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29th September   

Predicting Storms...

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Chinese gamers fear that Blizzard's Diablo III will be censored
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Diablo III PC Mac DVD Western video games don't always make it big in China, but there's one developer whose name gets the attention of gamers: Blizzard.

The company is well on the way to release an action role playing game called Diablo III.

Internationally, fans are enjoying the beta, but in China, players are starting to get nervous. The game appears to be quite bloody, and fans are worried that means it will be toned-down for Chinese servers and Chinese fans will end up playing a watered-down version, just like they did with World of Warcraft .

The Chinese version of World of Warcraft was changed in a number of ways that met with displeasure from Chinese gamers and international critics. Most notably, the skeletons of the original game were covered with skin to make them --- well, not skeletons. Blood and skeletons were also cut from the Chinese version of Blizzard's latest hit, Starcraft 2 . Given that Diablo 3 is a game that takes place in hell and in which the player's ultimate goal is to kill the devil, many gamers in China feel it's a foregone conclusion that China's Diablo 3 will be censored too.

 

26th September   

Update: Ban Judged to be Overkill...

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Australian censors un-ban The House of the Dead Overkill on appeal
Link Here  full story: Banned Games in Australia...Adult games ban

House Dead Overkill Extended Cut House of the Dead: Overkill Extended Cut has been re-classified MA15+ on appeal.

A three member panel of the Classification Review Board has by unanimous decision determined that the computer game should be classified MA 15+ with the consumer advice strong horror violence, strong coarse language .

The decision overturns the ban imposed by the Film Classification Board. The Review Board convened in response to an application from Sega Australia Pty Ltd, to review the decision made by the Classification Board on 23 August 2011 for the computer game House of the Dead: Overkill Extended Cut. The Board classified the computer game RC (Refused Classification).

For perspective, the game was passed 18 uncut by the UK censors of the BBFC.

Update: Review Board Reasoning

5th November 2011. See  article from  refused-classification.com

The review board outlined their decision as follows:

It is the view of the Review Board that the violence in this computer game, occurring in a familiar fighting game format, is stylised, unrealistic and graphically relatively unsophisticated compared to other computer games available in the Australian market. Given the fantasy theme of zombie horror and the characteristics of that genre, the violence, although frequent, is justified by context. The zombies and mutants themselves and most of the combat action involving them is lacking in realistic detail and occurs at a distance rather than in close up. The zombies and mutants are visually homogeneous and with a couple of exceptions that are individually grotesque, are not humanised. Victims and blood and gore disappear within seconds from the game. The settings in Bayou City are stylised and not realistic. It is therefore the opinion of the Review Board that the cumulative impact of the violence in the game is no higher than strong and as noted above, is justified by the fantasy zombie horror, rail shooter context.

In addition, the game contains frequent strong, coarse language which is not aggressive and is used conversationally. The cumulative impact of this language is no higher than strong.

As the impact of both the violence and the language in House of the Dead: Overkill Extended Cut is strong, the game is not suitable for persons under the age of 15.

 

23rd September   

Game Transfer Phenomena...

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NHS slap down Daily Mail hype about a new direction of research into the psychology of games playing
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In the wake of Grand Theft Auto being mentioned in a murder trial, the Daily Mail seized upon a piece of research about computer gaming.

The Daily Mail reported:

How video games blur real life boundaries and prompt thoughts of violent solutions to players' problems

See  article from  dailymail.co.uk . By Jenny Hope

Daily Mail logoSome video game players are transferring their screen experiences into the real world - prompting thoughts of violent solutions to their problems, say researchers.

Fans of computers can become so immersed in their virtual environment they do things in the real world as if they were still playing.

The findings come after sailor Ryan Donovan was sentenced to 25 years in jail for shooting dead an officer on a nuclear sub to copy the violent video game Grand Theft Auto.

