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 started this blog in 2013 and consider this series to be now in Season 2. Fuck yeah! After getting frontpage-famous I'll continue to take stuff from my colleagues at Schnittberichte and recycle that stuff for your enjoyment.
This episode is about: Left 4 Dead
Left 4 Dead was one of those games that didn't have it easy in Germany. Being literally a bloody good time it was announced early the game would arrive censored in Germany. For some strange reason the X-Box 360 Version and the PC version were censored differently, even though they were both rated with the same rating (18+ - yes, even in the censored version). The game got indexed on the so called B List, means the board that indexed the game saw a juristical relevance here and stated the game would glorify violence, making it a candidate to get confiscated.
The first and most obvious censorship hit the cover. The ripped of thumb was a bit too much and so the thumb was added back. The same censorship hit the japanese version by the way.
Japan also has another censored version of the cover where the wound is covered by a white splash.
Now on to the game the intro sequence was the first thing getting hit. Of course the iconic hand is censored here too.
That aside, the intro got treated pretty good. There were only four parts censored: the corpse of a Boomer got removed, a Zombie is allowed to keep it's head and two blood splatters were cut out/lessened.
The X360 version is a different beast. The hand got censored here too, but overall the censorship was far more drastic here. Walls were scrubbed clean, blood got completely removed (for example by coloring it black so it falls together with the surrounding shadows) or colored green. Welcome back to the 90s.
Now the game got censored differently too. In the PC version the Zombies still do bleed like normal. For the X360 version the blood got colored green and was slightly reduced. In both versions corpses disappear pretty fast instead of staying on the ground.
When you shoot a survivor in the PC version it also still bleeds, but the wound on the character model is missing.
When you shoot a survivor in the X360 version the wound is missing too, but the blood was also colored black. Shooting a decoration corpse on the X360 version was also changed so it only yields black splatters. Also generally blood splatters that are there for decoration on walls etc. were colored black too.
What was completely removed was blood splattering on walls. When you shoot an enemy close to a wall a blood decal will show. This was completely removed in the german X360 version, but is still there in the german PC version.
Also completely removed were of course the splatter effects. If you hoped to see flying limbs in any german version you were naive. Every kind of limb removal or head splattering was taken out completely. Blood splattering on the camera, which happens when you kill an enemy close by, was removed too.
Just like with the players the Special Infected don't show any blood on their bodies when you hit them. Also the Hunter got cleaned up too. Usually it is covered in blood after it attacked a survivor. In both german versions he remains "clean" after an attack.
Fire effects were also hit by the censorship bus. When enemies are set ablaze they waddle around a bit and die (except the Special Infected of course, which can keep attacking even when burning). In the german versions the enemies just don't catch fire. They take damage like normal and even move like they are burning. It looks like they're having a stroke before they die.
And last but not least any ragdoll effects are gone in both versions too.
Overall the german versions got butchered pretty hard. Right next to it's sequel Left 4 Dead is one of the most censored games in recent times and it's somewhat surprising Valve went the extra mile here. Usually companies these days decide to just not release the game instead. The question which way is better is up to debate. This level of censorship was unacceptable to me however. I want blood and gore in my Zombie settings, it just belongs together for me and I can't imagine "clean" Zombies. It's just part of the fun.
Salida and until next time