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Games Censorship in Australia


Censorship rules for games


 

Updated: A censorship mystery...

The Australian Censorship Board has banned the video game Disco Elysium: The Final Cut


Link Here 29th March 2021
Disco Elysium: The Final Cut is the latest video game in a long line of censorship casualties in Australia.

The game launches on March 30th for PlayStation and Stadia owners but the Australian government has banned it from sale in the country.

The Australian Censorship Board hasn't specified exactly why Disco Elysium's been banned and developer ZA/UM has yet to publicly respond on this. However the core gameplay mechanics prominently include drugs and alcohol and which is a bit of a no-no for the country's censors.

 

Update: Criticising Australia's archaic games censorship

29th March 2021. Thanks to Daniel. See article from theguardian.com

The banning of video game Disco Elysium from sale in Australia has renewed calls for the Australian government to overhaul the classification system to move away from the moral panic associated with video games.

The chief executive of the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association, Ron Curry, told Guardian Australia:

Games are treated differently and the classification guidelines do not hide it. In spite of the government's own research to the contrary, when an R18+ classification was introduced for games they still insisted on making interactivity a determinant in classifying games, unlike film and publications.

There are also other restrictions levelled at games around violence, sex, drug use and incentives that aren't applied to film.

The sad reality is that the national classification system applies a stricter set of rules for video games than it does for pretty much every other kind of content, reflecting the early 1990s era in which those rules were written, when video games were associated with a moral panic and certainly not treated as the mainstream medium and artistic discipline that they are.

The Australian Lawyers Alliance said in a submission to a public consultation on the government's upcoming internet censorship bill named the Online Safety Bill:

The online classification system needed review, which should be done before the online safety bill passes. This bill should not be reliant on such an outdated classification system. The ALA therefore submits that this legislation should not proceed until such a review into the [classification scheme], incorporating community consultation, has been undertaken.

 

 

No guts at the Australian Censorship Board...

Australia's game censors ban the Blood and Guts Bundle for Nintendo Switch


Link Here 2nd August 2020
Blood and Guts Bundle is a 2020 trilogy of arena fight games from Digerati

The Blood and Guts Bundle for Nintendo Switch has been banned in Australia under the automated International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) system. Decision was in March, but has only recently been added to the National Classification Database.

The automated system is pretty much a random rating generator, so perhaps the delay is down to going back to the old manual way of rating games.

In the US the game is M (17) rated by the ESRB for blood and gore, use of drugs, violence.

The Promotional Material gives a flavour of the game:

Satisfy your lust for carnage with three gloriously gratuitous games! This bundle contains:

Slain: Back from Hell . A heavy metal inspired arcade combat game with stunning pixel art visuals, challenging old school gameplay and gore galore. Plus the most metal soundtrack you've ever heard!

Slayaway Camp: Butcher's Cut : A killer puzzle game and darkly comic homage to 80s horror movies where you control Skullface, a homicidal slasher hell-bent on revenge.

Super Blood Hockey : Arcade sports gaming gets a shot of adrenaline in this violent homage to classic 8- and 16-bit ice hockey games. Use fast-paced skills and bone-crunching brutality to dominate.

 

 

Australian government considers relaxing drug laws...sort of...

In light of Australian games censorship rules by overturned by the appeals board, the government is now considering 'modernising' its games censorship rules


Link Here11th July 2018
In the light of Australia's Classification Review Board overturning the Classification Board's ban of the video game We Happy Few , the Australian government is now considering whether games censorship rules need 'modernising'.

The Department of the Communications and the Arts has confirmed that talks have begun to modernise the classification guidelines. Any adjustment to the classification guidelines for computer games must be agreed by classification ministers in all Australia's states and territories. The department also said it will consult extensively with industry stakeholders and communities.

We Happy Few an indie game, was initially banned over the prominence of the drug Joy, which underpins the game's dystopian society by being used as a method of controlling the populace. The Board's initial finding found that the presence of Joy violated the clause on incentivised drug use:

The games developer appealed against the ban and the Classification Review Board - a separate statutory body the unanimous overturned the Classification Board's original ban resulting in an adults-only R18+ classification.

The department did not provide a timeline as to when said discussions might take place.




 

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