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back to article UK censor to appeal against Manhunt 2 verdict

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) is to ask the English High Court to uphold its decision that controversial videogame Manhunt 2 should not be sold in the UK. The BBFC today said it is seeking a judicial review of the Video Appeals Committee's decision, announced last week, that the game should be released over …

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Isn't it time to...

...disband the British Board of Film Censors?

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Anonymous Coward

Other way around

I'd be more worried about the damage that the player will do to the game/console once he/she realises what an over-sensationalised piece of crap it is.

The GTA series was fun, but if Rockstar have decided to wholeheartedly embrace the strategy of selling crap games on the strength of their controversy alone, then I think it's time to wave goodbye.

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Alert

and yet...

movies are fine...

Go watch Hostel or Saw or hell, even the older Nightmare on Elm Street(s) or Jason films, and then tell me that there is too much violence in these games...

Should just be truthful and ban manhunt on the grounds of it being crap...

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The BBFC busy bodies

The BBFC should not be allowed to refuse certification. The most they should be able to do is give something an 18 certificate.

Why are books not subject to the same rating system films and video games are?

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I need protecting

Well, as a 36 year old man I'm obviously incapable of deciding for myself whether to buy this game.

I'm just waiting for a BBFC nanny to come round to tuck me into bed tonight.

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Ash

The original was dire...

I got bored killing the first guy. It was just boring.

The horse killed itself.

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I've no interest in this game, BUT

I'm tempted to buy it out of principle (although that's what the game makers are hoping for)

I presume the security forces are going to keep a close eye on the BBFC members who have played this game, as it's obviously so bad they are all going to end up homicidal maniacs?

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@Leigh Smith

er... because the sort of people who buy and play these kind of games probably can't read for toffee anyway, and people who read are meant to have an IQ, whereas people who play manhunt just don't know what a decent game is

However I do agree, it should just be an 18, though queue old biddies suing after buying it for their 12 year old kids and then seeing the content ala Manhunt 1 in the US of A...

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Official petition

It is possible for an official petition to be setup on the government website ( yup I know it prob wont work or will link to some random site) but supposing one was setup to get rid of the British Board of Film Censors or change the fact that they can ban or request changes. at 18 you can do most things so why not be able to watch or play what you like. Surly by then you are old enough to understand if its crap or you dont like it switch it off. Do people think that any adult would be so scared they wouldnt be able to press the power button. I suppose using a carrier bag to kill somebody with, could be classed as recycling. The game could be sponsored by ASDA in the UK and Wallmart in the USA. Wow what an idea....... Manhunt 3: Recycling crap.

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Unhappy

The point in the VAC?

So, the VAC are charged with assessing the rulings of the BBFC. What's the point if the BBFC can then just turn around and whinge when the VAC make a ruling? This just makes the BBFC sound like a bunch of petulant children who can't take their (often highly questionable and never consistent) judgement being called into question.

Still won't buy the game though as it looks gash.

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Boffin

How about....

Adding a "21" age restriction to things if you REALLY have to, then you can put all porn as "21" vids etc if you like.

But seriously, its an old argument and

1) If a game makes you violent, you have underlying problems already. Its not the game's fault otherwise watching boxing would make people violent.

2) If you are offended by this content....gee....DON'T BUY IT! This is not rocket science....

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Coat

@John Macintyre

If you read any of Shaun Hutsons' books I'm sure you'd see where Leigh may have a point.

There is some pretty horrific stuff in those and his work is very popular in "prison libraries" according to his official website.

So, the point is that these books have gory and horrific content yet prisons (where crims are supposed to be being reformed) hold them and make them available to their inmates. Yet we ban a game made available to the adult, game playing (and innocent) public?

Yes... makes sense that...

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Well...

Since it doesn't offer 'alternative pleasures,' rather than censoring out the nasty parts to get it approved couldn't they simply add a feature whereby you could instead offer flowers to the enemy characters who would then join you, arm in arm, to go skipping around through the rest of the game spreading peace, love and flower power to the other chainsaw-wielding maniacs?

