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Australia Bans New Mortal Kombat

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the finish-him dept.

Censorship 119

daria42 writes "Mortal Kombat is one of the oldest video game franchises around, but it looks as though Australia's classification board hasn't heard of it. Today the organization confirmed it had banned the newest version of the game from being sold in Australia, citing excessive violence, such as 'bloodspray' and 'limb dismemberment.' In a Mortal Kombat game? Who would have thought?! The ban comes because Australia does not have an R18+ classification for video games, despite extensive lobbying efforts by the video game industry and consumers."

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They've been busy (1)

shibashaba (683026) | more than 3 years ago | (#35310762)

Australia seems to be pretty busy here lately.

Re:They've been busy (4, Insightful)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 3 years ago | (#35311098)

Both of the Australia stories on the front page today are both reasons I turned down a job offer to work in Sydney. As an American, the idea that the government would get a say in which video games I play seemed ridiculous, as did the idea that Internet access would be handled by a closed monopoly.

I'm not saying that the USA is whole lot better, but I do have the option of playing the original Manhunt and downloading the latest Ubuntu image without any bandwidth cap.

I wish that countries would keep in mind that there are competitive advantages to keeping their systems more open and that it's not just about protecting the children. In my case, an Australian employer lost out on an employee they wanted because their government was busy playing censor.

Re:They've been busy (1)

shibashaba (683026) | more than 3 years ago | (#35311214)

Thats a really good point, something any country wishing to remain technologically competitive should understand. The best minds know they can go anywhere in the world and work, and they're gonna pick the most hospitable places. A lot of researches threatened to leave the US over the DMCA, although I don't know how many actually followed through. Look at Russia, they have an excellent school system but the US surpassed them long ago. China is making some gains, but it's still nothing compared to the US at the turn of the 20th century if you ask me.

I can't imagine why any highly skilled worker would choose to work under restrictive conditions when there is a choice.

Re:China (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#35311424)

Ya'know,

I feel China is catching up faster than your post may think. For a while it's hidden because they have a huge country, but give them another 20 years and they'll turn into a big Chinese Dragon Engine.

Re:China (1)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 3 years ago | (#35311558)

Except that Chinese university students tend to (and I know I'm over-generalizing here) want to come to the USA for their post-graduate education. China can grow and educate, but as long as they have a repressive, over-controlling government, the brains are going to be leaving, not entering.

they also cheat and copy others work (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35311662)

they also cheat and copy others work.

A lot of China is based on copying others IP.

Re:They've been busy (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35311728)

You're full of shit.

You live in the most ridiculously controlled and censored environment on earth these days and you cast aspersions on Aussieland ??

If you turned down a job offer in Sydney over something in the US then you're obviously far too stupid to work effectively in Sydney and you did the right thing.

The employer "lost out" on a dipshit American and lost precisely no sleep over it at all, and immediately replaced you in the hiring process with someone with a functional brain.....maybe from the UK, or Canada or a local.

Make sure the backscatter machines and TSA nazis don't arrest you for contravening the Patriot Act or annoying the MPAA with bit-torrent upon your return to LA....ok ?

How about wandering down to a Freedom Zone next election?.....make sure you don't get mugged by all those slave descendants you bought over, on your way to score your crack and Uzi.

Loser.

Re:They've been busy (1)

dadelbunts (1727498) | more than 3 years ago | (#35314938)

Posted by an angry racist australian?

Re:They've been busy (1)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35314986)

Even though the tone of the parent comment is troll-like, his points are valid. Please mods, mod him back up.

Re:They've been busy (1)

dadelbunts (1727498) | more than 3 years ago | (#35314990)

Oh almost forgot. Since you mention "all those slave descendants" what would you classify australians as? All those criminal descendants? Oh they joy of ignorant bigoted comments.

Re:They've been busy (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#35312268)

Somehow I doubt that an Ubuntu image affecting the 500GB download cap/month you can subscribe to for a pittance was NOT the reason you turned down a job offer in Sydney. Sorry but compared to Australia, the land formerly known as the land of opportunity's government makes ours look like it's run by saints.

