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Banned Games Find Ways To Bypass Authority

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the can't-keep-a-gamer-down dept.

Censorship 58

Stony Stevenson writes "PC World reports that digital downloads and online distribution is making the regulation of banned computer games impossible. Running with Scissors has employed a new sales channel that allows its controversial Postal games to be downloaded direct to consumers' PCs. This has created a grey area between content regulators and classification enforcers that allows end users to receive banned content unchecked. From the article: 'The Australian Communications and Media Authority hotline manager of content assessment, Mike Barnard conceded that preventing distribution was not conclusive and the only foolproof method of stopping people downloading banned content was if they chose not to.'"

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In other news... (4, Insightful)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706487)

Prohibition of alcohol and illicit drugs fails miserably.

Also in other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14706746)

Being told not to do something results in more people doing it to find out why they shouldn't do it.

ha submit password was "petting"

Re:In other news... (1)

bazmail (764941) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707333)

True. But in Her Majesty's Prison Australia it's only right that the convicts are denied these freedoms.

Re:In other news... (0, Flamebait)

Schitzoflink (949390) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707877)

So the Aboriginies can play/do anything they want since they arn't criminals but the original owners?

Re:In other news... (2, Insightful)

valintin (30311) | more than 8 years ago | (#14709065)

Not if you're a distiller, dealer or game publisher.

education is the key (4, Insightful)

illtron (722358) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706568)

Governments need to get out of the business of telling people what content is good for them. They can't possibly hope to stop it, so why try? I know what I find offensive, and I won't waste my time on stuff that offends my tastes. When I have kids someday, I hope to teach them some sense of decency and the difference between right and wrong. I don't think there's any actual danger of kids going postal themselves just because they played a violent video game. Raise your kids right and it'll never be an issue, no matter what kind of video games they play.

Re:education is the key (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706720)

They can't possibly hope to stop it, so why try?

Newsflash: Everyone wants the rest of the world to act/think like they do. People in government have the power to (try and) force it to be so.

Re:education is the key (1)

tuxedobob (582913) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706778)

News flash: try to

Re:education is the key (1)

MrKibkibs (898100) | more than 8 years ago | (#14709792)

Newsflash: Try and

Re:education is the key (1)

BillKaos (657870) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707232)

Would the goverment let a large amount of people be educated, then those people would realize the shortcomings of the goverment and kick them out.

She said it best (5, Funny)

Stargoat (658863) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706569)

"The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers."

So basically... (1)

GrodinTierce (571882) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706572)

...this is another example of the Net "routing around censorship". :)

That said, I think the issue of "banning" games in the first place should be addressed directly for the absurdity that it is.

Re:So basically... (1)

Seferino (837142) | more than 8 years ago | (#14711769)

Yeah, well, I'd rather not se games whose objective is explicitely to kill me or my family. I've been demonstrating for freedom of expression recently but there are times where it's quite painful. Hint: I might be either Jewish or Native American or a descendent of African Slaves or Strogg.

Not true... (1)

MaestroSartori (146297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706615)

...the only *real* way to stop people obtaining them is to stop them being produced in the first place. Once they exist, trying to stop people obtaining them through any means (legal or illegal) is nigh impossible.

Re:Not true... (2, Insightful)

2008 (900939) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706823)

You can't stop production either. You could prevent a big company from producing certain types of games, but you can't stop fan-made content which can add violence/sex/drugs/atheism/whatever. And you can't stop companies in another country from producing the games either, you can prevent bulk imports but not file trading or people posting copies.

Re:Not true... (1)

bri2000 (931484) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706923)

You can't stop production either.

No, but they can make it illegal to posess, sell, import or produce them. It's just a question of extending the "obscenity" laws. I'm not saying it's right (I think it's very, very wrong) but it's how it will happen in at least some countries I think.

Re:Not true... (3, Insightful)

RexRhino (769423) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707072)

It still won't work. The U.S. spent billions, if not trillions by now, trying to stop the flow of illegal drugs into the United States. They have a whole police/military machine trying to keep the stuff out. They have a million people in prison for selling or using the stuff. And it doesn't seem to have any effect. (In fact, the drug laws probably perpetuate the drug trade. The U.S. government is like the OPEC of drugs... they are just effective enough to limit the drugs such as they become very profitable to smuggle.

