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Australia Approves Final R18+ Gaming Guidelines

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the maybe-now-you-can-play-big-boy-games dept.

Australia 67

dotarray writes "Despite stories suggesting that a change to the Australian ratings system may be as far as two years away, the Federal Minister for Home Affairs has announced that each Australian state and territory has signed off on the final guidelines required for the introduction of an adult R18+ classification Down Under."

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First post from motherfucking Australia (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37952542)

This post is rated M18+

Its been a long time coming (4, Interesting)

Wolfling1 (1808594) | more than 2 years ago | (#37952610)

As one of the first people to start a statewide petition to support an R18+ rating for games, I can say that its taken a long time to reach this point, and its not over yet. This is a really encouraging step in the right direction.

What is particularly interesting about it is that it highlights the disparaity between the speed that technology moves, and the speed that our lawmakers move.

I believe we may be an entire generation away from a government of technology-savvy lawmakers.

Re:Its been a long time coming (1)

RCL (891376) | more than 2 years ago | (#37953680)

Censorship is never a solution. Soviet Union made owning a photo of an erected penis a criminal offense [soviet-empire.com] . It is perhaps not a coincidence that Soviet society was plagued with sexual maniacs like Chikatilo [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Its been a long time coming (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#37956164)

Huh. Actual communists. Don't see many of those around now.

Re:Its been a long time coming (3, Insightful)

mjwx (966435) | more than 2 years ago | (#37956404)

Censorship is never a solution. Soviet Union made owning a photo of an erected penis a criminal offense [soviet-empire.com] . It is perhaps not a coincidence that Soviet society was plagued with sexual maniacs like Chikatilo [wikipedia.org] .

Meanwhile, the US never had a sexual predators and maniacs like Berkowitz, Gacy, Bundy, Gein, amongst others.

Your point that censorship never works is valid, but your example is horribly flawed. I read the wikipedia article on Chikatilo and one thing immediately stuck out at me, he had the same hallmarks in his childhood as western serial killers. Vicious parents (beatings et al.), early fascination with fire and death, above average intelligence, bullied and above all else, serious sexual problems in adolescence. It strikes me that Chikatilo would have been a serial killer in almost any society, communism had little to do with it, he almost fits the textbook conditions that created most killers in the west.

Re:Its been a long time coming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37956626)

It's not censorship; it's labelling.

I'm from the US, but I think my arguments would still fly down under. I've purchased many video games and seen many movies of varying ratings. In my younger years some of them may have been unavailable to me (officially) because of my age; in which case it's discrimination, not censorship.

Re:Its been a long time coming (1)

Dr Max (1696200) | more than 2 years ago | (#37955424)

HORAH for gamers, next step freedom of speech.

What guidelines? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#37952648)

Shouldn't R18+ simply be a catch all for anything that's not covered by the existing guidelines? What happens to games that don't fall under the definition of R18+?

The very thought that content would have to be approved before getting sold to adults is chilling. This doesn't seem to address that.

Re:What guidelines? (1, Interesting)

black3d (1648913) | more than 2 years ago | (#37952760)

In Australia, X-rated material is still banned, with the exception of in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and the Northern Territories (NT).

Thus, anything which doesn't fall under R18 classification falls instead under "Refused Classification". As there's no X rating available, it's simply not saleable. Of course, there's plenty of X-rated material imported to Australia every day (via the internet, largely). There's no law against possession of X-rated material, however it is illegal to possess certain material (bestiality, child porn, snuff, etc).

And no, it's not really chilling. You seem to overestimate the self-regulation abilities of your fellow man. Most people are drooling idiots. If it wasn't illegal to buy snuff films, they'd be widely purchased and a market created for such - even though people know they're creating a market for it by buying it. You think censorship is obscene, I see it as a necessary evil - because there are worse evils out there. If you can think of a way to remove all censorship, and at the same time not create a market for snuff or child porn, please let me know.

Re:What guidelines? (4, Interesting)

Zaphod The 42nd (1205578) | more than 2 years ago | (#37952784)

If it wasn't illegal to buy snuff films, they'd be widely purchased and a market created for such

Actually, I just read an article, I think it was by BBC, that said that after doing much research, their conclusion was there is no such thing as a snuff film, nobody has actually made a snuff film, and there is no market for snuff films. Its just too difficult / costly to murder people for entertainment as opposed to doing fiction.