The topic of an 18+ rating is back on the table now that the infamous attorney general blocking it has resigned and has little to no opposition, the government is proposing a national broadband network which will make the US look like they live in the dark ages, and the sun shines 364 days a year. One day we get floods / cyclones of biblical proportions, but that only happens 1/365th of the year :-)

Re:They've been busy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35312676)

Are you trying to say Australia some how provides more opportunity and has a fairer government than the USA?
Im British so there isn't any bias, but to me its pretty obvious USA's eduction system and freedom of speech laws widely suprasses Australias.

Re:They've been busy (1)

stealth_finger (1809752) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313298)

One day we get floods / cyclones of biblical proportions, but that only happens 1/365th of the year :-)

And then it's back to business as usual the next day?

Re:They've been busy (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313476)

Well, there's also the fact that you live in the middle of millions of degenerate, hardcore criminals.

Re:They've been busy (1)

Nick Ives (317) | more than 3 years ago | (#35316322)

Somehow I doubt that an Ubuntu image affecting the 500GB download cap/month you can subscribe to for a pittance was NOT the reason you turned down a job offer in Sydney. Sorry but compared to Australia, the land formerly known as the land of opportunity's government makes ours look like it's run by saints.

I honestly have no idea what you're trying to say here.

Re:They've been busy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35313060)

I'm not sure that an American turning down an Australian job, freeing up the job to an employ an Australian would necessarily be taken as a bad thing by the Australian government.

Re:They've been busy (1)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35314958)

So you refused a job on the basis of false assumptions? There is no closed monopoly on net access, and you can still download or import games which are only banned for SALE in Australia. Possession isn't banned, only the sale by Australian distributors.

Re:They've been busy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35316558)

ha ha ha ha ha.....you stayed in America because you thought Australia was restrictive?!?? That's awesome, kinds of like staying in a burning building because it's hot outside.

By the way, software professionals in Sydney can pretty much name their wage....smart move

Re:They've been busy (1)

severoon (536737) | more than 3 years ago | (#35314018)

Who could be against banning this???

They also need to get on the books thing...there's lots of bad words in those. Sometimes you just have to step back and smile when governments finally start recognizing their proper role in society...the people aren't going to protect themselves from the outside world!

Australians invent first time machine! (1)

Onuma (947856) | more than 3 years ago | (#35310766)

Apparently they're back in 1992? Haven't there been far gorier games released in Australia in the last 2 decades?

I'm glad they have a society which supports openness, freedom, and tolerance...in the same way the middle east does.

Re:Australians invent first time machine! (5, Informative)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#35310790)

Re:Australians invent first time machine! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35310976)

I didn't realize how many banned games i have installed. (Australian).

Re:Australians invent first time machine! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35311024)

I don't know why the Assie gov are picknig on video games in particular... it seems they accept that partents can't be trusted to make sure ther kids are not playing video games, rated beond their age. In the UK we have been living in a nanny state, but at least we can avoid most censorship. You don't have to go back far though to know you could be arrested for publishing a book containing sex in...

Re:Australians invent first time machine! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35311548)

from what i've seen most parents CANT be trusted to police their kids

Re:Australians invent first time machine! (1)

adeft (1805910) | more than 3 years ago | (#35312088)

That list reads like a list of games I want to be playing!

Re:Australians invent first time machine! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35310822)

No. Games tend to get released eventually but only after all gore and 'questionable' content has been removed. I remember Left4Dead2 finally getting released there after limb dismemberment and dead bodies were removed from the game, as were blood spurts and various other things that made a zombie game fun.

I don't think the australian gamers mind too much, they just buy an uncensored version from New Zealand. There's even some shops there that as good as guarantee release day delivery to Australian customers.

Re:Australians invent first time machine! (1)

XLazarusX (534555) | more than 3 years ago | (#35310934)

That easy access via NZ is probably why this Saudi-Arabia-style policy stays in place.

If they actually blocked gamers from getting the games, things would change.

Re:Australians invent first time machine! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35311154)

The US Steam store works fine. Just use a Tor exit node in the US, or some other US proxy. Cheaper for lots of titles too.

I'm an adult (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35310778)

For fuck's sake, I'm sick of this shit.

Let's hope the attorneys general can vote on the R rating soon.

world+dog vote to ban manufactured weaponry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35310782)

other than shoes. now that's progress. just the raw materials recycling will result in major advances in food storage/distribution/baby feeding etc.... see you there?

