Poison candy bars for the soul

From: Damien Broderick (thespike@earthlink.net)
Date: Sun Dec 14 2003 - 16:47:44 MST

There's also the Joy of Infliction, and it's here already (but not in New
Zealand, not legally anyway):


NZ bans computer game for repetitive extreme violence
December 12, 2003

A computer video game that encourages players to kill everyone in sight in
ever more gruesome ways has been banned in New Zealand.

Manhunt, a DVD-ROM console game produced in Playstation 2 format, is the
first video game banned by the Office of Film and Literature Classification.

Chief censor Bill Hastings said today while computer games appeared to be
getting more "edgy", Manhunt went further than any game previously referred
to his office.

"It's a game where the only thing you do is kill everybody you see," he
said. "It gets worse. Not only do you have to kill everybody you see, you
can choose to kill 'mild,' 'medium' or 'hot'."

Hastings said "hot" kills were particularly gruesome. Weapons used ranged
from shards of glass to garotting wire, plastic bags and machetes.

The game was set in a weird city inhabited by criminals and psychotics.
Through an earpiece, players were given instructions by a person making
snuff films to kill everyone they saw.

"When you go for the 'hot' kill you actually see the snuff film... you see
the person being killed in close-up. With the plastic bag, for example, you
see the victim's mouth gasping for air inside the bag."



Hastings said the game was produced by American company Rockstar Games, "the
same people who brought us Grand Theft Auto" - a controversial video game
sharply criticised by opponents of media violence.

An updated version of that game - Grand Theft Auto 3 - is the subject of a
$US246 million ($A333.6 million) lawsuit in the US by families of two people
shot by teenagers allegedly inspired by the game.

Grand Theft Auto 3 is classified in New Zealand as R18, restricting its sale
or hire to persons over 18.

Unlike the Grand Theft Auto series, which Hastings conceded had an element
of humour in its depiction of police chases, Manhunt "has none of that

"In fact, you're rewarded for making the kills as gruesome as possible
because that's the only way you can unlock the (game's) four bonus levels."

Manhunt had been banned from sale or hire in New Zealand for its likely
effect on "players of any age," Mr Hastings said.

In its 12-page decision, the classification office ruled that Manhunt
depicted and dealt with matters of horror, cruelty, crime and violence in
such a manner that its availability was likely to be injurious to the public

"The only way you can accommodate the game's images is by an attitudinal
shift," Hastings said. "You have to at least acquiesce in these murders and
possibly tolerate, or even move towards enjoying them, which is injurious to
the public good."

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