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129 comments

They've got a point (4, Insightful)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 3 years ago | (#35354836)

Mortal Kombat without the (often hilariously) excessive violence is more or less like going to a strip club to look at shoes.

ABACABB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35354940)

Though I guess having content in the game that the censors don't initially see didn't really work for GTA.

Re:ABACABB? (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355058)

Yeah something tells me that wouldn't work so well today.

Re:ABACABB? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356078)

Maybe they could release a toned down version for Australia, and then release a method of putting the blood back in on TPB, complete with instructions on how to install it. When the Aussie government comes calling, disavow all knowledge. If they don't release it at all, people will just pirate the US version, as they will have no other way to play. Can't you just order it from an American retailer? Or a New Zealand one? I could see a big market for people selling games to Aussies, and putting something else on the packaging, perhaps even using a different case on the game if the authorities happened to open the packaging. Maybe even a different label on the disk.

Re:ABACABB? (3, Informative)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356446)

This (importing it from retailers overseas) is exactly what every Aussie already does with every other RC game. It's a big reason why the lack of an R18 rating is so utterly stupid and pointless. Hell, I buy most of my games from overseas anyway because they are cheaper than buying them locally, even including shipping.

And amusingly enough, your other suggestion has happened in the past! The original Duke Nukem 3D was initially refused classification in Australia. They then released a modified version for Australia, without the blood and girls, which got through fine. They then published a small and easy to apply patch on the web that put the removed content back in, which 99.9% of people downloaded. All perfectly legal! (RC stuff itself isn't illegal to own in most Australian States - it just can't be sold on retail shelves ... so selling a modified copy and publishing a free patch on the web is fine) /facepalm

Lack of R18 rating has the following effects:

- Doesn't stop anyone playing the game, since they just import it anyway;

- Means local retailers miss out on revenue, with the gamers' dollars going to overseas retailers instead;

- Often sees games that are rated R in every other country getting squeezed in under the MA15 rating, meaning that 15-17 year olds are being exposed to R content anyway (negating the effect of the law in the first place!);

- Irritates the classification board no end: they know perfectly well how retarded the system is and themselves are big proponents of introducing an R rating for games ... but in the meantime they can only work with the ratings that exist; and

- Is generally just a stupid, needlessly inconsistent law (considering that movies, books and other media can be given R18 or X18 ratings ... games are the only things treated differently)

BTW, for console games (which the new MK is) you generally have to import from an NZ or European retailer due to the region coding on the discs and the PAL/NTSC issue. For PC games, US retailers are usually the way to go (cheapest).

Re:ABACABB? (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356832)

I know there's a lot of cross-pond business on ebay where people from the UK buy stuff from the US and vice-versa. Just gotta be careful when you go to the US ebay that the person is willing to ship overseas, many are not.

Re:They've got a point (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35355106)

Mortal Kombat without the (often hilariously) excessive violence is more or less like going to a strip club to look at shoes.

so some of us have a shoe fetish..

Re:They've got a point (1)

Aeternitas827 (1256210) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355112)

The white half-calf, block-heel boots on a nice hispanic leg ALWAYS gets my motor running.

Re:They've got a point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35355136)

Now THAT'S a cankle! where does the calf fat end and the ankle fat begin, that's the fun!

Re:They've got a point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35357330)

Damn racists, they're everywhere.

Re:They've got a point (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355134)

Mortal Kombat without the (often hilariously) excessive violence is more or less like going to a strip club to look at shoes.

so some of us have a shoe fetish..

Then you should be able to play a "sanitized" version of M.K. Is that what you imply, isn't it?

Re:They've got a point (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355140)

Mortal Kombat without the (often hilariously) excessive violence is more or less like going to a strip club to look at shoes.

Watching a "sanitized" version of Tarantino's Kill Bill? How come the movie wasn't refused classification in Aus?

Re:They've got a point (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35355154)

Because movies have an R18+ rating which is what Kill Bill received and is what allowed it to be released, whereas games do not. Games have a maximum M15+ rating in this over-regulated nanny state of ours, so anything over that is simply banned. For the children.

All thanks to a few crusty old politicians that think kids are the only people that play video games, and that we need protection from ourselves. Meanwhile, every second show on TV is some stupid cop show where they show gruesome crime scenes and murders in full gory detail.

Fuck them.

Re:They've got a point (1)

Zaphod The 42nd (1205578) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355226)

They tried it with Mortal Kombat vs DC Comics. Switched it to the T rating at the last minute, and the game did terrible.

I think they heard the complaints, and have realized that violence is about all there is to the MK brand.

Re:They've got a point (1)

D'Arque Bishop (84624) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356728)

Actually, MKvDCU aimed for a hard T rating from the get-go, thanks to a decree from DC Comics.

The game sold decently but it wasn't as big as this new MK. I put it down to two reasons: 1) it didn't have much outside the short story mode and arcade modes, and 2) the fans didn't really buy into the crossover. It didn't help that plans for DLC (Quan Chi and Harley Quinn as playable characters) were scrapped by Midway's bankruptcy.

