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German Interior Ministers Seek Ban On Violent Games 222

Posted by Soulskill
from the ach-mein-gamin dept.
GamePolitics reports that "Germany's 16 Interior Ministers have banded together to ask the Bundestag (Germany's equivalent of Parliament) to ban the production and distribution of violent video games. Moreover, the ministers hope to see this accomplished before Germany's new elections take place on September 27th." Violent games became a national issue in Germany earlier this year after Far Cry 2 was scapegoated for a shooting. Germany-based game developer Crytek could be forced to move or outsource if the ban goes through. Spiegel Online has the original story (Google translation).
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German Interior Ministers Seek Ban On Violent Games

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  • First Post (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hachi-control (1360955) on Friday June 05, 2009 @11:02PM (#28229993)
    And first to say, the government hatred on freedom of any type has gone too far, and this is a perfect example.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      While I admire everyone's knee jerk reaction to defend video games via free speech I think this method of defense is inherently idiotic.

      If someone came up to me and accused me of murder I wouldn't base my case on freedom of privacy. I would hope my lawyer could simply disprove the actual charges against me.

      Fighting these sorts of things largely on free speech seems to imply that that video games are actually responsible for some sort of mayhem but should be protected anyway. They aren't dangerous. They don'

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by bertoelcon (1557907)
        Video games can be dangerous, but anything can be used as a weapon. It is hard to inflict physical harm with a nonphysical object thou like a digital download.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        If someone came up to me and accused me of murder I wouldn't base my case on freedom of privacy. I would hope my lawyer could simply disprove the actual charges against me.

        You have it backwards. It would not be your responsibility to disprove anything. It would be the accuser's full burden to PROVE that you have murdered. Unless they can, then you shouldn't have to lift a finger or be inconvenienced by it.

        • Re:First Post (Score:5, Insightful)

          by interkin3tic (1469267) on Saturday June 06, 2009 @01:46AM (#28230667)

          You have it backwards. It would not be your responsibility to disprove anything. It would be the accuser's full burden to PROVE that you have murdered. Unless they can, then you shouldn't have to lift a finger or be inconvenienced by it.

          That is where the metaphor breaks down, as there is no such burden in the court of public opinion, and public opinion unchecked causes these things. If we ignore it and do nothing to correct people who for some reason think there is a proven link between violent videogames and actual violence, their elected officials aren't going to say "no, sorry, prove it."

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            I might add that there seems to be at least some support that violent video games increase "aggression."

            Please note that aggression is a hard thing to define and measure, and that lab settings have used... somewhat odd methods to do so. For example, one study had participants either play a violent video game or a non-violent video game, and then were given the opportunity to add whatever amount of hot sauce to another person's food (who wasn't in the room right then) that they wanted to. They DID fin
      • Re:First Post (Score:5, Insightful)

        by KDR_11k (778916) on Saturday June 06, 2009 @01:31AM (#28230609)

        Hell, even if videogames DO cause those murders, that's still several orders of magnitude less dangerous than tobacco or alcohol, neither of which is banned. You can probably find food products that kill more people per year than shooting rampages do. Also they're singling out videogames. Why not movies, books (I hear religious texts have inspired a lot of violence, those really shouldn't be in people's hands), music and maybe news reports about violence? Easy: Because these politicians already subject themselves to that kind of stuff and realize it's not a prolem (or if it was wouldn't want to declare themselves psychos).

        This is a completely ridiculous pile of bullshit. Shooting rampages are so rare and cause so few deaths that special legislation is not warranted against such a broad subject as videogames even if it were at fault (last time one happened the father got tried for severely lacking firearm safety and of course the kids in question are always in a situation where they get treated like dirt by everyone else anyway).

        • Re:First Post (Score:5, Insightful)

          by interkin3tic (1469267) on Saturday June 06, 2009 @01:51AM (#28230687)

          Hell, even if videogames DO cause those murders, that's still several orders of magnitude less dangerous than tobacco or alcohol, neither of which is banned

          And ALL of which have big powerful industries behind them. We're talking about videogames like they're endangered. There is huge industry with lobbyists on our side. And anyway, senior citizens who think games are the devil are dying everyday, while kids who grew up playing games are reaching voting ages every day. Momentum and lobbyist money, if not organization and self-righteousness, are on our side, we don't need to panic every time some idiot government official says something stupid about videogames.

