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Manhunt 2 Ban Fallout, Game Rated AO By ESRB

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the ultimate-humiliation dept.

Games 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."

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ESRB is out of control (5, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#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?

Re:ESRB is out of control (4, Insightful)

Cerberus7 (66071) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:ESRB is out of control (4, Insightful)

travdaddy (527149) | more than 7 years ago | (#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?

Re:ESRB is out of control (4, Interesting)

weierstrass (669421) | more than 7 years ago | (#19582019)

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.

Controversy (1)

ShaneThePain (929627) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580593)

Wow, All this controversy makes me want to play this game. Anyone think this is what they planned all along? heheh

Re:Controversy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19580633)

pls do not laugh at your own jokes.

thanks,
the management

In that case... (5, Interesting)

godfra (839112) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580621)

I'm definitely going to buy it. Can I order direct from Rockstar?

Re:In that case... (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581071)

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!"

Re:In that case... (1)

shoptroll (544006) | more than 7 years ago | (#19582035)

I was pretty sure during the Hot Coffee scandal, you could still purchase San Andreas directly through R*'s website...

So wait. (0)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580645)

Beacuse Britain has a stick up their ass, this game gets rated AO in an ENTIRELY different country?

I don't care, I'm 23 I can still buy it...it's just...that's really fucking stupid.

Re:So wait. (1)

FormulaTroll (983794) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580717)

Your logic is interesting. Rather than assuming the content of the game was the reason for the rating, you imagine the ESRB rated it AO because Britain banned it?

Re:So wait. (2, Interesting)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580867)

actually there is a lot of evidence pointing at the British ban being the cause of the AO rating here, so the logic is not that flawed. For one thing, the game is coming from a company who knows the ratings board well, and thus knows what can and cant get pass the censors and tailored the game as such.

Secondly as the article pointed out, from everyone I know who has seen it, the game is much more toned down from the original in many ways, which got the M rating here despite being a interactive snuff film.

And third the ratings coming in when they did leads a lot of suspicion as to why, when filed at two different times, the game ended up getting its decisions handed down at almost the exact same time, with the British banning it despite it being submitted to them AFTER the US board got it.

Lastly, its a known fact that a special interest group was putting major pressure on both ratings boards to get it a AO ratings.

Re:So wait. (1)

LordSnooty (853791) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581143)

For one thing, the game is coming from a company who knows the ratings board well, and thus knows what can and cant get pass the censors and tailored the game as such.
OK, so wtf happened on this occasion? They know it so well they got it banned in two different countries.

Re:So wait. (1)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581311)

see point 4, that a special interest group was involved in the decision by their ratings boards.

Its not banned in the US though, it just wont be carried by any store that wont sell a AO game (despite the rating being a dumb broken rating to begin with, the difference between a M and AO rating is ONE FUCKING YEAR in age)

But the British banned it though they wont admit to it. What they effectively said was "we wont rate this" which in Britain means its banned since you cant sell anything that is not rated. There was some pressure on this as well, by a similar but like minded group to the one in the US, who wanted it banned not because of the content, but because of the controls.

Yep the British banned the game because it uses the Wiimote, and thus "accurately depicts killing someone"

Re:So wait. (1)

FormulaTroll (983794) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581263)

What evidence? The company knows ratings boards well. That's great. Obviously, not as well as you think they do. Next. To address your second point, the article claims the game is "both less and more extreme". I don't know that it really gives a lot of weight to your argument. And the review boards have access to far more content than "everyone you know" who has seen it. Your third claim is timing. Timing? That's evidence? The ESRB notifies the publisher 30 days prior to publicly releasing its decision. I'm not aware of the British policies, but regardless, you haven't proven the timing is anything more than coincidental. And further, so what? Do you think every ratings board has the exact same process and should complete their reviews in exactly the same amount of time? Lastly, a special interest group. Shocker! Special interest groups have been puuting pressure on the ratings boards since their inception. That's nothing new, and is at any rate not related to whether or not the British decision had any impact on the ESRB decision or vice versa. I think we should be applauding the ESRB decision. Many of the people so vehemently against violence in video games would like to see them all banned. The ESRB is the industry-supported method for content rating and review, and as such is the gaming community's best defense against those that would rather see this sort of entertainment wiped out entirely. If the ESRB deems content worthy of AO, then so be it. We live in the digital age. Who give's a rat's ass if WalMart won't carry it?

