'Hooligans' game condemned

Cops and robbers is too tame for the youth of today, pub brawls between rival football fans could be the next big thing

The Home Office and the Football Association have condemned plans by a Dutch games developer to release the game 'Hooligans-Storm over Europe'.

The game depicts gruesome scenes of soccer thugs battling one another in pubs and on terraces, armed with broken bottles, knives and other weapons. Both the Home Office and FA said the game's producers are deliberately promoting extreme violence to gain publicity using a controversial topic.

Dutch games developer The Thirteenth Production previewed the game last week at London's ECTS trade show and told ZDNet it was looking for a "new scenario that would turn people's heads". But the marketing ploy has backfired and could result in the game being blocked if the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) decides it has gone too far.

While most agree that a game setting up football hooligans as the heroes is questionable, experts concede that research into the effects of violent video games upon children is largely inconclusive. This despite recent findings by Middlesex University that suggests violent video games are directly responsible for aggressive behaviour in teenagers. "Violent video games will not make people violent or change their fundamental nature; but someone with a propensity for violent or anti-social behaviour could be influenced by them," according to Michael Rawlingson, general manager with the European Leisure and Software Publishers Association.

'Hooligans' is scheduled for a May 2001 launch.

It's only a matter of time before the creative practices of software game makers become intertwined with presidential politics. Charles Cooper reckons that the problem with problem youth isn't because of bad software. It's because of bad parents. Go to AnchorDesk UK for the news comment.

To have your say online click on TalkBack and go to the ZDNet News forum.

For complete gaming news, see GameSpot UK.


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