Re:world+dog vote to ban manufactured weaponry... (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#35310996)

That's exactly what Kang and Kodos are waiting for. On that day, our superior intellect won't be a match for their puny weapons.

Re:world+dog vote to ban manufactured weaponry... (1)

SilentStaid (1474575) | more than 3 years ago | (#35311262)

Yeah, that's true, but I've got my board and nail at the ready.

Shit (1)

TheSeeker11 (1061698) | more than 3 years ago | (#35310788)

Shit like this makes me glad I moved to the UK.

Re:Shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35311126)

Shit like this makes me glad I moved to the UK.

Yeah, at least there you can air out your concerns to the government with any camera on any street corner!

Re:Shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35311212)

I laugh at your foolish desire to pay to enter the city centre, and be on camera at all times.

Ha! Ha-ha. Ha-ha-ha-ha *cough* *cough*

Re:Shit (1)

The Fanta Menace (607612) | more than 3 years ago | (#35315052)

You don't have to pay to enter the city centre. I've walking into there many times.

Wolf Creek (5, Interesting)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#35310792)

And yet, they didn't ban Wolf Creek. A horror film that purports to be based on a true story, but is really the fictionalized telling of a number of true stories and news reports formed into one brutal, disgusting, almost torture-porn film.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolf_Creek_(film) [wikipedia.org]

I understand that it's because of problems with the rating system that differentiate the two, but come the fuck on.

Also, this is why you don't want the ESRB, MPAA, or other ratings becoming some sort of absurd first-amendment violating law in America (remember, ESRB/MPAA are private organizations that serve a voluntary industry . . . even if the unwillingness of stores to sell non rated content makes it a nearly de-facto one).

Re:Wolf Creek (5, Interesting)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#35310914)

They didn't 'ban' Mortal Kombat either. It was refused classification, meaning that Australian retailers can't ~sell~ it. Merely possessing a copy isn't an issue.

Anyway, as you rightly allude to, the problem in Australia is not that is that content is treated inconsistently. It's that games are 'missing' the R18 rating that exists for film, literature and other media. When they designed the video games rating system way back in the early 90s, they basically assumed that, since games were for kids, no rating higher than MA15+ was needed. Whereas for film, literature and other media, the ratings include an R18 rating. So films like Wolf Creek are still OK. But video games that are deemed unsuitable for 15-17 year olds must unfortunately be refused classification.

Note that the classification board itself is as irritated about this state of affairs as the public is. It's not their fault: they can only operate with the rating criteria they have been given to work with. They aren't on a moral crusade to ban things for the hell of it - they simply couldn't validly fit it into the MA15+ rating. The wheels are in motion to get a R18 classification for games happening (to bring them into line with film etc.), but like anything in politics, it takes a long time :(

In the meantime I'll just import this game like everyone else. No big deal. Usually cheaper to buy games from overseas anyway.

Re:Wolf Creek (3, Interesting)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#35311014)

And that's exactly the same problem faced here, in America (without the criminality aspect of it being a law, of course). Retailers can carry anything they damn well please. Technically, they can even sell to anyone they damn well please. The whole first amendment thing, and such. Granted, there's an exception for pornographic content (which is itself a very convoluted issue with enormous first amendment thorns). There's no law that says a retailer can't sell an M-rated game to a ten year old and there's no law that says your game has to even be rated or labeled. It is all voluntary, across the board.

Of course, the problem with that is that if the government censors content or distribution of content, that's censorship. If private industry does it, it's just business. But isn't it censorship, if the industry's self-governance is only the result of a threat by politicians to come in and take things over? In a very real sense, there is no practical difference between "we will take over your industry and make sure 16 year old kids don't get a copy of Call of Duty" and "we will voluntarily make sure 16 year old kids don't get a copy of Call of Duty, because we don't want you to step in and make sure 16 year old kids don't get a copy of call of duty". It's censorship by coercion and, in my mind, even dirtier than outright censorship.

And, because of that, you also have problems like AO (adult only) games nearly not existing, because no retailer will carry or sell them. So, we're stuck with M-rated games that label-wise should be on-par with rated R movies. That is, enormous amounts of violence and torture and drugs and language and tense situations, but only mild nudity and no sex (and, no games containing sex or significant nudity, because again that'd get an AO rating). So the impact of this entirely voluntary system is that even games which by definition are only available to people who are also old enough to see R-rated movies are tamed down to nothing more than your GTA and your Deadspace. You and I as grown adults have our content watered to the point that it's drinkable children (who, of course, aren't supposed to be drinking it per the voluntary, but not exactly voluntary nudge nudge rating system).

