Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Games Government Entertainment Politics

Manhunt 2 Ban Fallout, Game Rated AO By ESRB 384

In the wake of yesterday's announcement of a UK ban on Manhunt 2 , Rockstar has registered its disappointment at the BBFC's decision. The company simply stated that they 'respect those who have different opinions about the horror genre and videogames as a whole, but we hope they will also consider the opinions of the adult gamers for whom this product is intended.' Meanwhile, here in the US, the ESRB has given the game the dreaded AO rating, for adults only. If you're unfamiliar with this seldom-seen designation, it's essentially the 'kiss of death' for a title at retail; a number of popular videogame outlets refuse to carry titles with that rating. MTV's Stephen Totilo has a lengthy and considered discussion of these proceedings. "For 'Manhunt 2,' signs pointed to the title being both less and more extreme than the first. Gone from press previews were mentions of snuff films and Directors. Instead, a more traditionally violent video game premise: one man's struggle to stay alive in an insane asylum gone mad."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Manhunt 2 Ban Fallout, Game Rated AO By ESRB

Comments Filter:
  • by eln ( 21727 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @11:26AM (#19580583)
    Seriously, a game like Manhunt 2 gets an AO rating, while true horror games like "Play with the Teletubbies" get rated EC (Early Childhood)! Where is the justice in that?
    • by Cerberus7 ( 66071 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @11:40AM (#19580849)
      That's right along my first thought after reading the summary. Brutally violent games shouldn't be rated AO? Wha?

      I can understand the outrage over an outright ban, but rating a game appropriately, regardless of the consequences to the bottom lines of the companies involved, sounds like a good move to me.
      • by travdaddy ( 527149 ) <travo@nosPAM.linuxmail.org> on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @11:59AM (#19581299)
        That's right along my first thought after reading the summary. Brutally violent games shouldn't be rated AO? Wha?

        I can understand the outrage over an outright ban, but rating a game appropriately, regardless of the consequences to the bottom lines of the companies involved, sounds like a good move to me.

        The only thing I really see wrong with it is that it seems that video games get rated more harshly than movies, and there's no reason for it. You press buttons for one and you don't for the other. I'd like to compare Manhunt 2 to Hostel 2 and see which is worse, because I imagine the answer is Hostel 2. Maybe the same board should rate video games and movies?
        • by weierstrass ( 669421 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @12:36PM (#19582019) Homepage Journal
          Games are more immersive, seem more 'real' for that reason, and you usually spend much longer playing a game than you would watching a movie. So, assuming that some or all people do have their propensity to commit violence stimulated by experiencing fictional violence, a violent game would seem to have more effect than a movie depicting similar acts.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by LordZardoz ( 155141 )
          It is the distinction between watching someone perform a fictional act of torture, and being encouraged to engage in a fictional act of torture.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by HTH NE1 ( 675604 )
            More like a distinction between you being a witness to an execution and having you manipulate some switches, turn some keys, and press some buttons and/or pull some levers in order to perform an execution.

            Unless it's on the Wii, but then we don't tend to execute people by swinging an axe at their necks anymore.
        • by xero314 ( 722674 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @01:59PM (#19583569)

          I'd like to compare Manhunt 2 to Hostel 2
          Hostel 2 - Rated so it can only be viewed by adults or with parental permission.
          Manhunt 2 - Rated so it can only be purchased by adults or with parental permission.
          Remember that both these rating systems are up to the enforcement of the establishments as is not actually legally binding

          Now for a more telling comparison on why Manhunt should actually be more restricted than hostile. Here are some possible quotes after enjoying these two entertainment devices.
          Hostile 2 - "I saw this one scene where the person was killed in a really horrific way"
          Manhunt 2 - "I killed this one person in this really horrific way"

          Hopefully you can see the difference. One is a movie you were you watch people get killed, while the other allows you to simulate killing people.

          Notice I am not supporting a complete ban, but have no issue with realistic ratings.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            Hostel 2 - Rated so it can only be viewed by adults or with parental permission in thousands of theaters.
            Manhunt 2 - Rated so it can only be purchased by adults or with parental permission in extremely few stores.

            The thing here is that an AO rating basically means it's banned. Stores aren't going to sell it. If a movie is given an R rating then who cares, every movie theater will show it anyway. That's why the AO rating is the kiss of death. Everyone keeps comparing the game and movie rating system, well
      • by cgenman ( 325138 )
        The issue isn't necessarily the rating, so much as the impact of the rating. Which is, to say, that the rating has automatically triggered a ban in the UK, will probalby trigger one throughout the EU, and effectively prevents the game from coming to US shelves by the policies of most US retailers.

