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Two events in the computer games calendar will provide important tests for the age-rating regime envisaged by Tanya Byron: the arrival next month of Grand Theft Auto IV, and a court decision last week to overturn a ban on the ultra-violent Manhunt 2.

 

The latest Manhunt game will be released imminently after a nine-month legal battle by its producers, who opposed its ban by the British Board of Film Classification for gratuitous violence and “sustained and cumulative casual sadism”.

 

The game puts the player in the position of a scientist who is subjected to terrifying experiments and escapes from a menacing asylum. An edited version, in which some of the most violent scenes were excised, was also rejected by the board. The ban was overturned, permitting the game, published by Rockstar, creators of the controversial Grand Theft Auto series, to be sold with an 18-certificate.

 

Games publishers said last night that they were prepared to live with plans for rigorously enforced ratings if it averted censorship and kept the £18 billion industry on track.

 

Keith Ramsdale, a vice-president of Electronic Arts, the world’s largest video games publisher, said that his industry was no different from other sources of entertainment. “Why is there a thirst for violent games? For the same reason that there is a thirst for violent films, books and TV. We’re not out of line with other entertainment forms.”

 

The industry had worked closely with Dr Byron and welcomed her proposals, he said. “There are certain things we need to do as an industry but parents need to take responsibility for looking out for their kids. We can’t control what goes on in people’s houses.”

 

“There are already obscene material laws in this country and it’s right that they should apply to video games. Games should not be brought to market if they breach those laws with, for example, racist or paedophile material, but if they don’t, then of course people should have access to them with the appropriate rating.”

 

Violent games account for one in ten of the 2,000 new games produced every year. Less than 3 per cent of games carry 18-certificates in Britain.

 

The most eagerly awaited game of the year is Grand Theft Auto IV, the latest in the 65-million-selling series set in the criminal underworld.

 

It is released on the PlayStation and Xbox platforms next month, tand he buzz from bloggers is thatGTA IVwill not disappoint with its scenes of violence, sex, profanity and general lack of social responsibility.

 

Dr Byron is concerned about the impact of the most violent games. She said: “ I think that it is important to look at the desensitisation to violence. The more violent images that are around . . . I think it does desensitise society and we need to think about that.”

 

Dr Byron’s proposals focus on what she terms the immense “digital divide” between techno-savvy children and their techno-phobic parents, allowing children to get their hands on unsuitable games and web content. She recommends a far greater awareness among parents, set out in government-funded advertisements, of key issues including the risk of children accessing pornography or giving away their identity to strangers over the internet.

 

Julian Brazier, the Conservative MP for Canterbury, who has long monitored the classification system for videos and computer games, said that the ruling on Manhunt 2 emphasised the need for stronger enforcement.

 

He said: “Most psychologists accept that children and youths respond to stimuli and copy what they see – the ability to discriminate comes as you grow older. We need more enforcement because the sale of illegal videos to youngsters is becoming a big business but there were only eight convictions last year - and most of those resulted in small fines.”

 

Tim Ingham, of the games industry magazine MCV, said that the Byron proposals would finally make parents aware of their responsibilities. “You won’t see so many parents going into stores to buy a Grand Theft Auto or a Manhunt game for little Johnny,” he said. Mr Ramsdale said that adult content video games should still be made “but just like film, just like cigarettes, just like alcohol we should protect minors from accessing them”.

 

An advertisement for Coca-Cola, satirising violent games with an acclaimed advertisement, made by Wieden & Kennedy, is seen as an example of how attitudes have changed. The advertisement, which is currently being screened, has transformed a Grand Theft Auto-style dystopia into a love-filled, dancing street.

