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Category — Game Bans

UK’s Video Appeals Committee Rules in Favour of Manhunt 2 – Again

Categories: DecisionsGame BansGame Ratings

In June 2007, the British Board of Film Classification refused to rate Rockstar’s highly violent and controversial video game Manhunt 2 – effectively banning it from distribution in the U.K. The BBFC called it “unremittingly bleak, callous and sadistic”. An edited version of the game was submitted to the BBFC in October 2007. It too was effectively banned. This was the first video game ban in Britain since 1997.

Rockstar appealed the ban to the Video Appeals Committee of the BBFC which ruled last December, 4 to 3, in Rockstar’s favour. The BBFC sought judicial review of the VAC’s decision from the British High Court. The court found that VAC’s decision was flawed by a clear error of law (see here, here and here). The High Court requested the VAC to reconsider its decision under new guidelines specified by the court.

In January 2008, the VAC did reconsider under the new guidelines but voted once again, 4 to 3, in favour of giving the game a certificate 18 rating, meaning it can be sold in Britain but is suitable for adults only.

In view of the second ruling, the BBFC released a statement saying it will not challenge the ruling any further and will issue the ’18′ rating. The edited version of the game (which is the same as the ‘reworked’ version of the game released in the U.S. under an “M’ rating) is expected to be on U.K. store shelves in June.

Click here for Wikipedia’s Timeline.

Dale’s Note: I have not yet found the text of the High Court decision or the ‘new guidelines’ it presented to the VAC. If I do, I will post them here.

Sources: BBC | Telegraph.co.uk | GameIndustry.biz 1| GameIndustry.biz 2 | MCV | BCS | Joystiq | Computer Active | Dose.ca | vnunet.com | Games Digest | EuroGamer 1 | EuroGamer 2

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GRAW 2 Seized by Mexican State Chihuahua

Categories: Disgruntled CountriesGame Bans

All copies of Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warefighter 2 are to be seized in the Mexican State of Chihuahua. The game depicts U.S. special forces military actions to stop terrorist attacks, including a nuclear strike, from being launched from that state against the U.S.

Dale’s Comment: In my opinion GRAW 2 along with Gears of War are the best shooters released on the 360 to date. Terrific Game! But, Halo 3 is just around the corner.

Sources: GamePolitics.com | GameSpot | Kotaku | Yahoo@ Games | XBox 360 Fanboy | joystiq

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Getting Up Distributed Via Downloads in Australia Despite Ban

Categories: Game BansRetail Sales

Despite the February 2006 ban of Marc Ecko’s Getting up by The Board of the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia (IEAA), an Australian computer software distributor, Mindscape, was distributing the game in Australia via downloads from its quicky.com.au website.

It appears the game was being hosted by the website’s U.S. service provider without Mindscape’s knowledge.

Since the story broke the game was taken off the site. The Australian Communications and Media Authority told Screen Play that penalties of up to $110,000 may apply to corporations selling computer games that have been refused classification.

Sources: Syndey Morning Herald | GamePolitics.com | theage.com.au

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Midway Blitz – Yet Another Video Game Banned in Australia

Categories: Game BansGame Ratings

Midway Blitz becomes the latest video game to be denied an official age classification in Australia by the OFLC, making it illegal for the game to be sold, hired, advertised or exhibited in the country. This time it was denied classification because of drug use by some game characters. The OFLC Media Release reads, in part:

Specifically, in the course of the game, the player may access what are purported to be both legal and illegal performance-enhancing drugs for the members of their team. Choosing to use these drugs, which each have different characteristics, will have effects on team-members, such as improving their speed while also making them more susceptible to injury. Fake urine samples may also be acquired for avoiding positive drug tests.

While the game-player can choose not to use the drugs, in the Board’s view there is an incentive to use them. By using them judiciously, the player can improve the performance of their football team (while managing the negative effects) and have a better chance of winning games, thereby winning bets and climbing the league table.

