Games Censorship: Manhunt Games Series


 

 

 

 

Manhunt

Developed by DMA Design / 2003 / MobyGames

In October 2003, MANHUNT was passed with an MA15+ (Medium level animated violence) rating. Take 2 Interactive Software was the applicant.

 

 

December 2003: MANHUNT banned in New Zealand

On December 11 2003, MANHUNT became the first game to be banned in New Zealand.

In New Zealand, the availability of an 18-rating for games had allowed full versions of BMX: XXX, GRAND THEFT AUTO 3 and GRAND THEFT AUTO: VICE CITY to be released, when Australia had to make do with censored versions.

 

 

The OFLC justify MANHUNT MA15+

A week after the New Zealand censors banned MANHUNT, the Australian OFLC sought to explain the MA15+ rating. We suspect this was in reaction to the New Zealand situation as the classification had been awarded two months earlier, and the OFLC hardly ever comment on their ratings.

 

MANHUNT Classified MA15+ by Classification Board
New Release
December 19, 2003

The Classification Board classified the Playstation 2 interactive computer game MA15+ on 17 October 2003.

The decision carries the consumer advice, "Medium level animated violence."

In reaching this decision, the Board applied the National Classification Code and the Classification Guidelines. The MA15+ classification restricts sale and hire of the game to persons aged 15 years and older, unless accompanied by a parent or adult guardian.

Manhunt is a twelve level adventure-shooter game in which an inmate on death row, who awakes to find he is trapped within a game, must follow mysterious instructions to fight his way out of a number of gang infested environments using various weapons and problem-solving skills.

The Classification Board formed the view that the content of game did not exceed a strong viewing and/or playing impact.

Des Clark, the Director of the Office of Film and Literature Classification, said "The Classification Board has strictly applied the Guidelines for the Classification of Film and Computer Games in arriving at this decision, and has found that Manhunt sits firmly within the MA15+ classification."

The Classification Board is an independent statutory body responsible for the classification of films, videos, computer games and some publications. The Board has representatives drawn from communities across Australia and includes members with children.

 

 

MANHUNT: Press coverage

Rockstar's MANHUNT went on to be released in Australia with a MA15+ (Medium Level Animated Violence) rating. It soon began to pick up some mainstream press coverage.

 

Teens Play Deadly Game
Herald Sun, December 28, 2003

In this article, Jane Roberts from Young Media Australia was quoted as criticising the release. While Des Clark stated that the Australian OFLC used different classification criteria to their New Zealand counterparts.

 

Game blamed for slaying
news.com.au
, July 30, 2004

Des Clark was quoted as saying:
The animated violence did not exceed a strong viewing or playing impact

While the Victorian Attorney-General Rob Hulls commented on the lack of an R18+ rating for games.
Victoria would support the inclusion of an R-rating

 

 

August 2004: WA Liberals call for MANHUNT ban

Two weeks after the 'Game Blamed for Slaying' story, the West Australian Liberal opposition joined the cause and released this press statement.

 

WA opposition wants violent video game banned
August 16, 2004

The West Australian opposition has appealed to the censorship committee of the Office of Film and Literature Classification to ban one of the most violent video games ever produced.

The game Man Hunt, which is rated MA 15+, features violent and graphic murder scenes and has been blamed for the murder in February of a 14-year-old British boy.

Opposition Leader Colin Barnett said today the game encouraged the player to kill in the most gruesome manner possible.

"Players are required to viciously murder other characters even after they pleaded for their lives," Barnett said.

"When I watched this game, I was absolutely horrified. It is not a video game that I would want any children to be exposed to," he said.

Barnett, who has four sons, said he wanted Western Australia to follow in the footsteps of New Zealand and ban the game.

The game has been described on the internet as being an exploration of "the depths of human depravity in a vicious and sadistic tale of urban horror."

English woman Giselle Pakeerah told reporters that she blamed the game for her son Stephan's death after he was murdered by being repeatedly stabbed with a claw hammer in February.