 

 

Dirty money

$59m Amount generated by Spider-man 3 in first 24 hours of release

£170m Amount generated by Halo

3 in first 24 hours of release 3 World ranking by sales of British market for video games

5m Number of DVDs sold of the film Tomb Raider

£87.9m Video game sales in Britain in week to December 20, 2007

 

Source: Guinness World Records Gamer’s Edition; ELSPA

 

Testing games

 

Manhunt 2 Developers Rockstar recently won a nine-month battle to sell this ultra-violent game in Britain despite the British Board of Film Classification objecting that the action, set in a psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane, “encourages visceral killing and focuses on stalking and brutal slaying.” The original Manhunt was blamed for the murder of a boy, aged 14, in Leicester in 2004.

 

Grand Theft Auto IV In the latest instalment, players run over pedestrians, kill police, visit prostitutes and are encouraged to drink-drive

 

Bully: Scholarship Edition Features a shaven-headed schoolboy who terrorises other pupils and teachers at his school with pranks including dunking children’s heads in lavatories and firing catapults at teachers. Criticised by antibullying campaigners and teaching unions for “glorifying” school bullying.

 

Resident Evil 4 Player is a special forces agent who is sent to rescue the President’s kidnapped daughter. Images include a woman pinned to wall by a pitchfork through her face

 

50 Cent: Bulletproof Loosely based on the gangster lifestyle of the rapper. Player engages in shootouts and loots the bodies of victims to buy 50 Cent recordings and music videos

 

God of War A warrior hunts the gods who tricked him into killing his family. Prisoners are burnt alive, victims torn in half

 

Source: Times database, Family Media Guide

 

Link: Klick

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50 Cent: Bulletproof Loosely based on the gangster lifestyle of the rapper. Player engages in shootouts and loots the bodies of victims to buy 50 Cent recordings and music videos

Ha ha oh my god what a crappy game

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Who would have guessed? A national newspaper spinning a story out of all proportion!

 

I think we all knew the Byron report would cause a stir, just wait till' the Daily Mail get a hold of it, though.

 

 

It is released on the PlayStation and Xbox platforms next month, and he buzz from bloggers is that GTA IV will not disappoint with its scenes of violence, sex, profanity and general lack of social responsibility.

 

GTA IV will not disappoint with its scenes of violence, sex, profanity and general lack of social responsibility.

 

general lack of social responsibility.

 

Awh... They even go on to call the money generated by video games "Dirty Money". They're just making themselves look a bit out of touch really.

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LMAO, I love the response someone posted to that article.

 

 

"Bully: Scholarship Edition Features a shaven-headed schoolboy who terrorises other pupils and teachers at his school with pranks including dunking children's heads in lavatories and firing catapults at teachers. Criticised by antibullying campaigners and teaching unions for "glorifying" school bullying. "

 

Its not glorifying bullying, If anyone actually bothered to research the game at all they would realise your not a bully; Your actually standing up and protecting people who are getting bullied.

 

But I suppose any excuse for The Sun/News Of The World/Any other tabloid to print some huge Title in caps saying how games glorify violence or whatever is easier than actualyl paying attention to important news.

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pyramid head

Byron Report Released in U.K. View it Here

http://gamepolitics.com/2008/03/27/byron-r...d-view-it-here/

 

http://www.gamepolitics.com/images/legal/ByronReview.pdf

 

games to get cigarette style health warnings in the uk

http://www.destructoid.com/games-to-get-ci...te--77910.phtml

 

Computer games to get cigarette-style health warnings

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/poli...icle3628894.ece

 

Age Ratings For Games: Will They Work?

http://news.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,91221-1310821,00.html

 

Computer games to be given tough new cinema-style age ratings to protect children from violent material

Shopkeepers who sell games to under-age children face prison

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/arti...in_page_id=1770

 

Video games ratings face overhaul

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7314751.stm

 

click on the bbc and sky news links they have vids

 

shopkeepers shouldn't face prison for an underage kid buying an 18 rated game the kids parent should go to prison instead

 

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Grand Theft Columbo

 

 

Yawn yawn and f*cking YAWN.

 

 

 

 

I'm sick of this video games need to be toned down $hit.

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Yawn yawn and f*cking YAWN.

 

I'm sick of this video games need to be toned down $hit.

everyone is...