Researchers at Nottingham Trent University and Stockholm University have for the first time identified evidence of Game Transfer Phenomena (GTP), which results in some gamers integrating video experiences into their real lives. The study to be published in the next issue of the International Journal of Cyber Behaviour, Psychology and Learning.

The study involved 42 in-depth interviews with participants aged between 15 and 21 years old, all of whom were frequent video game players and had been recruited from gaming forums.

They thought in the same way as when they were gaming, with half of participants often looking to use something from a video game to resolve a real-life issue.

In some cases these thoughts were accompanied by reflexes, such as reaching to click a button on the controller when it wasn't in their hands, while on other occasions gamers visualised their thoughts in the form of game menus.

...

Violent solutions to real life conflicts appeared to be used by few of the players, at least in their imaginations says the study.

One 15-year-old gamer said: There (in the video game) you can get guns. This I want to do in real life, to get some guns, shoot down people. This I want to do sometimes with irritating people.

The study concluded: The close resemblance to real life scenarios in video games may have opened a 'Pandora's Box for some players.

...Read the full article

The UK's national health service has responded to this Daily Mail write up and added a much needed bit of perspective:

Video games blur reality , claims newspaper

Based on article from nhs.uk

nhs logoThe Daily Mail has today reported that video games blur real life boundaries and prompt thoughts of violent solutions to players' problems .

This headline is based on a small study exploring whether frequent video game players integrated elements of video game playing into their real lives - a theoretical process the researchers called game transfer phenomena (GTP). The study showed that most gamers experienced GTP, including experiencing brief involuntary impulses to perform actions as they would when playing a game. For example, they might try to click a button on their controller while it was not in their hand.

It is important to note that not all the players were affected by the games and the degree that people were affected varied significantly from person to person. Additionally, it is not clear from this study whether GTP was related to the game played or whether it related to the specific characteristics of individual game players. Many of the actions reported by participants were also unusual or novel, and do not provide evidence that games affect perception of behaviour. For example, one participant said that they like to pack their suitcase neatly like Tetris blocks.

Further studies will be needed to investigate whether GTP is a real, significant phenomenon and the potential link between GTP and a player's individual characteristics.

...

The Daily Mail's report covering this study tended to focus on the violent and negative aspects of game transfer phenomena (GTP) highlighted in the study. The Daily Mail presents GTP as a proven phenomenon with definite results, but the results of this interview-based study are debatable and GTP is still only a theory.

News coverage also linked the study results to a recent murder trial where video games were reportedly implicated. This angle seemed to be a confused addition to news coverage of the research, as it could suggest to readers that games were found to be the primary cause of the incident, or that they could cause ordinary people to consider murder.

...Read the full article

 

21st September   

Battlefield Whingers...

Battlefield 3 game advert cleared for slot during daytime football match
Link Here

Battlefield 3 Limited PC DVD A TV ad, for an 18 rated console game, was broadcast in April 2011. It included a rapid sequence of action scenes, in war scenarios. Characters held large guns and the scenes included gun fire, rocket fire, multiple explosions, tanks, helicopters and jets. Text on screen included 'THE BEST-LOOKING FIRST-PERSON SHOOTER TO DATE.' - DESTRUCTOID and 'BATTLEFIELD 3 IS UNNERVINGLY BEAUTIFUL.' - JOYSTIQ .

The ad was cleared by Clearcast with an ex-kids restriction, which meant it should not be shown in or around programmes made for, or specifically targeted at, children. Issue

The ASA received four complaints from members of the public, who saw the ad during a football match at 6.15 pm.

1. The complainants objected that the violence in the ad was offensive, in particular because they believed it glorified war.

2. Two of the complainants also challenged whether the ad was appropriately scheduled, because it was broadcast at a time when children might be watching.

