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Censorship Entertainment Games News

Graffiti Game Banned in Australia 313

afaik_ianal writes "The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that 'Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure' has been banned in Australia. The game involves battling the authorities to overthrow corrupt officials using only street fighting skills and graffiti. From the article, "The decision was endorsed last night by the Federal Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock, who had asked the board to review of the game's MA15+ classification after local councils and state governments voiced concerns that the game would promote graffiti.""
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Graffiti Game Banned in Australia

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  • by ami-in-hamburg ( 917802 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @04:30AM (#14730859)
    Again, another government stepping in where parents and society in general should be the authority.

    Isn't it ironic though that the point of the game is to fight government corruption and promote freedom of expression.
  • Re:GREAT! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by RumpledElf ( 663253 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @04:31AM (#14730864) Homepage
    Australia doesn't like graffiti much ... a while back they started putting spray cans behind locked doors in hardware stores and art supply shops to stop them being stolen - because of course the only tool you can use to graffiti with is a spray can. Might even be an ID age check when you buy them. Not being a graffiti artist myself I don't know the full details.
  • by dustpuppy ( 5260 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @04:39AM (#14730897)
    I think we have long gone past the point were censorship of this nature will have any effect. What with bittorrent and other P2P networks, people will still be able to obtain copies. And by making such a big deal of it, all the authorities have done is made it into the latest 'must have' computer game.

    And I would love to read their position paper (which will apparently get relaeased) soon that explains the majority and minority positions. I cannot understand how they feel that they should ban this game and yet allow violent movies to not be banned.
  • Who else feels... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Vo0k ( 760020 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @04:39AM (#14730898) Journal
    ...that they were concerned the game would promote THE OTHER aspect of the gameplay?
  • by supertsaar ( 540181 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @04:41AM (#14730901) Homepage Journal
    So Spraying a tag on a wall is worse than the old knee-to-the-solar-plexus move? Chigago-Curb-Job? Columbian Necktie?
    That makes me very sad. We teach our kids that violence is cool, acceptable, exciting, fun.
    Then we complain about all the violence in the streets.
    If you want to ban a game, please ban it for excessive violence, not for some paint sprayed on walls.
  • Re:GREAT! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by strider44 ( 650833 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @04:42AM (#14730906)
    No you don't, at least not in Sydney. Anyway I don't see how something like this *really* actually fuels graffiti. I'm one of those people who thinks that GTA doesn't fuel people going around shooting everybody, and like the designer said, it's not that hard to draw on a wall, and if a kid wants to do it he doesn't need a game to show him how.

    Quoth the Simpsons:

    Meyers: I did a little research and I discovered a startling thing...
    There was violence in the past, long before cartoons were invented.
    Kent: I see. Fascinating.
    Meyers: Yeah, and know something, Kent? The Crusades, for instance.
    Tremendous violence, many people killed, the darned thing went
    on for thirty years.
    Kent: And this was before cartoons were invented?
    Meyers: That's right, Kent.
  • by CB-in-Tokyo ( 692617 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @04:43AM (#14730909) Homepage
    It used to be music that everyone said was a bad influence, now it is Video games.

    I love the following Frank Zappa quotation.

    "There are more love songs than anything else. If songs could make you do
    something we'd all love one another."
    -- Frank Zappa

    Not exactly the same, but close enough if we replace love songs with first person shooters and....


  • Jet Set Radio (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nkh ( 750837 ) <.exochicken. .at.> on Thursday February 16, 2006 @04:46AM (#14730916) Journal
    Was Jet Set Radio [] banned in Australia?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 16, 2006 @04:55AM (#14730946)
    America's such a good example.

    Actually, America is a perfect example.

    The more they regulate and litigate the worse things get here.

    There is a correlation, wether the totalitarians want to admit it or not.

