Australia legalizes violent video games

For years, Australia's censors effectively banned games with graphic violence, making titles such as Grand Theft Auto and Mortal Kombat hard to charge money for. At Ars Technica, David Cornish writes that all this has changed with a recent bill to allow for "mature" titles to be classified for release: first up is a Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge, an inane franchise slasher that could use the publicity.


      1. Thunderdome’s been cancelled. They’ve just shipped all the refugees off to Malaysia instead.

        1. Next stop, Guruhdome!

          …Actually, now you’ve got me wondering if there are Malaysian post-apocalyptic movies.

        2. Wouldn’t this post fall under the category of blatantly bringing politics utterly irrelevant to the topic at hand? 

          The sort of thing that gets posts removed during any talk of US elections?

          1. Well I could have proposed to compare and contrast American and Australian attitudes toward violent video games, both of which have recently been in the news.  But it’s not as funny that way.

  1. I am usually one of the first people against censorship. With all of the violence and gun debate in the US right now…. Is it really a good time to do this?
    I’m not convinced.

    1. It’s difficult to obtain real guns in Australia. Why obsess over virtual ones? Let the culture wars commence!

      1. There is a potentially serious risk that the local wildlife will learn the wrong lessons from titles like “Outback Envenomator 3: Tainted Blood”. I’m told that the sections where you use your wiimote to trigger your character’s venomous strikes against unprotected ankles are harrowingly realistic…

      2.  Not really. I’ve got a police station about a klick half down the road, all I’d have to do would be swing by with the appropriate ID, fill out the paperwork, pay the fee, BLAM, after a bit of a short wait, I’m licensed. Purchase permits are only slightly harder to get.

        However, I will note – It’s easier for me to get a .308 rifle than it is to get an airsoft gun here. Because airsoft guns are all but outlawed, and are treated as real firearms by the law. As in, you will go to jail for a number of years, for owning a childeren’s toy.

        Our gun laws are kinda really fucked up.

    2. Given the, er, how to be charitable here… utter dearth of evidence despite repeated study that violent video games are causally related to violence, I’d say that it’s as good a time as any.

      Also, I strongly doubt that you are ‘usually one of the first people against censorship’ with an attitude like that.

      1. That was possibly the most charitable thing I’ve seen today apart from the Jay Lake fundraiser. Well said.

    3. So Australia shouldn’t follow the rest of the developed world in having an adult classification for videogames because the on the opposite side of the world (with far more liberal gun laws) keep shooting each other? 

      Your logic, isn’t logic.

    4. We actually “Did this” in June last year, six months ago, it’s just that it came into effect on the first of January, this year.

      Or, to paraphrase the great scholar and prophet Black Dynamite: We legislated that shit before you even walked in the room!

  2. “an inane franchise slasher”

    Too bad about Ninja Gaiden, it was one of the greatest 8-bit game series ever.  (And predicted the Age of Eternal Darkness that we are living in now, but I’m presuming Jaquio won.)

  3. I don’t mean to be the voice of reason (or facts), but…

    > For years, Australia’s censors effectively banned games with graphic violence, making titles such as Grand Theft Auto and Mortal Kombat hard to charge money for.

    Well, no. Games with extreme graphic violence, those that pushed the R18 rating to its limit, were _sometimes banned_. More often than not they were allowed for sale unedited, usually squeezed into the MA15+ rating bracket. The latest Mortal Kombat was refused classification, but every MK before that was released just fine. Every GTA game has been released here with violence intact, but GTA3 was censored post-release to remove the ability to pick up prostitutes, and GTA: San Andreas was also removed from shelves when the Hot Coffee scandal broke, but was re-released once that code was excised. Again, violence intact. Fallout 3 was edited slightly, with references to real-world drugs changed to fantasy substances. Again, all violence intact.
    It’s growing tiresome, always reading about my country being portrayed as a backwater of technology and censorship by uninformed headlines.

    1. I’m not sure if it was a censorship or editorial decision,  but GTA4 also had the viewing angle on sex with hookers in the car locked to the rear of the vehicle, although this was removed for the Liberty City Stories DLCs.

      1. Thanks Glitta, I missed that one.

        For people who believe Australia is a puritanical country where no violence is allowed on our screens, here’s a mostly complete list of games banned or censored in Australia due to extreme violence:

        50 Cent: Bulletproof, Dark Sector, Dreamweb, The Getaway, Left 4 Dead 2, Manhunt, Mortal Kombat 2011, NecroVisioN, Postal 1&2, Phantamasmagoria, Reservoir Dogs, Shellshock 2, Silent Hill: Homecoming, Soldier of Fortune, Syndicate 2012.

        Eight of those were later released under MA15+ guidelines thanks to minor cuts. Only two of those games were worth playing.

        1.  I prefer to think that Syndicate was actually banned for dangerous levels of bloom. Seriously, it was out of control, I think that game gave me cataracts.

  4. Ummmm… You’ve always been able to buy violent games and they have always been legal. To have a title like this is idiotic.

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