          Not to say "Let's not worry about it" lets just keep some perspective that these things aren't gaining much steam.

          • by Fred_A (10934)

            And ALL of which have big powerful industries behind them. We're talking about videogames like they're endangered. There is huge industry with lobbyists on our side.

            A bunch of loonies already tried this kind of thing with role playing games a few years ago. Those didn't really have a huge industry behind them and still came out ok.

            On the other hand the political atmosphere was quite a bit less hysterical back then (no "think of the children" meme for one). Nowadays it seems that anything remotely suspicious or potentially dangerous ought to be banned for the general well being of the peons. It's so nice that we don't have to think for ourselves any more. It was such a

            • by mpe (36238)
              Nowadays it seems that anything remotely suspicious or potentially dangerous ought to be banned for the general well being of the peons.

              Except that it's not "everything". Otherwise they'd wind up banning themselves PDQ :)
              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by drinkypoo (153816)

                If you think racism goes away when we're all one big happy color, with all the infidels weeded out, well, I've got new for you, you're missing it big time. Don't you see, first you kill off all the other races, then you start killing off all the other religions, then you start killing off the left-handed people, then you start killing off each other over the length of your crew cuts, until finally there's only one guy left — and no doubt he'll attack the mirror.

                Of course, that's just my opinion. I cou

      • by julesh (229690)

        If someone came up to me and accused me of murder I wouldn't base my case on freedom of privacy. I would hope my lawyer could simply disprove the actual charges against me.

        If your legal rights to privacy had been violated, I would expect your lawyer to use this to try to prevent evidence resulting from those violations being used against you. This is standard legal practice, and is the basic reason why such things as the necessity for search warrants actually work.

        Fighting these sorts of things largely on

        • by mpe (36238)
          Basically, at least here in the EU, legislators are permitted to make exceptions to free speech as long as there are clear public interest grounds in doing so ("necessary in a democratic society [...] for the protection of public safety" being I think the phrasing involved here). So, yes, free speech isn't an automatic win in this case: we need to show, conclusively, that there isn't a (serious) public safety issue here.

          Which would require proving a negative. Makes far more sense if those claiming there i
        • First of all the case is about populism and elections. Second the interior minister likes to stake the demands a bit higher to negotiate something in between. Third that debate would be a fantastic recruitment tool for a gamer's rights campaign, So in the end Germans will get a a happy interior minister hated by everyone and and we would have a kind of CyberNRA e.V. Germany won't do it alone but on a European level. SchÃuble just tests the national debate.

      • by rve (4436)

        People need to educate the voting public that the 12 year old next to them on the laughing and bragging about how he shot a rifle through someone's head yesterday and made it explode isn't a deraged lunatic.

        That is definitely not the kind of game a 12 yr old should be allowed to play.

        Anyway, the root cause of moral panic like this is the fact that most people can't wrap their head around the concept of someone who is not a socially inept adolescent boy playing computer games. Their gut feeling is that games are targeted at 12 yr old boys, and the content of many of these games is not suitable for 12 yr old boys.

        While the latter is true, the former is not. Most gamers are over 18, according to Ars Technica [arstechnica.com].

        Noon

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Nyder (754090)

      Maybe someone should point out the lack of video games didn't keep the Germans from oppressing most of europe during the first half of the 1900's.

  • NOOOOO! (Score:5, Funny)

    by genner (694963) on Friday June 05, 2009 @11:06PM (#28230011)
    If this keeps Crytek from making games it has become the worst kind of tragedy.
    The kind that affects me!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Crytek doesn't make games as it is, they make tech demos.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Jesus_666 (702802)
      Well, it will deal a very harsh blow to the German video game industry. Essentially, we have CryTek. And Factor 5-- nope, they first left Germany and then went out of business. Rainbow Ar-- no, they died in the 90s. Okay, Sunflowers and Zuxxez are still alive. And Blue Byte.

