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Aussie Gamers Dress As Zombies To Raise R18+ Awareness 85

Posted by samzenpus
from the know-we'll-get-to-common-ground-somehow dept.
swandives writes "Australian gamers will dress as zombies to raise awareness about the lack of an R18+ rating for video games in the country. The protest will begin at Hyde Park Fountain on March 27 and lumber through Sydney, raising awareness of the need for a higher classification rating and hopefully causing a bit of havoc at the same time! Computerworld Australia has pictures of previous zombie protests in the lead-up to the event. Australia has a long history of lobbying for an R18+ games classification but, even after a decade, video games are banned from sale if they exceed the maximum M15+ classification. So far, the list of banned titles includes 7 Sins, Risen, Left 4 Dead 2 and Dark Sector. Others, like Alien vs. Predator, were initially banned but appealed the rating and are now MA15+."

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Aussie Gamers Dress As Zombies To Raise R18+ Awareness

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  • Left 4 Dead 2? (Score:3, Informative)

    by VGPowerlord (621254) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @01:52PM (#31511898)

    I thought Left 4 Dead 2 was censored enough [kotaku.com] after its initial rejection to receive an M15+ in Australia.

    • by srjh (1316705)

      Yes, the game was banned, and a bowdlerised version was released in its place. I don't see an inaccuracy.

      That ends up happening with most games, doesn't mean we're allowed to buy the originals.

  • Whoa, really? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @01:53PM (#31511910) Homepage

    Dark Sector was banned? That's a shame. I know it amounts to nothing more than a Gears of War/Resident Evil 4 ripoff in terms of overall design, but it's seriously one of the most underrated games of this generation. Personally, I think it looks and plays better than Gears of War, and in some parts even ups the intensity (although it's scale is smaller than GoW). It has its problems, but it is still one hell of a fun game to play.

    Screw the reviews you have read...if you enjoy third person shooting games in any capacity, you are doing yourself a massive disservice by not playing Dark Sector.

    • It really was a surprisingly fun game to play. Nice graphics, smooth play. and the glave!
    • by LuNa7ic (991615)
      Dark Sector was banned? I got it for free on the coverdisc of PC Powerplay (an Australian Gaming Magazine).
  • Brains......
  • What we really need (Score:5, Interesting)

    by calibre-not-output (1736770) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @02:01PM (#31512058) Homepage
    is to be done with this ridiculous system of rating and censoring everything. For fuck's sake, forcing every parent to agree with a committee on what is appropriate for their children is ridiculous.

    I'd sooner ban idiots who tell my kids they'll go to an eternal afterlife of torment unless they have the same imaginary friend as the leader Third Twice-Reformed Baptist Church of the Three-Sided Square Circle than a game about a blue hedgehog who likes to jog.
    • by Pojut (1027544) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @02:16PM (#31512396) Homepage

      I'm going to take a shot in the dark and go ahead on assuming that you are on the young side.

      The game rating system (aside from the "Adults Only" debacle, which honestly isn't much of a problem anymore) has been hugely successful. The ratings system for games isn't meant to be something that parents follow word for word, it is just a clear and easy to understand system they can use to determine whether they want their child playing something or not. Even though it is changing, a lot of parents still aren't gamers, and will have no way of knowing whether a game is appropriate for their kids or not. Knowing that a game has different levels of violence, language, or sexual content helps them make a decision without trying the game first themselves.

      Personally, I wouldn't care what my kid played so long as they could demonstrate to me that they understand the difference between a video game and real life...but most parents don't feel that way. Knowing the media that their kids are consuming is important to them, and game ratings help them to do that.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @02:55PM (#31513160)

        Sorry, you must confusing Australia's system with that of a sane country. Rating games to inform parents about the content within is a great idea, but Australia took it one step further and established a system under which games denied classification cannot be sold, even to adults.

        • by Pojut (1027544)

          Ah, my mistake...I saw "game ratings" and instantly thought of the ESRB ratings here in America (despite the fact that the freakin' article was about Australia). ::slaps self:: sorry about that.

          I agree, the classification system in Australia is completely whacked.

      • by calibre-not-output (1736770) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @03:22PM (#31513614) Homepage
        If the rating were content to describe what potentially objectionable content each game features (cartoon violence, sexual innuendo, &c) it would be fine. But instead they decide what age that content is suitable for, and discriminate the content seemingly as an afterthought, written in small type beneath the large-type "minimum age".

