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20th December

 Updated: Beaten with the Censorship Stick...

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Australia's game censors cut South Park: The Stick of Truth
Link Here
South Park The Stick Truth It's unclear exactly what has been in the game, but a spokesperson from Ubisoft told playerattack.com that a slightly modified version of South Park The Stick of Truth has been approved for release in Australia on March 6 .

The Australian Censorship Board actually rated South Park: The Stick of Truth twice. The official rating was the second time the game had been through the process. The game has been awarded the adults only rating, R18+

The Board also rated another Ubisoft title, Codename , and the censors again referred to it as a modified version.

Clues to the reason for the cuts may be contained in the write up by the US game rating organisation, ESRB:

This is a role-playing adventure game based on the animated South Park TV show. Players assume the role of a new kid in town who embarks on various quests with other boys in the neighborhood. Players can engage in turn-based combat, selecting attacks from a menu screen. Players use various weapons (swords, baseball bats, hammers), magic spells and melee attacks during fights; blood-splatter effects sometimes occur. Cutscenes occasionally depict cartoony characters dismembered or decapitated. The game includes several instances of mature humor and sexual material: one extended sequence depicts characters getting anally probed by alien creatures; another sequence (in an abortion clinic) depicts doctors using a vacuum to perform procedures on male characters; one level takes place inside the rectum/colon of a character (sex toys, random objects and fecal matter appear in the level)---all sequences are depicted in a cartoony and over-the-top manner. Characters are occasionally depicted nude (e.g., breasts, buttocks, male genitalia); one extended sequence depicts an out-of-focus couple having sex in the background; as players engage in turn-based battle in the foreground, sexual moaning sounds/dialogue is heard. During the course of the game, drug paraphernalia can be seen strewn around a methamphetamine lab. The words fuck, shit, asshole, and faggot can be heard in the dialogue.

From previous cases of game censorship it is probably 'the drug paraphernalia can be seen strewn around a methamphetamine lab' that caused the problems.

Update: It was the anal probe that offended the censors

20th December 2013. See  article from  vg247.com

Australian Film Classification Board South Park: The Stick of Truth has been cut by the Australian Censorship Board.

The version to be released in Australia is missing an entire interactive sequence in which the player character, among others, is subjected to anal probing by alien technology.

When Australian players reach this section, they will be confronted by an image of a crying koala accompanying a vivid text description of the events. The Board ruled that the text descriptions are allowable as humour.

This measure was implemented after the Board rejected an earlier modified version in which some elements of the scene had been toned down.

South Park: The Stick of Truth arrives on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in March.

Update: More details

20th December 2013.  See  article from  movie-censorship.com

Australian Film Classification Board South Park: The Stick of Truth has been cut by the Australian Censorship Board.

The version to be released in Australia is missing an entire interactive sequence in which the player character, among others, is subjected to anal probing by alien technology.

The scene is a homage to the very first episode of the TV series and includes that an alien probe is inserted anally into various characters within an interactive animated sequence and - mainly - with no indication of explicit or implicit consent .

The game was resubmitted in a slightly modified version. The censor's report doesn't exactly how it was changed cut it seemed that the victims of the anal probe are now sleeping or sedated and thus don't respond painfully to the probe. However this version did not allay the censor's concern about the lack of consent, and so was refused again.

In the third and successful submission, the alien probe scene was totally removed and replaced by a simple text that describes the events. It is framed by a picture that shows crying koala bears and the word CENSORED in big red letters placed right next to it.

The censors also criticised an abortion scene with an amateurishly executed abortion using a coat hanger and a vacuum cleaner. However the censors did not push this point and the scene remained unaltered.

 

17th December

 Updated: A Crazed Attack on the Australian Film Censor...

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South Australian politician asks film censor to review the 15 rating for the 2009 killing spree movie, Rampage
Link Here
Rampage DVD Brendan Fletcher Rampage is a 2009 Canada/Germany action crime horror by Uwe Boll.
With Brendan Fletcher, Shaun Sipos and Michael Paré. YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb

Summary Notes

A man with a thirst for revenge builds a full body armor from Kevlar and goes on a killing spree.

At the request of the censorial South Australian Attorney-General, John Rau, the Classification Review Board has received an application to review the classification of the film Rampage .

Rampage was classified MA 15+ with the consumer advice Strong violence by the Classification Board on 8 September 2009.

