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Australian AvP Ban Reversed

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the people-have-spoken dept.

Censorship 71

Earlier this month, we discussed news that Sega's new Aliens vs. Predator video game had been refused classification in Australia, effectively banning it. After a scathing response from the developer saying they wouldn't censor the game, and later news that the classification scheme may be updated to include an R18+ rating, it now seems that the Classification Board has seen fit to give the game a green light after all. Sega's Darren Macbeth told Kotaku, "We are particularly proud that the game will be released in its original entirety, with no content altered or removed whatsoever. This is a big win for Australian gamers. We applaud the Classification Review Board on making a decision that clearly considers the context of the game, and is in line with the modern expectations of reasonable Australians."

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71 comments

A big win for gamers? (0, Troll)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485010)

AvP is one of the worst games I've had the displeasure of playing. Through dumb luck Australians have been able to avoid direct exposure to it, but now with its full scale release in Oz that utopia is gone.

Save your money. Get a better game.

Re:A big win for gamers? (2, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485074)

Hey, it took a lackluster title to refuse to water down their game, most likely because they have no more budget to do so and had no expected sales to lose, but if it results in real change for good games in the future, so be it.

Re:A big win for gamers? (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486660)

Hey, it took a lackluster title to refuse to water down their game, most likely because they have no more budget to do so and had no expected sales to lose, but if it results in real change for good games in the future, so be it.

Actually, I think it has more to do with the performance of Alien vs. Predator [wikipedia.org] compared to Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem [wikipedia.org].

With the first AVP movie they went for a PG-13 rating to try to get a wider audience, and it bit them in the ass.

The fact of the matter is that both the Predator and Alien franchises are built on R rated movies. They're full of violence. There really isn't a good way to portray a Predator skinning his victims and hanging the corpses out to dry that isn't going to get you an R rating. Nor is there a good way to show an Alien chestburster working its way out of a host that isn't R rated.

In going for the PG-13 rating on AVP they cut out a lot of things that fans expect from the franchise - like shots of a chestburster ripping loose.

AVP:R realized those mistakes and went back to the R rating. It wasn't a great movie... The acting wasn't anything special and the plot was a little bit silly. But it at least delivered the basic things that fans of the two franchises were looking for. Sales were much, much better.

I think, after seeing the comparative performance of those two movies, that Fox knew a watered-down game wouldn't do them any good. And bad reviews for a watered-down Australian release might even negatively impact the non-watered game elsewhere.

Re:A big win for gamers? (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30487174)

Being PG-13 wasn't way the first AvP was bad, that was just the salt on the wound. It was bad because one Alien, "Net-Scar", killed 2 Predators. WTF seriously, I don't care if they were in the middle of their right of passage, the Predators wouldn't go down that easy. Then you get to the part where the human woman saves the remaining Predator and he adopts her into the tribe and gives her a spear and shield made out of dead Alien.
 
The only good part of the film is when the Predator comes out of nowhere does a jump spin and stabs the Alien Queen in the neck with his spear.

Re:A big win for gamers? (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 4 years ago | (#30488736)

Being PG-13 wasn't way the first AvP was bad, that was just the salt on the wound.

I'm not saying that it would have been a great movie if only it had been R rated... I'm saying that it would have sucked less if we could have at least enjoyed some of the set-piece scenes that we've come to expect from the respective franchises.

When all those people got impregnated, and then the camera cut away when the chestbursters popped... I was genuinely insulted. It's an Alien (vs Predator) movie - I want to see chestbursters!

It was bad because one Alien, "Net-Scar", killed 2 Predators. WTF seriously, I don't care if they were in the middle of their right of passage, the Predators wouldn't go down that easy.

I have less of a problem with an Alien killing multiple Predators (remember, not only were they n00bs, but they didn't even have their shoulder guns) than I do with them trying to turn an Alien into a real character. That was the whole point with the "net scar" thing... To let us distinguish that Alien from the rest of them. So we could keep score and cheer it on.

Aliens are bugs. They're part of a hive mind. They're as interchangeable and disposable as our individual skin cells are. We shouldn't be individualizing them, we should see them as a faceless ravening horde.

Then you get to the part where the human woman saves the remaining Predator and he adopts her into the tribe and gives her a spear and shield made out of dead Alien.

This is right out of Aliens vs. Predator: Prey [barnesandnoble.com] - a book that pre-dates the movie by a good couple of years. In it you've got a Predator fighting against a bunch of Aliens on a human-settled world, and a human woman who winds up on his side. At the end of the book he gives her the head of the Alien queen as a trophy and marks her as a Predator warrior. In the sequels she actually winds up joining a predator hunting party and going off to hunt more Aliens.

I'm not claiming that the fact it happened on paper before it happened on the screen makes it somehow better... But I can see where they got the idea and why they thought it would work.

Re:A big win for gamers? (2, Informative)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485086)

The original AvP (in terms of PC fpses, I mean) was a pretty poor effort, yes. It suffered from having no real storyline to its (shockingly short) campaigns, and from the Alien and Predator campaigns being frustrating exercises in jump puzzles and "find the one piece of wall that's textured slightly differently, meaning you can break it".

