UK censor to appeal against Manhunt 2 verdict
Wants High Court to enforce original ban
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 here with an 18 certificate.
All games due for release in the UK must be first given an age-based rating by the BBFC. In June, the organisation refused to certify Manhunt 2, dennouncing its "sustained and cumulative casual sadism", its "unrelenting focus on stalking and brutal slaying" and "the sheer lack of alternative pleasures on offer to the gamer".
Developer Rockstar tweaked the game, but the new version failed to find favour with the BBFC either. That left the software company with the option of taking its case to the VAC, a body charged with independently assessing BBFC rulings.
The VAC's seven members judged in Rockstar's favour by a single vote. It won four votes to three.
The BBFC today told Register Hardware it's contesting the VAC's judgement because the ruling is based on an incorrect interpretation of what the UK's 1984 Video Recordings Act says about assessing the harm a game may do to the player.
"The VAC judgement, if allowed to stand, would have fundamental implications with regard to all the Board's decisions, including those turning upon questions of unacceptable levels of violence," the BBFC said.
It wants the court to suspend the VAC's ruling that Manhunt 2 should be certified.
"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)?
BBFC aren't entirely bonkers
the amount of tax the government can get from a movie or book compared with a game.
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.
[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...
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.
.....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.