      So essentially we have Anno and The Settlers. plus Two Worlds That's two moderately successful series and a rather forgettable game. Gothic doesn't quite count; I don't even know if JowooD is going to have someone develop a fourth game
  • by Criceratops (981909) on Friday June 05, 2009 @11:12PM (#28230057) Homepage
    ... on violent German regimes?

    Or a ban on violently bad singers. That could kill off their Hasselhoff hassle.
    • by ILoveCrack83 (1244964) on Friday June 05, 2009 @11:17PM (#28230073)
      But let us be honest. The people ruling that country now, do not even know what you are talking about. The whole world needs to grow up instead of looking for a scape goat.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bertoelcon (1557907)

        The whole world needs to grow up instead of looking for a scape goat.

        Everytime the world tries to grow up in one area it takes a step back in ways we already had correctly. It really just needs a happy medium on all levels.

    • by Tokerat (150341)

      ... on violent German regimes?

      If your nation still felt like it needed to save face after one of the most psychotic and destructive people in modern times lead it via propaganda into committing the Holocaust, you might be a little uncomfortable with any media which might possibly have a negative influence on your population, no matter how slight or unproven that chance is.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by LingNoi (1066278)

        The joke being that the more they restrict freedoms the more they become like they were before. I've read articles in the past of game developers being spit on in germany, Crytek has had it's offices raided in the past (with shotguns in peoples faces). How long will it be before they're being lead to the game developer death camps?

    • by Jesus_666 (702802)

      Or a ban on violently bad singers.

      Already in effect as a Europe-wide policy, which you would know if you watched the Eurovision Song Contest.

    • by stesch (12896)
      What's a Hasselhoff?
  • Crytek (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jgtg32a (1173373) on Friday June 05, 2009 @11:17PM (#28230079)
    Hopefully they do leave Germany one of the things that annoyed me about Crysis is that the Koreans didn't respond to dead bodies. In Crysis you can't move dead bodies because it is against the law or some foolishness in Germany. Instead the bodies just disappeared after a little while
    • Re:Crytek (Score:5, Insightful)

      by artor3 (1344997) on Friday June 05, 2009 @11:23PM (#28230101)

      Yeah, but if they leave Germany, do you really think all the devs are going to follow? They'll end up with an entirely new team making games on the old IP, and it won't be the same.

      Hopefully, the politicians behind this get some sort of backlash from their constituents, and back down.

      • by jonwil (467024)

        As evidenced by the German Index that restricts the sale of all kinds of media (and has been responsible for self-censorship of all kinds of entertainment media released in germany for decades), either the government doesn't listen to the people on matters of censorship or (more likely), they do listen to the people and (as is so often the case in our modern society), the people with the loudest voice are those in favor of censorship and restrictions.

      • Of course they won't leave Germany, it is just a slow political transformation process. The rules the minister are proposed for Europe at large. The German minister just tests the national ground to stir some debate. In Germany you have public debate, even if it is bullshit.

    • Hopefully they do leave Germany one of the things that annoyed me about Crysis is that the Koreans didn't respond to dead bodies.

      That is such a surreal quote.

      I thought it had something to do with their last president taking a jump of a cliff and nobody passing any new laws to prevent ex-presidents from committing suicide.

  • Godwin's law... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mail2345 (1201389)
    Just got proven again with the tags. Is 10 min a new record? Anyway, what do they mean by violent? "Violent" could be twisted into a lot of things.
  • Recession...not? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 05, 2009 @11:32PM (#28230143)

    Hey we're really hurting on the economy, let's ban the idiots that dare run a successful business and bring needed tax revenue in! That'l fix the situation! How dare you try and run a business that may offend people in some way!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by koreaman (835838)

      Gay marriage redux?

      In my opinion, it's the same issue. Self-righteous moral assholes trying to interfere with our private lives, to the detriment of everyone affected and sometimes even to everyone not directly affected (by reducing the economy...)