I thought that despite running on what was a crummy engine even by the standards of the time, AvP2 was a good bit better. They pulled together a very solid and atmospheric Marine campaign for it, even if the Alien and Predator campaigns were still total rubbish. It did a lot of stuff right, though; creeping through a darkened colony as a Marine, while watching for the telltale pings on your motion tracker was really quite scary.

The upcoming game does have some potential, therefore, even if the previews haven't exactly been ecstatic. But what I really want is the (much delayed, possibly vaporware) "Aliens: Colonial Marines" squad-based shooter that's allegedly in the pipeline. Take the B-movie fodder Predator out of the picture, confine the game to the marine perspective and really focus on making the experience terrifying and, with a decent technology base, you could have a very effective game indeed.

Re:A big win for gamers? (4, Insightful)

quadrox (1174915) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485122)

The original AvP was the first 3D game I played (I think). I absolutely loved the marine campaign, because it was scary as hell. I've never been that scared in a game before or after (or pretty much in any situation).

It might not be long, graphics may be poor, there may not be a story - but I will say that this game is still bounds better than most modern FPS, because what little is there just works so incredibly well. And the lack of story was quite ok really, because similar as in half life, the entire point of it is simply to get out of there, which increases immersion quite a lot (for me anyway).

Re:A big win for gamers? (1)

El Jynx (548908) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485134)

Heh.. did everyone have such high expectations of it then? We played AvP2 over our LAN quite a bit, for the simple fun of running over walls and dropping on unsuspecting marines. There was also an Survivor variant where you all start as marines and have to shoot each other, then after that you have to team up since everyone who dies becomes a (conistently respawning) alien. Sitting in the end of a box tunnel with aliens running towards you in dim lighting and ever-increasing numbers with the radar's beep-beep really sets an atmosphere. Longest survivor wins :P

But, indeed, the alien and pred single player campaigns were trash. It was only ever fun in multiplayer / online. I don't expect it to get an 8/1- rating or higher, 6/10 is fine by me as long as they don't screw it up. I know what I'm getting.

Re:A big win for gamers? (2, Insightful)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485352)

Longest survivor wins

But shortest survivor can run on low roofed corridors.

Re:A big win for gamers? (3, Insightful)

Madsy (1049678) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485558)

I loved AvP back in 1999. Sure, the campaign was short, but there was one for each race, remember? Besides, the *real* fun was to play multiplayer via Gamespy or MPlayer. I used to play 1 vs 7 team deathmatch against my buddies with me as alien and the other team as whatever race they wanted. I won single-handedly every time because the alien was so fast. Hit'n'run tactics for the win.

Sadly, they nerfed the alien in AvP2. That game *really* sucked. Instead of decent jumping, they added a pounce attack, which made your enemy explode, leaving no body to let you regain health. And yeah, I do agree with the franchise mix. The Alien and Predator universes are better separated than combined. I really look forward to Colonial Marines.

Re:A big win for gamers? (3, Informative)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486584)

AvP is one of the worst games I've had the displeasure of playing. Through dumb luck Australians have been able to avoid direct exposure to it, but now with its full scale release in Oz that utopia is gone.

Save your money. Get a better game.

There have been a number of AvP games now... And while I can certainly make a guess as to which one you're referring... You seem to think there's only one out there.

There was Alien vs Predator [wikipedia.org] on the Atari Jaguar [wikipedia.org] - which I never played.

Then there was Aliens versus Predator [wikipedia.org] - which was developed by Rebellion for the PC. This game was pretty rough for an FPS at the time... But you need to realize that it was not a standard FPS title. The game introduced different vision modes for the Predator and Alien, as well as the Alien's wall-climbing ability, which were all fairly revolutionary at the time. The storyline was pretty crap. The graphics were chunky. The campaigns were pretty short. But it still managed to deliver some real thrills in the Marine campaign.

Next up was Aliens versus Predator 2 [wikipedia.org] - again developed for the PC. This was a genuinely good game. The graphics were roughly on-par with other contemporary titles... The individual campaigns were much longer... And the storyline wove between the three campaigns nicely. I don't know that this title really did anything new and interesting - the vision modes and wall-climbing was already established... But it did everything better than the first PC game did. I had many hours of fun with this title.

And now we've got Aliens vs. Predator [wikipedia.org] on the way from SEGA for the PC. The visuals look as good as any other FPS I've seen recently. The visual modes look better than before, and they appear to have done a better job of capturing the brutality of the old movies. Ultimately I doubt if it'll be some epic feat of video game engineering... But it looks like it'll be a fun ride.

Re:A big win for gamers? (1)

drb_chimaera (879110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30487578)

Published by Sega - the new one is being developed by the same dev house as the first, Rebellion \o/

So what about Left4Dead 2? (1)

anomnomnomymous (1321267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485090)

So what about Left 4 Dead 2? Valve might have been too quick to cater to their demands. I hope for the Australians that this ban will also be reversed, and they get to play the game as it was meant to be.

Re:So what about Left4Dead 2? (3, Interesting)

baronvoncarson (1684844) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485116)

We wont. Zombies look too much like humans. It's the doublestandards of our rating system. On the one hand a game where you kill zombies gets banhammer, but on the other hand a game you play as a terrorist (MW2) and can decapitate living humans, not zombies (AvP), get the MA15+ rating. Our country is so far behind the times with it's rating system and it's fast becoming a nanny state. Hopefully some kids get this game and parents see how violent it is and it causes some pissed off mums to get vocal. It might actually help us get our long awaited R18+ rating.

