back to article Manhunt 2 banned

Rockstar Games' Manhunt 2 has been to all intents and purposes banned in the UK after the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) refused to certify the PS2 and Wii title. Without a BBFC certificate, the game can't legally be sold here. The BBFC's verdict of the game is damning: "Manhunt 2 is distinguishable from recent …

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  1. bambi

    WTF?

    Its that insane nanny again..

  2. Matt Kimber

    Forbidden Fruit

    ... and watch as Manhunt 2 becomes the must-have title of the year for every game-playing teenager in the country. The torrent trackers will be groaning under the load. Don't they ever learn?

  3. A J Stiles

    And this means .....

    And this means it will become incredibly popular!

    Of course, since it's already illegal anyway, there won't be any good reason why anyone should prefer a bought-and-paid-for copy over a pirated copy .....

  4. Karl Lattimer

    What about us...

    What about us...poor souls who have suffered post traumatic stress disorder after playing doom3!

    Its like watching the exorcist with the devil on halloween that game, it has shockingly disturbed my very being!

    Mind you, I still clocked it. Tremors and all :)

  5. Rob

    A sad day for gaming...

    Never played Manhunt and couldn't give a toss about MH2 specifically, but it's a sad day for gaming if some nut-job is able to tell me that I can't buy an 18 rated game, because a mother fears it might encourage her 12 year old son to attack his mates.

    Parents: grow up and take responsibility for your kids yourselves!

  6. Graham Robinson

    So it's the parents fault then?

    So it seems that the reason that adult games cannot be made now is that they end up in the hands of children.

    Time for there to be a back room in your local game then with brown paper bags around your purchase of resident evil?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bastards

    That's pretty crap. Will they be having public game-burning sessions?

  8. Greg

    So I'll be importing it then

    Not because I was a fan of Manhunt. I'm just intrigued to see what level of violence it takes to get a game banned. I've played some fairly violent games...

  9. Tim Hale

    Ban Everything!

    I'm sure this game isn't suitable for children but once again people who, all else being equal, would be permitted to do something (play a game in this case) aren't allowed to do it because stupid / careless people can't be trusted to do the right thing. Isn't it incumbent on a parent to ensure that what their child is exposed to is suitable? Let's ban cars because children might drive them. Oh, wait, we already banned an advert for that, didn't we. Good grief.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    lack of alternatives?

    so theres a lack of alternatives?

    Try another game per-chance?

    oh no! I've pushed a button and some pixels left the screen! OMG!!! I must be a mad, murdering type psycho...... (yeah.....)

  11. Sam

    "the sheer lack of alternative pleasures on offer to the gamer".

    If only they'd included the option to pick up hookers...

  12. Phil

    Outrageous

    "In short, the BBFC believes it's not worth risking the game falling into the hands of kids"

    There you go, the same old story.

    I can't believe we haven't banned kitchen knives, in case a child gets hold of one. Or cars, just in case someone's underage kid gets hold of the keys and takes one out for a drive.

    Ridiculous

  13. Gavin

    when do we get a say

    honest to god when do we get a say, ratings mean sod all if they aren't enforced now instead they are going to withdraw me from my depravity.

    I want depravity, slicing someones head off is more fun than picking daisies. Besides i can legally and morally pick daisies in real life if i want to i can't on the other hand with maiming and killing.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Great news!

    I hope this is the beginning of a trend. Someone must come to terms with the fact that HD and graphics power cannot be only vehicles for more and more sadistic simulation.

    Game developers: just for a change, give it a try and think HD as a means to educate, rather than brutalise.

    And yes I know this sounds so old-fashioned.

  15. N1AK

    Because Saw & Hostel are fine...

    It's great to know that in order to stop parents who ignore or disagree with a rating system, I am being deprived of the right to buy something as an adult.

    I'm fed up with ignorant opinionated people who don't regard the fact they have no knowledge of a subject as a reason not to comment on it.

    Theirs no proof that computer games are responsible for any form of illegal behaviour or mental problem. And in simple violence terms both Hostel and Saw II / III make this tame.

  16. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ulysses, Lady Chatterley's Lover, Rights of Man, The Wealth of Nations, The Well of Loneliness...

    Manhunt 2

  18. Matt

    Hmmm

    Difficult to respect this judgment when you see what kind of films get a 12 certificate these days.

  19. Adam

    Yeah..

    Isn't freedom great? It's this kind of thing that makes me glad that even though my government (I'm USian) is full of morons and "THINK OF THE CHILDREN" assholes we still can go out and purchase entertainment even if the government says it's naughty.

  20. Richy Freeway

    Import time!

    Let's just hope the NTSC version runs on a chipped PAL Wii!

    This is only serving to hype the game up more and people will go to great lengths if the game turns out to be any good.

  21. Ian

    The saddest part?

    The BBC is STILL reporting that the original Manhunt was the cause of Stephen Pakeerah's murder despite the police pointing out that the copy of Manhunt recovered in the murder investigation was owned by Stephen Pakeerah himself - the murdered kid rather than the murderer. I have lodged formal complaints about their misreporting on this issue yet they ignore them.

    Still, it was only yesterday we heard about the BBC's problem with institutionalised bias in it's reporting so that pretty much sums up the problem. The BBC is wholly incapable of putting across a fair and balanced report, often when it puts over the side of the argument it disagrees with it merely glosses over extremely important facts - in this case whilst they mentioned the police acknowledged that the game had nothing to do with the murder, the BBC has omitted the most important point above - that the murderer never actually owned Manhunt!

