Saturday, 19 November 2011

Game Feature: Australia fights for their video game rights

A fight against the censorship and lack of Australian adult video games

Australian gamers have been fighting a long and hard battle to try and secure an adult rating for video games. The highest rating games can be awarded, at this very moment is MA15+. This has lead to a lot of video games that should have been classified as an adult only game getting an MA rating, meaning teenagers are currently allowed to go out and buy these violent video games. 
Though that is not even the worst part...

Games that don't get through the classification board either get banned or highly censored. This means Australians are missing out of some great games like Mortal Kombat, Manhunt 2 and the Postal series or get extremely censored versions of games such as in the case with Left for dead 2, Manhunt and BMX XXX. 

There was an extreme uproar about the left for dead 2 censoring. The game was downright terrible bodies disappeared after being killed, the riot cop has been completely removed from the game and you can't dismember a zombie and rip out its limbs. Pretty much all the gore had been removed and all the was left was little red blood stains here and there.

Direct comparison of the normal and 'cut' versions of L4D2

This would be less of a problem if all the games with gore in them were censored but there seems to be no real structure on games get accepted through and which don't. As an example Dead rising 2 made it through fine and it's the same game as left 4 dead 2 just 3rd person view and more stupid objects to smash zombies with. Wish is puzzling Dead rising 2 seems and feels like a more violent game.

Not allowing certain games into the country is also limiting the freedom of Adults in Australia. Adults can buy violent and sexual movies or books and the government doesn't care. It's just with video games there seems to be a problem for little or no good reason. Parents are mature enough to know if a game is appropriate for their children. With the R18 rating it will hopefully ensure children can't easily purchase mature content video games not suitable for them. At the moment many kids under the age of sixteen can walk into a store, like JB-HI-FI, and purchase unsuitable MA15+ games without too much problem. However these games are designed to played by mature teenagers and adults not children.

So what has the government done about this so far? Well earlier this year they finally accepted that an adult rating would be a good idea so young teenagers can’t get their hands on such violent video games. This comes as a huge relief to the gaming community as they have been fighting for many years to get this rating and to cut back on the censorship in games. They were even more pleased with what The Minister for Justice Brendan O’Connor said that he is expecting that Australia will have an R18 rating by the end of 2011. Many are very happy that the whole Australian video game rating saga is soon to be over but little did we know the Classification board thought otherwise.  The classification board’s application manager David Emery spoke out in late October saying it would take at least two years to finalize and get it all up and running.

Hopefully Australia sees an R18+ rating sooner rather then later. We're sick of being known as the country that's games never grew up. 
See here & here for more information about the ratings and mature games

-Michael Johnson


Over here stores don't care about age ratings on games either, mostly becuse they are recomendations and not law enforced rules.

Thats a good thing becuse I think it's up to the parents to decide what their kid can and can't buy and nothing some game raters should have a say in.

That said, banning and/or censoring games are a rather idiotic thing to do since they are allowing ultra violent movies anyways, I mean whats the difference really?

@Turai Yeah there's no difference what even pisses me off even more is. I see kids ages 8-10 buying games like Alien vs Predator and parents say well that fine when AvP is rated R in the states. My guess is if it had an R18+ rating on it parents wouldn't buy it for there kids.

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