Australia Has Banned Over 200 Games in Four Months

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Australia Has Banned Over 200 Games in Four Months

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The Australian government has refused classification to more computer games in the past four months than in the previous two decades.

An estimated 220 online games have been refused classification in Australia in the past four months, in contrast to only about 50 that were refused between 1994 and 2014. According to an ABC Australia report, the sharp increase in Refused Classification (RC) online games results from a new classification method implemented by the Classification Board.

On March 10, the Australian Classification Board announced a new trial that focused on the classification of online games. "The Minister for Justice has announced that Australia has joined the International Age Rating Coalition (IARC)," the notice reads. "IARC is a partnership of government and industry content classification authorities from around the world, including the United States, Canada, Europe and Brazil."

"The Minister also announced that Australia is preparing to trial IARC's new tool for classifying mobile and online games."

The pilot will officially commence on July 1.

"Due to the online explosion, there are hundreds of thousands - if not millions - of games currently available online," a spokesperson from the Attorney-General's Department said. "It is not realistic or practicable for the Classification Board to manually classify each of them."

"In preparation for the pilot, a large 'back catalogue' of games has been classified - more than 150,000 to date," the spokesperson said. "After 12 months, classification ministers will determine whether the IARC tool should be a permanent part of the Australian classification scheme."

The new IARC Classification tool includes an online form, to be filled out by developers, that covers an expansive variety of potentially offensive material over many sub-categories. One question asks "Does the game contain any bodily functions such as belching, flatulence, or vomiting when used for humorous purposes?"

Games that are refused classification are banned from being sold, advertised, imported, or publicly displayed.

[Source: ABC Australia]

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Belching for humourous entertainment? There is an age restriction for that? Blimey Gov'nor! I'm sure even pre-schoolers are over that side-splitter.

Not surprising at all. The current government is very right-wing, they would ban video games altogether if they thought they could get away with it.

Wow that is loads. Seem like they setting themselve up to fail.

All they are doing is pushing people to find other ways to get the games, there's always loop holes I.e steam keys etc. Or worst torrents. They are losing out in revenue, I don't think any gorverment can afford this sort of over the top practice. Why do you think they have made weed legal in 2 states in the US? Becuase they need the money and its costing them more to have it banned.

Do parents not police their own children anymore?

This is the video nastie nonsense all over again. All they are doing is making a list of games that people will now want becuase they are banned.

Holy shit batman they going Gotham levels of crazy over gaming.

Do they think people can't handle anything or are so scared of the smallest thing.

Geeze you would think a place made from convicts would be more open not batshit crazy over gaming

Incredible, I'm a bit shocked that we're not at the point of a moral panic here. Apple made an error that would obviously be rectified, and there were hints of the downfall of the Republic. Now we have a nation actually exorcising shocking levels of censorship, in a way that inflicts real financial/access hardship on its citizens and...

...where is everyone?

Dynast Brass:
Incredible, I'm a bit shocked that we're not at the point of a moral panic here. Apple made an error that would obviously be rectified, and there were hints of the downfall of the Republic. Now we have a nation actually exorcising shocking levels of censorship, in a way that inflicts real financial/access hardship on its citizens and...

...where is everyone?

Are you in a moral panic over this? This is pretty par for course and has been for the past 10 or so years, most everyone agrees it's an archaic backwards and stupid system but know there's not much we can do. Hell some developers just tell Australians to pirate their games to get past the banning.

It's a Bannapalooza! A cornucopia of unnecessary censorship! An All-You-Can-Ban Buffet!

And this is what occurs when you try to place a grade classification on every game for its content by one specific board. Its an impossible feat. There just isn't enough time in the day for the limited amount of people to grade each game. I'm kind of surprised that it hasn't happened sooner. Maybe with enough games being misjudged the various developers can band together and sue the government. That could potentially lead to them dropping this system altogether on the basis that its impractical to try and exercise this power, making it a win for free speech. Hopefully the ESRB or an equivalant would be on standby because having am independent ratings board that has proven to be reliable, efficient and free of government expense would probably sway the government in such a case.

