Games Censorship: S


 

 

 

 

Scarface: The World is Yours

Developed by Radical Entertainment / 2006 / MobyGames

This game has never had problems with the Australian censors. It is included because the distributor censored it prior to submission to the Classification Board.

 

In September 2006, SCARFACE: THE WORLD IS YOURS was passed with an MA15+ (Strong Violence, Strong Coarse Language, Strong Drug Themes) rating.

Also in September 2006, a bonus disc was passed with an MA15+ (Strong Violence, Coarse Language) rating. According to Vivendi Universal, this DVD contained a making of, a behind-the-scenes documentary, game walk-through with producer commentary, cast videos and interviews, hints and tips videos, and game concept art. The full game and the bonus disc were released in a Collector's Edition.

 

 

SCARFACE: Film clips removed from game

Thanks to Mario for sending in this excellent piece of detective work, in which confirms that the Australian SCARFACE: THE WORLD IS YOURS is different to other versions. No game play was changed, but it was missing the following.

1. An advertisement for the DVD of the SCARFACE film.
2. The prologue of the game that contains violent clips from the film SCARFACE.

Both would seem to have been removed to reduce the risk of it falling outside the MA15+ category.

At the time the game was rated, the film SCARFACE held an R18+ (Medium level violence) rating.

 

Mario
November 2006.

You should know that the pc game SCARFACE is somewhat censored. I have the retail Australian version and also the net version.

I haven't played the game too long but as far as the game goes in the very beginning there is blood/gore, swearing and general mayhem. I was going to delete the net version since I now have the retail one, I was "evaluating" it before, but after examining some files I noticed a larger size on some of them. Specifically the movies.rcf file. The net version is 335.348.468mb vs. the Aus one at 34.085.620mb. Just by a simple look I noticed that the bigger one has the following files: dolby_51.bik, dvd.bik, prologue_51.bik, radical_51.bik, sierra.bik and thx_51.bik. The Aus version has two missing, the dvd and prologue ones.

These files load during the start of the game, and the prologue one when you begin a game. Most are company logo clips. The dvd file is a regular video that promotes the SCARFACE DVD. In fact it looks just like one of those short clips found on the apple movie trailers website. The clip is nothing special in that I've seen much worse MA15+ rated stuff.

The prologue.bik is a video montage from the Scarface movie with some extra computer type graphics thrown over it. I suppose they had to remove this because some of the scenes shown, which were taken from the movie which is rated R18+, whilst the game is MA15+. It shows amongst other things, the scene where a guy gets shot in the head (the one from the Hotel scene when he runs down the street with Tony after him and then Tony plugs him). So in fact both these movies, or clips actually, have been removed completely from the Aus version. As far as I can tell the game itself is not censored.

In order to get to the bottom of this I decided to e-mail Radical Entertainment in Canada, the producer of the game. Here is what they had to say.

 

Radical Entertainment Reply

"I checked with someone who worked on the SCARFACE title, and he said for the Australian version, all or most of the sequences that came directly from the SCARFACE movie have been edited out. Most of it is from the Intro movie sequence, the Prologue, which is probably why you see the reduction in file sizes for these movies. There were no game play edits taken out."

 

I had also noticed that some of the sound files were different too. So I e-mailed Radical again to try and find out if any profanity had been removed.

Mario
Sent: Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Subject: Re: Scarface Inquiry

That's what I said. But what is different or removed from the sound files? Was ANY of the profanity removed? And if yes what was the spoken dialog?

because the AU version sound files are:
sound1.rcf = 478.984.443 MB
sound2.rcf = 488.308.896 MB

and the US version:
sound1.rcf = 486.235.919 MB
sound2.rcf = 498.833.568 MB

So why would they also be smaller?? Because the movies are in the movies.rcf file.

 

Here is what I got back.

"The reason the files may be different is because the Australian version was not made from the US version, but from the UK version (the sound files are slightly different). There were no game play features removed in the Australian version, except the removal of the SCARFACE movie recap at the beginning."

 

 

SCARFACE: MA15+ 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 each was received about the violence in Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories (MA 15+), Saints Row (MA 15+), Scarface - The World Is Yours (MA 15+) and Gangs of London (MA 15+).

 

 

SCARFACE: Poster complaint

An advertisement that Telstra ran for SCARFACE: THE WORLD IS YOURS was reported to the Advertising Standards Bureau. The complaint was dismissed.

 

Advertising Standards Bureau
Case Report
1. Complaint reference number 296/07
2. Advertiser Telstra Corporation Ltd (Scarface)
3. Product Toys & Games
4. Type of advertisement Outdoor
5. Nature of complaint Violence Other – section 2.2
6. Date of determination Tuesday, 11 September 2007
7. DETERMINATION Dismissed

DESCRIPTION OF THE ADVERTISEMENT

This outdoor advertisement announces the release of the new Scarface home video game from Telstra. An image of Al Pacino holding a machine gun from the movie Scarface is depicted, with the words "Live the high life without getting wasted. Buy now on Bigpond games"

 

THE COMPLAINT

A sample of comments which the complainant/s made regarding this advertisement included the following:

Ad depicts violence and tries to sell by depicting it.

I am appalled that Telstra and Bigpond think that billboards in prominent public places are an appropriate avenue to exploit a game that is fundementally about death and killing. Senseless violence has no place in a public advertising campaign. It desensitises children to, and in effect condones, violence for those too young to interpret this image as an advertisement for a video game.

 

THE ADVERTISER’S RESPONSE

Comments which the advertiser made in response to the complaint/s regarding this advertisement included the following:

I understand that Section 2.2 of the AANA Advertiser Code of Ethics states that advertisements shall not portray violence “unless it is justifiable in the context of the product or service advertised”.

The image used in the advertisement is taken directly from the movie that the game is based on and therefore Telstra believes that the context is self-explanatory and justifiable. The imagery used in the advertisement is the official key art from the Scarface franchise and has already been used extensively in many mediums, for a number of years and by a number of companies, to promote the Scarface film and DVD , in addition to promoting the game since it was originally released by Vivendi Games last year. All of the key art from the franchise is based around the renown image of Al Pacino standing with a gun in his hand.

This Al Pacino image is an iconic image from a well-known, classic film that has been well publicised over decades. The movie’s dialogue and imagery have passed into the vernacular and are instantly recognisable to generations of fans. This image is seen in many places, not just in Telstra advertisements. Indeed, if it were not so instantly recognisable it would not have been selected by Universal as the key image to promote the game in the first place. It would be an odd and restrictive result if retailers did not have the freedom to use such a recognised and commonly accepted image to promote the film and its associated products and paraphernalia.

It should also be noted that the black and white version of the key art as used in the advertising for the game has been designed to be more atmospheric and far less visceral than the colour version used for the movie. There is no visible blood in the black and white version and while Al Pacino is holding a gun it is not at all clear that he is actually firing this.

I note that there appears only to be a single customer complaint about this advertisement despite it having been used by BigPond for several weeks which could be taken to illustrate that the image is widely recognised and generally accepted by the public as simply reflective of a classic iconic movie.

For these reasons, Telstra does not consider the relevant advertisement to be in breach of the Code of Ethics. Further, as the advertisement is clearly not one which, having regard to the theme, visuals and language used, is directed primarily to children, in Telstra’s view the code of Advertising to Children also does not apply.

 

THE DETERMINATION

The Advertising Standards Board (“Board”) considered whether this advertisement breaches Section 2 of the Advertiser Code of Ethics (the “Code”).

The Board noted the complainants' concern about the violence used in this billboard advertisement and its effect on children.

The Board noted that Section 2.2 of the Code provides that 'advertisements shall not present or portray violence unless it is justifiable in the context of the product or service advertised.' The Board noted that the advertisement is for a game that is for mature audiences. In the context of the particular game the Board considered that the image of Al Pacino holding the gun was justified.

The Board noted that, as a billboard, the advertisement is visible by children. The Board considered that the advertisement was not overtly violent with no depictions of blood or people being injured by the gun. The Board considered that the image of a gun was not per se a breach of the Code.

