His concern appears to stem from the Wii’s controller, a device that relies on motion-sensing technology rather than the conventional button-mashing used by other consoles. It’s expected that gamers playing Manhunt 2 on the Wii will use stabbing, slashing and clubbing motions to control their character’s actions as they massacre their way through the game. While this may sound appealing to the game’s potential audience, it has also attracted the attention of the anti-gaming lobby, in particular Jack Thompson. In May, Thompson sent a letter to both McCollum and Florida Governor Charlie Crist regarding the game’s release.
“On July 10 Florida retailers are scheduled to sell a very violent video game called Manhunt 2 which will be available, remarkably, for “play” on the kids-friendly Nintendo Wii gaming platform,” he wrote. “The Wii device does not utilize traditional push button game controllers but instead utilizes hand-held motion capture devices. Thus, as a player moves his hands and limbs, he sees himself act out those motions in the virtual reality setting. Tiger Woods, for example, has explained that the Wii motion capture technology allows golfers to play his games and rehearse their swings. It is a training device.”
Thompson goes on to claim that “hard neurobiological science” gives proof that Manhunt 2, when combined with the Wii’s motion-based control system, “will be a teen murder simulator like the world has never seen,” which constitutes a clear and present danger to public health and safety. He calls on the Attorney General and the Governor to use Florida’s public nuisance laws, as well as “other legal, constitutional remedies” to stop the distribution of Manhunt 2 to minors.
Neither McCollum nor Crist have taken an official position on Manhunt 2, although McCollum did issue a statement expressing his belief that children need to be protected from violent influences, as well as the importance of parental involvement in that effort. Their options may be limited regardless; Thompson’s attempts to have another Rockstar game, Bully, declared a public nuisance in 2006 failed, however, and Manhunt 2 would appear to have the same constitutional protections that have been granted to other videogames in similar situations. As well, regardless of any action taken by the state of Florida, the game’s inevitable “M” rating from the ESRB means the game will not be available for sale to minors.