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German Past Haunts Gamers' Future 134

Posted by Zonk
from the doomed-to-repeat-it dept.
Wired has up a very thoughtful article examining the current anti-violent gaming trends in Germany, and reflecting on their connection to WWII. Article author Bruce Gain discusses some of the history of post-Nazi Germany, and points out how violent games rile politics in that country by reminding it of its past. Says Gain: "Some German officials link these games to an increase in violence among the young and cite at least one instance where a gamer applied the lessons learned from a first-person shooter to a real-life murderous rampage. Remove the connection, they argue, and you prevent further violence. Germany has a lot of gamers, but the violence found in many of these games is widely criticized there. It has some of the strictest video-game censorship laws in the Western world. For example, laws prohibit the sale of Counter-Strike and other titles with blood-depicting graphics switched on. But for many politicians, the laws don't go far enough."
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German Past Haunts Gamers' Future

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  • It's such a shame (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Vengeance (46019) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @05:41PM (#17939632)
    If only Adolf Hitler had not had access to videogames, the history of modern Europe would look entirely different.
    • Pitiful this was modded as flamebait, since it is anything but. It's called sarcasm mods... look it up.

      Nevermind, I'll do it for you [wikipedia.org]
    • by westlake (615356)
      If only Adolf Hitler had not had access to videogames, the history of modern Europe would look entirely different.

      You do know that the propaganda machine re-designed children's board games to teach hatred of the Jews? That paramilitary training for boys in the Hitler Youth began at around age ten? If Hitler had the tech he would have used the tech.

      • by pclminion (145572)

        You do know that the propaganda machine re-designed children's board games to teach hatred of the Jews? That paramilitary training for boys in the Hitler Youth began at around age ten? If Hitler had the tech he would have used the tech.

        So you're arguing that not only video games, but board games, should also be banned? Just so we're clear.

        • So you're arguing that not only video games, but board games, should also be banned? Just so we're clear.


          Maybe boys should be banned.
      • by mqduck (232646)

        You do know that the propaganda machine re-designed children's board games to teach hatred of the Jews? That paramilitary training for boys in the Hitler Youth began at around age ten? If Hitler had the tech he would have used the tech.


        He probably would have made a war sim called "Germany's Army".
      • by KDR_11k (778916)
        Even without Hitler the Neonazis make games like concentration camp tycoon.
        • by Pxtl (151020)
          Nice. Honestly, I've always thought that would be a very insightful game, if done by somebody like Maxis or something. At the end of the war, you get arrested by the Allies. So you can be a Schindler or a Mengele, depending on how you play. A perfect example of "gameplay as art" - the decisions a player would be forced to make would be the really fascinating parts of the game.

          After all, Holocaust deniers often question the logistical challenges of killing 6 million people - why not make a game that show
    • "Wait a minute", said a German politician, "Hitler never played video games."
      "The OP must have been.... sarcastic. Yes, that's what it's called."
      "Hmmmm. So what DID cause Hitler to cause all that trouble?"
      "I've got it! Hitler was half Jewish! I saw it on the History Channel!"
      "It must have been his Jewish side that caused him to go insane!" reasoned the German.
      "We must kill all of the Jews in Germany, to prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again!"

      History repeats itself...
      One totalitarian regime is
    • Ado1/= says: lololol poland iz POWND u!!!!1


      But seriously, it is a good thing Hitler never played videogames. If he did, he might not have started WWII and without WWII we wouldn't have 2/3 of our FPS games. ;)

  • That was such a back and forth with that game, I have no idea whether it's currently indexed or not. I do find it quite silly to rile about CS while games like Company of Heroes and Dawn of War get a rating of 16 with all the blood intact.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by KDR_11k (778916)
      Oh and a slight inaccuracy in the summary: CS isn't banned from sale (only Manhunt, Mortal Kombat and Wolfenstein 3d are), indexing prevents advertising (which includes putting it on a shelf) and sale to minors, theoretically it can still be sold to adults under the counter or in areas minors can't enter (though I don't think anyone but video rental places have such areas, sex shops and gambling dens certainly don't sell indexed games) but most stores don't stock games they can't advertise.