    I'd argue the only reason a game like Manhunt 2 has really been banned is become of the fuss and lies the mainstream media like the BBC spread about the original Manhunt as opposed to it actually being so bad it needs to be banned. It's not as if there aren't other games out there that are soley about killing other human beings in various ways - Hitman springs to mind.

    This kind of over the top censorship should be left to goverments like Iran and their ilk who are well known for it.

    Apologies for the BBC part of the rant, but as the BBC themselves aren't willing to put up a discussion on the issue and ignore complaints sent to them then all we can really do is make the truth about the BBC's misreporting known elsewhere.

  22. Tom

    time to dust off the ps2 then

    why is it that anything that is banned becomes so attractive?

  23. tranquil

    Maybe.

    Being as this is the first game to be banned by the BBFC in 10 years (and that, Carmageddon, was overturned on appeal), I suspect two things; 1) this probably isn't an assault on freedom of expression, and 2) I really don't want to play this game.

    Which isn't to say I'm not afraid of the precedent this sets, but I'm prepared to believe the BBFC when they say that this game was an exception.

  24. John Stag

    ...thus ensuring the game will be a runaway success!

    Brilliant!

    This game is now firmly on every kid's "must have" list....

  25. Mark Rendle

    Re: Great news!

    Andy S, that's a very odd comment. I can think of dozens of non-brutal, non-sadistic next-gen games, and even among the more violent fare such as Gears of War or Resistance: Fall of Man, there are none that compare to Manhunt 2.

    Do you actually play videogames, or are you too busy reading the Daily Mail?

  26. Matt MArtin

    stu-pid daily mail

    "even if statutorily confined to adults, would be unacceptable to the public,"

    for public read tabloid editors out for headlines

  27. Rob

    Just goes to show...

    The BBFC aren't citing violence as the main reason for banning it yet it seems most of you have locked onto the violent aspect of the game as that reason (probably v.interesting from a frudien perspective).

    "...unremitting bleakness and callousness of tone in an overall game context which constantly encourages visceral killing with exceptionally little alleviation or distancing..."

    They are more bothered by the general tone and judging by what they have said I would reckon it's more of a danger to a kid who could or will suffer from something like depression.

    To put the BBFC in context, they are a lot more liberal than they used to be, so don't knock them too much, how much stuff have they banned in recent years.

  28. Dillon Pyron

    EC "exports"?

    I wonder how long it will take for some enterprising soul from another EC country to start "exporting" them to the UK. I'd do it if I had access to PAL versions.

  29. Darren Coleman

    Setting a precedent

    Although by banning it they've instantly made it more desireable it doesn't necessarily track that everyone will be able to get it. For starters unlike DVD players standard PAL PS2s and Wiis won't play out-of-region games. Interested parties will have to mod their consoles, and modding is still a niche market - a lot of people simply won't know that this is possible.

    Quite aside from this technical fact it's a bit silly for them to set a precedent like this when there are already a lot more violent (mentally and visual) films out there. Also as has already been remarked why should adults have to suffer censorship simply because the BBFC apparently cannot trust parents to regulate what their children play?

    I could understand the BBFC stepping in and outlawing a game which contains elements which promote or otherwise trivialise illegal acts - but if they're going to ban something simply due to violent content then they have to apply the same rules and start banning any film like Hostel, Saw, Hellraiser, etc which do the same thing.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Business as usual

    I truly doubt Rockstar Games would be satisfied unless their games were banned in one or more countries. Getting games banned gives them better PR than any commercial campaign could ever provide.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh dear

    The poster above (Ian) puts a lot of truth into it... the police confirmed the game was not an issue in Stephen Pakeerah's murder, but rather the by-product of the robbery. Yet now on the BBC website covering the ban of Manhunt 2 they don't make it clear enough and still put things like "The original Manhunt game caused huge controversy and was blamed for the murder of Stefan Pakeerah."

    This is not only a lack of impartiality, but clearly bad journalism due to the liberties it takes with the story. As for the game, I played the original Manhunt and it was fun. Again, like the (in)sane people post here parents should be aware the games industry is grown up and caters for a distinct mature audience so supervision is clearly needed. Of course what we need is the cessation of the politicisation of games as scapegoats for violent crime. There's a good quote from someone I forget when he responded to claims that TV-violence-causes-real-violence. He said "Well I see comedy on TV, but it's not causing comedy in the streets!"

  32. David Webb

    Jail time ahoy

    "I wonder how long it will take for some enterprising soul from another EC country to start "exporting" them to the UK. I'd do it if I had access to PAL versions."

    Only if they want to end up behind bars, what you are talking about is a criminal offence.

    Must have game? Not really, you would need a chipped console to play this game, The fact of the matter is that the BBFC has stated the game had no redeeming features. We all know Saw 3 is bad, and responsible people wouldn't allow their 12 year old to watch it, but when it comes to console games, an 18 rating is meaningless.

    Hopefully game makers will take note of this and put more thought into a game. Yes the BBFC has banned lots of movies in the past, and some (not all) are now unbanned, times change so for the BBFC to have banned this game it must be nothing short of gratuitous rubbish.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Art

    I wonder if the people defending the game also connect the movie "Hostel" to "critical social statement".

  34. Cian Duffy

    setting a precedent

    This game has also been banned in Ireland, the very first time one has been (unlike the UKs attempt at it in the past). Would presume we're going to get more in the future now - the first banning of a movie in 5 years here has lead to a few being banned every year since - the film censors appear to not be able to give up.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do we all feel protected now?...

    they tell you what you can play, what to watch, what to read, they lie in government, they watch you on CCTV, they stop the population taking charge of its own defence, they want your DNA and fingerprints, they stop you protesting near your parliament, we have foreign wars and terror to justify your loss of liberty....

    don't question, don't disagree. they know where you are....

