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High Impact Bloody Violence
January 10, 2013 5:13 PM   Subscribe

After years of deliberation, Australia finally have an R 18 rating for games, allowing a wider range of games to be legally released in Australia. The first game to be rated R18 will be Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge, a Wii U game that will receive that rating due to its 'high impact bloody violence'.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants (59 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
High Impact Bloody Violence

...is the name of my GWAR cover band.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:26 PM on January 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


My High Impact Bloody Valentine
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:28 PM on January 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Are the Ninja Gaiden games actually good? I'm a fan of whatever you call that genre of action games about precise, artful violence - Bayonetta, Devil May Cry, basically anything Platinum or Clover games have worked on.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:31 PM on January 10, 2013


In regards to the link, the description of R18 doesn't seem to address violence head on, just drug use:
R 18+ material is restricted to adults. Such material may contain classifiable elements such as sex scenes and drug use that are high in impact. Some material classified R18+ may be offensive to sections of the adult community. A person may be asked for proof of their age before purchasing, hiring or viewing R18+ films and computer games at a retail store or cinema.
Furthermore the "high in impact" seems typically vague for a rating system. Presumably, a toke on a reefer is not R 18 but a dude trippin' balls on crack is?

I know there's no way to turn rating systems into an objective science, so I suppose this is as good a system as any.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:33 PM on January 10, 2013


Hmmm. Watched the trailer. No emotional engagement at all. But maybe that's the point.
posted by oluckyman at 5:35 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Apparently the rating for the God of War games was MA15.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 5:38 PM on January 10, 2013


Supposedly NG3 for Wii U has a reworked control system that is quite better than the original release (and Bayonetta 2 is a Wii U exclusive too, which is right up your alley). Welcome, CiS.
posted by ersatz at 5:39 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Furthermore the "high in impact" seems typically vague for a rating system. Presumably, a toke on a reefer is not R 18 but a dude trippin' balls on crack is?

I know there's no way to turn rating systems into an objective science, so I suppose this is as good a system as any.


It's honestly pretty random. The stereotype is that Australia is highly censored, but I can easily buy most of the normal violent games - the Fallouts (which had their real drugs turned into fake drugs), the CoDs, even the Grand Theft Auto games. But Mortal Kombat and Left 4 Dead 2 got censored. But not Dead Rising, or other zombie games. A sex scene was apparently removed from The Witcher 2, but the game still has two very explicit ones that were the equal of anything on a porn movie (or an French film on SBS). A game was banned for promoting graffiti, but you can still tag things in GTA: San Andreas.

Apparently the rating for the God of War games was MA15.

That's the 'protecting the kids' reasoning behind this: Before, all violent games were lumped under MA15. Now stuff like God of War can be moved to R18.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:39 PM on January 10, 2013


About bloody time.
posted by notionoriety at 5:49 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


The fact that Australia has such draconian censorship laws still astounds me.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:52 PM on January 10, 2013 [8 favorites]


I think the draconian nature of the laws is a little over stated on the internet. In practice games were about the only thing that ever got banned (due to the lack of an 18+ rating) and they (and anything else which ever got restricted) were pretty easily available online.
posted by markr at 5:55 PM on January 10, 2013


I think the draconian nature of the laws is a little over stated on the internet. In practice games were about the only thing that ever got banned (due to the lack of an 18+ rating) and they (and anything else which ever got restricted) were pretty easily available online.

What's hilarious is that you can turn on network TV at 9pm and see uncensored HBO shows or, in some cases, straight up porn (seriously, SBS shows Erotic Stories).
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:57 PM on January 10, 2013


I thought porn was banned in Australia. And that Aus is planning to roll out some sort of nation-wide traffic-filtering system, a la the Great Firewall of China.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:01 PM on January 10, 2013


I thought porn was banned in Australia. And that Aus is planning to roll out some sort of nation-wide traffic-filtering system, a la the Great Firewall of China.

The government finally backed away from the Internet filter.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 6:03 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I thought porn was banned in Australia.

It is. Also banned — homosexuality, pre-marital sex, black people, yellow people, thought crime and dogs that look at you funny.
posted by Wolof at 6:08 PM on January 10, 2013 [6 favorites]


The fact that Australia has such draconian censorship laws still astounds me.

Drop bears are enraged by both sex and violence.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 6:18 PM on January 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


I thought porn was banned in Australia.
Most of it. It was really just a ploy to get people to visit Canberra.
posted by unliteral at 6:20 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


The fact that Australia has such draconian censorship laws still astounds me.

