Are You Subversive? Brazil Thinks So.

There were a few reports this weekend about the banning in Brazil of two computer games. Those games were Everquest and Counterstrike. That’s the first Everquest mind you.

Apparently a judge in one of the provinces managed to get a bee in his bonnet about these two games. This judge, Carlos Alberto Simoes, ruled:

that the games encouraged the subversion of public order, were an attack against the democratic state and the law and against public security.

What can you say about that?

traitor-1Never mind that this is Everquest 1 he is banning, which was released March 1999, and Counterstrike, originally a Half-Life mod released before EQ. Not sure of the exact date for CS. These two games have been played by thousands of players for the  better part of a decade.

Never mind that there are a bunch of games out there that in viciousness and realism make EQ and CS look like a child’s bedtime stories by comparison.

Never mind that there are other forms of media that are quite legal that contain subversive themes and *gasp* challenge the citizenry to think about their world.

This particular judge appears to be a little out of touch with both his country and reality. I’ve never read stories about hordes of Counterstrike and Everquest players roaming the Brazilian countryside carrying out subversive acts against democracy. In all likelihood, these gamers were happily keeping out of trouble while indulging their favorite hobby.

Unfortunately, Brazil has a somewhat strange legal system where a judge can make a ruling in one province and have that ruling apply across the country. I’m wondering where the checks and balances are in the system to prevent a judicial wacko from implementing some really nasty laws.

Banning games is one thing. But this sort of system could lead to some widespread abuse of civil rights. The question becomes: When does the book burning start?

For now though, EQ and CS gamers in Brazil will have to resort to secretive and subversive means to hide themselves and their hobby from the video game police.

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2 Comments

  1. Mundinator

    How do they expect to enforce this? Fine, you might be able to block all the EQ servers, but anyone can set up a CounterStrike server. Gamers will prevail!!

  2. Stropp (Post author)

    I don’t really know. Brazil isn’t really known for being a bastion of censorship as far as I’m aware. The only way would be to implement filtering at the ISP.

    And guess what? China, which has the political will to spend an absolute fortune on it’s Great Firewall still can’t completely censor its peoples use of the web. I doubt Brazil will be able to achieve what China can’t.

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