Now, information is way easier to smuggle and hide than illicit substances. Especially in the age of the Internet. Expect any attemps to ban games to be as effective as the "War on Drugs".

Re:Not true... (1)

MaestroSartori (146297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707106)

The same thing applies - if they could stop the production of drugs, people wouldn't be able to smuggle them in. All it does is drive the problem underground though, so in that respect you're correct. But the big-game-company produced stuff, much like the big drug cartel produced stuff, would be easy to stop if the powers that be chose to do it.

Re:Not true... (1)

Sxooter (29722) | more than 8 years ago | (#14712620)

Oh yeah, that has worked so well with the whole meth thing. I mean, you can't get that shit anymore, right?

Face it, everytime you do something to stop someone from making one drug, they start making another, more dangerous drug to replace it.

If you could buy coke and heroin at Walgreens, about 98% of all the bad things that happen because of drugs would go away.

Re:Not true... (1)

rainman_bc (735332) | more than 8 years ago | (#14720277)

If you could buy coke and heroin at Walgreens, about 98% of all the bad things that happen because of drugs would go away.

So because you can buy alcohol legally, the bad stuff isn't happening?

No alcholism in society, no drunken wife beating takes place, and no drunken fighting right?

You can't necessarily assume that legalization is the solution...

Truth is, we should just open it up to consumption. Who are we to dicatate what a person should or should not consume? We are all victims of our bad choices, one way or another.

Re:Not true... (3, Funny)

88NoSoup4U88 (721233) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707257)

Expect any attemps to ban games to be as effective as the "War on Drugs".

Maybe next time I buy a gram of coke it should contain a little warning label "Don't do games!" as the older arcade games used to have in attract mode. :)

Re:Not true... (1)

bri2000 (931484) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707387)

I'm not saying it will work, I agree that it won't. But, as with the drugs parallel, it will lead to lot of heavy handed policing and the wrecking of lives of people who really haven't ever hurt anybody to "save" society from a perceived evil.

Why do you suppose that is? (1)

Inoshiro (71693) | more than 8 years ago | (#14709190)

Anyone who's taken 1st year economics knows about supply and demand curves. We see that as the US government has tried to choke off the supply, the demand has fallen off -- except that those that still demand it, are much more willing to pay silly prices to get the goods. Doubly so if it's a real drug that has addictive properties (such as heroin) instead of a recreation drug (like marijuana).

Perhaps they should look at why people want to use drugs and deal with those problems. Alcohol, which I'd say is on par with Marijuana, was prohibited in the US in the early part of the 20th century. That certainly didn't do anything to stop its use or spread, instead leading to the formation of organized crime and rum running.

People will do what they want. If they want to do something illegal, all the punishments in the world won't stop them. You need to attack they demand side. Remove the demand for things you feel are socially undesirable, and they'll be gone. Punish only those that go too far (drunk driving, drunk and disorderdly in public, etc), rather than everyone (arrested for having alcohol at home, possesion of marijuana).

Is it any surprise that people don't feel a contstant need to do drugs when their lives are fine? Or that people who have the basics taken care of (food, shelter, clothing), and can earn other things through a nice job, don't feel the need to commit break and enter crimes?

choice (4, Insightful)

sepharious (900148) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706689)

"Mike Barnard conceded that preventing distribution was not conclusive and the only foolproof method of stopping people downloading banned content was if they *CHOSE* not to." (emphasis mine) And that is exactly as it should be. People should be responsible for the content they consume and for their children's consumption. If you can't control what your children play then perhaps you should have kept your legs closed. Down with the Nanny State!

Re:choice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14706841)

A politicians view is quite simple: "I don't know what this computer game stuff is all about, but censorship gets me more voters."

Mod Parent Up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14708203)

seriously, mod him up.

