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BloodSpell Development Updates

The following post contains opinions that some readers may find disturbing

BloodSpell Development Updates

The following post contains opinions that some readers may find disturbing

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So, we've been banned.

RANT WARNING I've got to say, before I start on this rant, that the opinions expressed in this blog post are my own, and do not necessarily reflect those of Strange Company, other cast and crew members, or machinimaguruhughhancock. Having said that, I'm pretty much blogging the zeitgeist here. END RANT WARNING

We got invited to talk about machinima (and, more importantly, to show BloodSpell) at the GC in Leipzig. Hugh was planning to go over to Germany to represent the SC massive. He was quite excited about it, actually.

Unfortunately, the knee-jerk right-wing German press seem to have taken it upon themselves to launch another "violent games breed violent children" crusade recently. This has got the GC-powers-that-be ridiculously nervous. They asked us not to show BloodSpell, or to at least censor it heavily. Our contacts at the GC were as unhappy about this as we were, but their hands were tied, and so they were forced to give us an ultimatum - if we wanted to show BloodSpell, we had to cut all the violent or naughty bits. The decision as to what was acceptable was arbitrary, and in the hands of an unseen body of self-appointed legislators and Guardians of our Moral Future.

We talked about it, at quite some length, but eventually we decided that we couldn't countenance the idea. We've never had to compromise on BloodSpell so far. That's why we love doing it the way we do. We wrote the film ourselves, made it ourselves, and released it ourselves. We stand by it, and we don't apologise for it. On a purely personal note, I'm pretty damn proud to have been involved with BloodSpell. There are bits I don't like, and bits that could be improved, but it's a hell of an achievement nonetheless. I tell my friends about it. I've shown it to my mother. She didn't like it, but she's quite entitled not to. She didn't tell me to change it, or not to show it to other people.

Censorship like this annoys me. I'm not preaching anarchy here, or crusading for the removal of all censorship everywhere. I'm not saying that kids should be allowed to watch hardcore porn, or that I shouldn't be informed of the content of a film or novel before I see it or read it. What I object to is the artificial imposition of censorship by a third-party. In effect, a filter is being put in place saying what you can and can't watch. If you don't want your kids to watch BloodSpell, it's up to you to see that they don't get access to it. There are a lot of other things on the internet for which that's true, and it's your responsibility to monitor your child's access to those as well. But the decision should be firmly in the hands of the end-user (or the end-user's parent/guardian). If I watch some of the crap softcore porn on the UK's Channel 5 of an evening (erm ... I'm told. Apparently.), the nice announcer will warn me that the programme I'm about to view contains adult scenes and may not be suitable for all viewers. I can then choose whether I watch it. Channel 5 don't stop broadcasting after 9pm to stop me seeing boobies.

I know this is all pretty obvious stuff, but unless we (all of us) protest loudly whenever this happens, our silence is taken as an acceptance. This in turn is taken as ratification of the flimsy half-logic that creates a perceived need for this censorship in the first place. If playing GTA is all it takes for your child to go out and murder prostitutes, then there are far, far bigger problems that you probably need to address.

And breathe.

Sorry. I'm done now. Apologies to anybody who was looking forward to seeing us in Leipzig. If you can get over to Edinburgh, I personally promise you a private screening (with or without cast and crew commentary) in my front room. I'll even buy the beer.
  • violence in games in germany

    Germany has different set of moral standards than the US or the UK. For example prostitution is legal. It's also perfectly acceptable to show tits with nipples in tv. Swearing is only very rarely censored, and only in the afternoon tv program. While display of sex usually isn't offending, violence is.

    Germany has strict laws, forbidding war games. It is illegal to play paintball games in the woods o open country, even for commercial companies. It has to take place in specific special designated areas and buildings.
    Computer games containing gore are often banned. Meaning advertisemment and sale to minors is illegal. To circumvent this, most bloody and violent games are censored. Blood is removed, or people turn into robots and blood into oil.

    I think the organizers went over the top with this. Though I can understand the pressure they have to endure to help them keep a clean image.
    • Re: violence in games in germany

      edit: The games are censored by the publishers to avoid a ban (Indizierung).
      • Re: violence in games in germany

        I was aware of that, although it hadn't really occured to me in this instance. Like you say, whether you accept the basic idea of imposed censorship or not, they do seem to be going totally over the top here.

        Does anybody know how easy it is to import (uncensored) foreign titles to Germany? I would have thought the presence of the Great Interweb would make such ridiculous censorship basically void, unless they're going to heavily monitor foreign imports as well.
        • Re: violence in games in germany

          There are no restrictions on imported games.

          I am also not sure if I was clear enough on the legality of brutality in games. The games showing lot's of gore are not illegal. They may not be displayed, sold to minors or advertised. But you can get them "under the counter" if you ask for them. This is done in order to protect the youth. The game companies don't want to miss sales and remove some or all of the blood from the games.
          It's not as strict as it used to be. Some titles are just sold to adults, but are displayed in stores. I don't know the details of this though.

          Of course in the case of blood spell, this is ridiculous. It does not promote violence or aggressiveness. There is also no gore present. The GC staff is too afraid and practices cowardly self-censorship.
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