CCFC Demands "AO" Rating For Manhunt 2
The Center for a Commercial-Free Childhood has demanded that Rockstar's hyper-violent thrill-killer Manhunt 2 be given an "Adults Only" rating by the ESRB.
The CCFC's concerns focus on the motion-sensitive control system of the Nintendo Wii, which will require gamers to make chopping, stabbing and other clobbering-type movements as they progress through the game. According to a CCFC press release, "Players can saw their enemies' skulls in half; mutilate them with an axe; castrate them with a pair of pliers; and kill them by bashing their heads into an electrical box, where it is blown apart by a power surge. On Wii, players will not merely punch buttons or wield a joy stick, but will actually act out this violence."
Most violent games receive an "M" (Mature) rating from the ESRB, which is intended to keep games out of the hands of anyone under the age of 17. According to the CCFC, however, a recent Federal Trade Commission report found that 42 percent of unaccompanied 13- to 16-year-olds were able to buy "M-"rated games, and that the industry continues to advertise "M"-rated games on television shows popular with younger teenagers. Dr. Susan Linn, co-founder of the CCFC, said, "If ever there was a time for the ESRB's strongest and most unambiguous rating, it is now. An 'Adults Only' rating is the only way to limit children's exposure to this unique combination of horrific violence and interactivity."
"Adults Only" ratings are extremely rare in the industry: Over 13,000 games have been rated by the ESRB, and only 23 have received an "AO" rating. The "AO" rating has only been given once because of violent content. Most publishers attempt to avoid the rating whenever possible, because many mainstream retailers will not carry "AO"-rated games, virtually eliminating any chance of a title's success at the retail level.
Manhunt 2 was recently banned by both the British Board of Film Classification and the Irish Film Censor's Office, although it has yet to receive an ESRB rating. The game is slated to be released on July 10 in North America and July 13 in Europe.
Normally I'm the first to call out the US for being stupid for any number of political and social policies; I have to say, though, that I appreciate that the game is at least coming to US audiences.
Banning a game outright makes me think about book burning and Russia under Stalin.
You're obviously not thinking of the children.
Looks like this game is destined to be banned in AUS then too, just like BMX XXX and GTA:SA (before the hot coffee-less re-release).
The problem here is that our ratings system stops at MA15+ so anything that should receive an R18+ or an X18+ just gets banned. It is quite possibly the dumbest thing I have ever come across. Especially when you consider that every other aspect of the game ratings system here (from the people who rate the games to the ratings themselves) is pretty much identical to the system for movies and tv shows. The US certainly isn't the only country with some dumb policies in place!
Is it legal to purchase banned games via mail order in Australia? In the Manhunt 2 case, it was pointed out that it was illegal to sell the game, but not to own it, the implication being that someone could place an order with an online dealer without fear of repercussions. Same deal in Aus?
There shouldn't be a problem purchasing any game via mail order, the problem is where to purchase from. The Australian government prevents the sale of any media without a rating attached (we don't get unrated versions of dvd's here, we just get uncut and directors cut etc and they still get rated). Since the ratings for games only go up to MA15+, everything that falls outside of that instantly gets banned. Its more of a "by default" situation but it still has the same result.
As such its not possible to purchase from anywhere in australia, be it mail order or otherwise. They just don't get distributed. Games like BMX XXX that were "banned" here, you could still get by importing from the UK (or elsewhere in europe), but for manhunt 2 its looking like thats not gonna be an option either.
Importing from US or Japan isn't possible because of region encoding and the PAL/NTSC incompatibility. So unless I want to import the console itself from the US and go and buy a 240V - 115V transformer to use it, then I'm not going to be able to play manhunt. Even if I want to.