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 censorship, which is still pretty much alive and kicking here in Germany (but I won't restrict myself to Germany exclusively).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: various games
So instead of doing one large blog about one game or franchise, I'll do a few games that would not give a long enough text for a whole blog otherwise.
The first thing I want to address is Terranigma
. This game was somewhat connected to Soul Blazer
and Illusion of Gaia
. If you don't know this game, well, no surprise here - this gem never got released in the USA. Basically your character resurrects the world as we know it, including plants, animals and humans. In the end you technically become god and that was something you couldn't have in the US of A. I don't think I have to explain this by large, but religion is still a very touchy topic there. So you couldn't release a game where you became a god. It's a real pity, because an english version existed of this. It was released in Europe and Australia. It was, all in all, a rather mature game and a great play at that. People already wished for it being released on the Wii virtual console, without any luck so far. Strangely enough, neither Soul Blazer
nor Illusion of Gaia
had problems with being released, although they both handle religious topics too.
This is actually something that happened many times
in the (J)RPG sector back in the day. Games would often have churches or priests for healing and saving, usually with a cross or something like that. Those symbols were usually changed and all religious references were removed. This even hit the Duck Tales
NES game. Some day the prototype of this was leaked to the internet and it showed that coffins were changed. In the final version they had "RIP" standing on them, while there were crosses on them in the prototype. This shows pretty good how sensitive of a topic this was once.
Another obscure thing is Max Payne 1
. When it was released the youth protection laws were still different, so a rated game could still be indexed. This is what happened to Max Payne
, which was released uncensored over here. This version was rated 18.
Here comes the interesting thing: there was censored version in the making. It was revealed in interviews and screenshots that for example the molotovs would be exchanged with gas bombs that only knock enemies out, but don't kill them. So there were no burning, screaming enemies that were twitching in pain. Sadly I couldn't find any screenshot of this anymore, but I still have it in an old magazine.
Funny enough, a somewhat altered censored version did arrive with the mobile port of the game. If you switch the language to german a good bit of the cutscenes are censored. Mostly it's simply removed blood, some scenes were altered or removed and one chapter was renamed (Chapter One went from "The baseball bat" to "We all make mistakes"). The violence ingame was untouched, however, and the was uncensored in the mobile versions when you switched to another language.
Max Payne 3
was censored too over here. Basically you weren't able to shoot civilians or in one script-scene an unarmed cop, also there was no ragdoll or holes in the bodies of corpses, if you shot at them. All of the other violence was still there, the game was rated 18.
An edited newspaper from a Max Payne 1 cutscene
Then there is DOOM
, the mother of all shooters. This game was of course problematic here in Germany. First of all, there is a change worldwide, that came with patch 1.4
. A platform you could lower looked exactly like a Swastika and it's form was changed with version 1.4.
Nintendo also wanted a piece of the action for the SNES, but also wanted to keep it's family friendly image. So they removed all the blood and splatter for the SNES release. Enemies would not bleed and simply drop dead to the floor, even if you hit them with the rocket launcher.
And then there was GBA port for it. Of course the Swastika room was changed. Enemies did bleed now, but only green - no red blood. Enemies couldn't explode and splatter, but kept their normal dying animation. Corpses would disappear after a short time, however, and some mangled corpses that were just lying around were changed with green puddles of blood. Some other mangled corpses were kept, but also had green blood. Go figure.
The original DOOM was, by the way, indexed until September 2011! So we germans were not able to buy it via XBLN for example and didn't have it as bonuses, where it was usually added.
Another obscure tidbit? Gears of Wars 3
was released uncensored, to the surprise of every german gamer. After all Gears 1
and Gears 2
were indexed. And yet they removed three little splatters of blood in the german trailer for Gears of War 3
. Again: go figure.
Oh, and you remember Far Cry
? That shooter from 2004? Well, the uncensored version got indexed, while the censored version was rated 18. There were only TWO differences and this shows how ridiculous this whole indexing shit can get. The first thing were the ragdoll effects on corpses. But ONLY when you used guns or rifles. Throw a grenade or use a rocket launcher and the corpse would still be flying around. Besides that the other thing that was removed was that enemies would bleed out in the water, leaving a bloody trace behind. Those were the only two changed in the german version of Far Cry
- and it was enough to get the game indexed.
Oh and you know what? The german version was indexed too! Why? Well, because if you installed the game in english, you got the uncensored version. They didn't tell the USK that while getting the game checkend and just got the censored one checked, however.
Let that be enough for today. I'm sure I can do episodes like this more often, there is a huge amount of stuff like this. Until then, I say to all of you: salida!