Re:So what about Left4Dead 2? (4, Insightful)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485524)

it's fast becoming a nanny state

I'm from the US, and I was under the assumption that this was the case already, with Australia following closely behind the UK with their banning of various games and censoring of the internet. It's that sort of nanny state mentality that has me looking at places like New Zealand and Canada for studying abroad, rather than AUS or the UK. Your government's totalitarian censorship isn't just hurting your citizens; it's actively creating mental roadblocks in future businessmen/women who might consider doing business with your country in the future.

Re:So what about Left4Dead 2? (2, Insightful)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486282)

The US is far ahead of the UK in banning games and censoring the Internet. "Hot Coffee" wasn't an issue in the UK, only in the puritanical and prudish US.

Re:So what about Left4Dead 2? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30487072)

Okay so now we're on the topic of sex vs violence. Welcome to culture 101, where the differences in nations are made. In the US you can have ridiculously violent games, movies, and TV shows without any real issue. God forbid that you show a boobie or 3/4ths of your ass. Hop across the pond and sure, boobies are A-Okay but the violence is toned down usually.

So sure, Hot Coffee wasn't an issue in the UK. They don't have the same religious fundamentalists the US has to deal with. But that doesn't mean other things aren't censored or rights restricted that someone from another culture would object to.

UK govt. bans films, US govt. does not (3, Insightful)

SethJohnson (112166) | more than 4 years ago | (#30488188)

So sure, Hot Coffee wasn't an issue in the UK. They don't have the same religious fundamentalists the US has to deal with.

The controversy in america was that the game was rated less than 'Mature 17+' and contained the racy content. In the UK it was rated for adults only, so the racy content didn't matter.

BTW, the governmental reaction to Hot Coffee was not to 'ban' video games. Hillary Clinton and Joe Lieberman (yes, they used to be pals) tried to pass legislation that would have added governmental oversight to the voluntary rating system [wikipedia.org] in the video game industry.

Unlike the UK, entertainment such as films, are not banned by the federal government. Check this Wikipedia explanation [wikipedia.org]:

The United States has no federal agency charged with either permitting or restricting the exhibition of motion pictures. Most instances of films being banned are via ordinances or proclamations by city or state governments. Some are instances of films being judicially found to be of an obscene nature and subject to specific laws against such material (i.e. child pornography). Such findings are usually only legally binding in the jurisdiction of the court making such a ruling.

The British Board of Film Classification [wikipedia.org] has the legal authority to ban films and video games in the UK. In the US, video game classification is voluntary. Clinton and Lieberman tried to create a BBFC in America as a result of Hot Coffee.

Seth

Can you sell unrated content in UK or AU? (1)

harl (84412) | more than 4 years ago | (#30490278)

Unrated content is allowed to be sold in the US.

Can you sell unrated content in the UK or AU?

Re:Can you sell unrated content in UK or AU? (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 4 years ago | (#30499206)

Can you sell unrated content in the UK or AU?

You can in the UK. I don't know about Australia.

Re:Can you sell unrated content in UK or AU? (1)

harl (84412) | more than 3 years ago | (#30516384)

That's not entirely accurate. It's illegal to sell unrated items. It's currently unenforceable due to an EU technicality. This was a recent development late in 2009 and they are working to rectify it.

What exactly do the states ban that UK and AU don't. What makes the states more ban happy?

Re:So what about Left4Dead 2? (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#30490874)

"Hot Coffee" wasn't banned. Despite posturing by politicians, the government had nothing to do with how it was resolved. It was primarily a dispute between Rockstar, the ESRB, and the retailers carrying the game.

Re:So what about Left4Dead 2? (1)

mog007 (677810) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502206)

GTA: San Andreas would never have been banned by our government. The ESRB is a private organization, and getting a game rated by them is optional. All three console makers require a game to be rated by the ESRB before they'll let you publish it on their console, and if it's rated at AO, they won't allow publication at all. But PC games, since nobody owns exclusivity over the hardware, have no such constraints. Retailers might refuse to stock games without an ESRB rating, but that's all volunteer, the government isn't a factor in this at all, and that's the way it should stay.

The US government has no power to regulate video games, because they're a matter of free speech.

Not insightful at all (2, Insightful)

mjwx (966435) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486826)

I'm from the US,

Well there's your problem.

Australia is just taking a more mature way of dealing with our problems.

Your government's totalitarian censorship

Right, Australia's warrantless wiretapping and "rights free" zones around our airports where TSA^H^H^H AQIS can operate with carte blanc and detain anyone for any reason is absolutely the act of a totalitarian government.

No...
Wait...

That isn't my (Australian) government.

Posts like these are a few seppo's over reacting to soundbites from some uninformed news agency and have no knowledge of what has actually happened. This is a sign of change, change that occurred through civil action, by being mature and going through the proper diplomatic channels. Wait, isn't that the hallmark of a representative government?