Blitz’s local distributor Red Ant, has not decided yet whether to appeal.

Sources: GamePolitics.com | GameSpot | OFLC Media Release

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Germany Restricts Crackdown Sales

Categories: Game BansGame RatingsViolent Game Law Cases

Along with Gears of War and Dead Rising before it, Germany’s USK has decided not to rate the video Crackdown. The result is not a total game ban. However, the game cannot be sold to minors, cannot be marketed in Germany and stores cannot display it on racks. Rather, it can only be sold to adults from under the counter.

Dale’s Comment: Crackdown has been one of my most enjoyed 360 games in the first quarter of 2007. Importantly, the May 16 Halo 3 public demo of will only be available to a select few and those that purchase specially marked Crackddown units. There will be more than a few disappointed minors in Germany looking forward to playing the Halo 3 public demo.

Sources: GameSpot | GamePolitics.com | Business Week

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Microsoft Begins Banning 360 Modders

Categories: Game BansModding Cases

Microsoft has began banning Xbox 360 Users that have modded their consoles from Xbox Live. According to CrunchGear, some users of non-modded boxes are getting caught up in the cross-fire.

Sources: CrunchGear | Planet Xbox 360 | The Inquirer | Xboxic | Xbox 360 Fanboy

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Gears of War Denied Rating in Germany

Categories: Game Bans

Once again Germany’s USK has decided not to rate a violent video game. This time the highly anticipated game, Gears of War. This does not result in the game being banned. It prevents Microsoft from marketing it in Germany. Stores cannot display it on racks. Rather, it can only be sold under the counter.

Sources: Gamasutra | GameIndustry.biz | GameSpot | Next Generation | CVG | Fox News | Portal IT | Pro-G | Hexus | Gears of War | GameDaily.biz | TeamXbox | Xbox 360 Fanboy

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Dead Rising Denied Rating (and Possibly en Route to being Banned) in Germany

Categories: Game Bans

Capcom’s forthcoming Xbox 360 exclusive, zombie-slasher, Dead Rising, was denied an age rating and while not yet banned, this sets up the possibility of it being banned by another department of the German government. The game is set for release in North America in September. Previously Germany had banned Doom 1, Doom 2, Manhunt and Command an Conquer.

Update – Jul 26, 2006: As per this joystiq article, the game will not be banned, but will simply be unrated.

Sources: Xbox 360 | 1Up.com | Joystiq 1 | Joystiq 2 | Gamasutra | GameIndustry.biz

Update Sources: GamePolitics.com | Joystiq

Dale’s Comment: Given Australia’s penchant for banning violent video games, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this game banned their before long.

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Reservoir Dogs Also Banned in New Zealand

Categories: Game Bans

Previously banned in Australia, New Zealand has banned the Reservoir Dogs the video game – citing extreme violence. Unlike in Australia where it is merely illegal to sell the game in that country, it is illegal to even posses the game in Kiwiland. Hence, no imports or picking up the game while traveling allowed by New Zealand Gamers.

Sources: GameSpy | nzherald.co.nz | National Business Review | Stuff | Earth Times 

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    Australia Bans Another Video Game – Reservoir Dogs

    Categories: Game Bans

    The Australian Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC), has refused to give official classification to Eidos’ video game – Reservoir Dogs, meaning that the game cannot be sold in Australian stores. According to a statement, “The Classification Board made this decision on the basis that Reservoir Dogs contains frequent depictions of violence that have a high impact.” Ironic, since the original movie played in Australian cinemas when it was released.

    Sources: Gamasutra | GameIndustry.biz | EuroGamer | GameDaily.biz | joystiq | GameSpot | GamePolitics.com | Sydney Morning Herald | Ferrago | APC Start | Hexus | Team XBox | Earth Times | ITWire | vnunet.com | OFLC Media Release [pdf]

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    China’s Ministry Of Culture Bans Four Video Games

    Categories: Agency/Board ActionsGame Bans

    Blood Rayne II, Obscure, AV Mahjong, and Kong Bug Lao Long (Horrible Cage) have been banned in China for allegedly containing pornographic imagery, gambling or violent content.