    Orwell where are you now?

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't read the Daily Mail

    Mark: I am not saying that violent games are responsible for anything in society; but pilots learn to fight using simulators because that makes them more comfortable when facing the real thing.

    I think that a lot of games are doing just that: making violence more "comfortable" and normal. I think that's a bad thing.

  37. James

    You don't need to chip PS2 to play Manhunt 2.

    Assuming that not all European countries ban this game you would be able to get a PAL copy from one of the other European nations and play it without the need to chip your console.

    Modchips are only needed for US and Japanese region games.

  38. This post has been deleted by its author

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Silly censorship

    'There's a good quote from someone I forget when he responded to claims that TV-violence-causes-real-violence. He said "Well I see comedy on TV, but it's not causing comedy in the streets!"'

    That's a terrible example of course. The endless hordes of people shouting "garlic bread?!" or "computer says no" are testament to how people copy comedy TV programmes word for word.

    That said I can't see any reason for the BBFC to step in on this. Either the rating system works or not, and if it doesn't and 12 year olds can get hold of 18 year old games its time to enforce the system not ban violent games.

    I'd guess the game will be rubbish - however the publicity they'll be generating for Rockstar will do it a world of good. If the decision is overturned it'll get sold by the truckload and if not, imports from the EU (ebay anyone?) will rise dramatically.

  40. Mike Richards

    What I find depressing is...

    ...that Rockstar presumably went through a business appraisal and thought that there was a large enough market for this game to invest a large six-figure sum.

    Whether or not the game actually causes violence is almost immaterial, I just can't understand why anyone would want to play it. (And that's from reading the 'Edge' preview, not the 'Daily Mail').

  41. Nix

    'Safe at last'

    What a tremendous relief that in an age where I can walk into a store and buy a DVD of 12 men having sex with one woman in every degrading pose possible, I'm safe from the mind-warping harm brought on by video games.

    Phew!

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are parents accountable for anything these days?

    So it seems that the reason that adult games cannot be made now is that they end up in the hands of children. The games are rated 18 so why does the media keeping blaming the game makers for the parents obvious neglect of supervision of what their children are doing?

    Movies with an 18 rating are not illegal, pornography is not illegal if you want to buy it, so why are adults forbidden to buy a game because some parents are not good at looking after what their kids see and do? Oh well they can now be safe to watch the latest violent and sordid plot line in Eastenders on the BBC which is on before the watershed anyway.

    I have no interest in the game Manhunt but I do have an interest in the fact that it has been decided that as an adult, I can not buy it because of other peoples poor parenting skills an inablility to take responsibility for their actions.

  43. Morely Dotes

    Not a problem, mates

    I'm not subject to UK law. Anyone want to buy the stupid game from me?

  44. This post has been deleted by its author

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I thought Mary Whitehouse was dead...

    First of all if the reason is that there is a possibility of it getting in to wrong hands (non adults) that it got banned, then surely the risk of centralised ID info getting into the wrong hands is possible and so the ID card should be banned as well. The point I'm making is that you can't ban something because someone may break the rules layed out thats just stupid. No cars because people might speed/drink drive... the list goes on.

    As for people saying developers should make educational or non violent game..ahem BrainAge Second Life (non Violent) and many more. The thing is action sells, look at a lot of the big hit movies there is alot of action films and at least films with moderate action sequences. And films like Vacancy and Hostel.

    I am a responsible adult and would like to make my own decision about which computer games i can and cannot play.

    The thing is a lot of same people who say this is good probably would criticise the Muslim banning of Rushdie's Satanic Verses.

    Why do u think your opinion and sensibilities are more righteous than the rest of us. If u don't like it don't play or look and let the rest of us get on with 'Our' own lives

  46. Jason

    So...

    I take it that someone from the BBFC went crazy after playing the game and started murdering hundreds of people?

    Yeah, thought not....

  47. b166er

    Erm!

    I wrote loads of stuff here then thought bollox to it. The BBFC have prolly saved us from a load of old tosh anyway.

    Console makers - put parental control features in your consoles like almost every other consumer device available (even fridges)

    Games developers - put some originality into it, killing people in video games has been done to death. I had as much fun playing Roller Coaster

  48. Robert Laverick

    Think of the marketing!

    They couldn't have wanted a better incentive for young rebelious types to by the game when they eventually work out something to get it sold here in the UK (come on do any of us believe this is a permenant situation?)

    "The game they tried to ban"

    Solid PR Gold.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Only illegal if you're "protected" by the British Government

    "I wonder how long it will take for some enterprising soul from another EC country to start "exporting" them to the UK. I'd do it if I had access to PAL versions."

    "Only if they want to end up behind bars, what you are talking about is a criminal offence."

    I'm sure somebody will correct me if I'm wrong but surely it's only an offence for someone in the UK to sell a banned title. What can the British Government do if somebody in France buys a load of copies and sells them over the net? (other than try to seize them in the mail) Can they really get a European arrest warrant for that?

  50. adnim Silver badge

    My rights?

    I do not recognise that the BBFC, or anyone for that matter, has any right to decide what I can and cannot view, play or experience. Yet my willing failure to recognise their right does nothing to stop them from choosing what I can legally view, play or experience.

    Who the fugg are these people? And why should they have any right at all over what I, we view etc.