SOMETIMES the world isn't as bad as it seems. :P

Re:What guidelines? (1)

Zaphod The 42nd (1205578) | more than 2 years ago | (#37952802)

That said, child pornography is a serious concern.

Re:What guidelines? (2)

lgw (121541) | more than 2 years ago | (#37953390)

That said, child pornography is a serious concern.

Child abuse is a serious concern. But AFAIK there's no place left on Earth (where's there any rule of law) that it's legal to make or buy child pornography. Given there's no legal market anywhere, it would seem to me that it's the abuse, not the evidence thereof, that should be the first priority for concern.

Re:What guidelines? (2)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 2 years ago | (#37954106)

Child abuse is a serious concern. But AFAIK there's no place left on Earth (where's there any rule of law) that it's legal to make or buy child pornography. Given there's no legal market anywhere, it would seem to me that it's the abuse, not the evidence thereof, that should be the first priority for concern.

Of course, the "child" part can vary substantially from country to country, also including ridiculous situations where there's a discrepancy between the ages where it's legal to have sex and be filmed having sex.

Re:What guidelines? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#37956170)

Laws relating to sex are full of strange standards. Here in the UK, for example, you can have sex legally at sixteen... but you can't look at pornography legally until eighteen. I assume people in between need to wear a blindfold.

Re:What guidelines? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37952830)

Actually, I just read an article, I think it was by BBC, that said that after doing much research, their conclusion was there is no such thing as a snuff film, nobody has actually made a snuff film, and there is no market for snuff films. Its just too difficult / costly to murder people for entertainment as opposed to doing fiction.

You obviously have never a snuff film then because they are out there

Re:What guidelines? (1)

p0p0 (1841106) | more than 2 years ago | (#37953338)

A seem to have an entire word. Also, you're AC so you are stupid.

Re:What guidelines? (3, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | more than 2 years ago | (#37953350)

You obviously have never a snuff film then because they are out there

Did you know, that when you see a character die in a movie, the actor didn't actually die? Strange but true.

People seem to forget that the same array of special effects and clever editing are available to adult film producers, if used (far) less often due to expense.

Re:What guidelines? (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#37956180)

If snuff films were legal, I imagine that very nearly every single one sold would be a fake... including the ones that boasted loudly of being genuine. It's just so much safer to fake it, and if you do the effects right the audience would never know.

Re:What guidelines? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37971010)

The Zapruder Film is a 30-second snuff film documenting the assasination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

It is now considered an National Treasure of the United States Of America.

But other than that, who knows if 'snuff films' are TRULY real or not. If so, that is the height of 'sickness' :P

Re:What guidelines? (0)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 2 years ago | (#37952824)

Most people are drooling idiots.

Then why in the world would I care to have them lording orver my life telling me what I can watch and what I can't? Your argument is rediculous. Your implying, no, strait out telling us your government knows better than you. Based on what? How in the world do you people believe that rot? What a thing, to sit and tell yourself you need some drooling idiots dictating what you, a drooling idiot, should read or watch. If 1000 monkeys sat at 1000 typewriters after 1000 years would they come up with Australia? Seems so.

Re:What guidelines? (0)

black3d (1648913) | more than 2 years ago | (#37952894)

If my arguement is ridiculous, you would actually counter the points I raised. You're unable to. Carry on, 99%.

Re:What guidelines? (1)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 2 years ago | (#37953002)

I did. You're argument is that people are drooling idiots. Carry on.

Re:What guidelines? (0)

black3d (1648913) | more than 2 years ago | (#37953014)

You're argument is that people are drooling idiots

You're argument

You're

Thanks for proving my point. But no. While that was a statement I made, it was not the crux of my argument at all.

Re:What guidelines? (1)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 2 years ago | (#37953060)

My finger to YOUR point (i bet the kids excluded you from play time in primary, didn't they?) and you, in effect, said nothing but. You entire post is but a recital in how your fellow man seems to have let you down in the "abilties" department. Whatever that may mean (I took it for the "brains" department, but I'll leave it to the reader. Underestimating the enemy is 99% of the reason a tyrant falls. If you get my meaning, Ghengis.

