was effectively banned in the US last week when the ESRB assigned the dreaded 'AO' (Adult Only) rating to the game. The 'AO' designation means most retailers (ranging from Wal-Mart to Gamestop) will not carry the title, while Nintendo and Sony will not allow versions of the game to be released for its consoles.
Because of this, Take-Two has pulled plans to ship Manhunt 2
next month. The assumption is they will tame the game down a bit and re-release it with an 'M'-rating this holiday season. This was, perhaps, a brilliant way to delay a game while building hype around it, virtually guaranteeing more copies of the violent and gruesome game being sold.
Seth Schiesel of The New York Times
has written a piece regarding this 'AO' rating
, and notes that Manhunt 2
, which Schiesel has played, is much tamer than the horror flicks that are currently making millions at the box office.
Read more "Manhunt 2" more tame than "R"-rated films
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Like many Americans, I am neither drawn nor understanding of the attraction to such films as "Saw" or "Hostel". And, like many Americans, I understand that those who attend these films have nothing wrong with them. They, like us, know movies are not real, and will not go out and emulate what they have seen onscreen just because they found it to be entertaining.
It is because of this relationship we have with movies, that I am still so shocked of the fear so many have of videogames. Why is it assumed that gamers have more trouble separating games from reality than movie-goers have separating movies from reality? Why is it assumed that video games are more engrossing than movies? Why do people still think videogames are for kids?
Until those of us who grew up gaming begin to take over the world, we're going to continue to see an unfair standard put upon the gaming industry. This means companies like Take-Two will continue to take advantage of this unfair standard to increase the hype (and sales) of unimpressive but violent games like Manhunt 2