The first part of the controversial adult game “Darkness“, is already available in Swiss stores. The sequel is planned for release in early 2012.
“On a dark street, hands holding pistols appear. A police car comes into view along with a policeman in uniform. Shots are fired. The official breaks into pieces, covered in blood.“ According to 20 Minuten, these are images from the violent game Darkness II, which is planned for release in early 2012.
The Swiss Christian Police Association (CPV) recently announced: “Politicians, game producers and sellers have been advised that such games be immediately removed from circulation.“
Felix Ceccato, president of the CPV, explains: “When police in England are the target of mobs running amok, it is important that police are not portrayed as the enemy.“ His call was backed up by Thomas Richter from the Swiss Institute for the prevention of Crime: “A group of people must not be put in the firing line.“
But Gamerights, a Swiss consumer association for adult computer and video gamers, said a ban would be excessive:
“Unfortunately it is not new that certain scenes in video games are taken out of context and deliberately portrayed as the total goal of the game“, said Thomas Riediker, co-founder of the association.
“Those against deliberately try to misinform, robbing games of their complexity and depth, portraying the most shocking and offensive view. Unfortunately that seems to be only partially effective“, he said.
Gamers in online forums imagine that: “certain organisations who are for a total ban on video games are only out to take the most drastic content from games to gain the most politically for themselves.“
According to players, games such as Darkness II don’t mean anything apart from: “switching off, tactical strategy, fun with friends“.
“To develop media competence in the general population and avoid horror stories, we are soon to launch two big projects, which will quickly inform non-gamers in a critical and honest way about games and their content“, Riediker explained.
Banning the game is not going to have much of an effect, gamers say, especially as the game will be available for purchase in other countries.
The reaction of the police association means little to ’Darkness’ importer Shawn Gutknecht: “Retailers make clear that the game is not for children and youths under 18-years old.”
In most international comparisons, Switzerland is seen as a safe country, with a low murder rate. The most common crimes are against traffic and drug laws, and theft. Powerful, informal social control in communities reinforces this low crime rate.
This social control is reflected in a high level of respect for the police. A children’s rhyme called “Eins zwei – Polizei“ begins: “One two – police, three four – officer, five six – old witch, seven eight – good night, nine ten – goodbye.“