NiPah:

Dynast Brass:
Incredible, I'm a bit shocked that we're not at the point of a moral panic here. Apple made an error that would obviously be rectified, and there were hints of the downfall of the Republic. Now we have a nation actually exorcising shocking levels of censorship, in a way that inflicts real financial/access hardship on its citizens and...

...where is everyone?

Are you in a moral panic over this? This is pretty par for course and has been for the past 10 or so years, most everyone agrees it's an archaic backwards and stupid system but know there's not much we can do. Hell some developers just tell Australians to pirate their games to get past the banning.

Do I sound like I'm in a moral panic?

I'm suggesting that this is an extreme example of established censorship that is going largely unremarked in a community that finds in small and highly questionable examples of that reason to riot. As to why that me be, maybe you have some insights?

Sounds like this is bad for devs, bad for gamers, bad for Australian culture.

Middle_Index:
Do parents not police their own children anymore?

To be fair, it is extremely hard to get a good barometer on a game without playing through it yourself and plenty on parents even now have limited exposure to video games. Additionally, for countries that have rating labels, games are rated based on content more than context and while this makes sense for a objective rating system, from a perspective of children learning good or bad lessons from the games, context is going to be vastly more important.

I love as a 21 year old, a legal adult in every stretch of the imagination i cannot choose what videogames i wish to play.
Refused classification should automatically be a 18+ rating with a warning along the lines of "This game has not been classified play at your own risk"

Goddamn it.
We fight for a fucking R rating for a decade plus, finally get it and hardly a damn thing changes.
I just keep finding points in every direction for moving to another country.

I can only produce incontrollable laughter on this matter. This is so ridiculous and doublestandard-ish =)

Dynast Brass:

NiPah:

Dynast Brass:
Incredible, I'm a bit shocked that we're not at the point of a moral panic here. Apple made an error that would obviously be rectified, and there were hints of the downfall of the Republic. Now we have a nation actually exorcising shocking levels of censorship, in a way that inflicts real financial/access hardship on its citizens and...

...where is everyone?

Are you in a moral panic over this? This is pretty par for course and has been for the past 10 or so years, most everyone agrees it's an archaic backwards and stupid system but know there's not much we can do. Hell some developers just tell Australians to pirate their games to get past the banning.

Do I sound like I'm in a moral panic?

I'm suggesting that this is an extreme example of established censorship that is going largely unremarked in a community that finds in small and highly questionable examples of that reason to riot. As to why that me be, maybe you have some insights?

Sounds like this is bad for devs, bad for gamers, bad for Australian culture.

You don't sound like you're in a moral panic, which is why I was a bit confused by your shocked comment. This is a bad situation, I completely agree with you, I'm just not sure what an appropriate response would be. As for why there isn't more public outcry, I believe it's a mix of apathy borne from repetition, the fact that a majority on this board do not live in Australia, and history shows there is little we can do to sway the actions of Australia's government.

Damn Australia. Calm the fuck down with the bans. They will not ruin your country. Your strict laws will but talk about taking the fun away.

NiPah:

Dynast Brass:

NiPah:

Are you in a moral panic over this? This is pretty par for course and has been for the past 10 or so years, most everyone agrees it's an archaic backwards and stupid system but know there's not much we can do. Hell some developers just tell Australians to pirate their games to get past the banning.

Do I sound like I'm in a moral panic?

I'm suggesting that this is an extreme example of established censorship that is going largely unremarked in a community that finds in small and highly questionable examples of that reason to riot. As to why that me be, maybe you have some insights?

Sounds like this is bad for devs, bad for gamers, bad for Australian culture.

You don't sound like you're in a moral panic, which is why I was a bit confused by your shocked comment. This is a bad situation, I completely agree with you, I'm just not sure what an appropriate response would be. As for why there isn't more public outcry, I believe it's a mix of apathy borne from repetition, the fact that a majority on this board do not live in Australia, and history shows there is little we can do to sway the actions of Australia's government.