Right and Wrong, Fantasy and Reality (3, Insightful)

MasterOfMagic (151058) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706833)

Perhaps instead of banning video games, governments should be focused on educating people between the differences between right and wrong and fantasy and reality. There are studies that show people who don't know the difference between right and wrong and people that don't know the difference between fantasy and reality can be influenced to violent behavior by violent video games. What most of these studies fail to mention is the numbers of people who have been affected by other media outlets and how that compares to video games. In the past, Dungeons & Dragons, Saturday Cartoons, Comic Books, Movies, Heavy Metal Music, and Dime Store Novels were all thought to have the same influence. So the question becomes, is the problem with the media or the people consuming the media?

Or perhaps if people knew the difference between fantasy and reality, fewer people would go see movies and watch television and begin to wake from their unrealistic dreams?

Re:Right and Wrong, Fantasy and Reality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14707236)

governments should be focused on educating people between the differences between right and wrong and fantasy and reality /a bit is slightly offtopic...

And whos to say the Goverment knows the differences between right and wrong? Thats more along the lines of social conditioning. (see pages 1-end of the book 1984).

Although there is a point to various media re-working the frabic of our thinking. Take skinny white girls for example. Theyre currently considered sexualy attractive. This is only a recent phoenomon in human culture, say the lasy 40 years or so. (though I do believe it began in the 20's, but not intentionaly). Why then, are so many teenaged and older women starving themselves, or throwing up just to achive this unrealistic goal? Dont tell me that BS lie about self-esteem either. Its because after years and years of bombardment of advertisers sending that message.
Yes, of course your average person will be influcenced after a while after constantly seeing the same style of information over and over again. We had a perfect example just recently (world wide example) of this sort of conditioning. Bush, WMD, non-existant anyone? Once a lie has been told often enough, it eventualy becomes truth. Same goes with social behaviour. Tell someone the only way to look beautiful is to be bone-showing skinny, and it will become the truth.
I'm all for a ban on violent media (thats TV, movies, music, video games, etc etc) for young devloping minds. Simply because, the younger you start throwing garbage that isn't considered socialy acceptable (ie, violence, killing people, using vulgar words for example) at a person, the more in-depth it becomes in the persons day to day psyche. But who does the banning? The goverment should! No of course not. Its up to the parents to teach their children what is right, what is wrong, and how to tell the difference between fantasy and reality. No goverment, no group, no orginization should be able to tell ME, a grown adult, what is wrong or right. (then again, if i was really messed up, perhaps someone might need to.. but thats a different topic)

Re:Right and Wrong, Fantasy and Reality (1)

MasterOfMagic (151058) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708849)

(practically flamebait, but I'll bite...)
See my reply to the other comment. I address most of these issues. I never say the government knows what's right or wrong. What I do say is that well adjusted adults can tell the difference between right and wrong, and furthermore, that well adjusted adults can tell the difference between fantasy and reality. The problem is, some children and a number of adults cannot tell the difference between fantasy and reality. This is not the fault of violent video games. People who cannot tell the difference between fantasy and reality have been influenced by any number of things, none of which, I feel, the government should censor. Media corporations (by which I mean media conglomerates) rely on people not being able to tell the difference between fantasy and reality. These would be the "people that are really messed up" as you would say, though for the purposes of this discussion, we should refer to them as not as socially adjusted as those who know the difference between fantasy and reality. This is the issue that we need to understand and address.

As far as violent video games go, if the government is worried about people re-enacting them, then they should spend the time and the money addressing this issue. I'm not saying that the government should "educate" people by indoctrination, but I am saying that directing those who do not know the difference between fantasy and reality to qualified therapists is a good start.

Of course, none of this will happen because media corporations, propaganda, and political grandstanding rely on a populace that's willing to dream the impossible dream and live in a fantasy world. In other words, government hypocrisy will block this. Nothing to see here...

Re:Right and Wrong, Fantasy and Reality (1)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707290)

Because the currently appointed government officials are exactly the people to be defining right and wrong. Good idea. Oh, wait, no. That's what parents are for.

Re:Right and Wrong, Fantasy and Reality (1)

MasterOfMagic (151058) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707652)

So, in other words, the government shouldn't have any laws against murder, and instead parents should be able to decide on a case by case basis if murder is wrong? I don't believe the government should be moral police. There are a few things that most moral codes agree are bad: rape, murder, unprovoked assault, and so forth.