Not to mention, the MPAA and ESRB boards are basically a couple of corrupt money-grabbing organizations. Most indie developers and certainly no garage developers could even afford to submit their games to the ESRB for rating, because the cost would easily be more than their entire development fund.

Re:Wolf Creek (2)

norpy (1277318) | more than 3 years ago | (#35311030)

They didn't 'ban' Mortal Kombat either. It was refused classification, meaning that Australian retailers can't ~sell~ it. Merely possessing a copy isn't an issue.

Depends on what state you live in.

WA and i think QLD have laws on their books that *criminalises* possession of RC material.

Re:Wolf Creek (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 3 years ago | (#35311058)

. The wheels are in motion to get a R18 classification for games happening (to bring them into line with film etc.), but like anything in politics, it takes a long time :(

Especially if a person with definite veto power over the decision is adamantly against it. Then it may take long enough so that they first die of old age before the project can move ahead.

Re:Wolf Creek (1)

black3d (1648913) | more than 3 years ago | (#35310938)

Oh, that's because we have an R18 rating for movies, just not for games. For some reason parts of the government see R18 rated games as a special kind of evil, that they need to protect us from. Its just like there's no X-rating in the majority of the country - oh, except for the Australian Capital Territory (think, Australia's version of DC) so the government officials themselves are allowed X-rated material - just not the rest of us.

Re:Wolf Creek (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 3 years ago | (#35311866)

The BBFC is more strict when rating games vs movies but they still see fit to offer an 18 rating. Their premise is a game is more likely to be played by a minor so they err on the side of caution. In some cases such as Manhunt 2 this will erupt into a minor controversy but it's usually a functioning ratings system. I'm not sure why Australia can't adopt something akin BBFC's 18 rating for games.

The funny part is that an outsider I would naively consider Australia to be a fairly liberal country but it is things like this and firewalls that make me wonder what the hell is going on in that country.

Re:Wolf Creek (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313106)

As you point on they didn't ban wolf creek because they can give wolf creek an R18+ rating, they can't do that with Mortal Kombat. This is all the fault of the Australian State Governer Generals who all have to agree to there rating coming into existence, unfortunately there is always at least one ludite/religious fanatic amongst them that feels they must protect Australia from themselves by imposing his beliefs on us regardless of what public opinion is.

Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35310806)

citing excessive violence, such as 'bloodspray' and 'limb dismemberment.' In a Mortal Kombat game? Who would have thought?!

It's not like it's not true, though, is it? And they didn't claim that it was different from previous games; in fact, previous games don't matter at all, since all that they're examining is the current game.

The problem here isn't that the board took a look at the title in front of it and accurately assessed it, which seems to be what you're complaining about. The problem here is that the fact that a game is arguably not suitable for children cannot be bought by adults, either. By all means, require the game to be labelled so that parents can make an informed decision as to whether to buy it or not, but don't make the state do the parents' job, and don't let parents doing their job interfere with adults looking for some bloody video game fun for themselves.

Re:Duh (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35310842)

so that parents can make an informed decision

The sad fact of the matter is that most of them probably won't, anyway. "It'll turn them into murderers, so I'm not going to buy this!"

Do they also... (1)

Jarnin (925269) | more than 3 years ago | (#35310810)

Do they also ban R rated movies with bloodspray and limb dismemberment? No? I guess they don't understand that, like art, books, music, television and movies, video game companies cater to different demographics.

Not really surprising though: The more I hear about Australia the more it reminds me of rural Kansas.

Re:Do they also... (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#35310944)

Er no they don't ban movies like that, ~because an R rating exists in Australia for film~. So there is no problem.

The problem is that, for games, the highest valid rating is MA15+. So something that would be happily classified as R and released without issue, if it were a film, must be refused classification if it's a game but can't fit into the MA15+ category. Note that I say 'refused classification', rather than 'banned'. I can buy it from an importer if I want. But to be sold in an Australian retail store, it must carry a valid Australian classification.

