Extra Punctuation

Extra Punctuation
On the Left 4 Dead Ban

Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw | 25 Sep 2009 12:00
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Let's not talk about this week's review, shall we? Let's talk about Left 4 Dead 2. As you may already be aware, it's been banned in Australia, which might seem like a distant and unimportant problem to you international readers, but Australia happens to be the land mass on which I currently live. And let me tell you, if there's anything that might make me consider leaving the beaches behind and fleeing to that crumbling, syphilitic hell-hole across the water, it's the videogame releases. We get them after everyone else, and half of them get banned because our country is being run by ignorant old bores who, between this and the planned compulsory internet filter, appear to be accidentally bumbling their way into creating an Orwellian nightmare state under the guise of "protecting the children."

Well, it's not technically been "banned." It's been "refused classification," which is all the fun of a ban with none of the harsh monosyllablism. Australia doesn't have an R18+ rating for videogames (neither do a lot of countries, incidentally, but they apparently have less oppressive ruling bodies), so any game that would otherwise need one is refused a rating by the Classifications Board, and therefore can't be released. So why has Left 4 Dead 2 been given this treatment? Good question. Let's find out.

"The game contains violence that is high in impact and is therefore unsuitable for persons aged under 18 years to play."
- those selfless protectors of the innocent from the Australian Classifications Board

As opposed to the nice, gentle, relaxed violence you might share with your visiting aunt on a slow Sunday afternoon, I suppose. Is it worth repeating that the average gamer is in their 30's and retailers are specifically required to not sell the game to minors? Probably not. If the constant repetition of it still hasn't sunk into the dusty, spider-haunted minds of the government, I guess it never will.

"The game contains realistic, frenetic and unrelenting violence which is inflicted upon "the Infected" who are living humans infected with a rabies-like virus that causes them to act violently."
- those kooky funsters from the ACB

They're not living, they're zombies. Just because "28 Days Later" had living, fast-running non-zombies doesn't mean every zombie that can go at a fair old lick has to be living. I know that you yourselves have trouble moving quickly with your dried-out, corpse-like, old flesh, but don't project your problems onto everyone else.

"[Melee] attacks cause copious amounts of blood spray and splatter, decapitations and limb dismemberments as well as locational damage where contact is made to the enemy which may reveal skeletal bits and gore."
- those harumphing moral guardians from the ACB

Well, clearly the ACB feels that if a mob of rampaging murderers sprinted towards us roaring their insatiable lust for flesh from their yawning blood-spattered mouths, then we should respond by singing them to sleep or twanging elastic bands at their eyes. I feel it worth mentioning that an awful lot of other gory games have slipped by the arbitrary attentions of the Board, and while Fallout 3 was also refused classification, it was not because of the slow-motion cinematic wound systems in which brain matter and shards of broken mandible flutter in the breeze, but because the player could inject morphine for positive effect. I suppose we should be grateful they didn't notice that some of the women had breasts.

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