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Has common sense been thrown out the gaming window?

Manhunt 2 was taken off store shelves due to a possible code hack that showed violent gameplay. And while Don Reisinger can see why Target did it, he doesn't understand why a company should be playing parent.

Manhunt 2
Oh, the horror! Gamespot

Now that the dust has settled with Manhunt 2 and Rockstar and its parent company Take Two Interactive are being held to the fire once again, the utter lack of knowledge and ignorance that permeates every level of retail has shown its ugly face.

Instead of understanding the nature of the latest Manhunt 2 scandal where gamers could ostensibly view adults-only content in the game through a code hack, Target and others have announced that it will not sell the game on its shelves because "players can potentially view previously filtered content by altering the game code."

Simply put, this is one of the most ludicrous and ridiculous decisions I have seen in years by any retailer. Just because a gamer can "potentially view previously filtered content by altering the game code", Target (and others) feel the need to take Manhunt 2 off store shelves?


Now, as far as I'm concerned, Target is in the business of making money. And by being in that business, I think it's safe to assume that it currently sells movies and television shows that show the kind of violence portrayed in the game -- scenes of mutilation and decapitation. After all, they sell quite well.

But what about the movies these companies currently promote in stores? Have you ever seen 300? This film depicts the kinds of mutilation and decapitation being boycotted in Manhunt 2 and yet it stays on store shelves. And let's not forget that the mutilation in that film is being done on human beings, not video game characters.

Sure, the violence portrayed in this game is certainly not something parents would want to show their children, but how many children do you know that can buy the game, bring it home, hook it up to a computer, alter the code, burn it to a disc and finally play it on the console of their choosing? I don't know about you, but I don't think little ten year-old Johnny is doing that anytime soon.

And if it is adults that are altering the code, who cares? It's their prerogative, is it not? As long as they are legal adults, they have the option to view any kind of violent films or games at their disposal. And if they're capable of viewing a movie like 300, why can't they play a game like Manhunt 2.

Unfortunately, a new phenomenon has developed where some people believe parents are incapable of making decisions and in turn, retailers are forced to do it for them. And in the process, these retailers look like the group that's "doing the right thing" by "keeping violent games out of the hands of children."

Suffice it to say that I'm a man who enjoys freedom and would do everything in my power to promote it. Along those lines, I don't believe Target or any other retailer should be allowed to take a game off store shelves to save children from themselves. Sad as it sounds, it's not Target's call to make.

Where are parents during all of this? Surely, some parenting groups are heralding this move as yet another reason why Target is a wonderful company, but why can't this same parenting group police itself? If you don't want your son or daughter to play Manhunt 2, simply tell them they can't and don't buy it for them. And if you're concerned that they will play at their friend's house, why can't you rely on the fact that you did a good enough job as a parent for them to know what's right and wrong? After all, you can't watch your kids all the time -- eventually you'll need to get some sleep.

It's a sad state of affairs when parents must rely on those people who don't even know their kids to decide what a child should see and what the child should not.

Before you call big-box retailers wonderful companies for taking violent video games off store shelves, ask yourself one question: do you really want a fortune 500 company parenting your children?