German retailer pulls violent DVDs, games

March 19, 2009

COLOGNE, Germany (Hollywood Reporter) - German retail chain Galeria Kaufhof will pull violent films and video games from its shelves in response to the school shooting last week that shocked and horrified the country.

Beginning in April, Kaufhof, one of the country's largest retailers, will no longer stock films or games sold with an 18-plus rating, meaning material judged inappropriate for young people. The rating is usually reserved for violent material, including horror films and first-person-shooter games.

Violent video games have come under attack here in the wake of last week's shooting, in which a former student gunned down 15 people at a high school in southern Germany . Media reports and local politicians have pointed to the fact that the shooter played popular video game " Counter Strike " as a factor in the massacre.

There have been calls to ban such material outright.

"I think (Kaufhof's decision) is a complete overreaction ... it borders on impulsive hysteria," said Stephan Reichart, managing director at German video game developers association G.A.M.E. "It would be sufficient if retailers made sure their cashiers don't sell this material to young people."

Germany already has one of the strictest ratings regimes for violent games and films in Europe .

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