One of the more controversial games of the late 90s is to get a remake with the financial support of fans. Stainless Games will continue work on Carmageddon Reincarnation after successfully appealing for at least $400,000 on Kickstarter.
The original version of the game was a simple racing game with each race having a time limit. However, players could get this time extended by either damaging other cars or killing pedestrians. Each race could be completed by reaching the finish line, destroying all other cars, or killing all pedestrians.
Carmageddon, produced by a British developer, is one of the very few games that can be described as having been technically “banned” in the United Kingdom, which is the main reason for its notoriety. That’s because video gaming comes under the same legislation as video recordings, passed in 1984 when graphics were somewhat less realistic.
Although there’s now a voluntary age rating scheme for games (PEGI), games are exempt from the need to get a rating from the British Board of Film Classification, which is a legal requirement for movies. In theory a game with violent or sexual content isn’t exempt from the BBFC rating, but its up to the game developer to decide if this applies to them.
Publishers SCi decided to submit Carmageddon to the BBFC anyway, hoping it would get an 18 rating (ie no sales to children) that would help get publicity for the game. Instead the BBFC refused to give the game any rating, which meant it was now illegal to distribute it.
Eventually SCi agreed to replace the human pedestrians in the game with zombies and were allowed to release the game. The BBFC later concluded this was somewhat farcical and decided to allow the humans to be reinstated.
As usual, people who’ve donated to the remake project get a range of bonuses depending on the amount they pay, such as original artwork from the development process or the chance to help design a customized car for use in the game. Rather bizarrely, those prepared to pay at least $1,00 will have their face used as one of the pedestrians in the game.