        I have nothing against a purely informative system, like the one Syberz described in his reply to my parent post. But in some places (Australia is among the most radical, but also Brazil, where I live) the rating is used as a base for deciding which games are legal to purchase, even for adults. You're right in your assumption that I am younger, however I feel that you would agree with me if you were banned by a store employee from buying a product that you want and are legally entitled to purchase because you happened to be accompanied by your (legal minor) younger brother and store policy is to not sell that product to anyone accompanied by a minor. And why is that the store policy? Because the people who inspect and enforce these rules are too stupid to understand that yes, I play games in my free time too, and no, that doesn't make me a criminal just because I live in the same house as a minor.
        • by Pojut (1027544)

          Again, I immediately thought of the rating system here in America...elsewhere in the world, I agree, it is badly implemented.

          however I feel that you would agree with me if you were banned by a store employee from buying a product that you want and are legally entitled to purchase because you happened to be accompanied by your (legal minor) younger brother and store policy is to not sell that product to anyone accompanied by a minor. And why is that the store policy? Because the people who inspect and enforce these rules are too stupid to understand that yes, I play games in my free time too, and no, that doesn't make me a criminal just because I live in the same house as a minor.

          Luckily, the general rule to not sell "M" rated games to minors here in the State's happened after I already turned 18, so I never had to deal with that (I turn 26 next month.)

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Well, that's not so much of a problem with the general rule as it is with interpreting it. In the example above, I was of legal age, but was perceived as buying the game for a minor by someone who had no legal authority or obligation to make that sort of judgment even if I were.
            • by Pojut (1027544)

              Looking at it from the employee's point of view, they were likely just being overly careful. I dealt with similar problems buying wine for my parents because an underage friend was with me. I realize that alcohol and video games are very different from a legal point of view, but still.

              I completely understand what you are getting at, and I understand your frustration...but again, the employee was likely just thinking about their job. I know here in the States if an employee of Gamestop sells an M-rated ga

              • Which wouldn't be a problem if (a) the employees and managers understood the legislation better (this is a matter of general education that would fix the interpretation issue but is outside the scope of this article and discussion) or (b) the rating merely indicated content to help the buyer decide what to purchase, instead of an age cap determined subjectively by total strangers - which leads me back to my original point, that it's none of the committee's business how old someone is who plays the game, so
      • The game rating system (aside from the "Adults Only" debacle, which honestly isn't much of a problem anymore) has been hugely successful. The ratings system for games isn't meant to be something that parents follow word for word, it is just a clear and easy to understand system they can use to determine whether they want their child playing something or not.

        A friend of mine worked in a video game shop. He used to have parents with, say nine or ten year old children in tow, come up to him with a game like "LittleBigPlanet" which was rated as 7+. They would then ask him "Is this too babyish for him?" or "Is he[the child] too old for this?". My friends efforts to dissuade them were met with dubious looks. Often, the child would saunter up with a 12+ or 15+ title and wave it about, usually with rhetoric along the lines of "Well DAVE has this game!" or "Timmy's parent let him have this". The parent would then purchase the higher age rated title (usually inferior) confident in the knowledge that it couldn't possibly be "too babyish" for their growing youngster.

        There were a couple of funny stories along this line though. One day, one of these pairs came in looking to buy "Grand Theft Auto:San Andreas"(18); my friend decided to have a little fun. He informed the parent that the game she was buying contained scenes of extreme violence, gore, brutality--and here he proceeded to really embellish the content--, you could run people over, kill them with baseball bats, shoot their dead bodies, commit murder, burglary, arson, kill policemen,--here he went off the rails altogether--,kill children, kill animals, kidnap people, and see brains and guts strwn about everywhere. The woman only nodded and said, "Sure, he'll be alright. His friend has it anyway".

        About to ring it up, he then dropped the bomb. "You do know as well that, the game has some...sexual content.". The woman's face contorted and she began to slowly recoil. "Well! I did not. He's not getting that so!". Amid protestations from her ward, the woman paced the game back on the shelf and walked out of the shop. My friend said the look the child gave him as it was dragged out of the shop was worth it alone.

        Your morals, are not my morals, and they are not the morals of most other people. People have their own morals. If your 18s game has heads getting blown off, some people will quite happily give it to their ten year olds. If your 7s game has a character in a miniskirt, or two characters kissing, some people won't let their 14 year old play it. Yet more people look on your ratings as recommended age ratings, not minimum age ratings. Putting those numbers on the boxes does nothing but placate the outrage brigade; it doesn't help real people make purchasing decisions, or at least, help them in the way you have intended. Even indicators like the PEGI, Violence/Sex/Discrimination/Gambling logos are of little help as they are often inappropriately applied or give the wrong connotations.