She said her son's 17-year-old killer, who was allegedly obsessed with the game, had mimicked the Man Hunt video quest by carrying out a brutal killing.

 

 

MANHUNT: The controversy begins

Manhunt' sparks censorship row.
abc.net.au, August 15, 2004

Western Australia's Opposition Leader Colin Barnett says the states should have censorship powers.

"To make sure that any material like this that got through the national censorship net could be declassified and therefore removed from sale or hire in Western Australia," he said.

Western Australia's Justice Minister Michelle Roberts says she will investigate the matter, but the responsibility lies with the national classification body.

"The kinds of things that have been raised with me just today are of concern but classifications are done at a national level and that's where the case will need to be taken up," she said.

 

Call to ban 'killer' video game
The West Australian, August 16, 2004

Justice Minister Michelle Roberts accused Mr Barnett of "another cheap Sunday stunt" for making an issue of something without first raising it in appropriate channels.

The Government took the view that national censors should provide censorship for the whole country.

 

Barnett urges ban on game
news.com.au, August 16, 2004

Mr Barnett said a national approach to classifications was preferable, but the Manhunt game highlighted the need for Western Australia to restore its independent censorship powers as a fallback to allow it to respond to community concerns.

 

 

MANHUNT in the West Australian Parliament

Barbara Scott, the Liberal Shadow Minister For Children; Culture and The Arts pushed the issue twice in the W.A. Legislative Council.

Parliament of Western Australia
House: Legislative Council- Second Reading
Date: Thursday, 19 August 2004
Member: SCOTT MS B
Subject: CHILDREN AND COMMUNITY SERVICES BILL 2003

Page: 5264b - 5266a / 1

HON BARBARA SCOTT (South Metropolitan)Only last week the public of Western Australia became aware - although the Opposition knew - that this Government had given away to the federal Government the ability to classify videos, films and television programs that are unacceptable and inappropriate viewing for young children. I wrote to the Minister for Justice and for Police and Emergency Services to see whether she would consider reclassifying the video game Manhunt, which I watched last week. I was appalled to see the violence in that video game. We know that that sort of video game violence can breed violence.

I will not speak too much about that video game. It is rated MA 15+ but it could be played at home by children younger than 15. A minister of this Government has wiped her hands of it, saying that it is not the State Government’s responsibility. Any State Government can retain that ability; it does not have to be passed to the Office of Film and Literature Classification. However, this State Government is quite happy to hand over that responsibility to the federal Government.

 

 

Parliament of Western Australia
House: Legislative Council- QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
Date: Thursday, 26 August 2004
Member: SCOTT MS B; PRESIDENT; CHANCE
Subject: VIDEO GAMES HITMAN: CONTRACTS AND MANHUNT?

Page: 5696c - 5697a / 1

678. Hon BARBARA SCOTT to the minister representing the Minister for Justice:

I refer to her responsibility under the State Censorship Act and to The West Australian dated 13 September 2003, with articles titled “Game linked to crime spree” and “Violence is the name of the game”. (1) Is the minister aware of the video games titled Hitman: Contracts and Manhunt? (2) Is the minister aware that the nature of the games is to murder people and avoid detection?

(3) If not, will the minister make herself aware of the nature of the games?

Hon Tom Stephens: The Liberal Party has done more to promote those games than anyone else. Nobody knew about them before. Hon BARBARA SCOTT: The member should read the hundreds of e-mails I have received in support of our move to have them banned. I have had hundreds of e-mails from Western Australians concerned about them. Several members interjected.

The PRESIDENT: Order!

Hon BARBARA SCOTT: Thank you, Mr President. (4) Will the minister restrict access to the games by ensuring that they are not available to be played in prisons and youth detention centres?

(5) If not, why not?

(6) Is the minister aware that New Zealand has banned Manhunt?

(7) Will the minister request the Office of Film and Literature Classification to ban both these video games?

(8) If not, why not?

