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Author Topic: Germany to criminalize violent games
Rebochan the Retail Reindeer
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http://www.ft.com/cms/s/e98b3a9a-851c-11db-b12c-0000779e2340.html

Even *playing* a game deemed violent will net you jail time. So if you were looking forward to getting Resistance or Call of Duty during the PS3 launch, then prepare to either move out of Germany, or hide from the cops. Terrifying.

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Richard W
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That's assuming the bill that's just been introduced passes, of course.
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Rebochan the Retail Reindeer
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The article quoted that such a bill is incredibly popular right now. I hope that it fails of course - I don't live there, but I don't think banning video games outright is ever healthy for free speech in the world. Germany is a huge market, and a bill like that going through sets a dangerous precedent.

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"One original thought is worth a thousand mindless quotings." -- Diogenes

"Vote Republican! We won't burn you at the stake for your religious beliefs or slaughter your family and steal your land." -- Ramblin' Dave

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Malruhn
The "Was on Sale" Song


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Ban those damned violent games outright!! I mean, first you are shooting teh ebil Nazi's in the head, and next you are running around stealing little dots and eating blue ghosts! And don't get me started on that beautiful green centipede being blown to tiny bits... oh, the huMANity!!

I'm with Rebo and RW, I hope this is defeated. Who makes the decision as to what is "violent"?? Jesus, if they can ban TAG as being too violent and competitive, what can they do with video games?

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Stoneage Dinosaur
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"Computer games can't affect kids that much. I mean, if Pacman had affected us as kids we'd all be running around in darkened rooms, munching pills and listening to repetitive music." - Marcus Brigstocke.

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Illuminatus
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Why, exactly, would they stop at video games? If they believe that violent media can cause people to become killers, then there is really no end to what they can ban in the name of public safety. I don't have any figures on it, but I would assume that the US and Japan, which are both heavy video gaming markets but have wildly different crime rates, would show them the tenuousness of the link between the two.

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Don Enrico
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This goes back - as the article stated - to a shouting incident at a school some weeks ago. After that, you had the usual suspects crying: "Ban violent video games and all will be good!"

The bill, however, is not even introduced yet:
quote:
The bill - unveiled this week by the states of Bavaria and Lower Saxony and due to be presented to the national parliament next year ...
If it is introduced, it will be voted upon by both the Bundesrat and Bundestag - and I doubt there will be a majority in both Houses. It will probably end in some tougher regulations about how violence can be depicted (no blood shown).

The school shooter, by the way, was 18 at the time of the incident and so was allowed to own and play the games that are blamed for his rage.

Don "what about chess?" Enrico

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Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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Put an age limit on them if need be (but I'd prefer if it was a recommendation only), but don't outright ban them.

Besides, where does one draw the line? Are fairly abstract strategic simulationistic war games (Hearts of Iron for example) violent because they depict war, even though they only have abstract symbols for units?

Besides, I firmly believe in the inkblot theory. The images on the screen are not images, just a collection of coloured dots. What someone see in such a collection of dots is, much like the inkblots, something that depends on your own mind. This says a lot about the censorship proponents, who see violence and sex and blood and stuff where we normal people see stuff like flowers, kittens, sunsets and other calm and tranquil images.

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/Troberg

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Don Enrico
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Troberg, there is an age limit on most first person shooter games in Germany - 18 or at least 16. All games that have an 18 years limit are also forbidden to be advertised to minors, this makes them under-the-counter-ware for all game shops that allow minors in. These laws are in effect, but they don't keep minors from learning about the games (and getting their hands on them) via older friends or via internet, of course.

Concerning the inkblot theorie - I very much doubt that anybody sees "flowers, kittens, sunsets and other calm and tranquil images" in games like Half Live or Counter-Strike. Games like that are what the discussion is about, not abstract strategic simulationistic war games.

Having said that, I agree that the age limit is the way to go - and I don't follow the "Killer games made him do it"-theory.

Don Enrico

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My spelling is Wobbly. It's good spelling, but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places. - Pooh Bear

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Salamander
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quote:
Originally posted by Troberg:
This says a lot about the censorship proponents, who see violence and sex and blood and stuff where we normal people see stuff like flowers, kittens, sunsets and other calm and tranquil images.