ASA Decision

1. Complaint Not upheld

The ASA noted Battlefield 3 was a console game based in war scenarios, some of which included shooting and explosions, and that the action sequences in the ad reflected that. We also noted, however, the ad did not include any direct interpersonal violence and also showed some war situations that did not include any gunfire or explosions. We considered the graphics and the inclusion of captions from reviews, as well as the PEGI rating, made clear the ad was for a game and therefore viewers would understand the footage did not reflect real life.

We considered it was clear, particularly in the context of the other quotation on screen, that the text 'BATTLEFIELD 3 IS UNNERVINGLY BEAUTIFUL.' - JOYSTIQ formed part of a review of the product and viewers were therefore likely to interpret it as a comment on the quality of the game, rather than on war itself. We acknowledged some viewers might find the product, or the content of the ad, to be in poor taste but considered it was unlikely to be seen to condone real life violence or to glorify war. We concluded that it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

On this point, we investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 4.1 and 4.2 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.

2. Complaint Not upheld

We considered the ad did not feature scenarios that were likely to have a directly harmful influence on older children; the sequences shown were clearly fictional and were therefore unlikely to cause harm to older children by condoning violence. Because it was based on war scenarios and included shooting and explosions, we considered the ad could cause harm to younger children but that the ex-kids restriction was sufficient to ensure the ad would not be broadcast at times when younger children would be watching TV alone. We considered the ad had been appropriately scheduled and the ex-kids restriction was sufficient.

On this point, we investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 32.1, 32.3 and 32.4.8 (Scheduling of television and radio advertisements) but did not find it in breach.

 

21st September   

Plumbing the Depths...

Grand Theft Auto features in a submarine murder trial
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Grand Theft Auto IV PS3 Ryan Donovan has begun a 25-year sentence for murder after a court heard how he had repeatedly promised to unleash a massacre.

The attack finally came after a row with two officers over poorly performed cleaning duties. On the fateful day, having told colleagues he was going to kill someone, he began a guard duty stint and was handed an automatic rifle. Moment afterwards weapons engineer Lieutenant Commander Ian Molyneux was shot in the head at point blank range.

The submariner, who was said to be obsessed with gangster rap and violent computer games, admitted committing murder during a goodwill visit to Southampton by his submarine,

A year before the shooting Donovan had told fellow seaman Andrew Love that he was thinking about the best way to start a massacre in the control room. He said he wanted to stage a kill frenzy from computer game Grand Theft Auto.

 

18th September   

Update: Re-Outed...

Red Dead Redemption, Game of the Year Edition officially announced
Link Here  full story: Red Dead Redemption...Revealed too soon on the BBFC website

Red Dead Redemption Game Year The existence of the Game of the Year Edition of Red Dead Redemption was outed by an BBFC rating recently and now Rockstar has officially confirmed its existence and given a release date of 14th October.

This will be the definitive release of Red Dead Redemption including the full original game plus all the downloadable content that has been released for the game. It will also add a new hardcore single player mode.

It was classified by the BBFC as 18 uncut with the BBFC comment that the game contains: Very strong language and strong bloody violence.

The BBFC also noted 128 minutes of video footage contained within the game.

 

9th September   

Offsite: A Guessing Game...

Speculating if current MA15+ games will be reclassified as the new R18+ and whether currently banned games can be unbanned
Link Here  full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

r18 unbannedAustralia has received the green-light for an R18+ rating for video games, but many people are still unsure of what this means for them as gamers. Will this lead to MA15+ games being bumped up into the R18+ category? Will formerly Refused Classification games suddenly make it through with an R18+ rating? We looked into the Classification Act to find out.

The information provided here is based on current legislation and does not take into account what might change in the future. We also spoke with a former member of The Classification Board for some background information.

If a game has just been classified and it received an MA15+ rating when it really should have received an R18+ rating, will the introduction of the R18+ bump it from an MA15+ game to an R18+ game?

If a game has been Refused Classification, can it be re-submitted for classification when we receive an R18+ rating?

...Read the full article

 

3rd September   

Hot Research...

