Games Censorship: D


 

 

 

 

Dark Sector

Developed by Digital Extremes / 2008 / MobyGames

In February 2008, DARK SECTOR was banned because of high-impact violence. AFA Interactive was the applicant.

 

Thanks to Mick for the Classification Board report.

Board Report TO8/389
Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995
CLASSIFICATION BOARD

DETAILS OF THE COMPUTER GAME:
FILE No T08/389
Processing Date: 07/02/2008

Title: DARK SECTOR
Version: ORIGINAL
Format: Multi Platform
Duration: VARIABLE
Publisher: D3PUBLISHER
Programmer: DIGITAL EXTREMES
Production Co: D3PUBLISHER
Country or Origin: USA
Language: ENGLISH
Application Type: Comp Game Assessed Level 2
Applicant: AF A INTERACTIVE

PROCEDURE:
The Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995, the National Classification Code and the Classification Guidelines approved by the standing Committee of Attorneys-General, are followed when classifying films.
Item Viewed: YES
Viewing Date: 07/02/2008
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:
(4) Ratified By: (Senior Classifier)

 

SYNOPSIS:
The item Dark Sector is a third-person action-shooter computer game. The player takes on the role of Hayden Tenno, a covert operative sent on a dangerous mission into Lasria, an Eastern European city on the brink of ruin that hides a deadly Cold War secret. Hayden is attacked by an unknown enemy and infected by the Technocyte Virus, a brutal bio-weapon that twists its victims into mindless killing machines. Surviving this attack, Hayden finds that the Technocyte virus has granted him powerful, inhuman abilities that he must evolve to survive.

 

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 11 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.

In the report, the game is described as a "violent and sometimes gruesome game with a sinister storyline and ominous outcome. The violence and aggression inflicted upon the protagonist is of a high level, naturalistic and not stylised at all".

The finishing moves and most violent game play includes decapitation, dismembem1ent of limbs accompanied by large blood spurts, neck breaking twists and exploded bodies with post-action twitching body parts. These moves are relatively easy to accomplish and once the player has mastered the moves and is able to get close to his foes, these violent moves can be executed.

The violence takes place in the context of confrontations between the player's character, Hayden and his opponents. Hayden is a special agent sent to Eastern Europe to defeat a scientist that has infected people with a mutant virus.

Hayden's main weapon is a glaive which is a large circular three blade device that can be thrown at the enemy in a boomerang-like manner. Throughout the game the player is able to pick up power-ups to increase the strength of the glaive. By holding the glaive button the player is able to do a super-powered throw that can cut their foe in half, decapitate them dismember limbs or sever torsos. Hayden is also able to throw the glaive into electrical devices, open flames and nitrogen bottles and then inflict this upon the enemy.

Other conventional weapons such as knives, pistols, assault rifles, shotguns, machetes, rocket launches and grenades can be used by both Hayden and the enemy military forces. Once a civilian is infected by the mutation they will attempt to attack Hayden and the military with sledgehammers, pipes etc.

Successfully shooting an opponent results in the depiction of blood spray. When Hayden cuts off his opponent's limb with the glaive, large amounts of blood spray forth from the stump and the injured person screams in agony which increases the impact. The opponent's body remains on screen in a pool of blood until Hayden leaves that particular area.

Violent encounters of the type described above are frequent throughout the game and this contributes to the impact. In the unanimous view of the Board, the impact of the game exceeds strong and as such cannot be accommodated in a MAI5+ classification.

 

DECISION
This game is Refused Classification.

 

 

DARK SECTOR censored for MA15+

In July 2008, a modified version of DARK SECTOR was passed with an MA15+ (Strong Violence) rating.

Dark Sector Comparison
Movie-censorship.com
Censored Version - Rating: MA 15+, Region: Australia
Uncensored Version - Rating: ESRB Mature 17+, Region: USA

 

Thanks to Aidan for this review of the Australian release.

Just an update on the censorship status of the game Dark Sector which was Refused Classification in February of 2008.

The PC version (have any other versions been released here?, I heard that the Xbox360 version failed to materialise at all on our shores) has received a low key release as a freebie with PC Powerplay magazine and the cuts are heavier than initially thought.

It appears to not be "based on the Japanese build... features "no decapitation and has toned down the limb severing on humans (only)" in this version this is definitely no limb severing on humans at all with simply a small blood spurt no matter what hits them where (compared to the high level severing seen here in the IGN review.

Similarly there doesn't appear to be much if any dismemberment against infected enemies either. I found the high powered throw could seemingly wither a limb, damaging it, but not visibly removing it (compared to the clearly removed arm seen in this clip) and the enemies head seems to disappear with one of the finishing removes (but appears to simply vanish rather than fly off as seen in this clip). Neither of these are very visible as the infected's bodies disappear almost immediately after death (which appears to be in the global release as well as a lag reducer).

Lastly it appears that a decapitation has been edited down to a simply cut throat in one of the games early cutscenes (seen uncut at 1:15 in the above mentioned IGN review) All in all a very disappointing release.