The Board determined that the advertisement did not breach Section 2.2 of the Code. Finding that the advertisement did not breach the Code on other grounds, the Board dismissed the complaint.

 

Scarface: The World is Yours - Vivendi Universal [au] Xbox


 

 

 

 

Sexy Poker

Developed by Gameloft / 2009

In May 2009, a Wii edition of SEXY POKER was banned by the Classification Board because it contained nudity as an incentive or reward. Gameloft Australia was the applicant.

 

Thanks to Scott for sending in this report.

 

Board Report
Classification (Publications , Films and Computer Games) Act 1995
CLASSIFICATION BOARD

DETAILS OF THE COMPUTER GAME:

FILE No T09/I734
Title: SEXY POKER
Version: ORIGINAL
Format: Nintendo Wii
Duration: VARIABLE
Producer: GAMELOFT
Director:
Production Co: GAMELOFT
Country Of Origin: FRANCE
Language: ENGLISH
Application Type: Comp Game Assessed Level 2
Applicant: GAMELOFT AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

PROCEDURE:
The Classification (Publications. Films and Computer Games) Act 1995, the National Classification Code and the Classification Guidelines are followed when classifying films, computer games and publications
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:

 

SYNOPSIS:
Sexy Poker is a strip poker game with six female opponents drawn in the Japanese manga style. The game enables the player to choose images of five alluring women in multiple poses described as Sakura. the seductive nurse: Misaki. the fearless car race queen; yui, the provocative cop; Ryoko. the lovely business woman; Emi, the sultry movie actress and Mika, the hot volleyball girl.
Features include: 3 game modes: 5-card draw poker, video poker, and blackjack; a photo gallery, to enable the player quick access to all of the images unlocked so far and high-quality sound effects and dialogue to "bring the game to life".

 

REASONS FOR THE DECISION:
In making this decision, the Classification Board has applied the Classification (Publications. Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 (the Classification Act), the National Classification Code (the Code) and the Guidelines for the Classification of Films and Computer Games 2005 (the Guidelines).

In the Board's view this game warrants an 'RC' classification in accordance with item 1(a) of the computer games table of the National Classification 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 away 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 state that: "Impact may be higher where a scene encourages interactivity".

It further stales that "Interactivity includes the use of incentives and rewards, technical features and competitive intensity. As a general rule: except in material restricted to adults, nudity and sexual activity must not be related to incentives or rewards, and material that contains drug use and sexual violence related to incentives or rewards is Refused Classification."

In the unanimous opinion of the Board this game warrants an RC classification as it offers depictions of nudity as an incentive or reward to interactive gameplay.

The main objective of the game is playing Poker with female opponents who bet their clothing - "if the player is good enough, the female characters will bet their clothes to stay in the game. As the player progresses and wins - the female opponents reveal/remove an item of their clothing".

The females undress according to game events "for a teasing and rewarding experience: when they don't have any money to bet in the game, they bet clothes instead". Throughout the game, the female talks with a real voice or text on screen according to the player's poker performance.

The six female characters have sexualised poses to 'tease'" the player. Once the player wins, the female characters strip part of their clothing. The game includes six gradual strip steps for each female which progress from a completely dressed stage to a topless stage. Some of the characters do not show full frontal breast nudity as only the side of their breast without their nipples is depicted. The eventual outcome of the game is a depiction of a female character with full frontal breast nudity.

In the Board's view, the general rule in the Guidelines for the Classification of Films and Computer Games prohibiting depictions of nudity as an incentive or reward, applies to the game play described above, as the player is shown increasingly detailed amounts of nudity following successful game-play.

In the Board's view this computer game also warrants an RC classification in accordance with Part 1(d) of the Computer Games fable of the National Classification Code which slates, in part, that "1. Computer games that: ... (d) are unsuitable for a minor to see or play." will be classified RC.

In the view of the Board, the impact of the game exceeds strong as according to the Guidelines for the Classification of Films and Computer Games "except in material restricted to adults, nudity and sexual activity must not be related to incentives or rewards". As such the game cannot be accommodated in a MAI 5+ classification

 

Decision

This game is Refused Classification.

 

 

SEXY POKER: M-rated censored version

In July 2009, a modified version of SEXY POKER was passed with an M (Sexual references) rating.

 

Previously the RC report had said:

"The eventual outcome of the game is a depiction of a female character with full frontal breast nudity"

 

The M-rated report now said:

"...cause the female characters to remove their clothing until they are down to their bikinis. There is no nudity during the game"

 

 

Thanks again to Scott for this report.

 

Australian Government
Classification Board

Decision Report
Classification decisions are made in accordance with the Classification (Publications, Rims and Computer Games) Act 1995 (the Act), the National Classification Code and the Classification Guidelines.

Production Details:
Title: SEXY POKER
Alternate titles:
Publisher: GAMELOFT
Programmer:
Production Company: GAMELOFT
Year of Production: 2009
Duration: VARIABLE
Version: MODIFIED
Format: NINTENDO WII
Country/ies of origin: FRANCE
Language/s: ENGLISH
Application type: CG2
Applicant: GAMELOFT

Dates:
Date application received by the Classification Board: 29 June 2009 Date of decision: 03 July 2009

Decision:
Classification: M
Consumer advice: Sexual references

A senior panellist has confirmed that the application considered was valid under the Act and that this Decision Report accurately reflects the Board's decision and any minority opinions.

 

Synopsis:
Sexy Poker is a strip poker game with six animated female opponents drawn in the Japanese manga style. The aim is to play various poker related games and cause the women to remove their clothing.

Reasons for the Decision:
In making this decision, the Classification Board has applied the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 (the Classification Act), the National Classification Code (the Code) and the Guidelines for the Classification of Films and Computer Games 2005 (the Guidelines).

In the Board's view this computer game warrants an M classification as, in accordance with item 5 of the computer games table of the National Classification Code, it cannot be recommended for viewing by persons who are under 15.

Pursuant to the Guidelines for the Classification of Films and Computer Games, this computer game is classified M as the Impart of the classifiable elements is moderate. Material classified M is not recommended for persons under 15 years of age. There are no legal restrictions on access.
The classifiable element is sex that is moderate in playing impact.

 

SEX
Sexual references are frequent and moderate in impact.

Sexy Poker is a strip poker game with six animated female opponents drawn in the Japanese manga style. The aim is to play various poker related games and cause the women to remove their clothing. The female characters are depicted in various alluring poses and clothes such as a police officer uniform, nurse's uniform and volleyball outfit. The player engages in various poker related games and the aim is to cause the female characters to remove their clothing until they are down to their bikinis. There is no nudity during the game.

The game contains a sexual overtone and also includes moderate sexual references (appearing as text on screen) such as "I'll always know what's in your hand" and "You deserve the handcuff and baton treatment".

As the overall aim of the game is to cause the female characters to strip, the impact of the game is moderate. It also requires a mature perspective due to the sexual tone of the game.
The Board notes that a previous version of the game was refused classification due to nudity related to incentives or rewards.

 

Decision:
In the view of the Board, the impact of the game is moderate. The game therefore warrants an M classification with consumer advice of sexual references.

 

 

Complaints the Classification Board

Complaints
Computer Games
Annual Report 2008-2009

The Classification Board received 725 complaints in relation to the classification of computer games. The Board made 1068 classification decisions for computer games in 2008-09. Some titles received a large number of complaints while other titles received single complaints but overall, the complaints were about a small number of titles.

Five computer games were classified RC during the reporting period. These computer games were Fallout 3, Silent Hill: Homecoming, F.E.A.R 2: Project Origin, Necrovision and Sexy Poker. There were complaints about four of these decisions.

There were …. one complaint about Sexy Poker.

Many of the complaints about the decisions for the RC computer games also complained about the lack of an R 18+ classification for computer games.

The Classification Board also received 509 complaints that were specifically about the absence of an R 18+ classification for computer games. These complaints were referred to the Attorney-General's Department as the issue of an R 18+ classification is a policy matter for Censorship Ministers.

 

Sexy Poker - Gameloft [us] Wii Ware


 

 

 

 

Sexcapades

Developed by Sexxy Software / 199?

