systems.

Contrast that to DVD, which is an open-source media format - nobody is banned from publishing to that format. The parts involved in reading and writing to the DVD format are freely available, thanks to a group of manufacturers agreeing on one uniform media format.

That's the [i]law[/i] involved... it's clear-cut, no real arguments.

Should console manufacturers be required to license any game from any company that wants to manufacture on their consoles? That's a harder question to answer... and I'd still have to say no, because it would be setting a dangerous precedent.

Do I think that console manufacturers should license games like Manhunt 2? Yes... but it has to be their choice, their decision. I do understand why they stated a refusal to publish AO games, though... that enables them to draw a line in the sand that isn't arbitrary on their part. If they started picking and choosing, saying, "Well, [i]this[/i] game is acceptible, and we'll license it, but [i]that[/i] game, while similar to the first, just goes over the line and we won't license it," then they'll take flak for being inconsistent.

By putting a blanket ban on AO games, they're covered from the two extremes of licensing everything, or appearing inconsistent and hypocritical. It's a sound business decision. I don't agree with it, but I fully understand and appreciate the reasons it was done.

If there was only a way to channel the teen angst I see all over this webpage, the worlds energy problems would be over. Too bad the fascist corporate machine would put a stop to it and send me to disney land and oil and bush and aahhaahhahahahahhghgahghgh

Nekojin-

Indeed. Nothing Id like to add to your response I'll stand behind it. Yea these companies are in the right but it doesn't mean consumers(us) have to follow it. We can vote with our money by boycotting. How about shopping for groceries at Kroger instead of Walmart, buying games and entertainment products online and avoiding popular retail gamers. And experimenting with PC games instead of console games. Of course in their time of loss we must announce that we are boycotting them so they know why they are losing money(at least they think thats why.) Thats how things get done in a corporate facist system, sadly but true the corporations may very well dictate many of our freedoms we should enjoy. In particular I'm speaking about the freedom to buy and play games with unfiltered content and the only way to get it is to speak through our wallets. But first you must be dedicated to the cause.

---------

But... then again we should have been organized and already announced our boycott against the PS3... Now I'll admit Sony is probably my favorite of the 3 console companies I guess im a sony fanboy. But their console is failing and if we announced our boycot against them as their console failed to sell it would have made a greater impact on them. I dunno maybe this method is too late to use but maybe in the next console war it could be used as one is failing. Sure it is kind of dishonest(the obvious reasons ps3 is failing is price and lack of good games) but it could really effect the way the company makes its choices.

Whatever the action the time is now lets not put it off any longer. Stop being cowards and step up. Fear is only a instrument used to control your mind.

Rid your mind of fear and you shall see the path to freedom, and the only task left will be to walk that path.

Wonder what they would have said about the Japanese adult game Rapelay which was a rape simulator? Google it all of you dirty filthy dirty dirty dirty people who will play it and then protest how they are appalled at such filth and give up their freedoms.

I am playing the first manhunt now and I gotta say if the second one is like the first one I probably am not missing much. Bloody but kinda pointless.

Give the Brits more games about butchering legions of Nazis in Call of Duty 412. They need to recall their glory days.

tempo
Unlike DVD makers console makers have every right to "ban/block" game son their system you might own the system but they own the game aspect of it IE games can not "just be made and play on it" thats not goign to happen until games become like DVDs.

There are a ton of IP,copy rights and other costly red tape that goes into gettign a game approved for a system, int hat and the "flow of the industry" the industry can censor itself, I do dislike the fact Sony and Nin take such a huge big brother role in their approval system but it can be seen as protecting the brand more than out right censorship.

I don't think manhunt 2 is the next "midnight cowboy" (X rated film that forced the movie industry to adopt NC17) but tis damn near close another couple of hot titles and the indutry will be forced to re look at the issue.