      This is different
      • by FLEB (312391)
        Just curious-- if the law prohibits advertising to the point of even putting the game on the shelf, how does it permit vendors to even indicate that they even have copies of the game for sale? Are displayed but unadorned "we also carry" lists allowed?
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Zatic (790028)
          I see you get the problem here. In this case, there is no formal definition of advertising. I remember a few years back, a video gaming magazine ("gamstar") decided to not publish a review of some FPS because they feared an attorney on a save-the-world trip would have all copies seized should the game be banned (which was about to happen that month).

          The sad thing is, they said they would have given the game the worst rating and advise against buying it. Still it could have been interpreted as advertising.

          A
        • Not that I'm aware of. You need to ask the shop owner for those games. Eventually he ordered copies and brings one from the closet. Or he might order it for you then. Of course, your chances of success are much better at specialized gaming stores than big malls that only sell the Top 10 games for additional revenue.
      • Many stores will have a red Sign saying that you can look at indexed games on request. You just have to ask, and a lady will guide you to a small room where you browse various pornography and violent material, while you're constantly watched by the assistant.
  • by creimer (824291) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @05:53PM (#17939812) Homepage
    All that green blood in all thosee violent video games. No wonder the Vulcans and Romulans don't like Earth.
  • Vote them out? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jaysyn (203771)
    I don't know how it works over in Germany, but over here pissing of most of your younger generation seems to be political suicide.
    • Since when?

      Look at voting paterns ... Compare the voter turn out of people over the age of 50 to that of people under the age of 35. The fact is that the reason why many of the "violent videogame crusaders" are elected is that people above a certain age believe the world is getting more violent, and that youths are more violent, than they used to be; is this true? No!

      Largely because of the influence of mass communication, people now learn about violent acts that occur around the world immediately after (or
    • by SP33doh (930735)
      hillary. goddamn. clinton.
    • by Guppy06 (410832)
      "don't know how it works over in Germany, but over here pissing of most of your younger generation seems to be political suicide."

      Says who? People don't vote regularly until they start collecting pensions.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DoktorTomoe (643004)
      You seem to suffer from the missconception that democracy actually works.

      Forbidding (we are not talking "ban for minors" here) of CS is the least of Germany's IT problems. Currently, Judical battle is waged on wether to allow a "Bundestrojaner" or "Federal Trojan", a tool that would allow our Federal Police to actively and secretly swap trough the files on every of our computers (and most likely we're supposed not to enforce a strict security concept for our networks, as it'll rise suspicion.

      Those were the
    • by rm999 (775449)
      Not likely in most of Europe. In fact, this stuff is popular exactly because of people's ages (note how many people were alive in 1945 - compare to USA)

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Population_Pyra mid_Germany_Year_2000.png [wikipedia.org]
  • by Shatrat (855151) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @05:56PM (#17939880)
    They clamp down on violent games by using government censorship? It makes you wonder how much of a lesson they really learned from the failures of national socialism.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by KDR_11k (778916)
      The only real censorship is of titles that reward the player for being very brutal and contain very graphic violence, namely Mortal Kombat 1-3 and Manhunt. They also censor games that include Nazi symbols without proper context (though games remove them completely because that context requirement is vague). The rest of the "censored" games can still be sold to adults in adult-only stores or below the counter.
      • by Shatrat (855151)
        So you dont care about mortal kombat and in 1938 nobody cared about gypsies and jews.
        Is censorship for no good reason alright when it doesn't inconvenience you?
        • by KDR_11k (778916)
          Mortal Kombat was allowed to be sold with the fatalities removed. It fell afoul of laws against glorifying or promoting violence. Of course it's just a game but Mein Kampf is just a book. Media can be designed to influence people and while I doubt Mortal Kombat was designed to promote violence the law can't guess intents, it has to be possible to ban propaganda without knowing if the author was serious.
          • by Shatrat (855151)
            "...it has to be possible to ban propaganda..." No, it isn't, it shouldn't, and if it is then everything unpopular becomes propaganda.
            • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

              by KDR_11k (778916)
              The law is very clear about the kinds of propaganda that get banned, namely anything attempting to incite hate or violence against people or attempting to overthrow the government system as that's a disturbance of the peace. I bet you that no country would tolerate it if you handed out leaflets calling for a Coup d'Etat.
              • by pluther (647209) <pluther@@@usa...net> on Thursday February 08, 2007 @06:48PM (#17940686) Homepage

                The law is very clear about the kinds of propaganda that get banned, namely anything attempting to incite hate or violence against people or attempting to overthrow the government system

                That isn't true. None of these games are attempting to incite hate or violence against people, nor are they trying to overthrow any government system.