In June 1997, a 3.5" disc of SEXCAPADES was banned by the OFLC. It was most likely refused because of nudity being used as an incentive or reward.

The Victorian Police were the applicant.


 

 

 

 

Seymore Butts Interactive 2: In Pursuit of Pleasure

Developed by Interotica / 1994

In May 1997, a CD-ROM of SEYMORE BUTTS INTERACTIVE 2: IN PURSUIT OF PLEASURE was banned by the OFLC. The Victorian Police were the applicant.


 

 

 

 

Shellshock: Nam '67

Developed by Guerrilla Games / 2004 / MobyGames

In June 2004, SHELLSHOCK: NAM '67 was banned by the OFLC because of nudity and drug use related to incentives or rewards. Atari Australia was the applicant.

In August 2004, a revised version was passed with an MA15+ (Medium Level Animated Violence, Adult Themes, Sexual Violence, Drug References) rating.

 

 

MA15+ version: Censored or not?

Thanks to Simon G for the following e-mail where he attempts to discover what version of SHELLSHOCK: NAM '67 was released in Australia.

 

I was intending on purchasing SHELLSHOCK: NAM '67. However after learning that it had been banned, then passed MA15+ I became suspicious as to what version we had in Australia. Soon after it was Refused Classification, I called the customer service of Atari Australia who denied it had ever been banned. They said it was just delayed.

I thought nothing more of it until I learnt this month that a revised version had been passed in August. I called Atari Australia again. For a second time they denied it had ever been banned, and said it had been delayed because the title had to be changed from TOUR OF DUTY. They obviously were not going to give anything away, so I decided to go to the source of the problem and call the OFLC. I was transferred to a man (sorry, can't recall his name) who initially sounded like he knew what he was talking about. He said a rough unfinished version had initially been submitted for rating in June. This version was Refused Classification, though he did not give any reasons. He then said that the full game was submitted in August and passed MA15+. The controversial game play was now seen in context of the finished game, and its impact was reduced. This sounded like a fair answer and would explain why Atari are claiming that it has not been modified. However, he then went on to claim that it was before the Review Board and may have its rating raised to RC or lowered to M. I really don't know what he was talking about as the OFLC have not announced any review for this title. I can only guess that he was getting it mixed up with MANHUNT. Anyway, this statement made me question if his initial claim was indeed true.

 

I checked the Atari Australia website and found some message posts regarding the game at the Official Atari Australia XBox forum. Several members were questioning what version of the game had been released. The forum administrator posted the following two answers.

September 11th 2004
"The game was not refused classification and is on sale on the 23rd of September"

September 12th 2004
"The game wasn't changed at all from previous versions. It's all the same"

 

A member of the forum then posted this article.

Shellshock faces the chop
Official Australian Xbox Magazine, Issue #31

"Shellshock: Nam '67 (read our review on page 72) was REFUSED CLASSIFICATION by the Office of Film and Literature Classification when submitted by Eidos Interactive. This effectively leads to an Australia-wide ban. The reasons for the ban relate to the game's depiction of drug use during the Vietnam War, specifically Temazepan (probably a typo I think its Temazepam) and Dexedrine (an amphetamine). Some concerns have also been voiced about the game's sexual allusions.

The very latest that's happened as of this writing is that Shellshock is being resubmitted for evaluation (a $2-4 thousand dollar fee) by the OFLC, which will determine whether the game is 'fit' for release in Australia after this issue goes to press. We'll update you with the results of the appeal next issue."

 

I am more confused than ever! I am suspicious of Atari because they are not even admitting it was initially banned. Whilst the OFLC are not giving out clear reasons for the RC rating. Speaking of which, why the hell don't they just post the reasons on their site? The result is that I'll delay purchasing this title until I'm sure that we have the full game.

 

 

The Futuregamez site managed to get this official comment from Eidos.

"With regards to Shellshock, nothing has been taken out. We had to represent to the board and explain how some of the more contentious areas of the game were in fact in context and justifiable by actual history. So now Australians get to play the same game as Europe, NZ and America."

 

Issue #45 of Atomic MPC magazine added to the confusion with this statement from their review of the game.

"...the souveniring of enemy ears has gone by the wayside at the behest of the OFLC"

 

 

SHELLSHOCK: NAM '67 - MA15+ Review

Mick played the Australian version of SHELLSHOCK NAM '67, and provided us with his observations.

 

A few of the controversial moments include:

1) After your platoon bursts into a brothel, hookers are armed with shotguns and machetes. You are ordered to kill even the unarmed hookers.

2) Soon you walk into the final room on the level. It then goes into a cut scene. A member of you platoon has tied a hooker to an upright bed frame, he is literally punching and beating the life out of her. She is screaming and pleading for mercy. He asks her where a member of your platoon has been taken. She tells him, but then he shoves a knife into her breast before slitting her throat. She screams, then blood flows out
of her.

3) You can purchase speed and diazepam from a dealer at base camp. Speed allows you to run faster and get hit less easily, whilst diazepam assists you in accuracy on the field (shooting obviously).

4) You can have sex with several different hookers at base camp (not at once obviously). Your man and the girl walk into a hut and you hear them for a while while the hut shakes. This doesn't last for long and provides no benefits to game play. It's there purely for novelty purpose and to be honest it's quiet boring.

 

As for the statement in Issue 45 of Atomic MPC magazine:

"...the souveniring of enemy ears has gone by the wayside at the behest of the OFLC."

The Australian version doesn't include this, however no version around the world includes it either. The game was lightly censored before the worldwide release. For example, the visible drug effects such as the screen going different colours and so forth was also taken out before release. It has nothing to do with the OFLC saying its unsuitable.

Having played the game, I believe the Australian version is the same as that released in the rest of the world.

 

 

 

The OFLC on SHELLSHOCK NAM '67

Classification Board & Classification Review Board Annual Report 2003-2004

The Board classified the game Shellshock Nam 67 RC for nudity and drug use related to incentives or rewards. Shellshock Nam 67 is a multiplatform shooter game based on the Vietnam War. The distributor has indicated an intention to submit a modified version of the computer game for classification in the next reporting period.

 

Classification Board & Classification Review Board Annual Report 2004-2005
Classification Review Board
Applications withdrawn

During the course of the year, the Classification Review Board received a number of applications that were later withdrawn. A determination is not made on withdrawn applications, yet a considerable amount of time is spent by the Convenor and the secretariat on these applications.

Table 22: Applications to the Classification Review Board withdrawn
Title: Shellshocked Nam '67
Media: Computer game
Review applicant: Eidos Interactive
Reason for withdrawal: Commercial decision

 

Shellshock: Nam '67 - Atari [au] PS2


 

 

 

 

Shellshock 2: Blood Trails

Developed by Rebellion Developments / 2008 / MobyGames

In June 2008, SHELLSHOCK 2: BLOOD TRAILS was banned by the Classification Board due to high impact violence. Atari Australia was the applicant.

 

Classification Board and Classification Review Board Annual Report 2007 to 2008
Shellshock 2: Blood Trails
...classified RC as they contained depictions of violence that exceed a strong playing impact and as such the games could not be accommodated at the MA15+ classification and must be RC.

 

Shellshock 2: Blood Trails - Eidos [us] PC


 

 

 

 

Silent Hill

Developed by Team Silent / 1999 / MobyGames

This game has never had problems with the Australian censors. It is included as an example of classification policy

 

In July 1999, SILENT HILL was passed with an MA15+ (Medium Level Animated Violence, Horror Theme) rating. GT Interactive Software was the applicant.

 

In their 1999 to 2000 Annual Report, the OFLC explained that a minority thought that SILENT HILL should have been banned.

Silent Hill was also discussed at the MA/RC border. This game is essentially a first person shooter with some puzzle elements included. It has a horror setting with opponents that include zombies and werewolves. The depictions of violence and bloodshed are similar to other games in this genre and with an MA15+ classification. The setting is in a deserted town and the player passes between 'real' and 'haunted' versions of the town during game play. The townscape includes the deserted school which apparently has walls covered in blood.