    • by rob1980 (941751)
      No kidding, this is a travesty against Crytek. We'll have to get the tech demos our systems will never run from someplace else now!
    • Hey we're really hurting on the economy, let's ban the idiots that dare run a successful business and bring needed tax revenue in!

      The economic argument is a boneheaded tactical blunder.

      It is the argument the tobacco company makes. The pornographer.

      There is no business practice so corrupt and debased that hasn't been defended the same way.

      The economic argument fails on the facts.

      The Wii is the best selling console platform.

      The Wii could all its M rated titles - and it would remain the best selling console

      • by Nathrael (1251426)

        The ultra violent action game doesn't hold that strong a position even in the PC market. The most popular items in PC Games. Updated hourly.

        Problem is, the German government's definition of "ultra violent video games" varies from the one most people have. We all know about Beckstein comparing the uncensored version of Counter Strike to child pornography...or the censorship of Half Life (1). And the German rating organization (the USK) is a puppet organization controlled by politicians like that - just take a look at what they do: even a lot of T-rated games are rated 16+ or 18+ in Germany, just because you use a gun to kill your enemies.

        On a

      • by Jesus_666 (702802)
        Every FPS can be classified as "violent" because violence happens to be the primary means of problem resolution in the game. At the same time, FPSs happen to be the genre most likely to produce a sellable engine as FPSs are the most concerned with graphics and their optimization. If we just go and ban every FPS we do shoot ourselves in the foot - we drive off Crytek, the golden boy of the German gaming industry, and we ensure that nothing like them will come again. (Granted, Crytek is rather internationaliz
  • by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Friday June 05, 2009 @11:35PM (#28230159)

    While I admire everyone's knee jerk reaction to defend video games via free speech I think this method of defense is inherently idiotic.

    If someone came up to me and accused me of murder I wouldn't base my case on freedom of privacy. I would hope my lawyer could simply disprove the actual charges against me.

    Fighting these sorts of things largely on free speech seems to imply that that video games are actually responsible for some sort of mayhem but should be protected anyway. They aren't dangerous. They don't pose a public threat and they shouldn't even be charged as such let alone 'allowed' to exist in spite of these accusations.

    People need to educate the voting public that the 12 year old next to them on the laughing and bragging about how he shot a rifle through someone's head yesterday and made it explode isn't a deraged lunatic.

    Video games out of context sound insane and dangerous. This is largely an educational problem which needs a good PR campaign. It's easier to defend something which people understand and like than it is to fight an abstract constitutional battle about the conflict between freedom and public well being.

    • by Ihmhi (1206036)

      People need to educate the voting public that the 12 year old next to them on the laughing and bragging about how he shot a rifle through someone's head yesterday and made it explode isn't a deraged lunatic.

      Oblig. [penny-arcade.com]

    • by fermion (181285)
      It is true that free speech may not be the best defense of video games, but it may be the most effective. Here is why. If the actions of video games and tv shows can incite people to violent acts, then why not the direct statements or commands of radio personalities. This is why we have so much sex and violence on TV and video games. The liberals are generally not going to back massive restrictions of free speech because censorship is not currently the big liberal issue. It may have been, but now liber
    • by Dhalka226 (559740)

      If someone came up to me and accused me of murder I wouldn't base my case on freedom of privacy. I would hope my lawyer could simply disprove the actual charges against me.

      I would hope so, being as arguing privacy in a murder case is purely idiotic; the two things aren't even related. That said, if their case was based on a confession they tortured out of you I would hope to hell you made very sure your lawyer argued 8th/5th Amendment violations. Vigorously. It wouldn't be the only thing he argued becaus

    • by Yvanhoe (564877) on Saturday June 06, 2009 @03:28AM (#28231041) Journal
      I'm a grown up, the things I read, watch or play are my problem and my problem alone. If they were talking about banning games for kids, we could take another angle and argue over the influence of videogames. I'm an adult, I don't want to be considered like an irresponsible that will go on rampage because he watched Terminator or played Far Cry 2...
  • by DreamsAreOkToo (1414963) on Friday June 05, 2009 @11:35PM (#28230161)

    People don't want to believe in bad people. Lets face it, some people are just rotten. It wasn't video games, it wasn't the comic books, or the rock music. Maybe something caused it other then nature, but if that's the case, I'm sure it was exposure to a lot of lead or a head injury that damaged a specific portion of the head during early childhood.