"Do the console manufacturers have a right to dictate what games are published on their systems? Arguably, and strictly speaking, yes. Ideally, no… but that’s an argument for another day, and another forum."

with this, i disagree. with gusto.
I really can't think of any other household device, media or otherwise, made by anyone that forbids the use of it in anyway...

Can anyone?

We are talking about something we buy and use in the privacy of our own homes.

Do the console manufacturers have the right to dictate what I and my family and friends do in the privacy of my own home?

ok. They made the thing.. but, I own it. I should be able to use it as I see fit. Am I the only one that thinks this is totally f'd?

Also, I think this is a good time and the perfect forum to discuss this...

Nekojin summed up everything I was thinking, especially here:

"But I absolutely believe that Rockstar should have a right to publish Manhunt 2, and the console manufacturers do the media format a disservice by refusing to license it. They are reinforcing the concept that their consoles are for children..."

"Jack Thompson, Attorney and You’re Not"

Because lawyers know everything there is to know about everything and everyone else knows nothing? >_>

Way to sound conceited just because you have a certain job. I don't care if you're pro or anti-whatever issue you choose, gloating about your profession is simply childish.

@Nekojin

Well played.

Whoo. What a tempest.

There's an interesting point here that I haven't yet seen anyone touch on. People here keep talking about Manhunt 2 pushing boundaries, and testing limits. There's no question that it does that.

Some of the people here (Grogmonkey, in particular) are saying that we need to keep our heads down, and wait for a better opportunity to fight this battle. But there will never be a "good" opportunity.

This fight is a fight about what is socially offensive, and whether it is appropriate for it to be banned. But because it is socially offensive, the people who would normally stand behind it end up being polarized - those who are actually offended (and, note, offended by what they imagine is in the game - none of us has played it yet, we only have a few screenshots and early previews to go on) start to edge over toward the censorship side, even though they might otherwise oppose censorship. They don't want to defend it, because they don't view it as defensible.

As a result, the people actually defending it end up being reviled, and castigated as though they're some sort of mentally-deficient individuals in need of being locked up... which isn't even close to the truth.

As I was saying, it's only very extreme forms of media that can truly push the boundaries, and those self-same extreme forms of media, by their very nature, make it hard to defend them. People who believe in the concept of freedom of speech should defend them... but they have a hard time with the subject matter, and start thinking it shouldn't be defended.

It's times like this that those people who believe in Freedom of Speech as an underlying core freedom - a freedom that underlies every other freedom - should stop asking, "would I enjoy it?" and ask, instead, "Is anyone harmed if someone else enjoys it?"

I think it's ludicrous to think that the Manhunt games were made solely to shock - no company is going to spend hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of dollars developing a game just for a little media circus, and then discard the game. It defeats the point. It was intended as an extreme form of entertainment, similar to the Saw and Hostel movie franchises.

I personally have no interest in the Manhunt games. I didn't buy the first one, and I don't plan to buy the second one, whenever it's released. But I absolutely believe that Rockstar should have a right to publish Manhunt 2, and the console manufacturers do the media format a disservice by refusing to license it. They are reinforcing the concept that their consoles are for children, even when their own PR representatives are trying to claim that they're for everyone.

Do the console manufacturers have a right to dictate what games are published on their systems? Arguably, and strictly speaking, yes. Ideally, no... but that's an argument for another day, and another forum.

Do companies like Wal-Mart have a right not to carry games like this? Absolutely.

Do the media pundits have a right to call companies like Wal-Mart hypocritical when they refuse to carry games like this, but carry unrated versions of extreme movies like Saw? Absolutely.

Do we have the right to vote with our money, and buy from other companies who don't care about the media outcry about games like this, and are willing to stock the controversial games, like Fry's and Amazon? Absolutely.

Oh puleeeease, we all mind as well live in a disneyland where everything is peaches and cream.