I agree that parents should be allowed to control what video games their children play. If you look at my post, nowhere do I say that the government should ban video games or restrict their sale. What I do say is that people that don't know the difference between right and wrong and fantasy and reality are the problem, not the video games.

Perhaps if the government would direct those that need help distinguishing fantasy from reality to people who can help them, then this problem would be dramatically lessened. However, entertainment companies rely on people that don't know the difference between reality and fantasy. Concepts such as "true love conquers all", "you too could be a winner", and "reality television" are all fields where entertainment companies make their bread and butter. In the gross majority of cases, the reverse of all of those concepts are true.

Re:Right and Wrong, Fantasy and Reality (2, Insightful)

Some_Llama (763766) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710387)

I think you are confusing the policing of morality with consquences for actions, the "morals" you have defined, "rape, murder, unprovoked assault, and so forth" effect other people and should have consqeuences as such, since our constitution attempts to defend it's populace against things that would interfere with their life liberty and pursuit of happiness.

What the government should not do is attempt to define FOR ME what is right and wrong, I should decide that for myself and my children (and when they are grown they can decide for themselves), the only time the government should be involved is when my actions affect another person's above stated rights granted under the constituion... I live in the USA and expect these rights...

Re:Right and Wrong, Fantasy and Reality (1)

MasterOfMagic (151058) | more than 8 years ago | (#14711097)

I think that you're reading your own bias into this. I never say anywhere that the government must set standards of right and wrong and that they should be applied to anyone who wants to play video games or read books, or anything of the sort. I'm arguing the contrary - that the government should not set these standards and that the motivation behind the standards, namely, that violent video games cause violence in the population in general, is flawed. Though I do admit that for some people who don't know the difference between fantasy and reality, violent behavior may happen as a result of exposure to video games. This is not a problem that a government solution will fix. This is a problem that only private industry can fix.

Re:Right and Wrong, Fantasy and Reality (1)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 8 years ago | (#14712774)

Laws against assault (in various forms) don't need to have anything to do with morality, good versus evil or fantasy versus reality. In thousands of years of civilization it has become generally accepted that any system of laws should probably include something to discourage assault. We may have those laws simply because it's difficult to have a functional society when people can easily gang up and beat the crap out of people they disagree with.

Re:Right and Wrong, Fantasy and Reality (1)

tbannist (230135) | more than 8 years ago | (#14716147)

Don't forget in the 30s it was pinball games that were "corrupting the youth of America". Yes seriously, there was a huge controversy over how pinball games were leader kids into a life of crime. Yes, seriously.

Every decade has it's stupid bogeyman that is "training children to be murderers". Whether it's novels, movies, alchohol, pinball, communists, television, comic books, dungeons and dragons, satanists, heavy metal & rap, or video games.

People never clue into the fact it's the same old crap they're being fed with only the noun changed.

And before online distrubution there was: PIRACY! (1)

v3c7r0n (924749) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706910)

Oh give me a freakin break. When the banned the first postal, anyone who wanted it just found a friend who had the game and (if needbe) a friend who had a CD burner. Do the freakin math people...seriously, atleast even though they technically arent supposed to play it, alteast it's a legit copy.

This is almost as bad as banning smoking in public places...I personally know of a few bars and clubs local to me where they still let you. their attitude is pretty simple: You don't like it? Ok, well dont let the door hit you in the ass on the way out

Re:And before online distrubution there was: PIRAC (1)

cluke (30394) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707466)

Imagine you got a job in an IT firm, down in the basement. You like your job fine, but smoke spews in though a ceiling vent all day. You ask your boss about it and he says the boiler is broken, and it is too expensive to fix. "Don't like it? Don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out."

Banning smoking in public places is the same idea. It's not for the protection of the customers, who have a choice, but the protection of the workers, who may not. Just how dangerous second hand smoking is makes another debate, but the principle is the same.
I'd wager it's not a love of liberty that makes your clubs act in this way, it is simple greed.