 

Hon KIM CHANCE replied: I thank the member for some notice of this question. I provide the answer on behalf of the minister assisting the Minister for Justice. (1)-(2) Yes.

(3) Not applicable.

(4) The Department of Justice advises that the games are not permitted in prisons or detention centres.

(5) Not applicable.

(6) Yes.

(7)-(8) The Minister for Justice advises that she has written to the commonwealth Attorney-General seeking a review of the computer game Manhunt. The minister is seeking a copy of the classification board’s reasons for its decision on the computer game Hitman: Contracts before deciding what action to take. Several members interjected.

The PRESIDENT: Order! The parliamentary secretary bench seems to be suffering from neglect, by the sound coming from it. I hope the Leader of the Opposition will ask one of them a question. Hon Norman Moore: I was hoping to get a copy of that game so that I could work out how to do it!

 

 

OFLC announces review of MANHUNT MA15+

The controversy in West Australia resulted in MANHUNT being to the Review Board.

 

Review announced for the computer game Manhunt
OFLC Media Release
August 31, 2004

An application for review of the Classification Board’s decision to classify the computer game Manhunt, MA15+ with the consumer advice “Medium level animated violence” has been received from the Attorney-General, on the request of the Western Australian Minister with censorship responsibilities, Michelle Roberts, Minister for Justice Under the Commonwealth

The Attorney-General may make an application for review at any time. However, an application for review of a classification decision by any other party must be made within 30 days after the applicant received notice of the decision. Manhunt was classified MA15+ by the Classification Board in October 2003.

The Classification Review Board will meet to hear this application on Monday 20 September 2004.

The Classification Review Board’s decision and reasons for its decision will appear on the OFLC website when a review has been finalised.

The Classification Review Board is an independent merits review body. It meets in camera to make a fresh classification decision when applications to review classification matters previously determined by the Classification Board are made.

 

 

Attorney-General announces review of MANHUNT MA15+

Manhunt Computer Game Referred for Review
Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock
Media Release 158/2004

Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock has today asked the Classification Review Board to review the classification of the computer game Manhunt.

On 15 October 2003 the Classification Board classified Manhunt MA15+, with the consumer advice 'Medium level animated violence'.

In Australia, the MA15+ category is legally restricted. Material classified MA15+ is considered unsuitable for persons under 15 years of age.

"I have asked for a review of the classification for Manhunt, as required by the relevant legislation, following a request by the Western Australian Censorship Minister, Michelle Roberts," Mr Ruddock said.

"The Government takes the issue of violence in films, computer games and publications very seriously.

"We will continue to ensure games with violent content are banned in this country or strictly regulated in a manner that supports informed decision-making by consumers, particularly parents," Mr Ruddock said.

 

Ruddock seeks review of Manhunt classification
theage.com.au
, August 31, 2004

The WA opposition appealed to the AG's department earlier this month, seeking a review of the classification accorded to the game.

A ban has been sought on the game in the UK after it was blamed for the murder of a 14-year-old boy in the UK, allegedly by an older friend.

However, it has been pointed out by the British police themselves that the game was found in the possession of the boy who was murdered, not the one who is alleged to have committed the crime.

"The Government takes the issue of violence in films, computer games and publications very seriously," Ruddock said. "We will continue to ensure games with violent content are banned in this country or strictly regulated in a manner that supports informed decision-making by consumers, particularly parents."

 

 

September 2004: MANHUNT banned in Australia

Manhunt refused classification upon review
Classification Review Board
September 29, 2004

A four-member panel of the Classification Review Board has determined, in a majority 3 to 1 decision, that the computer game entitled Manhunt be refused classification.

Refused Classification means the game cannot be legally sold, hired, advertised or exhibited in Australia. Any existing stocks of this game held by retailers must be removed from shelves immediately.

In the Classification Review Board’s opinion, the game warrants a refusal of classification because it contains elements beyond those set out in the classification guidelines and legislation for a computer game at the MA15+ classification.