    Until we realize that some people are rotten, and everybody is responsible for themselves, we're going to continue to creating stupid laws that make the word a worse place to live in.

    • by timmarhy (659436)
      that sounds like terrorist talk to me...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by e9th (652576)
      People don't want to believe in bad people? This thread is inherently Godwinned, so I can point out that A. Hitler enjoyed popular support until it became evident that the war was lost. People wanted to believe in him, even elected him Chancellor, because he promised them solutions. Yete nobody wanted to analyze what those solutions entailed.

      It wasn't until after the war was over that you couldn't find even a single person who had ever supported him.

      • His point was that people don't want to believe that some people are just rotten. Your godwinned example would then have to be "Some people just don't want to believe Hitler was just really a bad guy and keep looking for excuses for his actions and how he was so misunderstood and nobody gave him hugs".

        This is roughly the problem in europe. We keep lowering jail sentences because punishing people don't work and keep giving hugs and finding excuses for peoples actions. It don't work either because the sad th

    • by eiMichael (1526385) on Saturday June 06, 2009 @12:17AM (#28230339)

      Right, people just come out of the womb stabbing and biting everything in sight. Stop blaming shit on genetics just because it frees you of responsibility for your community. Worst case they have some testosterone production issue that makes them more aggressive, but even that doesn't make them rotten.

      Putting some teenager into murderer/rapist/assault prison for smoking a particular plant is rotten. Having to leave children at home unsupervised because both parents must work just to get paid minimum wage and can't afford proper child care is rotten. Calling other people rotten to free yourself of any responsibility for what happens on this planet is rotten. Grow up.

      • by PitaBred (632671)
        So, you don't believe people can be developmentally disabled, they're just not educated right when they're kids? Are you stupid or something? If one brain malfunction can be genetic, why in the hell can't another one?
      • Right, people just come out of the womb stabbing and biting everything in sight.

        Straw man. The rest of your post is a giant non sequitor.

        Stop blaming shit on genetics just because it frees you of responsibility for your community.

        People aren't interested in violence and sex because of media, violent media are made because people are interested by violence and sex.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      More like people don't want to believe in complex problems that require a lot of attention and might not be possible to solve completely. They want simple solutions like banning violent games or installing metal detectors in schools.

      As for lead poisoning or head injuries being a major cause: that's a pretty weird guess. How about constant bullying combined by a (possibly in part genetic) antisocial personality and a tendency towards revenge. With some neglect from their environment these kids might not ha
    • by houghi (78078)

      I agree. When I read the proposal to do so, I wanted to kill these banded group. I thought they were bandits for doing so and should be shot. So proposing these bans is clearly dangerous, so they should ban the banded bandits to do the banning.

      (And I must be shot for one of the worst puns in history)

  • In exchange for some pre-election posturing they're willing to eliminate jobs in one of the few growing industries. Not only does it discourage today's game publishers from investing in Germany, they also lose out on the new companies that spring up around the talent they're forcing out of the country.
  • Pretty much any game made now days could be considered violent, any game that you use a gun or weapon to attack something else. Hell even C&C could and games in that area since they have you trin to destroy the enemy.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DeadPixels (1391907)
      Show me a game that can't be painted as violent, and I'll show you Solitaire.
      • by wisty (1335733)

        Ah, Solitaire. The second biggest waste of times since un-metered internet connections. At least they might ban Minesweeper!

        • You were joking but there is actually a movement to ban Minesweeper game -- it allegedly hurts feelings of landmine victims.

      • by MBGMorden (803437)

        Depends. Most traditional card deck artwork has the King of Hearts committing suicide by impaling himself through the head with his sword. I noticed when testing this that Vista's Solitaire game came with a whole new set of deck themes that doesn't show this (they replaced all the kings weapons with scepters even on the classic deck theme), but the vast majority of Solitaire games will.