Re:Not insightful at all (1)

ravenscar (1662985) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489692)

I agree that the U.S. has its own issues when it comes to respecting the rights of its citizens. Unlike the poster to whom you are responding, I won't take a 'my country is better than yours' stance. I do, however, take issue with the fact that you seem to think that it is acceptable for a government to restrict free speech as long as it is done via civil action and proper diplomatic channels. That, in my opinion, sets a dangerous precedent; one where expression can be restricted based largely upon its palatability to the majority of the populace. It seems that the tyranny of the majority is the primary threat to freedom in the first world. Unfortunately, the majority in each state tend not to mind said tyranny until, in some facet of their lives, they become the minority. As such, we only criticize other countries where we would likely find ourselves with a minority status - certain of our rights in jeopardy.

Re:Not insightful at all (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 4 years ago | (#30496922)

you seem to think that it is acceptable for a government to restrict free speech as long as it is done via civil action and proper diplomatic channels.

I don't actually see where speech is being restricted here?

As I said most USian's are responding based on soundbites heard on uninformed news channels. First off, refusing classification is not banning, banning is banning and that happens to relatively few films/games like Baise Moi and Ken Park. RC can be overturned easily (like what happened here), banning on the other hand is meant to be permanent. Actually possessing the game is not illegal, selling it is and at worse you'll get a fine the same as if you littered or drove without a license. The classification board sets guidelines for distribution and public viewing. It's here to help people make an informed choice, not dictate what you can and cant buy. Suggesting this is an affront to free speech is like saying that a 9 yr not being able to drive without a license to free speech.

Secondly this problem is being fixed through the proper channels, unlike in many other nations where they simply roll over and accept it.

That, in my opinion, sets a dangerous precedent

Good thing the Australian legal system is not precedent based then isn't it.

I won't take a 'my country is better than yours' stance.

Nice to see some maturity on /. although you did kind of prove my point, you had a limited understanding of the problem and people involved. I don't blame you for this as you cant be expected to know everything but I do take exception to posts that disperse incorrect information.

Of all the western nations, Australia is one of the most free and representative. Yes most people want an R18 ratings for games and the government is responding to this (as a representative government does), I think a classic /. meme applies as there's "nothing more to see here". It may take a while but in government what doesn't.

Re:Not insightful at all (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#30490984)

Australia is just taking a more mature way of dealing with our problems.

The US doesn't ban games. Australia does. At least in this matter, the US behaves in a far more civilized way. The US has problems, many problems, but I don't think there's anywhere on Earth with better free speech protections.

Re:Not insightful at all (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 4 years ago | (#30496906)

The US doesn't ban games. Australia does

Australia doesn't ban nipples on TV, the US does.

Pot, Kettle, Black.

At the very least we are doing something about our problems instead of just accepting and/or ignoring them, is that the more civilised way.

Re:So what about Left4Dead 2? (1)

radish (98371) | more than 4 years ago | (#30488152)

Whilst the UK has some serious problems with internet monitoring and privacy (_not_ censorship, at least not by the government at the moment) they're pretty hands off w.r.t. games, and are generally the same as the US. Games are rated, that rating is legally binding, but very, very few games are "banned" or otherwise restricted from sale. Other countries in Europe (e.g. Germany) are much more restrictive, typically around violence and Nazi imagery.

See this page [gamesradar.com] for a summary.

Can you say "nipple gate". (3, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#30488694)

Get of your high horse yank. At least in other parts of the world you can show a nipple without the entire country throwing a hissy fit.

Rather typical you make no mention of that. A country where the word fuck is not just bleeped but the mouth of the person saying it hidden behind a mosaic, lecturing the rest of the world on censorship.

Re:Can you say "nipple gate". (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489028)

Yeah, but the difference is in the US, the ESRB has no legal authority to ban games, neither does our film ratings association.

The rating system is strictly voluntary, however nearly all video games are submitted for rating due to the fact that many retail stores prohibit the sale of unrated video games and the major console manufacturers will not license games for their systems unless they carry ESRB ratings.

Theres a bit of a difference between Wal-Mart saying they won't sell your game if it doesn't have a rating and the government saying the game cannot be sold.

The Office of Film and Literature Classification is a statutory censorship and classification body overseen by the Australian Government which included: the Classification Board which classified films, video games and publications for exhibition, sale or hire in Australia; the Classification Review Board which reviewed previously classified films, computer games and publications on appeal; and administrative staff who provided day to day support for the two Boards under the control of the Director of the Classification Board.

In Australia though if the government doesn't like your game its banned for sale in Australia.

While the US does have some strange and stupid restrictions on what you can put on on-air TV or radio, so long as its on a disk or downloadable it really doesn't get censored. (Unless its ZOMG CP!!!111!11!11!1). Plus, in the US books are uncensored too and the only way it is ever "censored" is if a store refuses to stock it or a publisher rejects it.

Re:Can you say "nipple gate". (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#30490106)

I think it's fair to say that there's not a country on Earth where a free man may live.

Re:Can you say "nipple gate". (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30499732)

So when they bleep at censor the word fuck on television I don't know they just said fuck? Of course I do. A child who never heard the word before or knows it's meaning may not, but I certainly do. How am I being censored then? If a woman's exposed breast is digitally masked am I being censored? No. I know what's there and what it looks like, thou some of slashdot crowd may not. So please do realize what censorship is. If something is censored chances are you want even know it has happened.

