I got a rare opportunity today. I got to attended a discussion with a member of the BBFC (British Board Of Film Classification) about classification and the guidelines that are followed to achieve the final classification.
After a lengthy talk, she then invited the audience to ask her any questions regarding the BBFC. Feeling clever, I put my hand up and asked "Why did you ban Manhunt 2?". There were a few laughs but I was genuinely interested. She took the microphone with a look that clearly said "Oh God not again".
The answer she gave was interesting, and I hope it'll answer a lot of questions for those who are care. Personally I have no intention of playing Manhunt (I thought the first one was dire) but I don't think it's right it was banned.
She said Manhunt 2 was banned because it showed violence and gore ,to an excess. We all knew that, but what's really interesting is that after Rockstar appealed they allowed it to have an 18 rating. Whats even more interesting, is that this was in the spring on this year and Rockstar have yet to release it. They've chosen to focus on "other projects" this woman said.
Luckily, I went to this seminar with mind readers and the next question was, "How come Hostel was allowed to be published but not Manhunt 2?". She replied with "At the BBFC, we analyse games and films using the same guidelines but treat games differently". This sparked a few "Huh's?", and one guy went "That's a contradiction".
So she tried to explain that some children are "Psychologically affected" by video games so their stricter with them than movies. She said it was easier to define a movie's genre than a games and therefore they are often stricter with them. This is of course severely confusing, because theres a blatant difference between Hello Kitty Island Adventure and Grand Theft Auto.
It was an interesting morning and It was certainly insightful. Especially when she claimed the BBFC played the games they rate while PEGI doesn't....