Games Censorship: B


 

 

 

 

Billiardlist

Published by DGRM

In December 1996, a CD-ROM of the computer game BILLIARDLIST was Refused Classification. Chien Thon Yuen Pty Ltd was the applicant.


 

 

 

 

Blitz: The League

Developed by Midway / 2006 / MobyGames

In January 2007, BLITZ: THE LEAGUE was banned because of drug use. Red Ant Enterprises were the applicant.

 

Australian Government
Classification Board
22 January 2007
MEDIA RELEASE

Blitz the League computer game Refused Classification

The Classification Board has classified the computer game Blitz the League Refused Classification (RC).

Refused Classification (RC) means the computer game cannot be made available for sale or hire, or be demonstrated in Australia.

“The Classification Board made this decision on the basis that Blitz the League contains drug use related to incentives or rewards,” said Director the Classification Board, Des Clark. “Under the Guidelines for the Classification of Films and Computer Games, this is a general rule that means this type of content is Refused Classification.”

Specifically, in the course of the game, the player may access what are purported to be both legal and illegal performance-enhancing drugs for the members of their team. Choosing to use these drugs, which each have different characteristics, will have effects on team-members, such as improving their speed while also making them more susceptible to injury. Fake urine samples may also be acquired for avoiding positive drug tests.

While the game-player can choose not to use the drugs, in the Board’s view there is an incentive to use them. By using them judiciously, the player can improve the performance of their football team (while managing the negative effects) and have a better chance of winning games, thereby winning bets and climbing the league table.

The Classification Board is an independent statutory body responsible for the classification of films, computer games and some publications. The Board has representatives drawn from communities across Australia.

 

 

BLITZ: THE LEAGUE - Classification Board report

Thanks to Mick for the Classification Board report.

Australian Government

Board Report TO7/66
Classification (Publications. Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 CLASSIFICATION BOARD

DETAILS OF THE COMPUTER GAME:
FILE No TO7/66
Processing Date: 15/01/2007
Title: BLITZ THE LEAGUE
Version: ORIGINAL
Format: Multi Platform
Duration: VARIABLE
Publisher: J MIDWAY
Programmer: MIDWAY
Production Co: NOT SHOWN
Country Of Origin: NOT SHOWN
Language: ENGLISH
Application Type: Camp Game Demonstrated
Applicant: RED ANT ENTERPRISES pty LTD

PROCEDURE:
The Classification (publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995, the National Classification Code and the Classification Guidelines approved by the standing Committee of Attorneys-General, are followed when classifying films.

Item Viewed: YES
Viewing Date: 15/01/2007
Written submissions: NO
Oral submissions: NO

MATERIAL CONSIDERED
In classifying this item regard was had to the following:
(i) The Application YES
(ii) A written synopsis of the item YES
(iii) The Item YES
(iv) Other NO

DECISION
(1) Classification: RC
(2) Consumer Advice:
(3) Key: O(drug use)
(4) Ratified By: (Senior Classifier)

SYNOPSIS:
The item is a computer game based on American football in which the player controls the actions of the members of the team to effect passes and other plays in order to win games against the opposing team. The game is played in 3rd person and may be played in two-player or one-player (against the computer) mode. Cut scenes establish that the team has been going through a bad period and that the role of the player is to win games and ultimately win the championship. Between matches, the player may bet on the outcome of games to accrue money that can be used in the game and the player can also utilise resources, such as training and performance-enhancing drugs, to improve the performance of the team.

REASONS FOR THE DECISION:
When making decisions, the Classification Board (the Board) follows the procedures set out in the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 (the Act). The Board also applies the National Classification Code and the Classification Guidelines, while taking into account the matters set out in Section 1 of the Act.

MAJORITY VIEW
In the Board's majority view, this game warrants an 'RC' classification in accordance with Item 1(d) of the Computer Games Table of the National Classification Code.

"1. Computer games that:

(d) are unsuitable for a minor to see or play;"... will be Refused Classification."