Re:They've got a point (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35355322)

Mortal Kombat without the (often hilariously) excessive violence is more or less like going to a car show to look at booth babes.

There, fixed that for you.

Re:They've got a point (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356154)

And yet they've done it before. Anybody remember the Super Nintendo version?

Re:They've got a point (1)

Groghunter (932096) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356930)

First thing that popped in my head. But, to be fair, I'd be surprised if anybody involved in the first game has anything to do with this one. too many different companies have owned (or published) MK.

More publishers need to follow this example (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35354838)

It's good to see a publisher appealing this totally stupid decision instead of folding and releasing another watered down "Australian" version. If enough publishers do this it will continue to let lawmakers know that Australians are not little kids who cannot handle mature video game content that the rest of the world can.

Re:More publishers need to follow this example (2)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355124)

... I don't know of a single ban which didn't go through an often fruitless appeal process. Both AVP and L4D2 went through appeal processes as well. They very rarely if ever get overturned. There's nothing at all stupid about this decision, nor is there anything that even has room for an appeal. We don't have an 18+ rating, so anything that isn't suitable for 15 year olds gets on the refused classification list. Lets face it there's no way that the various horrendously bloodthirsty endings in Mortal Kombat deserve anything other than an 18+ rating.

It's not a poor decision as much as a result of bureaucratic red tape.

Re:More publishers need to follow this example (5, Insightful)

Aeternitas827 (1256210) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355196)

It's not a poor decision that adults shouldn't be able to hop on down to their local game outlet and pick up a title they want, because the kiddies' heads might be addled by it?

It's not red tape, it's idiocy. Yes, the guidelines are set and codified, and they're ridiculous. Saying something isn't appropriate for a 15 year old (a generalization so ungodly vague, I can't even begin to analogize it) isn't suitable for sale to ANYONE in the country is preposterous; only someone saying that it's completely off-base (for one reason or another) is going to have a chance to bring attention to, and possibly change, the status quo.

End of the day, here's a brilliant idea: how about, worldwide, parents be parents. Take an interest in your child(ren)'s idle time, monitor what they do, what they buy, how they act, and how they communicate with the world outside of your home. And, holy hell, if you see or find something you find unsettling, talk to them about it, and if you're not successful in doing that, get outside help. Will there be some children that still fly off the handle? Unfortunately, yes, there will be--there's no sure-fire way to prevent someone who is truly ill from slipping through, and in some cases, those who are ill will take inspiration from creative works. But, remember, correlation does not equal causation, and if a parent pays goddam attention, some of the bull being blamed on games probably becomes avoidable.

Re:More publishers need to follow this example (3, Insightful)

DrScotsman (857078) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355318)

I think you completely missed the point of the grandparent. He's saying that thanks to there not being an 18+ rating ("bureaucratic red tape"), banning the game was not a "poor decision", as the only other decision that could be made at the time is to make it 15+, which shouldn't be acceptable (something you don't seem to contest)

He never said that the lack of 18+ rating wasn't a poor decision - it's simply not the decision he's referring to (Unless when reviewing a game the ratings board have the power to instantly introduce the 18+ rating so they can rate that game as such, but I think it's safe to say that's impossible). I imagine he probably agrees with most of what you just lectured him on. Not sure how you got +3 insightful for poor reading.

Re:More publishers need to follow this example (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35355446)

I'm not sure why it's assumed to be universally understood that people can handle violence at 18 and not at 15.

I really don't think 15 year olds need to be shielded from graphic violence. It always is a struggle to lay down an arbitrary age or other threshold, but I think 18 is way too high. If you can't handle violence by 15 you probably won't ever handle it -- and that's okay, it just makes the 18 thing kind of unnecessary.

Re:More publishers need to follow this example (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35355522)

that's nice, but it's not your decision. Society has decided that 18 is adult. Deal with it, lobby to change it, or move to somewhere where 15 is adult.

Complaining on Slashdot wasn't one of the options.

Re:More publishers need to follow this example (0)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355712)

>>>lobby to change it

That's exactly what he's doing by posting in public where his fellow citizens can read his opinion that 18 is too high.

Personally I think 15 is just fine. If you're old enough to deal with erections, periods, and other mature sexual topics, you should be able to distinguish between Reality and and imaginary violence.

Re:More publishers need to follow this example (3, Funny)

lxs (131946) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356292)

I find your automatic linking of sex and violence more than a little disturbing... ...and kinda hot.

Re:More publishers need to follow this example (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355600)

There's no single objective threshold when everybody is suddenly magically able to deal with it. Some people can handle it when they're 12, others can never handle it. So the limit is put at 18, because then you're an adult and it's your own responsibility to figure out what you can and can't deal with. Until that time, it's your parents' responsibility, and they can still buy an 18+ game for you and let you play it.

Only in Australia they seem to think gamers never grow up.

Re:More publishers need to follow this example (2)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355698)

>>>the only other decision that could be made at the time is to make it 15+

If I were a bureaucrat, that's exactly what I would do rather than be a Government Censor. If people complained I'd hold a press conference and tell them point blank, "Yes this game is violent, and it deserves a higher rating than 15, but your politicians didn't give me any other options. 15 is as high as they provided for the ratings boards. Obviously we need to update our laws to include an 'adults only' rating like the US and EU have done."