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Coat

18R?

I'd like to suggest the BBFC introduce an 18R rating for games like this. Indicating that the content is so bad that the customer is entitled to an automatic refund.

I'd get my coat but I think I left my dirty mac in the sex shop...

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Anonymous Coward

If a game makes you violent, you have underlying problems already.

Presumably this is an argument about edge cases, not about some artificial opposition of the perfectly-harmless vs the real-life violent.

E.g. there are a finite number of individuals who will most likely lead rather blameless and minimally violent lives unless incited in some way, perhaps by games in which (fictional) violence is used as means to provide exciting entertainment.

Clearly we should flood the market with games that look like they are going to be violent and unpleasant, but turn out to require niceness, altruism, and saving small fluffy animals (etc) for success.

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Stop

NO ONE CARES!!

In the areas this game has been allowed it has been a gigantic flop, not even charting.

Even if it comes out, its dead and buried among the games out this christmas.

Forget about this turd.

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Lest we forget...

...if I recall correctly, the BBC also banned "Monster Mash" for being morbid. So UK censors making fools of themselves has historical precedent.

The scary thing is that everyone who's arguing that "only people who already messed up would do something because of this" are missing the point in an *incredibly* dangerous way. Whether video games, books, movies, or any other form of expression inspires violence, immorality, terrorism, or any other fear-de-jour is entirely beside the point - human beings have an inalienable right to express themselves. If the "fire in a crowded theater" argument has gone so far as to apply to future potential maybe could-be, then no form of expression is safe.

And arguing that it's OK because video games / whatever *don't* have that effect is basically saying, "OK, if you find out that a video game had that effect on one person, we're fine with some random group of censors determining what we have the right to view and think."

Remember that in addition to the 'monster mash' this argument was used on Catcher in the Rye, Ulysses, Dungeons and Dragons board games in the '70s, and everything from Atari 2600 games (They're so realistic!) to Mortal Kombat (It's so realistic and morbid!) to DOOM (It's so realistic!) etc.

So, admit now that the only thing keeping the censors away is a lack of proof that there might possibly be harm, and we can look forward to a future where the video game ban trickles back down to card games, TV shows, cartoons, comic books, and novels.

Not good policy.

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Alert

I seem to recall

Something about Weapons of Mass Destruction. The Gov't was a bit out then too.

Oh, wait. That's another lie, sorry got the bullocks mixed up there a second.

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Anonymous Coward

Movies Vs Games

I have the same question as another poster here, wtf?!

Hitman was recently released as a movie, to no objection. And theres been many other video game cum movie conversions which in their much more realistic representations than what a video game could offer movies have had no controversy compared to their console counterparts. Double standards.

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Mad Magzine

It use to be a comic but during the 50's there was a witch hunt for comics in the states . They said comics cause youth delinquency . What I believe this comes down to is this. People wanting to think for you, and enough lazy people that wont think for them selfs.

Makes life hard for the rest of us.

PS do these people actually have kids ??

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@David Wiernicki

The argument isn't about "only people who already messed up would do something because of this". The point is that censorship is being used under the guise that it will protect those in society deemed impressionable i.e. everyone in this case or usually under the age of 18.

The point about the books etc etc is that these are forms of expression which are allowed to tout similar levels of gore and brutality with far less censorship than is being applied here. The prison example is that here are people who have in some cases performed acts of gross indecency and are, potentially, likely to perform them again. However, there seems to be no attempt to stop them reading books like Hutsons.

It would be interesting to see the correlation between the amount of tax the government can get from a movie or book compared with a game. I'd wager (and probably lose) that it's less for a game than either a book or movie.