Some Board members holding the majority view also consider that this game Warrants an 'RC' classification in accordance with Item 1 (a) of the Code.

"1. Computer games that:

(a) depict, express or otherwise deal with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that they should not be classified;"... will be Refused Classification.

The "Guidelines for the Classification of Films and Computer Games 2005" states that ''as a general rule ... material that contains drug use ... related to incentives or rewards is Refused Classification".

In the course of the game, the player may access what are purported to be both legal and illegal performance-enhancing drugs for the members of the team. Choosing to use these drugs (by selecting from a menu) will have both negative and positive effects on team-members, for example, by improving their speed while making them more susceptible to injury. Each drug has different characteristics. Fake urine samples may also be acquired for avoiding positive drug tests.

While the game-player can choose not to use the drugs, in the Board's majority view there is an incentive to use them. By using them judiciously, the player can improve the performance of the football team (while managing the negative effects) and have a better chance of winning games, thereby winning bets and climbing the league table. In the majority view, therefore, the game contravenes the general rule cited above and should be Refused Classification.

MINORITY VIEW
In the Board's minority view, the impact of the depiction of drug use is ameliorated to the extent that it is an exception to the general rule cited above and can be accommodated at MA15+ with a consumer advisory for "strong drug references". Board members holding this view noted that the drugs depicted are fictional; drugs are depicted as stylised icons on a menu with the drug use itself not depicted; and the link between the drug use and the performance of the team is not depicted through visuals.

DECISION
This game is Refused Classification.

 

 

Red Ant Enterprises on the RC-rating

Blitz banned in Australia
au.gamespot.com, January 21, 2007

 Ivone Bozzi, marketing manager at Red Ant Enterprises.

At this stage we haven't decided if we are going to go ahead and appeal it. Quite a shame, as we did get some fantastic feedback from retail. It was unfortunately one of those games that are touch-and-go,

 

Red Ant Comments on Blitz: The League Ban
au.xbox360.ign.com, January 28, 2007

Julian White, Managing Director of Red Ant Enterprises.

This is very disappointing for gamers once again due to the antiquated guidelines the OFLC are forced to operate under. The Howard Government needs to amend these guidelines and understand that the majority of gamers are over 18.

White went on to explain that not having a higher rating system, in line with most of the western world, Australian gamers are, in fact, being discriminated against.

By not addressing this issue, gamers are being discriminated against by a few minorities that are just plain ignorant.

 

 

Des Clark on BLITZ: THE LEAGUE

Thanks to Mick for sending in this letter that he received from Des Clark, the Director of the OFLC.

 

I refer to your enquiry of 22 January 2007 regarding the classification of the computer game Blitz The League.

On 18 January 2007 the Classification Board (the Board) classified the computer game Blitz The League RC (Refused Classification).

An explanation of the reasons for this RC decision and its implications for distributors and retailers is outlined in the media release issued by the Board on 22 January 2006. You may wish to refer to this release on the 2007 Media Releases page of the OFLC website.

I note that you have lodged similar complaints about other computer games in the past. As you would be aware from previous correspondence with this office, the Board is required to make classification decisions using the relevant provisions of the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 (the Act), the National Classification Code (the Code) and the classification guidelines.

You would also be aware that as the national classification scheme is a cooperative scheme between the Commonwealth, States and Territories, any amendments to the Code or the guidelines would require the agreement of all Commonwealth, State and Territory Ministers with censorship responsibilities.

I note that you disagree with the Board’s decision for Blitz The League. In particular you have drawn a comparison between the content of this game and other classified computer games which you consider have similar content.

I can advise that each computer game is assessed individually and on its own merits against the Act, the Code and the classification guidelines. The contents of previously classified computer games are not considered during the classification process.

In the Board’s majority view, while the game-player can choose not to use the drugs, there is an incentive to use them. The classification guidelines state that "as a general rule ... material that contains drug use ... related to incentives or rewards is Refused Classification".

The Board is an independent statutory body whose members are selected to be broadly representative of the Australian community. In the case of Blitz The League, 12 members of the Board considered the computer game before classifying it RC in a majority 10 to 2 decision.