Yeah it's a stupid inconsistency between the rating scheme for film and for games. It is in the process of being changed but is taking a while. I firmly believe we'll get an R rating for games in the next few years (in fact, we almost got one earlier this year ... but they deferred the decision to a later meeting). Just gotta grin and bear it until then.

Re:Do they also... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35310948)

They understand it totally.
What you don't understand is the classification system in Australia. That's quite impressive given the endless number of stories about it.

Australian version (4, Funny)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 3 years ago | (#35310820)

Maybe they should release an Australian version of the game, where you just slap each other instead of fighting.

Re:Australian version (1)

auLucifer (1371577) | more than 3 years ago | (#35310840)

We already have that game. Its called "Saturday in town"

Re:Australian version (1)

Hillgiant (916436) | more than 3 years ago | (#35314340)

I love that one.

The competitive binge drinking mini-game is the best.

Re:Australian version (1)

EnsilZah (575600) | more than 3 years ago | (#35310966)

They did, it's called Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe.

Re:Australian version (5, Funny)

FrostDust (1009075) | more than 3 years ago | (#35310978)

Wouldn't be that much different from Germany's version of Counter-Strike: Source, where characters decide to lie down and peacefully surrender [youtube.com] after being shot, even when it's a head shot.

Re:Australian version (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35311220)

Oh god. That video may be the best thing I have ever seen. If I ever play Counterstrike ever again, I'm turning those animations on!

Re:Australian version (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35311832)

Isn't Mortal Kombat the game where you pummel a guy into mush and he stands up afterwards anyway? Perhaps in Germany the loser just walks away and grabs an ice cream or something...

Re:Australian version (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35312728)

not like that matters... everyone plays the original counter-strike more and germany's got a load of great teams and history

Re:Australian version (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35315688)

Ah, so that is what the German school shooter a while ago assumed about his classmates and teacher; after he has shot them in the head they lie down and peacefully surrender, finally giving the shooter the acknowledgement of his existence among them. Think of the children, distort their sense of reality!

Typical Reaction (1)

kinkelson (1395569) | more than 3 years ago | (#35310826)

Mortal Kombat has always had this legacy. Its not a new occurrence.

Banned! (1)

freman (843586) | more than 3 years ago | (#35310870)

Seriously?
Duke Nukem forever is ok, but this isn't?

I remember Duke Nukem and I wouldn't let my kids play it (but just try and stop me from playing it!)

Oh well, I've never been a fan of Mortal Kombat - but now I must import the game as an act of civil disobedience

Re:Banned! (1)

acehole (174372) | more than 3 years ago | (#35310884)

Actually, Duke Nukem 3D was censored when it originally came out. When the Atomic edition came out, it was uncensored. See the logic?

Really? (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#35310900)

"Mortal Kombat is one of the oldest video game franchises around"

I was on my 3rd gaming console half way though its lifespan when mortal kombat came out

Re:Really? (2)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 3 years ago | (#35310918)

I was on my 3rd gaming console half way though its lifespan when mortal kombat came out

And your point was? Sure, there are indeed fighting games even older than that, but the franchises are all gone already years ago. Mortal Kombat however is still going and there are new releases even after 19 years. So yes, it is indeed one of the oldest video game franchises still around.

Re:Really? (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#35312346)

yea your right, no one makes street fighter, king of fighters, capcom vs marvel or any other old fighting games anymore

Mortal Kombat was released as a me too game, they just upped it one with bad blood and digitized actors, now its Oh !! me too, again after everyone has released theirs, its not one of the oldest, at best its middle age, and its not the only one, its just a quick cash in just like the first game

Re:Really? (1)

stealth_finger (1809752) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313266)

yea your right, no one makes street fighter, king of fighters, capcom vs marvel or any other old fighting games anymore

That's why they said 'one of' instead of the oldest or something more definitive. Regardless of yours or anyone else's opinion on the game or it's competition, the original statement remains technically correct.

Re:Really? (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313390)

sorry but 2 years before playstation is not an old franchise in ALL OF GAMING (cause technically they did not say fighting games) by any means

its like lumping final fantasy X in the same age group as bards tale cause some dink thinks anything older than 10 years ago is all the same time period

Re:Really? (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313948)

its not one of the oldest, at best its middle age, and its not the only one, its just a quick cash in just like the first game

The first King of Fighters was released 1994, the first Capcom VS Marvel was release 1998, the first Mortal Kombat was released in 1992. By your argument then those are also "me too" games. Only Street Fighter is an older surviving franchise than Mortal Kombat of all those examples you mentioned. As for your argument.. well, there were PLENTY of fighting games even before Street Fighter came around, so again, even Street Fighter is a "me too" game by your logic.