Hmmmm... assuming it is the same software program, I'd say it says that someone seriously needs to upgrade their video drivers.

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Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
Concerning the inkblot theorie - I very much doubt that anybody sees "flowers, kittens, sunsets and other calm and tranquil images" in games like Half Live or Counter-Strike. Games like that are what the discussion is about, not abstract strategic simulationistic war games.
You don't? You mean that you don't see the little puppy in Doom3 or the sunflower field which you dance on in Resident Evil or the cute little kittens that play with small balls of yarn in Silent Hill? You are a sick, sick person and should seek help immediately!

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/Troberg

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Bug Muldoon
The "Was on Sale" Song


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quote:
I mean, first you are shooting teh ebil Nazi's in the head
Not in Germany you aren't. All Nazi's in videogames there are replaced with droids or zombies [Big Grin]

Germany has always been anal about censoring videogames. The bill is not surprising, but I doubt it'll get passed.

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James G.
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Bug that's not strictly true. Nazi regalia and symbols are removed from games, but the nazi's themselves remain. (Okay, the wikipedia bit is poorly written)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_game_controversy#Germany

Mobygames is a bit clearer:

http://www.mobygames.com/game/amiga/indiana-jones-and-the-last-crusade-the-graphic-adventure/trivia

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Gavida
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It is the same thing happening every time some sociopath snaps and shoots at a school here in Germany.
The politicians shout that "ebil video games made him do it!".

To get the bill through will be one thing. If (and that is a huge "if") it will be passed I think that there will be several lawsuits going on, since censorship by the state is against the german constitution and a total ban sure will be seen as censorship by many.
If the bill is passed and the lawsuits won't reverse it you better start watching for the Bundeswehr having to learn the goose-stepping again. For me the planned censorship is the first step away from democracy to a totalitarian system again. Why not burn the video games and maybe even books containing violence.
There are several nice spots where the burning could take place. Maybe where the Spandau Prison once stood, or in the place where the Fuehrerbunker was.

But on a less sarcastic note:
Games that are rated "Age 18+" can be displayed in shops and stores that can be entered by minors. They must not be sold to minors though, the age has to be verified at the check-out if doubted.
Games that are on the "index" ("indiziert" as it is said in Germany) can not be advertised and are the "under-the-counter"-products.

BTW: I still think that bread should be forbidden, since every school-shooter ate bread somewhen in his life. Bread is the evil, I tell you!

Gavida

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Rebochan the Retail Reindeer
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Well I'm glad that both Don Enrico and Gavida have clarified the situation and the bill's chance of passing. Thank you for easing my concerns with context. I know that America's constitution has defeated a lot of gaming violence laws over the past year in particular, but I didn't know what constitutional protection existed in Germany.

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"One original thought is worth a thousand mindless quotings." -- Diogenes

"Vote Republican! We won't burn you at the stake for your religious beliefs or slaughter your family and steal your land." -- Ramblin' Dave

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Don Enrico
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quote:
Originally posted by Gavida:
For me the planned censorship is the first step away from democracy to a totalitarian system again.

The first step? What about the law alowing the police to spy on you in your living quarters with sound and video recording, violating the constitutional right of unviolated living space (Unverletzlichkeit der Wohnung)? The joint database of police forces and secret service? The plan to make the lorry Autobahn poll data available to the police? CC video surveilance of public streets?

There been a lot of steps in the past years away from democratic freedom in Germany, even if there is no goose-step yet.

quote:
But on a less sarcastic note:
Games that are rated "Age 18+" can be displayed in shops and stores that can be entered by minors. They must not be sold to minors though, the age has to be verified at the check-out if doubted.
Games that are on the "index" ("indiziert" as it is said in Germany) can not be advertised and are the "under-the-counter"-products.

You've got that right - I was not clear enough in my above post. However, C&C Generals, Doom, Castle Wolfenstein, Duke, Far Cry, Half-Live, Quake and Resident Evil (among others) all made it on the index - if only in the US-Version. Full index for games (NFGermanSK).

Don Enrico

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My spelling is Wobbly. It's good spelling, but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places. - Pooh Bear

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