UK Bans Manhunt 2; Censorship And So Much More

The game 'Manhunt 2' by Rockstar Games has been in the United Kingdom by the British Board of Film Classification. BBFC director David Cooke stated that the game was banned due to its "unremitting bleakness and callousness of tone in an overall game context which constantly encourages visceral killing." Rockstar Games' Rodney Walker responded to the ban by stating that Manhunt 2 is meant to be horrific and that the violence and gore help create that atmosphere. Walker believes that the BBFC has effectively censored the game from the UK public and as a result is "putting a limit on what sort of creative choices people can make." Manhunt 2 is the first game the BBFC has banned since 1997 when the organization banned 'Carmageddon', a game where the goal is to drive a car while racking up points for hitting pedestrians.

Players of "Manhunt 2" assume the role of an escaped mental institution patient who goes on a killing spree as he fights his way to freedom. It includes special death moves players can perform by moving the Wii's wireless, motion-sensitive controller at just the right moment.

The British Board of Film Classification last banned a game in 1997, when it barred the sale of "Carmageddon," in which players rack up points by driving vehicles over pedestrians.

In a statement, BBFC director David Cooke said the board was unable to approve the game because it was "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."

Meanwhile, the Entertainment and Software Rating Board is trying to limit who can and can't play Manhunt 2 in the United States by recommending to the game receive the rating of "Adults Only," the highest possible rating in the industry. Once again, the game is being censored for the publics’ so-called 'protection', but that argument is flawed. While Cooke believes that Manhunt 2 "involve[s] a range of unjustifiable harm risks to both adults and minors," since when has that affected the availability of a product to the global market? Products such as cigarettes which have been conclusively proven to be harmful (unlike video games) are available globally. While comparing a carcinogenic to a video game is like apples to oranges, the point remains the same. Restricting the sale of a videogame due to its violent nature is not completely inappropriate (much like cigarettes), but the censorship of a game is inexcusable. If a parent doesn’t want their child playing a violent video game then they should actually parent their children and make sure they don't, not have a government organizations do it for them.

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