Manhunt 2: The Real Scoop. Update.

We have another update from resident thatgirler Kaiser.Tia:

Yeah, there's a confusion of the different issues with the three big game stories recently - the Law and Order case was just stupid - the developers should have known better then to use real-life stuff like that (it wasn't even a funny easter egg - just a dim-witted, under-researched example of a stupid development team).

The whole Manchester Cathedral story is actually quite interesting - with games technology becoming able to render real-world locations in realistic detail, are games that showcase real locations going to have to ask permission first, like the film industry? I have a lot of sympathy for the CoE in this case, because I can't imagine they'd ever give permission to a Hollywood movie to film on location, especially a movie involving soldiers, aliens and shooting. I wouldn't be surprised if the games industry has to jump through similar hoops that Hollywood does when it comes to 'shooting on location'.

As for Manhunt 2 - I don't really know where to start. I didn't play the first game because it didn't really appeal to me, and didn't plan on buying the sequel because no previews convinced me that a game of callous murder could be that much fun. I've been reading GamesTM's previews, and the excitement that they're building up about how you can garrote and mimic the actions of stabbing with the Wiimote bordered on tasteless.

I think that's what puts me off Manhunt, in the same way that I can't be bothered with Hostel, Saw, and the like - it's just so tasteless. I'd rather be rolling things up in Katamari, or jumping about in Tomb Raider. If I need a visceral thrill, I've got plenty of violent games (I kinda feel like playing Tenchu at the mo).

Speaking of Tenchu, that was a pretty violent game, but the overall feel was quite cartoon-y, I suppose part of the reason Manhunt 2 is so distasteful is that it's so realistic-looking. Flip through any video game magazine, and it's depressing to note how many of the screenshots are of hi-res humans/aliens shooting guns/getting bits shot off them. GamesTM's recent preview of Manhunt 2 had a shot of a man with a bag over his head, the outline of his face clearly visible as he suffocated. Nice main picture.

There's also the issue of parents buying games for children. To be fair, I think this is a problem that will sort itself out a bit more with time, as people who have grown up playing video games have children, and are a bit more informed about what it means when a game has '18' written on it (a public information campaign wouldn't go amiss for those idiots who still don't get it).

Still, you're always going to get feckless, irresponsible, unquestioning idiots who buy these games for their kids, and then those kids will probably have their own kids at a really early age and buy them inappropriate stuff, and so on. It's a huge issue that, like most issues, encompasses social inclusion and education.

So, yeah, I kinda agree with the Manhunt 2 ban, and like the fact that the BBFC came up with good reasons, citing: "Manhunt 2 is distinguishable from recent high-end video games by its unremitting bleakness and callousness of tone in an overall game context which constantly encourages visceral killing with exceptionally little alleviation or distancing. There is sustained and cumulative casual sadism in the way in which these killings are committed, and encouraged, in the game."

Though how that differs from films like Saw and Hostel, I don't quite know - certainly the interactive element is a factor.

Anyway, I feel sorry for anyone who feels disappointed by this ban. I dare say in a couple of years we'll all wonder what the fuss was about, though it'll still be a bleak game, and probably not one I'd want to play, other that for curiosity's sake. There's so many other, better, more joyful games to play. Beyond games, there's even more wonderful stuff you can get up to that beats sitting in a darkened room, pretending to stalk and kill people.

Cheers!

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