The aim of this page is to provide a brief overview of the changing standards of the MA15+ rating, and an explanation of what you can and cannot expect to find in our Games Censorship Database.
Every game banned by the Classification Board and Review Board.
Games that have been confiscated by the Australian Customs Service (ACS). Some of these may also have been Refused Classification by the Australian censors, while others were decided by customs themselves. The only way to document these titles is information supplied by you. Therefore, if customs have taken a game of yours then send the details in for inclusion in the database.
Games such as ENZAI: FALSELY ACCUSED and V-TECH MASSACRE that have been submitted by the Australian Communications and Media Authority. These are not named in the Classification Board's database, so identifying them can be a problem.
Games that were modified before submission to the Classification Board because the distributor feared censorship problems. For example GRAND THEFT AUTO IV and SCARFACE: THE WORLD IS YOURS.
Games that were the subject of controversy, but not censorship. These include films such as RULE OF ROSE and SPECIAL FORCE.
Games that came close to being banned such as SILENT HILL, and KINGPIN: LIFE OF CRIME.
We have attempted to separate those titles that were never banned by marking next to them with an *.
Every other title has at on time or another been banned by the Australian censors, or confiscated by customs.
Titles such as HARVESTER that no distributor would dare touch because of the lack of an adult rating. It is impossible to know what other games have been passed by due to this kind of self-censorship.
Computer game censorship was introduced into Australia on April 11th 1994 when the ACT government amended their legislation. Other State and Territory governments soon followed.
Despite a large percentage of game players being over 18, no provision was made for an R18+. The highest rating that a game could receive was, and still is MA15+.
The lack of an adult rating is behind virtually all the games censorship in Australia. Nearly every single title that has been modified or banned since 1994 would probably have been passed with an R18+ (equivalent to the Film Classification Guidelines). Likewise, the games submitted by the police that contain hardcore content should be easily accommodated in an X18+ category.
The guidelines were reviewed in 2002, and there was great hope that this would see the introduction of an R18+ rating. Unfortunately, this was not the case.
The new guidelines were introduced on March 30th 2003, with the top classification remaining at MA15+.
The new and old MA15+ guidelines are reproduced below. You will notice that the standards for sex and nudity seem to have been slightly relaxed.
The impact of material classified MA/MA(15+) should be no higher than strong.
NOTE: Material classified MA/ MA( 15+) is considered unsuitable for persons under 15 years of age. It is a legally restricted category.
Computer Games or images classified 'MA(15+)' may not be sold, hired or demonstrated to persons under 15 years.
Material which falls into this category would contain elements likely to disturb, harm or offend those under 15 years to the extent that it should be restricted to those 15 years and over. Elements which might warrant this category would include: