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Germany Poised To Ban All Violent Video Games

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Christopher Null, Yahoo News: Like gamers around the world, Germans love their shoot-'em-ups. Sure, video gaming isn't quite the industry in Germany that it is in the U.S. (or some other parts of Europe), but it's still an enormous market for the industry.

Counter strike

Those days are quite likely to come to a screeching halt in a matter of weeks, as Germany is well on its way to banning all "violent video games," defined (via translation) as games "where the main part is to realistically play the killing of people or other cruel or inhuman acts of violence against humans or manlike characters."

Hmmmm ... sounds like just about every game I play.

The move isn't just one politician banging a shoe on the podium in outrage. All 16 German states have already agreed on the move and are set on implementing it -- and soon. The only real hurdle remaining is pushing the law through German parliament, and that could happen before the end of the summer.

The law would have even broader consequences for game companies based in Germany (including Crysis creator Crytek), as the law would outlaw not just the sale of violent video games but the development of them in Germany, too. These companies would either be forced out of business or compelled to outsource development to other countries, unable to publish their own titles on their home turf.

Why all the panic over video games? The usual stuff, really: Their potential link to violence, particularly among youths. Earlier this year a German teenager killed more than a dozen people while dressed in black camouflage, purportedly copying moves learned in the terrorism-focused Counter-Strike. Such links are extremely controversial, but Germany has been at the forefront of lambasting violent games for years as causing these incidents.

So if the law becomes a reality, what then? Could this be a first step in a broad move to censor violence in all forms: TV shows, movies, books? No reporting of violence in German newspapers and on television news? National Internet filters to keep violent content (and web games) out of the minds of German citizens?

Lots for Germans to think about while they're playing Wii Bowling and Cake Mania.

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