Re:What guidelines? (1)

black3d (1648913) | more than 2 years ago | (#37953138)

Again, you've focused on five words of my post as if you're personally insulted by the fact, and instead refer to those five words as my "entire post". My argument, since you seem to have missed it on multiple attempts at comprehension, was that individuals create markets for certain material through the consumption thereof. In periods where, for example, child pornography, have been unregulated have created a considerable market-driven increase thereof. Only censorship and making this material illegal have subsequently proven effective at reducing the production thereof. So what did my comment that most people are idiots have to do with that? Quite simply exactly what I alluded to in my previous statement of over-estimating the self-regulation abilities that people possess. Many individuals will continue to consume a material they know is causing harm in its production, simply because it isn't causing harm to them. Most of you only believe in "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" right up until you want something which will harm someone else and then suddenly it's "fine". There's a reason why video sites on the net which focus largely on videos of people being killed through accident or execution enjoy wild popularity, and it's a sad reflection on you, 99%.

Re:What guidelines? (1)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 2 years ago | (#37953186)

Naw, you pretty much said it all in your first post. You're blinded by your own "brilliance".

Re:What guidelines? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37953460)

Uh.. thanks for being a drooling idiot. Your post WAS all about drooling idiots. Everything in your original post was an expansion on how drooling idiots do things that not-idiots avoid. Such as creating markets for unethical things.

So.. somehow your argument is that drooling idiots make unethical markets. But drooling idiots elect ethical politicians. Or, I suppose.. you could argue that drooling idiots don't vote. Or that the Australian electoral system pays no attention to drooling idiots.Also possible, Aussie government is run by drooling idiots, voted for by drooling idiots, doing drooling idiot things so that other drooling idiots can cheer the drooling idiocy.

First evidence for the last point? The fact that this is an R18 GAMING classification. Last I checked, there hasn't been a game yet to include live action murder or child porn. So going there like these guidelines will have any effect whatsoever on such activities is ... drooling idiocy. It is rare enough for there to be actual X rated rendered content, let alone CG snuff or child porn. Even though CG anything has zero victims and therefore regulations restricting same cannot save anybody from death or torment.

Re:What guidelines? (1)

uninformedLuddite (1334899) | more than 2 years ago | (#37955472)

If 1000 monkeys sat at 1000 typewriters after 1000 years would they come up with Australia? Seems so.

wouldn't take that long

Re:What guidelines? (0)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#37952912)

Thus, anything which doesn't fall under R18 classification falls instead under "Refused Classification". As there's no X rating available, it's simply not saleable.

That's because Australia is simply not a free country. Free speech is a fundamental human right. Requiring classification violates that right.

You seem to overestimate the self-regulation abilities of your fellow man.

You seem to overestimate the self-regulation abilities of your regulators. People in government are not any better than the rest of us. They are in no better position to decide what we watch than we are.

If it wasn't illegal to buy snuff films, they'd be widely purchased and a market created for such - even though people know they're creating a market for it by buying it.

Do you have any evidence to back this up?

If you can think of a way to remove all censorship, and at the same time not create a market for snuff or child porn, please let me know.

There is no need to engage in prior restraint [wikipedia.org] to eliminate markets for CP.

Re:What guidelines? (2)

black3d (1648913) | more than 2 years ago | (#37952998)

Do you have any evidence to back this up?

In relation to snuff? No. As snuff films are largely un-verifiable, we can only look at anecdotal evidence surrounding popularity of extremely bad film where people have THOUGHT an individual died in the filming thereof.

I can easily back it up in relation to child porn though. Look at Ukraine, early 2000s, BD Company and LS Studios and various subsidiary and even unaffiliated companies. A market was created for CP through the temporarily unregulated sale of material from Ukraine. It started out with some small sites (LA for example), and drew a huge wealth of income from all over the world and changed from one group with a few models to multinationals and thousands of girls. It progressed to video sites, where explicit videos became purchaseable from sites, or viewable by paying additional "VIP" access fees. It was eventually shut down as the studios were beginning to expand on non-explicit (initially, and at least to those not paying VIP fees) male+female "photography".

