Brazil is taking a hard line against two nearly decade-old computer games that federal officials say incite violence and harm consumer health.
Since 17 January, the games Counter-Strike and Everquest have been banned from sale in Brazil. The order comes into effect following an October 2007 Brazilian federal court decision, which ruled the games encourage "the subversion of public order" and are an "attack against the democratic state."
According to the AFP, officials have fingered Counter-Strike, a once-popular first person shooter (released way back in 1999) because they claim it includes a contentious level set in Rio de Janeiro's slum quarters. Players can choose to play either on the side of a gang which has kidnapped three UN representatives, or the police officers storming their compound. Feds contend the game teaches "war strategy" to its audience.
The game's distributor Electronic Arts Brazil has since pointed out the level isn't a part of the original game, but is a player-created mod with no affiliation to the company.
Sword-and-sorcery massive multiplayer game EverQuest is the second title on the chopping block. The game used to hold an enormous audience for years after its release in 1999, but has became less popular after a flood of genre successors such as World of Warcraft were introduced. Brazilian officials say they aren't happy that players can choose to be both an "evil" or "good" fantastical creature while adventuring in a magical world of Barbarians, Elves, Ogres and Lizard-men. (No convincing the Brazilian officials they're actually "chaotic neutral" then?)
Counter-Strike was previously sold in Brazil as an 18+ game. Everquest was never even officially sold there. But why should that stop the outrage? ®