Re:So what about Left4Dead 2? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30491218)

No PATRIOT Act or Free Speech Zones here. I think it's funny how the yanks point to their second amendment, glorious thought that is, and assume that that's all there is when it comes to 'nannies'. And when it comes to the question of mere swearing, well, the US is far behind on free expression there, especially in mainstream media.

You may also be surprised once you get to Canada or Kiwiland and find out that they have different forms on nanny-isation. It's considerably more complex than pointing at the second amendment.

Re:So what about Left4Dead 2? (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#30491724)

If swearing on nationally broadcast (i.e. not cable, sattelite, private networks) is the worst thing you can think of in terms of hindering free speech, I think we're doing pretty good. I'm proud that if you want to, you can walk to any intersection, hop on a soap box, crate, what have you, and rant about Obama is a secret muslim crypto-nazi sent by aliens from mars to destroy the USA or what have you, and the police will simply listen and laugh. After voting in the last presidential election and listening to both sides rant continuously, freely, seeing the Iranian elections hijacked and dissenters sacked, I am both proud of and appreciate what we have here.

Re:So what about Left4Dead 2? (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485278)

The game is as it was meant to be. All that is missing is jibs and corpses.

If that's what the game is all about, I'm glad I've not bought it.

Re:So what about Left4Dead 2? (1)

anomnomnomymous (1321267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485308)

I'm not saying that the game is not enjoyable now it's missing gibs/corpses, but to defend that it -is- as it's meant to be is bullshit.
They censored it, and as such it's -not- as the developers made it, and wanted the public to play it.

Re:So what about Left4Dead 2? (2, Insightful)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485324)

I gather you wouldn't mind watching a movie where people disappear when shot to avoid showing corpses.

A action movie. With much shooting.

Or a CSI episode. All gathered around an invisible corpse, talking about an invisible footprint on the invisible blood.

Re:So what about Left4Dead 2? (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485408)

Books contain some pretty graphic descriptions of scenes without showing them, and they're just as emotive. My point is that the game doesn't change; It's still a mad zombie-fest survival piece. It's not like they turned the zombies into marionettes and had the words "YOU ARE NOT SHOOTING REAL PEOPLE." emblazoned across the screen. Nor did they make it into Barbie Fun House of Horse Riding Escapades.

It's the same game, with the same mechanics, the same plot. Gore shouldn't even be an issue.

Re:So what about Left4Dead 2? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30485546)

It's the same game, with the same mechanics, the same plot. Gore shouldn't even be an issue.

It shouldn't be, but it is. Having played both, I can definitely say the uncut version provides a better experience. The full version is more immersive, it's a far better example of the whole wading-knee-deep-through-zombie-corpses experience that the genre is all about. In comparison, the censored version feels... sterile, and bland. And it's not even the gore, to be honest - the #1 problem for me is the disappearing corpses. It's not quite a flashing sign saying "YOU ARE NOT SHOOTING REAL PEOPLE", but has the same effect. You don't notice the difference when you're trapped in an alley being swamped by 2 separate hordes and your friend is pinned and your down to your last clip - you're way too busy to notice anything much then. But once you get through the fight and stop to catch your breath, when you look around and see a pristine environment where you know that you personally took down dozens of the damn things... it just feels wrong.

(And on a purely practical gameplay note, having the corpses disappear on you makes it far easier to get turned around in the middle of a big firefight and start heading back the way you came instead of moving on - with the uncut version, it's always dead simple to tell where you've been...)

Re:So what about Left4Dead 2? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30485814)

Deadcrumb trail.

Related captcha: infects

Re:So what about Left4Dead 2? (4, Insightful)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485592)

Books contain some pretty graphic descriptions of scenes without showing them, and they're just as emotive.

And you wouldn't mind reading a book knowing that the graphic descriptions have been censored?

My point is that the game doesn't change; It's still a mad zombie-fest survival piece. It's not like they turned the zombies into marionettes and had the words "YOU ARE NOT SHOOTING REAL PEOPLE." emblazoned across the screen. Nor did they make it into Barbie Fun House of Horse Riding Escapades.

It's the same game, with the same mechanics, the same plot. Gore shouldn't even be an issue.

It's not the same game. It's the censored version of the game.

If I remove all references to violence from a book, it's not the same book. If I censor all violence on a movie, it's not the same movie. If I censor any part of a work, it's not the same work.

You can argue you like the censored version as much as the complete game, but that doesn't make them equal.

It has nothing to do with whether you consider the censored part to be important or not. If I censor away all references to death in a zombie book, it can still be an interesting book, but it won't be the same book.

Re:So what about Left4Dead 2? (1)

Nathrael (1251426) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485622)

Books contain some pretty graphic descriptions of scenes without showing them, and they're just as emotive.

Bad analogy. The book still gives you an image of said scene, just in a different way - the text equivalent to L4D2's censorship would be taking out every sentence describing the corpse from a murder mystery novel.

It's not like they turned the zombies into marionettes and had the words "YOU ARE NOT SHOOTING REAL PEOPLE." emblazoned across the screen.

Having played the uncensored and seen the censored version - that's pretty much how it looks like though. Heck, they even removed one Special Infected from the game because he was clad in riot gear, and eviscerating something looking alike a police officer (he wasn't even one, but an agent of CEDA, the company that made the virus turning everybody into mindless zeds, meh) is evil(tm).