As an American, I loathe any form of censorship. But as a parent, I sure as hell don't want my kids considering this type of activity "entertainment." There's some very insightful thinking about Manhunt 2 at this site. It theorizies that the uptick in gore in games and movies is an attempt to identify new levels of shock and violence after 9/11. Very much worth a read:

http://www.unboundedition.com/content/view/1042/50/

I find it curious that what Thompson takes as gospel the medical findings of a MINORITY group of researchers/doctors and largely ignores the results of MAJOR research that clearly states the little or no impact supposed "violent" and/or "sexually explicit" games have on kids and adults.

But the more important thing is here is that the entire country shouldn't have to deprive themselves of whatever entertainment they want in the privacy of their homes for "the children". Frankly, I've had about enough of characters like Jack hiding like a coward behind the idea of protecting kids which, in reality, is Jack looking to both profit and gain political clout off this entire charade. Being a parent of two sons I find this political caterwauling insulting as they are simply looking for MORE Government in our lives despite their stance as conservatives.

BTW Jack, Nihilistic Personality Disorder....you have it, get some treatment buddy....k?

Remember, people, we're talking about some guy who thought two boys kissing equated to gay sex.

What is the point addressing toward Jack if is not able to answer. Dennis permabanned his new IP adress already.

This boob is still on the list concerning his pending disbarment.

@Pyro

I think it's far, far too early to be worried about precedents being set. Of the 10 year history of the BBFC, only one game has ever been refused a rating: Carmageddon. That was later overturned on appeal. Clearly, that game didn't set a precedent, despite a similar reaction from certain sections of the people (in the UK especially). My view is if Rockstar don't appeal, then that's tantamount to an admission of 'guilt' that their game went a bit too far. I say guilt, but it's probably more akin to naivety (or just out and out stupidity).

It's easy for the BBFC to rate games, because (from what I understand) they basically have a checklist which contains 'things that make your game get a higher rating'. I'm guessing Manhunt 2 ticked pretty much every box, leaving the BBFC no choice but to not award a rating (given their current rules and guidelines, which may or may not be right, depending on your views). But we all know that, despite the contents, GTA4 is not going to get the dreaded AO rating. No other GTA did. Dead Rising didn't (despite a lot of pressure from various places). Heck, the original Manhunt didn't (but when it comes to obscene violence, the original was at the tame part of the scale. Beating someone's head in with a baseball bat? Vicious, certainly. But not TOO bad). In terms of their history, the BBFC has been nothing but fair, and has never been seen to bow to peer pressure. Citing the Carmageddon Issue, again, most people were happy to see the 'Zombie Patch' go in, and they would have wanted it to stay that way. But the BBFC, after hearing the appeal, changed that. That can't have been the most popular decision they've ever made, but they still made it. Believe me, the second that I think the BBFC has made a decision that is not in line with their previous rating guidelines I'll be... well, probably not the first, but definitely in the top few thousand people to cry foul. That'll be when I get my protestin' boots on.

But you're right. It's probably unlikely that Rockstar made the game just to be contraversial (or rather, MORE contraversial. I think I stated otherwise somewhere, but that was probably on a different forum. And just me being conspiratorial). In fact, from what I hear from people who know people who work for Rockstar London (one of the many studios with a finger in the Manhunt Pie), I honestly wouldn't be surprised if this is nothing more than a monumental cockup.

I really want to like Rockstar for their work, but, to be honest, they still haven't completely proven themselves to me, yet. Bully was ace. Table Tennis was ace. I hear good things about Midnight Club, too. But, in my eyes, the studio that's still pulling the weight of the whole company is Rockstar North, which isn't surprising if you compare the back catalogues of each studio. I still think Rockstar bought DMA Design just to have gain some kind of major foothold in the industry (and they did). They are slowly stopping to live off the success of the GTA franchise and actually make a good name for themselves in their own right, but I think Manhunt 2 was a bit of a backwards step in this respect.

Anyhoo, the ratingss of the next batch of 'contraversial videogames' will be watched very closely, from both sides of the videogame violence fence. Should be interesting.

