RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) — Brazil this week imposed a ban on popular role-playing computer games "Counter-Strike" and "EverQuest," claiming they incited violence and were "harmful to consumers' health."
The federal prohibition on the sale of the games was being applied across the country, the official consumer protection agency in the central state of Goias said on its website Thursday.
Both games allow players, typically teenage boys, to connect online to fantasy worlds where they interact with other players, form groups and carry out joint missions usually involving combat.
"Counter-Strike," a first-person-view shoot-'em-upper based on the motor powering the popular "Half-Life" game, requires participants to choose a role as either a masked terrorist or an anti-terrorist officer before going forth with an ever-sophisticated array of weapons.
An adapted version in Brazil permitted players to take on the perspective of either a police officer or a narcotrafficker in Rio de Janeiro's infamously crime-ridden slums.
"EverQuest" is a swords-and-spells game in the mold of "Lord of the Rings" in which human or elvish or other imaginary characters go on joint adventures to gain treasure and increase their avatar's abilities.
Both began in 1999 and have since developed huge worldwide followings.
Some psychologists have described them as addictive as drugs. A few players have turned professional, earning money from powerful characters they sell, or from the auction of hard-to-win virtual items.
The ban was ordered in October 2007 by a Brazilian federal court, but was not immediately implemented.
The judge, Carlos Alberto Simoes, ruled that the games encouraged "the subversion of public order, were an attack against the democratic state and the law and against public security."
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