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Censorship Games

Australian AvP Ban Reversed 71

Posted by Soulskill
from the people-have-spoken dept.
Earlier this month, we discussed news that Sega's new Aliens vs. Predator video game had been refused classification in Australia, effectively banning it. After a scathing response from the developer saying they wouldn't censor the game, and later news that the classification scheme may be updated to include an R18+ rating, it now seems that the Classification Board has seen fit to give the game a green light after all. Sega's Darren Macbeth told Kotaku, "We are particularly proud that the game will be released in its original entirety, with no content altered or removed whatsoever. This is a big win for Australian gamers. We applaud the Classification Review Board on making a decision that clearly considers the context of the game, and is in line with the modern expectations of reasonable Australians."
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Australian AvP Ban Reversed

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  • by Gadget_Guy (627405) * on Friday December 18, 2009 @05:21AM (#30485110)

    First of all, this is just an example of the standard system in action, and not some amazing backflip. Any ratings decision is subject to an appeal by the publisher or any third party.

    This is also an example of how misguided the people are who think that they are protecting the children by not having an R18+ rating. Nobody would have raised an eyebrow if this had been rated R, and it would have prevented kids from buying the game. But because we have forced the Classification Board to choose between two moronic choices (give it to kids or treat everyone like kids) for a popular, mainstream title then they have to end up letting kids see things that they arguably shouldn't.

    The Classification Board would collectively jump for joy if an R18+ rating for games was finally added, as it would take enormous pressure off them.

  • by quadrox (1174915) on Friday December 18, 2009 @05:24AM (#30485122)

    The original AvP was the first 3D game I played (I think). I absolutely loved the marine campaign, because it was scary as hell. I've never been that scared in a game before or after (or pretty much in any situation).

    It might not be long, graphics may be poor, there may not be a story - but I will say that this game is still bounds better than most modern FPS, because what little is there just works so incredibly well. And the lack of story was quite ok really, because similar as in half life, the entire point of it is simply to get out of there, which increases immersion quite a lot (for me anyway).

  • by Thanshin (1188877) on Friday December 18, 2009 @06:19AM (#30485324)

    I gather you wouldn't mind watching a movie where people disappear when shot to avoid showing corpses.

    A action movie. With much shooting.

    Or a CSI episode. All gathered around an invisible corpse, talking about an invisible footprint on the invisible blood.

  • by Thanshin (1188877) on Friday December 18, 2009 @06:25AM (#30485352)

    Longest survivor wins

    But shortest survivor can run on low roofed corridors.

  • by Hadlock (143607) on Friday December 18, 2009 @07:07AM (#30485524) Homepage Journal

    it's fast becoming a nanny state

    I'm from the US, and I was under the assumption that this was the case already, with Australia following closely behind the UK with their banning of various games and censoring of the internet. It's that sort of nanny state mentality that has me looking at places like New Zealand and Canada for studying abroad, rather than AUS or the UK. Your government's totalitarian censorship isn't just hurting your citizens; it's actively creating mental roadblocks in future businessmen/women who might consider doing business with your country in the future.

  • by Madsy (1049678) <mads&mechcore,net> on Friday December 18, 2009 @07:11AM (#30485558) Homepage Journal

    I loved AvP back in 1999. Sure, the campaign was short, but there was one for each race, remember? Besides, the *real* fun was to play multiplayer via Gamespy or MPlayer. I used to play 1 vs 7 team deathmatch against my buddies with me as alien and the other team as whatever race they wanted. I won single-handedly every time because the alien was so fast. Hit'n'run tactics for the win.

    Sadly, they nerfed the alien in AvP2. That game *really* sucked. Instead of decent jumping, they added a pounce attack, which made your enemy explode, leaving no body to let you regain health. And yeah, I do agree with the franchise mix. The Alien and Predator universes are better separated than combined. I really look forward to Colonial Marines.

  • by Thanshin (1188877) on Friday December 18, 2009 @07:15AM (#30485592)

    Books contain some pretty graphic descriptions of scenes without showing them, and they're just as emotive.

    And you wouldn't mind reading a book knowing that the graphic descriptions have been censored?

    My point is that the game doesn't change; It's still a mad zombie-fest survival piece. It's not like they turned the zombies into marionettes and had the words "YOU ARE NOT SHOOTING REAL PEOPLE." emblazoned across the screen. Nor did they make it into Barbie Fun House of Horse Riding Escapades.

