Doom gets German ban lifted 18 years after launch

Legendary first person shooter (FPS) Doom has finally been taken off Germany's controlled titles list, 18 years after first release.

ID Software's Doom, arguably the most iconic FPS title, has been on Germany's controlled titles list ever since it was launched in 1993, meaning it could only be sold in adult-only stores. Now Bathesda, the parent company of ID Software, has managed to convince the Germany Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons (Bundesprufstelle) that the pixelated graphics pose no threat to senstive young Germans.

Bethesda argued that Doom's graphics have long been surpassed by other FPS titles and that the violence depicted in the game had far less of an impact. Looking at a few screenshots of Doom, it's hard to fault the argument.

The Bundesprufstelle told the BBC that its decision to overturn the ban wasn't solely based on the graphical merits - or lack of - Doom, but whether the game contained "drastic portrayals of violence directed against human or human-like beings". It added, "If the game then does not contain any real alternative scenes which might on the whole 'neutralise' the violent parts, then the game is likely to be found to have a harmful effect on minors."

In the end the Bundesprufstelle actually decided to change its mind on Doom because the title was "mainly of historic interest" and that it was unlikely to be played by children.

While Doom and Doom II may now be purchased in any store in Germany, one version of Doom II that features two levels from Wolfenstein 3D, the forerunner to Doom, is still banned. The two levels in that version contain several Nazi references.

It is unlikely many stores will carry the 17-year old game but those that do can only sell to persons over the age of 16. It makes you wonder whether putting it on the controlled list and taking it off was worth the effort.