Rockstar Attacked for GTA, Manhunt

Rockstar Attacked for GTA, Manhunt

Following Rockstar's problems in the U.S. with its GTA games a new front has been opened with their latest offering, Manhunt, which now has the dubious honor of being the first game to ever be banned in New Zealand.

The Office of Film and Literature Classification of New Zealand has banned Manhunt from distribution in the country. In its 12-page decision, the classification office ruled that Manhunt depicted and dealt with matters of horror, cruelty, crime and violence in such a manner that its availability was likely to be injurious to the public good.

Chief censor Bill Hastings claims that Manhunt goes further than any game previously referred to his office.
It's a game where the only thing you do is kill everybody you see, he said.
It gets worse. Not only do you have to kill everybody you see, you can choose to kill 'mild,' 'medium' or 'hot'.
According to Mr Hastings hot kills are particularly disturbing. Weapons used range from shards of glass to garroting wire, plastic bags and machetes.

Manhunt is set in a weird city inhabited by criminals and psychotics. Through an earpiece, players are given instructions by a person making snuff films to kill everyone they see.
When you go for the hot' kill you actually see the snuff film. . . you see the person being killed in close-up. With the plastic bag, for example, you see the victim's mouth gasping for air inside the bag.

Rockstar is already under criticism for previous games and GTA 3 is currently the subject of a USD 246 million lawsuit in the U.S. by the families of two people shot by teenagers allegedly inspired by the game.
But Rockstar's troubles do not stop there, in the past few weeks, in the U.S., a variety of protests have taken place against GTA:VC, the company's multi-million selling title, most of which have criticized the game for inciting racist attacks by including the command Kill the Haitians. Earlier this week Rockstar decided to censor all new copies of the game and remove the controversial dialogue but activists in the U.S. are not impressed. According to local media the Florida Attorney General's Office and the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office have been asked to investigate whether the GTA:VC line violates state law.

Although a variety of media have reported the story it seems that the no one mentions that the setting of the game is in itself violent. Kill the Haitians is a line which refers to a gang rather than a people and although most war games will allow you to wage war against and bomb entire countries into oblivion, VC is the game that is criticized. It is possible that there is now an officially accepted, politically correct, mainstream type of warfare.

Oddly enough the New Zealand Chief Censor makes more sense when considering GTA:VC since he concedes that there is an element of humor there, although he does goes on to point out that Manhunt has none of that whatsoever. In fact, you're rewarded for making the kills as gruesome as possible because that's the only way you can unlock the (game's) four bonus levels.