I would not be a willing participant in banning freedom of press, speech, expression.

Re:More publishers need to follow this example (1)

517714 (762276) | more than 3 years ago | (#35357954)

So you are good with kiddie porn? This is not freedom of press or speech, this is commerce. Defending gratuitous violence is a bit like defending one's right to yell, "Fire!" in a movie theater, the only negative consequences of such a ban are slippery slopes.

Re:More publishers need to follow this example (0)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35358260)

>>>So you are good with kiddie porn?

In the US such things are legal (see nudist websites). As are images of murder victims (first amendment protected). Only the criminal who did the actual act is arrestable.

>>>defending one's right to yell, "Fire!" in a movie theater

You have that right. You can yell anything you want in a theater. Or even carry a gun into one. - You also have the right to be kicked-out by the theater owner and/or sued by anybody who was harmed by your behavior. ("...citizens have a right to free speech... being responsible for the abuse of this right.")

Re:More publishers need to follow this example (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35356520)

they could just realize how stupid it all is and classify everything at 15+ as a protest.

Re:More publishers need to follow this example (1)

fistacorpse (1873964) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355632)

Sorry to break the news to you, but the fact that you "don't know" of something means very little. Manunt was originally given an M-15 rating but the AG of the time appealed (not the game publisher) and it was then refused classification. No appeal was made. Postal 2 is a prime example of a game which was refused classification and was not appealed. Reservoir Dogs was again refused classification and not appealed. Source: http://www.r18games.com.au/case-studies/ [r18games.com.au]

Re:More publishers need to follow this example (0)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355672)

>>>It's not a poor decision as much as a result of bureaucratic red tape.

Wow.

Nice spin-doctoring of censorship ("it's good to be oppressed"). Banning of movies or games is a suppression of first amendment and ninth amendment rights (or whatever Australia's constitution has to protect freedom of speech/expression/thought). Hell even the bureaucratic EU has free speech protections, such that these games can not be banned by the central government.

Re:More publishers need to follow this example (2)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356702)

It's not ~really~ spin-doctoring. There are genuine differences between this situation, and a situation of genuine government censorship. Namely, intent. The problem in Australia has arisen due to an inconsistency in the law, not through any active desire to censor or ban content. Indeed, the current government has publicly expressed their support for getting the problem fixed and introducing an R18 rating for games. And it will happen ... but legislative change takes time.

It is important to understand exactly the mechanism at work here, and how it differs from an actual ban. RC content is not banned. It is perfectly legal to own and play an RC game, or any other 'refused classification' content (except in WA and some areas of NT). There is no active desire on the part of the government to 'ban' this game or any other game. The content is not illegal - it merely doesn't fit within any of the defined rating categories and hence is unrated.

The situation is as follows:

- Media sold in Australia needs to carry a rating (generally a physical sticker). The ratings are: G, PG, M15+, MA15+, R18+, X18+. Media that doesn't have a rating cannot be sold (regardless of its content ... it could be aimed at preschoolers for what it's worth, but if it ain't got the sticker, you aren't permitted to put it on the store shelves). This is a point of difference cf. the US: US classifications are voluntary, whereas they are compulsory here. But that in itself isn't an issue provided you have a range of classifications to apply that encompass all content.

- However, the ratings system is quite old. Back when it was developed, the opinion was that 'only kids play games'. Therefore, the X18 and R18 ratings that exist for film, literature and any other type of media, were not included in the available ratings for games. This is partly an oversight, partly a lack of thought as to how this would effect things in the future (when gamers were mostly adult) and yes, partly driven by some polticians' ideologies.

- Result: games that have content that doesn't fit into MA15+ or lower must be refused classification. Again, this does not make the game ILLEGAL. It is not 'banned'. Australian stores simply can't ~sell~ it. So people that want to play the game will just have to buy from overseas/download from Steam/etc.

The Classifications Board themselves are big supporters of fixing the system so that the existing R rating can be applied to games. They'd love to be able to whack an R rating on it and let it through. But they can only work with the ratings that have been given to them to use.

Re:More publishers need to follow this example (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35358318)

>>>his is partly an oversight, partly a lack of thought as to how this would effect things in the future (when gamers were mostly adult)

I don't buy this argument.

I think Aussie politicians left-off the "adult only" rating for games on purpose. If such a rating existed, then they'd have no justification to ban the games. --- The fact they never bother to fix this, with a quick-and-easy passage of a bill to add AO or 21+, sustains my viewpoint.

Re:More publishers need to follow this example (1)

richlv (778496) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356070)

Lets face it there's no way that the various horrendously bloodthirsty endings in Mortal Kombat deserve anything other than an 18+ rating.