Re:And before online distrubution there was: PIRAC (1)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707572)

This is careening off-topic nicely :)

Where I come from, they have a law requiring all businesses to declare themselves as being smoke free, a smoking business, or having a smoking section. Smoking sections had to be sealed from the rest of the building and have their own ventilation.

Local law required that signs be placed on the doors of all businesses (basic signs available free from the city). Employers have to list in their advertised job openings and on their job applications if they are a smoking business or if the job may place a worker in a smoking area.

Customers were advised upon entering the building, potential employees knew when they applied what the smoking conditions would be, and business owners could decide how their property was used. It's the best solution for all involved.

Re:And before online distrubution there was: PIRAC (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14707641)

Yeah, I hate it when someone puts a gun to my head and makes me work in an unhealthy environment.

Re:And before online distrubution there was: PIRAC (1)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707650)

It's too bad that nobody seems to be asking the workers who are being "protected" what they think about smoking bans.

See the thing is, in just about every city where smoking is banned from bars, lots of bars close down. Since the local bar is (or rather, used to be) the only place left where smokers could go and indulge in their filthy addiction, a lot of bars have come to depend on smokers for the vast majority of their business.

Instead of banning smoking entirely, the correct way to handle it would have been to simply enforce a minimum standard of air quality in the "workplace" where people are serving smokers. This might require very advanced ventilation and filtration systesm, and might also require that fewer smokers are seated in the same size room, which would still be a financial hit to those bars, but might not cause them all to go out of business entirely.

Disclaimer: I don't smoke, hate breathing it, and I very much enjoy going out to the remaining restaurants in my town which didn't close down after the smoking ban. This is a matter of principle for me. I don't like seeing The Nanny State driving honest people out of business.

Re:And before online distrubution there was: PIRAC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14709272)

I don't like seeing The Nanny State driving honest people out of business.

If they're such a Nanny State then why don't they subsidize the bars? God forbid the bars be forced to make a living without the use of nicotine.

Re:And before online distrubution there was: PIRAC (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 8 years ago | (#14710367)

See the thing is, in just about every city where smoking is banned from bars, lots of bars close down.

I've seen reports [cdc.gov] that say there is no significant impact [no-smoking.org] ; please cite your source for this claim. Thanks. (Hate secondhand smoke; love bar. Usually try to sit by the door of my favorite tavern [leadbetterstavern.com] when fresh air dillutes the cigarette fumes.)

Instead of banning smoking entirely, the correct way to handle it would have been to simply enforce a minimum standard of air quality in the "workplace" where people are serving smokers

Sounds good in theory, though I'm not sure if that can be enforced in practice.

It would also be helpful to get the radioactive polonium and lead out of cigarette smoke [lenntech.com] with appropriate agricultural regulation.

Re:And before online distrubution there was: PIRAC (1)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14711542)

I've seen reports [cdc.gov] that say there is no significant impact [no-smoking.org]; please cite your source for this claim.

Pfft!

My sources are the neighborhood bars that were doing great pre-ban, out of business post-ban. I don't care what "no-smoking.org" has to say on the matter. I can look at the vacant buildings.

Re:And before online distrubution there was: PIRAC (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 8 years ago | (#14711742)

My sources are the neighborhood bars that were doing great pre-ban, out of business post-ban.

Post hoc ergo prompter hoc. If there has been a rash of closings in your area, that might have more to do with local economics or demographics, liquor law changes, a general decline in alcohol consumption [potsdam.edu] , or a hundred other factors, than a smoking ban. Or it might just be a statistical anomaly.

Let's put some numbers to this. How many bars in your town pre-ban? How many now? How long ago did this ban go into effect?

Re:And before online distrubution there was: PIRAC (1)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14717103)

Let's get more specific about causes by narrowing the scope a little bit.

Bloomington Park Tavern was one of the busiest bars in the entire southern metro area of the Twin Cities. The place is huge, and it was packed pretty much every night.

Until the smoking ban. It was a very nice place to go after that, because not only was the air fresher, but it was a hell of a lot less crowded. They went out of business.

I wish I could say this was the only example.

Again, I'm not a smoker, and I hate being in smoke-filled environments. If it were up to me, everybody would quit smoking and, while they are at it, get a little excersize in a few times a week.

