As Rockstar’s appeal to have Manhunt 2 unbanned in the UK gets going, the BBFC has admitted that no evidence of a connection between videogames and real-world violence exists. It has, however, maintained that such a connection has not been outright disproven — it’s just that no proof has been found yet.
“The board’s position is that there is insufficient evidence to prove, as a fact, there is a causal connection between violent games and behavioural harm,” declared a BBFC spokesman. “It’s a perfectly fair point, and one which we accept, but it’s not by any means a complete answer to the question the [Video Appeals Committee] has to decide.”
The BBFC also addressed arguments that games should be held to the same standards as movies. The board disagreed with these arguments, stating that in movies, you identify more with the victims than the killers, contrasting games that put a weapon in your hand and “reward” you for killing “in the bloodiest way possible.” I do, however, question such statements when movies like the brilliant but disturbing Ichi The Killer exist, a movie about Japanese gangs in which the main characters are sadists, rapists and murderers and there is very little regard for victims of any kind.
As the appeal continues, I can only hope that Manhunt 2 sees a release in the UK — not because I want to play it, but because I don’t want a worrying new precedent to remain set.