Wednesday, June 20, 2007

First computer game banned in Ireland

Manhunt 2 has achieved the dubious honour of becoming the first game to be banned in Ireland. From the Irish Film Censors Office:

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

IFCO recognizes that in certain films, DVDs and video games, strong graphic violence may be a justifiable element within the overall context of the work. However, in the case of Manhunt 2, IFCO believes that there is no such context, and the level of gross, unrelenting and gratuitous violence is unacceptable.
The Irish Times points out that this parallels a ban by the British Board of Film Classification:
Manhunt 2 has also been banned by the British Board of Film Classification, which has made it illegal for the game to be supplied anywhere in the UK.

A statement from the board yesterday said: "Rejecting a work is a very serious action and one which we do not take lightly. Where possible we try to consider cuts or, in the case of games, modifications which remove the material which contravenes the board's published guidelines.

"In the case of Manhunt 2 this has not been possible. Manhunt 2 is distinguishable from recent high-end video games by its unremitting bleakness and callousness of tone in an overall game context which constantly encourages visceral killing with exceptionally little alleviation or distancing.

"There is sustained and cumulative casual sadism in the way in which these killings are committed, and encouraged, in the game."
The system for censoring / self-classification of games in Ireland is a curious one - in part statutory, and in part based on voluntary cooperation between the games industry and the Film Censor. Marie McGonagle has outlined the system in detail here (PDF, pp. 23-30). The ban reflects a worrying worldwide trend towards greater censorship of games, in many cases whether or not aimed at adults.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous21 June, 2007

    I am outraged at the decision of the IFCO to ban this game due to its contents. Why I ask! – The game is a survival horror and killing is implemented as a pleasurable aspect of the game but is out of necessity to survive. You buy a game to start playing until its completed. The game may be designed for its different levels of deaths but I don’t think I would walk out into the street and kill some one after playing this game. I didn’t after the first manhunt so why would I do it now.
    If you are a psychopath intent on killing some one you will FULL STOP and will get inspiration for any and all media including reading articles in the newspaper. So lets ban any story, film, news report which contains violence and go about life in ignorance, as they want us to. God help us all, next thing banned will be the great sculpture of David done by Michelangelo because it contains nudity…