Re:So wait. (1)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580741)

So, you feel that a game where the entire object is to 'realistically' kill people in different fashions should be played by kids?

Re:So wait. (1)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580839)

The M rating is made for games like this. I don't understand why they have the need for an M (17+) versus an AO (18+) rating. Are 18 years olds able to handle much more intense violence than 17 year olds?

The only reason I can see for AO (or NC-17 in movies) is to have a separate rating reserved for porn. If you consider games like this porn, you may need to see a psychiatrist.

Re:So wait. (5, Funny)

tolan-b (230077) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581021)

So pretending to graphically murder someone is more suitable for younger people than watching people have sex?

You must be from the US ;)

Re:So wait. (3, Insightful)

Khisanth Magus (1090101) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581277)

I LIVE in the US and I've never understood this perspective either. I would rather kids see sex than see violence every single day, let alone realistically murder people. While it is true that 99% of people who play video games WONT go psycho, there is always the remainder who are already rather disturbed or whatever reason, who definately don't need help.

Re:So wait. (5, Insightful)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 7 years ago | (#19582005)

"I LIVE in the US and I've never understood this perspective either."

It's actually very easy to understand. Just ask a couple of questions:

How many high school seniors have fathered or mothered a child?

How many high school seniors have killed a person?

The thinking is along the lines of: "I remember what it was like when I was in school, and I don't want my child getting/causing pregnancy and ruining their life." The idea that they're going to go Columbine at a school is a distant thought.

It's not about the act, it's about the probability of it becoming a problem in the household. I don't personally subscribe to that line of thought, but it's not like half the country took a crazy pill or something.

Re:So wait. (1)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581559)

I never said that. What I said was that the ratings have traditionally been used that way, which is probably the way the porn industry prefers it.

Re:So wait. (2, Insightful)

RexRhino (769423) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581869)

While both Europe and the U.S. have a pretty retarded policies when it comes to censorship (neither violence nor sex are appropriate things for the government to censor), the idea that sex in media is worse than violence does make sense. It is very, very, very unlikely that someone is going to commit murder. It is very, very, very likely that someone is going to have sex.

How many people do you know who have killed other people (aside from soldiers or police officers or something like that)? How many people do you know have had sex? The risk of a teenager having risky sex is astronomicly greater than the risk of the teenager commiting murder.

You really shouldn't brag "our censorship is better than your censorship" though. It is like bragging that your diarrhea is better. The truly civilized countries are the ones that trust parents to decide what they want their children to see and don't get involved.

Re:So wait. (2, Interesting)

Sciros (986030) | more than 7 years ago | (#19582187)

Kids play violent games WITH EACH OTHER from early childhood. Cowboys and Indians? Cops and robbers? People aren't naturally pacifist, nor are tendencies towards violence somehow developed after puberty. For children to be interested in violence is FAR more natural than for them to be interested in watching people have sex.

So, yeah, it IS more suitable.

Re:So wait. (1)

Rambus07 (1114107) | more than 7 years ago | (#19582307)

When I was a child our favorite game was drug dealer... "Dwa cawps are coming, hiwde the stash"

Re:So wait. (1, Insightful)

linzeal (197905) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581077)

I would rather children play a game involving sex than violence.

Re:So wait. (2, Funny)

WhoBeDaPlaya (984958) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581787)

Next up, Rockstar announces Leisure Suit Larry : San Andreas and the ultra-realistic Wii edition. You figure out what the Wiimote will be used for ;)

Re:So wait. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19581273)

Why yes! American kids, of course.

So they can prepare for an American adulthood. By the time they grow up, I reckon that America will be invading most of the countries in the world, and systematically killing their inhabitants.

Damn Commie Terrorists!!!!