@ jack thompson
Mr. John Bruce Thompson, I really find it hard to believe that a grown man behaves so childishly. Please for your own sake, GROW UP.

I don't see any more of a problem coming from this game then from the movie Saw or Hostel. Although the game is interactive, it shouldn't cause any more desensitization to violence then an ultra violent movie, image or story would.

The problem is, the wording in what Thomspon has to say is so oblique and non-focussed that it's hard to tell exactly what he is saying, Stealth/Castration kills would, I would have felt, been more about the Gore/Violence factor involved than the implied 'sexual overtones' else we are right back to gay hobbits. It's a painful way to die, this game was supposed to make you cringe, and everyone knows that those kinds of image will make a mans' eyes water.

I'm not saying one way or another with the whole Manhunt thing, I don't know, haven't seen the game, but I'm pretty sure that if it contained scenes of direct sexual exploitation or forced sexual intercourse that were notably degrading or exploitative, it would have been included in the BBFC's report, but then, maybe I'm wrong, I guess I'll never know.

I think Mister Thompson might actually have a point about sexual content being responsible for Manhunt 2's AO rating (and UK ban). Assuming the game really does/did feature castration stealth-kills as mentioned in some preview, that could technically be described as sexual assault.

Sorry, my last post isn't very clear on the whole 'Sex and Violence' thing, I know it's more complex than that on a Consentual level, but I get the feeling from Jacky boys' post that he considers any sexual act that isn't the 'norm' to be exploitative or violent.

You know, Jack should set up shop in Second Life, it would be utterly hilarious, and quite an educational experience for him.

@Luscan

You must not have been here before the format change. Not only has JT posted here, he has been banned from here more times than most of us can count.

@chadachada
Once again, just because you don't agree with it, does not remove their ability to make that choice not to support it. And this decision was made when the ESRB started, as well as there being a policy in place by Nintendo before the ESRB. Morthal Kombat 1 for example, was edited to meet those standards. At worst, they're being accused of following their policy. To demand they support it despite their policy puts you on the same level as the anti-game activists.

@Erik
The original groundwork for this decision was made long ago. (see the @chadachada above) and was made because inviting this level of controversy was bad for buisness. It's a blacklist based on economic reasons alone. Had a political method been brought in, then it's censorship. The lobby groups did not affect this one. Policy was in place, Rockstar made their choice to test it, and found it was being enforced. What happens now is up to Rockstar.

I just wish I knew what all his Jibberish about the 'Rape Myth' was about, I'm pretty sure that's not the ONLY kind of pornography banned in the US, and, I will add, Manhunt 2 wasn't banned in the US, and the BBFC made no statement regarding sexual content whatsoever, stating only the atmosphere and level of violence for the reason.

I'm worried that Jack thinks that Sex and Violence are related in some way to be honest, I've certainly never thought of the two as related in some way other than being primal urges. Yes, Sex and Violence are in the same part of the brain, together with Hunger, Thirst, Hot, Cold, Scared, Happy, Sad and a whole host of other hind-brain behaviours, I can't see what bearing the physical location of mental processes in the brain has on the subject.

If "God is in control" then God trained all those shooters. Afterall, "God has a great plan for everything." So prayer would be useless.

The thing is that Jack never figured out he wasn't banned for his opinion, he was banned for screaming threats and insults like a hysterical schoolchild.

Oh, and we'd better watch out of 'God is in Control', after all, I thought that stuff trained you how to kill....

Here is my run down of all parties involved:
BBFC is wrong.
ESRB is right.
R* and T2 were right to make and publish it.
Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft have the legal right to restrict any game they so choose from appearing on their system.

I agree with the person the other, who suggested that there needs to be a new rating solely for porn games. With AO being for games like Manhunt 2.

Is R* hurting the industry? Yes, they are, however that is only in the sort run of things. In the long run they helping it, by offering a comparison/contrast of their games to others, which has allowed numerous other titles to get more violent than they could had R* not raise the bar.

