Nearly 20 years after its initial release, DOOM has been released in Germany. Developers id Software did try to make the game available back in the day, but it seems the German Censors - the USK - found something about it offensive, and stuck both DOOM and its sequel DOOM 2 on the ominous-sounding List of Media Harmful to Young People.
Just like in Australia, if something's considered inappropriate for the kids, it's inappropriate for everybody - being on "The Index" means the game is essentially banned. While the rest of the world was running around shooting martians, it was illegal for DOOM to be sold, advertised or displayed anywhere in Germany that children might see it. The Index also restricts how the game can be sold via mail order, meaning that DOOM, DOOM 2 and a handful of other titles are kept to the back rooms of somewhat seedy stores.
Anyway. It is possible to wrangle your way off off The Index, as ZeniMax Media has just done. Ten years after a game has been indexed, the copyright owner has the right to appeal the decision. It seems that id "never bothered" to jump through those hoops when the time period elapsed, but new copyright owner ZeniMax (who bought both the developer and all of its copyrights back in 2009) had different priorities. The decision was appealed, and the censors agreed it was no longer inappropriate, awarding the game a USK16+ rating.
No matter which way you look at it, this is a great victory for German gamers, who can finally - legally - see what all the fuss is about. If you squint though, ZeniMax might not just be feeling nostalgic. This new decision just happens to also make things easier for any potential re-releases of the classic game...
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