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OpiumHerz avatar 9:50 AM on 07.30.2013  (server time)
The worst thing about censorship is ███████ - 016 - Halo

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: Halo

Or to be more specific: about why Halo never had much trouble of getting released here. Even when ego shooters per se are being made responsible for school shootings here (I'll get to that later, but Counter-Strike had a really rough time here), Halo never had any problems. That is because it fulfills all of the things the USK likes. I already laid out a bit that there are some ingredients to a game that the ratings boards here don't like, like uncritisized vigilantism. Now let's take a look at why Halo got through uncensored without a hassle, even being rated 16 mostly (only Halo 3, ODST and Reach are rated 18 - Halo Wars was even rated 12). There are four points which I would make mostly responsible for this, aside from maybe a big bag with a $ on it, but I digress...

The Story
You may like it or not, but Halo actually has a pretty prevalent story. The game is pretty much story driven and the battles you fight aren't just mindless slaughterings. Actually having a story, one that is more in the foreground and goes beyond a really shallow reason for "There are these people - kill 'em!" is always appreciated, most likely because it shows the dev didn't just want you to go and kill. The things you do have a meaning in the frame of the story.

The Gameplay
While Halo is pretty much a shooter in it's purest form, there is still a difference between shooter and shooter. You are not forced to kill innocents, I don't even think you ever have the option (I actually haven't played all of the Halos myself as I am not too much of a fan). The way the gameplay is presented, it has always context. Like I said before, it's not just mindless slaughterings. But you are also not encouraged to just do cruel things. Your fight has a purpose and it's presented that way. Master Chief is never a cynic who just spouts out tough guy one liners. A good example are one of the first enemies. For those who don't know: there are small aliens that start to flee in panic, when you shoot their leader. If the game would force you to kill them all, the USK would surely not have liked it. This is the kind of things that rub them the wrong way - and Halo doesn't have them.

The Look
Basically Halo shootouts look like NERF gun fights with glow lights strapped to the projectiles. And the also sound a lot like it. See, it distances itself from reality as far as possible. As I mentioned before, we Germans are mostly not to keen on being reminded of war. It's somewhat a pet peevee. And while you fight wars in Halo, they look so unreal and so Sci-Fi, that no one could possibly draw a connection to reality from Halo.

The Gore
One could pretty much say that Halo simply has none. The USK has started to be a bit softer on this, but how brutal a game actually is, is still a thing around here, especially in connection with the rest. And even the violence that exists is never glorified in any way. It's not put at the center of attention. It's a bit of blood here and there.

Those pretty are, I would dare to say, the four pillars why Halo came through uncensored without a hitch. I didn't have close up chainsaw gore like Gears of War or had excessive acts of violence like God of War. Stuff like this pleases the USK. Of course this isn't supposed to mean that every game should be like this. We need more rougher games like Spec Ops: The Line or more games that are simply just violent trips like Manhunt. I just wish I would not have to worry if those games will make it through our ratings board or not.


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