...just so that kids would pirate it, get others to buy it etc ?
i don't recall when we played the old versions of mk, but we definitely had many years to sweat in the school before finishing it. at the time it was freely obtainable in the markets - it was shortly after the collapse of the soviet union, so regulations in some areas were... sane ;)
we had mastered most of the fatalities and memorised them. i still recall some vivid details. i think subzero was one of my favourites - freeze-roundkick-freeze... in some versions, if done properly, opponent never hit the ground.

trying to get that thing out of our hands would probably increase playtime more (if that would be possible).
i think i should get to organising that retro lanparty (or even more like gameparty...) and see whether i can get mk and mkII running with two players on something recent. should also invite a few kids so they can laugh at the blocky 2d graphics.

Re:More publishers need to follow this example (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35357338)

Right, the poor decision was not having an R18 rating to give to MK et al.

Captcha: spatter

Re:More publishers need to follow this example (1)

SimonTS (1984074) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355160)

I think the problem is not that the lawmakers think all Australians are "little kids who cannot handle mature video game content". It's more likely that they realise that a lot of parents will buy this game for their children and the lawmakers are actually worried that little kids are "little kids who cannot handle mature video game content".

Re:More publishers need to follow this example (1)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355206)

So they don't think Australians are little kids who cannot handle mature video game content, they just think that they're better at parenting than a child's actual parents?

And you think that's better?

Re:More publishers need to follow this example (1)

SimonTS (1984074) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355234)

Given the way that many parents seem to act towards their children here in the UK (and I suspect that the same applies in most English-speaking nations), then they are almost certainly correct. That doesn't mean it's 'better' as the parents should show far more responsibility. When I walk round the shops and hear parents shouting at their pre-teens, calling them "little shits", saying things like "fucking get here" etc etc - I wonder what sort of example they are setting to the next generation. These are the same parents who will then proceed to blame the government, teachers and society as a whole when their little darlings go off-the-rails in their teens.

Do you doubt for a second that the government can do a better job of parenting than most of the parents?

Re:More publishers need to follow this example (1)

GAB_cyclist (1274556) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355350)

When I walk round the shops and hear parents shouting at their pre-teens, calling them "little shits", saying things like "fucking get here" etc etc - I wonder what sort of example they are setting to the next generation.

You think cursing is bad parenting? Try abusing or even worse...neglecting.

Do you doubt for a second that the government can do a better job of parenting than most of the parents?

Than most parents? YES! Most parents are still well capable of educating their children on a personal level. Children with a problematic education have worse problems than their parents handing them Mortal Combat. But rather then spending time on the real problem, the government is yet again fighting symptoms with no regard for the ones who do no harm.

Re:More publishers need to follow this example (0)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355732)

>>>Given the way that many parents seem to act towards their children here in the UK (and I suspect that the same applies in most English-speaking nations), then they are almost certainly correct.
.

Even lousy parents are better Decision makers than Politicians ~1000 miles away who have never met your kids. The decision of whether or not to buy Mature games/movies/et cetera should remain with the custodian closest to the children (i.e. me, my wife, etc). Banning by politicians should never, ever, never be permitted.

Re:More publishers need to follow this example (1)

JackOfAllGeeks (1034454) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356388)

Do you doubt for a second that the government can do a better job of parenting than most of the parents?

What governments do is not parenting.

Parenting is not simply laying out and enforcing "the rules."

Parenting properly understood is meant to prepare children to be functional adults. Banned content and arbitrary age restrictions does not accomplish that end.

Re:More publishers need to follow this example (4, Insightful)

wildstoo (835450) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355216)

It's more likely that they realise that a lot of parents are fucking morons who don't give two shits about what they're buying for their children and the lawmakers are actually worried that little kids are a hot-button issue that could mean the difference between re-election and having to get a real job.

FTFY.

Re:More publishers need to follow this example (1)

AgentSmith (69695) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356302)

It's more likely that they realise that a lot of parents are fucking morons who don't give two shits about what they're buying for their children and the lawmakers are actually worried that little kids are a hot-button issue that could mean the difference between re-election and having to get a real job.

Too right.

Which is why I say - rename it Mortal Wombat, throw in a couple marsupial related characters that probably appeal to these crusty politicians' patriotic and national sympathies then call it a day.

Because who would ban an educational game that has cuddly little creatures in it?! That's just despicable! Won't somebody please think of the children!
 

Not released in australia.. (2)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 3 years ago | (#35354850)

So the only way for someone living in australia to get a copy of this game is pretty much to pirate it?
It's highly likely that australians will stumble across advertisements for the game online, or people talking about it...

At least it's not the actual publisher creating the restriction for once.

Re:Not released in australia.. (1)

devxo (1963088) | more than 3 years ago | (#35354874)

They can easily order it online.

Re:Not released in australia.. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35355186)

No, they cannot. As a German I can tell you that stores like Direct2Drive, Gamersgate, Impulse, Steam, etc. ALL enforce region restrictions. Games that are censored/banned here generally aren't being sold to Germans, even if the seller is a US (or some other country) company. It's fairly common to see restrictions like "this game is not available in your country" or even "this game is available worldwide except Korea, Germany and Australia".

Re:Not released in australia.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35355344)

It's a (full-size) console game, and therefore not digitally distributed.

They can just order it on disc from another country in their region.