They're not really enforced.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:34 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


The disturbing by-product of not having an R rating for games was that many games that might've been rated R - Grand Theft Auto franchise, Borderlands .... well, anything really(!) ended up with M or MA ratings, meaning kids as young as 12 or 15 could purchase them.

Having an R Rating now limits these games, as they should be limited, to those slightly older.

That said, given the average age of the Australian gamer is around 35-38, it won't impact on a lot of us. It just means games that might've been refused classification - The Walking Dead, for example - will be allowed to be classified and purchased.
posted by chris88 at 6:39 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


They're not really enforced.

That's not exactly reassuring.
posted by Justinian at 7:10 PM on January 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Also banned — homosexuality, pre-marital sex, black people, yellow people, thought crime and dogs that look at you funny.

Next up: American hipsters.
posted by pompomtom at 7:27 PM on January 10, 2013


What's hilarious is that you can turn on network TV at 9pm and see uncensored HBO shows or, in some cases, straight up porn (seriously, SBS shows Erotic Stories).

That's simulated sex, and is generally rated MA15+. Actual sex would be X18+ and cannot be broadcast. It's not rocket science.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:32 PM on January 10, 2013


If you can't write it in one sentence, beginning with 'congress shall make no law', then it's just too complicated.
posted by pompomtom at 7:34 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


They're not really enforced.

This is misleading. It's a weird interplay of state and federal laws regarding both possession and dissemination. Apart from a few notable exceptions, Australian censorship laws mainly cover dissemination not possession.

For X-rated material, in every state (but not in the NT) it's completely, 100% legal to own X-rated material but it's not legal to sell or distribute it. So there's a healthy mail order business from Canberra (where X-rated material is legal to sell) to the rest of the country. So if you can get it somehow you can have it but the state governments aren't going to give you any help in doing it.

For RC material (i.e. anything other than just vanilla porn sex) you can possess it for personal use in every state but WA and, again, the NT. It's also legal for you to access RC material (i.e. bestiality) on the Internet in every state except WA and the NT. However, if the RC material in question is shit involves kids all bets are off and there's usually a stack of laws at both the Commonwealth and state levels for exploitation of kids that you'll run afoul of.

So it's not as much a matter of saying "it's not really enforced" but everywhere except NT and WA have no real interest in telling people what they can and can't possess unless it involves kiddie porn.
posted by Talez at 7:38 PM on January 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Thank you Talez, I was just in the middle of writing all that out.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:41 PM on January 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Talez, I have two questions. First, is the national territory perpetually screwed over in the same way DC is? Second, wait... they're exceptional for selling all the porn and for restricting what one can own? That seems fairly counterintuitive. Unless, I suppose, their position is that they're following the censorship system to its logical conclusion.
posted by hoyland at 8:10 PM on January 10, 2013


Talez, I have two questions. First, is the national territory perpetually screwed over in the same way DC is? Second, wait... they're exceptional for selling all the porn and for restricting what one can own? That seems fairly counterintuitive. Unless, I suppose, their position is that they're following the censorship system to its logical conclusion.

NT is the Northern Territory. A desolate wasteland that even South Australia didn't want. Canberra is in the Australian Capital Territory (the ACT) which is the home of Australia's most sordid porn dealers (along with people who sell X-rated DVDs).

And yes, the territories can be directly overriden by the Commonwealth and the Commonwealth is not afraid to exercise that veto.
posted by Talez at 8:15 PM on January 10, 2013


A desolate wasteland that even South Australia didn't want.

Now, now! The Mindil Beach Markets are quite nice!
posted by Jimbob at 8:33 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Canberra is in the Australian Capital Territory (the ACT) which is the home of Australia's most sordid porn dealers.

There are plenty of sex shops in NSW and Victoria that sell X rated material. That part of the law simply isn't enforced.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:36 PM on January 10, 2013


It is. Also banned — homosexuality, pre-marital sex, black people, yellow people, thought crime and dogs that look at you funny.

Not banned -- face-meltingly venomous life forms.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:39 PM on January 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


It is. Also banned — homosexuality, pre-marital sex, black people, yellow people, thought crime and dogs that look at you funny.

Not banned -- face-meltingly venomous life forms.


The opposite, really - there are incentives for creating new ones. Hence our political system.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:08 PM on January 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


If you can't write it in one sentence, beginning with 'congress shall make no law', then it's just too complicated.

Which is what allows Fox News to sway public opinion by broadcasting blatant lies and gave you Citizens United. The US has a line on this that you guys seem very happy with, but plenty of Australians are fine with how we do things too.
posted by markr at 9:23 PM on January 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Are the Ninja Gaiden games actually good?