    When I was young I thought I lived in a free society based on honesty(yup I really did). And to a much greater extent than today, it was. Getting older however has taught me a few things... There isn't a great deal of freedom here in the UK at all. We have self appointed saviours of morality telling us how we should all behave. We have the supremely arrogant running the country, who create laws to counter the slightest hint of threat to their base of power. Who then have the audacity to tell us it is for our own good! And we have media using adjectives to describe the news, not just simply reporting it. In fact there is always someone or some kind of system somewhere attempting to forge opinion and coerce our thinking. On top of all that, I cannot legally play a computer game because, according to the opinion of a group of people for whom I do not give an expletive, it might corrupt me and make me a violent killer. Or perhaps worse still, fall into the hands of a youngster and turn him into a serial killer. The one thing more likely to turn me into a violent killer above everything else is being dictated to by a bunch of pompous, self righteous fools who believe that THEY know what is best for me, ultimately deciding what I legally can and cannot do. Don't let anyone tell you that this is a free country.

  51. Iamfanboy

    Anyone else here played the first Manhunt?

    I have.

    All of this reminds me of a funny scene that took place when GTA San Andreas came out. I was in line to buy a copy of Xenogears (fifth freakin' copy I've owned of the game), and ahead of me was a woman with her son, who looked perhaps 11 years old, and his friend.

    His hands were clenched around a copy of GTA SA, and he was talking eagerly with his friend about it. "Anything you find is a vehicle you can use! You can even pedal a bicycle around! And there are tons of weapons, too!"

    The mother reached back and plucked the game from her son's hands, but he continued talking. "Yeah, guns, knives, baseball bats, your bare fists..."

    Just as she was reaching for the money to pay for it, the kid made the fatal mistake of adding, "You can even find a double-headed dildo and beat people to death with it!"

    At that point, she shoved the game at the store clerk, gathered up her money, and dragged her protesting son from the store. My eyes met the clerk's, and it was all we could do to keep from laughing until they'd fully departed the store.

    Funny story? Yes. But it highlights an important point - that parents are, more often than not, idiots. Would it have been so hard (so GODDAMNED hard) for that woman to do even a little bit of research, maybe asked the clerk, "Do you think this game is appropriate?" And why was the mention of a sex toy just too much for her delicate sensibilities?

    But because she, and so many like her, can't be bothered to do even the slightest bit of questioning, the rest of us have to pay for it.

    Now, me, I didn't mind the first Manhunt. It was packed with the blackest of dark humour. I got bored with it about 3/4ths of the way through (there are only so many times that the director pants in your ear, "Oooh, you really got me off with that last one" before the humour starts to fade) and I certainly wouldn't let a kid play it.

    Still, though, as long as there are parents like the ones in my story, there will always be an outcry for someone to do the parenting that they can't.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Excellent Decision by the UK Censors

    Well done for once to the UK sensors for banning this game it is truly an awful game in both respects game play / ridiculous unnecessary amounts of inhuman violence. Now don’t get me wrong I do like a game with some violence in myself at times but this is completely over the top and deeply offensive to people who suffer from mental illnesses that would make them have these kinds of thoughts.

    Games are meant to be about fun and yes I will admit that sometimes an acceptable amount of violence can be fun but there is no excuse for realising such a game where the object of the player is to be a murder that has to kill innocent people; this is only one victory against the sick minded mentality of the media these days but an important one non-the-less.

    Bravo the censors!

  53. David Webb

    Weird

    "I'm sure somebody will correct me if I'm wrong but surely it's only an offence for someone in the UK to sell a banned title. What can the British Government do if somebody in France buys a load of copies and sells them over the net? (other than try to seize them in the mail) Can they really get a European arrest warrant for that?"

    Free trade within the EU, people in Europe would be breaking their own countries laws by importing into the UK something which was illegal here. Like Holland, cannabis is legal, but if you tried to import that into the UK your a drug smuggler and will be arrested in Holland. If you tried to send Nazi flags to Germany, you'd be arrested here.

    The BBFC is always going to take stick over anything it bans, we believe in civil liberties, we believe that we have a god given right to watch whatever we want on our TV's and if RockStar bring out a game where the "star" is a child molester and the aim of the game is to abuse children, it better get an 18 certificate because we have a god given right!! Except we don't, there are boundries on taste, thats why there is still a 9pm watershed, Manhunt 2 goes beyond what could be classified as entertainment and into the realms of sadistic, brutal, where you get to remove someones head and use it for a weapon - with much detail.

  54. dougal

    and yet

    1)so who sold the young Stefan Pakeerah the game were they ever prosecuted ?

    2)So some violence and death is ok then, i guess games where you play the representatives of the all loving state engaged in killing nasty terrorists is ok ...i because they certainly seems to have had a positive influence on the masses judging by the lack opposition by BBC for one , to the current hostilities maybe if Rockstar re do it so it is set in Iraq it will only get a 12 certficate

    3) violence obviously works just try not paying your TV licence.......Ian your rant about the BBC wasnt out of place

  55. Graham Marsden

    Wierd

    > "I'm sure somebody will correct me if I'm wrong but surely it's only an offence for someone in the UK to sell a banned title. What can the British Government do if somebody in France buys a load of copies and sells them over the net?"

    What can they do? Damn all, that's what!

    It's illegal to sell R18 material in the UK without a sex shop licence, but you can quite legitimately buy it from abroad and have it posted to you in the UK.

    All this does is hamstring British businesses whilst doing nothing to affect the trade.

    Still, as long as our Government can say that they're trying to "protect" us...

  56. Mentat

    Censorship?

    Why do other people insist on telling me what I can or cannot see? If they don't want to see it, fine, don't watch/see/play. I am a father of two and my wife and I decide what my children watch/see/play and damn the stupid so called moral majority/fundamentist christians/concerned viewers or whatever they want to call themselves.

