News Analysis | Manhunt Banned

By James Temperton 29.07.2004 1


Manhunt Banned
Dixons Group remove game from store shelves...


Image for News Analysis | Manhunt BannedIf any of you have caught the national news today (BBC, ITV, Sky etc.) you may have noticed a rather interesting breaking news story. Electronic store Dixons has announced that it is removing videogame Manhunt from its stores.

This announcement follows the murder of 14-year-old Stefan Pakeerah (pictured), by his older friend Warren Leblanc, 17.

The title is already banned in New Zealand and is now being removed from every store in the Dixons group up and down the country. The reason stems from the murder of Stefan Pakeerah, whom often played the videogame Manhunt with his older friend. His murder has been blamed on his friend's obsession with the violent title Manhunt.

For those of you not familiar with the title, you go about brutally killing people in a variety of ways as you work your way through the game. The murderer, Warren Leblanc, carried out the act in a style similar to the brutal killings that can be carried out in Manhunt, using a hammer and knife as his weapons.

The mother of the victim has blamed the videogame on her sons death, stating that it caused an obsession in the murderer and is almost totally to blame for the murder. This story has been lapped up by the mass media, and quite frankly it is rubbish.

Whilst the murder is horrible and hugely saddening, you cannot blame it on the gaming industry, it is misplaced and irresponsible. It is something that is a long running stigma in gaming, just look at games like GTA and Hitman.

The notion that you can blame a videogame on the actions of a person to murder someone is ludicrous. At the end of the day it is the persons own free will that leads to such an action, not the events that appear in any violent game.

Manhunt is clearly stated as an 18 rated game and thus should only be bought by people of that age or over. There is nothing more gaming can do to ensure that it doesn't get into the hands of the wrong age of people. Just like in films classification in gaming technically ends at 18, and Manhunt is well within its rights to be out on release and available to those of the right age.

The tabloids and the TV news has been plastered by headlines such as 'Murder by PlayStation' and 'Gaming Murder'. The fact remains that people should be able to tell the difference between what is game, and what is real. The same goes for films, books and TV.

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The mother of Stefan's mother, Giselle commented: "I can't believe that this sort of material is allowed in a society w
here anarchy is not that far removed.

"It should not be available and it should not be available to young people.". A spokesman for the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers' Association said: "We sympathise enormously with the family and parents of Stefan Pakeerah.

"However, we reject any suggestion or association between the tragic events and the sale of the video game Manhunt.

"The game in question is classified 18 by the British Board of Film Classification and therefore should not be in the possession of a juvenile.

"Simply being in someone's possession does not and should not lead to the conclusion that a game is responsible for these tragic events."

But what do you think? We would very much like to here your views on this matter, so please let us know by posting in a special forum topic here

Games do not murder, people do.


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