This is just one example. There is substantial evidence that without regulation and censorship preventing child pornography, the child-abuse market would grow exponentially.

Re:What guidelines? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37953110)

0/10

Re:What guidelines? (3, Informative)

Zaphod The 42nd (1205578) | more than 2 years ago | (#37952762)

Apparently you don't know about the problems with video games down under. Many are outright banned right now as they do not meet the requirements for the Australian teen rating (13?) and thus cannot be sold, and some of it makes no sense. Some violent games get through, some barely-violent games get banned. Many then end up resorting to piracy, so then the games industry says "oh, its just pirates there, we won't bother" and it just cycles around and around. (Like Russia, which has been blown off as full of pirates, so nobody localizes for Russia, so there are more pirates... Gabe Newell just did an interview where he addressed it and they found that if they did proper releases in Russia, their sales were 3-5x what people expected).

The very thought that content would have to be approved before getting sold to adults is chilling.

yeah, Orwell thought it was scary too. :) In all seriousness though, censorship is a problem.

Re:What guidelines? (1, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#37952848)

Apparently you don't know about the problems with video games down under.

That's not a problem with video games down under. It's a problem with free speech down under. Namely, the lack of it. The Australian government may be giving its subjects a little more chain, but they're still not free.

Re:What guidelines? (1)

Zaphod The 42nd (1205578) | more than 2 years ago | (#37952950)

Fair enough. But where do you live? I live in the United States, and it ain't a whole lot better over here these days.

Re:What guidelines? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37954486)

The Australian government may be giving its subjects a little more chain, but they're still not free.

Australia has never claimed to be free. That's America's schtick.

Re:What guidelines? (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 2 years ago | (#37955916)

Very few places hold 'free speech' as an absolute right like the Americans idealise it as. Most places have a balance between freedom of expression, and other considerations which may conflict with that ideal. The key international human rights instruments (Australia is a signatory to these, of course) also note that freedom of expression is not an absolute and has to be weighed against other competing rights. It is very important and should never be unduly interfered with - but it's not an absolute. I don't expect you to understand that viewpoint - but it is valid, and the 'all or nothing, black and white' view of some people on this point often mystifies some of the rest of us. Australia has constitutional rights to freedom of political expression (a necessary requirement for any real democracy), but that does not extend to an all-conquering right to free speech generally.

Having said that this, I wonder whether this is even a "free speech" issue to begin with. An Australian individual is free to say, write or print anything they want, without having it classified. I can stand down on the corner and spout whatever crap I like and I wouldn't be breaking any law (though, just as in the US, I imagine I'd be moved along by nearby business owners if they get pissed off at you for driving away their customers). Classification is only a restriction on what is allowed to be SOLD. That is, classification law is about what is approved to be commericialised - stuff that is sold in stores, in public places, where the general public has access to it etc.

But stuff that is refused classification in Australia is not illegal to own, possess, view, transmit to others etc. It simply can't be whacked on a shelf and sold by a business (at least, not legally). Classification is a restriction of commerce, not necessarily of speech or expression.

Re:What guidelines? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#37956190)

Even America doesn't have an absolute right. You can say what you please so long as it isn't libelous, or copyrighted, or an immediate risk to public safety, or infringes upon an established trademark, or obscene. Not that anyone enforces that last one.

Re:What guidelines? (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 2 years ago | (#37956444)

Apparently you don't know about the problems with video games down under.

That's not a problem with video games down under. It's a problem with free speech down under. Namely, the lack of it. The Australian government may be giving its subjects a little more chain, but they're still not free.

We're maintaining a lot more freedom then the US at the moment. How are those free speech zones going. I still have the ability to protest in the open and on the steps of parliament.

Meanwhile, the US copyright and trademark laws have subtly stripped what remains of your much vaunted "free speech".

And yes, no one will stop me from calling Tony Abbott a cunt, a wanker, or a nance. It does stop me from saying "Tony Abbott has sex with the corpses of little boys" without evidence.

