I am happy to say that as of January 1st, we finally have an R18+ rating for video games. What’s that you say? How did we survive without an R18+ rating video games this whole time? It wasn’t easy, let me tell you. Many games had to be edited to fit into our classification system, and many more were refused classification entirely. In order to be classified for sale in Australia games could not involve detailed violence (read: gore), sexual violence and a number of sexual fetishes that are illegal in Australia. Seems legit, right? Have a read of the list and see which games were refused classification Down Under.
A game that has sold over 1.7million copies worldwide, this game was originally given classification in Australia as MA15+.
This decision was over turned by Attorney-General Phillip Ruddock because of “High impact violence.”
Almost 10 years after its original release date, Manhunt is still not available for sale in Australia and Rockstar Games chose not to release its sequel, Manhunt 2, in Australia at all after the controversy surrounding the originals release.
This game was to be a remake of the 1988 arcade game of the same title, but somehow during development the story changed and new characters were added.
These things happen right? Anyway… Moving on.
Released across Xbox, PS2 and PC and rated M in North America and Europe, this game was banned in Australia before it was released for “drug use related incentives.”
The Classifications board did not like that the player could keep and use the drugs they had confiscated.
A reboot of the old Bullfrog Productions games of the same name, Starbreeze Studios released this title for console and PC worldwide, except for Australia.
Syndicate was refused classification in Australia due to “Frequent depictions of mutilation.”
Refusal of classification of this game by the Office of Film and Literature Classification was controversial to say the least, with games such as Aliens Vs. Predator being released unedited as MA15+ and known to depict more graphic scenes of violence.
Yes, Fallout 3 was originally refused classification in Australia due to depictions of drug use.
Throughout the game the player uses Morphine. According to those in charge, this is a no-no.
Due to the refusal of classification in Australia, Bethesda Games Studio initiated a worldwide edit and we now refer to Morphine in game as Med-X.
At least we all get to play the game now?
With the inclusion of the edit, Fallout 3 was given an MA15+ rating in Australia.
Heading back in time now to the days of the CD-i and DOS games, those were the days right?
Released as the flagship game for the CD-i console, this game was refused classification in Australia due to creators including sexual fetishes that are illegal in this country.
After the CD-i console bombed spectacularly, games for that console were re-released as DOS games.
This includes Voyeur and its sequel Voyeur 2 as the developers for these games did not edit out the freaky sex when re-releasing them, these games are still refused classification in Australia.
LEFT 4 DEAD 2
Apparently this game was too gory for Australian audiences.
Developed by Turtle Rock Studios in conjunction with Valve Corporation, much confusion arose when the Classifications Board refused to classify Left 4 Dead 2 for sale in Australia after the original received an MA15+ rating.
The game was edited from the version that most of the world knows to create a greater difference between the appearance of the human characters and the zombie characters amongst other things.
With the edits Left 4 Dead 2 is now considered to be less graphic than Left 4 Dead, the first game in the franchise, which was awarded an MA15+ classification on its first application.
Valve Corporation is currently exploring re-submitting Left 4 Dead 2 in its original form for classification.
Who can look past this title when talking about games refused classification? Not I, certainly.
This game released on Mac and PC was banned due to “Revolting and abhorrent content.”
There was little controversy about this decision. Those who knew what the game contained agreed with the classification boards disgust. I sincerely doubt that the classifications board will reclassify this one, but I am looking forward to seeing what happens at any rate.
I will say, kudos to the development team at Running With Scissors for not compromising their, I’m going to call it “Artistic Integrity” ,in the face of the classification board.
This title has a similar story to Manhunt in that it was originally given MA15+ classification and then had its classification removed.
The game’s classification was removed due to the scenes showing gang violence and detailed torture sequences.
After the “offending” scenes were removed and the game was given back its MA15+ rating.
MARK ECKO’S GETTING UP: CONTENTS UNDER PRESSURE
Yet another game that was refused classification when games of a similar nature or worse were being approved.
Originally given MA15+ rating, after an appeal by Queensland Local Government Authority the rating was removed and the game was banned before release.
The reason? The game depicted real life graffiti acts and instructions on how to graffiti. Yes, that is the reason why. Moments like this give me an overwhelming urge to head-desk.
The classification board’s decision to remove classification was controversial as not long before this several other games were given classification although they depicted scenes much worse, including illegal street racing and the assault of sex workers.
I’d like to take this opportunity to highlight one game that was given classification in Australia at MA15+ when elsewhere in the world it is distributed as R18+.
ALIENS VS. PREDATOR
How this game was approved for classification, I will never know.
When it was first submitted this game was refused classification in Australia. With its graphic depictions of gore and violence this was to be expected of a country that refused classification to a graffiti art game.
However, on appeal, SEGA Australia announced that the game was approved for MA15+ Classification without any alterations.
This move has caused some upset in the world of game developers who were forced to edit their games before they were to be approved for classification. Games, as you can read above, that did not involve such graphic mutilations as the Aliens Vs. Predator game.
Things move slowly down here in Australia, but we are catching up! Promise! I for one am looking forward to the games that have been submitted for reclassification in Australia now that we have a shiny new R18+ rating to play with!
Congratulations to Australia’s very first R18+ classified game, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razors Edge!
Even though its predecessor kicked my arse, I can’t wait to sink my teeth into this one.
[Written by contributor Viola Turtle-Dove]