Specifically, it contains some depictions of high impact, as well as scenes of blood and gore that go beyond strong. It also contains a high impact theme.

The Classification Review Board convened to review the MA15+ classification of the computer game in response to an application from the Attorney-General, on the request of the Western Australian Minister with censorship responsibilities, Michelle Roberts, Minister for Justice.

In reviewing the classification, the Classification Review Board worked within the framework of the National Classification Scheme, applying the provisions of the

The Classification Review Board is an independent merits review body. It meets in camera to make a fresh classification decision when applications to review classification matters previously determined by the Classification Board are made.

The Classification Review Board’s reasons for this decision will appear on the OFLC website when finalised.

 

 

MANHUNT: Full Classification Review Board report

You may wish to view this YouTube clip to get a feeling for the 'high-level violence' that the Classification Board discuss in their report.

 

20/28 September 2004
23-33 MARY STREET
SURRY HILLS, NSW

MEMBERS:
Ms Maureen Shelley (Convenor)
The Hon Trevor Griffin (Deputy Convenor)
Ms Dawn Grassick
Mr Robert Shilkin

APPLICANT:
The Australian Attorney-General
Not represented

INTERESTED PARTIES Represented by: Mr James Ellingford, Managing Director; Mr David Powell, Marketing Manager; Mr Leigh Harris, Assistant Coordinator; and Mr Simon Ramsey, Public Relations Manager, all of Take 2.

BUSINESS: To review the Classification Board’s decision to classify the computer game Manhunt (the game) MA (15+) with the consumer advice ‘Medium level animated violence’.

DECISION AND REASONS FOR DECISION

1. Decision

The Classification Review Board (the Review Board) refused classification to Manhunt for the reasons set forth below.

 

2. Legislative provisions

The Classification (Publications, Film and Computer Games) Act 1995 (the Act) governs the classification of computer games and the review of classification decisions. Section 9 of the Act provides that computer games are to be classified in accordance with the National Classification Code (the Code) and the classification guidelines.

Relevantly, the Code in paragraph 1 of the Table under the heading ‘Computer Games’ provides that computer games that are unsuitable for a minor to see or play, are to be RC (refused classification).

The Code also states various principles for classifications, including that ‘adults should be able to read, hear and see what they want’ and that ‘minors should be protected from material likely to harm or disturb them’.

Three essential principles underlie the use of the 2003

• The importance of context

• Assessing impact (which includes making an assessment regarding whether

the material encourages interactivity)

• Six classifiable elements – themes, violence, sex, language, drug use and nudity.

Section 11 of the Act requires that the matters to be taken into account in making a decision on the classification of a computer game include the:

(a) standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults; and

(b) literary, artistic or educational merit (if any) of the computer game; and

(c) general character of the computer game, including whether it is of a medical, legal or scientific character; and

(d) persons or class of persons to or amongst whom it is published or is intended or likely to be published.

 

3. Procedure

On receipt of a valid application for review from the Attorney General of Australia, prompted by a request from the Western Australian Attorney General, the Review Board met to consider the application.

The Review Board watched a video of what the original applicant stated was the contentious material of the game Manhunt. The Review Board then observed a demonstration of the game through the interactive game play of the original applicant’s assistant coordinator Mr Leigh Harris. The original applicant made oral and written submission to the Review Board. The Review Board then met in camera to consider the application.

Finding that it had viewed insufficient game play to reach a decision, the Review Board then obtained copies of the game in PC and console format. Individual members then played or had demonstrated to them the game at their own homes over some several days. The Review Board reconvened on 28 September 2004 and, after discussion and consideration of the issues, determined in a 3-1 majority decision that the game should be refused classification as it contained material that was unsuitable for minors to play.