That makes sense, and it's a great argument for the dangers of apathy.

For Fuck Sake! Fuck our government! Fuck their dark stone age ideas! Selfish bastards pushing their own damn agenda like the corrupt pricks they are! I thought we were actually getting somewhere for once, but we're still not advance Australia.

We had the bloody Puppetry of the Penis show advertised everywhere, movies like Saw, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut and the Human Centipede are well known, plus our own shows like Fat Pizza and The Chasers which sometimes were really offensive are still available, and other great artists like Frank Zappa and George Carlin who really pushed the bar, and they still look down on games even though they have no bloody proof of anything to justify these bullshit practices!?

I find it vaguely amusing that Australia feels the need to protect the populace from video games when they're already living on a continent with some of the nastiest, most venomous wildlife in the world.

Captcha: turning point. Oh, captcha.

Being unable to classify all the games that are coming in sounds like a good excuse to just stop bothering, and abolish the ratings system altogether. If parents are concerned, tell them to lock down the bloody app store on their phones so the kids can't buy anything on their own. Simple as.

This may just be inherent bias towards my home country, but as far as I'm concerned the British Board of Film Classification are the gold standard for content classification, which makes me very annoyed the job of classifying games for release was taken away from them and given to Pan-European Game Information. The BBFC would give more than an age rating; they would give a full page explanation of it, and accounted for context. PEGI don't and hand out 18 ratings like there's no tomorrow. They gave Mass Effect 1 an 18 rating. At least they don't ban games though...

Remember, America! This could have happened to you if Jack Thompson and others like him had their way! Cautionary tale...

Lizzy Finnegan:
"Does the game contain any bodily functions such as belching, flatulence, or vomiting when used for humorous purposes?"

So wait, a game can be banned for fart jokes. G rated Disney movies can have fart jokes.

Reading crap like this just makes me happy that we have ESRB over here in America. It's convenient and doesn't get in the way. I actually really like it but I've just never thought about it till now.

Middle_Index:
Wow that is loads. Seem like they setting themselve up to fail.

While I (partially) agree with the sentiment, keep in mind that this number was generated by them trawling through 150.000 games and spare. While their classification and banning system is still downright retarded, these numbers should be put into perspective.

09philj:
This may just be inherent bias towards my home country, but as far as I'm concerned the British Board of Film Classification are the gold standard for content classification, which makes me very annoyed the job of classifying games for release was taken away from them and given to Pan-European Game Information.

I agree - especially with film - the BBFC have become rather inspiringly pro-art/entertainment/freedom, preferring to classify as opposed to censor, unlike back in the old days.

Was PEGI enforced by European legislation, btw? I've never actually thought about how it came to be.

The BBFC would give more than an age rating; they would give a full page explanation of it, and accounted for context. PEGI don't and hand out 18 ratings like there's no tomorrow. They gave Mass Effect 1 an 18 rating. At least they don't ban games though...

I can't exactly pop out to the shops to check, but all ME's are BBFC 15 on my shelf, and on Amazon.

I'm not sure BBFC were the gold standard for games, browsing my collection a little further; are Dragon Age Origins and II really 18's? PEGI also gave Metro 2033 a 16, which also seems a bit low/iffy.

As for the thread: aren't people banding together to campaign against Australian's inane approach to censorship/classification?

So, as an Aussie gamer, this got me wondering. "Which games have been banned?" So I did some research so I would know what I was talking about - I went to the Classification Board's website, put in the search parameters of Games and classified after Jan 1st this year, and got...out of 196,417 games classified in that time period (that's an average of 1,085 games per day, or 45 per hour).