    Sources: ChinaTechNews | P2P.net

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    Australian Game Industry Chooses Not to Fight Ban on Marc Ecko’s Getting Up

    Categories: Game Bans

    IEAA Press Release
    The Board of the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia (IEAA) has determined that it will not appeal the refused classification category given to the video game Marc Ecko’s Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure. The game was originally classified MA15+ but following a request for review by the Local Government Association of Queensland, the Classification Review Board determined that the game should be refused classification and was thereby effectively banned.

    Sources: Syndey Morning Herald | The Age | GamePolitics.com | Gamasutra

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    Australia Bans Marc Ecko’s Getting Up For Graffiti Crime

    Categories: Game Bans

    Australia bans yet another video game. The game was refused classification, meaning that it cannot be sold in Australia, in one of the more extreme classification decisions by the board in recent years

    Sources: GamaSutra | GameIndustry.biz | EuroGamer | GameSpot | Next Gen | Team Xbox | Spong | CNet | PC World | joystiq | Game Politics

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    South Korean Ratings Board Strict On North Korean Depictions

    Categories: Disgruntled CountriesGame BansGame Ratings

    Western games have come under heavier scrutiny by the Korea Media Rating Board, a South Korean organization with the ability to either rate media by age classification or block its release entirely. Ghost Recon 2, Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, and Mercenaries: Playgrounds of Destruction, have been banned by the media board for featuring the North Korean military as villains.
    Source: Gamasutra

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    Australian OFLC Bans 50 Cent: Bulletproof

    Categories: Game Bans

    Vivendi Universal’s console action title 50 Cent: Bulletproof has been denied an official age classification in Australia, making it illegal for the game to be sold, hired, advertised or exhibited in the country.

    Sources: Gamasutra | Joystiq | GameSpot | CNET | Ferrago | Playfuls.com

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    Running With Scissors goes Online to Evade 13 Country Game Ban

    Categories: Digital DistributionGame Bans

    Running With Scissors has entered into a new partnership with Softwrap to make PC title Postal available for download – thereby making the game available to consumers in countries where it is banned

    Sources: GamesIndustry.biz | Next Generation

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    Hot Coffee Spills into Australia as GTA:San Andreas is Banned

    Categories: Game BansSexuality Cases

    Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto San Andreas has been pulled from shelves in Australia after the increasingly censorious Office of Film and Literature Classification withdrew its rating in the wake of the Hot Coffee scandal.

    Source: GameIndustry.biz | Gamasutra

    New York Investigation:

    LA Civil Suit:

    FTC Investigation Related Posts:

    Stanhouse Class Action Suit:

    Cohen Class Action Suit:

    Other Hot Coffee Related Posts:

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    Australian Office of Film and Literature Bans NARC

    Categories: Game BansPolice Actions

    The Australian distributor of Midway’s lurid ’80s arcade game remake NARC has announced that the console game has been refused classification by the Australian Office of Film and Literature Classification.

    Sources: gamasutra.com | GameIndustry.biz

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    South Korea Bans Ghost Recon 2

    Categories: Disgruntled CountriesGame BansPolice Actions

    The Korea Media Rating Board has refused to approve the release of Ubisoft’s Ghost Recon 2, claiming that the storyline within the game goes “way too far”.

    Source: Gamasutra

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    Australian Office of Film and Literature bans Vivendi’s Leisure Suit Larry

    Categories: Game BansPolice ActionsSexuality Cases

    The Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) took exception to the portrayal of sexual activity in the game.

    Source: gameindustry.biz

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    Brazil Bans Six Games

    Categories: Game BansPolice Actions

    In response to a shooting linked by the media to video games, Brazil’s Justice Ministry issued an order banning several game titles.

    Sources: Gamasutra | The Register

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