        I wonder if Microsoft's removal of the weapons had anything to do with the violence aspect or if it was simply an artwork

      • by compro01 (777531)

        I dunno, people can get pretty violent when they get themselves into an unwinnable situation.

  • I have to wonder how this idea makes sense to any rational person who stops and thinks about it. Ban violent videogames to eliminate violence.

    It's nothing but election-year grandstanding. You see it just about everywhere, and it likely won't be long until politicians in other countries take up equally extreme/ridiculous measures in order to keep their seats.
  • ... BUT the if there is another shooting, they have remburse the video game industry for lost sales and revoke the law. after all you can' throw down that video games cause shootings and claim otherwise when another one happens.
  • Why not ban TV? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MartinSchou (1360093) on Saturday June 06, 2009 @12:13AM (#28230319)

    Not for the violent tv-shows, movies etc ...

    No, I'm not going to go along those lines - that's just adding to the fire of "ban violent [something]", and we haven't seen any good studies showing a link between virtual and real violence.

    However, we HAVE seen how effective TV, radio and movie theaters are in turning a population against others, raising support for horrible behaviour, war ... lots of other stuff.

    It's actually documented in Germany's own history [wikipedia.org]. Yes, I almost Godwin'ed myself, but in this case it's quite relevant, even though it is slightly trollish.

  • by meist3r (1061628) on Saturday June 06, 2009 @12:20AM (#28230349)
    Really, this is supposed to be the fabled "democracy" ancient greeks thought up? Oh no, wait. We've transformed that into a PR farce that every four years proves how rotten the people at the top are. Your votes don't matter. They are merely a numeral representation of how much you "don't" have to say. Lies, populism and ignorant phrase flinging wherever you look. None of this will matter AFTER the election that's why everything they tried to introduce lately was meant to be established before voters aren't important again. Look at our ministry of family and health. They neglected their resort for 3 1/2 years and all of a sudden when the election goes into the confrontation phase they start tossing around stuff like "DNS filters" and "address filtering" against alleged child pornography. All of which could be removed through application of existing laws but since they chose to balance the budget by cutting funds to investigators and connecting departments they now have to start flapping their arms REAALLY fast.

    Politicians are lying pricks that are always a couple of decades behind when it comes to reality. Unfortunately this generalization stands to be disproven for all of the major parties in my country. They can't stop anyone from selling these games to me and if they do I'll personally book a cheap ticket to one of our less ridiculous neighboring countries. Other than that I or someone else will sue at the surpreme court that no government can tell an adult tax payer what to watch or what to play. Not unless they give up all their ludicrous make-belief jobs. This will all die down when these shit elections are finally over. Remember: Vote Pirate!
    • Really, this is supposed to be the fabled "democracy" ancient greeks thought up?

      There were quite a few things different in Greek democracy. One among them was the fact that decisions were taken by direct voting of the assembly of citizens (no representatives). Another was that there was no limit whatsoever on the power of such an assembly - it could vote anything in. In practice, this lead to some interesting side effect - it happened sometimes that a skilled orator could convince the assembly to vote in a particular way on an important issue, and that would go horribly wrong once enac

    • by petrus4 (213815)

      Really, this is supposed to be the fabled "democracy" ancient greeks thought up? Oh no, wait. We've transformed that into a PR farce that every four years proves how rotten the people at the top are.

      Democracy worked for the ancient Greeks for a certain period of time purely because, for
      that period of time, the ancient Greeks weren't a degenerate society. They were also
      probably the only human society that has yet existed, which were not degenerate, and they weren't able to maintain that degree of sociologic

  • by kheldan (1460303) on Saturday June 06, 2009 @12:38AM (#28230421) Journal
    They can't control the production and sales of games OUTSIDE of Germany. People who want them will just order them from elsewhere. What are they going to do, make it ILLEGAL to own games like that? Stupid and pointless. They should spend their time and energy solving REAL problems.
    • by julesh (229690)

      They should spend their time and energy solving REAL problems.