Re:What guidelines? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37953974)

Many are outright banned right now as they do not meet the requirements for the Australian teen rating (13?) and thus cannot be sold, and some of it makes no sense

Firstly, T13 is an ESRB rating, our rating system has:
U = Universal (3+)
G = General (5+)
PG = Parental Guidance for <13, otherwise knock yourself out
M = Mature (15+)
MA = Mature Adults (15+) [Slightly more serious version of the previous one, not familiar with the specifics but little practical difference]
R = Restricted (18+)
RC = Refused Classification (Cannot be sold to anyone) [This is a broad category, covers everything from child porn, violence/murder porn, graphic violence (torture), rape and so on]

The problem with games was that they only went up to M, not R. We have R for films and books but when games were added to the guidelines, they weren't given the full range of the scale.

Some violent games get through, some barely-violent games get banned.

The number of games blocked is actually pretty small, some games did have to be censored to pass but the only recent blocked one I remember is the new Mortal Kombat. Left 4 Dead 2 had to be censored (reduced blood+gore) but passed, Hitman 2 might have been blocked as well. Basically, its annoying but doesn't affect people as widely as you may believe.

As for the "barely violent" part, that is just the standard anti-reasoning (which you can see by looking at the MPAA ratings in the US as well) that rates sex as more dangerous and subversive then violence so awards higher categorisation for games featuring sex then if they had just been violent. There is a stylistic aspect though, some games which aren't particularly violent overall but include one or more instances of rape or torture are likely to be blocked instantly unless that content is removed.

Re:What guidelines? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37955528)

yeah half of us would just pirate the game to get it in, but if you don't think it affects the other half your wrong. Also the list is quite a bit longer than you make out, i count 23 outright bans and 12 times Australia forced the game publisher to change their game for us (for a fairly new industry that's a lot). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_banned_video_games#Australia [wikipedia.org] . But honestly is it really a surprise to any one in Australia that it's being run by a bunch of prudes, not a day goes by i'm not told to 'THINK OF THE CHILDREN'.

Re:What guidelines? (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 2 years ago | (#37955808)

A difference between M15 and MA15, if you're wondering, is that M15 is "recommended" for 15 years or older, whereas MA15 is "restricted" to 15 years and over. So a 13 year old can go to the movies with their parents and watch an M flick, but could not be granted admission for a MA15 flick.

(Having said that there is not really much actual enforcement of any of this - but on paper, that's the difference).

Re:What guidelines? (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 2 years ago | (#37956424)

Apparently you don't know about the problems with video games down under. Many are outright banned right now as they do not meet the requirements for the Australian teen rating (13?)

Actually it's MA (15+) and the M rating allows for:
- Violence.
- Frequent course language.
- Sexual references.
- Simulated Sex.
- Some Nudity.

It's in no way compatible to Teen. That would be our PG rating. It's important, when berating someone else does not understand the classification system, to have an understanding of the classification system for yourself.

Re:What guidelines? (1)

Zaphod The 42nd (1205578) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959680)

I wasn't berating anyone, I was informing. Calm down.

Re:What guidelines? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37981006)

It's important, when informing someone else, to be informed yourself

Sex (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37952690)

Sexual activity may be realistically simulated. The general rule is "simulation, yes--the real thing, no."

What does this mean? No live-action porn movies, but hentai games are okay? If so, what's the reasoning for that?

Re:Sex (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37952826)

Then publishers may try to rebrand live-action pornography as an "interactive movie", and sell it as a game, avoiding whatever laws there are on pornographic movies in Australia.

Also, this isn't the '90s. Live-action cut scenes in video games aren't all that popular nowadays.

Re:Sex (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 2 years ago | (#37955930)

Live action porn movies would generally get the X in Australia rating. (However it is only legal to sell X rated material in the ACT and NT, and not in the other 6 states - remember classification is a State matter, not a Federal one, though the States have voluntarily agreed to harmonise most aspects of their classification guidelines with the exception of the treatment of X and RC material)

However the X rating does not exist for games. So a game that had live action porn would probably be RC, even under the new guidelines. A movie would be fine though.

Just MA15+ rebranded? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37952712)

Too bad the original draft guidelines that allowed the same content as R18+ for film does got knocked back by religious conservative AG's, and these new guidelines that have been agreed to are a watered down R18+ rating that may yet prove to be little more than a re-branded MA15+.