 

 

DARK SECTOR: 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. ……….seven complaints were received about the RC classification of Dark Sector. 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.

 

Dark Sector - AFA Interactive [au] Xbox360


 

 

 

 

Deadly Premonition

Developed by Access Games Inc. / 2010 / MobyGames

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

 

In 2010, DEADLY PREMONITION had been banned by the Classification Board. Kotaku clarified the situation, and obtained the following statement from Rising Star Games.

 

Deadly Premonition Not Banned, But Still No Aussie Release
kotaku.com.au, August 13, 2010

"As part of our normal procedures in submitting any game for classification, it was determined internally at Rising Star Games that the game would not satisfy the criteria for an MA15+ rating in Australia and further that any changes to the game would not be possible. It was therefore decided, with regret, the game will not be released in Australia."

 

 

Director's Cut Rated MA15+

In April 2013, DEADLY PREMONITION: THE DIRECTOR'S CUT was passed with an MA15+ (Strong themes and bloody violence) rating. This was despite the availability of the newly introduced R18+ rating.

The extended classification information describes,
Strong impact: themes, violence
Moderate impact: sex
Mild impact: nudity
Very mild: language

All Interactive Entertainment was the applicant.

 

Deadly Premonition (2010) - Ignition Entertainment [us] Xbox 360 


 

 

 

 

Dead or Alive: Dimensions

Developed by Tecmo Koei / 2011

In February 2011, DEAD OR ALIVE: DIMENSIONS was passed with a PG (Mild violence and sexualised gameplay) rating. THQ were the applicant.

 

Nintendo 'child porn' game PG in Australia
smh.com.au, May 31, 2011

Nintendo, which began selling Dead or Alive: Dimensions in Australia on May 26, disputed claims that the scenes in the game constituted child porn and pointed to the Classification Board decision to give the game a PG rating.

“The game contains a wide variety of fictional characters which depict Japanese style cartoon images some of which are female fighters. This is not classified as child porn,” a Nintendo Australia spokeswoman said.

Ron Curry, chief executive of the games industry body Interactive Games & Entertainment Association, said “cultural and social factors” formed key considerations when classifying video games with “content appropriate in one country not always translating in another country”.

 

 

Home Affairs Minister asks for review

Child porn concerns over Nintendo game, Dead or Alive: Dimensions
couriermail.com.au, June 01, 2011

Following inquiries by The Courier-Mail, a spokesman for Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor said the Minister was concerned about the content of the game.

"The Minister has been advised that the Classification Board has asked for further information from Nintendo about the game," the spokesman said.

In response to criticisms the game contains images akin to child porn, a Nintendo spokeswoman said: "The game contains a wide variety of fictional characters which depict Japanese style cartoon images, some of which are female fighters.

"There is a function in the game where you can use the circle pad to move your figurines of your characters around, and take photos of them in a variety of fighting poses," she said via email.

The spokeswoman said versions of the game in which characters were described as under 18 were not sold in Australia.

"Nowhere in the Australian version of the game are the characters listed as underage," she said.

"Two characters' ages are listed as N/A or 'not known' in their profiles.

"Nintendo does not decide the rating for any games, the rating is determined by the Classifications Operation Branch, and for this particular game, the (Branch) has rated it PG.

 

 

Nintendo game Dead or Alive: Dimensions may lose PG rating
couriermail.com.au, June 02, 2011

A spokesman for the Australian Classification Board told The Courier-Mail the authority had given Nintendo seven days to prove why Dead or Alive: Dimensions shouldn't have its rating revoked after media reports exposed the raunchy aspects of the game.

"After concerns were raised in the media, the Classification Board requested preliminary information from (Nintendo) about whether the content described in media reports was contained in the Australian version of the game," said a spokesman for the Classification Board.

"The content in question was not specifically identified in the application considered by the Board."

Nintendo responded to the Board's initial inquiry but was today given seven days to argue why the rating should not be revoked.

"The Board will give due consideration to any further information provided by (Nintendo) before proceeding with any decision to revoke the PG classification," the spokesman said.

Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor on Wednesday expressed concerns over Dead or Alive: Dimensions and asked the Board to investigate.

In response to criticisms the game contained inappropriate content, a Nintendo spokeswoman said: " The game contains a wide variety of fictional characters which depict Japanese style cartoon images, some of which are female fighters."

"Nowhere in the Australian version of the game are the characters listed as underage," she said.

"There is a function in the game where you can use the circle pad to move your figurines of your characters around, and take photos of them in a variety of fighting poses."

 

 

PG rating Revoked

On June 6 2011, the Classification Board revoked the PG (Mild violence, Sexualised gameplay) rating that it had awarded DEAD OR ALIVE: DIMENSIONS.

 

Dead or Alive: Dimensions classification revoked
The Minister for Home Affairs
The Hon Brendan O'Connor MP
Media Release
10 June 2011

The Minister for Home Affairs and Justice Brendan O’Connor welcomed the Classification Board’s decision today to revoke the classification of the computer game Dead or Alive: Dimensions.

