In September 2009, this entry appeared in the Classification Board's database.
ACMA 2010001752 ITEM 1 ACMA (Laptop)
Category: ACMA - Computer Games
Date of Classification: 13/09/2010
Production Company: N/A
Country of Origin: NOT SHOWN
Applicant: AUSTRALIAN COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA AUTHORITY
File Number: T10/4021
Classification Number: 243062
Items submitted by ACMA are listed only as a number, and never by their actual title. This is supposedly to prevent members of the public from adding them to their bookmarks.
Unless the Classification Board reveal the name, then the title will remain unknown. See the ENZAI: FALSELY ACCUSED entry for an example of where this occurred.
In July 1996, a 3.5" disc containing ADULT FILM CAMERAMAN and PC FOREPLAY was banned by the OFLC. The Victorian Police were the applicant.
In December 2009, ALIENS VS. PREDATOR was banned because of high-impact violence. Sega Australia was the applicant.
Thanks to Joab from gamearena for the Classification Board report.
File No: T09/6139
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.
Title: ALIENS VS PREDATOR
Alternate titles: AVP / ALIENS VERSUS PREDATOR / ALIENS VS PREDATOR / ALIENS VS. PREDATOR
Year of Production: 2009
Format: MULTI PLATFORM
Country/ies of origin: UK
Application type: CG4
Applicant: SEGA AUSTRALIA
Date application received by die Classification Board: 01 December 2009
Date of decision: 03 December 2009
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.
In this first-person science-fiction shooter, a player has to undertake campaigns as a US Colonial Marine, Alien or Predator following the awakening of deadly parasites by an archaeological team. The game can be played in single player and various multiplayer modes.
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 Rims 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 game is loosely based on the film of the same name and a player can choose to play as a Colonial Marine, Alien or Predator. It is a three-dimensional first-person shooter set in a science-fiction context and involves a player having to partake in close-quarters or melee combat with humans. Aliens and Predators.
The game contains first-person perspective, close-up depictions of human characters being subjected to various types of violence, including explicit decapitation and dismemberment as well as locational damage such as stabbing through the chest, throat, mouth or eyes. Characters can be stabbed with a Predator's wrist blade or an Allen's tail in depictions reminiscent of impalement. The Predator collects "trophies" by explicitly ripping off human heads, their spinal columns dangling from severed necks. Heads can be twisted completely around in order to break a character's neck. Eyes can be stabbed through or gouged, leaving empty, bloodied eye sockets. It is noted that a player is able to combine manoeuvres together in quick succession, which further increases impact; for example, a Predator can stab a character through both eyes with its wrist blade and then rip off their head, with spinal column still attached. Extensive post mortem damage, including decapitation and dismemberment, is also possible.
Depictions of violence such as the above are accompanied by copious amounts of blood and gore, including ample wound detail and visible skeleton.
In the opinion of the Board, the violence in the game causes a high playing impact due to its first-person, dose-up perspective, conceptual nature and the level of explicit detail involved in the depictions. The game is therefore unsuitable for a minor to see or play and should be refused classification.
OTHER MATTERS CONSIDERED OR NOTED
The Board notes that the appearance of some visual elements of the game suggests that it has not been rendered in its final form.
This game is Refused Classification.
Classification Review Board
9 December 2009
Classification review announced for the computer game Aliens vs Predator
The Classification Review Board (the Review Board) has received an application to review the classification of the computer game Aliens vs Predator.
Aliens vs Predator was classified RC (Refused Classification) by the Classification Board on 3 December 2009.
The Review Board will meet on 18 December 2009 to consider the application. The decision and reasons will later be published on www.classification.gov.au.
If an individual or organisation wishes to apply for standing as an interested party to this review, please write to the Convenor of the Review Board. The closing date to lodge your application for standing as an interested party and any submissions is Monday 14 December 2009. Please note that the Review Board can only consider submissions about the computer game Aliens vs Predator itself and not any other matters relating to computer games policy or issues generally.
Submissions should be emailed to email@example.com or sent to:
The Convenor Classification Review Board Locked Bag 3 HAYMARKET NSW 1240
The Review Board's decision and reasons for its decisions will appear on the Classification website once the review has been finalised.
The Review Board is an independent merits review body. Meeting in camera, it makes a fresh classification decision upon receipt of an application for review. The Review Board decision takes the place of the original decision made by the Classification Board.
On December 18th 2009, the Review Board lifted the ban on ALIENS VS. PREDATOR and awarded it an MA15+ (Strong science fiction violence) rating.
