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Postal 2: Share the Pain banning

29 November 2004

Media Release on the banning of the computer game Postal 2: Share the Pain

The Classification Office has banned the PC game Postal 2: Share the Pain in a decision announced by the Chief Censor, Bill Hastings. It has been banned because the Office determined that its availability was “likely to be injurious to the public good.” Postal 2 is the second computer game to be banned in New Zealand, after Manhunt was banned in late 2003.

In Postal 2 the player control a character called Postal Dude who interacts with other characters by exposing his penis, urinating on them, kicking them, killing them and mutilating their corpses. Characters react to the Postal Dude by screaming, vomiting, begging for their lives, fleeing or attempting to kill him. The player is able to use a wide variety of weapons including spades, police batons, electronic tasers, sickles, gas canisters, petrol cans and matches, firearms and a festering cow’s head that releases anthrax. Visual and vocal references throughout the game reinforce callous racist, sexist and homophobic stereotypes and often provide the motivation for interactions with other characters.

“Completion of mundane tasks such as buying milk creates opportunities to kill more characters in a variety of familiar and ordinary circumstances” said Mr Hastings.

The Office found that:

The game is designed, and has the capacity, to allow the player to test how much violence and humiliation he or she can inflict on human beings and animals in a variety of everyday settings and circumstances.

The player’s ability to elect the amount, type and speed with which the violence is escalated into extreme cruelty requires an antisocial attitudinal shift (and reinforces such attitudes amongst those who already have them) that is likely to be injurious to the public good.

Postal 2 was submitted to the Office by the Department of Internal Affairs after its inspectors became aware that a small number of copies were in circulation in New Zealand. The game has not been made available through any commercial outlets in this country. The banning of Postal 2 means it is illegal to possess, import, distribute or advertise the game.

A copy of the Office’s decision is available on its website www.censorship.govt.nz

ENDS

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