The minority opinion was that the school setting for some of the violent elements of the game (although no children are depicted in the game) offends against the standards of morality and decency generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that the game should be classified RC, but the majority opinion was that the horror scenario and lack of detail militate against the impact of the violence. The game was classified MA15+, with consumer advice of Medium Level Animated Violence and Horror Theme.

 

Silent Hill - Konami [uk] PS1


 

 

 

 

Silent Hill: Homecoming

Developed by Double Helix Games / 2008 / MobyGames

In September 2008, SILENT HILL: HOMECOMING was banned by the Classification Board because of high impact violence. Atari Australia was the applicant.

 

 

SILENT HILL: HOMECOMING - RC report

Thanks to Matt for the Classification Board report.

 

Classification Board Decision
SILENT HILL: HOMECOMING

SYNOPSIS
This computer game is a third-person perspective horror-fantasy game in which the player assumes the identity of Alex Shepherd who embarks on a quest to find his younger brother. Alex comes into contact with a wide range of fantastic and grotesque creatures.

 

REASONS FOR THE DECISION:
In making this decision, the Classification Board has applied the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995, including the matters set out in sections 9A and 1l of the Classification Act, the National Classification Code (the Code) and the Guidelines for the Classification of Films and Computer Games 2005 (the Guidelines).

In the Board's 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.

The game contains violence that is high in impact and the game is therefore unsuitable for persons aged under 18 years to play.

The Guidelines for the Classification of Films and Computer Games state that: "Impact may be higher where a scene encourages interactivity".

Under the Guidelines "Computer games that exceed the MA15+ classification category will be Refused Classification".

In the Board's view the violence in this game has a high impact. As such it warrants an RC classification.

 

Some examples of this high-impact violence, but are not limited to, the following examples.

During his quest Alex comes into contact with a wide range of fantastic and grotesque creatures which he must kill in self-defence to progress through the game. There are also a small number of human creatures which he must also interact, including killing them. Alex must go through abandoned buildings such as a prison and a hospital, encountering these creatures and zombie-like humans. In the battles with creatures and humans, weapons such as guns, metal bars, daggers, electric drills and saws are used.

The violence is considered highly impactful in such scenes as where an electric drill is explicitly forced through Alex's right eye socket, remaining there for an extended period as Alex screams and blood sprays from the wound. There are several scenarios in which this means of death is used, on one occasion the drill being wielded by a zombie-nurse and on another by a woman named Margaret. In an alternative scenario, Alex turns the drill on his attacker and the drill is explicitly forced up through the woman's chin until she falls to the floor with the drill embedded in her skull.

The monsters Alex encounters are a strange mélange of human and monster. In one scene Alex encounters a creature with a human body shape and a long, barbed, spade shaped head. Using his head as a weapon, the creature explicitly bisects Alex, the two parts of the body lying separately on the ground, with copious blood spray.

There are also a number of explicit decapitations involving both human and non human creatures. There are frequent attacks, fights, wounding, torture and death.

All violence results in blood spray: there are blood-stained interiors and blood sprays onto objects, including the camera lens. Although the sprays of blood disappear, the scenes often have blood soaked walls and floors.

There are also images of dead bodies and partially dismembered corpses - all with significant blood detail - that from part of the scenery of the game.

The Board considers that the cumulative effect of this type of violence is high and as such cannot be accommodated at the MA 15+ classification.

 

Decision

This game is Refused Classification

 

 

The RC-rated violence

Thanks again to Matt for this information.

Some of the violent scenes from SILENT HILL: HOMECOMING, mentioned in the RC report, can be found on YouTube.

YouTube Clip #1 "...an electric drill is explicitly forced through Alex's right eye socket, remaining there for an extended period as Alex screams and blood sprays from the wound"

YouTube Clip #2 "...Alex turns the drill on his attacker and the drill is explicitly forced up through the woman's chin until she falls to the floor with the drill embedded in her skull"

YouTube Clip #3 "...Alex encounters a creature with a human body shape and a long, barbed, spade shaped head. Using his head as a weapon, the creature explicitly bisects Alex, the two parts of the body lying separately on the ground, with copious blood spray."

 

 

Censored for an MA15+ rating

In January 2009, a censored version of SILENT HILL: HOMECOMING was passed with an MA15+ (Strong horror violence and themes) rating.

Full details of what was removed can be found here.

Silent Hill: Homecoming Comparison
Movie-censorship.com
Censored Version - Rating: MA15+, Region: Australia
Uncensored Version - Rating: BBFC 18, Region: Great Britain

 

 

Atari Explains Silent Hill Content Cuts
next-gen.biz, January 1, 2009

Atari has since explained to Edge that the amendments made to Silent Hill Homecoming will, largely, not be related to gameplay. "The major changes to the Australian release of Silent Hill Homecoming will be made to its cut scenes," the publisher said, "where new camera angles and techniques will be used to reduce the impact of the unclassifiable material."

Atari adds that such changes have "only been made to some scenes, while the original storyline remains unchanged."

Atari added that Silent Hill Homecoming will be given an R rating in the neighbouring nation of New Zealand, and it will "remain unedited."

 

 

Complaints the Classification Board

Complaints
Computer Games
Annual Report 2008-2009

The Classification Board received 725 complaints in relation to the classification of computer games. The Board made 1068 classification decisions for computer games in 2008-09. Some titles received a large number of complaints while other titles received single complaints but overall, the complaints were about a small number of titles.

Five computer games were classified RC during the reporting period. These computer games were Fallout 3, Silent Hill: Homecoming, F.E.A.R 2: Project Origin, Necrovision and Sexy Poker. There were complaints about four of these decisions.

There were …. 52 complaints about Silent Hill: Homecoming,

Many of the complaints about the decisions for the RC computer games also complained about the lack of an R 18+ classification for computer games.

The Classification Board also received 509 complaints that were specifically about the absence of an R 18+ classification for computer games. These complaints were referred to the Attorney-General's Department as the issue of an R 18+ classification is a policy matter for Censorship Ministers.

 

 

The SILENT HILL series and the censors

All previous entries in the SILENT HILL series were rated MA15+.

 

Silent Hill: Homecoming - Atari [au] Xbox 360


 

 

 

 

Singles: Flirt Up Your Life

Developed by Rotobee Realtime 3D / 2004 / MobyGames

In October 2004, SINGLES: FLIRT UP YOUR LIFE was banned by the OFLC because of sexual activity related to an incentive or reward. Eidos Interactive was the applicant.

 

Classification Board & Classification Review Board
Annual Report 2004-2005
Classification Board
Computer Games

The Classification Board classified the computer games Singles Flirt Up Your Life and Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude RC for sexual activity related to an incentive or reward.

 

Singles: Flirt Up Your Life - Eidos [us] PC


 

 

 

 

Soldier of Fortune: Payback

Developed by Cauldron Ltd / 2007 / MobyGames

In October 2007, SOLDIER OF FORTUNE: PAYBACK was banned by the Classification Board because of high impact violence. Activision was the applicant.

 

 

Board Report
T07/4979
Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995
Classification Board

DETAILS OF THE COMPUTER GAME
File No T07/4979
Processing Date: 16/10/2007
Title: SOLDIER OF FORTUNE: PAYBACK
Version: Original
Format: Multi Platform
Duration: VARIABLE
Publisher: ACTIVISION
Programmer: ACTIVISION
Production Co: Not Shown
Country of Origin: USA
Language: English
Application Type: Comp Game Assessed Level 1
Applicant: ACTIVISION

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

Item Viewed: YES
Viewing Date: 16/10/2007
Written Submission: NO
Oral Submission: 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:
(4) Ratified By:

Board Report TO7/4979

 

SYNOPSIS:
The item is a computer game in the first-person shooter genre. The player controls a character named Mason who is a mercenary and must complete 14 missions spanning 5 locations in which the player combats mercenaries belonging to a sinister organisation called the Varangian Group. The game may be played in single or multiplayer mode.

 

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 II of the Act.

In the Board's 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.

The game contains violence that is high in impact and the game is therefore unsuitable for persons aged under 18 years to play. The violence takes place in the context of confrontations between the player's character, Mason, and the opposing mercenaries encountered in each of the game's missions.

