For what it's worth I think the decision to ban Manhunt 2 in the UK is completely wrong. I have no desire to play the game and had nothing to do with the first one either but a game is a game is a game. These aren't murder simulators or we should be banning kids from playing cops and robbers or whatever the equivalent is today.
In the UK it's compulsory for a game to get a rating and that rating represents a legally binding age limit that a retailer can be heavily fined for breaking. Banning a game outright is just pandering to the attention whores in the media and I hope whoever came up with that decision gets fucked out of the BBFC ASAP.
The BBFC exists as a compulsory rating scheme for movies
released in cinemas and DVD/Video nationwide that was introduced as law once the video nasties of the 80's started doing their rounds.
It's worth noting that the BBFC can only pass judgement onto local councils, who then agree or decline to stock the product based on the recommendations made by the council. If a particular council disagrees with the rating, they can overturn it in their constituency (for example, allowing banned films to be shown at film festivals to captive audiences etc), but most simply agree to the BBFC ratings due to the overall fairness of the group (and less red tape).
They are not compulsory for games unless PEGI (the Pan-European Game Information board) deams the game too graphic or controversial for their ratings. They are then passed onto the relevant country agencies (in the UK, the BBFC) for a sterner rating.
The BBFC were quite vocal about their displeasure with the original Manhunt, stating that it was at the absolute limit of what they'd tolerate. Rockstar pushed it further with the sequel, meaning all the BBFC could do would be to refuse classification, else they'd be hypocrites.
The BBFC banning it is not censorship. It's simply removing the goods from the market on the grounds that the game is simply too raw for consumer consumption given that impressionable minors can (and will) get their hands on it.
Yes, the killing that was blamed on the original was found out to be bogus, but Manhunt 2 (especially on the Wii) IS
a murder simulator - Despite being contained in some sembelence of plot (and some of the extreme situations described in the media being over-enthusiastic ramblings from a deranged IGN interviewer), the whole point of the game is to kill innocent or not-so-innocent human beings in increasingly violent and shocking ways.
Finally, remember that anyone from the US criticising the UK for 'lacking in free speech' is deluded (or at least mis-informed).
Our country was not founded on the principles of 'say and do pretty much what you want too' and I believe we are so much better for it. Infact, i'm happy crackwhore teenages can't buy guns from the local supermarket only to rob them 5 minutes later.