Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The deal with the R18+ rating in Australia.

People from all over the world read this blog and you are all awesome. So I thought I might take this time to explain some stuff going on in the Australian gaming scene and how you all can help out.

Some of you may have seen either on the news or on the Social network sphere that Mortal Kombat was banned (or refused classification) here in Australia. It was banned because the powers that be decided it was too violent regardless of the fact that the previous titles in the series were just as violent and were allowed on our shores. This is because the maximum rating for games is MA15+ which means that people between the ages of 15 and 17 can view/play but only with an adult supervising. There is no R18+ rating.

Why is R18+ so important? More importantly what the hell does R18+ mean? R18+ is the maximum rating that can be given in Australia's rating system. It means that only people over the age of 18 can view content given that rating. Why it's so important is that games like Mortal Kombat would not be banned. Currently there is a work around. Games that are banned can resubmit again by modifying the game to remove or tone down the violence/drug use/sexual content/etc... and try to get it rated. Grand Theft Auto is famous for getting rejected and then the modified version is let through. The problem with this is that people then import the game from America or another country which is bad for our economy. This means that game prices go up and in turn more people pirate the game which hurts the gaming industry as a whole.

What really annoys me is that all this goes on and our government doesn't care. When Episodes of Liberty City was released on Xbox Live it was hosted on American servers meaning it had all the sex and violence that was banned from the original game. You paid your 12 bucks and effectively got a "bring back all the good bits" patch along with the DLC. Another example is Left 4 Dead 2. If you purchased it from a retail game shop like EB you got the modified version. If you purchased it from Steam you got the original game in all it's uncensored glory.

Earlier I said that there was a way you could help. There is an online petition being circulated to be sent to the government asking them to introduce an R18+ rating to video games. Please sign it and tell everyone about it. You will be helping shape Australian gaming history. The link is here:

Till next week.


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