The Board is unable to initiate a review for a computer game that it has classified. The Board can reclassify a computer game at its own initiative after two years from the original decision. The two year period for this film will not elapse until January 2009.

You may be interested to know that the Act provides for review of classification decisions in certain circumstances. The separately established Classification Review Board (Review Board), is the body that reviews classification decisions; however it can only proceed with a review on receipt of a valid application for review.

Applicants for review may include the original applicant for classification, the publisher, a person aggrieved, and the Australian Attorney-General. For all applicants other than the Australian Attorney-General an application must be lodged with the Review Board within 30 days of the original decision. Under the Act, the Attorney-General is required to apply for a review of a classification decision, if he is so requested in writing by a State or Territory Minister who is responsible for censorship.

I have provided a copy of your correspondence to the Board for their information. The Board appreciates feedback from the community on classification decisions and how it is performing its role. Correspondence such as yours is one way in which the Board informs itself of community standards in relation to classification issues broadly.

Owing to the widely differing views held in our community it is not always possible to make decisions which satisfy everyone. I assure you that the Board takes its responsibilities seriously and reflects current community standards when making decisions.

I hope this information assists you.

Yours sincerely
Des Clark
Director
8 February 2007

 

 

BLITZ: THE LEAGUE - R16 in New Zealand

In March 2007, the New Zealand OFLC passed BLITZ: THE LEAGUE with an R16 (Contains drug use, violence and sexual references) rating.

 Here is what they had to say about the decision in their Game Classification Update #21, March 2007.

The game Blitz the League was classified R16 in New Zealand. Earlier, it had been refused classification (banned) in Australia. The Australian Classification Board made this decision on the basis that Blitz the League contains drug use related to incentives or rewards and under the Guidelines for the Classification of Films and Computer Games, there is a general rule that means this of content is Refused Classification.

 

The New Zealand Office of Film and Literature Classification considered that the game:

… does not promote or encourage criminal acts. While the in-game feature of taking legal and illegal sports enhancing drugs to improve a player’s team’s performance is a component of the game it is not a particularly significant one.

 

 

BLITZ: THE LEAGUE - Complaints to the OFLC

Classification Board
Annual Report 2006-2007

Computer Games
The Classification Board classified two computer games RC during the reporting period. The computer game Blitz the League was classified RC by the Classification Board because it contains drug use related to incentives or rewards.

Computer games: complaints
The OFLC received 57 complaints about computer games. Of the total, 32 complaints were about the absence of an R18+ classification for computer games. The OFLC received six complaints about the RC decision for the computer game Reservoir Dogs and four about the RC decision for Blitz the League.

 

Blitz: The League - Midway Games [us] Xbox360


 

 

 

 

BMX XXX

Developed by Acclaim Entertainment / 2002 / MobyGames

In October 2002, BMX XXX was banned because of nudity. Acclaim Entertainment were the applicant.

 

Australian Government
Classification Board
16 October 2002
MEDIA RELEASE

The Classification Board has determined that the computer game BMX XXX is "Refused Classification" (RC).

In classifying BMX XXX, the Board worked within the framework of, and applied the provisions of the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995, The National Classification Code, and the Guidelines for the Classification of Computer Games.

Under the National Classification Code, in the majority of the Board’s view, this game is considered unsuitable for a minor to see or play.

The game warrants an RC classification for nudity. In the Guidelines for the Classification of Computer Games, nudity, including genitalia is only allowable in a game if there is a ‘bona fide’ educational, medical or community health purpose.

In BMX XXX, the player can choose as a rider a nude female. The nude rider can be viewed in the options menu and can be used to play the game. In the Board’s view this constitutes nudity, and does not have a ‘bona fide’ educational, medical or community health purpose.

Under the current Guidelines, there is no R18+ classification for computer games. Those games that cannot be classified MA15+ or lower are refused classification (RC) and are not legally available in Australia.

 

 

BMX XXX: Classification Board report

Thanks to Dean L. for sending in the RC-rating report for BMX XXX.

