German Blogger, writing the series "The worst thing about censorship is ███████ " (go check it out!) since I like to write about that topic and am invested in it a whole lot. Also writes some other stuff sometimes. Likes to listen to very strange bands and has the ultimate goal in life to taste every soft drink there is at least once.
Pure Gonzo - and while I thank god for Jim Sterling sometimes, I thank god for Hunter S. Thompson every day.
I'm a bastard. Don't trust me. Always keep asking, don let yourself get fed bullshit - not even by me.
I like good games. Yes, that's quite general, but I don't really like confining myself to certain genres. I like interesting approaches, invention and creativity. But I can enjoy a straight-up shooter as much as a "Bastion". It just has to be done well and appeal to me on some level.
Want to know anything else? Just leave a comment under a blog or write a message. Same goes for corrections (please), as English isn't my native language and thus isn't nearly perfect.
Salida dear readers,
my name is Jim aka "OpiumHerz" and as some of you may already guess by that nickname: I am german. With the blog series "The worst thing about censorship is ███████ " I want to simply give you a little insight in videogame censorhsip, which is still pretty much alive and kicking here in Germany (but I won't restrict myself to Germany exklusively). I'll try to post entries at least all two weeks or so. Feel free to comment for suggestions, corrections or critique.
This episode is about: Fallout
When it comes to censorship, Fallout is quite a complicated affair. Or at least: it became one. In the beginning, not so much. Fallout 1 was censored in the whole of Europe and was missing just one asset: children. The tactic-RPG had children as NPCs in some towns. The dark game it is, you were able to actually shoot the little critters right in the face and kill them. This was at no point necessary and if you would do this, the whole town would hunt you for it. You would even get a negative, permanent Karma note for it. So killing a kid would cost you the whole town (since every citizen would turn aggressive towards you the second you would enter it) and had no single positive aspects. Yet, with the children being removed in the EU version, you couldn't kill them anymore. So the Karma entry and the killcount would never appear.
Fallout 2 got hit by the scissors far more. First of all: children and the Karma entry/killcount were removed again. Then, and this goes for EVERY type of NPC you could kill, the death animations were reduced to one. The enemies in the german version would simply drop dead, literally, and bleed a bit. The uncensored version however had far more different animations. If you killed an enemy with a rocket launcher, they would be blown to bits. If you used a flamethrower, they would burn to death. The list goes on. No in the german version, however. Also the death screams were removed completly.
At least there was one upside: the german version was far smaller compared to the uncensored version. Not worth the price, but hey, at least SOMETHING, right?
Then there was Fallout Tactics which got your typical german censorship treatment. Again the death animations were censored, but this time "really" censored and not just recuded to one. If there was blood or flying bodyparts, they weren't there in the german version anymore. Decorative corpses, barrels with bodyparts or blood was removed too. Basically: the gore was gone (but who gives a flying fart about Fallout Tactics). So was the gore control in the options. While the uncensored version had four controls in the options menu (Game Difficulty - Message flow - Language filter - Violence level) which all looked like control dials, the german version just had three and one completly blank patch of metal with no control knob on it. The uncensored version had four levels of gore, by the way.
- Maximum Blood
And then Fallout 3 came on stage and let me tell you: shit got real with this one. I assume I don't have to tell you that this was the first fully 3D Fallout game and all of it's glorious violence was still there. Well... it was everywhere besides Germany.
So let me quickly list what was removed, all right? Because this will go much faster that way: blood splatters on walls/ground, blood splatters when you hit an enemy, blood on corpses when you shoot at them, limb removal from biologic enemies, explosions/"limb removal" from mechanic enemies, "Bloody Mess" perk text changed (I'll go into detail with that in a second) and all the bonus gore it brought removed, retouched a mutilated corpse when you return to Vault 101, Gibson has his head still on his shoulds and when you enter the slave trader camp, the explosive collar from the slave trying to flee won't make his head go "pop". Great, right?
About the "Bloody Mess" perk: the perk itself was still there. The original flavour text was as follows:
With the bloody mess perk, characters and creatures you kill will often explode into a red, gut-ridden, eyeball-strewn paste.
Fun! Oh, and you'll do 5% extra damage with all weapons.
The german text on the other hand:
With the bloody mess perk, you'll do 5% extra damage with all weapons.
However, censorship with this one goes far beyond that.
First of all, the game got a general little treatment. You can find several kinds of drugs in the game which, originally, had names of real life drugs. However, Australia is really nitpicky when it comes to stuff like this. Just like the brits are nitpicky with nun-chucks or butterfly knives. So the names were changed and this version was then used worldwide.
For a long time, there was no clear statement if the austrian version would be uncensored too. Or, no, that's not correct. There were clear statements - many of them, contradicting each other. The planned version for India got canned all together. There the game was supposed to be available on X-Box only, but then Microsoft canceled the release completly. No clear statement was given on the reasons. It might be due to censorship, it might be due to the difficult situation in India with videogames. Japan got a censored version too. Yeah, that's right - one of THE production countries when it comes to our favorite pasttime has to fight with censorship. In the japanese version one NPC was removed, which made a quest available in that you could blow a city (called Megaton) with a nuke. Some names were changed, like for the mini-nuke thrower called Fat Man, as was dialogue which explained that mutants were the product of the nukes (like Ghouls, for example). Overall the changes were made due to the history of the country and, as far as I know it, no violence censorship did happen.
But it couldn't end there now, could it? The uncensored version got indexed in Germany, too. Now please remember this, because I will go back to this in a few minutes.
Fallout New Vegas was similiar in it's censorhsip to it's predecessor. There were no blood splatters on the wall or the ground, you couldn't shoot of limbs and basically all the hardcore gore and death animations (you could turn enemies into ashes with some weapons, for example) were removed. But only for TWO types of enemies: humans and everything was human-like and Nightstalkers, an enemy type that resembles a dog. The "Bloody Mess"-perk was in the same way censored as before, but also just for human enemies.
Now this was interesting from the beginning. The gore for monsters and robots was still intact. And when all the DLC was out, along came the mandatory GOTY edition. This is where it gets interesting. The GOTY was released in Germany too - with an "100% uncut" label on it. And indeed, uncut it was. Except for the PS3 version. That one was still censored, but only in a minor bit: in the intro someone gets a bloody headshot and the PS3 version was missing the blood. It's most likely that this is due to a bug or a mistake, because it makes absolutely no sense.
Now see this: thee gory, gory Fallout 3 got indexed in it's uncut version. The as gory Fallout New Vegas gets through the USK without a scratch a few years later. It can be assumed that FNV was just censored because of this in the first place. I mean, imagine this: you release a game that is heavily censored and gets the highest rating, while the uncensored version gets indexed. Two years later you release a game that is as brutal - what would you do? Damn right, you wold censor it.
However, there was little something that was changed with Fallout 3 in general: children were unkillable. You could meet and shoot at them, but the bullets would go right through them and they wouldn't react. I found this, actually, very sad. This change made me realize for the first time that the violence in Fallout, in general, is actually important for it's atmosphere. It's a post apocalyptic world where people just try to survive somehow and at any second, some asshole can come along and kill your future - so to say. It made me realize that in Fallout the violence is actually part of the setting and the atmosphere, rather than just be there for being there.
Besides I would have loved to just show these little shits in Little Lamplight who is boss...