Re:Not released in australia.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35355434)

If you can't get it legally anyway, why pay the price? I hear the PS3 is cracked now...

Re:Not released in australia.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35356002)

So you want to punish the developer because you live in a country with crap laws? Nice.

Re:Not released in australia.. (1)

Killjoy_NL (719667) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356978)

While I do not see a problem with downloading a game that I can't get any other way, the GP could always import it without too much troubles.

Re:Not released in australia.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35355478)

They can just order it on disc from another country in their region.

True. After I wrote what you replied to, I thought of consoles that don't have these kinds of online stores. Then again - still from a German perspective - ordering physical games abroad can be a lot of hassle. Buying from another EU country usually is acceptable, except most use local, national payment systems I don't have access to.

However, buying from the US or another non-EU country is too cumbersome as you have to deal with import tariffs, potential temporary seizures by customs to check if the content matches the declaration and so on. If you're unlucky you have to travel to a customs office some 50-100km away to pay import taxes and pickup your package.

No idea how easy or hard imports in Australia are, though.

Re:Not released in australia.. (1)

Baki (72515) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356406)

I always order my games from amazon.co.uk, since germany, including amazon.de, often has censored versions.

And even though the shipping from amazon.de -> switzerland is free and from amazon.co.uk is not, the prices are so much lower for the game itself that the total price is lower too.

I assume that amazon.co.uk ships to germany as well.

Re:Not released in australia.. (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 3 years ago | (#35357222)

Then again - still from a German perspective - ordering physical games abroad can be a lot of hassle. Buying from another EU country usually is acceptable, except most use local, national payment systems I don't have access to.

At least here in the UK pretty much everywhere (with the exception of some very small places) takes visa and mastercard and an increasing number of places also take paypal. All of these are international systems.

Re:Not released in australia.. (2)

mjwx (966435) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355816)

No, they cannot. As a German I can tell you that stores like Direct2Drive, Gamersgate, Impulse, Steam, etc. ALL enforce region restrictions

As an Australian I can tell you that stores like Play-Asia, Zest (Thailand) and DVD.co.uk will ship the Euro, UK or US version of any game to Oz.

Thus further proving the irrelevance of the Classification Board as a moral police force, they should go back to doing "recommendations" rather then restrictions (P.S. Aussies, let your local blue arsed fly that you think that way, these views wont appear on Today Tonight, their regular source of information any time soon).

Re:Not released in australia.. (1)

Lliam33 (1881990) | more than 3 years ago | (#35354902)

It's highly likely that australians will stumble across advertisements for the game online, or people talking about it...

It's been in the news, both on and offline.

Only the game is banned. You make it sound like any related content is filtered too. It's not -- well, not yet anyway.

Re:Not released in australia.. (2)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355132)

The game isn't banned. It's refused classification and can't be sold in Australia. You're free to buy it elsewhere and bring it into the country, customs won't take it off you. You're free to order it online too which is why it was surprising that Left4Dead2 was actually censored for Australian release since it is effectively an American online shop. There's nothing preventing you from legally owning or doing what you want with it.

Re:Not released in australia.. (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355138)

I should also mention that I had no problem legitimately getting Left4Dead 2 uncensored. I simply got a Canadian to buy a copy and "gift" it to me in Steam. The result was I ended up with the uncensored American version, and so did nearly everyone else in Australia too.

Re:Not released in australia.. (1)

Lliam33 (1881990) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355162)

You're right, sorry. I meant to say refused classification. But I still was under the impression that games "refused classification" are illegal to import? Whether or not customs finds out is another matter.

Maybe I'm wrong again. :)

Re:Not released in australia.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35355334)

This is correct according to: http://treatuslikeadults.wordpress.com/refused-classification-demystified/

It's legal in most states to possess RC material as long as you don't expose minors to it, but customs appear to be within their rights to seize any imported RC material if they pick it up. As the article states downloads from overseas are a grey area.

Re:Not released in australia.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35355546)

Isn't the difference is too subtle?

Re:Not released in australia.. (0)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355820)

>>>The game isn't banned. It's refused classification and can't be sold in Australia.

Uh huh. Similarly - "The jews, gypsies, communists, and mentally ill weren't actually killed. They were just "refused classification" and can't be allowed in 1940s Europe." - Herr Hitler.

Bullshit. The games were banned.
Don't try and use double-speak.
They were censored; banned; the people oppressed.

Re:Not released in australia.. (2)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356766)

It's hard to see how you can say it's 'banned' if mere ownership of the item is perfectly OK. 'Banned' would imply that you shouldn't have the item, no matter how you got it. Refused Classification only means Aussie retailers can't put it on their shelves, because it doesn't have the little ratings sticker that it needs to have. But there is nothing stopping you downloading it, importing it etc. And once it's in your hand it's perfectly, utterly legal to play it as much as you want. The law in question here is a ~retail~ law - that you can't sell something that isn't carrying a valid ratings sticker. But the game itself is not illegal, banned, or any other similar word you might use.