Competitive games more likely to cause aggression than violent games
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american psychogical association logoResearch from Brock University in Canada seems to indicate that playing highly competitive video games may lead to aggressive behavior faster than playing games with more violent content. Competitiveness, says a new study published by the American Psychological Association, may be the main video game characteristic that influences or causes aggression.

In a series of experiments lead by Paul J.C. Adachi, M.A., a PhD candidate at Brock University in Canada, video games were matched on competitiveness, difficulty, and pace of action. Researchers found that video game violence did not elevate aggressive behavior on its own. The more competitive games produced greater levels of aggressive behavior than less competitive games, no matter how much violent content was found in the games.

In one of the experiments, 42 college students played one of two video games, Conan or Fuel , for 12 minutes. Both games were even when it came to competitiveness, difficulty and pace of action, but differed in levels of violence. After participants finished playing the game, they were then told they were going to take part in a separate food tasting study. Participants had to make up a cup of hot sauce for a taster who they were told did not particularly like hot or spicy food. The participants could choose from one of four different hot sauces (from least hot to most hot) for the taster to drink. The authors found that there was no significant difference in the intensity and amount of the hot sauces prepared by the participants who played Conan and those who played Fuel. The authors concluded that video game violence alone was not sufficient to elevate aggressive behavior.

In the second experiment, 60 college students played one of four video games: Mortal Kombat versus DC Universe , Left 4 Dead 2 , Marble Blast Ultra , and Fuel . Afterward, the students completed the same hot sauce test from the first study. Electrocardiograms measured the participants' heart rates before and during video game play. On average, students who played the highly competitive games - Fuel and Mortal Kombat versus DC Universe - concocted what researchers called significantly more of a hotter sauce than participants who played Marble Blast Ultra and Left 4 Dead 2. They also had significantly higher heart rates.

Adachi concluded:

These findings suggest that the level of competitiveness in video games is an important factor in the relation between video games and aggressive behavior, with highly competitive games leading to greater elevations in aggression than less competitive games.

 

1st September   

Germany Undoomed...

Doom and Doom II video games unindexed in Germany
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Doom II 2 Hell Earth Iconic video games DOOM and DOOM 2 have received a USK 16+ rating in Germany. Both titles were previously indexed by the Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons (BPjM), which didn't quite ban them, but made for a commercial backwater due to impossibly restrictive marketing rules.

We are obviously very pleased with their decision, Bethesda Softworks VP of PR and Marketing Pete Hines told Joystiq.

Hines explained that an appeal of the indexing is allowed after 10 years, with DOOM and DOOM 2 having been released in 1993 and 1994, respectively. 

 

27th August   

Symbol of State Control...

Wolfenstein game censored from Swiss app store due to the appearance of swastikas
Link Here

BAM Wolfenstein 3D id Software has reported that Wolfenstein 3D Classic is no longer available in both the Swiss and Austrian versions of the iOS App Store.

John Carmack, technical director of id Software, tweeted: The iOS App Stores in Switzerland and Austria just lost Wolfenstein Classic due to the offensive swastikas. :-(

 

26th August   

Updated: Censorship Overkill...

Last victims of Australian ban on games for adults
Link Here  full story: Banned Games in Australia...Adult games ban

House Dead Overkill Extended Cut As the Australian Government prepares legislation to introduce a games classification for adults, Sega's zombie shooting game The House of the Dead: Overkill -- Extended Cut has been banned.

Sega Australia says it is determined to appeal the decision immediately and hope to have the classification overturned without making any changes or amends to the final game .

Sega Australia Managing Director Darren Macbeth said:

There are far worse titles currently available in the marketplace which involve more than shooting down mutants in humorous circumstances.

We will do everything we can to prove that House of the Dead: Overkill is worthy of an MA15+ rating in Australia.

The House of the Dead: Overkill -- Extended Cut had been scheduled for release in Australia on October 27. It is scheduled for release in Europe at about the same time.

