Banned for "Unremitting Bleakness"

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has officially banned the video game "Manhunt 2" for what the Board's director calls "unremitting bleakness and callousness of tone in an overall game context which constantly encourages visceral killing with exceptionally little alleviation or distancing." The game is being punished for the supposed sins of its predecessor, which--in the absence of any actual evidence--some have blamed for a 2004 murder:

The original game caused huge controvery and was blamed for the murder of 14-year-old schoolboy Stefan Pakeerah who was stabbed and beaten to death in Leicester in February 2004.

His parents believe the killer, Warren LeBlanc, 17, was inspired by the game.

Police and lawyers involved in the trial said there was no evidence that Manhunt had played a part in the murder.

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  • Ventifact||

    This is the very definition of thought police.

  • Derrick||

    Whoa. I wrote a C64 video game called Manhunt when I was a whippersnapper. It was kind of a cross between Pitfall and The Most Dangerous Game.

  • ||

    Well, you have to admit that it's an awfully big coincidence that the kid beat the other kid to death with a freakin' hammer, which happens to be one of the "best" weapons to use in the game.

    I'm not saying that the game should be banned, but saying that there's no evidence that the game influenced the murderer seems quite silly.

  • Archie Bunker||

    This is because England is a fag country.

  • ktc2||

    The first game they banned Carmaggedon was GREAT! The sequel which the geared way down to not get banned sucked.

    As old as it is I still play Carmaggedon sometimes. It's a great stress reliever.

  • crimethink||

    crimethink, sadly our legislators have been ignoring the hammer efficacy propaganda that has been foisted on our children since the early 1980's by the video game industry.

    WILL SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE BARRELS!

  • Jack||

    that was me, by the by

  • ||

    It also got an AO rating from the ESRB. I didn't have any interest in it until I found that out. Now I'm planning to pick up a copy, if for no other reason than to show my support for AO games.

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    Well, you have to admit that it's an awfully big coincidence that the kid beat the other kid to death with a freakin' hammer, which happens to be one of the "best" weapons to use in the game.

    The victim probably would have been killed with the candlestick in the study, but the murderer was Clueless.

  • ||

    crimethink,

    I wonder, had the game instead used bananas peels and tomatoes as deadly weapons, if this crime wouldn't have still taken place with a hammer and knife. After all, they are probably the easiest weapons to acquire. Had the kid found a gun, it would have been a gun shot that killed the other boy.

  • ||

    At least England has now admitted the inevitable: there are no original thoughts left in their country.

  • ||

    This relates back to Ron Bailey's "Free Will and Criminal Responsibility" thread from yesterday -- http://www.reason.com/blog/show/120908.html

    Crimethink -- I think many are reluctant to give an inch on the "influence" idea for fear that authoritarians will take a mile of expression rights. Obviously Manhunt I was an "influence" on those murderers, just as the Beatles "Helter Skelter" was an "influence" on Manson. The fear is that acknowledging influence will be taken as acceptance of causation, and thus make the idea of regulating such "dangerous" forms of expression seem reasonable.

  • Malcolm J.||

    I had actually heard that at first the parents were up in arms claiming that Manhunt inspired the kids who killed their child; it later turned out that it was a victim who owned a copy of the game. Guess it didn't teach him enough.

  • ||

    I'm so old, I remember when Bezerk was condemned for the same thing. And they were stick figures!

  • Preemptive Dan T.||

    Well, if the British subjects don't like the ruling they can always move to a country that allows the sale of this game. Why are you concerned about what happens in another country anyway?

  • ||

    The weird thing is, I hear in Europe you can have all the sex you want in a game but if you have too much violence you can be banned in several countries--particularly Germany.

    Here we seem to get much more upset about sex than violence. You can chop peoples heads off with a freakin chainsaw in GTA San Andreas, but pixelated, polygonal sex? No sir!

  • Hugh Akston||

    The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has officially banned the video game "Manhunt 2" for what the Board's director calls "unremitting bleakness and callousness of tone in an overall game context which constantly encourages visceral killing with exceptionally little alleviation or distancing."

    So does this mean the BBC will have to stop reporting on Iraq also?

  • VM||

    At least this time KMFDM isn't blamed...

    DAR: awesome!

  • ||

    If I remember correctly, knives and guns are banned in the UK. That would probably enter into someone's decision to carry a hammer.

    Also, keep in mind that the Beatles recorded a fairly famous song called "Maxwell's Silver Hammer," which the perpetrator probably heard at some point during his life. Clearly, the real culprit is that horrible "rock and roll music" the kids are all listening to these days.

  • VM||

    And Jake -

    if this were 1964, when drinking Dom above 38 degrees was as bad as listening to the Beatles without earmuffs, then, yes, those who would wish to blame something else would find Maxwell's silver hammer (although from post 1964, but I wanted to throw in a "Goldfinger" reference) a pretty strange coincidence.

  • ||

    Okay, then I'll blame MC Hammer. Or Armand Hammer. Or Arm & Hammer. Or Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer. The possibilities abound.

  • ||

    ktc2,

    you must inform me as to where you acquired Carmegeddon. I had Carpocalypse Now and it was great. Also, what system are you running it on?

  • Andrew Ian Dodge||

    I have all the Carmageddon's and I still love the games. I have played them both on the Mac & the PC. What was most fun was hacking the Mac edition so it could play the Splat Pack. If I had a computer game company I would buy the rights and do another version.

    On the banning of this game:

    "unremitting bleakness and callousness of tone in an overall ... context which constantly encourages visceral killing with exceptionally little alleviation or distancing."

    I can think of a book that is rather similar in tone to that and it won't take you very long to find examples of people being inspired to do others brutality because of it. Wonder if they plan to ban that book for the same reasons?

  • ||

    Well, you have to admit that it's an awfully big coincidence that the kid beat the other kid to death with a freakin' hammer, which happens to be one of the "best" weapons to use in the game.

    Given Brit fanaticism about banning real weapons, it's probably a lot less of a coincidence than you think. What else was he going to use?

  • wayaway||

    Well I think it's GOOD to see someone down in the trenches waging the War on Unremitting Bleakness.

    I can't help the feeling that if all the other Wars are won, Unremitting Bleakness is all we'll have left.

  • wayaway||

    And Callousness of Tone is right out....

  • wayaway||

    Oh, and one more thing... why is there no photo of Ms Samuel to enable us to ascertain whether she is pretty enough for us to take seriously???

  • e||

    First they came for Manhunt 2 and I said nothing, because I was a Battlefield 2 player.

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