And this is different how? (2, Insightful)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581331)

And this is different than selling kids cap guns, super soakers, plastic swords, paintball guns, water grenades, cork guns, slingshots, bb guns, rubber nunchuks, tonka tanks, GI Joe with Kung-Fu action grip to hold that tiny sub machine gun, plastic light sabers that go Wha-Wha when waved and TCSHK when they collide with something (presumably a limb), bow-n-arrow sets with those rubber plunger tips, lawn darts, chess boards, bibles, those keychains that make exploding noises when you press a button, or those race car tracks that cross in the middle specifically to cause the cars to crash?

Re:And this is different how? (1)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581413)

You've gotta be fucking kidding me.

Re:And this is different how? (1)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581555)

So, you feel that a game where the entire object is to 'realistically' kill people in different fashions should be played by kids?

Assuming the premise is that the game was banned because it depicts realistic ways to kill people, lets just follow that reasoning to it's logical conclusion. All those are toys I was given to play with as a child. I'm happy to report I still haven't killed anyone. YMMV.

Re:And this is different how? (1)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581593)

When you were a child, you didn't partake in virtual killings of people with "allegedly" (because I haven't seen it yet) graphic footage. Are you under the impression that a snuff film is appropriate for children?

Re:And this is different how? (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581723)

Are you (and all the other misguided folk out there) under the impression that because something depicts murder, it is automatically a snuff film/book/videogame?

"snuff" is something that involves murder with a sexual twist. Last time I checked, there was nothing sexual about Manhunt. Yes, I know some people get off on stuff like that, but it still isn't explicitly sexual.

Can't you just call it a gorey game and that be the end of it? I mean shit people used to refer to F1 Pole Position as "hyper realistic"

Re:And this is different how? (1)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581847)

Assuming the premise is that the game was banned because it depicts realistic ways to kill people, lets just follow that reasoning to it's logical conclusion.
Whenever someone says this, it's a sure sign that they have nothing of the sort in mind.

All those are toys I was given to play with as a child. I'm happy to report I still haven't killed anyone.
Which of them are you claiming was in any way realistic?

Did your plastic sword dismember people? No, it just bent slightly when it hit them.

Did your supersoaker cause people's heads to explode? No, it just made their hair damp.

You are welcome to believe that Manhunt 2 is harmless to children; AFAIK the scientific jury is still out on what long-term effects violent footage actually have. And you are certainly welcome to point out that the game is not intended for children in any case, and you are quite entitled to believe that adults should be allowed access to any level of violence they choose. But please have the courage to make those arguments directly, with reference to the content the game actually contains, instead of going off on a total tangent about completely irrelevant toys.

Re:So wait. (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581539)

You feel that there is much difference between a 17 year old and an 18 year old?

Re:So wait. (1)

bckrispi (725257) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581839)

You feel that there is much difference between a 17 year old and an 18 year old?
In many states, the difference between 18 and 17 is the difference between "consenting adult" and "long prison term".

Re:So wait. (1)

chalkyj (927554) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580743)

It's not a one way street for that sort of thing though. We've been dealing with the fallout from stupid US decisions for some time.

Re:So wait. (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580913)

That's because we are warmongering yankee fucks;-)

Re:So wait. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19580973)

It's mostly interesting because of America's love of violent media in general. Which makes the Hot Coffee furor seem predictable, considering our prudishness about sex.

Any Legal Objections? (2, Insightful)

DarthTeufel (751532) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580663)

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.

Re:Any Legal Objections? (1)

penp (1072374) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580757)

Yeah, that would work. If Rockstar only released titles on PC, anyway. However, most of their titles (including this one) at least start out on consoles (from what I see on google, it should be out on the Wii, PS2, and PSP) . Paying to download it, and then play it on your console brings up many different problems. An AO rating can and will kill a console game's sales, for the reason stated in the summary.

No Steam available on the console. (1)

remmelt (837671) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580789)

It's a game for PS2, PSP and Wii. These platforms don't do Steam.

Re:No Steam available on the console. (1)

DarthTeufel (751532) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580863)

I understand that, but they allow console users to Download via a computer and then burn to a DVD. While this will make the game very easy to pirate, it'll still bring in some revenue whereas right now there is none.

Re:No Steam available on the console. (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581337)

Which would be a lovely idea if either the PS2 or Wii officially supported the booting of unsigned discs.

