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XBox (Games) Entertainment Games

Ninja Gaiden Censored For European Release 70

Thanks to GamesIndustry.Biz for its article confirming that Tecmo's Xbox title Ninja Gaiden has been censored for European release, seemingly "to remove certain violent aspects such as decapitations." According to the piece, these changes "have been removed apparently at the request of European censors, and the final PAL code for the game has been granted a 16 rating by pan-European ratings body PEGI, which rates games for a wide range of European countries (including the notoriously censorious German market)." However, it seems "the actual impact of the change to the game is minor... and does little to detract from the well-received game - which was the best selling single-platform title in the USA last month." Update: 04/22 14:42 GMT by S : Simon Vivien explains what commenters also mention: "Germany still uses USK, which is another rating board dedicated to their market. The rest of Europe indeeds use PEGI. A 16+ PEGI rating doesn't especially mean a 16+ USK rating - as was witnessed in our latest shooter, Painkiller, who received a 16+ PEGI rating but was banned in Germany."
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Ninja Gaiden Censored For European Release

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Heil Hitler!
    • by MCC-SMART ( 765008 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:07PM (#8929841)
      It exists no cencoring in Europe. What in Europe exists is legal protection for children and young persons. When you are 18+ it's no problem to buy your non-defused version at retailer which imports the game's US-Version. Costs some Euros more, but so what? P.S. It is not Europe, which established an Gestapo with a law called Patriot Act I+II...
      • No, it was Germany (you know, in Europe) which established a Gestapo with...well...the Gestapo.

        (Sorry, mostly a joke, I swear...)
      • The difference is none. Europe is "protecting" children and young people- censoring what they are allowed to be exposed to. More importantly, because the censorship is applied to all retailers, it affects what adults can be exposed to as well. The appropriateness of the censorship can be debated all you want, but it is *still censorship*.

        I can import Japanese tentacle porn, but by no means does that mean that censorship isn't going on- it just means that the censorship has a "outlet" wherein domestic produ
        • The reason people complain about our government and compare them to the nazis is not because we're anti-american, it's because our country is better than that. We should be mad about what's going on in our country today. Jose Padilla has been in jail for over a year and a half without being charged with a crime because Bush has decided that he can ignore the constitution when it comes to terrorists. If we don't speak up and get mad when our country does something wrong, we will become as bad as the nazis.
        • In fact, pretty much anything can be produced in the U.S. We don't have censorship on the order of the European countries. It is being used to illustrate a point

          Right now, this is fairly true. But until the Clinton administration, the Justice Department was actually fairly harsh towards the production of pornography. Of course, plenty of porn still got made, but plenty of people also got in trouble. And things may start to move back in that direction.
      • it doesn't matter if it's "legal protection for children", it's still censorship. if I have to go out of my way to get the original version, it's been censored. I have NO idea how you got modded up so high.
  • by wizarddc ( 105860 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @11:35AM (#8929401) Homepage Journal
    This is the equivilant of movie producers removing blood, titties and cursing after they get a NC-17, trying to at least sneak in an R. It just so happens that the Euros are censoring this when the US isn't. I don't see anything that big a deal about this, except for the fact that this might be the first major time this has happened.
    • by Krandor3 ( 621755 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @11:41AM (#8929481)
      If I am reading the article correctly, it sounds like they were not forced to remove stuff, but that they would have just gotten a higher rating if they didn't remove it. If they had a choice to release the game with all the material in and just have gotten a higher rating, then it is not censorship. They decided to remove it to get a 16 rating. At least that is how ie reads to me.
      • by Fred Or Alive ( 738779 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @01:14PM (#8930778)

        Yep, there's an 18+ PEGI [] rating (the voluntary game ratings system used in Europe, replacing the ELSPA ones in the UK.) However individual countries laws can go overrule this, such as the UK's Video Recordings Act (and associated laws), and Germany's laws, where they really don't like gore and so on. They might only want to prepare one PAL version of the game (rather than a rest-of-Europe and a German version), so bow to the German censorship requirements across Europe, or they just want a lower rating for sales reasons.

  • by hookedup ( 630460 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @11:37AM (#8929421)
    C'mon folks, HE'S A NINJA, it's what they do.

    Any idea if manhunt had a european release? I cant even see that game hitting the shelves over there.
    • Obviously, the EU hasn't discovered the real ultimate power [] yet...
    • Re:bah censorship... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Fred Or Alive ( 738779 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @01:06PM (#8930670)
      Manhunt was release in Europe, or at least in the UK. It doesn't have the PEGI voluntary ratings, it has a BBFC 18 certificate, which means that retailers would break the law if sell it to people under 18, the same as an 18 rated DVD (the Video Recordings Act 1984 and all that funk.) I don't know about other countries, as most games nowadays have UK specific packaging, so the UK BBFC rating is the only one on the box IIRC.

      AFAIK it was developed by Rockstar North, the same people as Grand Theft Auto (originally DMA Design, who also created the first Lemmings), who are based in Scotland. GTA games are also BBFC 18 rated.
    • Europe is (as always) more liberal than America in these respects. It's just (as always) Germany ruining it for the rest of us.
  • Great Game (Score:4, Interesting)

    by j.bellone ( 684938 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @11:40AM (#8929455) Homepage
    This game is a great game, fun, well though out, well planned, there is almost nothing wrong with this game... almost. The front of the game box says "Online Enabled", I spent $50 on the game to go play some Ninja Gaiden online (in any form) only to find out when I got home that the whole "online tournament" didn't start until E3 (the middle of May). Very misleading.
    • see, you gotta look out buddy, look for the super packages that say "Online Enabled NOW"
    • Re:Great Game (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Xzzy ( 111297 )
      My only complaint with the game was the long recycle time when you died, it seemed completely unneccessary.

