Just as a side note, I realised recently I was yet again, getting frustrated with the Australian Office of Film and Literature Classification. This happens on an annual basis, usually as a result of the OFLC overreacting about censorship for some reason or another. My frustration is a sickness of sorts, but I just realised I have the medicine.
This is Manhunt. It was released uncensored at the end of 2003 with a minimum of fuss and I purchased it the week it was released. Now, it's not a brilliant game. It's very good but not great. It's atmosphere is the key thing. Playing as a convict, you make your way through slum after slum in Carcer City, being hunted by gang members sent by a sadistic snuff film director who taunts you as you try to survive a single night of terror. The tension is palpable in the game. Hugging the corners of buildings, you try your best to be as quiet as a mouse while staying in the shadows, lest the hunters track you down and brutally attack you. It's kill or be killed in Carcer City and most of the time, the sweat develops on your brow quicker than you can say "Oh shit, run!"
The OLFC released it uncensored in Australia in 2003. For ten months, everything was fine. But then a 17 year old kid killed a 14 year old kid in the UK. And the victim's mother blamed Manhunt, saying her son's attacker was 'obsessed' with the game. Eventually, the case was thrown out of court when it was discovered the attacker didn't own a copy of the game, but in fact the victim was the owner. And no evidence was found to put the blame on Manhunt's door.
The point is, the OLFC reacted in the worst way possible to this media story. In September 2004, it decided to pull the game from Australian shelves and ban it. Instead of standing by their initial decision in 2003, the office bowed to media pressure (which was unfounded) and changed their minds.
I'm not defending this game when it comes to children. Manhunt features wave after wave of death. When I'm skulking around in the game, stabbing gang members in the eyes with glass shards or garotting their heads off, I'm thinking two things:
- Fuck yeah! Suck it, motherfucker! Who's your daddy now, punk?
- Jeez, that was a bit much. I could actually see that guy's brain. Probably best for kids to stay away from this one.
So when I fire up my now rare copy of this pretty good but not great game, I imagine every hunter I come across works for the OLFC. And whether it be shotgun, baseball bat or plastic bag, it all works fine.
Then I feel relaxed again.