                I bet you that no country would tolerate it if you handed out leaflets calling for a Coup d'Etat.

                I bet you it would.

                "And, if any man should advocate the dissolution of this union, let him stand free and unmolested as an example of how even the most egregious error of reason can be tolerated in a free society." (Thomas Jefferson)

                • by KDR_11k (778916)
                  I bet you that advocating a coup d'etat would get you arrested for treason, terrorism or threats against the president, if you get charged at all and not just thrown into Guantanamo. Your founding fathers said a lot of things but what isn't written down in the law and upheld by the courts is ignored in practice.

                  That isn't true. None of these games are attempting to incite hate or violence against people, nor are they trying to overthrow any government system.

                  Of course they aren't but those who do won't be t
                  • by sl3xd (111641)
                    I bet you that advocating a coup d'etat would get you arrested for treason, terrorism or threats against the president, if you get charged at all and not just thrown into Guantanamo.

                    Do you live in a cave or anything? Or have you just not seen Leno, Letterman, The Daily Show, any of a score of political pundits, authors, journalists, or celebrities?

                    Being hated and having people calling for removal from office by force is one of the perks of being President of the United States, and is about as normal as toi
                    • by mqduck (232646)

                      Being hated and having people calling for removal from office by force is one of the perks of being President of the United States, and is about as normal as toilet paper-- it's so common nobody gives it a second thought.

                      You responded to the statement that read "I bet you that advocating a coup d'etat would get you arrested for treason, terrorism or threats against the president." This doesn't really apply to the actual subject at hand (censorship of games in Germany) but any government WOULD throw you in j

                • by Dravik (699631)
                  Advocating the dissolution of the union and a Coup d'Etat isn't the same thing. Anybody can, and many fringe groups do, advocate a fundamental change in how the US government works. You can even get a security clearance while in those groups as long as they don't advocate the "violent overthrow of the government". A non-violent overthrow or dissolution is perfectly legal to advocate. Now anyone pushing for a Coup d'Etat will be arrested for incitement to violence.
                • I bet you that no country would tolerate it if you handed out leaflets calling for a Coup d'Etat.

                  I bet you it would.

                  "And, if any man should advocate the dissolution of this union, let him stand free and unmolested as an example of how even the most egregious error of reason can be tolerated in a free society." (Thomas Jefferson)

                  It's just as well your country is currently run by this Mr Jefferson. I hate to think what'll happen when he stands down and is replaced by an ultra-conservative religious

                • UK Censorship Bill (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by Garrett Fox (970174)
                  Right now, the UK is working on a "hatred bill" meant to outlaw certain criticism of religion, largely to protect Muslims. (Because you know, theirs is a religion of love and peace and crowds of them will firebomb you if you deny it.) It looks like the bill has been weakened [bbc.co.uk] with inclusion of pro-free-speech amendments, partly because Tony Blair failed to show up for a vote. From researching the bill a bit I see that it's already, or rather, still illegal to denounce the Church of England.
                • by ultranova (717540)

                  I bet you that no country would tolerate it if you handed out leaflets calling for a Coup d'Etat.

                  I bet you it would.

                  "And, if any man should advocate the dissolution of this union, let him stand free and unmolested as an example of how even the most egregious error of reason can be tolerated in a free society." (Thomas Jefferson)

                  I seem to recall something called the Confederacy, an alliance of US states that tried to secede from the union, and how they were forcibly reintegrated to it. So it seems th

              • I don't know if they [jihadwatch.org] were ever prosecuted. Probably not. Something similiar was done in the UK, and incitements of violence and genocide were plentiful.

                What's tolerated and what's not tolerated often depends on what ethnic group or religion you belong to.
    • Although I 100% agree about videogames, banning something isn't "socialist". Many things are banned for legit reasons, DDT for example. Considering there is no hard science linking video games to violent behaviour (and I do believe a few studies showing an inverse relationship), there is no reason to have a ban. Its all about the science, not opinions people shoot off their hip with their high and mighty wisdom about. And calling the nazi party socialist is similar to calling the neoconservatives republican
    • by turing_m (1030530)
      The main failure of National Socialism was that it came up against Stalin's Soviet Union, which had more people nearly four times as many tanks, and those. As a side note, the Germans were also too parochial to facilitate a strong, armed, nationalist but anti-Soviet movement in the conquered territories.
      • The main failure of National Socialism was that it is idiotic to incite hatred against, deport and kill a significant part of your population (including some of its brightest heads, greatest artists and whatnot) just because you don't like their noses.