Re:Not released in australia.. (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35358138)

>>>Refused Classification only means Aussie retailers can't put it on their shelves

So how the hell is an australian supposed to get the game legally? (Note that in the US importing games is now illegal - I presume the same is true down under.)

Re:Not released in australia.. (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356846)

The game isn't banned. It's refused classification and can't be sold in Australia.

Does this mean:

"Sell unclassified games in your store/website and the cops will shut you down."

Or

"It's legal, but because it's unclassified none of the big distributors or retailers will touch it and no major media will carry ads for it. The only ones who could carry it are the small few-and-far-between independent stores who'd have to pay a higher markup for "imported" games and then pass the cost on to the customer, so it's barely worth the bother."

.

Re:Not released in australia.. (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 3 years ago | (#35354934)

There's no stumbling about it. The ironic headline: 'effectively' banned makes me laugh. It'll just be another Postal or Manhunter. Anyone who wants it will get it and more will want it now. It'll be even easier than removing the permanent parental lock on Duke Nukem 3D.

There a good reason for this... (0)

damaged_sectors (1690438) | more than 3 years ago | (#35354868)

Last year when some politicians decided games needed censoring - there was public debate. Then some violently deranged gamer left a scrap of paper on a politicians doorstep in a threatening way. So the government was forced into action - and you gamers only have yourselves to blame. You should do something socially productive like join the army instead of playing violent games..

I know it was a "politician" and some times they make shit up, actually this particular politician has a history of making shit up, but - oh, hang on.... and, um, isn't he pro-war.

Anyway - it could only happen here - oh, hang on... what's that music? Frank Zappa! "Congress Shall Make No Law" - now what's that all about?

Now get off my lawn I'm going to watch some good old family values comedy - The Three Stooges, yay

Re:There a good reason for this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35354894)

Last year when some politicians decided games needed censoring - there was public debate. Then some violently deranged gamer left a scrap of paper on a politicians doorstep in a threatening way. So the government was forced into action - and you gamers only have yourselves to blame. You should do something socially productive like join the army instead of playing violent games..

I know it was a "politician" and some times they make shit up, actually this particular politician has a history of making shit up, but - oh, hang on.... and, um, isn't he pro-war.

Anyway - it could only happen here - oh, hang on... what's that music? Frank Zappa! "Congress Shall Make No Law" - now what's that all about?

Now get off my lawn I'm going to watch some good old family values comedy - The Three Stooges, yay

Are you on drugs?

Can I have some?

Re:There a good reason for this... (1)

jyx (454866) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355314)

Then some violently deranged gamer left a scrap of paper on a politicians doorstep in a threatening way

Stupid and dumb thing to do, but not a reflection on all gamers.

Just this week http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/03/02/3152798.htm [abc.net.au] one of our pollies coped a few death threats over the phone in relation to a new tax. If the action of one nutter can taint all gamers as violent killers, then that makes everyone weary of new taxes, or attempt to control carbon, violent killers as well.

It was a cheap ploy to garner sympathy that didn't work. The lack of R18 is the ultimate in political cynicism: The overwhelming majority is ok with it but probably wont effect their voting choice, the small nut bag religious hot button group WILL change their votes on it though so up yours everyone else - we want that potential .5%.

unprecedented evile never sleeps, dishonors life (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35354876)

the king(s) (all of them) is/are a fink(s)? Bugs (bunny) would be totally disheartened were he still alive/working. so would elvis. fortunately, there's so many of us, we can take turns dis-empowering/overpowering it. no simple task. see you there, & at the (scheduled around the globe) million baby play-dates? who thinks they'll (walking dead hired goons) use anti-aircraft rounds to thin out that crowd? something else? poison? earthquakes? floods? aliens? lots to choose from. we'll see?

Babies planning to show up unarmed? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35354952)

We've heard they'll be toting.... their rattles, bottles, diapers many of their mommies etc.... more formidable (& fun loving) crowds have never (until recently) assembled anywhere. We hope if they (babies) have any requests (as they try not to be demanding), that they'll be fulfilled immediately, (instead of how we 'handled' the people who desperately needed our help a month or so ago) to avoid the crying, being tired & cranky etc... that could likely ensue should their requests be ignored/put off. If the babies turn on us, it could be messy. Their mommies are feeling a little feisty (nice word, don't underestimate their good manners & preoccupation with their sacred trusts as being a weakness) lately too. No kidding. See you there?

Not banned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35354896)

It's not "banned"..it was refused classification, meaning it can't be sold within Australia. You are free to possess and play refused classification games though, unless they contain illegal content.

The problem is, the games classification system only extends to MA15+ unlike movies which goes to R (and XXX) so any game that contains the same content as an R movie (gratuitous violence say) can't be classified as there is no "R" for games. Shops can't stock "refused classification" games.

It's stupid and the sooner they fix it the better.

Re:Not banned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35355386)

It's not "banned"..it was refused classification

Right, thus "effectively banned."

Re:Not banned (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355416)

customs can and will seize it.

Re:Not banned (1)

mabinogi (74033) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355534)

Can't, but will anyway is more correct.

Besides, they're too busy looking for (legal) porn to seize.