The Review Board will meet on 13 December 2013 to consider the application.

Presumably this review was for a MA 15+ being too lenient, the film was rated 18 in the UK with the consumer advice: Contains strong bloody violence.

Note: the MA15+ rating is a restricted rating that would be a 15A in UK terminology.

Update: Political interference rebuffed

17th December 2013. See  article from  classification.gov.au

australia classification review board logo A three-member panel of the Classification Review Board has unanimously determined that the film Rampage remains classified MA 15+ (Mature Accompanied) with the consumer advice Strong violence . The overall impact of the classifiable elements in the film was no higher than strong.

The Classification Review Board convened today in response to an application from the Minister, as requested by the South Australian Attorney-General, John Rau, to review the decision made by the Classification Board on 8 September 2009 to classify Rampage MA 15+ with the consumer advice ‘Strong violence’.

 

17th December

 Updated: Play Money for Personal Morality Game...

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South Australian Attorney-General squanders tax payer's money on a mass review of MA15+ games that he feels should be more repressively censored
Link Here  full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games
Deep Silver Killer Dead Limited Australia's Censorship Board will soon undertake a review of a number of MA15+ games after receiving an official request to do so from South Australia's nutter Attorney-General, John Rau.

Games to be reviewed include Killer is Dead, Alien Rage, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Blacklist, Deadly Premonition the Director's Cut, Company of Heroes 2, God Mode, Borderlands 2: Add-on Content Pack, Fuse, Deadpool, The Walking Dead, Gears of War: Judgment and The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct.

Rau feels that censorship rules for MA15+ games should be more restrictive.

Ron Curry, CEO of the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (iGEA), expressed his shock at the move.

Not only have these games already been examined against stringent guidelines, we also haven't heard of any formal complaints made by parents or adults who think the video games are wrongly classified, said Curry in a press statement. The review is an unwarranted and costly exercise to satisfy a vocal yet unrepresentative minority.

The iGEA point out that at $28,000 per review, such an exercise will cost the taxpayer $336,000.

Update: Political interference rebuffed

17th December 2013. See  article from  classification.gov.au

australia classification review board logo At the request of the South Australian Attorney-General, the Classification Review Board (the Review Board) recently reviewed the classifications of 12 computer games.

The Review Board upheld the MA 15+ (Mature Accompanied) classification for all of the 12 computer games. These titles are:

  • Killer is Dead,
  • Alien Rage,
  • Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Blacklist
  • Deadly Premonition the Director's Cut,
  • Company of Heroes 2,
  • God Mode,
  • Borderlands 2: Add-on Content Pack,
  • Fuse,
  • Deadpool,
  • The Walking Dead,
  • Gears of War: Judgment and
  • The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct.

The Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA) has welcomed the decision by the Review Board, while roundly slamming John Rau for wasting taxpayer money with a costly and unwarranted review. It's estimated that the whole process cost in excess of $330,000. Ron Curry, the head of the IGEA, said that it was a shame it had to happen.

 

10th December

  The Basic Democratic Right to Ridicule Politicians...

Australian PC extremist claims she is above ridicule and that political correctness trumps freedom of speech
Link Here
sarah hanson-young Australian Senator Sarah Hanson-Young is suing Zoo magazine for supposed defamation after it superimposed her head on to the body of a lingerie-clad model

Hanson-Young is suing the magazine for defamation over the photo and article entitled Zoo's asylum seeker bikini plan , published in July 2012. The publication came a week after her emotional address in the Senate about Australia's humanitarian intake of asylum seekers. The magazine said it would house the next boatload of asylum seekers in the Zoo office if the Greens' immigration spokeswoman would agree to a tasteful bikini or lingerie photo shoot.

Hanson-Young says the article implied that being a sex object was the only thing she was good for, that she was not a serious politician, that she was a joke , and that her stance on asylum seekers had exposed her to ridicule.

A judge has now agreed that the defamation case can proceed. The judge noted the article associated with the complaint was satirical and is calculated to hold the plaintiff up to ridicule, but it is difficult to say precisely what it imputed concerning the senator . The matter will now be heard in a civil trial next year.

 

10th December

 Offsite Article: Radio prank expands Australia's TV censor's remit...

Link Here
ACMA logoA radio prank that lead to tragic consequences may end up expanding Australia's broadcast authority's powers. By Helen Clark

See article from indexoncensorship.org

 

8th December

  Censors Hustled...