        Also, going to war against multiple of your neighbours isn't a very clever thing to do.

        Also, trusting national leadership to a bunch of people (with one of them being presented as almost god-like) without being able to remove the from power if they aren't up t
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Tom (822)
      If you wish to keep your simple views, stop reading now. Otherwise, this'll be a bit lengthy:

      The BPjM [wikipedia.org] is there to enforce the laws on the protection of minors ("Jugendschutz"). Its job is, in short, to check on request of certain bodies whether some game (or movie, etc.) should not be available to children. Yes, violence and sex are the usual criteria.

      If it is bad for minors, the BPjM will put the title on an "index". That doesn't mean it's censored. The two main effects of being on the index are that a) yo
      • by glenrm (640773)
        Sure being put on the index by the government doesn't seem like censorship at all. And of course somehow there are no violent books, videos, music sure...
        • by Tom (822)
          No, my reading-impaired friend, the index is not equivalent to censorship. As an adult, I can buy titles on the index just fine, no problem at all.
  • by east coast (590680) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @05:57PM (#17939888)
    Let's face facts, and not to make light the tragedy of the holocaust, but how long does a society need to live with the sins of it's past?

    It's a fairly safe bet that today's German gamer isn't the same guy shoveling the bodies of holocaust victims into mass graves.

    When can we get over this image of German = Nazi? How long until I don't have to feel bad about being a white American male because of slave owners who have been worm food for over a century?

    We need to stop pinning the past of a society on today's citizens.
    • The Holocaust wasn't really all that long ago, and the dark side of human nature that perpetrated it remains a part of humanity. Besides, an entire region is steeped in Nazi-like propaganda this very day, and Iran is promising to perpetrate another Holocaust while the world remains mostly silent. I don't think the German people should be punished for the evil of their previous generations, but they shouldn't be allowed to forget what happened, either.
      • by KDR_11k (778916)
        I don't think it was something specific to this society that made the holocaust happen, I think it could have happened in the allied countries, too (in fact some argue that some allies did perform similar atrocities but of course the winner writes the history books). I also don't think the Islam-Nazi comparison is fair, a few extremist leaders train their underlings to extremism and hate but the vast majority of the muslims is more or less harmless. I do think the anti-muslim propaganda (i.e. spreading the
        • No sane historian will deny that the allies did things that were as bad as the Germans. We starved a ton of them after the war. Hell we fired bomb civilian targets. In the end it all comes down to intent and motivations.
          • Hate, fear, nationalism, and pride resided at the root of both side's intentions and motivations, as true then as it is today. A war of survival on both sides will always be seen as a war of aggression to each one side.
        • The notion that the "vast majority of Muslims" are more or less harmless is a dogma that isn't based on any evidence or rational thinking.

          I do think the anti-muslim propaganda (i.e. spreading the belief that muslim = terrorist) could facilitate another holocaust, this time targeting said muslims and I think it's only a matter of time until a politician can gain influence by playing off that fear of "the others".

          If it ever happens, it will be because of people like you. Something bad will likely happen in Eu

      • [...] but they shouldn't be allowed to forget what happened, either.

        Better make that the world. No need for other countries to repeat what we did in order to not forget it.

    • by Shatrat (855151)
      I lived in germany for a while when I was younger, and it seems to me that they try and ignore what happened as much as possible. The history of the civil rights movement, the civil war, japanese-american internment camps, the indian wars, are all discussed freely over here. When I was in germany I only heard one mention of it, a friend quietly mentioned to me while we were walking down the street, that he has seen photos of a swastika hanging here, as he pointed to a flagpole in a yard. I see a lot of the
      • by 7Prime (871679) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @07:13PM (#17941042) Homepage Journal
        Are you kidding about the US?

        Because I've NEVER heard the Japanese-American interment camps discussed publicly, except on a rare occation on some PBS history special (which is then usually touted as liberal propoganda).

        The fact is, we are only open to discussion of the civil rights movement and slavery because we were eventually able to bring closure to a lot of it. The civil rights movement was largely successful, and you don't see AS MANY hate crimes as before, and slavery was finally abolished by our own hands (or so we like to claim... most could really care less about slavery, to the north, the civil war was about control of resources, not about slavery). The only reason we can talk about our abuses aginst the indians is because it happened so long ago... and even then, we're a lot more open about slavery than we are about that.