 

4. Evidence and other material taken into account

In reaching its decision the Review Board had regard to the following:

(i) The Australian Attorney-General’s application for review;

(ii) The written and oral submissions of Take 2;

(iii) The demonstration of the game by Take 2;

(iv) The demonstration of a video of contentious material presented by Take 2 at the review hearing;

(v) The playing of the game by Review Board members;

(vi) The relevant provisions in the Act;

(vii) The relevant provisions in the Code, as amended in accordance with s.6 of the Act; and

(viii) The Guidelines.

 

5 Synopsis

The game is a stealth game where the central figure is condemned to death but is “saved” by a director, of what is said to be a snuff movie, so that he can kill a variety of gang members, which is the subject matter of the film.

The central figure has to kill gang members using a variety of implements including a plastic bag, a shard of glass, a variety of guns, a baseball bat, a chainsaw, a nail gun and other implements. The weapons become available, not necessarily in the above stated order, as the central figure “progresses” through the level of kills. The action culminates where the central figure has to kill the director with the chain saw to escape from the set of the snuff movie. In the course of the game the central figure has to save a homeless person and some family members from the gang members.

 

6 Findings on material questions of fact

The Review Board found in the majority that the game contains aspects or scenes particularly worthy of mention under various classifiable elements:

The game contains interactive game play of high level violence. Particular interactions of high-level violence include the dismemberment of the character Piggsy by the removal of his “trotters” when he was hanging suspended and the killing of the director with the chainsaw and the prolonged and detailed visual depictions of his internal organs at his death.

The ability to continue “killing” any victim for an unlimited period of time including the ability to continue smashing the heads of victims until they shattered into pieces and were depicted spread on the floor was of high impact. Further, the ability to allow gang members to “kill” the central figure (the role of which is assumed by the game player) continuously and without limit is of high impact. This impact is increased by the “view” of the “kill”, which is shown with the “camera” focusing onto the character who is prone on the floor. The gang members can – without limit – continue to “kill” the central character (game player).

The Convenor of the Review Board played the game up to Level 4 – which took several hours to achieve – and allowed the gang members to “kill” the central character for five minutes. The “kill” was continuous and was continuously “refreshed”. Further the Convenor of the Review Board played the game and “killed” gang members and allowed the interactivity to continue for five minutes 30 seconds. The “kill” was continuous and was continuously “refreshed”.

It was the minority view that the impact of the scenes and the interactivity outlined above were of strong impact and could be accommodated by a MA15+ classification.

 

7 Reasons for the decision

Based on the information contained in sections two to six the Review Board determined, in the majority, that the impact of specific interactive game play scenes mentioned above and the ability to “kill” characters in the game for an unlimited period with the accompanying detail of gore of smashed heads, blood spatter and in some scenes dismemberment was of high impact. As such, the material was beyond that which minors should be able to play. As no classification is available restricting games to adults, as in the case of film and videos, the Review Board determined in the majority that the game should be refused classification

It was noted the Review Board members were of low-level skill in game play and that these interactions of high impact were available as part of the game play for inexperienced and low-level users.

It was a submission of the original applicant that game players did not play games in this way and that they concentrate on achieving the challenges of each level rather than dwelling on the details of “kills”. However, the Review Board is concerned with what a game enables players to achieve, and cannot make a determination based on what a game player may do or how game players may choose to play.

It was the minority view that the scenes and interactivity of the game were no more than strong and that the game could be accommodated within the classification MA15+

 

 

WA Liberals celebrated MANHUNT ban

Opposition welcomes ban on ‘Manhunt’
WA Liberal Opposition, September 29, 2004

Opposition Leader Colin Barnett has welcomed news that the violent video game Manhunt has been banned after he and Shadow Children’s Minister Barbara Scott raised concerns about its content in early August.

Mrs Scott wrote to the Commonwealth Office of Film and Literature Classification and Justice Minister Michelle Roberts requesting the game be banned in Western Australia and also brought the matter to public attention through the media.

Mr Barnett said he was pleased Justice Minister Michelle Roberts had decided to take the matter seriously and act on the concerns, after initially describing the Opposition’s raising the matter in public as a stunt.

