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First Person Shooters (Games) Your Rights Online

Possible Half Life 2 Troubles in Australia 106

Posted by Zonk
from the aussies-have-laws dept.
Voodoo Extreme put up a quick piece on possible legal troubles HL2 may face in Australia. "In Australia, no games have been accepted if they fit into the R(18+) category, so this means HL2 needs to fit into at most the highest category of MA(15+), or it will be refused classification."
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Possible Half Life 2 Troubles in Australia

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  • Censored version? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pan T. Hose (707794) on Monday October 25, 2004 @01:39PM (#10623055) Homepage Journal
    If releasing a censored version of Half Life 2 turns out to be the only option in Australia, wouldn't it be catastrophic? It might mean that instead of buying the censored version, kids will rather download the real thing from the Internet. Aren't such restrictions quite pointless in general? Because less sales mean not only less profits for Australian retailers, but also less taxes for the Australia itself.
  • Some things (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ADRA (37398) on Monday October 25, 2004 @01:47PM (#10623141)
    I think this is purly agism between the older law makers and the 18-36 type demographics. Do these law makers really believe that adults don't/shouldn't play video games? Are the laws really that out of date? Really, Adults playing video games have been well established for at least 20 years, and adult themed games have been out of just as long. As long as there's a niche, there's a way.

    Anyways, why can't they just treat the games like movies and have bold warnings on the package and allow the reatailers to self-enforce the restrictions on child use of video games?

    When I begged my mom to buy me a leisure suit larry when I was like 15 she sould read the box and say no, this is smut. I don't know why we can't live with that in today's protectionist world...
  • by clarkcox3 (194009) <slashdot@clarkcox.com> on Monday October 25, 2004 @02:07PM (#10623347) Homepage
    But the law isn't just saying that the game shouldn't be allowed for children. It's saying that it shouldn't be allowed at all; so the analogy to pornography isn't valid.
  • Re:Australia hah (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ripsnorta (697485) on Monday October 25, 2004 @02:24PM (#10623619)
    Well, a little bit I agree.

    But... nowhere as near conservative as the residents of the USA. Some examples...

    Janet Jacksons boobie would have raised some eyebrows, but would have caused nowhere near the shitstorm that occured in the US.

    TV after 9pm is about as unrestricted as you can get. While some stations blank words and edit content, thats somewhat optional, and you'll still see quite a few titties and hear a bit of cussin too! And... when someone gives someone else the finger, it doesn't get blurred out!

    The big difference between Oz and the US is that the US has this neat little constitional thingy that lets people say what they want (within reason.) Australians, while no one restricts the right of free speech, actually have no guarantee that it won't be restricted by an act of parliment.

    We also have a fairly conservative government in power at the moment, and up to a short time ago, the balance of power in the senate was held by a very conservative senator who wanted all sorts of restrictions on the internet. Unfortunately pro-censorship issues get far more consideration than they deserve in this sort of political climate.

  • by JVert (578547) <corganbilly@NOSPAm.hotmail.com> on Monday October 25, 2004 @03:57PM (#10624851) Journal
    My problem is its pointless.

    There is just no way to actually enoforce people activating. I can't think of a single game that you can't get a crack for playing without using the CD for singleplayer mode.

    There is just no point, if someone knows enough to burn a copy of a CD for a friend then he knows enough to go to gamecopyworld and add the patch to the disk.

    So instead of calling a truce they just want to dig their heels in deeper. Frankly i'm offended they are wasting their efforts on activation that will not make my game any cheaper because it does nothing for piracy.
  • by horsebutt (714262) on Monday October 25, 2004 @05:14PM (#10625782)
    Well, being an aussie my self I cannot see this happening.

    The rating rules in australia are not as harsh as the american rules. Yes it is true that we dont have r18+ and XXX. But many of the games that get a 17/18+ rating in america get a 15+ rating here.

    The did have to censor GTA3 to remove the ability to have sex with prostitues then beat them to death. But I really dont think that is going to happen in HL2.

    HL2 will pass just fine and this article is just a person trying to make news by starting a rumour about someting totally unlikely.
  • Shadow Warrior (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TheLoneIguana (126589) on Monday October 25, 2004 @05:16PM (#10625812)
    Didn't 3DRealms have a similar problem with Shadow Warrior some years ago? Something about having to convert the throwing stars to darts...
    As I recall they had a patch on their web site that unlocked the game. Seemed a clever way to circumvent the censorship.
  • by Tarison (600538) on Monday October 25, 2004 @06:46PM (#10626609)
    I'm sure you're fishing, but what the hell. I live in Australia, and own PGR2. I bought it at a store, without doing any shady backroom deals, so I'm not sure where you get your info. Technically, we're supposed to have banned Manhunt, but you can still buy it, or could until about a month ago. It's true my country did ban the recent leisure suit larry (though from what I've seen in reviews, that may have been a good thing anyway), but when games such as Doom 3, Manhunt, etc do make it through, I don't see HL2 getting stopped.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @02:35AM (#10629025)
    Do games in Australia have to have a rating to be sold legally?

    Would any retailer in their right mind refuse to sell Half Life 2 because it doesn't have a tiny little box on it that tells people it's rating?

    Would it be illegal (in Australia, which probably has no legal authority over Valve) for Valve to sell uncensored versions of the game over Steam?

    Won't this just drive all the gamers to buy the game over steam instead, thus pissing off Vivendi or wheoevr is publishing it in Australia, and then getting them to lobby against this rating system which is costing them sales?

    I wonder if Valve has any contractual obligation to produce a game which can be legally sold within Australia... if not, more power to Steam...
  • by trawg (308495) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @08:39AM (#10630215) Homepage
    This article is based on a box shot of Half-Life 2 that shows an 18+ rating in the UK.

    As others have posted, there is no comparable rating in Australia. However, this DOES NOT IMMEDIATELY IMPLY that Half-Life 2 will face any problems.

    Searching the Euro classification database [pegi.info] shows that a bunch of games got Euro 18+ ratings, but were released (unaltered) with an MA15+ (the highest .au rating). Soldier of Fortune 2 is a good example.

    Most of the Australian concerns are because the OFLC (Office of Film and Literature Classification, the body responsible in Australia for ratings) have refused classification in the past for some titles - most notably, Grand Theft Auto titles and recently the new Leisure Suit Larry game. These titles had problems ONLY because of the sexual aspect (in particular with GTA the combination of sex and violence - specifically, the fact that you can nail a hooker, and then.. uh.. nail her).

    It is _hugely_ unlikely that Half-Life 2 will suffer any classification problems unless it contains heaps of sexually explicit content (or messages of racial hatred, etc, etc) - which one can almost certainly safely assume is not going to happen.

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