Mason uses a variety of firearms, including shotguns, automatic rifles and pistols, to kill the enemy mercenaries. Successfully shooting an opponent results in the depiction of' blood spray. When the enemy is shot from close range the blood spray is substantial, especially when a high-caliber weapon is used, and blood splatters onto the ground and walls in the environment. The player may target various limbs of the opponents and this can result in the limb being dismembered. Large amounts of blood spray forth from the stump with the opponent sometimes remaining alive before eventually dying from the wounds.

Blood remains on the ground as do the dead bodies. Dead bodies on the ground may be repeatedly attacked. The limbs may be shot off, resulting in large amounts of blood spray and the depiction of torn flesh and protruding bone from the dismembered limb. Shooting the head of a body will cause it to explode in a large spray of blood, leaving a bloody stump above the shoulders. Bodies will eventually disappear from the environment.

Violent encounters of the type described above are frequent throughout the game and this contributes to the impact.

The Board notes that the game includes a Violence setting. When this is set to "off", blood and dismemberment depictions are reduced.

 

DECISION
This game is Refused Classification.

 

 

Censors ban 'Soldier Of Fortune: Payback' for excessive violence
news.com.au, October 18, 2007

The game, Soldier Of Fortune: Payback contained “high impact violence” that was too high to receive a classification from the board, a spokeswoman for the Classifications Board told NEWS.com.au.

“(The decision was based on) the different ways a player could maim and injure (other characters),” the spokeswoman said.

“The violence is seen to exceed the MA classification.”

The Classifications Board spokeswoman said the 50 Cent: Bulletproof game, which was refused classification in 2005, contained a similar level of violence.

 

 

Minor priority
theage.com.au/digital-life/games/blog/screenplay
, October 19, 2007

Australia's current classification regime is ultimately the responsibility of Attorney-General Philip Ruddock, although change requires the unanimous support of state Attorneys-General before a bill can be tabled before parliament.

The full response from Mr Ruddock to questions posed by SMH technology journalist Asher Moses regarding the Soldier of Fortune: Payback decision and the need for an R18+ classification is below:

"Decisions on significant classification policy issues such as this must be agreed unanimously by the Australian, State and Territory Censorship Ministers. Censorship Ministers discussed the R18+ classification for computer games at their November 2005 meeting and decided not to introduce an R18+ classification at this time. Further work is being done by officers and consideration will be given at another time.

"I am aware of research into game-playing trends in Australia, including findings that indicate some support for an R18+ classification for computer games. I also understand that industry is making technical advances on platforms that may help to prevent children accessing games suitable only for adults (ie parental locks). However these protections do not yet extend to all the gaming platforms currently available.

"I am aware that on 16 October 2007 the Classification Board classified the computer game Soldier of Fortune: Payback RC (Refused Classification). I have been advised that the computer games (sic) features violence that exceeds a strong playing impact and is unsuitable for a minor to see or play.

"Due to concerns about the 'interactive' nature of computer games and the impact on, and potential for harm to, minors, MA 15+ is the highest classification."

 

 

SOLDIER OF FORTUNE: PAYBACK - Censored for MA15+

In November 2007, a modified version of SOLDIER OF FORTUNE: PAYBACK was passed with an MA15+ (Strong violence, Coarse language and sexual references, Gaming experience may change online) rating.

Soldier of Fortune: Payback Comparison
Movie-censorship.com
Censored Version - Rating: MA15+, Region: Australia
Uncensored Version - Rating: BBFC 18, Region: UK

 

According to Activision Australia:

...the revised version of the game featured reduced rag doll physics, no dismemberment with enemies (alive or dead), and toned down blood effects.

 

SOLDIER OF FORTUNE
Activision Press Release
November 22, 2007

Australian gamers will soon be able to battle through some of the world's most dangerous hotspots as a revised version of Soldier of Fortune® Payback has been granted classification by the Office of Film and Literature Classification. This revised version has been classified as MA 15+ (Strong violence, Coarse language and sexual references) and meets the rating requirements as stated by the OFLC.

Soldier of Fortune Payback thrusts players into adrenaline-pumping mercenary combat action after a routine escort mission goes horribly wrong. The game evolves the signature gameplay of its predecessors with refined controls, tension-packed warzones, and an enemy damage system that may be shocking even to experienced FPS players. Players are armed with an impressive arsenal of more than 30 weapons, including sub-machine guns, assault rifles, and projectile explosives, as they hunt down an insidious enemy that respects neither laws, nations, nor armies. The game also offers individual and team based online modes including: Death Match, Team Death Match, Elimination, Team Elimination, Capture the Flag and Demolition.

Soldier of Fortune Payback will be available early 2008 for the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft for a suggested retail price of $79.95, the PC for $49.95 and the PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system for $89.95.

 

 

RC violence vs. MA15+ violence

Thanks to Chris for this review of the uncut version of SOLDIER OF FORTUNE: PAYBACK. He compares the violence in it, with other games that the Classification Board had passed with MA15+ ratings.

 

You play as a mercenary who is hunting down a variety of terrorists and bad guys, you know the usual stuff. The violence in SOLDIER OF FORTUNE: PAYBACK is of a very comical nature. It's hard to take it seriously and such was the intention of developer, Cauldron. As Cauldron have stated during pre-production they viewed various pieces of footage of real life shootings and gory moments hoping to bring a much more realistic feel to the SOLDIER OF FORTUNE series while somewhat still maintaining the comical, bloody style the previous games have become known for. However they eventually determined that doing so would remove the intentionally comical elements and bring the game into a far more disturbing realm. Hence the game is full of ridiculous blood spray and out right stupid dismemberment.

How the OFLC saw fit to ban the game is beyond me as the gore is just down right unrealistic and blatantly comical. It is on par with gore seen in games such as DEAD RISING. If anything the OFLC should have banned the previous two games as the gore seen earlier in the SOLDIER OF FORTUNE series is more realistic and disturbing than that seen in PAYBACK. Although compared to real life it is still extremely comical.

PAYBACK utilizes the well known Ragdoll physics and implements a "calibre" based gore system. Meaning the bigger your gun, the more gore and blood spray. You can choose from a variety of weapons all of which trigger pretty much exactly same type of damage. For example if you're shooting at someone with a conventional Assault Rifle blood will be spurting out quite a lot. Hit their leg and it'll fly off, hit their arm and it'll fly off, hit their head and it'll disappear in a cloud of blood spray. Keep shooting after they're dead and eventually nothing but a torso will be left and blood will be absolutely all over the place. Sometimes a terrorist will fall to the ground but keep shooting for a little bit as he's dying. Blowing his ass away produces even more blood spray and dismemberment, but as I said it's all very comical.

If you choose to try out a Shotgun expect blood and limbs flying everywhere. One blast will knock a guy across the street. But the real fun comes when you start blasting a dead body; you can just keep shooting a guy down the street or around a room until there's a huge trail of limbs and blood. He'll flop around like a "ragdoll" while bleeding all over the place. But due to the comical nature of the violence none of the deaths appear painful or distressing in anyway. It's just well….pointless gory violence.

The games violence consists only of running from point A to B shooting and causing lots of blood spray/dismemberment. There aren't any gory cut-scenes or scripted moments in the game to speak off. Disappointingly though, headshots merely consist of the head in question disappearing in a blood spurt. There are no decapitations or shattered skulls in PAYBACK. Like in the GRAND THEFT AUTO games heads just disappear when you shoot them. Using an explosive weapon such as a grenade or an RPG will cause your enemy to become nothing more than a bloody torso. Limbs will fly off, blood splatter will on the sidewalk and you'll be left with nothing. As I said all of the violence in the game is in the end all exactly the same. Different weapons produce different amounts of gore but the core of the violence is still identical in every possible scenario. Whether it be a pistol, a sniper rifle, a submachine gun or a heavy machine gun. Occasionally you'll notice a bone sticking out of the stump where an arm or leg used to be but for the most part it's all pretty much the same Swiping someone across the face with your hunting knife as they charge at you is surprisingly unsatisfying.

