Yet another game banned in Australia

Another game banned, another day. This is just getting ridiculous. This week’s winner is Soldier Of Fortune: Payback. Let’s see. That’s makes the list include the Postal series of games, Phantasmagoria, Singles, Manhunt, Reservoir Dogs, and a game about applying spray paint to walls, Marc Ecko’s Getting Up.

Another game banned, another day. This is just getting ridiculous. Okay, so we don’t have an Adults Only or R18+ rating for our games. The fact that we don’t is just plain ridiculous because we freely allow movies with those ratings and if someone wants to use that argument that people are inspired by video games, they’re just as likely to get ideas from movies too.

So let’s put that argument down the deep dark hole and never let it out again until we have to.

What normally happens in Australia is that we ban films with far too much sex or story-based sexual issues that obviously some people at the Office of Film & Literature Classification have problems with. Movies with loads of violence however tend to go through without a problem (usually).

Games are a different story. Games with sex? Pretty much no chance of going through. Violent games? They’ll almost always get through except in rare cases.

This week’s winner is Soldier Of Fortune: Payback.

Let’s see. Now the list includes the Postal series of games, Phantasmagoria, Singles, Manhunt, Reservoir Dogs, and a game about applying spray paint to walls, Marc Ecko’s Getting Up.

To be fair to the OFLC, it hasn’t been banned. It’s been “refused classification” which is technically the same thing and technicalities aren’t something I enjoy weaving around. Especially when it involves bypassing my right to make a choice about what something I might want to play.

What bothers me most of all is that I’m not even given the right to choose whether I play this. I freely accept that we should have rules in place protecting minors from titles that may or may not have something of an explicit nature. But by making a ruling for an entire country that Title X isn’t something I should even have the right to look at, I’m being treated like an infant.

Taking this further, “banning” something that exists primarily in a digital form only works at the point of saying “here, you can’t buy in this as a physical or tangible object”. The result is that someone who really wants this game can probably find a way to import it using means not limited to an Internet download and that’s something the Office of Film & Literature Classification would probably have a hard time going about stopping in the first place.

In the end, censorship has this problem and a panel of judges deciding what can and can’t come through our borders just doesn’t work properly unless a proper ratings system can be decided for the entire range of titles that could and should come in. The sheer notion that we don’t have a rating that can cater to those of us 18 and over is insane because – and this is the thing the lot of us really don’t like – our independent choices are being limited for no good or logical reason.

Written by Leigh D. Stark



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