    Censorship is Big Brother (the Orwellian variety, not C4) gone madder. I don't need anyone else to protect me from this stuff, I am perfectlly capable of deciding for myself and my family.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That thin line...

    If only more governments had the balls to take a stand against things worth taking a stand on...

    The important thing to know is that many adults are just plain old ignorant idiots - idiots who do not need a license to have children, idiots who think violence is fine, that toy guns are great entertainment and torturing animals can be amusing.

    Those idiot parents are out there buying shite like this macabre saistic torture game for their kids - and their kids are the ones which are rather impressionable. When your kids have been beaten up or had some other crime inflicted upon them I am sure your perspectives about proving the impact of sustained exposure to extreme violence will change somewhat.

    ...last time I checked I didn't live in a bubble (no offence to anyone actually living in a bubble - I am envious)... a government has to think about the impact to the collective as well as an individuals freedoms - otherwise cannibalism would be acceptable.

    Furthermore, even if you as an individual think you have the ability to make moral judgement; what say you when your 10 year old is sneaking a go of that hyper-violent computer game or your anal donkey sex porn collection? That impact can not be overlooked.

    Where do you want to draw the line? Yes its a bloody fine line because that line of censorship can easily be manipulated by interested corporate or government parties to affect public sentiment on certain issues. THAT fine line is a long way away from ManHunt 2.

    If you bemaon your loss of freedom to exercise the joys of murder and/or chicken sodomy please realize that you cohabitate with several million other people and move to an aforementioned bubble.

  58. George Johnson

    So this thing called BitTorrent right...

    "There is sustained and cumulative casual sadism in the way in which these killings are committed, and encouraged, in the game,"

    Yeah, that'll be the fun bit, the escapsim?! Nanny state supposedly protecting the normal people from the nutters who can't tell fiction from reality! Films like Hostel and SAW can get a license!

    This was a corker:

    "In short, the BBFC believes it's not worth risking the game falling into the hands of kids," Hmm, so this thing called BitTorrent right…which the BBFC believe is obviously beyond the average 10 year old's ability to operate…

    As usual, stir up a fuss and the chattering classes all want to know what the fuss is about! No such thing as bad publicity!

  59. Mad Mike

    Desensitisation

    "Mark: I am not saying that violent games are responsible for anything in society; but pilots learn to fight using simulators because that makes them more comfortable when facing the real thing."

    Really? It helps them fly the plane and know the moves they can make and how to get in the best kill positions etc. However, when facing combat for the first time, it doesn't stop the pilot realising he won't simply restart in the event of a cockup and doesn't stop him realising that by pulling the trigger he is killing someone. The only way in which he becomes more comfortable is in knowing he is better skilled and therefore (hopefully) less likely to get killed. Unless someone is a psycopath, it doesn't make them more comfortable about killing people or being killed.

    Given the kind of sadistic torture scenes that are present in some films, how they can bad this I don't know. If you watched Casino Royale in a cinema, you would have seen a large portion of the audience wince during the Bond/chair/knotted rope scene. Obviously, this is only for a scene and not throughout, but even so.

    It's also interesting that the people sitting and watching these movies/games obviously consider themselves to be unaffected by their content, whereas lesser mortals like us would obviously instantly turn into homicidal maniacs.

  60. Jamie

    Movies

    Personally, I wouldn't have given the Saw movies and Hostel a certificate either.

    However, I accept that some people might have found them entertaining.

    Just goes to show how hard it must be for the BBFC to please everyone.

  61. Iain Cartledge

    Good decision

    I've played just about all the violent games over the last ten years at some point, including the original Manhunt. Even with those experiences behind me I still felt a bit off using the Wiimote and Nunchuk to strangle people in the Godfather game the first time I played it. I can understand how a game like Manhunt could have horrible repercussions on a person's psyche, and while I think the nanny state has gone crazy in some respects, the BBFC is perfectly justified to ban the occasional game, seeing as that's why they're there in the first place. Considering the games I've seen come through (all the way back to Wolf3d) I have confidence that they'd only do something like this if the game was really bad.

    Saying that parents should be more responsible is perfectly valid, I agree with the point, but they're not, and until they are (and until shops are) there's really no way to police the market, and it's simply unfair to the children to blame the parents but leave the problem.

  62. Neil Marshall

    Rediculous...

    This is just infuriating. Like many people have commented upon, Movies that show torture, mutilation, drug abuse, mental and physical abuse all get licences. Yet a game doesn’t?

    My parents when I was young taught me right from wrong. I was given martial arts lessons, learnt how to shoot a torrent of firearms, frequently watched horror movies and played violent WW2 games and other FPS games. I haven’t gone out a shot anyone, robbed anyone or raped anyone.

    If this is the case, why wasn’t ‘The Punisher’ banned (torturing "enemies" for the hell of it)? or Counterstrike, Call of duty, Company of heroes, medal of honour, battlefield, and the worst of all, a book that documented killings of entire nations, the bible?? Is it because these don’t have a previous history of negative press from people? While we are at it, can we ban any news broadcasts from showing any wars or tragedies, or anything that can provoke an emotive reaction.

    It just seems that when there is no motive for something evil that happens in the world, the media decides to blame something of fiction, where nearly every man, woman and child can turn on to BBC1, watch the news, and watch grown men with fully automatic weapons, RPG and tanks roll through an encampment and kill indiscriminately. Where is the censorship for that?

  63. Perry

    Fair decision

    I think the BBFC have over the years shown themselves to be progressive and wise, especially given their remit, which is to ban stuff like sex and violence, that I quite like.