Australian Government
Classification Board

Title: BMX XXX
Board Report T02/2833

 

SYNOPSIS:

In third person perspective the player navigates a character on a BMX bike through various levels in order to unlock new bikes, characters and gain other rewards. The player must accomplish set tasks such as collecting aluminium cans and coins or performing bicycle tricks to progress to the next level. The player can also choose clothing options for the rider.

 

REASONS FOR THE DECISION:

In the majority of the Board’s view this computer game warrants an RC classification, in accordance with section 1 (d) of the Computer Games Table of the National Classification Code, as it is “unsuitable for a minor to see or play”.

The computer game also warrants an RC classification in accordance with the RC criteria in the Guidelines for the Classification of Computer Games, as it contains “nudity, including genitalia unless there is a ‘bona fide’ educational, medical or community health purpose”.

In arriving at the decision the Board considered the criteria set out in the National Classification Code and the Guidelines for the Classification of Computer Games. The Board also took into account Section 11 of the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer games) Act 1995:

“11 The matters to be taken into account in making a decision on the classification of a publication, a film or a computer game include:

(a) the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults; and

(b) the literary, artistic or educational merit (if any) of the publication, film or computer game; and

(c) the general character of the publication, film or computer game, including whether it is of a medical, legal or scientific character; and

(d) the persons or class of persons to or amongst whom it is published or is intended or likely to be published.”

 

CLASSIFIABLE ELEMENTS

Nudity

The player is able to choose various clothing options for male and female BMX riders and can view the results in the options menu. One option is for the female rider to be nude. The nude rider can be viewed in the options menu or the player can use this character to play the game. In the Board’s majority view the depictions of a nude female BMX rider constitutes nudity; and as there is no ’bona fide’ educational, medical or community health purpose for this nudity the computer game warrants RC.

In the Board’s minority view, as the depictions of the nude female BMX rider do not contain any genital detail they can be accommodated in the MA15+ classification with appropriate consumer advice. Further, the depictions are animated and constitute a very small element of the game.

After completing specific tasks the player is able to enter a Nightclub and view full motion video sequences of a female in various states of undress, featuring partial breast and buttock nudity with little to no nipple detail. There is one brief sequence on each of the eight levels of the game. In the Board’s majority view, as the dancing female is wearing underwear and covers much of her breasts while moving, these sequences do not constitute nudity. In the Board’s minority view these full motion video sequences constitute nudity and as there is no ’bona fide’ educational, medical or community health purpose for this nudity the computer game warrants RC.

 

Sexual References

In the Board’s majority view the option to view full motion video sequences of a female in various states of undress, featuring partial breast and buttock nudity with little to no nipple detail, constitutes strong sexual references and can be accommodated at the MA classification with appropriate consumer advice.

In the Board’s minority view these sequences are very strong sexual references that exceed the requirements of the MA15+ guidelines and warrant RC.

 

Coarse Language

The language used by characters in the game and in the soundtrack to the game includes derivatives of "fuck" as well as infrequent use of phrases such as "I’m surrounded by fucking idiots", "cum on my face" and "I think I’ll cut my husband’s dick off". In the Board’s majority opinion, the game includes use of “frequent crude language, but not if excessive, unduly assaultative or sexually explicit” which can be accommodated at the MA15+ classification.

In the Board’s minority opinion, the overall language in the game exceeds what is permissible under the MA15+ guidelines and warrants RC. In particular the line used by the Pimp character when run into by a female rider was noted: “I’m going to cut you bitch”, as when the rider is nude this assaultative language gains strength in impact.

 

Other matters

In the Board’s minority opinion there is a conceptual strength in this interactive game, requiring an adult perspective. A strong example being the scenario where on bribing a bouncer the player gains entry to a strip club (seemingly a reward for completing missions). The cut to live footage heightens the impact of this game play. Similarly, the facility to choose as a rider a nude female delivers a high impact. This impact is heightened by the violence of the game: the potential for hitting pedestrians, and the throwing of the rider from the bicycle.