The first of the 3D Ninja Gaiden games was excellent for its time, and has aged relatively gracefully. If you have a PS3 you can play the enhanced version, Ninja Gaiden Sigma. The difficulty is unforgiving to a degree that approaches Dark Souls, and the game rewards and requires quick reflexes and precision. The second game was much like the first, but felt a bit sloppy and less inspired. Still worth playing if you're into that kind of game.

The third game... I haven't played Ninja Gaiden 3, but the reviews were absolutely abysmal. It sounds like a corporate executive decided that the best way to improve a franchise known for its difficulty and deep gameplay is to make it incredibly easy, make the combat all but automatic, and add an instant kill attack that fully regenerates player health. So yeah. Supposedly, the WiiU version is supposed to fix all these problems, but I'm not holding my breath.

Still, play the first game! It's awesome!
(Not Bayonetta-level awesome, but still very good)
(Preferably the Sigma version)
posted by Green Winnebago at 9:24 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Unless I missed upon previewing, shouldn't the head-scratching in regards to Australia's identity crisis of what to ban (whether it be porn/violent video games/homosexuality/ pre-marital sex/ black people/ yellow people/ thought crime or dogs that look at you funny) be as equally directed toward what they *do* allow to go on? Seems like they've come to terms in one regard of how some people need a *ahem* release. Very Bizarro America-esque, if you ask me.
posted by NoRelation at 9:31 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Unless I missed upon previewing, shouldn't the head-scratching in regards to Australia's identity crisis of what to ban (whether it be porn/violent video games/homosexuality/ pre-marital sex/ black people/ yellow people/ thought crime or dogs that look at you funny) be as equally directed toward what they *do* allow to go on? Seems like they've come to terms in one regard of how some people need a *ahem* release. Very Bizarro America-esque, if you ask me.

The Office of Flim and Literature Classification is an ossified, overly conservative institution, but not a very active one in terms of banning. Only 4 films have been refused classification since 2000. All of those decisions were silly, especially in the internet age.

The video game classification system was stupid, was retained for a long time because one state Attorney General resfused to believe that grownups could play video games, but has now been fixed. It is now highly unlikely that video games will be refused classification.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:50 PM on January 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Does this mean we're getting the original Left 4 Dead 2?
posted by goshling at 9:50 PM on January 10, 2013


The Office of Flim and Literature Classification is an ossified, overly conservative institution, but not a very active one in terms of banning. Only 4 films have been refused classification since 2000. All of those decisions were silly, especially in the internet age.

Oddly enough, I had a chance to see Human Centipede 2 at a special screening before it was banned. One of the actors was there and they passed out promotional barf bags. I'm the only one of my friends who declined.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 9:51 PM on January 10, 2013


Does this mean we're getting the original Left 4 Dead 2?

Pretty much. I just bought mine on Amazon. Which highlights how dumb the classification system was in the first place.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:56 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


People from overseas were able to gift the original version to Australian players, so the system was always flawed.
Any idea how long the classification process takes once it's been resubmitted? I assume the board are still on holidays currently.
posted by goshling at 10:13 PM on January 10, 2013


How does this work for, say, mobile or social games, or indeed a game I might make myself? Does every game in the Apple App Store have to face the OFLC before it's available to Australians? Or Facebook apps?
posted by Jimbob at 10:15 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


What if the "game" is, say, the gamification features you might find as a plugin for an office suite?
posted by Jimbob at 10:17 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


App Store & Facebook games and the like are treated as online content, not stand alone games.
They only get looked at if attention is drawn by someone reporting inappropriate content.
posted by goshling at 10:37 PM on January 10, 2013


Except that XBox Live indie games aren't available here because all games need to be rated by the classification board and its too expensive.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 10:40 PM on January 10, 2013


App Store & Facebook games and the like are treated as online content, not stand alone games.

That's a pretty bogus distinction, then. A game on my phone is a standalone application. On the other hand, a lot of "stand alone" games that you might buy in a shop have online add-on content available.
posted by Jimbob at 11:12 PM on January 10, 2013


I mean, as I've said all along in this sorry saga, I couldn't really give a toss because I can guarantee I can get my hands on any game (or movie, or book) I like inside of 5 minutes - censorship is a fool's game. I'm just wondering how, exactly, they decide something is a game. Is an electronic chess game, where you move the pieces around but there is a microprocessor and software inside making decisions about moves, subject to OFLC classification? What if you can see the Queen's tits on the pieces? Enquiring minds need to know.
posted by Jimbob at 11:29 PM on January 10, 2013


Jimbob: "What if the "game" is, say, the gamification features you might find as a plugin for an office suite?"