Re:No Steam available on the console. (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581351)

No, they would just censor it until they can get an M rating. If that option is unavailable (for example, because the ESRB is too afraid of the negative publicity to allow the game to ever be released no matter how "toned down" it is.) then they'll scrap it and probably use the non-art assets (engine, physics, etc...) to make a more "family friendly" game.

The precedent for this would be Thrill Kill [wikipedia.org]

Manhunt 2 may end up never being available in any form.

Re:No Steam available on the console. (1)

penp (1072374) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581561)

Manhunt 2 may end up never being available in any form.
If it is anything like Thrill Kill, the full version will be leaked and distributed amongst pirates anyway.

Re:No Steam available on the console. (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581741)

I have a feeling that won't happen with this game, but whether it does or not this is the last Manhunt game we will ever see. (Unless some sort of sales miracle happens, the series is essentially kaput.)

Re:Any Legal Objections? (1)

A Name Similar to Di (875837) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580807)

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.

Re:Any Legal Objections? (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580947)

"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.

Re:Any Legal Objections? (1)

rehtonAesoohC (954490) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581103)

Well, seeing as how the game's only available for consoles (PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, and Wii), there's no digital distribution method available that would make this feasible. Steam is for PC games only as far as I know.

For the blocked people (3, Funny)

rehtonAesoohC (954490) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580755)

Can someone post the MTV article here? Gotta love super duper work filters.

Re:For the blocked people (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19581611)

What the hell. The parent poster just wanted someone to post the content of the article. How does requesting the content of the article qualify as offtopic?

Fuck you moderator. Fuck you.

They should just go all out (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#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:They should just go all out (1, Funny)

0123456 (636235) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580847)

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.

i say (1)

rubberbandball (1076739) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580827)

I personally don't know many gamers my age (22) that buy in stores. Unless we're stoned, and want to impress people with our Guitar Hero "skills". Lately it has been less expensive to purchase online (usually free shipping). Actually having a job doesn't allow for much playtime during the week, so the delay in shipping usually means i don't get the game til friday (for a tuesday release) which ensures that i have the entire weekend to play it. I think the big money question here is, will gamefly be renting Manhunt 2? And if so, will they allow purchase through themselves? That would help sales immensely.

movies (0)

uberjoe (726765) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580865)

So a game where people are brutally murdered is AO, but a movie like Saw, Hostel etc. where people are photo-realistically murdered are only rated R? WTF? And the game was rated M on PS2 and other platforms? Is this some nintendo hate?

Re:movies (1)

Loadmaster (720754) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580999)

Apparently it's due to the Wii controller. On the PS2 and other platforms you just hit a button. On the Wii you actually mimic the motions. I guess that's their problem. Still dumb.

Swi

Re:movies (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581051)

"On the Wii you actually mimic the motions. I guess that's their problem."

You know, a Wii Zombie Chainsaw Massacre game might actually get me to buy a console :).

Re:movies (2, Funny)

BlackCobra43 (596714) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581131)

Wait, you actually get to mimic the motions? That just gave the game about three times as much mileage for me. Imagine drinking games involving Manhunt 2 - a drunk serial strangler has untold comic potential.

Re:movies (1)

steveo777 (183629) | more than 7 years ago | (#19582111)

a drunk serial strangler has untold comic potential
That's why there's Sneak King [wikipedia.org] .

Re:movies (1)

j.sanchez1 (1030764) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581891)

Apparently it's due to the Wii controller. On the PS2 and other platforms you just hit a button. On the Wii you actually mimic the motions.

I never thought of that. Makes me want to check out the Wii now.

I'm not saying that games like this should be available to kids, but I agree with an earlier post that rating it "M" should be enough. "AO" should be saved for pornographic games.

Re:movies (2, Insightful)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581369)

The AO rating for games is basically the same thing as R for movies. The problem is that people think that AO = X, and that's a stigma that needs to be changed. If more games were rated AO for their violent content, then retailers would be forced to carry AO games. This would result in more accurate rating for games. Today, any game with even a minor level of violence is rated M, so you can't tell the difference between Halo (which is just a shooter that has almost no foul language) and Gears of War (wear people curse a lot of slaughter aliens with chainsaws). My 12-year-old nephew plays Halo 2, but he's not allowed to play GoW, yet both are rated M.