Now quit acting like the Kotaku commentators, and start:
1)Being civil
2)Being intelligent
3)Will not engage in rushes to judgment
4)Will not link unrelated people, whom you have grievances with, to the groups in question.

This story and partisan politics brings out the worse in us.

@Groggy

So, yes. I would say we should pick our battles. I do think that discretion can be the better part of valour. But you know, that doesn’t have to be the same thing as ‘cowardice’. A smart General knows when to get his troops the hell out of a battle and prepare for the next one. Yes, he’s ‘running away’, but if the choice is that or needlessly sacrificing hundreds of people, then it IS the better choice. And it IS being smart.


Picking your battles is wise, no doubt. However, some are afraid that this may set a precedent for other games not like Manhunt 2 to be stamped with an AO rating and that the Thomponsists of the world will surely try and push this piece of agenda.

GTA4 isn't going to get an AO and Rockstar's North team is going to make damn sure of that, but it's inevitable for a time where a medium demonized will grow, prosper, and finally be accepted. For that to happen, controversial titles will test (and push) the limits for said medium to mature. The original Manhunt, in fact, was a subtle black satire of America's unhealthy obsession with reality television. Pundits and pricks alike didn't get the social commentary (and I admit, it was a little TOO subtle) but the substance was there.

I may speak from a biased tongue since I am a GTA/Rockstar fan, but they are not the type of guys to make a game just because it sells soley on controversy. If that was the case, flops like 25 To Life would of been grade-AAA hits.

The people at R* is thanking Jack for all the free publicity, and I thank him for the free lulz.

@Jack Thompson

"There is sexual content in Manhunt 2 that helped push it to the point of banning in the UK and the AO rating here. Dennis McCauley is not addressing that issue because he doesn’t understand it."

I must emphasize that, as stated before by several others, no one at this site has played through the entire game. Therefore, it cannot be determined why the game has received the AO rating. Seeing as Take Two would never, ever let you see the game in advance, it is obvious that your "fact", as well as the rest of your statement was pulled directly out of your ass.

Richard Adjogah, Intelligent and You're Not

P.S.:The gaming industry and the readers of this site will never thank you for anything. I guarantee it.

"God is in control"

God isn't real, nor can he be in control.

"Jack Thompson, Attorney and You’re Not"

I'm glad I'm not Jack Thompson. And gloating about being Jack Thompson, an attorney, or anything else for that matter, is a form of bullying and therefore a sign of weakness, immaturity, and cowardice.

??…Ace beats Jack?

then GTA hits, and BOOM, instant million seller.


In all honesty I don't think Grand Theft Auto 4 will need any help to sell itself...

You know, more then anyone, my hatred for Jack is almost unmatched.

That being said, I laugh cause yesterday I realized what Manhunt 2 really is.

It's a setup. Manhunt was being developed but only to raise controversy. A majority of Rockstars developers are on GTA right now. Manhunt was being made for on purpose.

As a feint. It was ment to setup the limits for Rockstar so they would know how to setup GTA. Now rockstar just reworks manhunt, gets it out, lets the noise build, then GTA hits, and BOOM, instant million seller.

Jack makes me laugh, but only cause he's so pathetic. Is he so desperate now, what with the pending disbarment, his failing media credibility, and the constant ridicule he faces from the legal community, that he thinks it's important enough to attack us that he gets a new ip? How sad is that a comment on his life?

Just give up jack, You've lost. Though dennis, I would be interested in what that meeting was about, I don't think JACK is the one to ask about it. after all.

Honestly, I don't think it's actually Jack Thompson. I mean... a videogaming celebrity, here, in our little Game Politics?

Let's face it, if it weren't for countrywide civil disobedience and violence, America wouldn't even have First Amendment and both it and the UK would be under the Jurisdiction of 'The Monarch of England'.

Personally, I prefer the alternative.

