High Court to Try and Stop Manhunt 2 Being ReleasedThe British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has been given the go ahead by a judge to proceed to High Court in another attempt to stop the release of the game Manhunt 2 from Rockstar. The Video Appeals Committee previously said that the game could be released after it was banned in June this year.
It seems part of the argument is over the possibility of it falling into the hands of children. "How is this different from adult movies, adult magazines, adult themed books or alcohol for that matter?" I hear you cry. Well, I don't know and its a question I would ask too. If something is stamped with an 18 certificate then surely the sellers are to blame if they sell it to a minor, or if an adult (e.g. parent) buys it for a child then they are responsible - just like any other adult orientated 'entertainment'. Besides which, shouldn't the parents be monitoring what their children are doing with their computers? I know I do. The preconception that computer games are just for kids is well out of date and we adults don't all want to play games with silly cartoon characters bouncing around in the land of happy flowers and sunshine.
Another argument is that computer games are different to other media because you take control of the main character and all of their murderous actions. Well yes, you do, but anyone who is mentally stable can differentiate between a fictional character on the screen and reality. If you are not mentally stable then perhaps you shouldn't play these games, or play with toy soldiers for that matter. Personally I can see the difference between pressing some buttons with my thumbs to make pixels move on the TV, and ramming a broken bottle into someone throat from behind in real life. Am I alone? I think not.
The bottom line is that adults should be able to make up their own minds if they want to play a violent game or not. As long as there are suitable warnings or age ratings on the box we should be free to choose and not have an outdated group of non-game players make the choice for us.
That said, there have been games which have incited anger in me but only because they were rubbish and took my hard earned cash. That's a whole other story.
Edit (17 March 2008): After a nine month battle, the ban on "Manhunt 2" in the UK has been lifted! Yay! The video Appeals Committee upheld the earlier decision saying it could be sold after the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) rejected it - twice. Finally, adults have been given the choice as to whether they want to play the game or not. In my opinion, all the BBFC have done is give Rockstar a huge boost in free advertising and made the game more desirable to people who wouldn't have normally given it a second look.