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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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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.