        Retailers which will carry movies like Hostel, which is extremely gorey, shocking, and offensive, but will not carry Manhunt.

        Make no mistake: this rating may well be deserved. But this rating also means that the
  • In that case... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by godfra ( 839112 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @11:28AM (#19580621) Journal
    I'm definitely going to buy it. Can I order direct from Rockstar?
    • Can I order direct from Rockstar?
      Probably not.
      Studios usually don't want to piss off their distributors & the distributors in turn do not want to piss off the stores buying from them.

      That's why you mostly can't buy things direct from the mfg or the distributor.

      Further, it's why advertising always says "in stores soon" instead of "order directly from us online and cut out the middle men!"
      • I was pretty sure during the Hot Coffee scandal, you could still purchase San Andreas directly through R*'s website...
      • Re:In that case... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by toad3k ( 882007 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @01:31PM (#19583057)
        I'm pretty sure the distributor is out of the picture now. If it is AO it cannot be sold in any store which is a member of (BSA?). Whatever it is called. So no gamestop, no best buy, no walmart, no nothing.

        If I were them I would just say the hell with it and not even submit GTA or any other game to ESRB. Sell it on their website, on steam-like services and probably on amazon. Rockstar has such a good name now it could probably get by that way now. They would even get to keep all the profits. As a bonus they can now put in anything they want to. No other companies would be able to market a more raw videogame. The only prerequisite is that they make it common knowledge that you cannot get their games in stores.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by HTH NE1 ( 675604 )

      Can I order direct from Rockstar?
      It is still available for pre-order on Amazon.com for PS2 and PSP for $39.99 and the Wii for $49.99, still listed as "Rating Pending". They may end up canceling pre-orders, but unless you have a competing vendor with a lower price that will assuredly ship, it won't hurt to try.
    • Re:In that case... (Score:5, Informative)

      by yermej ( 985079 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @03:04PM (#19584559)
      Looks like you can get all Rockstar games directly from them [rockstargames.com].
  • Is there any reason why Rockstar can't just distribute the game via Steam or something like this?

    Rather than selling it at a retail level, utilize the free PR to mention that the game will still be sold but is only available for online download.

    They put in a disclaimer, you must be 18 to download this game, jada jada jada, and then sell it.

    • It's a game for PS2, PSP and Wii. These platforms don't do Steam.
    • Possibly because it was slated for consoles as well as a PC release. I am aware that other consoles such as the Wii do have a download distribution method, but I believe there's still the matter of hard drives on consoles and other such concerns to be aware of.

      Plus, to be honest, while it may have had a lot of press from this, I'm certain that a ton of folks are still unaware of it. When they don't see it sitting on a shelf, I doubt they'll think to go looking for it.
    • "Is there any reason why Rockstar can't just distribute the game via Steam or something like this?"

      Yes. This is the Wii, not the PC version.
  • by rehtonAesoohC ( 954490 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @11:35AM (#19580755) Journal
    Can someone post the MTV article here? Gotta love super duper work filters.
    • by toad3k ( 882007 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @01:35PM (#19583121)
      Coming soon to the Nintendo Wii and PlayStation 2: a game that's banned in the U.K and probably won't be sold by major game stores in the U.S. in its current form.

      "Manhunt 2," an upcoming action game from "Grand Theft Auto" development house Rockstar Games, has been labeled Adults Only by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board, according to a spokesman from Rockstar Games. Major retailers, including the big game chains, won't sell AO games, effectively guaranteeing the game won't be for sale next month as originally scheduled unless Rockstar changes the content.

      Asked whether the studio would delay the game (which is scheduled for a July 10 release), Rockstar spokesman Rodney Walker told MTV News: "That's the last thing we want, but it's too early to say."

      Walker provided "Manhunt 2" publisher Take 2 Interactive's statement on the game's rating: "We believe the process of rating video games is to help people make informed entertainment choices and not to limit them. 'Manhunt 2' was created for mature audiences and we strongly believe it should receive an M (Mature) rating, aligning it with similar content created in other forms of media. We are exploring our options with regard to the rating of 'Manhunt 2.' "

      This revelation followed news that the British Board of Film Classification -- which rates entertainment, including video games, for the U.K. market -- declared that it had rejected "Manhunt 2," denying it a rating.