BYt he way, that's not a relevant point, I just thought I'd point it out ;)

@ Jack Thompson:

You know what? I'm going to barge into your house today, stand in the middle of your living room, and scream insults at you until I am hoarse.

WHAT? It's freedom of speech, isn't it? I'm protected, right?

Your 'first amendment rights', Jack, are limited when you enter someone else's private space. The owner has every right to silence you or remove you from the premises if they find it necessary. And that applies to the Internet, too.

Dennis is the owner of Gamepolitics, he is the final word and authority on your 'free speech.'

@ Chuma: "making something as sick as possible under the banner of Art or Free speech is really about rebelling rather than making something you believe in."

What if rebellion is what you believe in? Is that not a legitimate value? Who gets to decide which things are okay to believe in?

I do wish Sony and Nintendo would allow AO content, but they are nowhere near a monopoly. So long as we have open platforms, and we always will, the people controlling the closed platforms can't tell us what to watch or play.

'Finally, hopefully for the last time, the sex and violence control centers of the human brain are geographically interlocked'

Talking complete jibberish to try and prove a point now Jack? What is so Hilarious as that you make comments like that and it's obvious you don't have a clue what they actually mean, they're just a word-bite you read earlier and thought it sounded good.

Holland is Geographically locked, brains aren't.

"Now, about the US. There is no ban here. And The first Amendment is being protected. Rockstar chose to make the game and is allowed to do so. In the same respect, the console makers are choosing not to support it and retailers are choosing not to carry it. This is not censorship, it is buisness. Censorship by the definition requires a political reason. To not support it based off of a stance that was made when the ESRB was founded due to a business decision (retailers that won’t carry AO titles want to exhibit a family environment) is not censorship, nor will it be censorship until those responsible for that decision show a political reason."



I think the biggest problem that people, including myself have, isn't so much direct censorship as much as an indirect censorship. This shows the interest groups that the industry is lacking in a spine and the second they make a little ruckus they can get anything they want banned. To the point where games would be made for only children.

"I guess what i’m compaining about is censorship because of companies deciding not to be associated with certain content."

It's their right, though. You don't have to support any form of content on platforms you designed. To call it "censorship" is just wrong, too. R* had the right to develop the game, and nobody stopped them. But when they want to sell it, the game companies decided they won't support it.

And really, I don't see what the big deal is. Manhunt 2 WILL blow.

@bayushisan
But just because Sony and Nintendo don't HAVE to publish a game, doesnt mean they shouldnt publish it. Same with retailers, it would be perfectly acceptable to have AO games behind the counter, or in a backroom, or something. Sony, Nintendo, and retailers are becoming more or less Monopolies for what content we, the consumer, can view, and how Rockstar and TT can earn a living making games. Say the PC industry decides not to sell Manhunt 2 for the PC, then TT just lost a ton of money. Sure it sucks, but that is what a capitilist system is. I guess what i'm compaining about is censorship because of companies deciding not to be associated with certain content.

*sigh*

Alright I'm going to say this one more time and maybe it'll sink in. NONE OF US ARE ADVOCATING CENSORSHIP!!!!!!!!!! This is because censorship means that the government is the one telling TT and R* that they aren't allowed, by law, to produce a game.

Stores have the right to refuse to sell certain products just as Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft have the right to refuse to liscense AO games. I couldn't care less about Manhunt 2, I wasn't going to buy and I wouldn't have flinched a bit if R* had decided to cancel the game.

The public also has the right to peacably protest. This means things like letter writing, email campaigns, protesting with signs and the like are their means to alert the populace at large to something they believe is a problem. Lets face it Manhunt 2 was GOING to get this kind of attention and R* knew it. They knew the game would get massive bad PR and bring even more scrutiny on the industry and they simply didn't care.

I won't defend this game except for saying that R* does have the legal right to publish it. That being said remember that stores have the right to refuse to sell it and the industry has the right to refuse to liscense it. Its part of the checks and balances of publishing realm. If they don't have the right to refuse it then be prepared for games with racist content or even worse. Like I've said before and continue to point ou, the legal right to do a thing in no way makes it the right thing to do.

