Australia: Treating Gaming Adults Like Children
Australian Ratings Are Frustratingly Inconsistent
The refusal of Saints Row IV and State of Decay is yet another example of the ACB’s inconsistencies when it comes to game classification. If implied sexual violence is to blame for the refusal of this newest entry, then how did Saints Row: The Third survive the process when a huge selling point of the game was a giant purple dildo that could be used as a weapon?
State of Decay’s drug use seems to be in context with survival in the zombie apocalypse. It’s a fictional setting, where players are scavenging for all sorts of tools, equipment and items to survive. Max Payne 3 shows Max to be addicted to painkillers and alcohol, in a far more realistic setting, but it walks through unscathed.
It’s easy to understand the frustration voiced by gamers after this news. We campaigned for change, we spent years demanding it, they gave it to us, and now we’re in the same sinking boat we were always in.
I would like to point out what the R18+ rating states is acceptable:
R 18+ material is restricted to adults. Such material may contain classifiable elements such as sex scenes and drug use that are high in impact. Some material classified R18+ may be offensive to sections of the adult community. A person may be asked for proof of their age before purchasing, hiring or viewing R18+ films and computer games at a retail store or cinema.
The classic excuse from the ACB in the past has been the fact we didn’t have an adults only rating for video games. Now that we do, what is the reasoning for their decisions?
Out of interest, I decided to take a look at the list of banned games versus banned movies. Since 2000 there has been a total of four movies banned in our country, with one of them being re-released with scenes edited to pass classification at a later date. As for games, since 2000 we have seen over twenty-one titles refused classification.
This YouTube video highlights the differences between the American and Australian versions of Left 4 Dead 2.
As a gamer, it’s frustrating. As a sensible adult, it’s anger inducing. Why does the government feel that they have the right to censor the content I consume? Why do they feel that they know better than I do? What gives them the right to decide what I can have, and what I can’t?
My biggest issue with this whole debate is that video games are constantly banned for minor concerns. On the flip side Wolf Creek, a movie that depicts rape and murder in graphic detail, is held up as a national treasure to local horror film making, and is televised on cable networks for all to see. What makes the use of drugs to heal yourself in State of Decay so abhorrent when compared to that?
Australia, you need to get your act together.