      Yeah. Like banning paintball [guardian.co.uk]. Oh, wait.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by icsx (1107185)
      Thing is, most games are already censored (no gore, no limbs and bodyparts are replaced with toys in Team Fortress 2) in Germany. Some games you cannot even sell there! For example a dude in Germany cannot buy Wolfenstein 3D from Steam. Now total ban for violent games? Pssh. Talk about overreacting. TV is the biggest source for Violence. Ban it first.
      • by Jesus_666 (702802)
        Amusingly, some German games are censored when yold outside Germany. In the strategy game The Nations two of the factions produced cigarillos and booze, respectively, as food. In the States, that had to be changed to lollipops and candy.
  • by speedtux (1307149) on Saturday June 06, 2009 @02:25AM (#28230819)

    German law is full of such bizarre restrictions on freedom.

    For example, in addition to the usual laws against slander and libel (which have some justification), Germany has laws and penalties for insulting someone, even in private and even if you don't state anything factually wrong.

    Germany also has laws against any speech which might "disturb the public peace" or offend. What's the point of having free speech if you can't offend anybody? Didn't opposition to the monarchy or Hitler offend someone? Didn't Luther's 100 theses nailed to the Catholic church door offend the church?

    There is essentially no anonymous speech, since all communications ports need to be registered and all electronic communications are tracked and logged. Registration, tracking, and surveillance of citizens in Germany seems to be so widespread that people don't even care anymore and just think it's the same way everywhere. People have the attitude that "as long as the government does it, it's OK, at least we aren't like the US, where Google tracks everybody", which is a bizarre view given Germany's history.

    And it's not just the government that does it: some of Germany's biggest corporations have been illegally listening in on employees and customers and even forged communications.

    It has to be said that Germany's government currently appears to be using its powers for benign purposes: policing, anti-terrorism, etc. But if parts of the government were abusing those powers, say to blackmail political opponents, who would know? And you only need to look at the 1930's to see how a progressive and liberal German government can turn into a genocidal regime bent on world conquest.

    Somehow, the idea of "free speech" seems to have gotten lost in the translation after the Western allies laid the foundations for German democracy after WWII.

    • by tenco (773732)
      AFAIK "to offend" means "to annoy" and "to insult". So this is just a bad translation. Criticism isn't forbidden, but insults and hate speech are.
    • yours is quite a good post but it kind of sets Germans apart from other nationalities and I don't think this is a distinction that can be made.

      Germans are not really in a class of their own, abuse of power isn't unusual and particularly in hard economic times protectionism tends to become more open. Where ever you live buy --- (insert your country name here) and protect our jobs become a common rallying cry.

      Theres no real difference between people fundamentally we all have the people we care about, some we

      • by speedtux (1307149)

        yours is quite a good post but it kind of sets Germans apart from other nationalities and I don't think this is a distinction that can be made.

        But there are differences among nations; German history is different from US or French history. And German laws and attitudes towards free speech are different.

        People are just people when it comes down to it, just when our leaders do evil things we justify it in the name of national interest.

        The question is what people do about it, and the first step towards doing s

    • by Uberbah (647458)

      At least Germany isn't spying on it's own citizens in blatant violation of its own constitution, or in the habit of torturing people, or holding people in jail without trials - even people we know for a fact to be innocent, and insisting that top officials never be held accountable for war crimes.

      The U.S. has a far bigger problem with democracy than Germany does.

      • by speedtux (1307149)

        At least Germany isn't spying on it's own citizens in blatant violation of its own constitution

        How do you know? German laws are weaker in that regard to begin with, and there have been plenty of cases over the last half century.

        or in the habit of torturing people, or holding people in jail without trials - even people we know for a fact to be innocent, and insisting that top officials never be held accountable for war crimes.

        Are you joking? Germany committed such horrendous crimes against humanity in WWII

    • by Jesus_666 (702802)

      There is essentially no anonymous speech, since all communications ports need to be registered and all electronic communications are tracked and logged.