Then it'd most likely be exempt.

"I'm just wondering how, exactly, they decide something is a game."

Poke around the website, and ye shall find.
posted by Pinback at 11:32 PM on January 10, 2013


I think the distinction is that it would be fucking ridiculous & utterly impossible to individually classify every game on the App Store, Facebook, Android Store, etc. they just do not have the resources to get to all of them, so this is what we have in lieu of 1000 monkeys checking that there's no fucking or zombie farmer dismemberment in FarmVille VIII.
posted by goshling at 12:14 AM on January 11, 2013


For X-rated material, in every state (but not in the NT) it's completely, 100% legal to own X-rated material but it's not legal to sell or distribute it.

Which is a joke because you can walk into any sex store in Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne and there's X-rated movies out the wazoo.
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 5:04 AM on January 11, 2013


Which is a joke because you can walk into any sex store in Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne and there's X-rated movies out the wazoo.

Also, they all sell wazoos.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:18 AM on January 11, 2013


NT is the Northern Territory. A desolate wasteland that even South Australia didn't want. Canberra is in the Australian Capital Territory (the ACT) which is the home of Australia's most sordid porn dealers (along with people who sell X-rated DVDs).

Also, politicians.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 5:26 AM on January 11, 2013


In any case this is getting somewhat silly. It's not like we're the country that tried to ban Lady Chatterly's Lover. Or Junkie.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 5:31 AM on January 11, 2013


In any case this is getting somewhat silly. It's not like we're the country that tried to ban Lady Chatterly's Lover. Or Junkie.

According to Banned Books in Australia (Melbourne University, 2011), Lady Chatterley's Lover was banned in Australia between 1929 and 1965, and most of Burroughs' works (including Naked Lunch and The Soft Machine, though Junky is not mentioned) were illegal until 1973. As were a lot of literary works; books like Portnoy's Complaint, The Catcher In The Rye, Down And Out In Paris And London and Lolita were banned, as were saucy novels (Jackie Collins and Harold Robbins share the list with the Salingers and Nabokovs of the world, and the 18th-century erotic novel Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure was only legalised in 1973, during Whitlam's bonfire of censorship laws), and in the 1950s, anything with even homeopathic quantities of Red Communism (or its gateway drugs, homosexuality and premarital sex) would be banned. Still banned are various texts by 1960s radicals like Abbie Hoffman, which now share the list with jihadist screeds, euthanasia pamphlets and (in Queensland) American Psycho.
posted by acb at 6:03 AM on January 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Anyway, I wonder whether the R18+ rating will affect games that feature first-person depictions of illegal activity; IIRC, Mark Ecko's Getting Up was banned in Australia because it simulated the painting of graffiti, not because it was considered too extreme for young people. Given Australia's traditions of banning books on, say, illegal drug use or euthanasia, I'm not sure that such a game would be given a pass even with a R18+ rating.
posted by acb at 6:07 AM on January 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


IIRC, Mark Ecko's Getting Up was banned in Australia because it simulated the painting of graffiti, not because it was considered too extreme for young people.

Jet Set Radio's XBLA re-release passed easily with an M rating (advised for 15 and over for you foreigners not restricted to 17 and over) which is exactly the same concept.
posted by Talez at 6:53 AM on January 11, 2013


Whoops, I meant the only country to ban or try to ban those books.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 2:06 PM on January 12, 2013


Eurogamer has a review of the game, which appears to be a Directors Cut of Ninja Gaiden 3
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 7:59 PM on January 13, 2013


There's going to be a crackdown on fake slot machine apps. I'm pretty in support of this as long as gambling minigames don't get other games censored.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 8:18 PM on January 13, 2013


There's going to be a crackdown on fake slot machine apps. I'm pretty in support of this as long as gambling minigames don't get other games censored.

The games in question require you to buy virtual coins with which to play the slot machines, but don't actually allow you to convert the virtual coins back into real money, so you can never extract your winnings.

In the end, the purpose of a lot of government regulation is to protect idiots from themselves.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:00 PM on January 13, 2013


Anyway, I wonder whether the R18+ rating will affect games that feature first-person depictions of illegal activity

That one alwasy struck me as odd. Isn't murderising all the people that cross your path an illegal activity? But most of the shooters tend to be MA15+. Max Payne has you killing everyone, everywhere, and chomping down on off-prescription painkillers every chance you get. In bullet time.

I'd rather have kids play with virtual spraypaint.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:03 PM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


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