Unlike in the previous SOF games you can't actually throw knives at people. All you can do is swipe. There will be a little blood squirt and they'll flop to the ground. No actual wounds or bullet holes are visible. A dark red patch of blood will merely fill where ever you shoot someone. After having played through the game I can tell you that it gets old fairly quickly and the game in general gets old really quickly as it is overall quite a poor game. Without the gore there would be zero point in playing it. I fail to see why a version removing dismemberment and containing less blood spray was even submitted to the OFLC because nobody will want to play it. The game is bad enough as it is but without the gore it would be absolutely horrendous. Overall the banning of SOLDIER OF FORTUNE seems to highlight yet again just how inconsistent the OFLC can be in making classification decisions. Games such as DEAD RISING, GEARS OF WAR and previous SOLDIER OF FORTUNE games are all about on par with PAYBACKS extreme violence.

 

 

The Classification Board on SOLDIER OF FORTUNE violence

Australian Classification Board Speaks On Games, R18+ & Fallout 3
kotaku.com.au, August 28, 2008

Kotaku AU: Regarding the portrayal of violence in video games - it appears dismemberment, decapitation; post-mortem damage and blood pooling are major issues for the Board, under the classification guidelines. Can you elaborate on what factors make these elements acceptable in the MA15+ category? For example, it appears to be acceptable in Fallout 3, but was deemed not so for Soldier of Fortune: Payback.

Classification Board: The Classification Board is of the opinion that the violence in Fallout 3 which includes large blood bursts, dismemberment and post-mortem damage is strong in impact. Strong impact violence that is justified by context can be accommodated at the MA 15+ classification.

The Board is of the opinion that the violent depictions in Soldier of Fortune: Payback exceed strong impact. In Soldier of Fortune: Payback blood spray is substantial and blood splatters on the ground and walls. The player may target various limbs of the opponents and this can result in the limb being dismembered. Large amounts of blood spray forth from the stump with the opponent sometimes remaining alive before eventually dying from the wounds. Additionally, dead bodies and blood remains on the ground. Dead bodies on the ground may be repeatedly attacked. The limbs may be shot off, resulting in large amounts of blood spray and the depiction of torn flesh and protruding bone from the dismembered limb. Shooting the head of a body will cause it to explode in a large spray of blood, leaving a bloody stump above the shoulders. Bodies will eventually disappear from the environment.

The impact provided by the amount of blood and detail of dismemberment in Soldier of Fortune: Payback exceeds that can be accommodated at MA 15+ (such as the depictions in Fallout 3).

 

 

Complaints to the censor

Classification Board Annual Report 2007-08
Complaints
Computer games

The Classification Board received 169 complaints in relation to the classification of computer games. Seventeen complaints were received about the RC classification of Soldier of Fortune These complaints also referred to the absence of an R 18+ classification for computer games.

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.

 

Soldier of Fortune: Payback - Activision [au] Xbox 360


 

 

 

 

Sorority House

Developed by 3D Realms / 199?

In April 1996, a CD-ROM of SORORITY HOUSE was banned by the OFLC. The NSW Police were the applicant.

SORORITY HOUSE was refused again in June 1996, this time the Victorian Police were the appicant.


 

 

 

 

Special Force

Developed by Solution / 2003

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

 

In 2003, Hezbollah in Lebanon released SPECIAL FORCE. The aim of this first-person shooter game was to fight against the Israeli Defence Force.

 

In May 2003, The New York times published the following article by Daniel J. Wakin in which he claimed the game was being sold in Australia.

 

Video Game Created by Militant Group Mounts Simulated Attacks Against Israeli Targets
nytimes.com, May 18, 2003

 "A member of the game's design team, Bilal Zain, said "Special Force" was intended to disseminate Hezbollah's "values, concepts and ideas," as well as to give Hezbollah fans a chance to feel as if they were taking part in attacks they cheered from afar.

Mr. Zain said the video game also served as a counterweight to other games on the international market that depicted Arabs as terrorists instead of as freedom fighters with legitimate grievances. He said "Special Force" was less bloody than many other games.

"We want others to know our land is occupied, our people are imprisoned in Israeli jails, our houses are being demolished," he said.

The border area controlled by Hezbollah is quiet for now, he said. "But we do not want the resistance concept to vanish," he said. "We want this idea to live among the Arab people, the Islamic people."

He said about 10,000 copies of "Special Force" had been sold in Lebanon, Syria, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Germany and Australia. It can be played in English, French, Arabic and Farsi."

 

 

Labor's Michael Danby on SPECIAL FORCE

Despite there being no evidence that SPECIAL FORCES was actually being sold in Australia, this did not prevent the controversy spreading.

Following the publication of The New York Times article, the Melbourne ALP MP Michael Danby began a crusade against the game.

 

Violent Hezbollah Computer Game Circulating in Australia
Michael Danby MHR
Press Release from the Federal Member for Melbourne Ports
28 May 2003

Michael Danby, the Federal Member for Melbourne Ports, who yesterday seconded a Private Member’s Bill to proscribe the terrorist organisation Hezbollah, has today called for the examination of a terrorist-style computer game developed by Hezbollah, now being distributed in Australia.

The computer game, Special Force, has sold more than 10,000 copies around the world, including Australia, according to The New York Times.

The creator of the game, Bilal Zain said the game was designed to disseminate Hezbollah’s "values, concepts and ideas." "This game is part of Hezbollah’s elaborate propaganda efforts to brain-wash and inculcate hatred of all Israelis, Jews and western democracies" Mr Danby said. He drew attention to a recent pronouncement of Hezbollah’s spiritual mentor, Hasan Nasrallah, who encouraged young people to export suicide bombing across the world. He said "Martydom operations [suicide bombings] should be exported outside Palestine. I encourage Palestinians to take suicide bombings world-wide. Don’t be shy about it." (On Al-Quds Day, broadcast on Al-Manar Television, December 2002. Source: American Jewish Committee, www.ajc.org)

"Today I asked the government whether they are aware the game is being sold in Australia, and why it has not been banned by the Office of Film and Literature Classification or the Australian Broadcasting Authority." Mr Danby said.

"The Office of Film and Literature Classification has informed me that they have never seen Special Force, and that it is most likely outside their jurisdiction." Mr Danby continued.

"In a global war against terrorism, it is vital that the education front is fought just as hard as the financing front. Children throughout the world can not be brought up hating. Education is the best way to combat terrorism in the long term, so games like these, which promote hatred and terrorism, must not be distributed in Australia."

 

 

Hezbollah "Computer Game" Produced by Iranian Government
Michael Danby MHR
Press Release from the Federal Member for Melbourne Ports
3 June 2003

The Federal Member for Melbourne Ports, Michael Danby, will today produce evidence that Special Force, the terrorist computer game he called to be banned in Australia, is in fact backed by the Iranian government.

Special Force is produced by Hezbollah, and aims at propagating Hezbollah’s terrorist “values, concepts and ideas,” according to one of the designers of the game, Bilal Zain.

“This game is part of Hezbollah’s elaborate propaganda efforts to brain-wash and inculcate hatred of all Israelis, Jews and western democracies”, Mr Danby said.

“Last week I questioned the government about Special Force, and although I am yet to receive a response, I have now discovered evidence linking the game to the Iranian government.” Mr Danby said. Mr Danby seconded the Opposition Leader Simon Crean’s private member’s Bill, which sought to proscribe Hezbollah.

“The Hezbollah game was disclosed by the New York Times at the time when here in Australia, both the government and Opposition received security briefings that confirmed Hezbollah was present in Australia” Mr Danby said. “Noorsoft is listed as a distributor of the Hezbollah game on the website. (Source:http://download.specialforce.net/english/center.htm)

Noorsoft is a subsidiary of the Computer Research Center for Islamic Sciences. (Source: http://www.noorsoft.org/eng/About%20us/About%20us.htm)

“The CRCIS was established by the Iranian Government in 1998 ‘under the supreme direction of His Highness Ayatollah Khameneyee’ (sic) (Source: http://www.salamiran.org/Religion/Software/)”

Mr Danby concluded.
“It is more than disappointing that after last week’s tour of moderates from the Iranian parliament, to discover again that the Mullahs, lead by key hardliner Ayatollah Khamanei, are using their control of the Iranian government to encourage extremists worldwide, including here in Australia.” Mr Danby said.