Western Australia has to ask the Commonwealth body to ban material because the Gallop Labor Government gave away the State’s powers to declassify (ban) material after coming to power in 2001.

Manhunt encourages the player to kill its characters in the most gruesome manner possible.

Parents of a murdered 14-year-old British boy blamed the Manhunt game for their son’s violent death. He was killed by a 17-year-old youth with a claw hammer and a knife.

The game had already been banned in New Zealand.

“When I watched this game I was absolutely horrified. It is not a video game that I would want any young person exposed to,” Mr Barnett said.

“As parents and as law-makers, we have an obligation to make the protection of children a priority.

“Research has shown that over time, violent video games, films and electronic games desensitise children and increase the incidence of violent behaviour.

“There is no place in today’s society for a video game that devalues human life.”

Mr Barnett said that if elected the Coalition would reinstate the power to declassify video games and other material where there was concern in the community.

 

 

Labor warns of $10,000 fine for MANHUNT possession

Here is the statement from Labor's Michelle Roberts, the WA Minister for Justice who complained about the game to the Federal Attorney General.

Note that at the time, the warning of a $10,000 fine applied only to those people in West Australia. This piece from THE EROS JOURNAL explains why.

Possession of RC Films in WA Illegal
The Eros Journal, Vol.5 No.3

The WA Censorship Act 1996 holds one important difference to most other state Acts. Part 7 Div 3 s.81 states that:
Possession or copying of certain films.
A person must not possess or copy an unclassified film that would, if classified be classified RC, or a film classified RC Penalty: $10,000.

 

 

WA Minister instigates national ban on violent computer game
Michelle Roberts, WA Minister for Justice, September 29, 2004

A controversial and violent computer game has now been banned nationally following concerns raised by Justice Minister Michelle Roberts.

Mrs Roberts said the national Classification Review Board had ruled that the game Manhunt could not be legally sold, hired, advertised or exhibited anywhere in Australia.

The Minister said it was the responsibility of Western Australian retailers to remove all games from the shelves immediately.

"This decision is a big win for the Australian community," she said.

"There is no need for a game which is so disturbingly violent to be available.

"As a mother of teenage children, I was appalled at the sickening level of violence contained in the game and that its rating made it accessible to many young people."

Mrs Roberts wrote to Attorney General Philip Ruddock last month raising concerns about the classification of the computer game.

The Minister asked for the MA15+ classification to be reviewed immediately.

"I urge anybody who has a copy of this game to dispose of this game at once, rather than face any penalties," she said.

"Anybody found in possession faces a fine of up to $10,000."

 

 

Importing MANHUNT into Australia

The games conundrum
crn.com.au, February 23, 2005

'The internet has made it easier for people to order these things inadvertently or on purpose,' says an Australian Customs Service spokesman. 'There's a reasonable degree of people assuming that what they can buy on the net is legal to import'.

Computer games were but a 'very small fraction' of the media being seized by Customs, he says. 'It tends to be DVDs - standard movies and soft porn.' Commercial quantities were not tending to be imported either, he added.

'The bulk of what we see is personal importation of one or two items, either mailed or in luggage.' When an OFLC Review Board refused classification to Rockstar's Manhunt game late last year, it released a guideline for retailers advising them that the game and all related advertising had to be withdrawn immediately. It also stipulated that the ban also applied to online stores.

 

 

Review Board's Maureen Shelly on MANHUNT

Classification Board & Classification Review Board
Annual Report 2004-2005
Classification Review Board
Controversies

The year’s controversies have centred on the computer game Manhunt (mainly in Western Australia), Anatomie de L’enfer (Anatomy of Hell) and 9 Songs (mainly in South Australia). Actual sex is depicted in Anatomie de L’enfer (Anatomy of Hell) (fleetingly) and in 9 Songs (more extensively).