      Talking to British gaming Web site MCVUK.com, BBFC director David Cooke said the game was rejected because the game "is distinguishable from recent high-end video games by its unremitting bleakness and callousness of tone in an overall game context which constantly encourages visceral killing with exceptionally little alleviation or distancing."

      The ESRB did not return an inquiry about the AO rating by press time. But earlier Tuesday (June 19), the organization said in a statement issued to MTV News that a group called the Center for a Commercial-Free Childhood had been pushing for an AO rating. "We have received the letter from CCFC, and while we might take issue with some of the statements made within, we sincerely appreciate their expressed concerns. Our ratings are intended to provide guidance that allows parents to choose games they deem suitable for their children, and that is a responsibility we take extremely seriously."

      The first "Manhunt," released in 2003, put the player in control of a death-row inmate named James Earl Cash who was forced to commit grisly murders at the behest of a cackling mastermind and snuff-film creator named the Director. Kills could be committed with nail guns and baseball bats. Created by Rockstar North, the team behind the "Grand Theft Auto" console games, "Manhunt" was criticized for its violence but hailed by some game critics for its development of stealth gameplay and innovative use of sound (the Director's voice could be set to only be heard through a headset a gamer wore while playing the game).

      For "Manhunt 2," signs pointed to the title being both less and more extreme than the first. Gone from press previews were mentions of snuff films and Directors. Instead, a more traditionally violent video game premise: one man's struggle to stay alive in an insane asylum gone mad. The new game would allow a broader range of weapons, including a phone and a suffocating plastic bag, actions that were glimpsed by MTV News on the PS2 version of the game that was shown at Sony's PlayStation Gamers Day in San Diego in May. While the game caused no furor at that event, such a title was sure to garner attention on the Wii, where its kills are triggered by the system's motion-sensitive controller.

      Cooke told MCVUK that the board could see no justification for anyone to play the game: "To issue a certificate to 'Manhunt 2,' on either platform, would involve a range of unjustifiable harm risks, to both adults and minors, within the terms of the Video Recordings Act, and accordingly that its availability, even if statutorily confined to adults, would be unacceptable to the public."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @11:36AM (#19580777)
    and have an essay contest entitled "Why Microsoft Word is more likely than video games to incite people to commit violent acts"

    Having played violent video games and used Word, one has caused me to become violent, and it wasn't video games....
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by 0123456 ( 636235 )
      Who needs Word? Explorer.exe is enough to make me violent... I lost count of the number of times I had to kill that bastard piece of 'software' over the weekend when it locked up or starting sucking up 100% of the CPU time on one processor.
  • Didn't they say that that the Brits are ignoring the Adult Gamers in their decision? So, since they made it for Adult Gamers, shouldn't they be welcoming the Adults Only mark? Oh it wasn't just made for a niche market then, eh?
    • by bri2000 ( 931484 )
      Isn't their problem with the AO mark (as explained in the summary) that many US chains won't stock it at all as a matter of principle meaning that AO in the US is a de facto ban? I doubt Rockstar would've complained about getting an 18 rating in the UK (basically a legally enforceable AO rating - the same rating as given to the recent GTA games) as game stores don't have a problem with selling those titles over here.

      Personally I thought Manhunt sucked, but I'm now looking to buy the sequel out of sheer ir

    • by ChaosDiscord ( 4913 ) * on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @12:42PM (#19582157) Homepage Journal

      Nonsense. The summary made it perfectly clear why they don't want the AO mark: a number of cowardly stores refuse to stock AO games. Fewer stores means less visibility and fewer sales, even if they really only want adults purchasing the game. For a game that was expensive to produce, an AO rating can destroy the producers chance of making a profit. A Mature mark would get them into most stores with almost identical effectiveness (AO is 18+, while M is 17+ [esrb.org]).

      Exactly as many people predicted, the ratings system, even a voluntary one, has stifled creativity. The ratings system resulted in incentives for stores to refuse to stock the highest rated games to appease the whiners. Not being carried in stores reduces sales, frequently to the point of ensuring the game will be a commercial failure. Developers and publishers to restrict what they do to avoid the top rating mark. End result: you get almost nothing specifically intended for the adult market. What you do get tends to be low quality and pandering, because shameless crap is the only thing likely to make money. The end result is that the highest rating becomes associated with pandering garbage, which just reenforces the entire cycle. You're pretty much guaranteed that some topics and some styles of gameplay that serious game developers might want to turn into a top quality title will either be watered down or simply never produced.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Let's assume that Manhunt is the equivalent of Hostel. A movie like Hostel, just like Manhunt games, are made to be so gratuitously violent as to push the bounds of what we find believable. I can guarantee that the images in both are comparable, with Hostel's being more life-like. Both are made for adults.