161,048 got a G rating
18,824 got an M rating
11,166 got a PG rating
4,646 got an MA15+ rating
468 got an R18+ rating
265 got refused classification

Don't know if this link will work, but here's the hyperlink to the banned list: http://www.classification.gov.au/Pages/Results.aspx?ncdctx=Vos1JNGeiVwkj1PUd9jMJpXXoAqybAElP9JDuWYmN7%252fg2DNxC2U4Kk%252fFAZAeVqbE

If not, search page is here: http://www.classification.gov.au/Pages/Search.aspx?ncdctx=JhWEYNzpLzQIIm2ZU4SKzV9L%252ffZ5a3xHVy%252fBoBYZr6E%253d

Most are ones I've never even seen or heard of before, but here are a few names that stood out during my trawling through the list:

9mm Simulator
AK47 Simulator
Drug Dealer Simulator
Drunk Driver Simulator
Fairy Creator
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number (but we already knew this)
Guess the Gender
HoboSimulator
Islam Today
Mad Cow !!
Measure Bra Size Prank
Kill Kites
Naked Scanner Pro - Free
Pharaoh Queen Cleopatra Slots
Police Bus for Criminals
Pop Pet
School Bullying
Sherlock Criminal Case 1-4 (which are publised by "Cooking & Room Escape Gamers" (???))
Smoke a Bong
Smoke a Bong Free
Smoke a Joint
Smoke a Joint Free
Spin the Bottle
Star Skipper
Stickman vs Zombies (as a fan of Alan Becker videos - NOOOOOOOOOOOO!)
Test Application w23
WatDaSheep!?
Yandere School
money focus

Some names are just hilarous. Some sound outright stupid. Some sound like they're little more than a scam.

Poor Australia. I hope you get the same treatment we got in germany some day.

Short description: Basically the same system, "bad" games land on the index (prominent examples were Doom and Wolfenstein, afaik).

Some day it somehow switched, it seems like gamers took over the system. What does this mean? Well, the ratings agency basically said "fuck it" and allowed most games uncensored, like Dead Space. Or a real fun example is Fallout New Vegas, which had a lower violence version at release, but the Ultimate Edition is just the same as everywhere.

Oh, and Doom was removed from the index, some time not too long ago.

Gregory Heyes:
So, as an Aussie gamer, this got me wondering. "Which games have been banned?" So I did some research so I would know what I was talking about - I went to the Classification Board's website, put in the search parameters of Games and classified after Jan 1st this year, and got...out of 196,417 games classified in that time period (that's an average of 1,085 games per day, or 45 per hour).

161,048 got a G rating
18,824 got an M rating
11,166 got a PG rating
4,646 got an MA15+ rating
468 got an R18+ rating
265 got refused classification

Don't know if this link will work, but here's the hyperlink to the banned list: http://www.classification.gov.au/Pages/Results.aspx?ncdctx=Vos1JNGeiVwkj1PUd9jMJpXXoAqybAElP9JDuWYmN7%252fg2DNxC2U4Kk%252fFAZAeVqbE

If not, search page is here: http://www.classification.gov.au/Pages/Search.aspx?ncdctx=JhWEYNzpLzQIIm2ZU4SKzV9L%252ffZ5a3xHVy%252fBoBYZr6E%253d

Most are ones I've never even seen or heard of before, but here are a few names that stood out during my trawling through the list:

9mm Simulator
AK47 Simulator
Drug Dealer Simulator
Drunk Driver Simulator
Fairy Creator
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number (but we already knew this)
Guess the Gender
HoboSimulator
Islam Today
Mad Cow !!
Measure Bra Size Prank
Kill Kites
Naked Scanner Pro - Free
Pharaoh Queen Cleopatra Slots
Police Bus for Criminals
Pop Pet
School Bullying
Sherlock Criminal Case 1-4 (which are publised by "Cooking & Room Escape Gamers" (???))
Smoke a Bong
Smoke a Bong Free
Smoke a Joint
Smoke a Joint Free
Spin the Bottle
Star Skipper
Stickman vs Zombies (as a fan of Alan Becker videos - NOOOOOOOOOOOO!)
Test Application w23
WatDaSheep!?
Yandere School
money focus

Some names are just hilarous. Some sound outright stupid. Some sound like they're little more than a scam.

That list...

*shakes head in disbelief*

...is killing brain cells as I read it.

