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Culture

Violent Video Games Under Coalition Fire

It's a given that plenty of people will find source for complaint in the new government's plans for the coming four years. Computer games enthusiasts could be among those doing the moaning.

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Simulated killings are causing a bit of a stir

The coalition has grand plans for the future of Germany's youngsters, who they say should grow up in a society without violence. That naturally means looking at ways of reducing child neglect and abuse, but the government wants to take its vision of harmony several steps further and has proposed the abolition of games which simulate brutal killings.

Games like "Counterstrike" have in been on the hit list of titles to be removed from gaming shop shelves ever since a pupil at a school in the German town of Erfurt ran amok, shooting 16 people before turning his weapon on himself.

It's a long, slow burning issue. As with films, computer and video games are already certificated based on the age group to which they are suited, but that is not enough for the new lawmakers.

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Kid's stuff?

Andreas Scheuer, a member of parliament for the conservative Christian Social Union, who is in charge of youth protection, told the online version of Der Spiegel magazine that violent killing games "have no place in Germany's bedrooms."

He said that parents should take responsibility for the games their children play, but that the government should do its bit to help less media-competent adults by introducing a "complete ban."

I n dustry oppositio n

But with access to pretty much any software little more than a mouse-click away, it is hard to imagine exactly how such a ban should, or could be enforced. And nobody is talking about that just now.

Understandably, the industry is opposed to the abolition of some of its best-sellers.

Olaf Wolters, manager of the German interactive entertainment software association told Spiegel that they wanted to work in close connection with the incoming government, adding that there was some unfortunate vocabulary in the coalition pact.

"As far as we are concerned, there are no such things as killer games, but adult games," he said.

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