Korea lifts game censorship

Ghost Recon 2 and Splinter Cell Chaos Theory to get Korean release as bans on titles are lifted.

Game censorship is something of a hot topic right now, with many countries seeking stronger control over the content of games. At the top end of the scale, this includes Germany, which is currently debating drastic measures, among them fines and imprisonment for those who commit "cruel violence on humans or human-looking characters."

In Europe, horror game Rule of Rose caused a furore when the mayor of Rome called for the game to be banned, stating that "this game must not enter Italian homes." 505 Games pulled the European release in response to the controversy.

Likewise, in the US, activist lawyer Jack Thompson protested against Rockstar Games' Bully, calling for it to be banned. However, Miami Judge Ronald Friedman approved the game, and the title was released as planned.

In South Korea, things seem to be moving in the opposite direction. Games which depict military and political actions against North Korea have previously been deemed to be too touchy with the current political situation between the two Koreas, and such titles have therefore not been released in South Korea. These include Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon 2, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Chaos Theory, and Mercenaries.

However, The Game Rating Board of Korea has announced that it will lift the ban and those games will be available in 2007. According to a report in The Korea Times, Kim Key-man, the head of the Rating Board, said that this will come after "careful review of their contents." The reasoning behind the decision was said to be "to allow freedom of expression."

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Discussion

206 comments
ImBananas
ImBananas

Some of you seem to have let your sanity at the door instead of the attitude. It's because of the fact that they depict war between North and South Korea, that's why Ghost Recon, Splinter Cell, and Mercenaries were banned. Germany bans some war games because it shames them of their past. Think of their logic before calling them idiots.

xtreme_chief
xtreme_chief

That is stupid if any on of those slack heads that banned Chaos Theory in the first place are looking at this message I want then to know that banning those games was quite stupid because there was no offending content in the game that was that bad anyway. Well we Australian gamers are also lucky that we don't live under such strict rules which don't make any sense.

Ashley_CWL
Ashley_CWL

this is rubbish if u ask me Splinter Cell games are one of the best games going at it is not bully

singsorrow
singsorrow

Another reason that America and Canada should join forces. Instead of the United States: The Federation of Free Expression through Video Games. (^Loooooooonnnnnnngggg title)

ajadoniz
ajadoniz

"Germany banning games for violence? LOL, What a joke. Probably compensating."................. lol i hear ya

lrsp
lrsp

Wow, America must be pretty easy going on game censorship compared to other countries. Further reason why so many people want to come here.

Caboose7293
Caboose7293

Germany banning games for violence? LOL, What a joke. Probably compensating.

okassar
okassar

Well aren't we American Gamers just lucky...

matrixman2k
matrixman2k

'human-looking' what a joke....odd lot...

taino1128
taino1128

i don't understand why the games are even being banned. they aren't even that bad of games

cjcr_alexandru
cjcr_alexandru

If Germany wants to ban some games that doesn't mean that the whole Europe wants to ban games, GANGSTA287. So don't generalize...

frostybubbler
frostybubbler

German lawmakers looking into fines and imprisonment for those who commit "cruel violence on humans or human-looking characters." Germany is going to be stuck with that stigma for a long time...

GANGSTA287
GANGSTA287

Well Korea is now alot more respectable than the greater part of Europe in my opinion...

Fixer38
Fixer38

Rockstar Games released Bully and it turned out to be a great game.I mean comon who doesnt want to bunch a high school chump in the face eh?

The_Weekend
The_Weekend

wow, what a bold move ... but it might not have much effect, i think the PC game industry will benefit from it though.

joeyxisxhot
joeyxisxhot

i've lived in korea for about 14 years, and i can tell you korean kids don't give a damn about lifting censorship on these games, no one around here probably even has an xbox 360 or ps3 or a wii, and a handful have ps2's. korean's prefer to stick to the pc bangs (computer rooms pretty much), costs about a dollar an hour and they prefer dod and all the cs mod games now

mjk_1
mjk_1

I'd love a game where I could kill Canadians, seeing as I am Canadian!

pfunkmusik
pfunkmusik

OK, bear this in mind, people. The ROKs and the DPRK have been at it since 1950 and a state of war still exists. A truce has never been formally made. So, with both countries still technically, if not actually, at war, these games were banned not for their violent content, but for their political value. They have border confrontations there on a daily basis, so violence in a video game wouldn't impress them in the least. CounterStrike is the game of choice over there in their LAN cafes. This was a political calculation, not a moral one.

halo2maniak
halo2maniak

Well atleast one contrie is starting to lift there bands. OH and to Okami195 there is no way to make North Korea look more bad than it is now. Jack Thompson is an idiot anyway there is nothing wrong with bully.

