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BBFC logoThe BBFC have been relatively tolerant of computer games. The 1995 BBFC Annual Report states: In reality, violent video games are less violent to play than to contemplate, since the focus is on beating the machine rather than another human figure.... and the violence is more symbolic than realistic, with nothing like the impact of video violence, where one identifies in a human way. Here the emotions are more like a game of ping pong than a bloody battle.


Blood II
PC Game by GT Interactive

Not cut by the BBFC but the UK release has been irritatingly censored. Every time a charcter swears it is irritatingly bleeped out totally spoiling the atmosphere of the game.

Apparently the distributors, GT Interactive asked the designers, Monolith USA, to remove or bleep out the harsh language. They chose to bleep it out.

I wonder what the reasoning was behind the whole sorry episode?

Carmageddon
PC game by Sales Curve Interactive

The BBFC took the view that a competition in which the player is rewarded for the hit-and-run killing of passive, indeed docile, human-like figures was morally reprehensible and likely to encourage callousness towards the suffering of others, The action replay facility in which the game stops while the camera moves slowly round the bloody victimes only underlines the cynicism. The game was therefore refused a certificate but the decision was overturned on appeal and the BBFC had to award it an 18 certificate.

The 18 certificate version of the game was toned down by substituting green blooded aliens for the humans but a software patch or 'Splat Pack' is now available via the internet to restore the the red blooded humans.

Harvester
PC role playing Game by Virgin Interactive Entertainment

Cut by the BBFC with the following justification.

The player has to confront a trio of demonic children, digitally modelled on a motion-capture sequence of real children pretending to bite and tear chunks of flesh from the inner thigh of their supposed mother.The positioning of the shot with the heads of children placed between the upraised legs of their mother had a sexualised quality which seemed obscene in the meaning of the Obscene Publications Act, and this shot was removed.

The Joy of Sex
CD-i educational software from Philips Interactive Media

Numerous cuts mostly to the close ups of sex organs.

Phantasmagoria 2
PC game from Sierra On-line

Cut by 68.5 Kbytes

  • Heavy cuts were made to a scene in which a dominatrix was chained to a beam, slit with a knife and electrocuted, leaving only a brief establishment shot as the killer enters the room. Gone are shots of the victims feet covered in blood and then convulsing as are the shots of her convulsing head.
  • Bob's murder scene loses shots of a man's hand being stapled with a staple gun. Also missing is the victim's mouth dripping blood as his chest is slashed.
Postal
Cut by the distributor prior to submission

Urban commando shoot-em-up with an endless stream of hostile threats. In America, the games had episodes of what the BBFC called crazed irresponsibility on the part of the gunman but these were cut for the UK. The theme coupled with sounds of people screaming and groaning earned it an 18.

Resident Evil
Playstation game from Virgin Interactive, 15 certificate

No cuts listed by the BBFC but I heard the following:

Epic re-telling of the classic haunted house story contained a particularly unpleasant intro showing its Japanese origins. The blend of severed limbs and graphic bloodletting proved too much for the film censors, various cuts were made before the imposition of a 15 age limit.

David W pointed out there was originally a  scene where a zombie was feasting on a human body and the head rolled into view, half eaten.. For whetever reason this did not seem to make the final release.

Sex and Drugs and Rock n Roll
Game from Sensible Software

Shelved due to the fear of BBFC cuts and the resulting cost of rescheduling and resubmitting.

The highly inventive and polished game, follows the rise to rock stardom of Nigel Staniforth-Smythe with his band Magic. Dealing with subject matter akin to the average rock star, as Nigel, with the aid of the player, takes part in the everyday routine of snorting coke, shaging groupies and last but not least singing. Featuring huge amounts of foul language and some rather smutty animations, the game was surely destined to become a classic. Yet having poured vast amounts of cash into the developemnt of the game, which featured 40 original tunes, six three minute pop promos, the distribution rights were put up for the highest bidder. Alas due to the current censorship climate, there were no takers.

Sexual Fantasy Disc 1
Interactive CD-ROM (Paul Raymond Publications)

According to the BBFC it has been cut by optical alteration.

What this actually means is that little black circles mask the rude bits in pictures that are printed in full in the Paul Raymond magazines. The still pictures are legal in high street magazines and yet you can't view them on PC. The BBFC clearly are censoring pictures without legal reason and that seems to be an abuse of the power afforded to them.

Sexual Fantasy Disc 2
Interactive CD-ROM (Paul Raymond Publications)

Cut by 39 Mbytes

Skin Two CD-ROM
CD_ROM from Skin Two, 18 certificate

A film clip and 2 photos were removed all showing images of women in bondage.

Soulblade
Game from Telstar Media, 15 certificate

No cuts listed by the BBFC but chainsticks have been removed anyway.

There is also a scene at the start where Sophitia puts her hands on her breasts to cover her self up from the water god. In the UK version she is wearing a swim suit.

Thrill Kill
Game self censored and shelved by Electronic Arts

From an article in STATION magazine by James Gale.

The release of Paradox's Thrill Kill began a new chapter in the journal of software censorship. The rights to this excessively violent multi-player beat-'em-up find the gore drenched palms of Resident Evil distributor, Virgin. No strangers to the controversy, and foreseeing possible hold ups by the censor, they wisely summitted a early build for assessment.

Bizarrely the manic blend of leather clad nurse, midgets, armless mental patients, S&M freaks, severed limbs and gallons of gore, where ignored. Obviously acknowledging the tongue in cheek nature of the action, the only cuts required to the game for it to receive an 18 rating where rather ironically audio and not visual. The screams of ecstasy delivered by the female lead when killing a foe, which were admittedly in poor taste. Their removal having absolutely no detrimental effect upon the gameplay, or the most importantly the enjoyment of the game itself.

Signed to make an appearance upon STATION's cover, an indication of our hopes for the game, the rights were abruptly acquired by Electronic Arts, and after viewing the title, Thrill Kill was instantly dropped from their release schedule. Believing this highly entertaining piece of nastiness, ill fitting with their usual out-put, yet in all honesty it is far more likely that we will embark upon a mad killing spree if we are forced to endure yet another Madden update.

Thunder in Paradise: The MAJOR & the MINOR
CD-i game from Philips Interactive Media

The BBFC hatred of chainsticks even extends to computer games where the offending weapon had to be cut.

XNet 18
Magazine CDROM (Media Ventures Group)

Cut by 32 Kbytes

XNet 19
Magazine CDROM (Media Ventures Group)

Substitution cuts

 

 

BBFC Archive  James Ferman Director of the BBFC: 1974-1999
 Computer Hits
 Nunchakas The BBFC attitude to martial arts weaponry
 Anime Interview with a BBFC examiner
 Horror An interview with Richard Falcon speaking about the BBFC treatment of horror in 1995
 Blasphemy Ruling European Court of Human Rights upholds BBFC ban of Visions of Ecstasy in 1996
 The Ferman Chainsaw Massacre remembering the defunct website 'Ban the Board of Film Censors'
 Confessions of a Censor by Ros Hodgkiss, retired film examiner
 Sinful Days in Soho by Maggie Mills, retired film examiner
 Monster Love Carol Topolski tells of being a film examiner under James Ferman