Besides, you clearly have trouble understanding the "one of" - structure in a sentence: no one is saying Mortal Kombat is the oldest surviving one, only that it is one among several ones. The fact remains that the first Mortal Kombat game is now 19 years old and the franchise is still going strong and thus quite renders your whole argument pointless. Even if we take completely different genres along and in the discussion there still ain't many that are older ones. Even Civilization was released only a year before Mortal Kombat, rendering it 20 years old as of today.

Re:Really? (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#35314874)

cause its not fucking one of the oldest any thing what is hard to understand about that? and why are you trolling me? its a 1990's game that happens to be still made, but so what, that is a list of hundreds (no matter what you want to think) so its a retarded statement clear?

Re:Really? (1)

freman (843586) | more than 3 years ago | (#35310926)

Mortal Kombat title was released for Arcade during October 1992 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mortal_kombat#Fighting_games [wikipedia.org]
We did play games before you young whipper snappers got your dang fangled consoles - now get off my lawn

Re:Really? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#35311006)

Sega Genesis was released in 1988/1989 and could easily have been his third console (after an NES and some other).

Re:Really? (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#35312290)

colecovision, master system, genesis

18+ rating does NOT help (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35310912)

In Germany we have an 18+ rating but that doesn't mean adult games are available to adults.

Our official rating monopoly can deny a rating and effectively ban a game alltogether. As a result of that (and the desire to achieve lower age ratings, which are notoriously higher than PEGI or ESRB) almost all remotely violent games are cut. As a rule of thumb, if a game is 18+, you can safely assume it has been censored for the German market.

Even 18+ rated games are harder to get as online retailers have to comply with strict, ill-defined and ever-changing age-verification requirements. Major sites like eBay ban them outright.

Don't put any faith in an 18+ rating. It very likely will not allow adults to buy adult games. Just find foreign download stores (and maybe learn how to use a VPN) and ignore local regulations.

Re:18+ rating does NOT help (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#35311124)

In Netherland the problem seems just the opposite. 18+ games are easily available to kids. Bioshock and similar games are sold in toy stores, right next to Lego and Playmobil. And it doesn't look like most toy stores check the age of their customers.

Re:18+ rating does NOT help (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#35311512)

Why is that a problem? What demonstrable harm comes from children playing these games?

Re:18+ rating does NOT help (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#35311772)

It defeats the purpose of the rating system, and can result in people (at least those in politics) supporting much more restrictive measures. Despite our pretty liberal attitude here, some people are suggesting that if the retailers don't reduce the sale of 18+ games to minors, the government should.

Re:18+ rating does NOT help (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#35312244)

It defeats the purpose of the rating system

Defeating censorship is a good thing.

and can result in people (at least those in politics) supporting much more restrictive measures

Ah, so the problem isn't a lack of enforcement of the rating system, but an ignorant and bigoted populace.

Re:18+ rating does NOT help (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#35312458)

It defeats the purpose of the rating system

Defeating censorship is a good thing.

Yeah, but that's not the case here. Read what I wrote: It's not censorship. Yet.

Re:18+ rating does NOT help (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35312442)

some people are suggesting that if the retailers don't reduce the sale of 18+ games to minors, the government should.

And once they'll have dealt with that, they'll demand stricter ratings across the board. These for-the-children fanatics are of the "give them an inch and they'll take a mile" kind. It doesn't matter how many concessions you make, they will always demand more.

As I said in my the OP, look at Germany: we have one of the strictest video game rating systems (well, maybe some theocratic 3rd world dictatorship or Australia can compete) and where did it get us? The usual suspects are still demanding stricter ratings, more restrictions, bans on whole genres of games and generally more ratings on everything.

Hell, these despicable, oppressive people even got close to requiring mandatory age ratings for EVERY WEBSITE on a German server or run by a German. It only failed because of lots of protests from citizens (which were of course ignored by federal politicians), so that a single state that happened to have elections during that time, chickened out. The for-the-children crowd is already lobbying to get back on track to enforce their "youth protection" crap on every citizen.

