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The worst thing about censorship is ███████ - 012 - Various games

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!
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About OpiumHerzone of us since 3:54 AM on 04.10.2013

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.

Censorship Blogs so far:
001: The System (Part 1)
002: The System (Part 2)
003: The stupid publishers
004: How Germans get uncensored games
005: Bioshock Infinite
006: Call Of Duty
007: Grand Theft Auto
008: Dead Space
009: Manhunt
010: Sniper Elite V2 (again)
011: Fallout
012: Various Games #1
013: Nazis
014: Mortal Kombat 9 on Steam
015: Contra
016: Halo
017: Saints Row
018: All the other stuff
019: Command & Conquer
020: The Lanzarote Convention
021: Various Games #2
022: Half-Life
023: The Legend Of Zelda
024: Various Games #3
025: Various Games #4

026: What system would you prefer
027: South Park - The Stick Of Truth
028: South Park - The Stick Of Truth (Part 2)
029: Various Games #5
030: Wolfenstein
031: Resident Evil (main series)
032: Resident Evil (spin offs)
033: Various Games #6
034: Turning Point: Fall Of Liberty
035: Blacks and women
036: Pokemon
037: Left 4 Dead
038: Left 4 Dead 2

039: 2015 Predictions
040: Dying Light
041: Coca-Cola
042: Pillars of Eternity
043: The Order: 1886
044: Mortal Kombat X

Stuff I also wrote and you should read:

~ Punish the individuals - not the scene they move in
~ My consoles don't fight each other - what's your excuse?
~ But what about the men?
~ Fake gamer girls and the damage they do
~ The Raid On Castle DToid
~ My little guide to german music (NVGR)
~ You should buy Goat Simulator - no, seriously...
~ Gravelord Nito, I love you more than Vanilla Coke
~ Let's clear up the console wars, shall we?

... und Pan spielt die Fl�te.