        Giving video games age ratigns is like trying to give clothes in a shop window age ratings. It's doomed to failure no matter how its done. People are individuals and they should be entitled to buy clothes for themselves and their children as they see fit, and not have someone else's morals thrust upon them from on high. I've trotted this one out before, but Ratchet and Clank for years had a 12+ rating in Europe, despite the creators stated objective to be the video game equivalent of a Pixar film. The most recent title has a 7+ rating, and I shudder to think of the self censorship the team had to go through to secure that rating.

        Content suffers from censorship. People aren't help by censorship. Good games are not purchased because of censorship. Children are not protected by censorship. The only people who win from censorship are the censors, and they are the very people who our society should not allow to triumph. We don't need video game censorship, at least not in its current form.

        • by Pojut (1027544)

          In the US, unless a game gets an Adult Only rating (which, aside from porn games, pretty much never happens anymore) it isn't "censored" by its rating...and as far as I know, there are no laws about selling M-rated games to minors...most stores just won't do it. Besides, with the advent of the Internet and things like Steam, not being able to buy a game because you are "underage" is mostly a thing of the past.

          As far as the sex vs violence thing, feh...I would much rather my young child see a titty getting

          • by tlhIngan (30335)

            In the US, unless a game gets an Adult Only rating (which, aside from porn games, pretty much never happens anymore) it isn't "censored" by its rating...and as far as I know, there are no laws about selling M-rated games to minors...most stores just won't do it. Besides, with the advent of the Internet and things like Steam, not being able to buy a game because you are "underage" is mostly a thing of the past.

            Not really. Steam requires a credit card, so whoever's doing the purchasing is already 18+, or is a

        • While I agree with your last paragraph, the anecdotes in the rest of your post are examples of dumb parents, not a problem with the rating system.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Content suffers from censorship. People aren't help by censorship. Good games are not purchased because of censorship. Children are not protected by censorship. The only people who win from censorship are the censors, and they are the very people who our society should not allow to triumph. We don't need video game censorship, at least not in its current form.

          Jesus, could you get a more narrow and simplistic opinion?

          OK, imagine if there were no ratings on games. None. Not even just advisory ratings. What wo

        • What you describe seems to be congruent with a situation I noticed when i was about 13. I was living in the US with my parents (we are all born and raised Norwegians) and the movies "American Pie" and "The Matrix" had just come out. My dad gave me AP on VHS, and my friends thought I was the coolest kid with the coolest parents ever. None of their parents let them see that movie, too much sex and swearing. However, they were baffled when I told them I wasnt allowed to see the Matrix because of all the viole
      • by Ihmhi (1206036)

        It'd be way more informative to have samples of gameplay (authorized by the ESRB so they're not misleading) up on YouTube. Better to see *why* it's rated M instead of it's just "M".

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jsled (11433)

      What we also really need is for people to understand that not only children play video games.

    • by Syberz (1170343)

      I think that the rating system could be a wonderful tool for parents.

      The problem is that the rating systems should only be there for informational purposes, not to prevent the sale of anything or as a censoring mechanism. Let the developpers make the game that they want then let the consumers make a decision as to whether or not they want to purchase the product by offering them the proper information to do so.

      • by hedwards (940851)
        The only problem is that these are games. Apart from the ones that are completely linear in content, these aren't as easy to categorize as movies are. Games like the Fallout series for instance are very difficult to rate properly since so much can happen in them and some of the results aren't obvious unless you happen upon one particular event.

        That being said rating TV and movies is enough of a challenge. Prior to MASH no movies rated R could contain any cursing, but somehow the censors missed a single u
  • by ProteusQ (665382) <dontbother.nowhere@com> on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @02:03PM (#31512102) Journal

    I can't think of anything that will do more to reinforce the stereotype that gamers are a bunch of pathetic losers than their efforts to "raise awareness" to this issue by dressing up as zombies and "marching" in "protest".

    If the general response to their efforts is "Get a life", they will have deserved it.

    • by compro01 (777531) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @02:08PM (#31512210)

      I think the point may have been pointing out the "Violent zombie movies? Sure! Violent zombie Games? Banned!" silliness.