      In the US system of movies, there's the R rating (for 16 years and older) and the NC-17 rating (for 17 years and older). These are roughly equivalent to M and AO. If a movie is R, you can see it in the
  • by goldspider ( 445116 ) <.ardrake79. .at. .gmail.com.> on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @11:52AM (#19581117) Homepage
    Is there any compelling reason why kids SHOULD be allowed to buy this game?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Xest ( 935314 ) *
      The real question is is there any reason they shouldn't?

      As yet there's still no proof that games in any way negatively effect a persons mentality in a violent manner. For every bit of so called evidence i.e. "columbine killers played games, games must be to blame" there's plenty of equally unfounded counter-evidence, for example, since Grand theft autos original release in the US, car crime in the US has dropped drastically, perhaps people are happy comitting their crime virtually? Or how about the guy in t
      • Even if portrayed in a game.

        The trivialization and glamorization of violence is something that we expect only fully developed adults to manage appropriately, young people lack the necessary life experience to know better, specially children, that learn by mimicking.

    • I don't think anyone is arguing that 13 year olds should be playing it, just that an adults only rating may cause stores to refuse to carry it outright, which hurts A) the company and B) the gamer. What I find ironic is that the same go-arounds that adult gamers will have to use to get the game (downloading from a legit service, illegal download, buying online) will probably also work just fine for underage gamers who want to try it. So it's more about the message (getting tough on games) than the effect.
    • by ivan256 ( 17499 )
      The difference between M and AO is one year. 17 for M and 18 for AO. They should just get rid of AO, and make 'M' 18+. Or reserve AO for porn games, or something. Saying a title should be 'M' instead of 'AO' is *not* saying that kids should be allowed to buy it. It's just politics.
  • Am I the only one to wonder what business it is of Manhunt 2 to ban the upcoming Fallout 3?
  • by Bob9113 ( 14996 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @12:06PM (#19581447) Homepage
    Rockstar, if you're listening, please do us a favor. Keep the game just the way it is. Release it with the AO rating.

    You have the capital to take a risk like this (especially with GTA 4 coming soon, and the tidal wave of cash it is sure to generate). Someone has to be the first to put out high quality AO content. The Atari 2600 came out in 1977. There are lots of adults that have been playing games for their entire lives, and want game content that falls in the same noire category as 300, Reservoir Dogs, and Sin City.

    Until there is a proven market for this material, the vendors won't take a risk on it. But you have the ability to establish that market, and the cashflow to take the risk.

    I don't even think it's that much of a risk; the first game to thumb its nose at the family-values whining minority. Everyone who would have bought the game will want it, 90% of them are old enough to legally buy it, and most of those will be willing and able to make the effort necessary to do so.

    So please, give it a shot. You can always rerelease it with duckies and bunnies, and a gun that shoots hearts to make the furry animals love you, later.
    • by GweeDo ( 127172 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @12:34PM (#19581981) Homepage
      They took a 25 million dollar loss last year, are you sure they have this capital you speak of?
      • by Bob9113 ( 14996 )
        They took a 25 million dollar loss last year, are you sure they have this capital you speak of?

        Wow! I did not know that. So I guess extreme ping-pong wasn't the shoo-in winner we all assumed it would be, haha.
    • Someone has to be the first to put out high quality AO content.

      Exactly what makes a game that exists only to sell itself by generating publicity over its intensly violent content "high-quality?" That's like calling Friday the Thirteenth Part 9 a cinematic masterpiece.
      • Because, for example, it has a decent 3D engine and graphics effects (which cost a huge amount of money to develop), physics engine, innovative use of controllers. High quality in budget, QA, R&D, etc... not talking about content which none of us have played.

        AO games never have this kind of budget.

        The rating system is absolutely not supposed to be an artistic judgement on a game. It exists to rate content and is supposed to be neutral on artistic merit. (I'm sure I can find a brutally violent film

    • by swerk ( 675797 )
      I second such a plea. If the game itself is actually good, no nonsense like uptight brick-and-mortar retailers not carrying it is going to stop me from playing it.