They will NEVER be content with any compromise you agree to. Your only choice is to resist them until they die of natural causes and a generation that's not opposed to this evil "new" medium succeeds them.

Banned? (1)

louic (1841824) | more than 3 years ago | (#35310946)

Does anyone know what exactly "banned" means in Australia?

Will the game simply not be for sale? I think most people were planning to download it anyway

Will people get sued for playing it? That seems unlikely, as it will be impossible to check.

Re:Banned? (1)

Frogbert (589961) | more than 3 years ago | (#35311180)

Does anyone know what exactly "banned" means in Australia?

Widely Pirated

Re:Banned? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35311338)

Actually it means "Bought from overseas", or Downloaded.

Sure it encourages some to pirate, but there are generally plenty of ways of getting this stuff "legally" (for a suitable definition of legally).

UK next..? (1)

bhunachchicken (834243) | more than 3 years ago | (#35310992)

Just wait until the Daily Mail gets a load of this..

Kung Lao Buzzsaw fatality [youtube.com]

Re:UK next..? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35311102)

Ah ... those videos make me all nostalgic. Let's hope they'll release a PC version with acceptable DRM and actually sell it where I can buy it (and they wonder why piracy is so rampant if you have to deal with that many stupid artificial restrictions if you want to buy a game legitimately :D ).

boeing gets 36 billion from air force for.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35311022)

bombers & stuff? reminds US of that 4th of july MOVIE where randy (now hiding from his insanity) quallude, slurredly (real life or what?) says; "i'm a pilot, i can fly", so they give him a fighter jet, to shoot down the aliens, & he succeeds. that's not what's happening here, or on the other side of the world, where the jets signify only terror & death to many of the creators' innocents. the 'aliens' would be appalled. see you on the other side of it?

how confusing, you call this weather? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35311056)

We thought those big jets were being used to spray clouds/fake weather on, so we could burn more fuel oil/feel like it's winter (see also: kevin costner, 'the postman' movie)/be safe from the sun?, etc...? now we're hearing that they're to be used, along with vaccines, to help with the disposition of all form of 'unfavorable' lifestyles/belief systems.

you mean VACCINES? where they go all denzel etc..? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35311114)

or whisked away by tornadoes & stuff? there's also an overwhelming plethora of deceptive media activity rumoured? bingo? we hope that haig guy from the queen that talks like somebody's pouring hot tea up his nose, doesn't have to tell us anything else.

Here's an idea (1)

Israfels (730298) | more than 3 years ago | (#35311104)

Why not label it as a movie with "bonus features". All you need is a few quicktime events or a cutscene and you're good. Most bluerays have minigames in them now days.

Mean (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35311128)

Kangaroos are mean!

New (1)

The Aethereal (1160051) | more than 3 years ago | (#35311162)

I didn't know there was a new MK coming out. Thanks Australia for the heads up! You can always count on censorship to raise awareness of things I'm interested in.

Re:New (1)

game kid (805301) | more than 3 years ago | (#35311372)

Hell, for at least the last few weeks I seriously forgot there even were games called Mortal Kombat, and I've played (to wildly varying extents) the original, II, like several versions of 3, and 4.

I went to sleep last night and woke up in 1995! (1)

xxMSAxx (648692) | more than 3 years ago | (#35311174)

Hopefully they don't make a separate title without the blood which contains new sucky fatalities. I don't think my mom could handle another round of begging for a Sega Genesis.......esp now that I'm 30

Called it! (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#35311184)

Australia wants to ban zombie games, where the targets are already dead. Seriously, what were the odds they'd allow dismemberment of still living ones?!?

Maybe they can bring back "friendship" moves? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35311418)

Australian style. The fighters can hand decorative jars of vegemite to each other or something.

wtf (1)

h0dg3s (1225512) | more than 3 years ago | (#35311466)

"Mortal Kombat is one of the oldest video game franchises around" Um....no it isn't.

Which others? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35312036)

Taking "around" to mean having a recent release, which others would you nominate?

How many? Note it says "one of", so do you know say at least a dozen that are significantly older ?

Re:Which others? (1)

Ambiguous Puzuma (1134017) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313280)

This list may be biased toward Nintendo franchises, since that's what I have the most experience with. Or maybe Nintendo is just well known for having sequels/spinoffs to their Famicom/NES games.