        The bottom line is, Germany is ashamed of their Nazi past because someone else had to come in and correct them on it. Abolishing slavery and civil rights were all corrected internally. But as for Japanese-American internment camps, forget it, you almost never hear about that, and every time it's brought up, it's blown off as leftist propoganda.
        • by BoberFett (127537)
          Then maybe you should see about getting a referendum started to raise taxes for your local schools. I learned about Japanese internment camps in high school. There was no sinister cover-up.
          • by KDR_11k (778916)
            We do get taught about the Nazi time in school but that doesn't mean we randomly strike up casual conversations about the holocaust.
        • by Physician (861339) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @11:25PM (#17943906) Homepage
          At least most every American has heard of the Japanese-American Internment Camps. Nobody ever speaks of the thousands of Germans who were interred in America during the second world war. In fact, thousands of German-Americans were sent to Germany in exchange for Americans. The German-Americans, being sent there against their will, were looked upon as spies and were suddenly in the middle of a war zone. The United States even asked many Latin American countries to arrest people of German descent and send them to America. The US in turn sent those to Germany in exchange for Americans. You can read all the details here: http://www.foitimes.com/internment/gasummary.htm [foitimes.com]
        • by Headw1nd (829599)
          Where do you live? Because where I am, the subject of those internment camps come up pretty regularly, usually in discussions about Guantanamo. But maybe that's just the East Coast.
        • by Fulminata (999320)
          I agree that Japanese-American internment during WWII is not brought up enough, but I can't ever recall it being dismissed as leftist propaganda when it is brought up. Usually it's admitted that it's one of the darkest points of 20th Century American history. Occasionally someone argues that it was justified by the circumstances, but that opinion is very much in the minority today.

          Also, I think that discussion of the event is becoming more common, at least it is in forums dedicated to the study of the
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Slithe (894946)

          (which is then usually touted as liberal propoganda)

          The funny thing about that is that the evacuation was supported more by liberals than conservatives [vdare.com]:

          Let it be noted that sabotage was more of a left-of-center fear at that time. Stalin had denounced "wreckers" at his show trials, and the international left had become obsessed by fascist "fifth columnists" during the Spanish Civil War. So evacuation of the Japanese from the West Coast was supported somewhat more by liberals than by conservatives. The most notable public spokesman against mass evacuations wa

    • by kinglink (195330)
      I don't think this article is about calling Germans Nazis. In fact the article only uses Nazi in reference to a law.

      However the problem is the german goverment is so afraid of violence that they are stopping violent games from entering their country and a point can be made why? It's not like violent games actually created World War 1 or 2, or any other war. There's questions as to whether violent acts are influenced by violent video games. The Violent games are a recent symptom of a large issue, which i
    • It's not about associating Germans with Nazis or condeming an innocent present for a guilty past, it's about learning for mistakes and trying to prevent them from happening again. They said it best in the article

      "My parents, who were born after World War II, received a very strong anti-violence education from their parents, and they handed it over to me," said sociologist Matthias Richter, a professor at Bielefeld University. "So the whole society became aware of what violence is and what violence causes, and this was set out in laws in Germany.

      ...

      Pacifist themes form the core of textbooks read by German school children. A major part of the primary education curriculum focuses on teaching children the hard lessons learned during World War II, particularly regarding the Holocaust."

      It's not about WWII in video games, it's about violence in WWII sparking a culture bent on instilling pascifism in children which comes into conflict with violence in video games.

    • by MWoody (222806) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @06:17PM (#17940178)
      Make you a deal: I'll stop mentally drawing a line from "Germans" to "Nazis" when they stop attempting to solve their problems with fascist edicts and restrictions.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      You do have a point there, and of course I didn't RTFA, but being German I know one thing for sure: the current plans for anti "killer games" legislation - that's what violent games are called in the public discussion - have nothing whatsoever to do with the fascist / national socialist past of the country. It's the ususal "think of the children!" activism, used by politicians around the world to get a good headline in the press to suppress something they don't like (=understand).