Mr Danby should be speaking at around 6:15pm in the Chamber. Mr Danby has already asked a series of questions about the game, which appeared on the Notice Paper on the 29th of May. The questions below will appear on the Notice Paper tomorrow.

 

 

Hezbollah Computer Game illegal in Australia
Michael Danby MHR
Press Release from the Federal Member for Melbourne Ports
11 August 2003

Michael Danby MP, the Federal Member for Melbourne Ports, today welcomed clarification from the Attorney General that terrorist computer game Special Force is illegal in Australia.

"It is clear from the Minister's response that Special Force would be refused classification if it was submitted to the Commonwealth Classification Board for classification." Mr Danby said.

"The Attorney-General’s answer makes it clear that people selling, hiring, advertising or publicly demonstrating Special Force in Australia is illegal, and I am pleased the Minister has asked for an investigation of whether Special Force is available in Australia."

"However, the Minister still has not answered my question about whether this game was backed by the Iranian government." Mr Danby continued.

"In the wake of the Marriot suicide-bombings, it is vital that Australia is protected from such terrorism, which is why Simon Crean and I successfully moved a private members Bill to proscribe the terrorist group Hezbollah. This game should be proscribed under that law, as well as under the censorship and classification laws."

"In a global war against terrorism, it is vital that incitement is fought just as hard as the financing front. Children throughout the world cannot be brought up hating. Education is the best way to combat terrorism in the long term, so games like these, which promote hatred and terrorism, should not be distributed in Australia." Mr Danby said.

 

 

Daryl Williams on Hezbollah's SPECIAL FORCE

In August 2003, the Attorney General replied to Michael Danby's questions.

 

Question on Notice: Arts: Computer Games Classification
Date: 12 August, 2003
Questioner: Danby, Michael, MP (Melbourne Ports, ALP, Opposition)
Responder: Williams, Daryl, MP (Tangney, Attorney-General, LP)
Question No: Question Nos 1967, 1968, 1969 and 1970

Mr Danby asked the Attorney-General, upon notice, on 29 May 2003:

 

(1) Which organisation is responsible for the classification of computer games.

 

(2) Do all computer games need to be submitted for classification before being sold; if so,

(a) what is the process for classifying computer games,

(b) what is the penalty for selling computer games which have not been classified, and

(c) on what basis is the classification made, in particular, are the

(i) ideology,

(ii) values, and

(iii) concept of the game relevant.

 

(3) Is the Minister aware of a game called “Special Force” created by Hezbollah in Lebanon; if so, is he also aware that the game,

(a) has an introduction including an exploding Israeli tank,

(b) shows rows and rows of burning Israeli flags,

(c) awards points for executing the Israeli Prime Minister,

(d) includes parts based on actual attacks of Israeli positions, and

(e) includes parts that,

(i) say “You must oppose, confront and destroy the machines of the Zionist enemy”, and

(ii) show “the defeat of the Israeli enemy and the heroic actions taken by the heroes of the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon”.

 

(4) Is the Minister able to confirm or deny reports in The New York Times of 18 May 2003 that copies of this game have been sold in Australia.

 

(5) Has the game been submitted for classification; if so,

(a) when,

(b) did it receive a classification which permits its sale and distribution in Australia; if so,

(i) why, and

(ii) will the Minister request a review of its classification, and

(c) if it was not classified,

(iii) why not,

(iv) what action has been taken against people who have imported, manufactured, distributed, sold or bought the game, and

(v) if no action has been taken, why not and will the Minister order action to be taken.

 

(6) Are there similar games on the market, if so, what are they and what classifications have they received.

 

 

Mr Williams —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) The Commonwealth Classification Board (the Board) is responsible for the classification of computer games. The Board is an independent statutory body, supported by the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC). The Board is selected to be broadly representative, as far as possible, of the Australian community.

 

(2) Computer games must be classified before they can be legally sold, hired, advertised or publicly demonstrated in Australia.

(a) The process for classifying computer games is prescribed in the Commonwealth Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 (the Act). On application, the Board classifies computer games in accordance with the requirements of the Act, the principles set out in the National Classification Code (a schedule to the Act) and the Guidelines for the Classification of Films and Computer Games (the Combined Guidelines).

(b )There are penalties for selling unclassified computer games, which are set out under State and Territory classification enforcement legislation. It is an offence to sell unclassified computer games in all States and Territories. The maximum penalty for selling an unclassified computer game in each jurisdiction is as follows:


Jurisdiction Maximum penalty for selling an unclassified computer game

 

(c) The Board classifies computer games in accordance with criteria outlined in the Act, the National Classification Code and the Combined Guidelines. Computer games may be classified G, G8+, M15+ or MA15+. Games that exceed the MA15+ classification are Refused Classification (RC). There is no R18+ classification category for computer games.

In relation to the specific question of whether the ideology, values or concept of the game are relevant to a classification decision, these terms are not specifically used in the Act, the Code or the Combined Guidelines. The Code does, however, require the Board, when making classification decisions, to take into account the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults.

For example, the Code provides that computer games that depict, express or otherwise deal with matters of, among other things, crime, cruelty or violence 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, are to be classified RC. The Code also states that computer games that promote, incite or instruct in matters of crime or violence are to be classified RC.

 

(3)I am aware of reports in an article in The New York Times of 18 May 2003 (the article) of a game called Special Force. I am also aware that the article alleges that the game was created by “Hezbollah” and contains the depictions referred to by Mr Danby in his question.

 

(4)I am aware of the reports in the article that copies of this game have been sold in Australia. I am unable to confirm or deny those reports.

 

(5) I am advised that the Classification Board has no record of a computer game called Special Force being submitted for classification.

(a) Not applicable.

(b) (i) and (ii) Not applicable.

(c)(iii) The game has not been classified because it has not been submitted for classification. The Classification Board classifies computer games on application.

(iv) and (v) I have asked for this matter to be referred to Community Liaison Scheme (CLS) staff at the OFLC for investigation and appropriate action. The CLS is a joint Commonwealth, State and Territory initiative with national coverage. CLS staff fulfil an educative role assisting retailers and distributors of publications, films and computer games to comply with their legal obligations under the national classification scheme and to identify breaches of classification laws.

Should the CLS investigation reveal that Special Force is being sold in Australia, I have asked that the matter be referred back to the Director of the Classification Board for consideration in relation to exercising his powers to call in a product for classification.

 

(6)Without knowing specific details of the content of Special Force, it is not possible to nominate with any certainty other similar games on market.

I note that the article in The New York Times of 18 May 2003 refers to another computer game called Counterstrike. I am advised that the OFLC has no record of a game with that exact title.

I am advised that the OFLC website at www.oflc.gov.au contains a classification database listing computer game classification decisions and that interested persons can search this database according to criteria such as title and classification.

 

Special Force (2003) - Hezbollah [lb] PC


 

 

 

 

Spin the Bottle: Adults Only Interactive DVD Game

Developed by Imagination / 2005

In October 2006, SPIN THE BOTTLE: ADULTS ONLY INTERACTIVE DVD GAME was banned by the OFLC because of high impact sexual references. Imagination Licensing was the applicant.

 

The game was described as:

A new slant on 'Spin The Bottle' without using an actual bottle! This party game has over 500 different actions with thousands of different results. All at the touch of a button.

Get ready to laugh as your friends find themselves in compromising situations and reveal their most intimate secrets.

Put your next party into overdrive with Spin The Bottle, a DVD Game of shocking truths and outrageous dares sure to set your heart racing!

With more than 500 different actions and thousands of possible outcomes, this DVD Game knows how to party!

All you need is a DVD player! Just grab the remote and some friends, then sit back and let the DVD do the work.

So get ready to get this party started with the Spin The Bottle DVD Game.

Includes:
1 Interactive DVD.
8 Character Cards.
1 How to Play Guide.

For 3 to 8 Players.

 

In the UK, SPIN THE BOTTLE: ADULTS ONLY INTERACTIVE DVD GAME was released in November 2005 by Universal. It was exempt from classification, meaning that it was not even considered necessary to rate.