    I heard the original Manhunt was quite good and all that, but the tone is very very disturbing. Not one person who has posted here has suggested that this is suitable for children. It clearly isnt. And I think the BBFC, had they known that this title would not make its way into the hands of tens of thousands of children, through lax parenting, wouldn't have banned it. So I think that while their banning of the title is legally very dubious from a libertarian perspective, they have absolutely nailed it morally. My only concern is that this probably won't hurt Rockstar much, as sales in other countries will be boosted by the controversy

  64. Richard Rayner

    not really a big deal is it.

    i'm all for choosing what i want to play, but my understanding of banning the game was that you just cant sell it here.

    so surely that doesnt make the game an 'illegal substance', it just means you have to go out of your way to get a copy. the cops arent gonna bust into my house if they see me playing it through the living room window surely?

    if this stops the above mentioned scene where a mother only realises a game in not suitable seconds before she buys it, then i'm all for it being banned for sale in shops. Thats the sort of suitation that explains the problem all too well. (message to mothers, and fathers i guess, you should be more ashamed of people being mashed with a chainsaw, than bonked wherever with a dildo)

    if i wanted to play it, i'd find a way to get it, if my child wanted it, it'd be much more difficult for him to obtain it, but it stops casual buying.

    therefore if my understanding of this is right, then i'm happy its been 'banned', its the right desicision. aside from the torrent people which cant be controlled, the only people playing this game legitimately now will be people who are probably old enough to get a hold of a copy anyway.

    funny tho, the law only 'protects' or serves those who obide by it....but that's for another comment.

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unrepentant underage gamer

    Carmageddon was band because in the original version of the game you have to run down zombies that looked like real people with red blood, to get round the ban they changed them to less recognizable people and changed the blood to green.

    I got the game on the day it came out when I was around 14 years old at the time and to this day I haven't ran anyone down in my car.

    I'm sure Rockstar will appeal and make changes so that it is released, without taking too much away from the uncensored version.

  66. Matt

    Escapism!

    I live a stressful life, and need way to relax and unwind... I cant drive my car fast, i cant smoke, i cant drink in public... there needs to be ways of venting pent up emotion or else there will be more real life disasters!

    I often want to beat my work colleauges in the head... but i resist knowing that i can shoot/stab/batter them when i get home... all from thew comfort of my sofa! that that basic human right away (and its always been there... voodoo dolls, photos pinned to dartboards, etc...) and im likely to actuly lamp one of the buggers for real!! :)

    :) like many i now feel the need to experience this game!

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just two things

    1) Who the **** do these people think they are, telling an adult what they can and can't watch/play? (especially when these hypocrites DO get to watch/play them!)

    2) They are worried about them falling into the hands of children. Presumably this means that the BBFC believe that THEIR classification system doesn't work.

    If this is the case, they are a waste of space, and if it isn't, they should give it an 18 certificate and shut up.

  68. Chris

    How stupid do you need to be...

    In order to need to play a game or watch a film in order to work out how to kill someone. Like there's all these people sat around thinking, "God, I wish I knew how to murderise people." until they play Manhunt 2.. "Of course! You wrap the lead pipe around their head! And there was me trying to kill people by hugging and kissing them."

    To my mind playing violent games and watching violent films is escapism. It may allow people with problems with violence to sate their blood lust temporarily. There's a certain amount of evidence that pedophiles and rapists are more likely to commit real offences when sources of pornography are removed from them, and I don't see that violence should be any different.

    And yeah, this is ridicualously good advertisment. I played the first game and didn't really enjoy it that much.. Too much sneaking around, too dark (lighting not theme) and too dull. Having heard this I really want to find a copy of Manhunt 2, just to see how bad it is, which I probably wouldn't have done otherwise.

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Bravo the Censors

    I find your comment sickening. I do not need, and certainly do not want, anybody telling me what I can and cannot read/watch/play. Where does their mandate come from? Not from me, that's for sure.

  70. Rich

    So films like Hostel and Reservoir Dogs are Ok?

    Riiiight, I fail to see why a game that is made out of pixels, bits and bytes should be banned when I'd say films like Hostel and Reservoir Dogs are worse in terms of mindless killing and more graphical.

  71. Chris

    How stupid do you need to be...

    I just re-read my last post, and realised it sounded a bit dodgy. I'm not condoning child porn or rape, I just meant normal, common or garden pornography.

  72. Mark Eggett

    Well Said Finnbar

    I'm old enough to decide if the game or film is for me. If I buy/rent something and it's not I can turn it off.

    I think it is high time for the parents responsible for allowing the impressionable people the BBFC are attempting to protect to see the media are clamped down on.

    On a side note, the child licencing idea gets my full support as this would go much further to protecting society than tarring all adults with the same brush. Most of us can tell the difference between games and reality.

  73. beano brown

    manhunt 2

    Gutted! with the playstation 3 cost out of reach, i was finally looking forward to a decent release from the boys at rockstar..... what's going on with this country? As a responsible adult, why should i be deprived of having this game because of parents who aren't responsible & the small minority of maniacs who will be influenced by anything? shocking! If you are offended, don't buy it!! that's consumer choice - so are we reduced to buying awful memory games (DS - you suck!!!) or the latest SIMS release.............? What the hell!!!!!

  74. Steve Barnes

    Poor Game, but Poor Decision

    I find it hard to believe that this game was banned for any other reason than the pressure put on the BBFC by Leicester (my city) MP & the family of the child who was killed a couple of years ago. Of course this was a tragic incident. But the Police themselves said that Manhunt was not the motive.

