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Sex, violence, politics find a way into games

New laws allow game makers to tell the rating board how far games go.

Aug 02,2007
The fact that a game involves fighting with North Korean soldiers is no longer a reason to ban it. The Game Rating Commission is becoming more flexible on the subjects of games, no longer applying the National Security Law or vague ethical restraints to entertainment content.
The Game Rating Commission recently approved Crisis, a first-person shooting game. The game received an adult rating but was nevertheless allowed to be released in Korea. The underlying plot of Crisis takes place in the near future, beginning with a battle between a U.S. special task force and North Korean forces occupying an island. But a meteor that has landed on the island has brought some alien species along with it, and the two teams must unite to fight against them.
Games that portray North Korea or that place the Korean Peninsula in a war situation were once considered to be in violation of the National Security Law. Regulators, however, have become more lenient about the content of games, thanks to a revised game industry promotion bill, which gives more detailed and specific definitions relating to how games are categorized.
The new rules apply to more than games with political themes. Whereas games with provocative, violent or sexual content would before have been banned because of potential ill effects for minors, the new laws allow game makers to tell the rating board in advance just how far a game goes.
Such frankness has enabled games containing above-average levels of violence or nudity, such as Pangea, Requiem or Darkness, to receive approval from the rating board.
“The authorities are realizing that children are not the only ones playing games, and as the industry matures, it is not the job of the government to meddle in what goes into every single game, as long as the contents do not promote gambling,” said a member of the game commission who wished to remain unnamed. “Although there are still some questions as to what is acceptable and what is not, we are trying to give adult game users the right to choose.”


By Wohn Dong-hee Staff Writer [wohn@joongang.co.kr]



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