German gov't considers jail time for gamers

Proposed legislation targets pixelated mayhem and virtual violence; legislators consider acts of cruelty against "human-looking characters" as reason enough to fine, imprison.

Games in Germany already face strict censorship laws--titles such as Gears of War are deemed to be too violent, and the German board of classification (the Unterhaltungssoftware Selbskontrolle) refuses to give them a rating, effectively meaning that the games can be sold only at adults-only retailers.

Nazi symbols are also banned in the country, except for art and educational purposes--so games which use them, including the Wolfenstein series, are also banned from being released in Germany. Even games such as Dead Rising are regarded as crossing a threshold of acceptability since violence towards zombies is considered to be too close to violence towards real people.

Legislation currently being drafted would take these standards a step further. The bill, which was introduced last week by the states of Bavaria and Lower Saxony, proposes a new offence. Those found guilty of "cruel violence on humans or human-looking characters" could face fines or jail time of up to 12 months--and those it applies to include developers, retailers, and consumers, reports UK newspaper The Guardian.

The proposed legislation comes on the heels of a shooting on November 20 where an 18-year-old student went on a shooting rampage and wounded six people in his school before killing himself. Backers of the bill also point to the 2002 Erfurt massacre where another German student shot 13 people, according to the paper. Both incidents have been blamed in the media on violent games, and much has been written about the two shooters' fascination with games such as Half-Life: Counter-Strike.

The proposed legislation makes the future for German game companies unclear. One company, Far Cry and Crysis developer Crytek, has already made known its plans to relocate to another country should any legislation of this kind be made law.

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959 comments
jordoz92
jordoz92

NO WAY!!!!!!!11oneone It's Nazi zombies for reals!!!!! ima grab ma trench gun and go to Orbitz BRB!!!!

dudewolf89
dudewolf89

Oh noes!! Jack Thompson brainwashed Germany. Our next mission is to go to Germany and eliminate the brainwashed and the boss will be Jack. Now that would be a great game.

dragonrul55
dragonrul55

So , say they pass this, they'll have a hell of a hard time enforcing it.

Icetray86
Icetray86

Man, if they put me in jail for playing games.............I don't even want to think about what I would do.

Alex_09
Alex_09

I dont care about violence censorship because australia is a little over the top with that stuff too, but I am pretty pissed about swastikas and the like being banned. I can understand Germany trying to prevent history from repeating itself but that doesnt mean they should block out history, and I doubt the next holocaust would start in a country where there are laws preventing the military from leaving its homeland. Every country committed attrocities at one time. EDIT: Also, do you guys know what the situation was when Battlefield 1942 was released, because I remember seeing swastikas in that, but that game is based entirely on historical battles.

bjmage16
bjmage16

Germany apparently hasn't learned much in 60+ years.

Wolfie600
Wolfie600

Unterhaltungssoftware Selbskontrolle .... that shoud be banned !! look at the name and i know some german gosh

Lycen
Lycen

wow..... just wow

cbathe
cbathe

I like that Fragmaster 3K said "come on germany, you are better than that." clever sunovagun.

Fragmaster3000
Fragmaster3000

and I thought the US went crazy... come on Germany, you're better than that.

ivar27
ivar27

MIllions of people play or have played counterstike. Millions. One guy goes mad and it's the game?? According to this locig, there should be killings in every school every day with all these millions of kids running around all f*cked up by counterstrike.

sharier
sharier

Okay so they presume that violent video game using human like figures prompt violence. I wonder if Hitler used to play video games or the likes-- or did Genghis Khan learn to be a killer after killing a lot in a game first. Such conclusions are too bizarre to support. I killed a lot in video games, enjoyed deaths of human villains in the movies. That did not transform me into a violent person.

Sycerica
Sycerica

This is like how America is paying African Americans whose ancestors were our slaves as an apology. Germany is trying to apologize for being the source of thousands being tortured and slaughtered by punishing the thoughts of torturing and slaughtering. its a bullet-proof plan because everybody wins except for....well anyone who doesnt plan on killing a handful of people.

Misterybox
Misterybox

Yeah men its a pitty but its true. I live in Germany and I was very lucky to get GoW before they took it out of the market. And I bought Condemned from a England. And I dont know what to do to get Dead Rising. Damn German laws......

ynoteel
ynoteel

lol if this is true i should be locked up for the next 53,594 years what a load of bull and i go along with what some of you said COME ON GERMANY BRING IT ON AND ARREST ME

Char_Zeon
Char_Zeon

when someone "kills in the name of god" why don't we ban the bible?

rokkuman09
rokkuman09

Oh my gosh it's really quite frustrating that the German press was talking about Half Life and Counter Strike! They are video games! Really, the people are screwed up and violent before hand they just happen to play video games that have violence in them too. Quit blaming video games, what your doing is saying it's not their fault they did this horrible act of violence on people! Your taking blame off of the murderers and saying oh it's because they play a video game, that's why! Also Half Life yes is violent, but it also has a very deep story and the main character is fighting for a good cause. I went back and played Half Life 1 just for the story after playing Half Life 2. Because the game has such a good science fiction story, and the gameplay is great too! But anyway video games aren't the cause of someones actions, they have a free will. The people willingly decided to go to the school, bring a gun, and shoot a bunch of people. It's not like the video game has brainwashed them and they had no control over what they were doing! They knew exactly what they were doing, quit taking the blame off of murderers.