    I've played (and enjoyed) Silent Hill 4, The Suffering, Clock Tower 3, Fahrenheit, San Andreas, etc. etc. All very violent games. Silent Hill 4 with it's people being burnt & murdered, Fahrenheit with it's graphic opening scene of a guy being stabbed, The Suffering is nothing but brutal and graphic all the way through, and can be disturbing with it's realism in relation to prisoner treatment, Clock Tower shocked and upset me tremendously with it's horrific depiction of an elderly lady and and man being put & locked into acid vats by a psychopathic killer, and a young girl having her heard caved in by a sledge-hammer wielding maniac, and of course we all know the cotroversies of San Andreas. And yet theses were all released, with no cuts. Bloody Clock Tower was only rated 15!!! And yet Manhunt 2 is banned... Hmmm, doesn't quite add up to me..

    I really don't care about the game itself; Manhunt 1 was utter tosh in my opinion, and have little reason to believe that Manhunt 2 is / will / would be, but I am just very opposed to the BBFC's lack of honesty in banning it. Go on guys. Just say it's coz of the murder last year. If not, you may as well take all the other games that I've mentioned off the shelves too. And while your at it, why not ban Wolf Creek, Hostel, Saw, and 28 Weeks Later (children being eaten alive anyone?).

    The thing that gets me most is that I don't wanna see fantastic future titles like Silent Hill 5, Res 5 and GTA 4 come to the same fate.

  75. Neil

    Dumb...

    I wasn't bothered about this game. Hadn't even heard of it, in fact.

    But now, of course, I HAVE to get a copy.

    Man it would be ironic if it actually ended up turning me into a mad killer. Or if kids started beating up and robbing other kids to steal their copy of it.

  76. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)

    Certifying/banning movies, games, the news, etc

    It's worth considering what the sales ban is all about before asking why other, equally violent media are allowed on our screens.

    Cinema's generally don't allow kids in to see films like Hostel, Saw etc, so here you have a way of imposing the certificate in order to protect youngsters, as we should.

    DVDs are trickier and, like games, can easily be purchased by an 'adult' who then passes them on to kids. Balancing the right of an adult, who can be supposed to be able to make a rational decision about what he or she watches, with the need to protect kids is incredibly hard, and debate on video has been raging since the early 1980s and still hasn't been resolved. Nor will it ever, I think.

    Generally, the BBFC is tougher with video certification than movie certification - demanding more cuts, for instance - because it knows how easy it is for 18-certificate videos to fall into the hands of children.

    So why not let Manunt 2 out with an 18 certificate? Two reasons. First, as the BBFC said, the game simply can't be cut to make it certifiable. Many, many movies and videos are not given even 18 certificates until cuts have been made. The studios make those cuts, and onto the shelves go the videos.

    But there's something more important here than mere cuts: games are not videos. Watching a movie is, largely, a passive process. Playing a game is an active one. Watching someone die horribly with spiky things in their heads is not the same things as putting the spikes in yourself, albeit virtually. In one you're a voyeur, in the other you're a participant.

    Now, what about gunninng down people in a first-person shoot-'em-up? Surely that's no different than Manhunt 2, and that's allowed? No, because the context and setting is very different.

    You aren't going to meet Nazi stormtroopers, aliens, monsters, zombies etc in real life, so there's no assocation between the game and the real world. Manhunt 2's problem is that you prey on people who are very difficult, visually, to distiguish between folk in the real world. We grown-ups can appreciate the difference, but it's not at all clear young kids can.

    My four-year-old thinks Doctor Who is real. In a few years he won't but he probably won't necessarily make the same distinction with a 'realistic' show like EastEnders. Or Manhunt 2.

    As for the news, again its about context, and there are plenty of things broadcasters are not permitted to show, and why we have the 9pm watershed. Like DVDs, it's impossible to be sure kids aren't seeing inapproprite material, but crucially not of it is interactive in the true sense.

  77. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Bravo the Censors | Reply To Comment on my Comment

    I am not saying that you should be restricted I don’t actually find the fact that people want to play a game where you are a stalker / murderer offensive at all that’s there own decision which I have no say in, I only objected to the atmosphere of the game and advertising in publications such as Playstation Official Magazine UK along the lines such as “get ready to go insane with Manhunt 2 & the PS2” and “in the mind of a murderer”.

    This is all very offensive to mentality ill people which is no great surprise is it really as it’s still deemed as acceptable to use diagrammatize terms such as “nutcase”, “mad” and “maniac” in society these days to describe people who suffer from mental illnesses, imagine if these we're racist, sexist or homophobic terms you’d be stopped almost immediately.

    At the end of the day if someone wants to play such a game I'll turn a blind eye to it but I will NOT to such marketing campaigns used to promote such a game, that is why I'm happy to see Manhunt 2 banned!

  78. Colm Linehan

    Bravo BBFC

    Congratulations to the BBFC on attracting many potential underage and overage customers who may never have previously considered buying this game. In an era where online purchases are fast catching up with retail, these games can be bought online for delivery within days, thus making their whole system useless. If I really did want this game, I will simply buy another european version as almost all games now come automatically with language selection on set up.

    By banning this game, all the BBFC have done is highlight the game and make it all the more attractive. And once again with online purchase, they may as well be saying "Now children you can't play this game - but I will just leave it on the table!". We may be able to stop a 12 year old from going to the cinema to see an 18s movie but we really have no very little control from stopping him from seeing it on DVD when released. Perhaps we should be looking at some movies like SAW 1, 2 & 3 and Hostel being released only in the cinema and not being given a certificate for DVD release if this is how they plan on dealing with overly violent media. At 18 we are adults and should be able to make up our own mind if we want to buy something or not. They would be better off giving every "overly violent" game an 18s rating and staying quiet than making a big ruckus which only fuels its popularity. As an example, when Manhunt was linked to the murder of Stefan Pakeerah and publicised internationally, our local game stores here in Ireland, in my home town of Cork were all sold out in two days. And this was a game that previously people did not pick up on. I wonder do Rockstar pay the BBFC to ban these games so as to publicise them and bring them to the public's attention - this is better than any advertisement campaign on magazines or TV!

