Saturday, December 16, 2006

Germany to jail gamers

Like I said in my introductory posts on this blog, I am, among many other things, a gamer; that is to say, I play tabletop and video games as a hobby. I consider this a normal, non-harmful thing and an enjoyable social activity.

Which is why stuff like this really pisses me off.

Evidently, we did too good a job of pacifying Germany after the Second World War. The Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle, their ratings board, is evidently so emasculated that they won't rate games that feature violence of any kind, even violence against zombies. While not giving a rating doesn't officially ban a game, it does mean it cannot be sold in most stores in the country.

But evidently, that's not enough. Noooooooo, now the states of Lower Saxony and Bavaria want to toss people who commit "cruel violence on humans or human-looking characters," along with the developers who make the games that let them do so, directly to jail, do not pass Go, do not collect $200.

This is a disgrace. Such restrictions on the freedoms of expression and association should not be perpetrated by any government, and a Western democratic government has no excuse.

In response to this treatment of their industry, the German game developer Crytek is threatening to relocate to a different nation. Good luck with that, Crytek. Far Cry isn't exactly my favorite game, but you guys deserve better.

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