      The majority of German int

      • on the subject and the situation inside the EU [spiegel.de] from Spiegel Online. No mention of Nazi Germany there ;)
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Speck'sBacon (1042490)

        So, there you go, it's once again a matter of information and - I guess - education. Lack of proper education and medienkompetenz in both politics and population mixed with overzealous right-wing politicians, guess what kind of laws this will spawn... [/rant]

        I whole-heartedly agree, with the caveat that it's not just the right wing politicans that engage in patronizing attempts to protect the people from themselves. You need only look at New York City's recent ban of trans-fatty acids in cooking in all r

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by saforrest (184929)
          New York City is widely considered one of the most left-wing cities in the US, but there, they're banning something people can avoid by simply NOT EATING IT.

          Really? How exactly do you know when trans-fat is used at a restaurant?

          For years, there have been health laws about restaurant food preparation, e.g. for preventing the contamination of restaurant food with rodent feces. Like the New York trans fat ban, these laws are intended for the customers' benefit but are a pain for restaurants to uphold.

          If we c
          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            Really? How exactly do you know when trans-fat is used at a restaurant?

            The answer is not a ban, but mandatory labeling. Simply require that every item that contains trans-fats say so every time it is listed; on an overhead menu, in a paper menu, in an advertisement, et cetera.

            Frankly I don't think we should even have licensing. We should just have testing. Then when you walk into the restaurant, the first thing you see is the test results. You then have the option to turn around and walk out, as in fact I

            • In the small print: "Warning, this burger has been prepared in rodent-infested facilities with disregard for basic hygiene precautions, and likely contains a variety of pathogens"
    • When I was a graduate student, we had two german post docs join the research group (one from east germany, on from west germany - this was after reunification). There were two jewish graduates in the group, including myself. They were both decent, good people, although we never talked about the holocaust, or anything related to that.

      One night at a conference, though, up in the hotel room after a good deal of beer, one of them apologized to my jewish collegue for the holocaust. (To which my friend replie

    • by jpardey (569633)
      Although I agree with the majority of your post, that a grouping of people cannot be judged on past actions (although anyone who joins the KKK is probably not in a , I think you should go further. It has been shown, to a large extent, that today or yesterday's anyone could be the one shovelling bodies into graves. Personally, I think the Milgram experiment [wikipedia.org] should be essential material in all high schools. It is so hard to acknowledge that ordinary people could commit such acts, and for comfort we assume we
      • by jpardey (569633)
        whoops, knew that was in preview for a reason... (although anyone who joins the KKK is probably going to be joining based on the group's past actions), how's that?
  • Here you all go. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @06:04PM (#17940016) Homepage
    A little ditty I wrote on violent video games. Enjoy.

    Hello all, I decided to finally write this down in response to some people asking me why I enjoy immeasurably violent video games and movies. This explanation is written using the game "Manhunt" as it's primary example, mainly because of it's subject matter (which can best be described as a "snuff video game"). PLEASE read it in it's entirety before responding, it's easy to think i'm making an uninformed point without reading the whole thing; I explain EVERY viewpoint I express.

    Think about this, folks.

    This "game" is not about sneakin' around, trying to see what the biggest mess you can make is. It's about much more than that. This game is in direct relation to the JTHM (Johnny the Homicidal Maniac by Jhonen Vasquez, for the uninitiated...) in all of us, the little black beast that we keep to ourselves.

    Ever say "I wish he were dead", or "he makes me so angry I want to kill him"? Of course you have. Everyone has. This game is the digital manifestation of those thoughts. It's not about suffocating some guy, or creating the pink mist... This game does one thing and one thing only: it asks you a question. A very simple question to state, and frankly a very simple question to answer:

    Is your black beast fictional or real?

    Do you have a little playground for the demon inside of you, someplace it can go and harmlessly let out it's frustrations and rage? Or are you so jaded and blind that you cannot discern the difference between reality and fantasy?

    Frankly, if you enjoy this game (along with ANY violent video game or movie, regardless of it's subject or presentation) you are not sick. You are normal. You are provided an outlet for the most primal emotions that you, as a human, have. Your most carnal instincts. If you don't like this game because the graphics suck, or the control is wonky, fine. BUT. If you despise this game because you say it's "too violent" and "unneccessary", and "too realistic", and whatever else, guess what: YOU are the sick one. That's not to say that you can't see it as being gross, or that you don't like it because you supposidly don't like violence (then why do you slow down to look at car accidents, hmm?) What it means is that if you say that violent things such as this push sane and "normal" people into being murderers in real life...well, I'm sorry, but you are wrong.

    The first step anyone takes to becomming a murderer in real life is not being able to tell the difference between reality and fantasy. Manhunt is fantasy. Does that mean something similar has not happend/could not happen? No. But your experience and memories of it happening are. It's a video game. It is designed to be a playground for your little black beast.