Re:movies (1)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581445)

M = R
AO = NC-17
T = PG-13
E-10 = PG
E = G

Re:movies (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581803)

I think the "X" rating has a stigma that needs to be changed in itself. I guess they do have the NC-17 stuff nowadays, but X is thought of as nothing but pornography. Of course, the MPAA doesn't even disclose how or why they rate things, which is why you have so much Hollywood trash dramatically cutting their films for theater release (no rating? no theater play!) and then making a big deal about the "totally unrated" DVD edition, as if they now have some integrity.

Re:movies (2, Insightful)

goldspider (445116) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581517)

Movie theatres aren't supposed to sell tickets to "R" rated movies to minors, just as video game vendors aren't supposed to sell "AO" rated games to minors. I don't see the inconsistency you imply.

Re:movies (1)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581705)

But movie theaters show lots of rated-R movies, and it's real easy to get in regardless of your age. When's the last time you saw an AO-rated game in a game store?

No movie would be given an NC-17 rating for just violence, only nudity. Yet games are given an AO rating for violence but not nudity. So it's hard to make the claim that AO = NC-17 because of the different standards.

Re:movies (1)

thebdj (768618) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581991)

Okay, assuming a video game store follows ratings for sales (and nothing prohibits them from selling to minors, you remember all those smacked down game laws, also theaters by policy do not sell to minors there is no law preventing them from doing it), WTF is the difference between a 17 year old (M) and an 18 year old (AO)? At some point, we as a society decided to draw this line in the sand and we did a poor damn job at it. A few examples:
You can vote at 18 and die for your country at 18 as well; however, you cannot drink alcohol.
And at what age can you have consensual sex? Well that varies by state, though the minimum appears to be around 16.
Before the 1980s, the drinking age was much of the same and not until threatened with a removal of federal highway funds did states up the age to 21.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to judge an individuals maturity easily. The best thing we apparently have is age, and it is not a good indicator as many people my own age are less mature then some teenagers, and the same goes for people in their 30s or 40s. The other issues around violent games revolve around individuals perceptions of reality and the ability to separate reality and fiction. Some people might not be able to properly separate these well into their later years, while others in their teens easily recognize what is real and what is not. If video games (or movies or music or some other "demonized" media) really caused violence then we would be in far worse shape as a society then we are, but the fact is most studies have failed to show a definitive link between any of those and violence and some of the links they have found were dubious at best.

Like most things before it (movies, rock and roll, comic books, rap music, etc.), video games are being picked on because they are "the new kid". Groups have this narrow-minded view (as they did with the other items), where only kids play video games and this is why they place these pressures on groups like the ESRB and try to pass bad laws written by evangelicals like Jack Thompson. If you think video games and movies are not treated differently in their ratings and content, then you might want to review some of the more recent history on these things.

Isn't this what Rockstar wanted? (2, Insightful)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581005)

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?

Re:Isn't this what Rockstar wanted? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19581589)

Here is the reason why: if the game is rated AO, many business places will not cary the game. If a game is not carried there, people who would buy the game there now can not, thus lowering the sales.

In addition a rating of M is 17+, and still should be carded(i got carded at walmart), but will be stocked on store shelves, thus allowing people who don't trust internet shopping to easily obtain a copy.

Re:Isn't this what Rockstar wanted? (1)

bri2000 (931484) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581759)

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 irritation at being told I can't.

Ratings stifle creativity. (3, Insightful)

ChaosDiscord (4913) | more than 7 years ago | (#19582157)

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.

Hope they sell the AO version through their site. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19581031)

I for one am in my late thirties, and I'm really tired of having people bitch about "the children".
If they sell the AO rated version I'll buy it in a heartbeat. It would be nice to be able to buy an
"Adult" game for once. If we're lucky, this'll start a trend, and we'll see more AO games come out.

What's the problem with the rating? (3, Insightful)

goldspider (445116) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581117)

Is there any compelling reason why kids SHOULD be allowed to buy this game?

Re:What's the problem with the rating? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19581269)

The problem with the rating is that it's the kiss of death as far as sales are concerned; if you're restricted to selling through your site, then there's a big incentive not to get AO-rated. Additionally, advertising is impacted by this; few, if any, game magazines will accept an ad for an AO-rated game.

