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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 QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Friday December 18, 2009 @06:10AM (#30485074) Homepage Journal

    Hey, it took a lackluster title to refuse to water down their game, most likely because they have no more budget to do so and had no expected sales to lose, but if it results in real change for good games in the future, so be it.

  • by baronvoncarson (1684844) on Friday December 18, 2009 @06:23AM (#30485116)
    We wont. Zombies look too much like humans. It's the doublestandards of our rating system. On the one hand a game where you kill zombies gets banhammer, but on the other hand a game you play as a terrorist (MW2) and can decapitate living humans, not zombies (AvP), get the MA15+ rating. Our country is so far behind the times with it's rating system and it's fast becoming a nanny state. Hopefully some kids get this game and parents see how violent it is and it causes some pissed off mums to get vocal. It might actually help us get our long awaited R18+ rating.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 18, 2009 @08:09AM (#30485546)

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

    It shouldn't be, but it is. Having played both, I can definitely say the uncut version provides a better experience. The full version is more immersive, it's a far better example of the whole wading-knee-deep-through-zombie-corpses experience that the genre is all about. In comparison, the censored version feels... sterile, and bland. And it's not even the gore, to be honest - the #1 problem for me is the disappearing corpses. It's not quite a flashing sign saying "YOU ARE NOT SHOOTING REAL PEOPLE", but has the same effect. You don't notice the difference when you're trapped in an alley being swamped by 2 separate hordes and your friend is pinned and your down to your last clip - you're way too busy to notice anything much then. But once you get through the fight and stop to catch your breath, when you look around and see a pristine environment where you know that you personally took down dozens of the damn things... it just feels wrong.

    (And on a purely practical gameplay note, having the corpses disappear on you makes it far easier to get turned around in the middle of a big firefight and start heading back the way you came instead of moving on - with the uncut version, it's always dead simple to tell where you've been...)

  • by mjwx (966435) on Friday December 18, 2009 @10:32AM (#30486918)

    From my understanding, the lack of an F18+ rating is entirely the fault of a single legislator.

    Absolutely, one attorney general has stopped the F18 Hornet from being made available in Australia.

    Jokes aside (The RAAF now consist of 70 odd F18 strike fighters) yes, one state attorney general prevents the "Restricted" (R18+) rating that exists for movies and literature from being legislated for video games. The system evolved from each state wanting control over the ratings system, so it was made that each vote had to be unanimous. Right now the South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson (the "legislator" in question) is being dragged through the mud buy almost everyone (media, internet, his own party) over allegations of corruption. It seems unlikely Mr Atkinson will survive but will keep his* views to the bitter end.

    * I'm certain that I don't have to explain politics to /. but when a politician becomes as powerful as Mr Atkinson then he has done so with the support of certain smaller groups, occasionally these groups call in favours. Atkinson is known to have a lot of support from extremist Christian groups in SA, whether it is or isn't Mr Atkinson's view he has to obey his masters.

  • by RevWaldo (1186281) on Friday December 18, 2009 @12:38PM (#30488710)
    In the great documentary on the United States' MPAA film review board, This Film is Not Yet Rated [wikipedia.org], one of the talking heads makes the argument that - in a fully functional democracy at least - government review boards may actually be preferable to private industry review boards (which are usually created to preempt the creation of government review boards in the first place.)
    The argument is that although government review boards have the law on their side, they are at least accountable, either to the will of the people (legislative) or the country's constitution (judicial). You could in theory force the review board to make or alter their decisions or decision-making process through legislation or judicial review. Government review boards can be required to have a certain level of openess on the review process, who does the reviews, and so on.
    Private review boards, on the other hand, are accountable to no one, aside from the industry that sponsors them. They can have byzantine rules, secretive and subjective review processes, anonymous review boards, and no one can say boo about it. You can go unrated of course, but your product can effectively be stonewalled by the industry or the third parties that support it. In the case of films, unrated or NC-17 films have trouble getting into theaters, getting newspaper or TV ads, and may not get the full backing of the studio that produced it.
    Regarding video games, can you even legitimately release a game in the US for any of the the big consoles without an ESRB rating?

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