Update: Reason for Ban

5th November 2011. Based on article from kotaku.com.au :

It's a particularly strange decision, considering the fact that the original Wii version was released as MA15+ without incident, but the Classification Board's issue is with a new Hardcore mode which has been added to the game.

The Hardcore game mode allows players to play in a manner that exceeds strong in impact, claims the report, engaging a headshot-only mode which results in frequent, detailed blood and gore as the zombies and mutants [sic] heads explode into bloody pieces that spread around the environment and onto the screen. The game also contains an Extra mutants mode which increases the amount of mutants the player must kill to proceed, resulting in an increased intensity and frequency of violence. In addition the game contains a baby mutant that jumps onto the screen and explodes into bloody chunks when killed.

Update: BBFC 18 uncut

See  article from  bbfc.co.uk

BBFC logo The BBFC have just passed The House of the Dead: Overkill -- Extended Cut 18 uncut. The BBFC added the comment:

Contains frequent strong bloody violence, gore and language

The BBFC also noted that the game contains 61:44s of cut scenes (insert video material).

 

13th August   

Updated: Swiss Police Recommend...

The video game Darkness II, even though there are no police in it
Link Here

darkness ii A Swiss police association is calling for a ban on The Darkness II because the game includes moments of police being shot and killed, a Swiss newspaper reports.

Politicians, game producers and sellers have been advised that such games be immediately removed from circulation, according to The Swiss Christian Police Association.

When police in England are the target of mobs running amok, it is important that police are not portrayed as the enemy, said Felix Ceccato, president of the association.

However the game's publisher, 2K Games, said: Reported stories regarding police officers in The Darkness II were erroneous. To be clear, there are no police officers in the game.

 

12th August   

Updated: Fans See Red...

Australia to get a cut version of the up 'n' coming Red Orchestra 2 game
Link Here

Red Orchestra Heroes Stalingrad DVD It seems as if the Australian version of Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad may be neutered in comparison to the rest of the world.

Hook into Steam and take a peak at your pre-order, and a helpful message will inform you that you'll be receiving the low violence version of the game.

Update: Not so cut after all

12th August 2011. See  article from  games.on.net

Red Orchestra 2 's representatives in Australia confirmed to us moments ago that the Classification Board has passed the game uncut and with no modifications, giving it an MA15+ rating for strong war violence .

This means that the game will now be sold universally, without the need for a low violence version designed around Australian audiences.

 

11th August   

Updated: Unblamed...

Evening Standard changes its mind about blaming the riots on Grand Theft Auto
Link Here  full story: A Riotous Blame Game...So what is to blame for the 2011 hoodie riots

Grand Theft Auto IV game The London Evening Standard, whose front page suggested Grand Theft Auto had inspired London's riots, later issued a reprint binning the game blame reference altogether.

The paper originally carried the blurb: Children as young as ten, inspired by video game, among the looters , along with a Lawless London headline.

However, the sub-head later switched to: Children as young as ten hunted by Police . All reference to Grand Theft Auto was also removed from the main story.

The change followed pressure from CVG's WRONG campaign, as well as other games media and outraged fans on Twitter.

...Read the full article

Update: Safermedia join in the GTA Blame Game

11th August 2011. See  article from  facebook.com

Safermedia write:

We are in the process of drawing the government's attention to the role of the media in the riots. Not the only cause, but a very significant one that must not be ignored. See how the hugely popular videogame Grand Theft Auto glamourises crime.

 

10th August   

Update: Unabstained...

Now all Australian states and territories back an adult rating for games
Link Here  full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

r18 unbanned The New South Wales Attorney General, Greg Smith, has changed his stance and decided back an R18 rating category for games. Previously he abstained from the vote.

This means that all Australian Attorneys General now back the move.

Cabinet has now given its in-principle support for the introduction of the R18+ rating.

