Saturday, December 04, 2004

They don't have the First Amendment...South Korea bans Ghost Recon 2

Obviously they don't have the First Amendment in South Korea. On the other hand our capital isn't in quite the same precarious position as Seoul.

That nation's capital, Seoul, has an estimated 11,000 artillery pieces aimed at it by its northern neighbor, whose Stalinist dictator, Kim Jong Il, has said he could turn the city into a "sea of fire" any time he wanted.

Article here: South Korea bans Ghost Recon 2 - Xbox News at GameSpot

GR2 is a stealth/shooter game, in this episode the "ghost" commandos are running missions into North Korea. It isn't unusual for regulatory bodies in European countries, for instance, to ask game publishers to make small changes in violent games before releasing them there.

Here's a quote from this Wired article from July, '04: Still, the notion that games should be restricted is accepted elsewhere. New Zealand, Brazil, Germany and several other nations have outlawed some games. In Britain, the makers of the Resident Evil series were made to change the color of blood from red to green, while the creators of Carmageddon had to make the people you run over in your car look more like zombies than average pedestrians.

Gotta love that First Amendment people, you think free speech works the same all over the developed world? It doesn't, not even close. Britain is censoring games...that's sad. You may think the content in some of the games out there is despicable, but at least you have the choice not to play those games.

UPDATE: here's a new game that will surely get that "despicable" label from some people - Dealer: Chronic, Pills & Coke.


Blogger Dram Man said...

Odd to see something right up my alley as I check your site for the first time.

I have been living and working in South Korea for some time now (hopefully I will be paroled soon). Currently I work as a consultant for an IP firm here (and therefore checking out as many online resources as possible).

Contrary to your assertion, this has probably has little to do with “Free Speech” per se.

On the score it does, South Korea over the past four or five years (Since the inter-Korean summit in 2000) has taken a decidedly non-antagonistic tone towards the north. Mainly this is termed the “Sunshine” policy that people in the US may vaguely recall. In a related anecdote some may recall, there were massive protests by “peace” groups in South Korea to ban the last James Bond film due to its North Korean setting/theme.

However all of this is just a cover story I fear. The trade development authorities have been rather irked lately by the importation of technology from overseas. This can be explicitly seen in the grumbling of the royalties paid to Qualcomm for Korea’s CDMA network. Other evidence is rather apparent when you get here, such as insisting using a rather clunky word program since it is domestically developed.

Add to this huge consumption of video games in Korea. Internet cafes here thrive not on simple Internet access, but giving people a vehicle to play the latest games online. Popular titles are the ubiquitous Starcraft, FIFA, Half-life, and yes Rainbow Six/Ghost Recon. Predictably a local developed first person shooter has been developed called Special Force. It bears a striking resemblance to Ghost Recon.

In short in my mind, this is a NTB not a “Free Speech” or “Diplomatic” issue.

Another final observation in support, one of the first versions of Ghost Recon (then called Rainbow Six) included a simulation of North Korean terrorists taking over a Seoul subway station. The station was rendered exact; they did some very good research. It was a very very popular module in the game.

12/06/2004 12:14 AM  
Blogger CRC said...

Hello there, I'm glad to hear the point of view of people living overseas. Thanks for the interesting comment!

12/06/2004 8:40 AM  

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