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Topic # 242787 14-Nov-2018 10:13
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https://www.kotaku.com.au/2018/11/another-game-has-been-banned-in-australia/

Another Game Has Been Banned In Australia
by Alex Walker

Last week I wrote how Devolver announced they wouldn't be releasing Mother Russia Bleeds, a visceral side-scrolling brawler, in Australia and New Zealand. At the time, the publisher blamed censors for not approving of the game, even though Mother Russia Bleeds wasn't listed by the Classification Board or New Zealand's equivalent, the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC).

Being gamers themselves, the OFLC opted to fire back at Devolver on Twitter this morning. Amidst all of that, the publisher was able to confirm that the co-op brawler has been banned from sale in Australia.

All of this kicked off with the Switch version of Mother Russia Bleeds. The game has been out on PC for a few years, even though there's good reason to believe the Classification Board would never approve its sale locally. Here's an excerpt from my story last week so you know just how problematic it is:

As enemies are killed in Mother Russia Bleeds, their bodies begin to spasm. The player can then take a syringe to extract a drug called Nekro from the corpses of those bodies, which can be injected into the player character to either go berserk or regain health.

Other drugs have different effects: Bloody Mary turns enemy corpses into walking bombs, White Russian increases player damage more than usual, Blue Lagoon heals more than other drugs, and so on.


Given that Fallout has been stung for using drugs to heal, injecting blood from corpses so you can go berserk seems like a bit of a red flag.

But in any case, the game is available through Steam for Australians. If you're releasing a game on the Switch, however, Nintendo mandates that publishers and developers submit the game to censors around the world.

The most efficient way to do that is through the IARC, the International Alliance Ratings Coalition. The coalition is a partnership of content ratings bodies from around the world. Legislation was introduced a few years ago to enable the Classification Board to join that coalition, which offers an automated system for people selling digital products (apps, games) online.

It's partly out of necessity. There's too many games and apps for ratings agencies to review, and the IARC's tool helps deal with the workload. Publishers fill out a series of questions about the content of their game, and the tool generates consumer advice labels and ratings for every member nation in the IARC.

This is where Mother Russia Bleeds comes in.

Even though a listing for the visceral co-op brawler wasn't visible on the Classification Board website, Devolver explained over email and Twitter that they had received a "Refused Classification" rating through the IARC system:

Office of Film & Lit Classification
@NZOFLC
ยท Nov 13, 2018
Just to clarify for fans, MOTHER RUSSIA BLEEDS has not been submitted for classification in either Aus OR NZ so...sneaky marketing hype? 100% clickbait! May be of interest @dippizuka @kksl1der (we read your articles!)


As outlined in legislation and more decipherable English on the Classification website, IARC decisions carry the same weight as a ruling from the Classification Board themselves:

Classifications made by the IARC tool are based on Australian standards and values. They use Australian classification symbols and are made using the Australian classification guidelines. They are legal classification decisions.

A rating for Mother Russia Bleeds still hasn't appeared on the Classification Board website at the time of writing. If a game is banned in Australia, a listing should appear on the Board's site.

However, this is all for Australia only. While we share a lot of commonalities with our Kiwi cousins, being a member nation of the IARC isn't one of them. A representative of the Office and Film and Literature Classification told Kotaku Australia explained that New Zealand isn't a member of the IARC coalition, and they use their own legislative framework and guidelines to rate games there.

"[Mother Russia Bleeds] has not been submitted for classification here in New Zealand, [and] therefore has not been banned here. Australia and NZ have different frameworks for classification, and we do not follow the IARC system," the OFLC representative said.
...

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  Reply # 2126521 14-Nov-2018 13:07
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I still question why we need a censor in this day and age, particularly for games.

 

 





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  Reply # 2126558 14-Nov-2018 13:54
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Lias:

I still question why we need a censor in this day and age, particularly for games.

 

 

 

 

Censors for people of age and sound mind, no...but certainly ratings to identify content and keep it within appropriate audience demographics.

 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 2126569 14-Nov-2018 14:03
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Lias:

 

I still question why we need a censor in this day and age, particularly for games.

 

 

Because it's important to rate the games... Plenty of games are unsuitable for kids and ignorant parents need some info to make a decision.

 

I don't mean ignorant as an insult, just that so many parents are completely clueless about games, don't want to spend any time finding out about games, and I think they are ignorant to some of the adult themes in some games and can't conceive that a "game" could have any objectionable content. 

 

 

 

 


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  Reply # 2126581 14-Nov-2018 14:31
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I'd be much happier if they removed the censors ability to ban things for pretty much anything except child porn, and changed the age restricted classifications to guidelines. 

 

There are _many_ video games I'd be happy to let me kids play that I can't because they are age restricted, and as an admin of a gaming community I can pretty much guarantee those age restrictions are pretty much universally ignored anyways. e.g. Team Fortress 2 is an R16 rated game, despite the vast majority of the playerbase being 10-18 year olds. Pretty much any PC game with any sort of violence in it is rated R13 at a minimum, it's just ridiculous. Don't even get me started on games like Manhunt and Postal 2 being banned entirely. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





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  Reply # 2126687 14-Nov-2018 15:53
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R18 doesn't stop parents buying GTA for their young kids to play. 


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  Reply # 2126719 14-Nov-2018 16:32
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I agree not everything needs to be banned and like most people I use the ratings as guidelines. 

 

Still prefer to do my own research and be fully aware of the content before I let my kids play something.

 

And yes, the ratings don't stop anybody from buying the games but I'm more thinking about the responsible people (parents and retailers) who do want to do the right thing.

 

That's why I think we need the classification board/censors to provide this guidance because some people just don't have the inclination to find out for themselves.

 

As an aside, one site I find quite useful is https://www.commonsensemedia.org/

 

 

 

 


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  Reply # 2126736 14-Nov-2018 17:28
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Lias:

 

and Postal 2 being banned entirely. 

 

 

 

 

Postal 2 was hilarious!!!!

 

I still have it somewhere. 


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  Reply # 2126778 14-Nov-2018 19:40
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blakamin:

 

Lias:

 

and Postal 2 being banned entirely. 

 

 

 

 

Postal 2 was hilarious!!!!

 

I still have it somewhere. 

 

 

Because I purchased it on Steam before they started blocking banned games in NZ and they can't/won't remove it from my account, I can see it and play the game, but I can't see the Store page for it because it's banned in NZ. It's pretty much only banned because of non PC humour and that fact you can run around pissing on things.. It's an utter farce.





Information wants to be free. The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.


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