Smith said:

Few people would dispute the value of a classification system that helps keep adult material beyond the reach of children. With strong classification guidelines in place, an R18+ rating should result in violent games currently rated MA15+ in Australia being reclassified as adults-only, as they already are in many other countries.

 

9th August   

Less Heavy Rain...

France to get a cut version of last year's Heavy Rain game
Link Here

Sony Heavy Rain PS3 A toned down version of the 2010 video game, Heavy Rain, spotted on pan-European ratings board PEGI is exclusive to France, Sony has told Eurogamer. This is just a small initiative for France only, a Sony spokesperson said.

Heavy Rain Edition Modifiee is redesigned to be suitable for those aged 16 and over only, whereas the original is PEGI 18 rated.

The uncut version of the game is BBFC 15 rated in the UK.

 

3rd August   

Oops!...

BBFC reveal classification decision that maybe they shouldn't have
Link Here  full story: Red Dead Redemption...Revealed too soon on the BBFC website

Red Dead Redemption Classics Xbox The latest batch of classification decisions included the video game, Red Dead Redemption Game of the Year Edition.

It was classified as 18 uncut with the BBFC comment: This digitalmedia contains VERY STRONG LANGUAGE AND STRONG BLOODY VIOLENCE

However it wasn't long before this BBFC website listing was removed.

Commentators are speculating that revealing this decision could be an embarrassing mistake as there seems no other information adverting this new release even though September 16th is not so far away. Perhaps it was meant to be a surprise.

trueachievements.com comment on the current Red Dead Redemption release:

If you're a fan of open-world games, and you haven't yet played this, then this is a must-have title. It is an absolute masterpiece from the makers of the critically acclaimed and controversial GTA series.

 

1st August   

Update: Games Retailer Solves Norway's Extremism Problems...

Games retailer removes violent video games from sale
Link Here  full story: Anders Behring Breivik...Is the media to blame for Norwegian killings

Call Duty Modern Warfare Xbox Norwegian retailer Coop Norway has temporarily taken 51 gaming and toy brands off its shelves in response to the murders committed by Anders Behring Breivik last month.

Breivik referred to Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and World Of Warcraft in his manifesto.

Geir Inge Stokke, director of Coop Norway Retail told the Norwegian press.

Others are better suited than us, to point to the negative effects of games like these. At the moment it's [appropriate] for us to take them down. I wouldn't be surprised if others do the same. We have to think very carefully about when to bring these goods back. The economy involved is of no importance.

Other titles removed include several other Call Of Duty titles, Homefront , Sniper Ghost Warrior , and Counter-Strike Source . Toy guns have also been taken off sale.

 

31st July   

Dangerous Games...

Two reports of deaths whilst playing games
Link Here

Watching Spending Computers Endlessly Friends A man whose son died after playing video games for long periods is campaigning for greater awareness of the risk posed by their excessive use.

Chris Staniforth, 20, who would play his console for up to 12 hours, died in May from deep vein thrombosis (DVT). DVT can form during long periods of immobility and can kill if the clots travel to the lungs.

His father David believes the condition may have been triggered by long gaming sessions. Computer records showed his son would sometimes play online on his Xbox for periods up to 12 hours.

While Staniforth has no problem with games consoles, he wants to highlight the heightened risk of DVT associated with being immobile, and is in the process of setting up a website.

Meanwhile a girl of 13 has died after suffering a heart attack while playing on her Xbox. Anna-Lee Kehoe, an asthma sufferer, suddenly stood up as she played on the games console and complained of a shortness of breath. She collapsed when she had a fatal heart attack. It seems likely that her asthma was more likely the cause then her games playing.

 

26th July   

Banning Games: A Panacea for All the Worlds Ills...

Nutters quick to exploit Norwegian killings to try and further their own morality cause
Link Here  full story: Anders Behring Breivik...Is the media to blame for Norwegian killings

Call Duty Modern Warfare Xbox Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian mass murderer described the video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 as part of my training-simulation in his 1500-page manifesto published online just before the massacre.