  79. Rob

    Just goes to show...

    ... I think the posts on this story highlight just how many responsible adults we really have in this country (not enough, hardly any) and how many selfish people we have with a complete lack of respect for the other human beings that live in the society they share. We have complacent parents because they live in a culture where we cotton wrap our kids because we have killers/rapists/peedo's about. Now the real question is are they prominient now because we are more liberal with our media (films/news/games/TV) or is it because we try and shut these sort of things down that they turn to the real thing.

    Lets face it, if someone is that way inclined, then the material that will give them cheap thrills will only satisfy them for a short while before the tension has built up so much that they need it for real.

    Because we are so liberal and blase about things nowadays help's to create certain stereotypes (ie, CHAV - Council House And Violent, in case anyone didn't know what it stood for).

    And WooHoo, I'm not the only person who thinks you should need a license to have a child, just a shame that it's covered by human rights.

    Reality of the situation is... No people can't be trusted to think for themselves, because generally all they think of, is themselves, human nature unfortunately.

  80. Dimebag

    Slightly missing the point

    To whoever wrote: Excellent Decision by the UK Censors

    The sheer fact you are missing is that everything you wrote is about how YOU FEEL about the choices made by the censor, your writings are your own opinion. You even seem to have an opinion on just how bad the game is clearly without having any exposure to it what so ever.

    So you like a game with a little bit of violence, you dont mind telling everyone else exactly how you feel about the game and in this case that happens to fall in line with what the BBFC tell everyone is acceptable to be exposed to. However, a lot of other people may not be overly bothered by the level of violence in Manhunt 2 but are not free to voice their opinions to any forum of influenced and power that will listen and are denied their right of choice to this game.

    And yes, it is a game, anyone who decides to re-enact their gaming experience through real life endevours clearly has a problem in the first instance, and if the game didn't trigger the reaction, something else on the market of equal disturbing value certainly would have.

    The main gripe here is clearly towards the BBFC removing choice from responsible adults because of having to cater for the lowest common demoninator, shite parents. Its about unknown people who are put in a tremendously hard position making choices for an entire nation. I personally fall in line with the people who are seemingly outraged that the punishment for lacking parental skills and responsibility now affects (effects?) me as an adult. I probably would have bought Manhunt 2 if only because there isnt anything else on the Wii worth buying at the moment but the sheer fact that I am unable to now because a bunch of people decided I'm not allowed to is angering to say the least.

    The new Rambo film that now has a trailor out looks more brutal than anything I've seen in ages, and hell I feel sorry for all the 16 and 17 year olds out there who have started a family but aren't actually allowed to purchase explicit sexual content on any sort of available media. I think something needs to be done to actively encourage people taking more responsibility for their kids and a review to make these censorship rules actually make some sort of sense.

    I personally wouldn't go out of my way to mod-chip my machine to play this game on import (which seems less likely now its banned in the states too) but what this will have certainly done is put the game on all underaged kids wish list. Forbidden fruit.

  81. Demian Phillips

    ignorance

    I'm all for restricted access to things inappropriate for children.

    BUT.

    "Games are meant to be about fun and yes I will admit that sometimes an acceptable amount of violence can be fun but there is no excuse for realizing such a game where the object of the player is to be a murder that has to kill innocent people; this is only one victory against the sick minded mentality of the media these days but an important one non-the-less."

    I haven’t paid much attention to Manhunt 2, but having played Manhunt 1 (and finished it). In light of the content of Manhunt 1 I would like to comment.

    For starters you are an anti-hero.

    The games story has you as a death row inmate who is being executed (because your character did murder someone, there is no dispute). The execution is faked and you are smuggled out of the prison and taken to some rich (I think politician) mans private estate. He gets his jollies by taking hardened criminals and dropping them in his custom little playground. He has invited various groups of thugs and killers to hunt you (hence the title of the game Manhunt).

    None of the people trying to kill you are ever depicted as anything better or more human then your character (in fact they are often worse). Even the level with the police it turns out they are all on the take from this guy and just as bad as all the other killers in the game.

    You are not killing "innocent people". When you are faced with innocents you must protect them.

    There are at least 3 points in the game where you have to save people. In the first instance there is a homeless guy you are told you need to get from point A to point B alive and intact through these groups of murderers. In the second you have to save some of your family members (they are not murderers or anything, just normal people) that the rich guy has kidnapped and placed in danger (if you do manage to save them, the rich man has them killed anyway later in the game and you are shown this via some TV sets in the mall level). In the third instance I can think of there is a reporter you have to keep safe (as I remember dirty cops are out to kill her) so she can expose the whole thing that is going down.

    Is it a game of huggy-kissy full or moral actions and good? No, it is not. But neither are many entertainment products available to adults with no more control then a rating notice.

    Just because you can kill someone graphically in the game does not mean that you have to use those methods. Yes the rich man likes it when you are brutal and if content (art and such as I remember) are a goal they give you more "points", but you have free will.

    AFAIK no one has made a game that matches your made up reality of what the content in Manhunt 1 is and after checking the web for info about 2 it seems to be not what you describe either, looks more like a V for Vendetta type situation (but localized to the people who were doing the research).

    How about people stop attacking imaginary demons and go deal with some of the things that exist in the real world?

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