17 Year Doom ban dropped in Germany

Freedom isn’t free, unless you’re willing for fight for it…and wait…a long time. After nearly two decades Doom and Doom 2 have been approved by Germany sensors and made publicly available in the country. The Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons (Bundesprufstelle) obviously had a bone to pick with Wolfenstein 3D but their reasoning for Doom had long been, “drastic portrayals of violence directed against human or human-like beings”.

BBC reports the lift on the ban came after the ban’s expiration on August 31 and a majority vote to drop it. That’s right, some members of the board STILL wanted to uphold the ban and although this is a notable event in gaming history, according to Gamespot the North American version of the game is still unaccepted as it recycles levels from Wolfenstein featuring swastikas (so developer laziness is partially to blame). But the majority in favor vote felt the title had become “mainly of historical interest” as there are more bigger fish to fry with more detailed “portrayals of violence”.

Some of these modern targets include: Condemned 1 and 2, Dead Rising, Left 4 Dead 2, and Mortal Kombat 1, 2 and 3. While these games do depict more realistic violence it is unfortunate that gamers are outright denied quality titles in an age of unambitious titles.

When Doom does go on sale it will still only be sold to those over 16. It’s worth mentioning the GBA version of the game was approved long ago. Meanwhile in the land of the free the games are available on PC, PSX, SNES, SEGA SATURN, 3DO, JAGUAR, GBA, 32X, and Xbox Live Arcade. The game became a revolutionary step for first-person-shooters with it’s visual prowess, ludicrous violence, and lightning speed gameplay. Hey Bundesprufstelle! Welcome to the year 1993!

30 Minutes or Less: Based on a True Story?

Word of mouth has been spreading concerning the new film 30 Minutes or Less released last week. Problem is, it’s not positive and not really even about the movie. It’s about the real-life incident back in 2003 in Eerie, PA involving a pizza delivery man, robbing a bank, with a irremovable bomb strapped to him. Aside from the location, that’s the premise of 30 Minutes to the letter.

At 2:30, August 28 (eight years ago this month) Brian Wells waked into the PNC bank, passed a note to a teller demanding $250,000 and showed her a iron box with a hand cuff like hinged collar secure around his neck. He left the bank with considerably less than what he came for and was apprehended in a parking lot not fifteen minutes later. Police handcuffed him but retreated behind squad cars when Wells announced the bomb would detonate. “I’m not lying”, he told them asked if they had called his employer to let it be noted he wasn’t slacking off his duties. After a twenty five minute stand off-before the bomb squad arrived-the device began to beep repeatedly and detonated. Wells was killed in the blast.

According to Wired, in a four year investigation a heist caper’s worth of discoveries were made. The last delivery made by Wells before returning to town with the bomb was to a handyman’s home who later called the police telling them he was contemplating suicide. Bill Rothstein told police that he was ready to end it all after hiding the corpse of his ex-girlfriend’s boyfriend in his freezer. The ex, Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong is believed by the FBI to have mastermind the robbery despite a history of mental illness making her an unlikely candidate. Then there was speculation that Wells may have been in on the whole operation but was vetoed out and sent to die with what was originally going to be a fake bomb. Notes in Wells truck suggested a twisted scavenger hunt of clues to remove the bomb (which was professionally made including false wires and unlocking mechanisms) for Wells to use as a scapegoat in the event he was captured. There was also a gun disguised as a cane used in the robbery.

Now the director and producers or 30 Minutes deny any knowledge of the heist gone wrong. According to Moviefone, when the Wells family spoke out against the film director Ruben Fleischer said: “They’re not really related in any way, so I think a lot of people are prejudging it without information.” The official studio statement was less aggressive stating, “The writers were vaguely familiar with what had occurred and wrote an original screenplay so it does not mirror the real-life tragedy.”

While the story doesn’t seem to have hurt the films rep as disastrously as expected their hasn’t been much light at the end of the tunnel anyways. 30 Minutes opened last weekend to fifth place just behind The Smurfs, taking in only $13,000,000.

The Walking Dead’s creative loss

Did you know that The Walking Dead is the only original show that AMC owns? As for the networks two other big hits Lionsgate owns Mad Men, and Sony owns Breaking Bad. So it was all the more strange when Walking Dead co-creator, writer, producer, and series pilot director Frank Darabont got the boot.

Fans have been in uproar after the seemly devious use of Darabont at this years Comic Con to promote the show and then sack him just three days later. According to The Hollywood Reporter crew “insiders” have defended Darabont as an auteur trapped in the strict and marathon paced world of TV. Supposedly he saw the breakneck speed in which the just six episode first season was produced overworked the talent and crew while sacrificing the show’s creative edge. In a roundtable discussion with THR Darabont said, “…I believe if they move ahead with what they’re talking about, it will affect the show creatively…in a negative way. Which strikes me as odd. If you have an asset, why would you punish it?”

Perhaps it’s because The Walking Dead is to date the highest rated show in AMC’s short history of original programming. Feeling confident in the fan base the show had built, the network has since sought to cut the budget of the second season while doubling the number of episodes-which was also fought by Darabont-and claim the 30% tax credit per episode for shooting in Georgia for itself. Production on the first season was rife with dispute as Darabont desired a larger scope than the comparatively cheaper productions for shows like Mad Men.

It is now believed that Darabont was being watched by AMC head of programming Joel Stillerman for an ideal time to cut him. THR claims that Darabont was salvaging unusable footage from an early episode of the second season helmed by a agreed upon and reliable director. The blame was supposedly dropped on Darabont and he has since been replaced by executive producer Glen Mazzara. Whether or not the show will survive without Darabont, it’s quality will suffer, or greater changes will come from the decision will be decided in October when season two premieres.