This was the first successful games appeal since F.E.A.R. 2: PROJECT ORIGIN in 2008. Not so lucky was LEFT 4 DEAD 2, which in 2009 the Review Board confirmed as RC.
Classification Review Board
18 December 2009
Aliens vs Predator classified MA 15+
A three-member panel of the Classification Review Board (the Review Board) has unanimously determined that the computer game Aliens vs Predator is classified MA 15+ with the consumer advice 'Strong science fiction violence'.
In the Review Board's opinion the violence depicted in the game can be accommodated within the MA 15+ category as the violent scenes are not prolonged and are interspersed with longer non violent sequences. The violence is fantastical in nature and justified by the context of the game, set in a futuristic science-fiction world, inhabited by aliens and predators. This context serves to lessen its impact. The more contentious violence is randomly generated and is not dependent on player selection of specific moves.
Computer games classified MA 15+ are not suitable for persons under 15 years of age. MA 15+ computer games are legally restricted.
The Review Board convened today in response to an application from the distributor of the computer game, Sega, to review the decision made by the Classification Board on 3 December 2009 to classify Aliens vs Predator RC (Refused Classification).
In reviewing the classification, the Review Board worked within the framework of the National Classification Scheme, applying the provisions of the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995, the National Classification Code and the Guidelines for the Classification of Films and Computer Games. This is the same framework used by the Classification Board.
The Review Board is an independent merits review body. Meeting in camera, it makes a fresh classification decision upon receipt of an application for review. This Review Board decision takes the place of the original decision made by the Classification Board.
The Review Board's reasons for this decision will appear on the Classification website when finalised.
Statement authorised by Melissa de Zwart, Classification Review Board
Classification Review Board
Review Date: 18 December 2009
23-33 MARY STREET SURRY HILLS, NSW
Dr Melissa de Zwart (chair)
Ms Helena Blundell
Mr Alan Wu
None, however fourteen emails from members of the public were received and noted.
To review the Classification Board's decision to classify the computer game Aliens vs Predator RC (Refused Classification).
DECISION AND REASONS FOR DECISION
The Classification Review Board (the Review Board) has classified the computer game Aliens vs Predator MA 15+ with the consumer advice 'Strong science fiction violence'.
2. Legislative provisions
The Classification (Publications, Film and Computer Games) Act 1995 (the Classification Act) governs the classification of computer games and the review of classification decisions. Section 9 provides that computer games are to be classified in accordance with the National Classification Code (the Code) and the Guidelines for the Classification of Films and Computer Games (the Guidelines). Section 9A of the Classification Act states that 'A publication, film or computer game that advocates the doing of a terrorist act must be classified RC.'
Relevantly, the Code, under the heading 'Computer Games', provides that 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; or
(b) describe or depict in a way that is likely to cause offence to a reasonable adult, a person who is, or appears to be, a child under 18 (whether the person is engaged in sexual activity or not); or
(c) promote, incite or instruct in matters of crime or violence; or
(d) are unsuitable for a minor to see or play
are to be classified RC.
The Code also provides that:
Computer games (except RC computer games) that depict, express or otherwise deal with sex, violence or coarse language in such a manner as to be unsuitable for viewing or playing by persons under 15
are to be classified MA 15+(Mature Accompanied).
Section 11 of the Classification Act requires that the matters to be taken into account in making a decision on the classification of a publication, film or 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.
Three essential principles underlie the use of the Guidelines, determined under section 12 of the Classification Act:
" the importance of context
" the assessment of impact, and
" the six classifiable elements - themes, violence, sex, language, drug use and nudity.
A three member panel of the Review Board met on 18 December 2009 in response to an application from the original applicant dated 7 December 2009 to review the RC classification of the computer game, determined by the Classification Board. The Review Board had previously determined that the application was valid.
The Review Board was assured that the computer game, the subject of the review application, was the same game that was classified by the Classification Board.
The Applicant provided a written submission and recorded gameplay of the computer game before the hearing. On 18 December 2009, the Review Board viewed the recorded gameplay and a demonstration of the game and heard an oral submission from four persons representing the Applicant, Sega Australia.
The Review Board then considered the matter.
4. Evidence and other material taken into account
In reaching its decision the Review Board had regard to the following:
(i) The application for review
(ii) Sega's written and oral submissions
(iii) the computer game, Aliens vs Predator
(iv) the relevant provisions in the Classification Act, the Code and the Guidelines, and
(v) the Classification Board's report.
