As games are now as lucrative as the film industry and with the increasingly frequent and popular, if not necessarily high quality, console movie tie-ins, surely they deserve to be treated equally by the BBFC. Obviously there are the interactive differences; at a movie screening you’re just dropped in front of the screen, taking in a non-linear experience, compared with the hands-on nature of video games, but if a crazed viewer saw Hostel, intrigued so much by the torture porn they thought they’d try it out for real, is that not worse than safely relieving aggression through a bunch of computer generated images?
When Manhunt 2 was recently banned by the BBFC, citing the hands-on nature of the violence as a the key critique of Rockstar’s most violent title yet. The BBFC claimed some gamers would not be able to deal with the gore and level of self involvement but surely the onus should be on retailers to ensure the game does not get into the wrong hands. When making a trip to the cinema, some young teens do often be able get into older rated films, but in general staff will stop a 13-year from seeing the latest slasher movie. Step into your nearest lax games store, or even buy online, and anyone from any age can seemingly be playing something grossly unsuitable in a matter of days. Rockstar got a rapping when a mother claimed her son’s stabber was influenced and spurred on by playing the 18-rated Manhunt 1; the offender was under 18. That said, there is of course no excuse for any violent behaviour from any human but let’s not punish the video game playing public because of the few socially irresponsible retailers, and turn the attention instead to helping out those out there struggling to control their emotions.