In the Board’s majority opinion, these conceptual elements could be accommodated at the MA15+ classification.

 

CONCLUSION

In the majority of the Board’s view this computer game warrants an RC classification, in accordance with section 1 (d) of the Computer Games Table of the National Classification Code, as it is “unsuitable for a minor to see or play”.

The computer game warrants an RC classification in accordance with the RC criteria in the Guidelines for the Classification of Computer Games, as it contains “nudity, including genitalia unless there is a ‘bona fide’ educational, medical or community health purpose”.

 

 

Des Clark and Acclaim on BMX XXX RC-rating

Sleazy riders stop XXX-rated BMX bandits
smh.com.au, October 29, 2002

Des Clarke, the Director of the OFLC is quoted as saying that BMX XXX was sleazy rather than violent. He goes on to add:

Government has a classification system that everyone supports, and the industry has to look at those classifications, the code, and the guidelines when they make those products,

There are very large retail chains in America refusing to sell it, so it's not just Australia,

The game is very offensive in many ways - game developers need to think in terms of worldwide audiences.

 

Greg Arthurton from Acclaim Australia:

That's what the OFLC has classified the game as, so we accept that,

We have gone down the path of mapping an appeal . . . but we believe it may not be successful.

.....it may not make economic sense to rewrite BMX XXX for an Australian audience.

 

 

Censored BMX XXX rated MA15+

Acclaim Entertainment modified the game, and in November 2002, BMX XXX was passed with an MA15+ (Adult themes; Medium level coarse language; Sexual references) rating.

 

In their 2002 to 2003 Annual Report, the OFLC describe what was removed. 

The distributor of BMX XXX then submitted a revised version of the game which did not contain nudity. The Board classified this modified version MA15+ with the consumer advice, ‘Sexual references, medium level coarse language, adult themes’.

 

 

BMX XXX: Complaints to the OFLC

The OFLC Annual Report 2002 to 2003 states that:

...13 complaints were received about the Board’s decision to classify BMX XXX refused classification.

 

 

BMX XXX in New Zealand

In December 2002, an uncut BMX XXX was passed with an R18 (Violence, sexual themes and offensive language) rating in New Zealand. It was marketed with a 'BANNED IN AUSTRALIA' sticker on the box.

 

BMX XXX - Acclaim Entertainment [us] Gamecube


 

 

 

 

The Bug Butcher

Developed by Awfully Nice Studios  / 2016 / Official Site

In July 2016, THE BUG BUTCHER was banned by the Classification Board. The applicant was Triangle Studios.

The Board's database gave the following reason for the RC-rating.

Games 1(a) The computer game is classified RC in accordance with the National Classification Code, Computer Games Table, 1. (a) as computer games that "depict, express or otherwise deal with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that they should not be classified."

 

Censored Gaming · @CensoredGaming_
21st Jul 2016 from TwitLonger
We have just heard back from Awfully Nice Studios, The Bug Butcher's developer and publisher. See below for their response:

"We have been in the age rating process for our upcoming console release in Australia. Seem like this triggered the ban from Steam as well. The reasoning behind is, is sad but at the same point also funny. We have a powerup called "Speed powerup" where Harry injects himself a surringe. Looks like the combination of the injection with the word "Speed" someone could assume that it's a drug. We are shocked but are trying to get in touch with Australia to see if we can fix this."

Awfully Nice Studios
Facebook.com
July 21st 2016 at 6:02pm
No hold your breath guys.
Wanna know the reasoning behind this? Stay strong now dear friends: ........... We have a powerup called "Speed Powerup" where Harry injects himself a surringe. And THAT could be as well seen as a drug. WTF!!!! Seriously Australia? 

 

Banned in Australia
Awfully Nice Studios
steamcommunity.com, August 9, 2016
Guess what.... Australia didn't like our naming for "Speed Injection" and for that they banned us.
So we were forced to change the name of speed injection to "Boot Juice". WAYYYYYYYY better now. ;)

 

 

Mobile version G-rated under IARC

On October 20, 2016, a mobile version of THE BUG BUTCHER was passed with a G (Very Mild Violence) rating under the International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) system.