The development has predictably led the Australian Christian Lobby to call for games to be banned if the violence is excessive or gratuitous.

The Australian federal government have said that Breivik committed the atrocities because there is something clearly intrinsically wrong with him , not because he played violent video games.

NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge said Modern Warfare 2 , rated MA15+, is one of the games that should be reviewed to have a more restricted R18+ rating.

In his manifesto entitled 2083: A European Declaration of Independence, Breivik described his addiction to the online multiplayer game World of Warcraft and claimed it was a good cover story to explain what he was doing while plotting the attacks.

Breivik described the game Call of Duty, Modern Warfare as the best military simulator out there , said he usually preferred fantasy role-playing games to shooters but I see MW2 more as a part of my training-simulation than anything else . I've still learned to love it though and especially the multiplayer part is amazing. You can more or less completely simulate actual operations, he wrote.

On World of Warcraft, Breivik said you will be amazed on how much you can do undetected while blaming this game . If your planning requires you to travel, say that you are visiting one of your WoW friends, or better yet, a girl from your 'guild' (who lives in another country). No further questions will be raised if you present these arguments.

Australia's Minister for Home Affairs, Brendan O'Connor was asked on ABC's Insiders about the link between video games and the Oslo shooting. O'Connor said it would not change his support for the R18+ rating for video games, which he argued would prevent adult video games from slipping through as MA15+ or lower:

At the moment the most popular adult-themed games that are played only lawfully by adults around the world are played by 15 year olds here.

But look, because there is a madman who has done just such atrocities in Norway, I don't think that means that we are going to close down film or the engagement with games, he said.

I think it really points to, of course, a person who - clearly there is something wrong with this person to sort of cause such devastation in Norway. But I'm not sure that the argument goes that as a result of watching a game you turn into that type of person. I think there is something clearly intrinsically wrong with him.

The Australian Christian Lobby managing director Jim Wallace criticised O'Connor over his remarks and said that if even a few deranged minds could be taken over the edge by an obsession with violent games then the game should be banned.

The studied indifference of this killer to the suffering he was inflicting, his obvious dehumanising of his victims and the evil methodical nature of the killings have all the marks of games scenarios, said Wallace.

How can we allow the profits of the games industry and selfishness of games libertarians to place our increasingly dysfunctional society at further risk? Even if this prohibition were to save only one tragedy like this each twenty years it would be worth it.

 

22nd July   

Update: Australia Grows Up...

Law makers finally decide to introduce an adult rating for games
Link Here  full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

r18 unbanned Australia's federal government has announced Australia will introduce the long-awaited R18+ classification for video games, saying the process will only take a couple of months.

Australia's federal, state, and territory ministers met at their Standing Committee of Attorneys-General meeting (SCAG) to discuss the fate of the adult rating. Despite NSW being the only state to abstain from the vote on R18+, all other eight jurisdictions agreed to its introduction once the proposed guidelines are approved by the respective cabinets.

Federal Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor said that he would go ahead and introduce the R18+ classification for games at a federal level, and it would then be up to each state and territory to decide whether or not it adopts it.

O'Connor says it may now only be a matter of months before the adult rating is introduced. The proposed R18+ draft guidelines were once again amended at the meeting, changes that require some jurisdictions to seek approval from their respective cabinets. Once this is done, the federal government will begin drafting the legislation necessary to introduce the R18+ classification for games.

 

18th July   

Update: Playing Silly Games...

Australian censorship ministers looking to derail gaming for adults
Link Here  full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

R18+ banned Aussie adult gamers are looking upon this Friday's Standing Committee of Attorneys-General meeting (SCAG) as D-day for gaming classification in Australia, with all nine federal, state and territory censorship ministers voting on the introduction of an R18+ classification for games.

