After 17 years, Germany OK’s sale of “Doom”

After 17 years Germany has relaxed its restrictions on sales of Doom, the world’s first popular first-person shoot-em-up game.

A spokesman for Bethesda Softworks, which owns id Software, the creators of Doom, welcomed the news but was unable to say when the game would become widely available for sale in Germany.

What was so objectionable to have merited blacklisting by the nation’s the Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons? In 1994, the government’s judgment was that the game was likely to harm youth and thus Doom got relegated to the same category as pornography with sales being limited to adult-only outlets.

Germany decided to loosen the restrictions because it now believes Doom is “mainly of historical interest” and that it pales in comparison to gorier games that are now widely distributed.

In the history of gaming, Doom occupies a special niche. Although Wolfenstein 3D, also an id Software creation, had introduced gamers to the concept of the first-person shooter in 1992, the dazzling potential of the concept was driven home to millions of gamers when Doom debuted a year later. If you were so deprived as to never have played the game, here’s how our sister site Gamespot described the plot:

“You played as a space marine stationed on the Martian moon of Phobos, where the Union Aerospace Corporation has been conducting experiments with matter teleportation. Those lousy scientists manage to open a rift to hell, from which spews forth a terrible demonic host that slaughters everyone at the base—except you. So it was up to you to grab the nearest weapon and blast your way through the hordes, eventually neutralizing the very source of the threat within hell’s own gaping maw.

Doom and Doom 2 are now classified inside Germany as USK-16, which means a buyer needs to be at least 16 years old. The government continues to maintain a ban against one version of the game because it contains Nazi imagery.

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