Re:What's the problem with the rating? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19581365)

That's all probably true, but that doesn't mean the AO rating was unjustifed.

Re:What's the problem with the rating? (2, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581643)

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 the UK a few weeks back who risked his life to save others in a gunpoint robbery and who was also a counterstrike player - we could just as well say games make people into heroes.

Neither scenario really shows that games improve society unless we apply the kind of idiotic logic that is applied each time someone kills someone and it's discovered that said person also played computer games now and again - well duh, most kids do.

It's the same mentality that makes so many people think Islam is bad, well, it's not (well, no more so than other religions), there are bad people that follow Islam and that's the difference, but we can't ban Islam or kill all muslims just because of a few bad followers as it's not Islam itself that's to blame.

If we're going to focus on anything, we should be focussing on why some kids are carrying guns and trying to immitate gangster rappers in the first place, why some people are willing to murder in the name of their religion and so on and so forth. Banning some form of media like this, be it a game, a film, a book or music just masks over the problem, it certainly doesn't make it go away, the kids that would kill are still going to end up killing, it's just a sad fact of our world today.

Re:What's the problem with the rating? (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581761)

Because its a game?

Re:What's the problem with the rating? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19581773)

Because they are possibly mature enough to understand the difference between fiction and reality and their parents know this?

The question is: is there any compelling reason a nanny state should be making decisions for the parents? As other have pointed out, AO is a retail death sentence. "Thinking of the children" means adults (the "A" in "AO") probably won't get to play the game either since it won't get released.

Parents don't want junior playing a game like this, they don't buy it for him or allow him to purchase/own it. This isn't a decision some group of nitwit politicos should be making.

Heaven forbid your little angel finds out that death can be a messy gruesome affair, that people kill each other in these ways for no good reason, or that babies are actually created by a biological process and not delivered by a long necked bird with a penchant for pecking at the legs of women.

Re:What's the problem with the rating? (1)

Lurker2288 (995635) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581929)

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.

Re:What's the problem with the rating? (1)

(A)*(B)!0_- (888552) | more than 7 years ago | (#19582175)

Yes.

The ratings are supposed to be a guide for parents; not a dictum of how I should raise my children. If I decide that they are allowed to play Manhunt 2, then that's that. Furthermore, the AO rating isn't just preventing this game from getting into the hands of children - most stores aren't going to carry an AO game. This prevents it from getting into my hands.

Manhunt 2 bans Fallout 3? (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581345)

Am I the only one to wonder what business it is of Manhunt 2 to ban the upcoming Fallout 3?

Nasty overloads (0, Redundant)

zakeria (1031430) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581379)

personally I find it very offensive that a group of individuals have the authority to nanny me as an adult and what they deem appropriate for other adults to be subjected too. It's like saying we know better than you and if you are subjected to this kinda thing you will want to carry this out in real life.. These people need to go away and live in disney land or something. Nobody should have this right of other peoples rights.

Re:Nasty overloads (1)

Alexpkeaton1010 (1101915) | more than 7 years ago | (#19582101)

The ESRB is not the government, it is an industry organization that game companies submit there games to for a rating. The reason they do this is because retail stores require this, but it does not prevent the game company from not getting a rating and selling the game themselves online (for PC games at least). In the case of console games, it is probably a safe bet that Nintendo, MS, and Sony all require that games made for there consoles are all submitted for rating.

This is *vastly* different than an official government organization censuring this game. This game can still be sold in stores, but it must be sold as "AO" with all the restrictions that apply to that. This is a really good thing for the game industry. Elections are coming up, and seeing an 8-year old stab someone with a Wii remote (as in this game) will surely get old people fired up. The AO rating will help reduce liability for Rockstar.

Uhm... (1)

C10H14N2 (640033) | more than 7 years ago | (#19582277)

If a private, advisory, non-binding, completely voluntary, self-regulating, loosely affiliated industry association gets your knickers that in a bunch, you've obviously never had your rights inflicted upon in the slightest by anyone.

A Plea From an Adult Gamer (4, Interesting)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581447)

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.