As for "human beings having an inalienable right to express themselves": they don't. All human beings live in a society governed by rules and standards of behaviour. This is what makes society (and civilization) work. If someone took a dump on your front room carpet and said "sorry old chap, I felt the need to express myself as my "inalienable human right" dictates" I'm sure you'd have something to say about it.

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Rubbish......

.....is exactly what this game will be. Some would say that arrangements might have been made for the censors to make a fuss about it, just to get the game some publicity. The only way they'll get people to buy it is to make them feel "rebellious" doing so, as no-one would buy it on its own merits.

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Argument

The argument, in answer to all the questions about why films are allowed, is that you're being told a story in traditional media. Saw, Nightmare on Elm Street (presumably the early ones of both series were meant) and the likes don't involve any user interaction, i.e. you're not the one making the decision what Jigsaw or Freddy does. Games are putting the decision into the hands of the person watching.

I can only imagine they're pre-empting the line where we build to games that are indistinguishable from real-life. If we get to eXistenZ levels, would Manhunt be an acceptable game?

Not my argument, and not agreeing or disagreeing with it.

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@Ross Flemming

[I can only imagine they're pre-empting the line where we build to games that are indistinguishable from real-life. If we get to eXistenZ levels, would Manhunt be an acceptable game?

Not my argument, and not agreeing or disagreeing with it.]

No, it is your argument. You're just trying to brush off any downside to espousing it by denying you've said it.

If we can get to eXistenZ then we've already stuffed up humans. We can control everything they think and do with this level of technology. If we put "Manhunt" in that sort of player, why would they be physically walking around killing people? The game would have to know where the real people were and map "baddies" that the game wants you to kill on to these people.

Or, as in "Better Than Life", you'd be strapped into a full-immersion chair and unable to move. It's quite hard to kill a real person when you're strapped into a chair...

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BBFC aren't entirely bonkers

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the amount of tax the government can get from a movie or book compared with a game.

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Yes, you would loose, books in the UK are VAT exempt.

I've got absolutely no problem with the BBFC - by and large they do a pretty decent job, even recategorising older films on re-release (Hammer's Dracula for instance) when the change in society warrants it.

I'd much rather games/films have a classification rating; the alternative is that everything would have to be effectively "U" rated ("Universal; suitable for all"). I like the fact that there's a legal backup as well (theoretically) - parents who piss and whine because the game they bought for their 10 year old, despite it having an 18 certificate, was totally unsuitable, should be punished in some way.

When it comes to _not_ classifying something though, a line has to be drawn somewhere (where no actual law exists - the ban on extremely violent porn for instance) and I don't think they always get it right. The non-classification on Manhunt 2 doesn't really bother me though, the game looks utterly insipid, about as much fun as watching tea cool and get that milky skin on top (full fat milk).

Let's compare it to "The Witcher"; Manhunt 2 has violence, gore, sadism and a bit more violence for good measure (so far as I can tell). The Witcher has violence, a bit of gore, a bit of sadism, a fair smattering of sex and nudity, from talking to a naked dryad that they've actually bothered to texture the pubes on to getting picture "cards" showing the women you've shagged in various states of undress... oh and plenty of "bad" language.

The Witcher passed the BBFC with an 18 certificate simply because the actions you take are not entirely "evil" - much of the game is choosing between 2 evils (side with the victimised freedom fighters and betray your friend, or remain loyal to your friend and kill the freedom fighters?). There's enough depth to it to prevent it from falling into the same category as Manhunt 2. In effect, Manhunt 2 was banned for being sadistic and uber-violent AS WELL as being shallow and pointless.

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Heil BBFC!

"The VAC judgement, if allowed to stand, would have fundamental implications with regard to all the Board's decisions,..."

Please explain (1) why that's a bad thing, and (2) why the British public is considered too immature/unreliable/stupid to make their own decisions regarding films or games, without Nanny choosing for them.

And while you're about it, why aren't you lot burning offensive books (e.g., books that don't support the Governmnet in true Chauvinistic fashion)?

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