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Last Updated:  Monday, 24 March, 2003, 21:13 GMT
German anger at 'violent' Iraqi game
The world's leading computer games manufacturer is under fire from the German Government, over a game depicting a violent siege of Baghdad.

Earlier this month, the German family affairs ministry blacklisted Electronic Arts' Command & Conquer Generals game, on the charge that it glorifies violence.

The US company has rejected the allegation, arguing that it is being victimised by the Germans over its nationality, since Berlin and Washington have fallen out over the Iraqi campaign.

The game in question - which Electronic Arts characterises as strategic, rather than violent - allows the player to deploy US armed forces in a variety of scenarios.

The scenarios include desert warfare, and a struggle for Baghdad involving use of anthrax.

Splatter, or strategy?

Although the game was released only last month, Electronic Arts denies that it has any connection with the Iraqi war.

Many other elements in the scenarios are wholly fictitious.

The firm points out that blood and gore are kept to a minimum, with the emphasis placed on marshalling complex forces across extensive battlefields.

The German ministry, meanwhile, has taken offence at the fact that the game "portrays war as the only way to resolve conflicts," and that "it gives military force an aesthetic appeal."

The game has not been banned, but placed on a list of restricted titles, similar in intention to certification of violent or obscene films.

Transatlantic tension

If the certification is politically motivated - and the German Government insists it is not - it will be the latest in a list of transatlantic commercial rows since the escalation of tensions in Iraq.

Nothing in the shape of formal economic sanctions has been levied between the US and Germany or France, the main opponents of war.

But some individual companies claim to have lost sales or contracts because of the cooling in relations.

So far, however, it has tended to be European companies complaining about US prejudice, rather than the other way around.

Europe split over war
20 Mar 03 |  Europe
Tiny German firm feels US anger
06 Mar 03 |  Business
Games industry still riding high
09 Jan 03 |  Technology

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