Re:A Plea From an Adult Gamer (1)

WhoBeDaPlaya (984958) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581867)

Hey, that sounds just like the German edition of the game!

Re:A Plea From an Adult Gamer (3, Insightful)

GweeDo (127172) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581981)

They took a 25 million dollar loss last year, are you sure they have this capital you speak of?

Re:A Plea From an Adult Gamer (1)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 7 years ago | (#19582171)

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.

Re:A Plea From an Adult Gamer (1)

supabeast! (84658) | more than 7 years ago | (#19582097)

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.

Re:A Plea From an Adult Gamer (1)

swerk (675797) | more than 7 years ago | (#19582367)

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.

But...
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 might not be able to get it licensed. We therefore need to include Nintendo and Sony in our plea; they've got to step up to the plate on this as well if we want AO-rated games to ever be viable for any publisher.

The thing that really irks me is that we have this M rating for 17-years-plus, and AO for 18-plus. Is anybody so much more "mature" after one more year of living that suddenly they can handle more gruesome subject matter? AO has some other subtle differences, I know, but it appears to exist primarily so that games like this one can be censored and/or effectively banned.

AWESOME!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19581453)

I loved the first part so much I did import it from France because it was already banned in Germany at that time. Now I've heard it was also, already, honored with a ban in the UK which is almost as good as being sued by Jack.

This game rocks so hard... it ROCKS HARD!!!

Screw Sam Fisher and his "OMG, what have you done... GAME OVER!!!" pussies... this is entertainment for pro's who know how to move with the gamepad. I'll pay whatever price I have to for the import.

Wooooooot... bblablabla Manhunt 2 blablabla must have blahblabla...

oh yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19581463)

funny really, because this is the kind of game that only under 18s want to play...

Games like this do affect people (5, Interesting)

TheSciBoy (1050166) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Games like this do affect people (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581951)

You have been marked! He speaks to you from R'lyeh, where he remains dead but dreaming!

[...]the secret priests would take great Cthulhu from His tomb to revive His subjects and resume His rule of earth....Then mankind would have become as the Great Old Ones; free and wild and beyond good and evil, with laws and morals thrown aside and all men shouting and killing and revelling in joy. Then the liberated Old Ones would teach them new ways to shout and kill and revel and enjoy themselves, and all the earth would flame with a holocaust of ecstasy and freedom.

Re:Games like this do affect people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19582015)

Some Psychologists agree with you. [nih.gov]

Re:Games like this do affect people (1)

Fross (83754) | more than 7 years ago | (#19582145)

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 going to get carried by major retailers because of its rating, AND has been getting all this free publicity because of it, brings a tricky issue out in the open. if the game is any good, i hope it does well and keeps freedom of choice available for the consumer.

So What? (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581673)

I really fail to see how an AO rating can hurt a game nowadays. With the publicity it has received, if anything, such a rating would INCREASE sales. Maybe you can't go down to Wal-Mart and buy it, but so friggin' what? Anyone old enough should have the means to order it online. And that's assuming that such a rating is as bad as everyone thinks. Surely their are some stores out there that would carry it simply BECAUSE of such the rating and the publicity.

Symptom of a larger problem... (1)

ErichTheRed (39327) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581931)

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."

Example: Toy guns. You can't find realistic toy guns anymore. When I was younger, we had full-weight, metal replicas of the real things. Now you can only find bright orange ones, usually made of plastic or foam.

Maybe this is why so many kids have no ability to handle reality. Instead of dealing with their own problems, they go crying to a psychiatrist.

In my opinion, keep the rating system to appease the crazy parents, but don't ban sales. That's just encouraging the kids to play these games anyway...

"Generations of men raised by women." --Tyler Durden from "Fight Club"

Re:Symptom of a larger problem... (1)

Alexpkeaton1010 (1101915) | more than 7 years ago | (#19582197)

It is not banned from sales. It is just labeled as "AO". Walmart has a policy that it will not carry any AO games, but that doesn't stop another store from selling it.

Excessive regulation. (3, Insightful)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Not Much Different than M (2, Insightful)

chipotlehero (982154) | more than 7 years ago | (#19582195)

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.
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