okami195
okami195

People seem to be missing the point of this post.. The games weren't banned in Korea due to excessive violence (there are definitely much worse games out there than the aformentioned Tom Clancy titles) - they were banned because both put the player in a position that acts out against North Korea (making the country look worse than it already does) and, thus, they could cause more controversy than needed to an already tense situation between the two countries. I doubt this causes much impact either way as far as military or political issues are concerned, however, and is probably a relief for the kids over on that side of the globe more than anything else.

hellraiser6669
hellraiser6669

Now if only other countries could get on the ball and stop banning and censoring games, movies, and music. I guess I can dream of a perfect world.

bluegoose2021
bluegoose2021

lifting censorship hasnt been bad before, which means this is good for south koreans

ABIGTREE
ABIGTREE

SK has a very tight control on its news media (It is still very much democratic). So it needs to be careful on what gets released to the public since it could easily be blamed for any adverse affects news or video games have on people. Im sure North Koreans will be offended and further angered at South Korea for allowing the video games. I think this is great that the censorship has been lifted. South Koreans should be able to enjoy these games.

2x4b96123
2x4b96123

yeh, while in the US there are all those church groups and anxious mom's who don't buy their kids violent videogames anyway who are clamouring for the US govt to "Protect" them from violent games by making it illegal to sell them in the first place. Oh, and why don't they ban violent movies while they'r at it. Here's a good one, and it will do a lot more good than the previous two, put a ban on violent warfare. I'm sure many more minds and lives will be saved by THAT one. Maybe those church groups and anxious mothers should look at it from this pespective, would they rather their kids play games which get them to think and realise that there are consequences for their actions? or would they like their kids to watch those TV shows which feature action heroes commiting acts of horrendous violence for which they suffer no consequences whatsoever because they'r the "bad guys". But then it's not interactive so that's perfectly fine isn't it?

styx56
styx56

well this is good news for all of us.

ryokinshin6x3
ryokinshin6x3

a step in the rite direction, but no need to get ahead of ourselves

Sagacious_Tien
Sagacious_Tien

Good one South Korea. These games, not one of them, is excessively violent, and they are all quality titles as well. Now... about North Korea....

Lebowits
Lebowits

Good move these violent games *Ghost Recon and Splinter Cell* are not really one to be worried about the violence in these games is not the most grusome there is no gore. Yet they were not banning these games due to violence is was mainly due to there country being involved in the games stories.

disfalling
disfalling

nobody buys those games? nobody bought legend of zelda & mario? nobody bought tetris or lumines? nobody bought madden or tony hawk? hmm. i must not be paying much attention. really though, gta and just a few others today really sell well. i mean violent games based in this society, in which there is no fantasy element, just real-life. don't get me wrong, i love gta, but where it succeeded (it's Open-endedness, story), it also failed (shooting, action). and newer games will implement this much better (oblivion). also, gears of war, halo, dead rising, metal gear solid, to name a few violent video games, are all fantasy! who the hell watches lord of the rings or land of the dead and feels the need to go kill someone? well, the same is to be said for these games. i understand the anger against gta though. i would type more, but i'm about to steal an ambulance, run over the drivers, and blow up some cop cars. :)

KirbyLink
KirbyLink

I think games should be more like movies, in the sense that certain games may be very controversial, and yet people can still watch them if they choose to ignore the warnings, and see for themselves.

oboewan9999
oboewan9999

ObiKKa-"Lol, are you joking? There are not just violent games (most even aren't explicitly violent coz they're rated M or MA, not higher), but also plenty of non-violent games. The reason many violent games have violence itself is because it presents fast-paced challenges to the players in real time. It's all about challenges in games, e.g. shooting at enemies & avoiding their bullets - that's a challenge/obstacle to your progress in the game. Their is a diverse range of games that don't need violence to provide challenge, including the puzzle games, traditional adventure games, Nintendo games. You are unbelievably so narrow-minded, & only look at some of the best-selling games like Gears of War to create the big picture of video games by yourself? *Sighs*" But nobody buys those games.

69PS3cool69
69PS3cool69

no more banned games. let us decide whether or not a game is right for us and if decide wrong then too bad for us

Lyten
Lyten

To Cobra5 While I see what you are saying, if you remember how EA depict russian in the red alert series, they were always comical or evil. It is completely one sided view point, even if you played as the soviets in the red alert series. Also in the Command and Conquer generals and it's expansion, EA makes GLA funny or diablolical. Although you do get to play as the evil faction, they are protrayed in negative fashion, so you can't look at them legitimately, because the evil characters are silly. If you really think about it, the evil side comes out completely sterotyically cliche rather than grey, and does not let the audience choose the view points of the protagonist. I believe that is why those games aren't banned from USA. However if we get Command and Conquor that glorify the GLA, I bet you it would get banned, especially after nine eleven. In the subject of WW2 games, world wars are historical events that actually happened, so i don't think those game will ever get banned from any countries.