Fourteen emails received from members of the public regarding the computer game were noted by the Review Board.
In this first-person science-fiction shooter, a player has to undertake campaigns as a US Colonial Marine, Alien or Predator following the awakening of deadly parasites by an archaeological team. The game can be played in single player and various multiplayer modes. The player is assigned a mission determined by their chosen character. During this mission they undertake combat with a range of other player and non-player characters. The game is set in a futuristic alien environment.
6. Findings on material questions of fact
The Review Board found that the computer game contains aspects or scenes of importance under various classifiable elements:
(a) Themes - The game is in the first person shooter (FPS) style, with science fiction / horror themes.
The Review Board is of the opinion that these themes can be accommodated in the MA 15+ classification.
(b) Violence - The Board notes that the game includes the following violent scenes:
" 'signature moves' executed by the alien or predator character which include decapitation, removal of heads and spines, stabbing to the eyes, torso and head, tail stabbing;
" close up of melee / close combat between marines, aliens and predators;
" 'face-huggers' attaching larval aliens to human hosts;
" aliens biting to the head and body;
" removal of heads for retinal scan;
" use of various weapons;
" post-mortem damage which can include decapitation and removal of limbs;
" depictions of skinned bodies
" blood splatter including some blood splatter on camera lenses; ichor and acid splatter.
It appears that a significant proportion of the violence in the game is against non-human characters and only armed humans may be attacked. However, unarmed humans may be harvested as hosts for larval aliens and will implicitly die as a result.
Despite these violent scenes, the Review Board is of the view that the violent scenes were relatively brief, meaning that the overall impact was no more than strong. The overall sense of violence was not relentless or prolonged, as each violent scene is interspersed with gameplay, dictated by the tasks assigned to the character. The Review Board is of the view that the game depicts strong violence, which is typical of the science fiction/ horror genre. The impact of individual violent scenes is strong, warranting classification at the level of MA15+.
(c) Language - The use of coarse language in the game is infrequent and appropriate to context and can be accommodated within the MA 15+ classification.
(d) Sex - There is no sexual activity apparent in the game.
(e) Drug-use - There is no drug-use apparent in the game.
(f) Nudity - There is one depiction of a scantily clad, stylised (holographic) exotic dancer. The image may be accommodated within the MA 15+ classification.
7. Reasons for the decision
The Review Board is unanimous in its view. The Review Board is of the view that the violence in the game is the principal classifiable element upon which the Review Board should and has made its decision. The Review Board concluded that the violence was strong in impact.
The violent scenes are not prolonged and are interspersed with longer, non-violent gameplay sequences during which the player must complete missions assigned to the character.
The violence is fantastical in nature and justified by the context of the game, set in a futuristic science fiction world inhabited by aliens and predators. The violence is typical of the science fiction/horror genre.
It appears that a majority of the violence is directed against non-human characters, with non-armed humans seemingly incapable of being directly attacked or injured at all. (However, unarmed human may be harvested as hosts for larval aliens and implicitly die as a result).
The 'signature moves', which constitute the more serious violence of the game, do not permit player interactivity in selecting the particular move to be performed. Furthermore, these signature moves are particularly implausible, being executed by alien characters with non-human physiology and weaponry.
The effect of these circumstances is to lessen the impact of the violence, such that its overall impact is no higher than strong.
In a unanimous decision, the Review Board has determined that Aliens vs Predator contains classifiable elements that are no higher than strong in impact and therefore is classified MA 15+ with the consumer advice 'Strong science fiction violence'.
Nexiva has produced an YouTube clip that demonstrates the inconsistency in the Australian Classification system, where ALIENS VS. PREDATOR can be banned, while the film PREDATOR is available to everyone with an M-rating.
RC Computer Games
Classification Board Annual Report 2009-2010
Aliens vs Predator is a first person, science fiction shooter game which can be played in single player or multi player modes. The player is assigned a mission which involves combat with a range of player and non-player characters. The game is set in a futuristic alien environment. The Classification Board found that the depictions of violence in the game are accompanied by copious amounts of blood and gore, including ample wound detail and visible skeleton. In the opinion of the Board, the violence in the game causes a high playing impact due to its first-person, close-up perspective, conceptual nature and the level of explicit detail involved in the depictions. The Board found the game to be therefore unsuitable for a minor to see or play and classified it RC.
On application from the game’s distributor, the RC classification for Aliens vs Predator was reviewed by the Classification Review Board which classified the game MA 15+ with consumer advice of ‘Strong science fiction violence’.