 

If something violent happens in the world it's only because 2 so-called things:

 

- Terrorists

- Games

 

Which is the biggest pile of crap ive ever heard, people need to take some responsibility for their actions.

And those f*cking newspapers MUST DO SOME REAL research before giving their thoughts, sh*t f*cked up

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MortifiedPenguin09

The Media should get it into their THICK heads, that its just a game and the sole purpose of this game, is the enjoyment. Thats all that matters to me anyway.

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Fuzzknuckles
The Media should get it into their THICK heads, that its just a game and the sole purpose of this game, is the enjoyment. Thats all that matters to me anyway.

Yes, but there will always be parents or shopkeepers that allow the sale of mature rated games to minors, which f*cks it all up for all of us.

Signatures are dumb anyway.

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Nanny state.

 

Don't do this

Don't watch that

You can't think this

Swearing is bad

Violence is worse

 

Let people play what they f*ckin' like, is it really gunna make a difference to every day life if someone like's to 'ave bit of violence on a video game ? Much more important issues going on in every day life then to make such a fuss over this.

 

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Stupid sh*t. It's kind of like smoking really. The only difference is the government gets money from the smokers. Go figure.

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Apparently nowadays, everything is bad, according to the people running the country. I know poeple who smoked untill their late 90's. Fair enough smoking is bad but doing the same type's of warnings a box of fags has is wasting time.

 

The prime minister should be more concerned with bigger problems than the packes of video games, the fool.

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TenEightyOne

Sadly Rockstar have inadvertently shot themselves in the foot. The unfortunate (and frankly ridiculous) ban placed on Manhunt 2 by the BBFC have result in it carrying a storm in it's wake all the way to the release of GTA IV. This will see GTA IV released to howls of protest from the f*ckwit press.

 

Games DO carry certificates, and they are usually accurate certificates. It is very often parents who don't adequately police what their children are doing. My son played 18 games from around 15, but we know as parents that he has the sense to distinguish reality from fantasy. Most of the press have never played a GTA and don't release that most of the violence has a comedic, tongue-in-cheek feel to it.

 

Games don't kill people. Nutters do.

 

People have always done terrible things to each other and there has always been an excuse given. First it was pornographic lithographs, then dirty etchings, then it was the lascivious broadsheet, then horror films and the emergence of Heavy Metal, then it was the infamous "Video Nasty" (that term still makes me sni**er) and now that photorealistic video play is on us the worm turns once again.

 

Many of the people who criticise two-way cerebrally stimulating activities such as video-gaming are quick to condemn violent games but will sit for hours "suckling on the electronic teat of television" (Vice City). How many do-gooders watched the Passion of Christ on british tv last sunday? If scenese like that were portrayed in a video game the hedge-dwelling clean living brigade would be all over it like a rash.

 

The popular printed media are of course ultimately to blame, for two reasons. Firstly anything that sells papers, err, sells papers. Secondly the digital revolution poses the single biggest threat to the popular printed press since common sense.

 

If 18 rated games are made available they should only be retailed to over 18s. Parental choice and the sense and opinion of parents should be respected. After all, a gory film and an equally gory game have one thing separating them - the use of mental choice and stimulation by a player that isn't offered to a watcher.

 

As I said it is an unfortunate set of timings that face Rockstar as they anticipate the release of what many hope and expect will be the finest free-roam video title of the new generation.

 

 

 

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Agree that the media paints crazy pictures, and most of them have never even played what they are writing about. However, Video Games are one of the most prolific and used medias for everyone age 12-40. Face it, it's similar to burning books 250 years ago.

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The guy with the Thing

God, how pissed would the media be if they actually played what they were hyping up? For exp., the famed last words of Goldberg the lawyer are, "Guns don't kill people. Video games do." *Bang* I don't care if there are splicers who want to kill me and Big Daddys who will spear me, I want to go to Rapture; least there, there's no censor.

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It's about time retards who don't play the games that they are critisizing should be stopping real violence.

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