Pac-Man: 1980 Pac-Man (arcade), 2010 Pac-Man Party (Wii)/Pac-Man Champion Edition DX (XBLA/PSN)
Donkey Kong: 1981 Donkey Kong (arcade), 2010 Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii)
Mario: 1983 Mario Bros. (arcade)--origin in Donkey Kong series, 2010 Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)
Bomberman: 1985 Bomberman (Famicom), 2010 Bomberman Live: Battlefest (PSN/XBLA/WiiWare)
Castlevania: 1986 Castlevania (Famicom), 2010 Castlevania: Lords of Shadow (PS3/XBox 360)
Dragon Quest: 1986 Dragon Quest (Famicom), 2009 Dragon Quest IX (DS)
Metroid: 1986 Metroid (Famicom), 2010 Metroid: Other M (Wii)
Zelda: 1986 Legend of Zelda (Famicom), 2009 Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks (DS)
Final Fantasy: 1987 Final Fantasy (Famicom), 2010 Final Fantasy XIV (PS3)
Mega Man: 1987 Mega Man (Famicom), 2010 Mega Man 10 (PSN/XBLA/WiiWare)
Street Fighter: 1987 Street Fighter (arcade), 2010 Super Street Fighter IV (PS3/XBox 360/arcade)
Ninja Gaiden: 1988 Ninja Gaiden (Famicom), 2009 Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 (PS3)

Mortal Kombat was released in 1992.

Cool!! now i want MK (1)

Skatox (1109939) | more than 3 years ago | (#35312292)

So that means that the game should be fun!!! not like Mortal Kombat vs DC

Dingo! (2)

Kagato (116051) | more than 3 years ago | (#35312430)

A dingo ate my video game!

The problem is not the ratings system (1)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313112)

The problem is that the ratings system is a legal institution. In the US, we have industry ratings systems that businesses use voluntarily. There's no law that says you can't sell "Duke Nukem" to a 6-year-old. It's just that the retailers have a policy not to.

It works pretty well. There are probably some ways in which it could work better, but it's a hell of a lot better than what Australia and Germany are doing. When it comes to ratings, our corporate overlords know their markets and, in this narrow case, seem to be perfectly capable of voluntary self-regulation.

Its the lack of ratings (2)

bussdriver (620565) | more than 3 years ago | (#35314662)

Private ratings systems are not that reliable and fail to address a great many issues; the movie ratings are an example of how bad the game ratings will become.

We forced food makers to print nutrition information with a huge battle opposing it by the industry with the usual propaganda that today gets significantly more traction with large segments of the population. Its as stupid now as it was then, there are just more suckers today.

Rather than a poor completely arbitrary ratings system setup by private parties; we should have a LIST of controversial elements similar to ingredient labels on food. These are legally specified down to the formatting which is why food labels are so similar. Again, the industry hated this-- even today corn syrup people want to lie and rename themselves corn sugar which is a different ingredient that already exists! THAT is why you must have a regulated definition list, otherwise the lawyers and marketers will have free reign.

We NEED a government system for movies, tv, and video games but not for a similar RATINGS system (which is just an appointed board of people either way) but an INGREDIENT list with definitions/rules that anybody would have to apply.

It may sound like a joke, but it makes perfect sense.... think about it:

Implied sex acts ..... 5min
visible deaths ........... 1min
auditory deaths......... 10 sec
foul language ............1,654

violence: dismemberment, shooting, stabbing, etc... could probably get this list from the police definitions
crimes: prostitution, rape, assassination, child abuse
language: words listed

SURE, this could characterize movies differently but its NOT a review, just a factual listing-- Junk food information is really bad but that doesn't stop it from being popular and that information ignored.... except by parents and dieters...

One excuse for prohibition to adults is the influential nature-- which is honestly undeniable (fyi: advertising works) but if you had these listings your nanny state could ban bad "ingredients" or require an ID or whatever like they do already-- that is a separate issue; but a better system makes encroachments on liberty less broad! Such as this ban on games above a rating, if they had to be more specific, the Australian version of the game could disable dismemberment or whatever specifics are required. Well, Australia loves to give power to oversight committees...they won't list specifics because they like the power a black box review/ratings system affords.)

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