This is a Zombie game we're talking about here. It's sole point is surviving and killing zombies in hilarious ways. Some people might not get it, but others may find large amounts of comical violence pretty amusing, and removing said violence from the game utterly destroys it's atmosphere, makes it less fun and treats adults like little kids.

Re:So what about Left4Dead 2? (1)

Yamata no Orochi (1626135) | more than 4 years ago | (#30488276)

Having played the uncensored and seen the censored version - that's pretty much how it looks like though. Heck, they even removed one Special Infected from the game because he was clad in riot gear, and eviscerating something looking alike a police officer (he wasn't even one, but an agent of CEDA, the company that made the virus turning everybody into mindless zeds, meh) is evil(tm).

What? They dreamt up some ubiquitous evil corporation to be responsible for the zombies? They chalked it up to a virus? Their lack of storyline or conclusive evidence of much of anything was one of the main reasons L4D was a neat game, I'm glad I didn't buy this revamped crap.

This is a Zombie game we're talking about here. It's sole point is surviving and killing zombies in hilarious ways.

Seriously? How much emphasis is put on "killing zombies in hilarious ways?" Are there achievements related to it? This all sounds incredibly stupid, suddenly.

Re:So what about Left4Dead 2? (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 4 years ago | (#30487094)

Books contain some pretty graphic descriptions of scenes without showing them, and they're just as emotive. My point is that the game doesn't change; It's still a mad zombie-fest survival piece. It's not like they turned the zombies into marionettes and had the words "YOU ARE NOT SHOOTING REAL PEOPLE." emblazoned across the screen. Nor did they make it into Barbie Fun House of Horse Riding Escapades.

It's the same game, with the same mechanics, the same plot. Gore shouldn't even be an issue.

Books get the reader to feel things through text - words, sentences, verbs, nouns, paragraphs. Claiming that they have graphic scenes without showing them just doesn't make sense. Are you suggesting that authors start drawing pictures in the margins of the text? Authors do show those graphic scenes - with text.

Games and movies are largely visual, not textual, mediums. Sure, there's dialogue and soundtracks and all that stuff... But most of the impact comes from the visuals. You don't have some character call out I've been shot! - you instead show some bad guy point a gun at him and pull the trigger, then you cut to a shot of your character falling to the ground, maybe throw in a couple agonized looks on his face, some tears from a bystander, whatever. You show things with actual images on the screen, not with text.

You claim that a book is "just as emotive" without "showing" these things... But that's just wrong. Books do "show" these things.

Compare:

SHE walks in beauty, like the night
    Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that 's best of dark and bright
    Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
    Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
    Had half impair'd the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
    Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
    How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
    So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
    But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
    A heart whose love is innocent!

To:

She's pretty.

Not exactly the same thing, is it? But the general message remains the same... Both quotes are talking about how beautiful someone is. I just took out a bunch of un-necessary words... It's still the same sentiment, right?

Censoring a movie, or a video game, is the same thing. You may very well understand that someone has been shot and is dying, but if you do it all off-screen then we've got absolutely no feel for what is going on. We can't see the pain on his face. We can't see the horror of the wound itself. We can't see the expression on the villain's face. All that information is lost. As is much of the emotional impact of that character's death.

I played the L4D2 demo... One of the first things I tried, of course, was a melee weapon. I grabbed a machete off a table and charged right into the thick of things. Killing zombies with a machete is messy business. Limbs come off and blood splatters everywhere. L4D2 portrays this by having blood actually splatter on your screen.

My gut reaction when that happened was to back the hell out of melee range and re-evaluate the wisdom of chopping up zombies with a machete. I've watched enough zombie movies to know that the sickness is usually transmitted through bodily fluids. I was immediately thinking about getting some of that blood splattered in my eyes, or nose, or mouth. There was an instinctive repulsion to that. I didn't want to wade into melee and get covered with gore.

Obviously, they conveyed an awful lot with just a few red pixels on my screen. And while those red pixels mean absolutely nothing from a gameplay standpoint, they mean an awful lot from a player's experience standpoint. Just seeing those red pixels on the screen made me choose not to use a melee weapon.

You're suggesting that the presence or absence of those red pixels in no way affects the game because the storyline and mechanics are still the same. That may be true from a purely objective standpoint... But games are a subjective affair. And because of those red pixels I played through the demo with ranged weapons instead of melee weapons. Those red pixels, that have absolutely nothing to do with gameplay mechanics, changed how I played that entire demo.

Re:So what about Left4Dead 2? (1)

swedd (795861) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485806)

No, it is also missing an entire type of special infected that looks like a police officer (or so I am reliably told. I personally have managed to work around the censorship in question).

So the changes are not just superficial.

Having said that, I don't buy into the logic of "if it is just gore that is missing then the game should be unaffected, otherwise it must suck". Remember, this is a _zombie_ shooter. In terms of generating an appropriate atmosphere for the game, like it or not, blood and gore are critical.

Watch 28 Days Later or Dawn of the Dead, then imagine watching them with zero blood and bodies that instantly vanished when killed.

What fun.