It now appears that the decision will be delayed again, with at least one attorney-general planning to abstain from taking part in the R18+ vote. The New South Wales Attorney-General's department is declaring that the NSW Attorney-General Greg Smith will not be voting on the R18+ for games issue: We're not going down a definitive route, a spokesperson for Smith told GameSpot AU. More work needs to be done on this issue. We want to wait to see the results of the ALRC [Australian Law Reform Commission] classification review.

If Smith takes this position at the SCAG meeting on Friday, it will mean the R18+ for games decision will once again be delayed. For an adult classification for games to be introduced, all of Australia's state, territory, and federal governments must unanimously agree on its implementation.

The ALRC review is currently underway, and is not set for completion until at least early 2012.

Meanwhile South Australia Attorney-General John Rau has said that the state will drop the country's MA15+ rating for videogames in favour of an R18 rating, irrespective of any rulings at the Australian commonwealth level.

In this inane scheme there will be no classification option between PG and 18.

Spokesperson for the opposition Liberal party, Stephen Wade, called the move bizarre and unfair to local retailers, reports newspaper The Australian: The Attorney-General has indicated that he appreciates that people will continue to access games, through downloading them and through mail order. So it would be clearly an unfair impost on South Australian retailers at a time we are very aware of the competition between the online retail marker and the shopfront retail market.

 

14th July   

Censors Call Truce in their War Against Games...

Gears of War 3 surprisingly passes German censors unscathed
Link Here
Gears War 3 Xbox 360 In an ironically negative news item, Gears of War 3 has made the news for NOT being censored in Germany.

Gears of War 3 will become the first game in the series to see a German release, after the fun-loving chaps at the German Bundesprufstelle fur Jugendgefahrdende Medien (BPJM) ratings board approved the full version of the game for release.

Publisher Microsoft Game Studios opted not to release the first two Gears titles in Germany due to its strict laws concerning violence in games. Many games have to be severely cut in order to be approved for release in Germany, or risk being subject to the dreaded indexing process. This involves a marketing blackout, and forbids German stores to display copies on their shelves, or even promote the fact that an indexed game is available for sale.

This means that just like their neighbors in the rest of Europe, German gamers over the age of 18 will be free to buy Gears of War 3 when it's released this September.

In the UK, Gears of War 3 was passed 18 uncut with the BBFC comment: Contains strong bloody violence.

 

8th July   

Update: Upskirts Nonsense...

Dead or Alive Dimensions uprated from PG to M in New Zealand
Link Here

Dead Alive Dimensions Nintendo 3DS A video game containing violence and partial nudity has had its PG rating upgraded to an M classification by chief censor Andrew Jack.

Nintendo's 3DS game Dead or Alive: Dimensions bypassed New Zealand classification as it had already been classified PG overseas.

Dr Jack called the game in for re-classification last month after the Waikato Times alerted his office to its content. He subsequently issued an instruction that copies must carry an M label and a note indicating it contains violence and nudity.

The game temporarily banned in Australia before receiving a higher rating can be switched to figure mode , which allows players to dress or undress female characters and photograph them from any angle, including up their skirt.

The Office of Film and Literature Classification found a small number of partial glimpses of cleavage, buttocks, thighs or underpants but they were not in significant detail to warrant a rating above M. It concluded the game was designed for a mature audience at least 16 years old. An M rating, however, does not restrict its sale to minors as it is only an advisory.

 

6th July   

Update: Playing a Weak Game So far...

Call for more gamers' contributions to Australia's censorship review
Link Here  full story: Australian Censorship Review... Reviewing censorship law for all media

australian law reform commission logo kotaku.com.au writes:

The closing date Submissions to the Issues Paper for the Australian Law Reform Commission is July 15 yet, despite being open since the middle of May, there are currently only 80 completed submissions. Time is running out.

Let's get motivated! These are important issues, and paramount to the way classification will be rebuilt post the Australian Law Reform Commission's report early next year.

For details and submissions see:

 

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