      Currently, Nintendo's policy (and I'm pretty sure Sony's too) is not to license AO games. As I understand it, Nintendo approached Rockstar about this particular game, so it's not impossible to imagine them making an exception or changing their policy. As it stands, however, Rockstar wouldn't just have a hard time selling the game, they mi
  • by TheSciBoy ( 1050166 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @12:17PM (#19581653)

    Was going to post this in the "UK BAN"-thread, but post it here instead.

    I have always been a firm believer in films/games not making people more violent. Something happened to me, though, to sort of make me doubt my strong belief.

    I bought Manhunt and played it. It was really fun, a great little sneak-and-kill game. But it was very violent and I did not really like being that violent but it was part of the game and making the gruesome kills was fun in a strange way. It was axhilarating to see how long you could sneak behind someone before you had to do the kill.

    When I finished the game I played for a particularly long day and that night I had the most bizarre and gruesome dreams. I dreamt that I cleft people with chainsaws and ran over them with my car. Everything felt OK and I didn't have any moral complaints in my dream, which, if you ask anyone in my surrounding, is totally different from my personality. I am not a psychopath as far as I can tell. :)

    I haven't had any such dreams since and I hope I won't again (though they weren't nightmares in the true sense since I wasn't scared in them, only by my reaction to them). What I'm saying is that I do believe we are affected by what we see/experience. At least if its done frequently enough.

    In cases like very violent films or games, however, having a 18-year restriction on buying the game is enough. Grown up people can decide for themselves what they want to see/play. I felt desturbed by my experience and probably won't buy Manhunt 2 for that reason, but I certainly don't believe in denying the experience from anyone else who is old enough to make a grown up decision about this.

    • by Fross ( 83754 )
      Of course it's disturbing. Which is part of the reason for banning it from minors, they have less capability to deal with it.

      Your last paragraph is, imho, completely correct. Manhunt probably isn't for *all* adults, just because it has an "adults only" classification doesn't mean adults have to play or like it :) But adults are capable of making their own decisions, and should be allowed to do so.

      From a freedom of expression point of view, the fact that the game is from a major publisher, is probably not
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo ( 153816 )

      I have always been a firm believer in films/games not making people more violent. Something happened to me, though, to sort of make me doubt my strong belief. [...] When I finished the game I played for a particularly long day and that night I had the most bizarre and gruesome dreams.

      When I play tetris for a particularly long time, I dream tetris. But it doesn't make me go out and stack blocks.

      I support the idea of restricting games to adults. The problem is that I think most people over 18 aren't partic

  • I'm sure I'm in the minority here, but it really seems to me like people have grown soft in the last few years. Maybe it's the lack of a strong father figure in the home, or whatever. But it seems like kids aren't allowed to experience things for fear of getting hurt or "scarring them for life." What's wrong with a normal kid playing a violent video game? They're going to be exposed to it in real life anyway. Not preparing them adequately for it is just going to make them more immature when they "grow up."

    • The reason toy guns are bright orange or green instead of looking real is that there were kids getting shot by cops because the cops thought that the gun was real. So it has nothing to do with our society being wimpy and everything to do with whether or not a cop can tell if someone is pulling a gun or a toy on them.

      And what is wrong with going to a psychiatrist?
  • by MaWeiTao ( 908546 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @12:33PM (#19581963)
    Quite frankly, I personally think games like Manhunt 2 are decadent garbage. That said, if someone wants to purchase and play these games they should be free to do so.

    This sort of excessive regulation, to me, reflects the general decline and weakness of the West. We've got these nanny states run by people who increasingly believe it's their responsibility to control every aspect of our lives. More troubling is how citizens are themselves abdicating all responsibility, expecting their governments to do everything for them. What these people apparently fail to realize is that inevitable the system will eventually come around and start trampling on their freedoms; it's a very slippery slope.

    Ultimately, it's the parents who should be responsible for what their children are doing. If a child who plays these ultra-violent games has violent tendencies I'll guarantee those issues stem from poor parenting and not the game. From personal experience this has always been the case. The fact that the child has access to such games is merely a symptom of that problem.

    As long as humans have been around there has been violence. I'm not making excuses for that violence, but humanity has in general gotten along fine. Look at the level of violence depicted in a lot of anime that officials in the US feel the need to censor. Yet Japan maintains extremely low crime rates.