Re:So what about Left4Dead 2? (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486682)

So what about Left 4 Dead 2? Valve might have been too quick to cater to their demands. I hope for the Australians that this ban will also be reversed, and they get to play the game as it was meant to be.

I doubt it.

Zombies are basically human. Rotting, ugly, shambling humans... But humans anyway.

There's a world of difference between dismembering some kind of disgusting Alien that bleeds acid, and dismembering a human being. Yes, I know that there's some graphic dismemberment of human beings in the new AVP game... But that dismemberment is being done by aliens and monsters, not other human beings.

I have a hard time seeing Australia change their mind about L4D2.

We must protect the kids by letting them play this (2, Insightful)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485110)

First of all, this is just an example of the standard system in action, and not some amazing backflip. Any ratings decision is subject to an appeal by the publisher or any third party.

This is also an example of how misguided the people are who think that they are protecting the children by not having an R18+ rating. Nobody would have raised an eyebrow if this had been rated R, and it would have prevented kids from buying the game. But because we have forced the Classification Board to choose between two moronic choices (give it to kids or treat everyone like kids) for a popular, mainstream title then they have to end up letting kids see things that they arguably shouldn't.

The Classification Board would collectively jump for joy if an R18+ rating for games was finally added, as it would take enormous pressure off them.

Re:We must protect the kids by letting them play t (4, Informative)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485928)

From my understanding, the lack of an F18+ rating is entirely the fault of a single legislator.

Re:We must protect the kids by letting them play t (4, Interesting)

mjwx (966435) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486918)

From my understanding, the lack of an F18+ rating is entirely the fault of a single legislator.

Absolutely, one attorney general has stopped the F18 Hornet from being made available in Australia.

Jokes aside (The RAAF now consist of 70 odd F18 strike fighters) yes, one state attorney general prevents the "Restricted" (R18+) rating that exists for movies and literature from being legislated for video games. The system evolved from each state wanting control over the ratings system, so it was made that each vote had to be unanimous. Right now the South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson (the "legislator" in question) is being dragged through the mud buy almost everyone (media, internet, his own party) over allegations of corruption. It seems unlikely Mr Atkinson will survive but will keep his* views to the bitter end.

* I'm certain that I don't have to explain politics to /. but when a politician becomes as powerful as Mr Atkinson then he has done so with the support of certain smaller groups, occasionally these groups call in favours. Atkinson is known to have a lot of support from extremist Christian groups in SA, whether it is or isn't Mr Atkinson's view he has to obey his masters.

Re:We must protect the kids by letting them play t (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30488102)

You have ratings on literature?

Re:We must protect the kids by letting them play t (2, Informative)

mjwx (966435) | more than 4 years ago | (#30488506)

You don't? (I suggest you look into that, you might find out why Hustler must be kept behind the counter)

You know that literature is another word for books, magazines, newspapers, comics and printed material. Kind of easier then saying books, magazines, newspapers, comics and printed material, Shiva knows that legal codes are long enough as they are.

Reasonable Australians (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30485144)

never heard of reasonable Australian before. Is this something in the game?

Re:Reasonable Australians (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485950)

Yea, he's a dead body. Unfortunately you can't see him, because they had to cut the dead bodies to pass classification in Australia.

Disclaimer: this is a joke, not actual nationalistic xenophobia or anything. I really hope you didn't need this disclaimer to realize this.

AvP franchise (1)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485182)

I love the Alien franchise, I love the Predator franchise, I love the AvP comics... however while watching the first AvP movie I almost got myself and my friend arrested for my increasingly irate fuming and snide comments made in the theatre at the totally valueless (and obviously made with marketing concerns in mind) story that was presented on screen before me. I suffered through AvP2 and begrudgingly admitted that they had made something that vaguely lived up to the rich universe that was the combined franchises. Now, they expect me to drop some of my hard earned money on their next offering... as an Australian I say, not bloody likely mate.

Re:AvP franchise (1)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 4 years ago | (#30485302)

The second AvP movie is actually pretty good if you fast-forward past all the scenes with bad, hammy acting and stilted, unconvincing dialogue. In other words, any of the scenes where the humans are the focus.

While I'm not a massive fan of how they chose to play the Predalien, the sequences with the Aliens over-running the town, the National Guard response being wiped out and so on are enjoyable. Not only that, but they're also surprisingly "hardcore", given that the first AvP movie tried to lock itself so firmly into a teen-friendly content level.

The biggest gripe I had with AvP2 was that the audience is clearly supposed to feel that the military are all nasty and naughty for nuking the town at the end. Frankly, from their point of view, with a city having been over-run so quickly and other containment methods having failed, dropping a nuke to limit the problem before it could spread further was absolutely the right and ethical decision.

Re:AvP franchise (2, Informative)

drb_chimaera (879110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30487482)

Bear in mind this is the third PC iteration of Alien Vs Predator. The first was a good few years ago but (despite relatively primitive graphics by the standards of the day) was a superb FPS game. Piss scary and bastard hard in places too.

The sequel was a bit more mainstream, so not as hard but had a few innovations in too, such as the Alien game starting you out as a facehugger looking for an appropriate victim, then giving it the chestburster bit and so on.

