'Violent' Sega game taken out of shops
James Cusick is political correspondent of The Independent and The Independent on Sunday. As an experienced member of the lobby, he has previously worked at The Sunday Times and the BBC. His career as a journalist has been split between print and television, including senior positions as producer with Sir David Frost and at BBC Newsnight. He is also an award-winning golf and travel writer, working for over a decade as the UK contributing editor for one of the USA’s leading golf magazines. He broadcasts regularly for the BBC and CNN. He lives in London.
Saturday 18 December 1993
Night Trap, made by Sega, where scantily clad women are under threat from blood-draining aliens, was removed from all 581 US stores of the Toys R Us group.
The game, which has a 15- and-over rating from the British Board of Film Classification, is thought to be the first successful target of a computer 'censorship' pressure group. The group orchestrated a telephone campaign targeting stores to have the game taken off the shelves.
The game is one of Sega's most highly rated products. Yesterday Sega in London was astonished at the reaction of Toys R Us.
The US company's stores in Britain have never stocked the Sega game and a spokeswomen said it only sold 'products that were in good taste'. The game, however, is widely available at other shops throughout Britain. A spokesman for Sega said: 'Sure there is violence in this, but no more than your average horror movie. Yes there is, how shall I say, women in underwear being dragged off by the aliens. But the game is so difficult hardly anyone ever gets that far.'
At Toys R Us headquarters in New Jersey, the company said that 'the hooded killers in Night Trap used neck-drilling devices'. It had removed the game in response to a barrage of telephone complaints. The company said there had so far been no complaints about other games.
In Britain, according to Sega, the game, released six months ago, is mainly played by adults on expensive computer equipment.
There had 'not been a significant amount of complaints here'. The equipment needed to play Night Trap, it said, costs about pounds 300 'and that limits it to adults'.
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