Ok let’s go with the story. It was end of August 2009 and I was bored. I wanted to play some cool games. I’m the ego-shooter guy and I was looking for something I haven’t played and so I thought it would be time to get Half-Life 2. You guys are rofl now I know… There have been some reasons I didn’t play HL2 until today. The first reason is that I really never missed it. I have read all the critics, tests and articles since release of HL2 but I found it never interesting enough to buy it. I’m the proud owner of all id Software games, I’m the proud owner of the Blood series, I own several other shooters uncut (for those of you who live in Germany know how important the words “uncut” and the complete id Software series really is). The second reason is that I never had have really time to continue to play games. I have my own collection and played my games more than 5 times. So what did I do to get HL2? I searched through internet to buy it and here the odyssey begins…
I went to the Steam website and found the Half-Life Anthology pack which offered HL, HL: Blue Shift, HL: Opposing Force and Team Fortress Classic for only 14,99 €. Wow I thought and put it in my shopping cart. Before playing HL2 let’s play through the complete HL1 story so things will be more clear and more fun guaranteed. So I also put the Half-Life Orange Box in my shopping cart. The Orange Box includes HL2, HL2: Episode 1, HL2: Episode 2, HL2: Lost Coast, Portal and Team Fortress 2 for 29,99 €. I thought I did a good job with getting those two packages. Of course I read the details on the product page carefully to avoid any problems with my newly acquired hardware. After paying I started download over Steam and after finish I started playing Half-Life. At first of course I didn’t recognize anything weird. It was cool to play and I felt like those days when Half-Life was released and we were all in this skeletal animation fever of Half-Life 😉
After playing some time I noticed that the soldiers are missing. Ah ok we have robots here so it was clear I was playing a German censored version. In Germany all games or media which don’t meet some specific criteria are censored. An institution exists called BPjS which play the games (or watch the movies) and decides if it is ok or not. Criteria is explicit gore, explicit sex, strong language and stuff like that. The idea of the BPjS is not bad at all and in theory I would support their doing. Bad is the realization of their ideas. In fact everything that seems to be violent (in computer games) is forbidden like in a dictatorship or communism. German readers of this blog know exactly what I mean. I was browsing the steam forums and noticed other people face the same problem. There were rumors to change the language for Steam and so Half-Life and other censored games will be with the unlocked or uncensored content. I tried nearly every solution provided there except the most logical: to contact the Steam support. So I got my support ticket and started to wait. 2 days, 3 days finally a reply. The reply told me the sadly I live in Germany and Steam is not allowed to sell Half-Life uncensored in Germany since it is censored here. They are only allowed to sell the damn fucking censored version. Ok I’m 33 years old and I knew hard it was in former times to get our Blood or Blood 2 copy or to get our Quake copy. Now in times where you can buy and download your games over the whole internet there is someone who cares what stupid laws here in Germany are?
I’m not angry on Steam, it’s only a platform who sells games. I’m not angry on German government, they showed and show and will show in future that they are able to be No 1 in most stupid laws on the world (hey US guys don’t laugh, you guys elected George W. Bush, the most stupid president of the world, twice :)).
Back to the story. I contacted the Steam support telling them that this is absolutely inacceptable since nowhere on the product description was a note that Germans get a censored version. I noticed that on the Left 4 Dead product description there was a big red note on German “gore reduced version”. Oh damn what does this mean. A shooter who is gore reduced? Would you ever play a racing game without racing cars? Imagine Need for Speed without cars. Imagine a strategy game without strategy?!? How stupid is that? They should reduce the price of the German version.
While some discussions on forums claimed Steam guilty for this censored shit, others named Gabe Newell as cause of this disaster. What really made me angry is the fact that the German government created the institution which is controlling media, movies and computer games and censored what they think.
Here is an example: You will be able to download Dead Space (a great game btw) from Steam (even from Germany). Nothing is censored, blood gore, all the good and bad things what makes us play those action games. But you won’t be able to get Half-Life, FEAR 2, Left 4 Dead or games like that over Steam.
- BPjM sucks. BPjM is the German institution which play dictatorship here in Germany. They censor computer games because of violence and gore. What about all the strategy games where you make war against whole countries and destroy and mass destroy whole continents?
- Software companies and publisher suck more than German government. I mean they develop cool games and than change the content to meet the requirements of German and Australian laws? How stupid is that? That equals the fact that if Lithuania had a law which allows all foreign car brands to use only 3 wheels instead of four Mercedes Benz would change their SL to 3 wheels? Software companies did not understand that if their games are not half enjoyable if they are censored? id Software did not fall on the knees and so they never provided censored content. That’s what it all is about. Even Wolfenstein3D is more fun than Half Life with censored content. Software companies have to realize that if someone in Germany wants their game, there are enough possibilities to order it from Austria (see links below), Switzerland, Greece, France, Great Britain with delivery times within 3 days. There is no reason to care about governments.
What did I learn from all that shit above? I liked Steam very much and the idea is very good having one platform where you can buy all of your games having them downloaded and up-to date. If you buy a new PC just install the Steam client and after login into your Steam account all your purchased games are installed automatically on your new machine. It works and the idea is great, at least if you don’t live in Germany. If you live in Germany and use Steam you are an idiot. There are plenty of import shops from Austria where you get German uncut versions. I started to buy there and am to 100% satisfied. I won’t buy on Steam again, not as long as I live in Germany (I think Australians face similar problems). Or would you drive a car with three wheels only because of your government?
“Censorship is telling a man he can’t have a steak just because a baby can’t chew it.” – Mark Twain