Manhunt 2: Ban a Game, Boost its Appeal

Dennis Faas's picture

Although I'm neither a teenage girl nor a mother, if there's one thing TV and movies have taught me, it's that by denying that "bad boy" boyfriend, she'll only want him more. If you really think about it, that concept could easily be applied to Manhunt 2, the latest and already most infamous in Rockstar's line of shock 'em and rock 'em video games.

Last week, Manhunt 2 was outright banned in the United Kingdom. As the ratings board there denied even setting a suggested age for the title, it effectively made it illegal for retailers to sell. Although Americans are far more accepting of good 'ol gore, Nintendo and Sony have demanded that Rockstar change some of its content before the game is finally released on their Wii and PlayStation 2 consoles.

So, what will be the ultimate result? Well, of course gamers are simply going to want to play Manhunt 2, and the original version of the game, more. Manhunt 2 places players in the position of a hunted character who must kill violently in order to survive. The first Manhunt led players to slaughter their enemies with anything from glass shards to steel hooks.

A blind ban

Quite nasty, huh? Well, it's also a game. Seth Schiesel of the New York Times is already defending Manhunt 2, finding that "American raters, somewhat surprisingly, don't play the games. Instead they base their decisions on a videotape compilation, a kind of highlight reel, of the bloodiest or raciest scenes." (Source:

Other journalists are defending games like Manhunt with statistics. Barbara Meltz of the Boston Globe has found that, in the decade or so since somewhat realistic and violent games have hit the market, juvenile crime rates have gone down. (Source:

Call it ridiculous, but is it possible, perhaps like midnight basketball, that violent video games are keeping kids inside and out of trouble? The effect on their waistlines aside, it might just be a twisted and bittersweet "cut" of reality.

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