The publisher was Noodlecake Studios Inc.

 

 

Censored for M-rating

On October 25, 2016, a censored version of THE BUG BUTCHER was passed with an M (Violence, online interactivity) rating.

The extended classification information described,
Moderate impact: violence
Mild impact: themes

Triangle Studios was the applicant.


 

 

 

 

Bully

aka Canis Canem Edit

aka Bully: Scholarship Edition

Developed by Rockstar Games / 2006 / MobyGames

This game has never had problems with the Australian censors. It is included because it was a controversial title.

 

In August 2006, BULLY was passed with an M (Moderate themes, violence and sexual references) rating. Take 2 Interactive Software was the applicant.

 

The OFLC knew that this would be seen as controversial decision by those who had only read the sensational press reports, so the Classification Board decided to explain the rating.

Australian Government
Classification Board
28 August 2006
MEDIA RELEASE

Bully computer game classified M

The Classification Board has classified the computer game Bully M with the consumer advice, ‘Moderate themes, violence, sexual references’

Bully, has gained notoriety during its development as interest groups and the media speculated on its content.

M is an advisory classification. Computer games classified M are not recommended for persons under 15 years of age. There are no legal restrictions for the M classification.

Bully is a third person action/adventure story-based game. It follows Jimmy Hopkins, a teenager who is sent to ‘Bullworth Academy’, where he navigates his way through the high school social hierarchy. His aims include completing the school year, protecting weaker students from ‘bullies’ and exposing corrupt teachers.

The Classification Board found that the themes, violence and sexual references are moderate in playing and viewing impact in the context of a comedic game about the trials of life in a troubled educational institution. According to the player’s behaviour during gameplay, Jimmy either accumulates punishment points until he is apprehended by authority figures, or increases in the school’s social standing. Punishments include lawn mowing, snow shovelling, receiving demerit points and attending extra classes.

During the game the player is not encouraged to attack innocent bystanders or undertake acts of “bullying”, and is not rewarded for doing so. The “missions” the player undertakes are generally about thwarting acts of bullying, exploitation or discrimination.

Violence towards innocent bystanders such as school girls and smaller school children causes authority figures such as prefects, teachers and police officers to chase and apprehend the player-controlled character, Jimmy.

The Classification Board is an independent statutory body responsible for the classification of films, computer games and some publications. The Board has representatives drawn from communities across Australia.

 

 

BULLY changed to CANIS CANEM EDIT

On September 1st 2006, Rockstar announced that BULLY would be known as CANIS CANEM EDIT outside of the U.S. and Canada.

It was under the CANIS CANEM EDIT title that the Classification Board re-rated it on September 11th 2006. It was again passed with an M (Moderate themes, Violence and Sexual References) rating.

 

 

BULLY: The backlash begins

Bullying is no game
dailytelegraph.com.au, September 20, 2006

University of Western Sydney anti-bullying expert Dr Jean Healey said yesterday the game would not help lessen a huge social problem.

"We are trying to get this age group who play computer games to understand bullying is criminal behaviour and cannot be tolerated. The message we want to get out there is that we need to protect people . . . what we don't need is to encourage bullies," she said.

Educators have been running programs aimed at providing intervention and support for bullying victims.

Education Minister Carmel Tebbutt bought into the issue yesterday, saying "violence is never the answer to bullying".

 

Violent video game raises concerns
news.ninemsn.com, September 20, 2006

NSW Education Minister Carmel Tebbutt will ask the federal government to review the "M" classification given to a video game called Bully. "I'll be writing to the federal attorney-general just to see whether there's further action that can be taken," Ms Tebbutt told reporters.

"I also want him to assure me that everything that needs to be taken into account has been taken into account in this classification process."

Ms Tebbutt urged parents to prevent their children from being exposed to the game.

"I'm concerned that its message for violence is undermining what we're doing in schools to counteract bullying," she said.

