Stropp's World

Games And Gamery

CrimeCraft Mugged By Aussie Censor

Posted by Stropp on December 1, 2009

Once again, yet another game has fallen victim to the South Australian Attorney General, Michael Atkinson — the man unelected by the majority of the people that he has control over — and the OFLC.

CrimeCraft, an upcoming MMOFPS game, has been refused classification by the Office of Film and Literature Classification not because of violence or sexual content, but because the names of the in-game drugs come close to those of the real world. You might remember that was the reason that Fallout 3 was originally refused classification too, the healing drug was called morphine. The developers later changed the name and the game was approved.

It’s a ridiculous situation in Australia at the moment. We have a R classification for movies, but not for games. The argument by Atkinson is that children can get a hold of and play a R rated game despite the best efforts of parents. The problem is that children can get a hold of and watch R rated movies despite the best efforts of parents. I even snuck into an R rated movie when I was 17 — Friday the 13th Part 3 — it wasn’t that hard. If kids want to do something badly enough they’ll do it.

The worst part of all this is that the rating system, more than anything else, is a guide for parents, and by not having an R classification some games that deserve an R are getting classified as MA15.

Then when 16 year old little Stroppy comes to mum or dad with a copy of  Death to Hookers: San Francisco rated MA (with the Iced Coffee mod in place), the parental unit looks at the rating and thinks it’s okay, despite the rather obvious signs of adult content. If the parent had the correct information, they might not be so quick to buy it.

Of course, the Australian rating system only applies in Australia, and games are only refused classification if they are submitted to the OFLC in the first place. My suggestion to game developers: Unless you really want a box on the shelves of Australian stores and your game has the potential to be RC, don’t submit to the OFLC. Just get the classification done in your own country, and put the game up for digital download.

Torn

Posted by Stropp on October 8, 2009

Sigh.

Dragon Age is being released in less than a month. I’ve been looking forward to this game, moreso after seeing some of the good stuff popping up on Dragonchasers. The game has a 100 hours of gameplay (you can probably double that based on my normal rate of progress in games!) and there is so much else to play and to do. Hmmm.

Still, at least Dragon Age is actually going to be released here in the land of Oz. I haven’t heard any reports that it hasn’t passed muster at the OFLC board.

Which is definitely better than Left 4 Dead 2. Valve cut content out and resubmitted after the game was originally refused classification. The news today is that L4D2 has now been accepted. Good news in a way I guess.

What irks me is that one semi-elected official can dictate what the entire country can play. The attorney general for South Australia belongs to a state government elected by approximately 1.5 million people. The other five attorneys general belong to state governments elected by the rest of Australia’s 22 million populace.

So one essentially unelected individual can hold up something important like an R rating for games. Something that even a lot of people in his own state want.

There’s a state election approaching too. Unfortunately, there’s no credible opposition in SA, so it’s likely Atkinson will be returned, and will continue blocking progress.

Tell me. How that is democracy?

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