      And considering the steep learning curve of the game, many people die a LOT.

      Playing that boring death animation, fading to the game over, selecting "yes", then waiting for a reload translates to a lot of wasted time. Even worse if you're stuck on a fight that leads in with a cutscene.. ugh.
      • Re:Great Game (Score:2, Insightful)

        by j.bellone ( 684938 )
        Did you ever notice that you absolutely cannot quit to the title screen once you're in a game? I've tired several ways, the damn exit thing on the menu just exits the menus.
        • Re:Great Game (Score:1, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Sure you can. Hold down start + back + black + white.
  • I hate censoring. I hate it IHATEITIHATEIT!

    What about me in Denmark? Here there's no such lame laws about fo shizzle "censoring"! Here it's only about ethics. And that's not something you can get sued for. Will DK get a special version? probably not, because nobody cares. Bloody BASTARDS.

    Excuse me.

    • Re:GAH! (Score:2, Insightful)

      you dont know what "fo shizzle" means, do you?

      • I think he pretty much covered that with the "What about me in Denmark?" bit.
      • No, but he still has a good point. Denmark's laws are much looser than in, say, Germany, but Germany's bigger. Therefore, Germany's prudishness and lack of respect for freedom of speech and freedom of association end up adversely affecting him. Unfortunately, the EU has no interest in increasing the freedoms afforded to the citizens of its member countries; therefore, Denmark will continue to suffer.

        The joys of capitalism. Oh, well... it beats the alternatives.
  • by BigJimSlade ( 139096 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @11:51AM (#8929626) Homepage
    1) The Euro version of Contra was called "Probotectors" and featured robots. Because obviously a bunch of robots killing aliens is much less violent than two Rambo clones.

    2) Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles. They're definitely not ninjas.
  • Idea (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Sv-Manowar ( 772313 )
    why dont they ever just release the original with a high rating , and then consider releasing a censored version - therefore not taking any away from the game for guys who really want to see every piece of tissue flying from their opponents brain. Of course it's all about the money for the publishers so your never going to see a version that won't be aimed at the biggest market
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:30PM (#8930135)
    Germany has its own rating board called the USK (Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle, entertainment software self-control), whose ratings are legally binding. That means you go to jail for selling a game without youth clearance (i.e. 18 and over) to a minor or any other game to a person younger than the minimum age the USK set.

    Furthermore there is the BPjM (Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Medien, federal testing centre for youth-endangering media), which can issue an indexing that makes it illegal to advertise the game to minors (means you are not allowed to put it on a shelf or write about it in a magazine if the shelf or magazine is accessible by minors). Most retailers don't stock or sell indexed games and since there'S no advertising that can be fatal for sales.

    The PEGI is not an accepted rating system within Germany.
  • With such alert and sensitive censors, Europe may never have to witness a single decapitation! ;-)
  • In America, the powers that be are overly sensitive to sexuality in our culture. It looks like Europe has a similar problem with fictional/virtual violence.

    You can't even release a video game in Germany if it has red blood effects in it. It has to be another color other than red.

    What's "Think about the children?!?" in Finnish? I'm sure you hear that as much in European countries and we hear it in the states.
    • >What's "Think about the children?!?" in Finnish? "Ajatelkaa lapsia"
    • There's actually a suprisingly lack of these kinds of people in Europe.

      Germany truely is simply the exception to the rule really, a large majority of violent games can be released in the rest of Europe, and few people will bat an eyelid.
      I believe they even banned Quake 2 in Germany for the longest time, whereas I don't think such a thing was even suggested elsewhere.

      The general view here is that violent games usually have an 18 age rating, and it is enforced, anyone who even looks under 18 will nopt be ab
    • I've been living in Germany for the past 9 months and you see lots of this on TV. They have no problems with showing sex in movies, or liquid soap commercials with a naked chick showering in a waterfall, or Britney's Toxic video, but they have major issues with censoring what would be considered virtual violence. I think our 'puritianistic' American society, which is run by the hypocritical bible-bound asses of politicians, should be a little bit more stringent about violent content on normal TV.

      Too ma
    • I always wondered why Half-Life had these 'bot' skins, as seen here []. I've been playing HL since 1998 and I've never understood why these skins are in, they're not even skins of characters in the single-player game, and all the other skins are. Then I read somewhere that those skins were made for the German version of the game, where the human Grunts (army soldiers, there to shut you up for good, yadda yadda) are replaced by robots gone totally friggin mad 0MGz0r! Talk about killing the story-line of the gam
  • when decapitations are outlawed only outlaws will have decapitations.
  • I remember when Mortal Kombat came out for the SNES and it was censored because of the blood and decapitations. It was still good but i felt i didnt get the whole experience of the game and feel it was a mistake from Nintendo(they lost sales to the Sega version which wasnt censored). Hope M$ doesnt make the same mistake in Europe that Nintendo made here.
  • In Soviet Russia, video game censors you!
  • Barbarian, anyone?
    Decapitation has been around since the c64, why should this change now? ;-)
  • by daVinci1980 ( 73174 ) on Thursday April 22, 2004 @10:42AM (#8938754) Homepage
    ... and because it didn't affect the rating in Europe, the ninjas you will be facing in Ninja Gaiden are all naked women.

  • The NES game was, um, changed a bit [] here - retitled to Shadow Warriors, and the box was slightly changed.

    All this while C64 players whacked The Last Ninja - European games, by the way - without any discussion about silly retitling =)

To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing. -- Elbert Hubbard