The computer game Manhunt was referred to the Classification Review Board for review by the Attorney-General following a request from the Western Australian Censorship Minister. Computer games present particular challenges to the Classification Review Board due to the extensive nature of play. Some games can provide more than 100 hours of game play. Given that membership of the Classification Review Board is part-time and its members are residents in Tasmania, South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales (and previously have been based in Western Australia and Queensland), the logistics of ensuring that the Classification Review Board considers all the relevant material in computer games are challenging.

Requests from the Attorney-General for review of computer game classification decisions present specific challenges as the Attorney-General is not the original applicant. The Classification Review Board relies on the cooperation of industry in demonstrating the titles for review and any contentious material contained therein. However, the Classification Review Board must satisfy itself that it has considered all relevant material before reaching a decision, which means that it must be confident that it has viewed all contentious material.

In the case of Manhunt, individual members of the Classification Review Board spent up to 20 hours playing the game to reach the ‘levels’ where more graphic and prolonged depictions of violence were contained.

The Western Australian Censorship Minister expressed concern regarding the classification of computer games containing violence generally and Manhunt in particular. In providing additional expertise in regard to computer games, the appointment to the Classification Review Board of expert gamer Mr Anthony Hetrih (aka Game Guru) is particularly welcomed.

Maureen Shelly
Convenor

 

 

MANHUNT: Complaints to the OFLC

Classification Board & Classification Review Board
Annual Report 2004-2005
Classification Review Board Complaints

While 15 complaints were received about the Classification Review Board’s RC decision for the computer game Manhunt, nine letters in support of the decision were received.

 

Classification Board & Classification Review Board
Annual Report 2005-2006
Classification Review Board Complaints

...two complaints were received about the Classification Review Board’s RC decision for the computer game Manhunt although it was classified during the previous reporting period.

 

 

2011: MANHUNT via Steam

In January 2011, GameSpot AU found that they could purchase and download a copy of MANHUNT from Steam. Following the story, the game was soon removed from sale to Australian residents.

 

Steam stops Manhunt sales Down Under
au.gamespot.com, January 7, 2011

Overnight, Steam has updated its Australian store offerings and has now removed Manhunt from sale, with the game no longer appearing on searches. Those who bought the game during its brief window of availability are also out of luck, with refunds now being sent out to purchasers.

 

 

Steam sent this refund notice to their customers.

Dear Steam Customer,

Your recent purchase of Manhunt from the Steam Store has been refunded and the game removed from your account. In your country, the game was briefly offered for sale. This has since been corrected.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. If you have any questions please create a support ticket at https://support.steampowered.com/.

Sincerely,

Steam Support

 

Manhunt - Rockstar Games [us] PS2


 

 

 

 

 

Manhunt 2

Developed by Rockstar London / 2007 / MobyGames

This game has never had problems with the Australian censors. It is included because it was a controversial title.

 

The sequel to MANHUNT was never submitted for rating in Australia. Any distributor would have no doubt predicted that it would have had problems with the Classification Board.

 

This YouTube clip demonstrate that it would have definitely had censorship problems.

 

Manhunt 2 All Original Uncut PS2 Executions
YouTube, October 16, 2011
All 100 original, uncensored executions.

 

 

The Classification Board and MANHUNT 2

Manhunt 2 was never submitted for classification in Australia
rockstarwatch.net, January 8, 2008

Australian Government
Attorney-General's Department
Classification, Legal Services and Native Title Division

25256
07/9007

Dear Mr ------

I refer to your enquiry of 13 December 2007 regarding the computer game Manhunt 2.

The Classification Board classifies films (including videos and DVDs), computer games and certain publications using the tools of the National Classification Scheme, a cooperative scheme involving the Australian Government and State and Territory Governments.

When making decisions, the Board applies criteria in the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995, the National Classification Code and the classification guidelines. Australian Government and State and Territory Government Ministers with censorship responsibilities agree to the Code and the classification guidelines. The Guidelines for the Classification of Films and Computer Games are available at www.classification.gov.au.

