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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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1  Kuniko { 10.27.08 at 10:41 am }

Good for people to know.

2  Nigel Nobles { 06.14.11 at 2:30 am }

I think they should have not banned the game in the first place. I mean if the game is that graphic just give it an adult rating. To me that is the government trying to tell us what we can and cannot buy.

3  car accident { 10.10.12 at 4:32 am }

Yes I agree with you Nigel but it is up to the stores selling such games to enforce not to sell adult rated games to minors. If they dont then the rating is for nothing.

4  Breach of Duty { 10.11.12 at 5:11 am }

Ya but its up to parents to. I mean they should not allow their kids to buy adult rated games or games that are not good for kids.

5  Ministry of Justice { 10.13.12 at 5:54 am }

Yes if the parents do not help to restrict their kids from buying such things it will not be a big help. A kid that knows his parents do not approve of such things at his age will think twice before buying it.

6  Accident at Work { 10.13.12 at 7:15 am }

Well now a days parents not all but a lot of them rely to much on government intervention to help raise their kids. Parents will say there should be this restriction and that restriction what about you restricting your kids yourself what ever happen to that?

7  Filing Process { 10.14.12 at 3:20 am }

Well its not just the games but TV, music, commercials, and even celebrities are different then they were before. The only way to stop all this is to rewind the clock and go back in time and we all know that is not going to happen.