Australian film censors lower the rating for American Hustle after an appeal
Link Here
american hustle American Hustle is a 2013 USA crime drama by David O Russell.
With Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper. YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb

Summary Notes

A con man, Irving Rosenfeld, along with his seductive British partner Sydney Prosser is forced to work for a wild FBI agent Richie DiMaso. DiMaso pushes them into a world of Jersey powerbrokers and mafia.

A three-member panel of the Classification Review Board has unanimously determined that the film American Hustle is classified M (Mature) with the consumer advice Frequent coarse language .

American Hustle was previously classified MA 15+ with the consumer advice Strong coarse language by the Classification Board on 2 December 2013.

Note the Australian M rating is an advisory 15, perhaps the Americans would call it PG-15. The MA15+ rating is a restricted rating like the UK 15 rating.

And for comparison, the BBFC   passed the cinema release 15 uncut for strong language.

In the US it was Rated R for pervasive language, some sexual content and brief violence.

 

14th November

 Offsite Article: Australian 15/18 ratings vs US 17 rating vs PEGI make everything 18 rating...

Link Here  full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games
R18+Comparing Australian games censorship with ratings from ESRB and PEGI

See article from games.on.net

 

25th October

 Update: State of Decay...

Australia's Censorship Board reveals that a large proportion of its postbag were complaints about the banning of 2 computer games
Link Here  full story: Banned Games in Australia...Adult games ban
Australian Film Classification Board Australia's film and games censors has published its Annual report revealing some facts and figures about game censorship.

The Australian Classification Board considered 695 computer games during the year, with 291 receiving the G classification as suitable for viewing by anyone. 17 games received the new R18+ classification, which has been available only since the start of the year. And 2 games were banned.

Saints Row IV , in which players seek to destroy the alien Zin empire, was given the thumbs down for implied sexual violence and use of alien narcotics to increase a player's in-game skills.

The same went for State of Decay , a zombie apocalypse game in which players can use morphine, amphetamines and other drugs to enhance in-game abilities.

Censorship rules bar any sexual violence or drug use related to incentives and rewards. Both games are now available after their producers made cuts to meet the rules.

During the year, the Censorship Board received 795 complaints, the vast majority presumably from gamers objecting to the bans. Saints Row IV attracted 507 complaints, most opposing the RC rating. State of Decay prompted 270 complaints, with most opposing its ban.

Australian Film Classification Board

Australia

The Film Classification Board

The Australian state censor has responsibility for cinema, home video, video games, books and magazines.

Appeals about censorship decisions are heard by the Classification Review Board.

Film & Game Classifications

- G: (General Exhibition) These films and computer games are for general viewing.

- PG: (Parental Guidance) Contains material which some children find confusing or upsetting, and may require the guidance of parents or guardians. It is not recommended for viewing or playing by persons under 15 without guidance from parents or guardians.

- M:  (Recommended for mature audiences) Contains material that is not recommended for persons under 15 years of age.

- MA15+ (Mature Accompanied) The content is considered unsuitable for exhibition by persons under the age of 15. Persons under this age may only legally purchase or exhibit MA15+ rated content under the supervision of an adult guardian.

- R18+ (Restricted) People under 18 may not buy, rent or exhibit these films

- X18+ (Restricted) People under 18 may not buy, rent or exhibit these films. This rating applies to real sex content only

- RC (Refused Classification)Banned

Note that there is no R18+ X18+ available for games so adult games often end up getting banned much to the annoyance of gamers.

Note also that films classified as X18+ (Restricted) are banned from sale or rent in most of Australia. They can only be sold from Northern Territory and ACT (Canberra). Mail order and imports are allowed though and possession of X18+ material is legal

Publication Classifications

 - Unrestricted

- Unrestricted Mature: Not recommended for readers under 15.

- Restricted Category 1: Not available to persons under 18 years. Softcore

- Restricted Category 2 : Not available to persons under 18 years. Only to be sold in adults only shops: Hardcore

- RC: Refused Classification. Banned

Only publications that would be restricted 1 & 2 need to be submitted for censorship. There is also a scheme that magazines only need to be submitted once. Subsequent issues inherit the same rating. However later issues can be 'called in' for reassessment if anything crops up to alert the censors of changes.

Websites:
Classification Board

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