Re:Not banned (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356824)

Customs can technically seize it. Technically, Customs can seize anything they want though, at their complete discretion. So RC games are just like any other object coming over the border in that respect.

In truth though Customs are really only interested in actual illegal stuff. Drugs. Child porn. And most deadly of all ... EVIL DISEASE-CARRYING FRUIT! :P

There are thousands upon thousands of RC games bought from overseas every year and I have never heard of a single one having a problem with customs. The box'll be marked 'software' or 'computer game' like eleventy billion other packages they they deal with every year. The chances of you having a problem are so close to nil it's not funny. I've done it dozens of times and never had even a hint of a problem.

Im all for fixing classification but.... (2)

metalmaster (1005171) | more than 3 years ago | (#35354932)

Does this really matter? Someone mentioned in another story earlier this week that gamers will simply purchase this game from New Zealand if they want it that bad. Additionally, the PS3 is region-free so buying the game from an online retailer from another area isnt necessarily outta the question barring any silly import laws.

Those people who really want the game will find a way to get it.

Mortal Kombat without the (often hilariously) excessive violence is more or less like going to a strip club to look at shoes.

Typically I would agree with a statement like this, but MK is different. The original arcade versions contained silly red spray and spatter. Dismemberment looked cartoonish. Technology changed that, and today's versions of MK can be quite gruesome. The game evolved to show more blood and gore on purpose

Re:Im all for fixing classification but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35355108)

Ok then its like going to a strip club and looking at manikins.

Better?

Re:Im all for fixing classification but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35355622)

It's still hilariously over-the-top. It's an adult cartoon. Nobody's saying MK shouldn't get an adult rating, just that a system without an adult rating is broken.

Been there before (1)

SwampChicken (1383905) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355014)

We've had quite a few games banned here. It just means that you won't see it on the shelves of your local store when your browsing around at the shops. So if you know about a banned game, and still want to buy it, then you just buy online.

Re:Been there before (1)

Toam (1134401) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355040)

Or pirate it, which is likely why Warner are appealing.

Re:Been there before (1)

Aeternitas827 (1256210) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355100)

A valid point, but I somewhat doubt that's the main motivation here. Even if the title were to be granted classification, piracy would still happen in the case of those not inclined to pay for it. There's likely a segment that would pay for it in a local shop, but not to import it, but in the big scheme, it's likely relatively small.

End of the day, it's worthwhile for publishers/developers/etc to push on this sort of thing to gain awareness of the issue, and try and affect public view, so that they don't have to muck around with watering down content and changing the titles in a significant manner just to be able to release to market.

Exactly the opposite of what they want! (1)

hotrodent (1017236) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355052)

From TFA:

"Furthermore, Curry said when a highly anticipated game was refused classification, two things could happen â" interest in the game would actually increase, and people would still get the game via importation or piracy."

Will. They. Ever. [kotaku.com.au] Learn. [computerworld.com.au] ?

I'm an Aussie, I just don't buy games in Aus (4, Interesting)

AbRASiON (589899) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355152)

I own a PS3 (and a PC) - I just import my games, they are cheaper, region free on the PS3- and normally 50% cheaper (sometimes less, often MORE than 50% cheaper)

Even if I haven't heard news that the game is going to be cut for Australian audiences anymore, I can't bare to risk the stupidity. Example GTA4, no one (in the public) really seemed to know about the US version having slightly different sex than the Aussie version until a few weeks after release. Fuck that stupidity, I'll just pay less - have the patience to wait a week or two and enjoy my games as they were designed.

Re:I'm an Aussie, I just don't buy games in Aus (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35355210)

Same here as a German. I bought exactly 2 games in the last 5 years or so in Germany (and only because they were in the bargain bin). I did however buy dozens of games from non-German stores. It's just too much to bother finding out whether a game is censored or not; basically everything 16+ and above can be asumed to be.

Plus we have another annoyance Australians don't have to deal with: horrible localisation. German translation and voice-over companies are SHIT FUCKING INCOMPETENT. I cannot write that bold enough. Whether it's TV series or games, they are voiced by emotionless, bored voice "artists" with a total of 5 different voices for all actors in all media. They also translate a lot of stuff literally. I'm not going to pay money for such outright amateurish work from untalented hacks.

Re:I'm an Aussie, I just don't buy games in Aus (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35355728)

Listen to a few TV series episodes in German (you cannot tell which one you are watching by the voices alone, CSI/Bones/NCIS/etc. they all sound the same and devoid of any emotion, Futurama was also notorious for having literally translated proverbs and puns that made zero sense) or play a game like Scorpion-Disfigured (the evil zombies sound like a bored, squeaking teenager) before you vote me troll. It really is that horrible ;)

Re:I'm an Aussie, I just don't buy games in Aus (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35357076)

Plus we have another annoyance Australians don't have to deal with: horrible localisation. German translation and voice-over companies are SHIT FUCKING INCOMPETENT. I cannot write that bold enough. Whether it's TV series or games,

I can't be the only one who is going to admit that they've watched German porn? It's not like I was watching the Cartman scheisse video. And anyway, they bring the same passion for voice acting to pornography.