Ausguy
Ausguy

Kudos to Germany for growing a pair and taking a solid stance against this kind of junk.

jamesnorman
jamesnorman

using violent games as an escuse for killing in real life is just bullsh*t, ive been playing games like this for over 18 years and never once thought about actually doin it. The people who do are just phsycos who use games as an excuse.

venetianblinds
venetianblinds

The German government is smart to ban videogames because Germans never killed anyone until Pong was released...

Impostorzim
Impostorzim

Yeah...I don't plan on going to Germany now. Thats silly if you're going to fine or even imprison game developers for their games. I think killing zombies is alot better than stealing cars and running over pedestrians. This reminds me of my friend whose mom is German. Its been several years and she still won't let him play GTA3. Doesn't stop him really.

JBF89
JBF89

Getting rid of violent games will not change the fact that there will still be nut-jobs running around wanting to kill people. The fact they also like violent games doesn't mean that the games caused them to kill, it could easily be the fact they were naturally violent and therefore played violent games as well. Stupid thing really, as in some cases the violent games could be an outlet for anger and therefore stop them taking it out in other ways.

death5ter
death5ter

no such FREEDOM.... yeah, i hate being a German....

Sireph
Sireph

Germany's doing something similar with final fantasy vii because some kids stabed someone while under the aliases of some characters in the game. I read this on ign. So, can we say that germany has officially gone bananas? FF 7 is the most unfilthy games ever, and its not even rated m. I definitely agree with "kerensky 287", too. By their logic, if you think about it, they could ban the bible because it's caused a bunch of people to kill and bomb each other - because, make no mistake about it, far more people have snapped because of positive things like religion than games. some people are just crazy, and I cant believe people still arent getting this, games dont make them that way!

htekemerald
htekemerald

Censor Ship! thats how you run a free society. I mean societies where they ban free speech, China, Russia, ect are far better off then we are.

ReaperXxxx
ReaperXxxx

So symbols of a fascist period in German history are banned, but this modern fascist legislation may become modern fascist law. Riiiight. The Jack Thompson fan club must be based in Germany because he's the only other source I've ever come across that is capable of such ignorance.

Israels_Son
Israels_Son

Cruel acts against "human looking characters" are never okay. Expecially not in, say, a continental conquest setting. Lead the way, Germany!

kerensky287
kerensky287

ktc0ut, I entirely agree. Also... they were talking about the shooters' fascination with CS? That just means that the guys were gun-nuts. They used CS as an outlet for their gun-nuttiness, but they eventually wanted something more violent. That's my opinion, at least.

funkchild75
funkchild75

Mother of Pearl... Well, that effectively scratches Germany off the list of places I want to visit in my lifetime.

darklurker1
darklurker1

This sucks for Germany. O well, 1st Amendment FTW!!

ktc0ut
ktc0ut

germany is trying to combat fascism by being fascist.

HyperMetaDragon
HyperMetaDragon

Wow...I feel sorry for gamers in Germany...but not for Jack Thompson. That's probably his haven. :)

FearNinja
FearNinja

Video games are just a scapgoat for politicians. Its too bad people cannot control themselves, alot people are always getting high, drunk or just doing something stupid. The morals of our society have been falling since the beginning of time. Why? Because people cannot control themselves

Sir_Crocidile
Sir_Crocidile

Wow, this is scary. Remind anyone else of Nazi Germany and the book burning?

nickyBbbB
nickyBbbB

im gonna stand on the border of germany with my psp and play gta call some cops over and hop the border into good old poland

Theclow
Theclow

Play a game go to jail...I don't understand why this law is even considered.

TobiNat0R
TobiNat0R

The german law sets us german gamers on the same level like child violaters. What a shame, but hey german politicians also burn people who maintain the world is a ball!

dan10ch
dan10ch

Thats just unbeleivable .....

sharpshooter188
sharpshooter188

damn. really glad i dont live in germany. maybe jack thompson should move there?

UnrealPro
UnrealPro

Looks like the Nazis still rule Germany well. I bet they will revive the Gestapo and use them to be modern day peeping Toms to see who's doing the killing on the TV screen. I'm never going to travel to Germany, if only to slaughter zombies in Dead Rising with a chainsaw to piss them off. What a stupid country.

spidey008
spidey008

Germany has stupid regulations on video games. If the US ever gets this way, I'm leaving the country.

Kirin_696
Kirin_696

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

angus73
angus73

this aint gonna be passed

smurfa1
smurfa1

Keltek: You're way of the truth. You are deffinitely not fined if you hurt a tree, that was the most stupid thing I've ever hear, and I've hear a lot. Secondly, I'm quite scared of people that feels blessed to be this and that. I accept if you believe in God, but I do it when 1+1=5. You're not a better human just because you're an American, German or from Sweden which is my home country. Yes, we have a lot of regulations, but they are different from country to country. m0thr4: Actually, it isn't a fragile economy, it is a quite strong economy, currenty the strongest. And for US it is better if the USD is weaker than GBP and EUR because they import more than they export, that means lower prices. The one that loses money is the country that exports to the US.

kkuanloung
kkuanloung

omfg... human logic at its tops... do they wanna include jail time for kids who commit acts of cruelty towards dolls as well?

m0thr4
m0thr4

Okay, time for a little sanity here; I have just been speaking to a friend of mine in Germany. The German government is not considering jail time for gamers at all. This is a bill that has been proposed by a particular right-wing Bavarian politician who's out to make a name for himself... kind of a German version of the US attorney, Jack Thompson. EVen considering German censorship laws, this bill is very unlikely to become law, (it's practically unenforcable anyway and certainly breaches the European Convention on Human Rights) so I'm pretty sure all German gamers can relax.