I haven't had a opportunity to go over the new guidelines in detail, but we should before we celebrate.

Drug incentives still not allowed (3, Interesting)

subanark (937286) | more than 2 years ago | (#37952876)

In the article for R 18+ classifications:
Drug use related to incentives and rewards is not permitted.

Depending on how 'drug' is defined, a game could be banned if using apsrin was part of the plot to recover some ailment.
If this was only related to controlled substances, then a fictional drug could be used instead without problem, making the rule near useless.

Re:Drug incentives still not allowed (1)

FrostDust (1009075) | more than 2 years ago | (#37952948)

Left 4 Dead 2, pictured right below that drug use notification and a major point of contention in this classification debate, would still have trouble because it features downing a bottle of pills or injecting yourself with a syringe of adrenaline in order to continue killing zombies, and has an achievement related to that as well.

Re:Drug incentives still not allowed (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 2 years ago | (#37953260)

Would that mean that Starcraft should also be banned because of the Stim Pack ability that Marines have?

Re:Drug incentives still not allowed (1)

JustSomeProgrammer (1881750) | more than 2 years ago | (#37952958)

I do not know for sure but I would imagine medicine usage would not be banned but games like Max Payne where you take drugs to improve abilities would.

Re:Drug incentives still not allowed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37953096)

I do not know for sure but I would imagine medicine usage would not be banned but games like Max Payne where you take drugs to improve abilities would.

Nope, as the GP implied, there's absolutely no human decision involved here. It's all binary logic, just like computers, which are the GP's only friends and thus his only frame of reference, so no human will have a chance to make that choice and see it's silly, and there's obviously no room for case-by-case decisions.

The GP knows this, because if any of the people making this classification were human, they would all obviously agree with HIM and therefore see how stupid it is. Since they don't, they clearly aren't human. QED.

Now, do YOU agree with him? There's no grey area here; either true or false. It's all binary logic, just like computers, our only friends...

Re:Drug incentives still not allowed (1)

gknoy (899301) | more than 2 years ago | (#37953206)

It's all binary logic, just like computers, which are the GP's only friends and thus his only frame of reference, so no human will have a chance to make that choice and see it's silly, and there's obviously no room for case-by-case decisions.

When dealing with decisions decided by bureaucrats or people who deal with lots of red tape, it's often wise to expect them to behave in blind obedience to the letter of the law, even in cases where most humans would feel it was excessive or an exception should be made. We had an example just recently where a woman and her husband were arrested, and their child taken away by protected services, because they forgot to pay for a sandwich which they ate in the store, and we've had past examples in the states (Florida?) where kids were prosecuted for production/distribution of child pornography for texting naked pictures to each other.

Stupid policies have power because the people enforcing them are afraid that defying it would cost them their job, or because they're afraid of being seen as "Soft on ___" (in the case of politicians or DAs).

I fully expect that games involving aspirin would have problems, because here's how a bureaucracy would rate the games. First, someone would play them, and fill out a form with checkboxes for things like "has nudity", "includes drugs", and so on. The person filling this out WOULD check that box for a game where the health kit is a bottle of aspirin, simply because they'll be fired if their supervisor finds out. The ratings agency will then go through each game, look at the review checkboxes, and will not care (or even know) whether the character picks up a bottle of aspirin or injects themselves with a syringe full of Demon Juice -- they'll just see a "drug use" checkbox is checked, and rate accordingly. Heck, that stage of it probably would already be pre-screened by a computer.

Re:Drug incentives still not allowed (1)

R4nneko (1194727) | more than 2 years ago | (#37953614)

This is an extension to a system that is already in place. Having pills was not a sufficient reason for Left 4 Dead 1 to be RCed for example.

It would vary on a) the type of drug and b) how the drug was used in game.

Fallout 3 for example was initially refused classification because they used morphine to heal the player rather than one of the made up drugs they used in previous fallouts. Once they changed it to one of the made up drugs it went through without issue.

The company can then also appeal the decision and it goes to a different set of people who get to examine the game. Even bureaucrats are not that bad, this is not some proposed new system, you can see how these decisions are made by looking at what they have already done not by just assuming they are robots.

