Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Update on Crusade "Killerspiele"

And on to the second crusade - "Killerspiele".

Not much has moved in this one - at least, as far as the politicians are concerned. The psychiatrist have tried to get in, also claiming it was doing dreadful things to children, but they are even less believable.

On the other hand, the contents of games and the way Germany reacts to them, are still an important topic.

The fourth part of "Call of Duty" has been discussed by quite some people online, mainly because it's not set in the 'safe' environment of the past (e.g. World War I or II). Especially looking at the reality out there, some of the content of the game is questionable, yes. And I'm personally torn between 'everyone considered an adult should be allowed to play whatever he/she wants' and 'some stuff should not be openly available, even to adults'. In the case of "Call of Duty" I don't really face that dilemma. It's not my cup of tea - the whole game series isn't -, but I don't find it really questionable. The underlying tendencies of the story are understandable, if you realize where it was produced. And, as I say, I don't find playing a soldier that thrilling, anyway (well, I liked "Commandos", but that is mostly strategy and little actual action).

In my favourite forum, some people are really angry about cut versions of games that are done for Germany only. As I have played some of the games and not really missed anything, I can play the devils advocate on this easily enough. I don't like censorship any more than them, but I'm old enough to understand that certain things aren't necessary in a game - and sometimes also questionable when it comes to morale and ethics. To me, cutting a game (mostly violent graphics) to publish it in Germany, isn't exactly a case of censorship. And also, cutting a game to get a lower classification so it can also be sold to younger people, isn't exactly censorship. That's marketing, mostly.

And, as today you can easily buy those games uncut from other countries via internet, I don't really see the problem in it. If I really, really, really want a game uncut, with all the gruesome details, I buy an uncut version somewhere else. As an adult, I'm not forbidden to do it and I have the means.

Sometimes, when I play a game that's been forbidden after I bought it - the most extreme case was "Dark Forces", the first Star Wars ego-shooter, which was forbidden mere days after I bought it -, I wonder about the reason. I also know that it depends a lot on the political and social climate whether a certain game gets through or not.

Even with the "Killerspiele"-discussion going on and on and on, the whole issue is treated a lot more liberal these days. Contents of games (or movies) are judged less strictly than ten or twenty years ago - and I seriously hope for this trend to catch on and not reverse itself because of some politicians.

And as much as I treasure the Freedom of Speech (including the contents of various media), I won't go so far as to scream "we're going back to the Third Reich" just because some games don't get through in Germany without being cut.

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