I can confirm that the computer game Manhunt 2 has not been submitted to the Board for classification. It is not possible to speculate on what the Board will classify this game once it is submitted for classification.

You may wish to contact Rockstar Games directly regarding the likely release date of this game in Australia.

I hope this information assists you.

Yours sincerely

Kathryn Reidy
Manager, Education and Communications
Classification Operations Branch
21 December 2007

 

 

MANHUNT 2 in the South Australian Parliament

In July 2008, South Australian Independent Ann Bressington spoke about MANHUNT 2 during a speech against an R18+ for games. Her claim that it has been banned in Australia was not true as has never been submitted for rating. In Addition, the film WOLF CREEK is not a game.

South Australia
LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
Wednesday 22 July 2008
CLASSIFICATION (PUBLICATIONS, FILMS AND COMPUTER GAMES) (CLASSIFICATION PROCESS) AMENDMENT BILL

Adjourned debate on second reading.

(Continued from 3 July 2008. Page 2820.

The Hon. A. BRESSINGTON (17:15): I am talking about games with names such as Manhunt and Wolf Creek, and I will go into further detail on these later. However I make the point now that central to my position on this matter is this: just because modern technology can produce games such as this, does it mean that we should accept them? For example, Manhunt 2 is a controversial game that has been banned in several countries, including Australia, for being too violent.

In this game, players perform remarkably realistic executions, via the new technology of the Wii remote, which is basically a form of virtual reality. The game is highly immersive; for example, in order to stab someone in the game, the player must flick the Wii remote forward in much the same way as one would when actually stabbing with a knife. In its review, one magazine wrote:

It is even more terrifying for seeming like the most real thing in a game this year.

In January this year, the game's manufacturer, Rockstar Games, announced that it would not be submitting it to the Office of Film and Literature Classification. Could it be that if we did have an R-rated-plus classification this violent, highly realistic game could have been made available for sale in South Australian stores? While we have been spared games such as this, what about the controversial games that currently are permitted in this country?

Research shows that playing extremely violent games changes people's attitudes and behaviours as well as displaying a link between such games and those convicted of violent and dangerous crimes. The most famous example is in the United States where Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the infamous boys who in 1999 shot dead 13 fellow students and wounded 21 at Columbine High School before turning their guns on themselves, were found to be avid players of the infamous realistic first person shooting game called Doom—the initial 'mass murder simulator' that paved the way for even more gruesome and realistic follow-ups like Manhunt. While planning for the massacre, Harris allegedly said that the killing would be 'like f-ing Doom' and that his shotgun was 'straight out of' the game.

Of course, not every player of a game such as this is going to murder someone in real life, but research indicates at least that caution is warranted, with indications that playing changes violent game players' behaviours and attitudes. This all spells trouble to a troubled or angry young person. Furthermore, neurobiological research may indicate that such game-playing over the longer term may alter brain structure and lead to the establishment of maladaptive neural pathways and behaviour patterns.

Columbine was not an isolated incident. Critics point to numerous cases of such games. For example, in the UK in February 2004, 17 year old Warren Leblanc lured a 14 year old boy into a park and murdered him by stabbing him repeatedly with a knife and a claw hammer. The police investigation that followed revealed that Leblanc was reportedly obsessed with the original game Manhunt.

As stated, games with high levels of strategy, rendering, imagination and realism are all available under the current classification rules. If the R rating is introduced, the only thing that will change is that games such as Manhunt 2, which go past being extremely violent to just downright sick, will be added to the mix. Do we really want that? I, personally, do not think so.

A problem that has been raised is that, if someone wants a game and they cannot buy it, they will download it, thereby encouraging video game piracy. I note that, in September 2007, an uncensored version of Manhunt 2 was leaked onto the internet by an employee of Sony who was later fired. Piracy is an issue that the music and movie industries in particular continue to find difficult to address. However, such acts, whilst difficult to prosecute, will remain criminal activity, with those found guilty facing the consequences.

 

Manhunt 2 - Rockstar Games [au] PS2


 

 

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