Anyway, the first game came from the same dev house as this one, and I for one am really looking forward to it, not matter how fecking awful the movies one (although as somone else mentioned at least the sequel was appropriately violent :)

This is not a good thing (1)

vell0cet (1055494) | more than 4 years ago | (#30487034)

Anyone who's seen screenshots from this game would probably agree that this should be rated MA15+. The lack of the R18+ rating for videogames has forced an unsuitable game to be given a lower rating than the rest of the would (everywhere else it's rated 17+ or 18+).

The fact that this game has been given a lower rating than what I think any reasonable person (gamer or not) would think it should have just goes to serve Atkinson (the one politician in AUS standing in the way of an R18+ rating) more ammunition. He and other ignorant politicians will point to it saying things like "see how violent our MA15+ are? Imagine what it'd be like if we had a R18+. We'd have games like Rapeplay!"

The point of ratings is not to stop kids from playing games that are inappropriate for them. The point of ratings are for PARENTS so that they can be properly informed about what a game contains, so that THEY can stop their kids from playing them. Misinforming parents by giving an incorrect rating to a game is not serving ANYBODY.

Why am I qualified to say that Aliens vs Predator deserves a higher rating than MA15+? Firstly, I've worked on a number of ESRB M(17+) games. Secondly, (NSFW) http://kotaku.com/5428934/does-australia-have-a-point

Government vs private review boards (4, Interesting)

RevWaldo (1186281) | more than 4 years ago | (#30488710)

In the great documentary on the United States' MPAA film review board, This Film is Not Yet Rated [wikipedia.org], one of the talking heads makes the argument that - in a fully functional democracy at least - government review boards may actually be preferable to private industry review boards (which are usually created to preempt the creation of government review boards in the first place.)
The argument is that although government review boards have the law on their side, they are at least accountable, either to the will of the people (legislative) or the country's constitution (judicial). You could in theory force the review board to make or alter their decisions or decision-making process through legislation or judicial review. Government review boards can be required to have a certain level of openess on the review process, who does the reviews, and so on.
Private review boards, on the other hand, are accountable to no one, aside from the industry that sponsors them. They can have byzantine rules, secretive and subjective review processes, anonymous review boards, and no one can say boo about it. You can go unrated of course, but your product can effectively be stonewalled by the industry or the third parties that support it. In the case of films, unrated or NC-17 films have trouble getting into theaters, getting newspaper or TV ads, and may not get the full backing of the studio that produced it.
Regarding video games, can you even legitimately release a game in the US for any of the the big consoles without an ESRB rating?

Re:Government vs private review boards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30489118)

The argument is that although government review boards have the law on their side, they are at least accountable, either to the will of the people (legislative) or the country's constitution (judicial). You could in theory force the review board to make or alter their decisions or decision-making process through legislation or judicial review. Government review boards can be required to have a certain level of openess on the review process, who does the reviews, and so on.

Accountable and open government? Give me a one-way ticket to the cloud that you're on. We were promised both things about a year ago, but there's still the same old story out of Washington, D.C. A government review board akin to the infamous FCC? No thanks.

Private review boards, on the other hand, are accountable to no one, aside from the industry that sponsors them. They can have byzantine rules, secretive and subjective review processes, anonymous review boards, and no one can say boo about it. You can go unrated of course, but your product can effectively be stonewalled by the industry or the third parties that support it. In the case of films, unrated or NC-17 films have trouble getting into theaters, getting newspaper or TV ads, and may not get the full backing of the studio that produced it.

"Byzantine rules, secretive and subjective review processes, anonymous review boards"? As opposed to some hypothetical open, impartial government that creates rules that make sense? Yeah, right.

Anyway, ratings are pretty much meaningless. Lots of kids play their Grand Theft Auto and see R-rated movies, despite the best efforts of the ESRB, the MPAA, FCC or whatever censorship groups are in place.

Re:Government vs private review boards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30492362)

1st, see the other post by anonymous. Second, the government has no right legislating or controlling private industry in any way, especially the enetertainment industry. I could put together a full argument for you (begining with the other anonymous posts arguments), but it's been played out in this forum way too much. You must be new here, or at least crawled out from under your rock the past couple months. If you want government to control everything, move to a communist state.

Re:Government vs private review boards (1)

Just Justin (1539921) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502778)

I do know that when a game gets the Adult Only rating, it's effectively been banned because none of the major retailers will carry an AO rated game. I'm not too sure, but I think that the big 3 consoles won't even license a game for their system if it gets rated AO. So I would imagine they have a similar policy about games not being rated.

This has been great publicity (1)

harl (84412) | more than 4 years ago | (#30490326)

Congrats AU censors. You've helped sell the game by generating lots of press. Isn't that counter productive to your goals?

Problems with the System (1)

rdnetto (955205) | more than 4 years ago | (#30495678)

This is a great example of one of the points I made when I contributed to the public consultation - that games that would have gotten a R18+ rating may be squeezed into the MA15+ category. Because MA15+ is effectively the highest rating, you have to treat it like the R18+ since lots of games that would get R18+ otherwise are pushed (either through censorship or political pressure) into MA15+.

more like... (1)

akayani (1211810) | more than 4 years ago | (#30496280)

"Better let that game in or they will use it to demonstrate just how right wing Christian the internet censorship will be."

It's just a stunt to make people feel comfortable and nothing more.
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