SpookyX
SpookyX

"Very nice. Enjoy These U.S.A games baby." These aren't U.S.A Games.....baby.

ObiKKa
ObiKKa

Seiki_sands "Lifting the ban was obviously the right thing for a free society to do, but there is far too much violence in Video Games. Merely because society should be free to express violence doesn't mean it should constantly indulge in a blood fetish. Particularly in a country like the USA, where there are sooo many violent deaths each year as it is. It's a slap in the face to murder victims that the only way developers think they can make money in this country is to express as many forms of violence as a 4.7 GB disc will allow. You want anti-freedom nuts like Jack Thompson to go away, the answer is simple, expand beyond the confines of violent expression. Stop self-imposing regulations such as: if a title doesn't have x amount of bps (blood per second spilled) than it must be for children. Show them that you are not nuts yourselves and can have fun without a chainsaw." Lol, are you joking? There are not just violent games (most even aren't explicitly violent coz they're rated M or MA, not higher), but also plenty of non-violent games. The reason many violent games have violence itself is because it presents fast-paced challenges to the players in real time. It's all about challenges in games, e.g. shooting at enemies & avoiding their bullets - that's a challenge/obstacle to your progress in the game. Their is a diverse range of games that don't need violence to provide challenge, including the puzzle games, traditional adventure games, Nintendo games. You are unbelievably so narrow-minded, & only look at some of the best-selling games like Gears of War to create the big picture of video games by yourself? *Sighs*

ObiKKa
ObiKKa

62915me "Personally, I love Mercenaries, however SK is in a very bad political situation. I totally understand the censorship of games depecting violence torwards NK. SK and NK are technically at war with each other (the Korean War only had a cease-fire, a formal peace was never reached). The legalization of these games will only give Kim Jong Il somthing to whine about, and now that he has nukes, the results could be disastrous. I am serious about this. Kim Jong Il is not mentally stable, anyting could set him off on a rampage, and start WWIII." Kim Jong Il is so stupid. The 6-party negotations with him will never work. Last week or so, the news said that the countries were working so hard trying to negotiate some steps with Jong-Il, but it has ultimately failed. I don't konw what hope they have left. If anything, the CIA and/or some other agency in other countr(ies) should be paying NK/SK hitmen to assassinate Kim & anybody who dares wanna rule over NK, so that the whole Korea can be wholly consolidated as a democratic Korea. Perhaps, China will worry about that. But anyway, why don't they do the same thing with Fidel Castro & Cuba? He's very fragile & the Cuban public are already frustrated with the whole state in Cuba - deep poverty & all. Like ATI vs. Nvidia, Intel vs. AMD, the console manufacturers, competition brings improvements to things; same with democratically elected governments!

azizrulez
azizrulez

this is good news for gamers in korea cause they were missing out on some absolute gems

elozl
elozl

Good news for those guys over there, i hope they all keep good sales and also good use of theyr free will when choosing the game ratings by age...

your_evolution
your_evolution

If games are rated 18+ the you should be able but.....this is just stupid. You don't become violent from playing video games. I say, WTF.

Cantius
Cantius

Tae Gue Ki rules :).

62915me
62915me

Personally, I love Mercenaries, however SK is in a very bad political situation. I totally understand the censorship of games depecting violence torwards NK. SK and NK are technically at war with each other (the Korean War only had a cease-fire, a formal peace was never reached). The legalization of these games will only give Kim Jong Il somthing to whine about, and now that he has nukes, the results could be disastrous. I am serious about this. Kim Jong Il is not mentally stable, anyting could set him off on a rampage, and start WWIII.

oboewan9999
oboewan9999

I'm glad we live in the good old U.S. of A, where constitutional protections prevent complete and utter government censorship like this. OH WAIT....

Cobra5
Cobra5

Well, I can't see the future, but I'd say Korea is taking a step in the right direction. The goal shouldn't ever be to prevent material from reaching the market- It should be preventing material from reaching those for whom it wasn't intended. I don't live in Korea, so I can't really know what the political climate is like, but banning games which depict military action against your country seems unusual. WWII games are available in Europe, and games Like Red Alert 2, Command and Conquer Generals, and Freedom Fighters are available in the USA. I mean, Red Alert 2 even let you be the Russians and conquer America, while C&C:Generals lets you play as terrorists.

spencdiamonds
spencdiamonds

unless ur mentally unstable games with violence should be allowed to be made and the rating board should understand that.

Sacif
Sacif

I have always believed that a rating system is required just so little kids can not be exposed to violence at an early age. But hell, I played MK when I was like 8 or 9 and I turned out ok. Everything is based on environment, and channels that a kid has to get his aggrevation out. Kudos to you SK for realizing that trying to limit an individual is only making your country more unstable. I wish Mr. Thompson would get a clue and realize that the battle he should be fighting need to start with the parents, and educating them and making them be more proactive in thier child's life.