To blanketly say that all games must be defended blindly is just as moronic as saying that all games must be railed against blindly. Lets set some standards here people, where do we draw a line in the sand? Because that's life.

You know what i think the real problem is? It's not that the game is AO, it's that retailers and Sony and Nintendo refuse to carry or sell said games. I mean, even if the game is AO, I might get my parents (I'm only 16) to rent said game for me, assuming they allow it. Yes I am a minor, but for games that are that bad, I'm not supposed to rent them. My parents are the ones that are supposed to be just that, parents, and tell me which games i can and cannot play.
When i said earlier that no game should get AO unless its terribly bad, it was mostly because that AO games are not sold nearly anywhere in America. If they are sold here, there isnt much of a problem, its only AO. just like NC-17 movies, adults can purchase them if they want, they arent more or less 'banned' from the mainstream like AO games are

I've been giving this a lot of thought before I post, so here goes:

To start off, using the 1st amendment to bash the UK decision is a waisted effort because the 1st amendment ends at the US border. Even someone visiting another country in a civilian manner has to respect their laws or be punished by them. You cannot debase the ban based on US Freedom of Speech because the UK and other countries have their own definitions of it. There is examples of banned media from all areas of it. Books, Movies, Radio, etc all have their content that is banned in these countries.

Now, about the US. There is no ban here. And The first Amendment is being protected. Rockstar chose to make the game and is allowed to do so. In the same respect, the console makers are choosing not to support it and retailers are choosing not to carry it. This is not censorship, it is buisness. Censorship by the definition requires a political reason. To not support it based off of a stance that was made when the ESRB was founded due to a business decision (retailers that won't carry AO titles want to exhibit a family environment) is not censorship, nor will it be censorship until those responsible for that decision show a political reason. A number of people crying censorship are saying "vote with your dollar." Guess what? that is exactly what the console makers and retailers are doing. They see it as bad business to support and supply it, so they are choosing not to. Don't agree with their decision? Don't support them. Whining about their choice isn't going to resolve anything.

There are book stores that refuse to carry mangas. Blockbuster refused to carry anime for some time. Publishers and producers refuse to back certain printed works and certain TV shows and movies. DVD/HDDVD/BluRay players have region coding built in. Heck, the radio broadcast of War of the Worlds was only aired once. These are all business decisions, made because they see it bad business to do otherwise, and is their choice. By the same token, you would have to scream about region coding, and allow every book/radio show/tv show/movie to be made and displayed. Not going to happen.

So I have to ask; is the reason there is such an up in arms attitude on this because it's not your dollar directly affecting this choice? The hype and publicity? The fact that it's rockstar? The thought that you think JT won? (and no, I'm not saying he did) Because I'm not seeing anything in any of the arguments made that actually support the belief the person is making.

And one final notice, the main difference between the M rating and the AO rating isn't the age difference, it's the guideline. M rating is not recommended to be played by anyone under 17. AO rated games should not be played under the age limit due to some other reason apart from the rating (usually pornographic content)

Our old friend in Miami came up with a new IP address. Since the comments he slipped in were public and being discussed by GP readers, I will leave them up. I also cleared one that was sitting in moderation queue for some reason.

Someone asked - I don't approve comments before they go up unless the spam filter finds them suspicious and throws them into the mod queue.

Going forward, the IP Miami Jack used to post has been blocked. Also blocked: Dr. Aexander Thomas, for obvious reasons.

Interesting - GP under fire from both extremes of the game content debate.

"Time and time again, the BBFC has shown that it understands and respects videogames."

I dunno about that mention of understanding. Dunno if this is real or not yet, but if it is, it doesn't speak highly of their understanding of video games:

http://www.thewrestlingchannel.tv/forum/showpost.php?p=918209&postcount=66

In making such a game Rockstar has been juvenile, shameful and irresponsible. The right of creators to push the boundaries of media and society must be balanced out against a simple sense of social responsibility - something with Rockstar seems to entirely lack.