Dynast Brass:
Incredible, I'm a bit shocked that we're not at the point of a moral panic here. Apple made an error that would obviously be rectified, and there were hints of the downfall of the Republic. Now we have a nation actually exorcising shocking levels of censorship, in a way that inflicts real financial/access hardship on its citizens and...

...where is everyone?

You post date the histrionics when South Park was edited or when two chains owned by one parent company opted not to sell GTA V anymore.

Sounds like this is bad for devs, bad for gamers, bad for Australian culture.

I can't assume you're just taking the piss out of people on this, so I'll just point out that Australia until like last year had a system with no R certification. This is a step forward. Australians have deal with a real issue of censorship for a long time, and they're taking a step forward. This is why the outrage over GTA V came mostly from Americans, who generally aren't shopping at K-Mart in Australia.

But yes, there are real censorship issues and people are making mountains out of molehills.

Gregory Heyes:
So, as an Aussie gamer, this got me wondering. "Which games have been banned?" So I did some research so I would know what I was talking about - I went to the Classification Board's website, put in the search parameters of Games and classified after Jan 1st this year, and got...out of 196,417 games classified in that time period (that's an average of 1,085 games per day, or 45 per hour).

161,048 got a G rating
18,824 got an M rating
11,166 got a PG rating
4,646 got an MA15+ rating
468 got an R18+ rating
265 got refused classification

I just want to point out that this is the sort of thing that people should do before jumping to conclusions. Actually looking first and then reacting is kind of a big deal in a culture of perpetual outrage. I applaud you in all seriousness.

FalloutJack:
Remember, America! This could have happened to you if Jack Thompson and others like him had their way! Cautionary tale...

We could have found a more progressive system than the old one?

Or are you just not familiar with the old system?

Lizzy Finnegan:

The new IARC Classification tool includes an online form, to be filled out by developers, that covers an expansive variety of potentially offensive material over many sub-categories. One question asks "Does the game contain any bodily functions such as belching, flatulence, or vomiting when used for humorous purposes?"

Boogerman must have really pissed them off...

image

oh no, no no. they arent trying to take away your video games, no no. whatever gave that impression?

Zachary Amaranth:

Dynast Brass:
Incredible, I'm a bit shocked that we're not at the point of a moral panic here. Apple made an error that would obviously be rectified, and there were hints of the downfall of the Republic. Now we have a nation actually exorcising shocking levels of censorship, in a way that inflicts real financial/access hardship on its citizens and...

...where is everyone?

You post date the histrionics when South Park was edited or when two chains owned by one parent company opted not to sell GTA V anymore.

Sounds like this is bad for devs, bad for gamers, bad for Australian culture.

I can't assume you're just taking the piss out of people on this, so I'll just point out that Australia until like last year had a system with no R certification. This is a step forward. Australians have deal with a real issue of censorship for a long time, and they're taking a step forward. This is why the outrage over GTA V came mostly from Americans, who generally aren't shopping at K-Mart in Australia.

But yes, there are real censorship issues and people are making mountains out of molehills.

I suspect that like most people around the world, what I don't know about Australian politics could fill endless volumes. That is to say, I've never really paid much attention to it as a country. I've been near it, but never actually to it, so that may play a part. I actually know very little about Australia, not just the politics, now that I stop and consider it. Whatever I haven't learned from 'In A Sunburned Country' or relating to something in my field, I probably don't know. So, I know about immigration and relocation efforts, some issues with policing and jails, but that's about it.

In short, I appreciate the lesson, because it filled some gaps.

At this point, as long as the states don't follow suit, i'm a bit resigned to let australia wallow in it's own filth, which is hard, since i have friends i've met online that live there, but this shit's gotten so bad that i have to worry about my own country, and if australia can't control it's government, thatgs their problem.

Oh, and for the record, they HAVE literally taken our games away, so that argument is officially debunked.

FalloutJack:
Remember, America! This could have happened to you if Jack Thompson and others like him had their way! Cautionary tale...

It could still happen now that Jack Thompson has put on hoop earrings and is now being taken seriously by the press that used to denounce him.

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