 

 

The Classification Board on SPIN THE BOTTLE

Classification Board
Annual Report 2006-2007

Computer Games
The Classification Board classified two computer games RC during the reporting period. The computer game Spin the Bottle - Adults Only Interactive DVD Game was classified RC because it contains sexual references that are cumulatively high in impact and cannot be accommodated at the MA 15+ classification

 

Spin the Bottle: Adults Only Interactive DVD Game - Universal [uk] DVD


 

 

 

 

Strip Blackjack

Developed by Dreamedia Technologies / 199?

In July 1996, a 3.5" disc of STRIP BLACKJACK was banned by the OFLC. It was most likely refused because of nudity, which was being used as an incentive or reward.

The Victorian Police were the applicant.


 

 

 

 

Strip Poker

Developed by CDV Software GmbH / 1993 / MobyGames

In their 1994 to 1995 Annual Report, the OFLC reported that a game called STRIP POKER had been banned because it contained nudity.

There is no entry for this title in the Classification Database.

 

OFLC Annual Report
1994 to 1995

The third game was the "adult" CD ROM, Strip Poker, which showed female actors bare breasted. The guidelines state that material depicting "nudity, including genitalia" will be Refused "unless there is a 'bona fide' educational, medical or community health purpose".

 

For more information on the banning of STRIP POKER, see Anthony Larme's Dangerous Games? page.


 

 

 

 

Strip Poker 3

Developed by Artworx / 1991 / MobyGames

In July 1996, a 3.5" disc of STRIP POKER 3 was banned by the OFLC. It was most likely refused because of nudity being used as an incentive or reward.

The Victorian Police were the applicant.


 

 

 

 

Syndicate

Developed by Starbreeze / 2011 / MobyGames

In December 2011, SYNDICATE was banned because of violence that was high in impact. Electronic Arts was the applicant.

 

 

SYNDICATE: RC Classification Board report

Joab from GameArena obtained the Classification Board report.

 

File No: T11/5660
Australian Government
Classification Board

Decision Report

Classification decisions are made in accordance with the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 (the Act), the National Classification Code and the Classification Guidelines.

 

Production Details:

Title: SYNDICATE YELLOW
Alternate titles: HUNTSMAN
Publisher: ELECTRONIC ARTS
Programmer: STARBREEZE
Production Company:
Year of Production: 2012
Duration: VARIABLE
Version: ORIGINAL
Format: MULTI PLATFORM
Country/ies of origin: SWEDEN
Language/s: ENGLISH
Application type: CG2
Applicant: ELECTRONIC ARTS

 

Dates:

Date application received by the Classification Board: 23 November 2011
Date of decision: 19 December 2011

 

Decision:

Classification: RC
Consumer advice:

 

A senior panellist has confirmed that the application considered was valid under the Act and that this Decision Report accurately reflects the Board's decision and any minority opinions.

 

Synopsis:

This first person shooter is set in a futuristic world where people have installed computer chips in their brains that allow them to interact with the "dataverse". A player controls Kilo, an operative for Eurocorp, as he undertakes missions and discovers that his employers may not be as innocent as they appear. The game consists of 12 single player levels and 9 cooperative levels.

 

Reasons for the Decision:

In making this decision, the Classification Board has applied the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 (the Classification Act), the National Classification Code (the Code) and the Guidelines for the Classification of Films and Computer Games 2005 (the Guidelines).

In the Board's 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.

The game contains violence that is high in impact and is therefore unsuitable for persons aged under 18 years to play. The Board notes that this report does not contain an exhaustive list of the content that caused the game to be Refused Classification.

The game is set in a futuristic dystopia where people have computer chips in their heads that allow them to interact with the "dataverse". It is a first person shooter with realistically rendered graphics. A player controls Kilo, an agent of one of the "Syndicates" (powerful corporations), as he moves through levels completing objectives such as rescuing Eurocorp employees and extracting chips from people's heads.

In order to complete the missions, a player has to engage in intense combat with swarms of enemy combatants who are clad in light armour. A variety of weapons is available and these often cause decapitation, dismemberment and gibbing during frenetic gunfights. For example, an intense sequence of violence commences when a player collects a "G290 minigun", which operates much like a Gatling gun. A player moves through a building rapidly firing at enemy combatants. Combatants take locational damage and can be explicitly dismembered, decapitated or bisected by the force of the gunfire. The depictions are accompanied by copious bloodspray and injuries are shown realistically and with detail. Flesh and bone are often exposed while arterial sprays of blood continue to spurt from wounds at regular intervals.

Similar injuries can be caused by many other weapons, including shotguns, high-calibre revolvers, sniper rifles, assault rifles, rocket launchers, laser guns and grenades.

The game also allows a player to repeatedly damage enemy combatants' corpses. This is shown in realistic depictions. For example, it is possible for a player to decapitate a corpse with a headshot before individually blowing off each of its limbs. Depending on the weapon used, it is also possible to bisect a corpse, with realistic ragdoll effects noted. The depictions are again accompanied by arterial sprays of blood and detailed injuries that include protruding bone.

Throughout the game, a player consistently encounters unarmed civilians and has the choice of whether to target them or not. Civilians can be shot, accompanied by copious bloodspray, but it is not possible to decapitate or dismember them, whether they are alive or dead. Their corpses can still be targeted, resulting in bloodspray only. In single player mode, the game treats civilian deaths neutrally, but it is noted that in cooperative gameplay, points are awarded for civilian casualties.

In the opinion of the Board, the game contains intense sequences of violence which include detailed depictions of decapitation and dismemberment that are high in playing impact. The game also contains the ability to inflict repeated and realistic post mortem damage which exceeds strong in playing impact. It is therefore unsuitable for a minor to see or play and should be Refused Classification pursuant to item l(d) of the computer games table of the Code.

 

Decision:

This game is Refused Classification.

 

 

Electronic Arts responds: No appeal

Syndicate statement
Electronic Arts
December 21, 2011

It’s regrettable that government policy in Australia is denying adults the right to play Syndicate. The game will be not be available in Australia despite its enthusiastic response from fans. We were encouraged by the government’s recent agreement to adopt an 18+ age rating for games. However, delays continue to force an arcane censorship on games – cuts that would never be imposed on books or movies. We urge policy makers to take swift action to implement an updated policy that reflects today’s market and gives its millions of adult consumers the right to make their own content choices...

We are not releasing Syndicate in Australia. The reason for this is because we do not have an R18+ in place as yet.

We will not be appealing the RC decision. Syndicate is a game made for a mature audience and any changes to would significantly affect the game's quality and appeal.

Syndicate will continue to be released in New Zealand (unchanged) on the 24th February 2012, and has a confirmed rating of R18

 

 

Classification Board comments and complaints

Films and Computer Games
RC Refused Classification
Classification Board Annual Report 2011-2012

Syndicate is a first-person shooter-style computer game that is set in a futuristic world where people have computer chips in their brains, allowing them to interact with the ‘dateverse’. A player controls an operative who completes missions. The computer game contains intense sequences of violence which include detailed depictions of decapitation and dismemberment that are high in playing impact. The computer game also contains the ability to inflict repeated and realistic post-mortem damage which exceeds a strong playing impact. In the view of the Classification Board, it is therefore unsuitable for a minor to see or play and is classified RC in accordance with item 1(d) of the computer games table of the Code

 

Complaints
Classification Board Annual Report 2011-2012

Complaints The Classification Board received 35 complaints about computer games. The Classification Board made 827 classification decisions for computer games in 2011–12. Some titles received more than one complaint while other titles received only single complaints. Overall, the complaints were about a small number of titles. This compares with the 387 complaints received about computer games classifications in 2010–11. The higher number of complaints about computer games in the previous reporting period related to Mortal Kombat, which received a large number of complaints because it is classified RC.

There were 13 complaints about the classification of Syndicate. The Classification Board classified the game RC due to high impact violence which could not be accommodated in the MA 15+ classification. The majority of the complainants did not want the computer game to be refused classification.

 

Syndicate (2011) Electronic Arts [us] Xbox360


 

 

Next Games: Saints Row IV (2013)