    • by Frosty Piss (770223) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @02:08PM (#31512214)

      If the general response to their efforts is "Get a life", they will have deserved it.

      Indeed.

      I believe that the successful vector for fighting this type of regulatory nonsense *MUST* come from the game companies. They are really the only force that can significantly influence the politicos. It's about money, folks.

      • by AndrewNeo (979708)

        A government for the corporations, by the corporations?

      • by selven (1556643)

        Bring the *AA in to help. I'm sure they're all pretty angry about www.thepiratebay.org becoming the number one place to get your games since all the other venues are censored. Not exactly an environment conducive to respecting copyright.

      • by mdwh2 (535323)

        Indeed - and I find it depressing that, given how much time and money the media corporations seem to have when lobbying for draconian copyright laws, they can never seem to do anything to stop the increasing number of censorship laws in various countries. I suspect the problem is that big companies can afford lawyers to tell them what's legal, and they can happily make money doing that.

        It's particularly frustrating that pro-censorship people try to spin it this way, claiming "It's just us poor little old la

    • >> I can't think of anything that will do more to reinforce the stereotype that gamers are a bunch of pathetic losers...

      How about dressing as a half-dwarf, Klingon, furry, zombie and "marching" in protest?

    • by dangitman (862676)

      I can't think of anything that will do more to reinforce the stereotype that gamers are a bunch of pathetic losers than their efforts to "raise awareness" to this issue by dressing up as zombies and "marching" in "protest".

      Oh, come on. This is happening in Sydney. Nobody will even notice, it will look like a typical weekday.

  • I'm amazed that the country producing so many crocodile-based alpha males has such a collective nanny-me attitude.

    Where is that classic Australian manly-man stereotype? Where are the beer-swigging, rare-steak-eating, dingo-punching heroes of lore? Did they all get banned, too?

    • by g0bshiTe (596213) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @02:23PM (#31512568)
      They all hide in shame after Crocodile Dundee 2.
    • by brainboyz (114458)

      They don't play video games, so they don't care.

    • by Miseph (979059)

      As with most Australians, they are unrepentant criminal scum. They simply pirate the games they want anyway.

      • by deek (22697)

        I think you've struck the core of the issue. Australians, being a society founded by criminals, instinctively create laws which we must break. It just wouldn't feel right if we created sane laws that all had to abide by.

        • by T.E.D. (34228)

          Australians, being a society founded by criminals, instinctively create laws which we must break.

          Its a shame they decriminalized bankrupcy [wikipedia.org] then. That's the "crime" that landed most of the first Aussies there in the first place.

    • They're too busy wrestling crocodiles to enter politics? I haven't met anyone who was particularly in favour of banning R18+ games. Political problems in Australia seem to be different to America. In America, from what I read about it, you tend to have two highly-agitated extremes abusing the hell out of each other. In Australia, you tend to get politicians doing whatever the hell they want, because the public generally only responds with apathy.

  • These guys don't seem to be very bright. They really need to get some brains.

  • As one who is extremely terrified of the undead, and a possessor of a firearm, I'd shoot first and ask what they were protesting after none were standing.
    • And you would go to jail while everyone watching you doing it and not interfering would go free.

      It would be an apt way to showcase the imbalance between games and movies, watching is fine, doing is not.

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You must be a hit at Halloween parties...

  • They should get a big DJ rig and run this L4D2 classic [jonathancoulton.com].

  • I noticed that only half of the participants had makeup on - the remainder simply relied on their basement pallor.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @03:08PM (#31513370)

    If you refuse to give something a rating and content without rating may not be sold, this is a quite insidious way to censor it.

    It's like creating a law that states that the "adults only" rating does not apply to porn and may not be used for porn, without introducing a new rating for porn, keeping it on the no-go list for non-adults and at the same time banning everything unrated. Presto anti-porn censorship.

    Either do away with the "not rated - not allowed to sell" or make sure that EVERYTHING can get a rating. Failure to do either is nothing short of censorship.

    • by GKevlin (1744142) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @04:07PM (#31514304)
      It seems to me that the actual intent of these laws is to create censorship, so I think it's more of a "mission accomplished" feeling for those behind this.
    • by zzsmirkzz (974536)
      It's just like instituting a tax on an undesirable substance via the purchase of tax stamps. Having said substance without the stamp is avoiding paying tax and thus illegal and punishable by force of law. Now, all you have to do is not produce or allow anyone to buy the tax stamps. Boom! Instantly banned substance. That's how this good ol' US of A originally banned marijuana back when Congress attempted to stay within the confines of the Constitution. Now, they don't even try to come up with convoluted reas
  • So a ban or a censorship rule of this magnitude basically means that an adult is not allowed to buy or play a violent video game. Or am I mis-understanding what their rating system implies.