    Politicians have absolutely NO RIGHT nor should they have the power to tell the population what is right or moral for what sould be completely obvious reasons to anyone smarter than the average barnyard monkey.
  • by Prune ( 557140 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @04:57AM (#14730958)
    I call bullshit. Love songs are usually about lust and romantic love, not loving your fellow human beings in general.
  • Riiight ..... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ajs318 ( 655362 ) <sd_resp2.earthshod@co@uk> on Thursday February 16, 2006 @05:09AM (#14730983)
    What they have basically done, then, is turned this game into an instant automatic hit. Everybody in Australia will want a copy of this game now, because it's illegal. And they will get copies of it. Either paid-up ones, sent in an innocuous music CD box by friends or relatives abroad; or, much more likely, pirated copies. {Does anybody actually pay for games? I suppose there must be one or two.} Everybody outside Australia will want a copy because it's been banned in Australia.

    All things considered, this is a fantastic marketing stunt.

    My proposed solution, by the way, is to ban all sales of video games to {but not possession by} minors. That way, parents and guardians get to decide what is and isn't appropriate.
  • by Crizp ( 216129 ) <> on Thursday February 16, 2006 @05:27AM (#14731032) Homepage
    [...] when we "try" to emulate the real world so that the breaking of the law is very close, as society, we need to step in a stop this. It sends the wrong message.

    Mr. Thompson? Jack? Is that you?

    You can have your cute games with their colored walls. I think what the "realistic" games do is allow an outlet for things that should not be let out in public. Like killing people, or walking around randomly pissing on folks. It's safer to do it in-game, and you also avoid running into petty quarrels with those law enforcement people.

    I support the idea that the parents are ultimately responsible for what input their kids recieve in the fragile little minds of theirs. There will always be people doing bad things because - well, they do bad things. The reasons are many and complicated, but games (as TV before them) are not the one and only cause of this. A catalyst, perhaps, not the reason.

  • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tpgp ( 48001 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @05:30AM (#14731037) Homepage
    So it's ok to "promote" shooting people, running people down and using / abusing prostitutes (GTA and plenty of others)but it's not ok to "promote" tagging a wall.

    GTA was banned in Australia too []

    Hmmmm we have a very weird society.

    I'm not sure whether you're talking about the USA or Australia - you seem a little confused. (but yes, they're both quite weird)
  • by lxs ( 131946 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @05:32AM (#14731044)
    Isn't it ironic though that the point of the game is to fight government corruption and promote freedom of expression.

    No, it's standard practice in political censorship to attack some side issue and not the political message. For instance, Ulysses was written by an Irishman and criticised British rule over Ireland.

    Ulysses was banned for obscenity rather than for it's political content even though the so called obscene content was tame even for the time in which it was written. The same case can be made for the film of A Clockwork Orange, which I believe is still banned in the UK.
  • by Lisandro ( 799651 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @05:39AM (#14731062)
    Oh, so we should allow anything inappropriate like drugs and guns to be freely allowed - like that works! Perhaps we should allow porn of all types to be available in public libraries, because clearly most parents do the "right thing" and educate their kids... what a joke, what world do you live in?

        Guns and porn are freely allowed, just not to a kid. You need a licence for a gun - you can even carry them arround in the street if you have a permit. Porn is allowed to everyone who's legally old enough.
        I also had this discussion with a friend a while ago about if drugs should be legalized, like alcohol is - i think that marijuana should be legalized, but he made a pretty good case about how every single drug should be legalized, which is a longer story in itself. Even then, alcohol, tobbaco and some medicaments ARE drugs and you can get them, again, if you're old enough.

        Eventually it's up to the parents to decide what's sutiable for their children to see. See, kids are NOT the only one playing games. And we have a rating system already to determine which games can and which ones can't be sold to a kid. Banning it was completely unnecesary. The game doesn't encourage vandalism more than GTA encourages stealing cars, Hollywood action movies encourage shooting people and religious TV shows encourage catholicism.
  • Stupid logic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Neo-Rio-101 ( 700494 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @06:23AM (#14731187)
    In Japan, no game really gets publically banned for being violent or degrading (other than the pubes-mosiac thing), but then there is little violence in society and next to no graffiti. There is no fear of violence ever influencing anybody.

    The logic goes that maybe if there was less graffiti and less violence in Australia, then we could have violent games and nobody would care about any influence.

