With 2002’s argument over graphic violence in “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City,” it seemed that nothing could top the gratuitous brutality of one of the year’s leading video games.
However, last November its creator, Rockstar Games released a more fierce and gruesome game named “Manhunt.”
In “Manhunt,” the player takes on the role of James Earl Cash, a death row inmate.
Instead of being executed, he is kidnapped and thrown into a freakish world of psychopathic gangs.
Cash’s kidnapper, only known as the Director, has put a bounty on Cash’s head, turning the situation into a lethal game of hide and seek.
To make matters worse, the entire macabre city is wired with video cameras and other equipment that allow the Director full access to Cash’s every movement.
The Director taunts players through Cash’s earpiece, fulfilling his voyeuristic enjoyment of the hunt.
Even though the Director offers helpful survival directions, they become traps for his sick, twisted pleasure.
As the player roams through the game, it becomes evident that the game is nothing more than a snuff film, namely, a gruesome home video of a murder.
Although the game does have some puzzles that the player must solve before advancing to the next area, the main objective of “Manhunt” is to kill enemies Cash encounters.
In my opinion, this is where the game becomes excessively sadistic.
Once the player sneaks up on an enemy, he or she may target it with whatever weapon is handy.
When the player approaches a victim, Cash’s hand raises and an arrow appears on the screen.
The arrow alternates between three different colors (white, yellow and red) the longer Cash stalks a victim.
Each color offers a different, more vicious kill option.
The violence is so explicit that the New Zealand government has banned “Manhunt” from retailers’ shelves, calling it “injurious to the public good” and unsuitable “for players of any age,” an article from the Associated Press on the Game Marketwatch Web site reported.
The New Zealand Office of Film and Literature Classification ruled that “Manhunt” was too gruesome, the article said, and its themes of horror and cruelty were too much for the general public.
The question posed now is: Have video games gone too far?
Should there be some sort of regulation on the content of video games?
And who can decide what content is overly violent for a person over the age of 18?
Gamers claim that video game violence does not have any effect on them.
But how violent does a game have to be to test the limits?