    Sometimes I think trying to shield children by depicting an unrealistic, utopian fantasy is a big mistake. It renders them poorly equipped to deal with the harshness of the real world. I'm not advocating they participate in violent blood sports, but as always everything in moderation is best.
  • To buy a rated M game you need to be 17. To buy an AO game you need to be 18. Is that one year gap really that killer that it would ruin the sales of the whole game? I can see why retailers wouldn't want to stock AO games that are basically porn, but games much less violent than something like Hostel or Saw III which they are selling should be able to share the space.
    • by tuffy ( 10202 )
      The age difference doesn't matter, nor does the content. All that matters is that Wal-Mart isn't going to stock Manhunt 2 because of the AO rating. If places like Wal-Mart won't sell it, Rockstar is going to have a difficult time selling enough copies of it to make a profit.
    • It's not about the 1 year gap, which is ridiculous unto itself. It's about the label.

      Whether or not an AO title is port is irrelevant. People are going to make assumptions about an AO title they won't about an M title, and very few of them are favorable. Many stores won't carry any AO title because of these assumptions and how they will affect the perception of the store.

      It also doesn't help that video games are viewed as specifically an activity for kids rather than adults by many people. Having an "Adults
  • AOkay... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by davermont ( 1001265 )
    There is undoubtedly a sizeable audience for this kind of game, but it's understandable that RockStar would not want to release the game with an AO rating, as certain large resellers (Wal-Mart?) will be unwilling to carry the title. Perhaps the solution is to release two different versions of the game. I, for one, would like to play the AO version, but in order to placate overly-protective parents around the globe, RockStar could release a watered-down version for the teenage set. That's not to say that I t
  • The real issue... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by 7Prime ( 871679 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @02:31PM (#19584083) Homepage Journal
    The real issue here, above and beyond the "do games make people violent?" question, is why are adult gamers demanding such violence? "Please consider the opinion of the adult gamer," sort of disturbs me, somehow. Why is the opinion of the adult gamer, consistantly, "we want more violence!"? 30 years ago, this level of violence was unthinkable. It's not the violence itself that I mind, it's the fascination with violence that really disgusts me.

    When the topic first came up, and that pretty much started in the mainstream with Mortal Kombat, the defense was that it added realism and immersion. But to be honest, I never bought it. And that's becoming apparant now that we're going above and beyond realistic violence to DEMANDING that violence be much more prevolent than just an innocent desire to uphold "realism".

    I think there's really two reasons for this:

    1) We're not talking about adults here, we're talking 13-18 year olds. It's basically the job of teenagers to try to disgust their parents as much as possible, as a form of rebellion.

    2) Culturally, males are being taught that they're basically immoral and unintelligent, and that the only way to prove your masculinity is to be the ultimate in those areas. "I want a beer, and I want to see something naked... that's all." When better way of establishing that identity by sitting and playing ultra-violent video games with no emotional tie-in? I've seen it, 15 year olds saying, "check this out, I can cut off his head" and then go up to some guy, and chop off his head while he's screaming in pain. It basically says, "I can do this, and I won't even feel remorseful about it, it doesn't bother me, because I'm a man."

    So my theory is that violence is largely used as a means of establishing independance and gender identity. It's not the fault of video games, it's the fault of our culture for not having any possitive rolemodels to look up to. As a friend of mine likes to quote, "where have all the cowboys gone?"
  • by shoolz ( 752000 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @02:52PM (#19584377) Homepage
    I bought the first one at EB Games, having heard nothing about it. I guess the box art grabbed me, so I picked it off the shelf and though I'd give it a whirl.

    Well I was absolutely horrified. The set up of the game was so vile and disturbing to me that I could not bring myself to play it.

    I brought it back to EB, told them that they shouldn't even be selling a game like this and that I wanted my money back. The manager quickly agreed and gave me a full refund.

    Head office must have sent advance warning that any open-box refund requests should be quickly granted on this game. Curious to know if they're going to take a position this go-around and not stock the sequel.
  • Why the fuck? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by necro2607 ( 771790 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @03:05PM (#19584565)
    OK, why does this game get "AO" rating (and completely banned from sale in multiple countries) while extremely disturbing games like Silent Hill cause no uproar? Seriously, I've never played games more psychologically disturbing and scary than the Silent Hill series. Along the same lines, movies like Saw are totally popular (and not banned) despite their excessively disturbing scenes (which all involve bloody violence and, again, psychologically disturbing situations). So, what's the deal?

Profanity is the one language all programmers know best.