    Seems to me that the outside world influences video games more than the other way around.
  • Re:GREAT! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 16, 2006 @07:35AM (#14731396)
    Actually, being Melbourne (aus) resident, I must admit I actually *like* the graffiti in a lot of places (but not the taggers... definitely not the taggers). Especially the more colourful, stylistic stuff livening up the bland concrete walls next to train lines... it adds colour and humanity to otherwise drab, dreary surrounds, and mostly doesn't cause any harm to anyone. And besides, even at it worst, is it really any worse than the current plague of malformed concrete lumps... sorry, I meant to say modern architectural masterpieces (yes federation square, that means you)... currently blighting the landscape hereabouts?
  • by CrackedButter ( 646746 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @07:48AM (#14731421) Homepage Journal
    I use to believe that our violent urges could be taken out on a game but that was before i realised that children today grow up in a world full of violence and they cannot appreciate the games like people a generation older than them can because we didn't grow up with it. Of course parents or lack of parents play a part. Today i don't think the younger gamer can or wants to make a difference between the reality of life and the reality of a computer game. Don't forget, TV in some countries doesn't allow certain types of drama to be screened before a certain time as well, not everybody makes the correct distinction. Violent need to be handled correctly by the suppliers and parents and if parents are not going to help then they need banning by the government. Even porno is supposed to be out of reach for children (hence top shelf) and its not violent, there is a time for everything in a child's life to experience things, the least we could do is make sure it doesn't corrupt them by over stimulating them with unrealistic outlets for their expression.
  • Gee... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Otis_INF ( 130595 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @08:01AM (#14731458) Homepage
    "The decision was endorsed last night by the Federal Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock, who had asked the board to review of the game's MA15+ classification after local councils and state governments voiced concerns that the game would promote graffiti."
    Gee, for a minute I thought they had concerns the game would promite violence, but *pfew*, violence is still normal, and accepted.
  • by koltrane ( 925418 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @08:09AM (#14731483)
    Now it's been on TV & all sorts, and yes it's tame.

    Come on! A Clockwork Orange is one of my favorite movies. I've read the book twice as well, but to say it's tame is an absolute lie, unless you consider rape, murder, graphic violence and gratuitous drug use to be kid stuff. Just because Hollywood etc. has desensitized you to the point that you consider these things tame, does not mean that they actually are.

    Even when viewed through a contemporary lens, the portrayal of the banality of extreme antisocial behavior is disturbing, and scenes such as the beating of the bum or the attempted rape of a young girl in a theater by Billyboy's gang are still very graphic. The movie got an X rating in 1971 and would still get an R today, and rightly so. This is not a movie for children or those lacking maturity. It is in no way "tame", not even by today's standards.

    I know you're trying to bolster this knee-jerk reaction to the concept that banning anything is an overreaction, but mischaracterizing an extremely violent movie as "tame" does not lend credence to your point of view...and if you truly do consider this film to be innocuous, then you have bigger problems with which to contend than the banning of a video game in Oz.

    Isn't it ironic how your attitude tends to mirror that of Alex? Maybe you need the Ludovico treatment. XD
  • by Impy the Impiuos Imp ( 442658 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @11:13AM (#14732809) Journal
    Games are known for allowing people to act out things they could never do in real life -- jumping cars, playing world-class sports, killing monsters and bad guys, but not graffiti! Hell no! Simulating doing graffiti is not allowed!

    Too bad you guys don't have a Supreme Court that recognizes unlimited freedom of speech, including expression in game design (or mere game playing, in this case.)

    And Moderators, I home you enjoy living somewhere where you're permitted by the government to mod me flamebait.
  • by Medievalist ( 16032 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @05:25PM (#14736799)
    Whilst you might like to think this game is about "expression", clearly the real motive in the game is to break the law.
    "Clearly?" Damme, I wish I had the extrasensory powers you must possess. I can't even figure out the motives of individuals most of the time, much less peer into the souls of people on the other side of the earth playing games I've never seen.

Whenever people agree with me, I always think I must be wrong. - Oscar Wilde