    If you take it as being anything more serious than that...well, turn yourself in now.

    You have to allow the little monster to come out every now and then and release it's frustrations. If you don't, you risk becomming a quivering mass of nervous and dangerous flesh. What better place to do this than in a simulated environment with simulated violence where the only things harmed are your eyes for staring at the screen?
    • by b.burl (1034274)

      Thats interesting. Here's a little ditty on harmful emotions penned by some truly amazing monks (and these are my words, not their;s, it's from memory) and similar to yours, try to read it until the end:

      Cultivation of states of mind is a cumulative process. One one engages in states of meditation that feed the loving connected aspects of the mind, those tendencies will grow. The more time you spend in states of lovingkindness, the more lovingkindness will grow inside of you. Similarly, the more time y

  • by MWoody (222806) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @06:24PM (#17940298)
    Somewhere in Germany, little Anne Frank hides in the attic, frantically trying to hide the XBox as she hears the police knocking on the door...
    • by sokoban (142301)

      Somewhere in Germany, little Anne Frank hides in the attic, frantically trying to hide the XBox as she hears the police knocking on the door...
      Well, you can strike that mental image right from your head.

      Anne Frank hid in an attic in the Netherlands.
  • "Dude, what the fuck is wrong with German people?!" /South Park

    "Click it off! Click it off!"
  • It doesn't help the German case that in the last story [slashdot.org] they sought to connect separate murder and kidnapping charges [ign.com] to the alleged perpetrators playing a turn-based RPG [wikipedia.org]. I mean, apart from their aliases, how the hell did it inspire them; did they and their victims take turns attacking each other?

    BTW, don't mention RPG Radiculopathy [youtube.com]; I mentioned it once [slashdot.org] but I think I got away with it all right.

    I wonder if there was a rash of teenagers jumping their cars through buildings would Germany finally have a backl
  • "Excelent", said Herr Jack Thompson as he read ze Zeitung news this morning.
  • not quite right (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tom (822) on Friday February 09, 2007 @03:47AM (#17945452) Homepage Journal
    Ah, how simplification allows you to keep a simple world-view:

    For example, laws prohibit the sale of Counter-Strike and other titles with blood-depicting graphics switched on.
    That's not entirely correct. The appropriate laws are for the protection of minors, so the sentence is missing its ending: to minors.

    It's the software companies' choice to only produce one version and sell that to everyone. As an adult, I could (the law allows it) buy whatever brutal, bloody games or movies there are. It's just that most software companies decide to not make a difference, probably because it wouuld be more expensive to ship two versions.

    There are limitations that apply to adults as well, and which have been much more appropriate to mention after the introduction of the article. For example, the display of nazi symbols is illegal in Germany, except for historic purposes. That means that most games set in WW2 can not show the nazi cross. Wolfenstein and others circumvent this by using the eagle (symbol of the armed forces during the pre-nazi period) instead.
    • by KDR_11k (778916)
      I read that games are actually allowed to show Nazi symbols in the right context but that definition is so vague noone wants to risk trying it.
    • by courseB (837633)
      the whole swastika debate is crazy. we all know its been around for thousands of years as a hindu icon. but one nation perverts this and its axed from then on?
  • Understanding what the German attitude to games censorship requires a certain amount of anthropological observation. Germany is a society concerned with avoiding responsibility for negative things and constantly obsessing about the future. The need to be correct is overpowering and results in the often amusing three-minute lectures that student frequently provide in answer to a simple questions. A student's question is often not a question at all but simply a mini-lecture. Contrast this with the primary ne

    • *Historical footnote. The Third Reich invaded Poland.


      Yes but didn't the Nazis first sneak across the border and capture some radio station or somesuch, then haul the Polish bodies back into Germany and use that as the excuse to invade?

      Now where did I put those WMDs?
  • It's anoying engought that german politicians flat-out lie to the public and the public doesn't take notice even though the could easyly know better. Slashdot needn't do the same thing - especially on a topic that the nerd community should keep corrected.

    To - once again - get it freaking straight:
    Robert Steinhäuser didn't learn his killing skills from CounterStrike. He learned them during "Action Shooting" lessons (they are actually officially called that way in Germany!) with a pump gun in his german

Thus spake the master programmer: "After three days without programming, life becomes meaningless." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"

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