      By the NSA. I'm not aware of any German agency doing that. Okay, my ISP has to retain who used which IP address for the last couple months. Do you mean that? Or do you mean the push for warrantless wiretapping, which essentially turned into a decade-long legal battle, unlike in the United States?

      Registration, tracking, and surveillance of citizens in Germany

  • Bizzaro-America (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bones3D_mac (324952) on Saturday June 06, 2009 @03:57AM (#28231175)

    It's interesting how much of a cultural inversion Germany is from the United States. Here in the U.S. we practically cherish violence in our culture, while the Germans seem opposed to most violence we'd often consider "tame" by our standards. Yet, it's exactly opposite when it comes to sexually "explicit" content. We fear it so much, we actually fight among ourselves over whether or not we can safely discuss sex with our children outside of telling them "don't do it." In the meanwhile, you could practically go up to any magazine rack in Germany and find magazines for children featuring pictures of topless women that would only pass as pornography here in the U.S.

    An interesting case in how differently we view violence as acceptable would be some past games like "Carmageddon", a title that was loosely based on the 70's movie "Death Race 2000". In the U.S., you could kill regular people in the streets with your car in the game. In the U.K., this was switched to zombies with green "blood". In Germany, this was replaced with robots.

  • The 16 Interior Ministers are ministers of the 16 states. There is a seperate minister of the interior for germany. The states ministers control the police of their state. They have no legislative power. In theory they can ask the Bundestag as much as I can although they obviously make a bigger fuss...
    This year is a year with a lot of elections in different states, european and communal votes (all on different dates). That makes idiotic statements by politicians more likely.
    Also Spiegel Online noticed that

  • by Qbertino (265505) on Saturday June 06, 2009 @05:17AM (#28231451)

    This is yet another slew of ultra-pointless pre-election gibberish. Extremely violent videogames such as Manhunt are allready factually banned for public sale and sale to minors in Germany, based on laws existing since the dawn of the republic.

    The rubbish on Computers, Videogames and the Internet that the ruling class in Germany has been putting out in recent years has reached staggering heights that are compareable to the situation in the US.

    I for one am going to send in my support signature for the Piratenpartei [piratenpartei.de] (German branch of the Pirate Party) and do an all out vote for them whenever the occasion arises. If all German INet savy people do that, we could have the 5% hurdle for the Bundestag in no time. That'll teach them.

    And if you are german, how about pitching in? Your signature [waehlepiraten.de] paves the way to the Bundestag. For once get off your fat lazy unpolitical geek ass and help roll Schäuble and Zensursula straight out of office. And screw the Greens (Grüne) on this one! Don't forget that Tritin and Fischer had a big hand in passing that Internet law a few years back ('Gesetz zum verbesserten Schutz des Urheberrechtes im Internet' aka 'German DMCA')!

    Beweg' Deinen Arsch und tu' was! (visit links above)

    My 2 Euros.

    • by Jesus_666 (702802)
      To be honest, I am thinking about doing something... Moving to Sweden, where the Pirates actually have clout. I'm not so sure whether the German ones will ever take off. Or whether I will ever be able to actually vote for them, not living in one of the large population centers.

      And no, I won't open a local chapter and try to get elected. I don't have the money to not do a regular job fulltime and I'd feel unclean if I actually went into politics.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Asic Eng (193332)
      Especially after this news: http://www.ka-news.de/nachrichten/karlsruhe/Karlsruhe-Killerspiele-Gruene;art6066,199419 [ka-news.de] Here the Green party is asking for "a clear signal against killer games". Sorry I'd like a clear signal for individual freedom instead.
  • . . . like Poland or the Czech Republic, where Germans flock for bargains? What about buying something online in another country?

    How will you really know that kids don't have ultra-violent games on their PCs? Maybe allow the Federal Police (Kripo) to plant trojans that snoop around on kids' computers?

    I guess they'll need a federal department to decide what's ultra-violent, and what's not. And the Border Police and Customs will need to check travelers for this as well. What if you enter the country wit

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