 

 

BULLY: Complaints to the OFLC

Classification Board
Annual Report 2006-2007

Computer games: complaints
The OFLC received 57 complaints about computer games. Of the total, 32 complaints were about the absence of an R18+ classification for computer games. One complaint was received that the computer game Canis Canem Edit (also known as Bully) (M) should be classified RC.

 

 

BULLY: SCHOLARSHIP EDITION - M-rated

In January 2008, BULLY: SCHOLARSHIP EDITION was passed with an M (Moderate themes, violence and sexual references) rating. this was exactly the same as what was awarded to the original.

This update of the original BULLY game, including new missions, characters, and classes, was released in March 2008. Despite the original game having a title change to CANIS CANEM EDIT in Australia, this update went out under the BULLY title.

 

Classification Board Annual Report 2007-08
Bully
Computer games - Rated M

Computer games classified M are not recommended for persons under 15 years of age. The impact of classifiable elements should be no higher than moderate and playing is recommended for mature audiences. During the reporting period, 14 per cent of computer games were classified M. The Classification Board classified Bully: Scholarship Edition M with the consumer advice 'Moderate themes, violence and sexual references'.

The Board noted that the version included the previously classified game and new interactive two-player educational games. The Board was of the opinion that the additional material does not alter the impact of the original game which received the same classification and consumer advice in August 2006. During the game the player is not encouraged to attack innocent bystanders or undertake acts of bullying. If the player directs a character to bully others out of context, a 'punishment' bar increases, which when full causes the character to be apprehended by authority figures.

 

 

BULLY: SCHOLARSHIP EDITION - The backlash begins

As with the original game, the BULLY: SCHOLARSHIP EDITION was also subjected to complaints from the usual suspects.

Parents angry at violent school bully game
theage.com.au, April 17, 2008

Parenting Australia chief executive Jane King described the game as "disturbing" and said it should never have been released.

"It's scary, it's outrageous, it's gross," she said.

"I do think the classification system needs to be reviewed. I would be very concerned if my 13-year-old son played a game like that.

"I think the message of solving violence with violence is extremely disturbing."

Ms King encouraged parents not to buy the game.

Young Media Australia president Jane Roberts said the game was a more inappropriate "mark II" of the original Bully game released two years ago.

"I'm not sure about what the developers of this game don't get," she said.

"We have had major efforts right across Australia in schools trying to get the message across that violence doesn't solve anything.

"For people who have been the victim of bullying, there is nothing entertaining about it."

Australian Education Union president Angelo Gavrielatos said teachers worldwide were vehemently opposed to the game and the union had joined a coalition of eight teacher organisations from countries such as South Korea, the United States and Britain denouncing its release.

"What we are concerned about is the continuing production and development of such games that glorify violence and bullying," he said.

"There's a point where the corporate world must take some responsibility to regulate these games. In a world where the issues of bullying and violence are a concern, the production of these games is not acceptable."

A spokeswoman for the Australian Classification Board said the game was approved because the themes were "moderate in playing and viewing and were justified by context".

"During the game the player is not encouraged to attack innocent bystanders or undertake acts of bullying and is not rewarded for doing so," the spokeswoman said.

"The missions players undertake are generally about thwarting acts of bullying, exploitation or discrimination. If the player does bully another player out of context a punishment type bar increases and when full it causes the character to be apprehended by authority figures."

 

 

BULLY: SCHOLARSHIP EDITION - Complaints to the Classification Board

Classification Board Annual Report 2007-08
Complaints
Computer games

Single complaints were received about other titles. These include that the computer game Bully: Scholarship Edition (M) received a classification due to the themes in the game

The Classification Board also received 553 complaints that were specifically in regard to an R 18+ classification for computer games. 550 complaints were concerned about the absence of an R 18+ classification for computer games in Australia and called for its introduction. Three complaints did not support the introduction of this classification category for computer games.

 

Bully - Take 2 Interactive Software [au] PS2Bully: Scholarship Edition - Take 2 Interactive Software [au] PC


 

 

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