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Encyclopedia > Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle
The USK's official logo.
The USK's official logo.

Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle (German Voluntary Monitoring Organisation of Entertainment Software) or USK, is Germany's software rating organisation. Since the modification of the Jugendschutzgesetz (Youth Protection Law) in 2003, it is now compulsory for all titles that are to be sold to the wider public to carry a USK mark. Image File history File links USK_logo. ... Image File history File links USK_logo. ... Computer software (or simply software) refers to one or more computer programs and data held in the storage of a computer for some purpose. ...



Software can receive one of the following ratings:

Freigegeben ohne Altersbeschränkung gemäß § 14 JuSchG (Without age restrictions)
There are no restrictions on the basis of the Jugendschutzgesetz on the sale of this game. The suitability for children, however, only relates to violent or sexual content - the difficulty or complexity of the game may still be unsuited to younger children. This is similar to the ESRB's Everyone rating, so games such as Animal Crossing may receive this rating.
Freigegeben ab 6 Jahren gemäß § 14 JuSchG (Restricted for those below the age of 6)
Games with this rating may be of an abstract or comical nature, may have a darker theme or may be too involving for children under the age of 6. This may include games like Point Blank. Similar to the ESRB's Everyone rating.
Freigegeben ab 12 Jahren gemäß § 14 JuSchG (Restricted for those below the age of 12)
Games with this rating may place a focus on wars or fighting of some description. The fighting should be in a historical or science fiction context and the violence should be kept to a minimum. This may include games like Ninja Assault. Similar to the ESRB's Teen or Everyone 10+ ratings.
Freigegeben ab 16 Jahren gemäß § 14 JuSchG (Restricted for those below the age of 16)
Games featuring frequent one-on-one gunplay and moderate violence will receive this rating. The game may cover adult themes. This may include games like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Similar to the ESRB's Mature rating.
Freigegeben ab 18 Jahren gemäß § 14 JuSchG or Keine Jugendfreigabe gemäß § 14 JuSchG (Restricted for those below the age of 18)
These games may contain scenes of brutal, moderately bloody violence, and they may glamorise war or violation of human rights. This may include games like Dead to Rights or Half-Life 2. Similar to the ESRB's Adults Only rating.

Please note that the German version of GTA (since part three) is edited in various parts. The US-version of GTA received no rating at all. When referring to GTA getting a USK 16 only the German version is meant, featuring no headshots, having less blood, some weapons or their special impact are removed, civilians leave no money, some missions are missing. This goes for other localised games too. Image File history File links USK_none. ... Animal Crossing logo used in the West Dōbutsu no Mori logo used in Japan Animal Crossing, known in Japan as Dōbutsu no Mori lit. ... Image File history File links USK_6. ... Point Blank (original Japanese title: Gun Bullet) is an arcade game first made by Namco in 1994. ... Image File history File links USK_12. ... History is often used as a generic term for information about the past, such as in geologic history of the Earth. When used as the name of a field of study, history refers to the study and interpretation of the record of human societies. ... Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Ninja Assault was a game exclusive to the PlayStation 2 console because of the GunCon 2 gun which could be used with it. ... Image File history File links USK_16. ... Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is the fifth video game in the Grand Theft Auto series. ... Image File history File links USK_18. ... Dead to Rights is a third-person shooter video game published by Namco for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and Nintendo GameCube. ... Half-Life 2 (HL2) is a science fiction first-person shooter computer game that is the sequel to Half-Life. ...

The Index

Games that are refused classification are referred to the Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Medien (Federal Verification Office for Youth-Endangering Media) and can be placed on the Index (a process known in German as Indizierung), upon which the titles may only be sold on request to adults over the age of 18, and are not to be advertised in retail stores or other media. It is permitted to use these titles in private but not to supply them to minors. Games that are on the index are marked with JK/SPIO-Gutachten. This article has been translated, and needs attention from someone approaching dual fluency. ...

Censoring and banning

Games with a USK 18 rating or those placed on the index are not necessarily uncut, although as a general rule they are, with a number of exceptions. It is still possible for games to be banned in Germany—as is the case with titles such as Manhunt (violence) and the English version of Return to Castle Wolfenstein (Nazi symbolism), which are not even available "under the counter" per the Index. Manhunter: New York and Manhunter 2: San Francisco Manhunt is a controversial video game released by Rockstar Games in November, 2003. ... Return to Castle Wolfenstein (PC) is a first person shooter computer game published by Activision and released on November 20, 2001. ... National Socialism redirects here. ...

As of 2003, entertainment software sold in Germany does not have to be USK-rated but without the rating it is automatically forbidden to be sold to minors below 18 years old. Microsoft, for instance, chose not to sell Gears of War in Germany as the USK rejected to give it an official rating, which means the same as the rating 18+ but also gives the BPjM the right to test whether to put the game on the Index or not—which they did shortly after. Gears of War (usually shortened Gears or G.O.W.) is a tactical third-person shooter video game developed by Epic Games (the creators of the Unreal Tournament series) using Unreal Engine 3. ... This article has been translated, and needs attention from someone approaching dual fluency. ...

The ban on endorsing Nazism or displaying swastikas outside of a historical context applies to all titles. To avoid legal issues, many developers remove the reference to swastikas altogether, although the symbol of the 3rd Reich' s Army is still permitted. It is also permitted to feature a function in which one can assume the role of the German army in World War II as in games such as Sudden Strike and Axis and Allies, although this is a subject of controversy. National Socialism redirects here. ... A right-facing Swastika in a decorative Hindu form The swastika (from Sanskrit ) is an equilateral cross with its arms bent at right angles, in either right-facing () or left-facing () forms. ... Nazi Germany, or the Third Reich, refers to Germany in the years 1933–1945, when it was under the control of the National Socialist German Workers Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP)), or Nazi Party, with the Führer Adolf Hitler as chancellor and head of state. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... Sudden Strike is a computer game set in WW2. ... Axis and Allies redirects here. ...

See also

Entertainment Software Rating Board logo The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) is a self-regulatory organization that applies and enforces ratings, advertising guidelines, and online privacy principles for computer and video games and other entertainment software in the United States and Canada (officially adopted by individual provinces 2004-2005). ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... The Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (or ELSPA) is an organisation set up in 1989 by British software publishers. ... PEGIs logo Pan European Game Information, or more commonly PEGI, is a European system for rating the content of computer and video games, and other entertainment software. ... World map showing the location of Europe. ... This article or section is incomplete and may require expansion and/or cleanup. ... The Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) is the government agency in New Zealand that is responsible for classification of all films, videos, publications, and some video games in New Zealand. ... The Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle der Filmwirtschaft (FSK, Voluntary Self Regulation of the Movie Industry) is a German motion picture rating system organisation run by the Spitzenorganisation der Filmwirtschaft (SPIO, Head Organisation of the Movie Industry) seated in Wiesbaden. ...

External link

  • USK website



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