But I hold fast to the principle that how other people live their lives is not up to me. If a bar wants to host smokers, and smokers want to go to that bar, it's none of my goddamn business, and neither is it yours.

Re:And before online distrubution there was: PIRAC (1)

thebes (663586) | more than 8 years ago | (#14723541)

...Except for the fact that smoking is a burden on public health care systems like in Canada. I'm all for allowing smokers to do whatever the hell they want, if they foot their own bill and don't leech public funding for health care. I see these bans as an effective way of cutting down on those that smoke as a past time (when they drink for example). Why should someone who CHOOSES to smoke leach hundreds of thousands of public dollars after they get a severe illness?

Re:And before online distrubution there was: PIRAC (1)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14727833)

Biggest myth ever.

Smokers tend to die young and fast. Non-smokers tend to live long lives, and eventually die of things which gradually wear them down while they lie in hospital beds for months and even years.

Smokers SAVE health systems money. Death by lung cancer or heart attack is way cheaper than slowly failing kidneys.

Re:And before online distrubution there was: PIRAC (1)

v3c7r0n (924749) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708310)

Not so much so, I know one of the club owners personally and him (as well as all his employees) smoke, and he keeps the club that way so that people who do smoke have a place to go and hang out, kick back, dance, drink, etc.

As far as your IT job scenario was concerned, I'd tell my boss not to be pissed if I stop going outside to smoke, and aside from that, I have to say I argue how dangerous second hand smoke really is, I smoked "second hand" for 18 years before I started smoking "first hand" (and you can argue that however you want) but I'll be honest, I ENJOY smoking. Thats why I started smoking first hand, I enjoy it. And you can recite all the health this and your health that crap, but to be honest, I really dont care.

And the point I was really trying to get across was this: No matter what the government, health agencies, anti-this or anti-that ads tell people, they are going to do what they want. And to be honest, who the F*CK do the people who try to say otherwise think they are?(now there are cases where I will yield that point, but they are few and far between) All they do for me is make it sound like they think they're better than me for some reason, when in reality, since I don't tell people what they can or can't do, I fail to see how they're better or worse than me.

Banning Encourages Creativity (2, Funny)

rewinn (647614) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707056)

Perhaps we should ban a few more things, to encourage people to be more creative in getting what they want.

Re:Banning Encourages Creativity (1)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707476)

Excellent idea.

Let's ban civilian space flight. Every hippy and anarchist in the country would rush to get into orbit.

As a side bonus, we'll have actually managed to get rid of all the hippies and anarchists.

Didn't Australia ban online gambling (2, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707796)

By allowing customers to claim any losses back from their credit card company, or something like that, making it totally unprofitable for the online casinos? You just need to do more of this sort of thing. They need to come up with laws that will allow people access to the software but not require them to pay for it, and let the publishers censor themsleves.

Or, even better - stop nannying their citizens.

The surest way to make sure people do something... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14708327)

is to tell them not to.

How many of us downloaded the HL2 or Windows Source code when they were first leaked?

How many of us spent more than 30 minutes or so browsing through the code?

The fact that we had no intention of modifying it was overridden by the fact that some people out there said that we shouldn't have it.

I can't speak for the rest of you, but I have a problem with authority.

Umm... (1)

Rapter09 (866502) | more than 8 years ago | (#14709552)

Is Australia a little behind in the times? STEAM has been doing this for quite a bit now. The tone I got from the article made me think that this was some sort of INTENTIONAL bypass and it was absolutely proposterous. It's like the Austrailian government is *purposefully* out to get this company, and stomp this game into oblivion.

What am I missing here? + BONUS OFLC RANT (1)

PaganRitual (551879) | more than 8 years ago | (#14712083)

People found in possession of refused classification material or those distributing it can face a variety of penalties as outlined under relevant State and Territory classification enforcement legislation. However as OFLC restrictions act purely as a guideline for consumers and law enforcement

That last sentence confuses me. Their 'restrictions' act purely as a 'guideline'. THEY DISALLOW THE GAME TO BE SOLD IN AUSTRALIA, and as the previous sentence says, there are penalities for owning the games they've refused the classify. How the fuck is this a 'guideline'? It's censorship, plain and simple.