    It's the same game, with the same mechanics, the same plot. Gore shouldn't even be an issue.

    It's not the same game. It's the censored version of the game.

    If I remove all references to violence from a book, it's not the same book. If I censor all violence on a movie, it's not the same movie. If I censor any part of a work, it's not the same work.

    You can argue you like the censored version as much as the complete game, but that doesn't make them equal.

    It has nothing to do with whether you consider the censored part to be important or not. If I censor away all references to death in a zombie book, it can still be an interesting book, but it won't be the same book.

  • by Gordonjcp (186804) on Friday December 18, 2009 @08:43AM (#30486282) Homepage

    The US is far ahead of the UK in banning games and censoring the Internet. "Hot Coffee" wasn't an issue in the UK, only in the puritanical and prudish US.

  • by mjwx (966435) on Friday December 18, 2009 @09:24AM (#30486826)

    I'm from the US,

    Well there's your problem.

    Australia is just taking a more mature way of dealing with our problems.

    Your government's totalitarian censorship

    Right, Australia's warrantless wiretapping and "rights free" zones around our airports where TSA^H^H^H AQIS can operate with carte blanc and detain anyone for any reason is absolutely the act of a totalitarian government.

    No...
    Wait...

    That isn't my (Australian) government.

    Posts like these are a few seppo's over reacting to soundbites from some uninformed news agency and have no knowledge of what has actually happened. This is a sign of change, change that occurred through civil action, by being mature and going through the proper diplomatic channels. Wait, isn't that the hallmark of a representative government?

  • by SethJohnson (112166) on Friday December 18, 2009 @11:04AM (#30488188) Homepage Journal

    So sure, Hot Coffee wasn't an issue in the UK. They don't have the same religious fundamentalists the US has to deal with.

    The controversy in america was that the game was rated less than 'Mature 17+' and contained the racy content. In the UK it was rated for adults only, so the racy content didn't matter.

    BTW, the governmental reaction to Hot Coffee was not to 'ban' video games. Hillary Clinton and Joe Lieberman (yes, they used to be pals) tried to pass legislation that would have added governmental oversight to the voluntary rating system [wikipedia.org] in the video game industry.

    Unlike the UK, entertainment such as films, are not banned by the federal government. Check this Wikipedia explanation [wikipedia.org]:

    The United States has no federal agency charged with either permitting or restricting the exhibition of motion pictures. Most instances of films being banned are via ordinances or proclamations by city or state governments. Some are instances of films being judicially found to be of an obscene nature and subject to specific laws against such material (i.e. child pornography). Such findings are usually only legally binding in the jurisdiction of the court making such a ruling.

    The British Board of Film Classification [wikipedia.org] has the legal authority to ban films and video games in the UK. In the US, video game classification is voluntary. Clinton and Lieberman tried to create a BBFC in America as a result of Hot Coffee.

    Seth

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Friday December 18, 2009 @11:37AM (#30488694) Journal

    Get of your high horse yank. At least in other parts of the world you can show a nipple without the entire country throwing a hissy fit.

    Rather typical you make no mention of that. A country where the word fuck is not just bleeped but the mouth of the person saying it hidden behind a mosaic, lecturing the rest of the world on censorship.

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Friday December 18, 2009 @12:00PM (#30489028)
    Yeah, but the difference is in the US, the ESRB has no legal authority to ban games, neither does our film ratings association.

    The rating system is strictly voluntary, however nearly all video games are submitted for rating due to the fact that many retail stores prohibit the sale of unrated video games and the major console manufacturers will not license games for their systems unless they carry ESRB ratings.

    Theres a bit of a difference between Wal-Mart saying they won't sell your game if it doesn't have a rating and the government saying the game cannot be sold.

    The Office of Film and Literature Classification is a statutory censorship and classification body overseen by the Australian Government which included: the Classification Board which classified films, video games and publications for exhibition, sale or hire in Australia; the Classification Review Board which reviewed previously classified films, computer games and publications on appeal; and administrative staff who provided day to day support for the two Boards under the control of the Director of the Classification Board.

    In Australia though if the government doesn't like your game its banned for sale in Australia.

    While the US does have some strange and stupid restrictions on what you can put on on-air TV or radio, so long as its on a disk or downloadable it really doesn't get censored. (Unless its ZOMG CP!!!111!11!11!1). Plus, in the US books are uncensored too and the only way it is ever "censored" is if a store refuses to stock it or a publisher rejects it.

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