Games for kids

Just lately a lot of noise has been heard about resubmissions made by the Australia’s classification board as they deemed Crimecraft,  Left 4 Dead 2 and Aliens vs. Predator too violent for their market. This has been caused because the maximum classification for videogames in Australia is MA 15+ (for films there are also R 18+ and X 18+). Valve and EA went into a costly process of submissions and resubmissions and was finally able to release the game in Australian territory with a censored version.

The comparisons between the original and the censored version is abysmal as most of Left 4 Dead 2 new graphic effects regarding the zombies have been stripped off. All dismemberments have been taken off, blood effects are almost nonexistent, fire has a most curious effect and bodies disappear seconds after they die (this issue is particularly terrible when throwing a grenade). In fact, changes have been so many that the reviews of the australian version have been extremely harsh… with reason. The result is largely disappointing and the feeling is of an unfinished game where all its charm is gone. If you are curious you can check it out in this video made by IGN.

Rebellion, however, has ruled out doing the ‘sanitized’ version of Alien vs. Predator. Rebellion CEO Jason Kingsley said:

“The content of AvP is based on some of the most innovative and iconic horror movies, and as such we wanted to create a title that was true to the source material. It is for adults, and it is bloody and frightening, that was our intent. We will not be releasing a sanitized or cut down version for territories where adults are not considered by their governments to be able to make their own entertainment choices.”

This also includes Germany (a censorship classic). Probably stripping off violence of a game makes it lower its rating, but in many games it takes much of its soul. It seems that there are still many countries where games are only for kids. Why would a German or Australian adult be able to get his hands on any of the Aliens movie and not be able to play in a videogame the same experience? Many complaints have been done about violent games with the latest being the absolute banning of any kind of violent game in Venezuela with penalties of 3 to 5 years (Chavez considers it one of the sources of violence in one of the most bloody countries) and in Brazil the Education Comission has approved a text (it still has to be approved by the Comission of Brazil of Constitution and Justice) that rules out selling videogames that “affect the country’s traditions, it’s cults, religions and symbols” and penalties that go from 1 to 3 years of prison.

The truth is that videogames have advanced a lot in general acceptation but it seems that there are still countries that feel comfortable blaming videogames for their local violence problems. Many parents think most games are too violent, but how many of those that complain have given their 11 year old son a game rated 18+ just because he wanted it and they did not research anything on it (yet alone look at the game cover and back cover)?  Is it worth playing a stripped down version of a game as long as you get to play it?

This probably leaves 2 options to those residing in those countries: import or piracy. Buying games hiding like a criminal…

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