Games censorship is a real sore point for me so I'll do my best to avoid a rant (fake edit : I obviously failed that), but anyone that has followed the efforts of the OFLC and their work on games classification knows that they are the biggest bunch of clueless fucking idiots you'll ever have the misfortune to have deciding what you can and can't play/watch.

The joke that was the original Grand Theft Auto 3 rating was actually outlined on a PDF on their site, which presumably is still around in some form. It actually detailed the fact that of the 5 people that were reviewing the game for censorship, all 5 were not in the standard gamer demographic (which is much older than you might think) and that they actually lamented that none of the people present could actually play the game with any basic amount of skill, which made it harder to actually work out what the game involved. Then they banned it purely based on the fact that they game allowed you to attack and kill someone that the game had previously shown you 'having sex with' (for those who don't know, 'having sex' with a hooker in GTA3 was simply the two of you sitting in the car, as if you were driving it or whatever, and the car creaking up and down). It was, like all other attempts at classification, highly idiotic and completely brain dead. An edited version was released in Australia with the ability to pick up hookers removed. The PS2 version was also recalled after this (wish I could source a copy of the recalled version, just for nostalgic value) and re-released with the highly offensive content removed.

The best part about all this is that, after ordering the uncensored PC version of the game from the UK, which was intercepted by customs, and much gritting teeth and swearing at the customs officer when I asked why, as a 25 year old male was I not being allowed to view a game deemed unsuitable for people under 18, I picked up a local copy from a store on the way home, and got home to find that changing the Country setting on Windows allowed the game to be played in US mode, with the ability to pick up hookers enabled. I did it twice before getting bored of it, and never did it again.

Also, they appear to be scared of sexual references. Lesuire Suit Larry MCL was outright banned here without a second thought, while Manhunt was allowed through, and was only later subsequently banned after some moronic vote hunting politian in Western Australia demanded the OFLC reconsider their rating (I.E. he probably saw it as easy vote money due to the content and told them to ban it). BMX XXX was banned until the video with nude women (no violence, no nothing, just videos of strippers) was removed/edited. I mean, for crying out loud, these are the idiots that actually wouldn't allow Duke Nukem 3D to have the topless strippers show you their goods for money, and they didn't allow the pods that held naked women to be anything but empty pods. I have the original DN3D disc at home, plus a floppy with the US .exe which enabled all this.

Regardless of what they think, they can't stop people from watching/playing what they wan't. I mean, in the end, it's just a game. The people that see it as more than that obviously have mental issues that don't affect 99.9% of the gamer population. And I don't see why I, as a 28 year old gamer, should have to be denied access to a game purely because it's been deemed unsuitable for minors. Just create an R18+ rating for games and be done with it. If their concern is that the games will still find their way into the hands of under 18 year olds, then two things come to mind. Firstly, that was going to happen anyway, through either clueless parents buying whatever their child wants, or informed parents that make decisions that their 16 year old son really isn't going to go on a shooting rampage because he played a weekend of GTA3. And secondly, with online distribution starting to become more common, it will be harder to block it anyway.

The OFLC just needs to wake up, use their heads for once, and just create an R18+ rating for games, force stores to card for it, and just fuck off and let us play what we want. To be honest, even just the last part would be good enough for me.

BONUS OFLC RANT (1)

Macgrrl (762836) | more than 8 years ago | (#14713198)

The OFLC has their head up their [censored] in more ways than this. They have attempted to apply their ruling of outright banning sexual violence as it is applied to film to video games, without the capacity to fully test the content. The wording on their guidelines for film content is that *any reasonable adult* should be able to view whatever they wish. However their definition of a *reasonable adult* appears to be a methodist eunuch with no urges of any kind.

nothing new here... (1)

xpyr (743763) | more than 8 years ago | (#14720342)

Banned movies, tv, games, music, etc all find their way online and someone somewhere releases it for all to see. It's pandoras box basically. You can't stop it once it's out there.

OFLC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14758492)

I wonder how many members of the OFLC get sexually aroused by some of the material they ban. Aren't they letting themselves be corrupted?
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