Re:I'm an Aussie, I just don't buy games in Aus (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35355722)

I own a PS3 (and a PC) - I just import my games, they are cheaper, region free on the PS3- and normally 50% cheaper (sometimes less, often MORE than 50% cheaper)

Even if I haven't heard news that the game is going to be cut for Australian audiences anymore, I can't bare to risk the stupidity. Example GTA4, no one (in the public) really seemed to know about the US version having slightly different sex than the Aussie version until a few weeks after release. Fuck that stupidity, I'll just pay less - have the patience to wait a week or two and enjoy my games as they were designed.

I own a PS3 (and a PC) - I just import my games, they are cheaper, region free on the PS3- and normally 50% cheaper (sometimes less, often MORE than 50% cheaper)

Even if I haven't heard news that the game is going to be cut for Australian audiences anymore, I can't bare to risk the stupidity. Example GTA4, no one (in the public) really seemed to know about the US version having slightly different sex than the Aussie version until a few weeks after release. Fuck that stupidity, I'll just pay less - have the patience to wait a week or two and enjoy my games as they were designed.

i like reebok nfl jerseys [ineedjerseys.com] , what about you? i think steelers jerseys [ineedjerseys.com] is very good.

Glad to see it (0)

business_kid (973043) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355168)

Gladdened by this. Studies from here have implicated violence in gaming with violent crime. You may still find mention of the 'Jamie Bolger' case where 2 nine year olds re enacted some gruesome tv violence on a 2 year old kid and killed him horribly.

Re:Glad to see it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35355188)

I hear that Armin Meiwes used everyday kitchen implements to kill and cannibalize a man. Excuse my rhetoric, but should we ban those too?

(I'm sure a bit more parental guidance could have saved that two-year old. In the mean time, the adults of Australia would like to be treated like... well... adults.)

Re:Glad to see it (2)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355262)

I hear that Armin Meiwes used everyday kitchen implements to kill and cannibalize a man. Excuse my rhetoric, but should we ban those too?

(I'm sure a bit more parental guidance could have saved that two-year old. In the mean time, the adults of Australia would like to be treated like... well... adults.)

Crazyness abounds. I recently purchased a new cutlery set (just your plain old table knives, forks and spoons, nothing especially sharp). Here in the UK you're allowed to get married, leave home and have kids when you're 16. The label on the cutlery set stated that it wasn't to be sold to anyone under 21. I've got no clue how someone who left home at 16 actually manages to live, given that they are banned from purchasing so much common stuff until they get to 18 or 21 (e.g. the aforementioned cutlery, many cleaning products, solvents including many household paints, etc.)

Re:Glad to see it (2)

deepershade (994429) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355228)

The trial judge Mr. Justice Morland stated that exposure to violent videos might have encouraged the actions of Thompson and Venables, but this was disputed by David Maclean, the Minister of State at the Home Office at the time, who pointed out that police had found no evidence linking the case with "video nasties".[41] Some UK tabloid newspapers claimed that the attack on James Bulger was inspired by the film Child's Play 3, and campaigned for the rules on "video nasties" to be tightened.[42] Inspector Ray Simpson of Merseyside Police commented: "If you are going to link this murder to a film, you might as well link it to The Railway Children"

In short... No.

Re:Glad to see it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35355418)

Now, let's think for a moment: why is it that a majority of the population doesn't do the same? No, even a majority of children/teenagers! Maybe it's because they're not "mentally ill" to begin with. Only a small minority (compared to the population at large) of the population are criminals. Even fewer of those are violent criminals. And far fewer of those are violent criminals because they watched/played violent entertainment. Why? Because most people know it's fiction (that includes most children). Oh, and a trusted adult lying to children about the existence of Santa Claus is not the same thing as a "mentally ill" person believing that video games (and other forms of entertainment) are reality. Violent entertainment is never touted as real by society. Just the opposite, in fact.

There has never been a single valid study that has linked actual physical violence to violent entertainment, as far as I know. The absolute most that any study has been able to prove is that violent entertainment can be linked to temporary aggression. That's it. But, then again, who really cares about that? Those temporary violent thoughts almost never amount to anything. There is no need to worry about such a thing.

But, if parents want to ensure that their children can tell the difference, instead of banning the games outright, they can do the intelligent thing and educate them about it. You know, actually be a parent. Keeping them in a little bubble and pretending that everything will corrupt them isn't being a parent. It's being a paranoid idiot.

Crime statistics (and even a majority of studies done) do not support a link between physical violence and violent entertainment.

In short: don't ban/censor something because an abysmally small minority of people are "mentally ill." Even most children can tell the difference (and, as I mentioned above, parenting can play a role, too).

At last an explanation (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#35355724)

The publisher has also confirmed that there is no intention to censor or modify the game – because then it 'wouldn't be Mortal Kombat.

So the gaming industry is finally admitting why Mortal Kombat VS DC Universe failed to be a commercial hit...

Mortal Wombat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35358094)

I think the solution is to remake the game with Australian marsupials playing a starring role; gore and cute forest creatures has never been anything but a success.

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