Banned In The United States

We take a look at why the gaming industry has its limits, and what happens when a game goes too far.
Author: Justin Wong
Published: June 30, 2007
page 1 page 2 page 3 page 4 page 5 page 6   next
When it was revealed that Manhunt 2 had been branded with an AO rating by the ESRB, many gamers rejoiced. Quite possibly the most gritty and violent game in recent times had managed to get even more violent? It's as if Rockstar had not only pushed the envelope (as they are known to do), but rather, they stabbed it square in the face. Repeatedly.

In reality, the news was akin to a death knell for the game in certain parts of the world. It was refused classification in both Ireland and the UK, a legal requirement for sale. The BBFC, the organization responsible for rating classifications in the UK, explained that their rating was because, "There is sustained and cumulative casual sadism in the way in which these killings are committed, and encouraged, in the game."

Some speculated that the game would be banned in even more countries that are a little less tolerant to video games. Germany is notorious for being quick to ban games that it deems inappropriate, and blood isn't allowed in any game except under very specific guidelines. In China, MMOs restrict players from excessive playing by kicking them off after a predetermined period of time has passed. In 2002, Greece banned all video games from the entire country! This didn't last long, but it's indicative of how severe some restrictions can be in other countries.

While this sucks for anyone east of the Atlantic, it's no problem for us here in the United States. Or is it? The simple fact is, you will not be playing the AO version of Manhunt 2 on any console, even if you are old enough to make that decision. To understand why mature content is still an issue for consumers, developers, publishers and manufacturers, we need to take a look at the history and procedures of the ESRB.
page 1 page 2 page 3 page 4 page 5 page 6   next