While i agree with the first staement, i still think that barring any strong, consistant, conclusive evidence of actual harm (of which there is none in this instance i might add) being done, censorship of any kind (a.k.a. - the outright banning of the game in the U.K.) is wrong. Let people choose for themselves what entertainemnt they want to play, and let the parents make the choice for their children. Keep government out of it.

I disagree with the editor 100%
 
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ConsterSleaker: if you think there's only been "a handful of" incidents, you have your head stuck *somewhere* - I'm assuming it's sand.09/20/2014 - 5:38am
prh99Most of it's agitprop clickbait anyway.09/20/2014 - 5:27am
prh99A good reason to stop reading reguardless of view pointhttp://www.theguardian.com/media/2013/apr/12/news-is-bad-rolf-dobelli.09/20/2014 - 5:22am
Andrew EisenWell this is unique! A musical critique of the Factual Feminist's "Are Video Games Sexist?" video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-K4s7cV4Us409/20/2014 - 2:41am
Andrew EisenSome locked threads. Some let them be. So, no, I'm not seeing a problem here. No corruption. No collusion. No ethical problem with privately discussing ethics.09/20/2014 - 12:48am
Andrew EisenAnd still, in the end, Tito made up his own mind on how to handle his site. All 150 or so members went off to handle their own sites in their own ways. Some talked about it. Some didn't. Some changed disclosure policies. Some didn't.09/20/2014 - 12:40am
Andrew EisenThere were two comments other than Kochera and Tito's. One pointed out the Escapist Code of Conduct, another comment was in support of Tito.09/20/2014 - 12:40am
Andrew EisenKochera privately expressed his disagreement on how Tito decided to do something. No, I don't consider that crossing a line nor do I consider the exchange an example of the group pressuring him.09/20/2014 - 12:36am
Kronotechnical reasons. Anyways, I need to get to sleep as well.09/20/2014 - 12:29am
KronoAnd he wasn't the only one pushing Tito to censor the thread. If Tito had bowed to peer pressure, we likely wouldn't have gotten this http://goo.gl/vKiYtR which grew out of that thread. Said thread also lasted until a new one needed to be made for09/20/2014 - 12:28am
Krono@Andrew So it's an example of Kuchera crossing the line from reporter to advocate. And an example of the group pressuring for censorship.09/20/2014 - 12:21am
E. Zachary KnightAnyway, I am off to bed. I will probably wake up to all of this being knocked off the shout box.09/20/2014 - 12:20am
E. Zachary KnightKrono, that is the type of reading too much into things that bugs me. Ben did no such thing. Greg had the last word in that part of the exchange. The rest was about how to approach the story and Quinn.09/20/2014 - 12:19am
Andrew EisenSo?09/20/2014 - 12:13am
KronoExcept that the forum thread wasn't harassment, and Kuchera continued to push for the thread's removal after Tito made it clear he didn't consider it harassment.09/20/2014 - 12:12am
Andrew EisenPersonally, I see nothing wrong with someone offering their opinion or the other person making up their own mind on how to run their site.09/20/2014 - 12:06am
E. Zachary KnightKrono, I read nothing of the sort in that email chain. I read Ben giving advice on what to do when a forum thread is used to harass someone and spread falshoods about them and others.09/20/2014 - 12:05am
KronoThat's exactly what Ben Kuchera was doing to Greg Tito.09/19/2014 - 11:58pm
Krono@EZK So you see nothing wrong with one journalist pressuring a journalist from a different organization to not only not run a story, but to censor a civil discussion already taking place?09/19/2014 - 11:56pm
E. Zachary KnightI write for a number of blogs and talk to people who write similar blogs all the time for tips and advice. I see nothing wrong with that.09/19/2014 - 11:50pm
 

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