Re:Drug incentives still not allowed (1)

pluther (647209) | more than 2 years ago | (#37953340)

So is Fallout banned under these guidelines? There are a variety of drugs, including alcohol types, you can take in the game to give you various boosts.

Would "Whiskey" be banned, but "Buffout" OK, because one has the same name as a real drug?

And does that extend to "potions"? They're a staple of any fantasy game, and are exactly the same thing as drugs but with a different name.

Re:Drug incentives still not allowed (1)

R4nneko (1194727) | more than 2 years ago | (#37953596)

Funny you should mention that. The reason why you have "stimpacks" and "jet", etc in Fallout 3 was because the original plan to use genuine drug names such as Morphine had it refused classification. Fictional drugs tend to be classed as okay. Also only a fairly small number of games have been RCed. Most games have ended up released here under M15+

Re:Drug incentives still not allowed (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 2 years ago | (#37955846)

Fallout's 'drugs' have names like Med-X, Rad-away, Jet etc. for that very reason.

And Whiskey is fine - alcohol isn't an illicit drug in Australia, so that classification guideline is irrelevant to it.

Re:Drug incentives still not allowed (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 2 years ago | (#37956458)

So is Fallout banned under these guidelines? There are a variety of drugs, including alcohol types, you can take in the game to give you various boosts.

Would "Whiskey" be banned, but "Buffout" OK, because one has the same name as a real drug?

Fallout is available here.

Context is everything in the Australian rating system. When the say "drug based incentives" they mean something clearly identified as a narcotic that has only a positive effect. This is generally restricted to real world restricted drugs, for example a trucking simulator where "Speed" is used as a power up (makes time go faster, reduces fatigue level) would be restricted where as using "Coffee" or "Magic time bending potion" for the same effect would not. To rephrase it, the game must not glorify drug use, Fallout manages this quite nicely as the drugs tend to have negative side effects (including addiction).

Drug use (1)

grantek (979387) | more than 2 years ago | (#37952926)

Under the R18+ guidelines:

Drug use related to incentives and rewards is not permitted.

I guess that means Pac Man will be banned in Australia :(

Just in time for GTAV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37953064)

In summary no games that contain the words "grand" "theft" or "auto" will be allowed in AU.

Re:Just in time for GTAV (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 2 years ago | (#37984634)

Bonza Borrowin Wheels

You run about chattin to Sheila's, showing them a good time, and walking them home in the evening, you know to make sure they get home safe. Then you borrow mike's car and drive it over to mike's bar where you meet up with mike and mike for a few brews before heading over to mike's diner for a bite to eat. Then you return mike's car (remembering to fill it up along the way) then walk back home for a good nights sleep.

right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37955686)

This is all fine until an "official" deems a woman in a game has "small breasts that make the game illegal... I am still amazed that Australia went down that road. Next, shaved nether-regions will also be illegal since only "kids" have no hair down there... :/

What's the use? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37959372)

A couple months ago I sold a copy of GTA:VC I had lying around gathering dust. An hour after getting the call a man in his 40's showed up literally in my doorstep (GPS is a good thing). Imagine my thoughts when I look down and see this 13-year-old spoiled brat next to his father. Never mind there's a big fucking red circle with a big fucking "18" printed in big fucking black in a corner of the box (I live in Europe), and that there's also art of a girl in a bikini inside the box.

I did sell the game to the kid. Money is good.

The kid really was a spoiled brat, because I lived so far away from them his father had already spent what the game was worth on gas to get to my house.

Censorship? It's a ratings scheme (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37997600)

Seriously, wtf is everyone on about. Games are already 'censored' (banned, actually) here. They either meet a criteria, or they are banned for whatever reason tweak's the reviewer's nose; valid, reasonable choice or not. Some have been made to remove certain elements to comply wiht ratings.

With a R18+ rating classification in place, it simply just states the game has criteria not suitable for under age children for example drug use, porngraphic scenes etc. It's a warning, just like at the movies. It's not telling us we cant have it when in fact it's allowing us to have access to more! We can buy R18+ mag's in a service station where children buy their fatty drinks. Why cant we buy games rated 18+ as well!

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