    What ever happened to parental responsibility and just basic common sense? Aussie leaders need to wake up and realize they are creating a police state.

    • Aussie leaders need to wake up and realize they are creating a police state.

      They have, they do, and they like it just fine.

    • by mdwh2 (535323)

      It's the same in the UK - I find it ridiculous, but most people don't care if it doesn't affect them.

      Recently, the law which allowed this censorship - the Video Recordings Act 1984 - was found to have never been enacted. Did we get a chance to redebate this issue, now that the "video nasties" scaremongering of the 80s (which led to this law) was no longer around? Hell no. Instead we got a load of media scaremongering again, about how this law not being valid would mean porn would be sold to small children (

    • So a ban or a censorship rule of this magnitude basically means that an adult is not allowed to buy or play a violent video game. Or am I mis-understanding what their rating system implies.

      Yes you misunderstand what the Australian ratings system implies.

      It does not govern what you can play, it governs what you can sell or distribute. You can play an RC game and not be arrested but you cannot do that whilst anyone else is in the room. Like parking on the wrong side of the street over here, you cant be c

  • Nothing is stopping an aussie from buying L4D2 from Steam, correct? I would think local brick stores would be pushing this more than local gamers.

  • by halans (996910)
    Thanks for using my picture to illustrate the story http://www.flickr.com/photos/halans/137332282/ [flickr.com]
  • The very idea of making it illegal for adults to buy a videogame or to buy a movie is ludicrous. Why do Australians put up with this nonsense?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by davidbofinger (703269)

      The very idea of making it illegal for adults to buy a videogame or to buy a movie is ludicrous.

      As a possible counterexample, suppose there's a thriving industry in Nastystan producing films that show children being raped, tortured and murdered. Should it be legal to allow these films to be imported into Australia and sold to adults?

    • by Samah (729132)

      The very idea of making it illegal for adults to buy a videogame or to buy a movie is ludicrous. Why do Australians put up with this nonsense?

      We put up with it because it's very difficult to get rid of it. Any changes to our rating system must be unanimously agreed to by the Attorney General of every state and territory. The only AG in opposition to the introduction of an R18 rating is the South Australian AG, Michael Atkinson [wikipedia.org].

      That's right, one man has the power to veto a decision affecting the entire country.

      He needs to be removed as AG. Because of the way our political system works, he needs to lose his seat in the electorate of Croydon. Th

  • Maybe these guys can hook up with with Jediism nuts [slashdot.org] from a few days ago.

  • Best. Reference. Ever!

    If you don't know what this is, go here. [jonathancoulton.com] Scroll down to "Thing a Week 2" and click the play button on "Re Your Brains".
  • Trying to record and id each protester on a given budget.
    Running around looking for every licence plate and trying to make new friends on the day :)
    Filling the protest chatrooms with new users, getting the ip track, trying to direct, provoke and sideline the protests.
    Outside every ALP meeting, walkabout or shopping mall photo op, gamers will remind any ALP minister or candidate of their role as the game banning "Australian Taliban".
    Hired private security and protective services will have to clear a path
  • The thing that is most foolish about this no-R18+ stance is it causes games to be rated M15 that are rated higher everywhere else.

    In the summary, they list AvP as one, but this is an example. I can't find the article now, but apparently there have been 50 games in the last 3 years or so that are released M15 here and are R18+ (or R17, depending on country) elsewhere.

    No R18+ rating puts MORE violence in the hands of children (specifically teens) under the guise of being M15.

    • The thing that is most foolish about this no-R18+ stance is it causes games to be rated M15 that are rated higher everywhere else.

      In the summary, they list AvP as one, but this is an example. I can't find the article now, but apparently there have been 50 games in the last 3 years or so that are released M15 here and are R18+ (or R17, depending on country) elsewhere.

      No R18+ rating puts MORE violence in the hands of children (specifically teens) under the guise of being M15.

      Those are the censored versions, IIRC.

      • by Wizarth (785742)

        I don't think so. There were only something like 5 games refused rating, requiring a resubmit. Thats part of the argument used to say there's no need for a R18.

        Wish I could find the article!

  • most of the hardcore gamers I know are zombies most of their life anyway :-P

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