This game was classified PG (Parental Guidance) on 8 February 2011 with consumer advice ‘mild violence and sexualized gameplay’.

Subsequent media reports indicated that the game might have contained content that would not be appropriate at the PG level which had not been drawn to the Board’s attention.

Last week, the Board requested preliminary information about the game from the Australian distributor, Nintendo. It disclosed that there was material in the game of a sexualised nature that would have caused the game to be given a higher classification than PG.

As a consequence, a show cause notice was issued giving the applicant seven days to advise the Board why the classification should not be revoked.

Having considered the response received, the Board today decided to revoke the classification

“The material in this game is clearly not appropriate to be played by children,” Mr O’Connor said.

“I am pleased the Classification Board took swift action to address community concerns.”

The Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games Act) 1995 provides for a classification decision to be revoked if the game contains contentious material that was not bought to the Board’s attention before it was classified.

This game is now unclassified and cannot be sold in Australia unless it is re-submitted for classification.

 

 

Nintendo Blame THQ For Dead Or Alive’s Classification Issues
kotaku.com.au, June 10, 2010

“This game was classified PG on 8 February 2011 with consumer advice ‘mild violence and sexualized gameplay’,” claimed a spokesperson from the Classification Board. “Information provided to the Board last week suggested that the game contained content not drawn to the Board’s attention in the original classification application.

“After considering the response to a show cause notice issued last Thursday, the Board made the revocation decision.

“Dead or Alive: Dimensions is now unclassified and cannot be sold in Australia unless it is re-submitted for classification.”

We also spoke to Nintendo regarding the situation. According to Nintendo the fault lies with THQ, who were initially set to distribute the game in Australia. According to a Nintendo rep, THQ did not provide “adequate information” for the initial classification.

“In relation to why Dead or Alive Dimensions has had its classification revoked,” began the Nintendo rep, “THQ had already submitted the game for classification by the time we decided to take over distribution, and they hadn’t provided adequate information for the classification.

“Nintendo has now submitted a new classification. The game has not been banned, it will receive a new classification as soon as the Classification Board process the new classification.

 

 

DEAD OR ALIVE - DIMENSIONS: Re-rated M

Nintendo soon resubmitted the game, and on June 21 2011 it was awarded an M (Content may change online.; Violence and sexualised gameplay) rating. This proved that the 'child porn' allegations were nothing more than a media beat-up.

 

 

Classification Board comments

Director’s Overview
Donald McDonald AC, Director, Classification Board
Classification Board Annual Report 2010-2011

Also of note in the reporting period was the Board’s decision to revoke the PG classification of the computer game Dead or Alive: Dimensions. On 8 February 2011, the Board classified the game PG with consumer advice of ‘Mild violence and sexualised gameplay’. In late May 2011, concerns were raised by the media about certain content in the game. The content in question was not identified in the classification application considered by the Board. The Classification Act requires that the course of action that the Board must take if a game contains contentious material that was not brought to its attention at the time of classification and which would have caused the Board to make a different decision, is to revoke the classification of the game. After consideration of a response from the applicant to a request from the Board that it show cause as to why this course of action should not be taken, the Board made the decision to revoke the PG classification of Dead or Alive: Dimensions on 10 June 2011. On the same date, a new application was received for the classification of the game which resulted in its subsequent M classification with consumer advice of ‘Violence and sexualised gameplay. Content may change online’.

 

M: Recommended for Mature Audiences
Computer Games
Classification Board Annual Report 2010-2011

Dead or Alive: Dimensions is an arcade style martial arts fighting game for the Nintendo 3DS console. The game allows the player to choose from 25 different playable characters and engage in unarmed one-on-one fights in a variety of arenas. On 8 February 2011, the Board classified Dead or Alive: Dimensions PG with consumer advice of ‘Mild violence and sexualised gameplay’. In late May 2011, concerns were raised by the media about certain content in the game. The content in question was not identified in the classification application considered by the Board. The Classification Act requires that the course of action that the Board must take if a game contains contentious material that was not brought to its attention at the time of classification and which would have caused the Board to make a different decision, is to revoke the classification of the game. After consideration of a response from the applicant to a request from the Board that it show cause as to why this course of action should not be taken, the Board made the decision to revoke the PG classification of Dead or Alive: Dimensions on 10 June 2011. On the same date, a new application was received for the classification of the game which resulted in its subsequent M classification with consumer advice of ‘Violence and sexualised gameplay. Content may change online’.

 

Correspondence
Complaints
Classification Board Annual Report 2010-2011

The Classification Board received 674 complaints in 2010–11. The Board had received 1,090 complaints in 2009–10.

The computer games which attracted the most complaints were Mortal Kombat, We Dare, Halo: Reach, Duke Nukem and Left 4 Dead 2.

Many of those who complained about the decisions for computer games (primarily Mortal Kombat) also requested the introduction of an R 18+ classification for computer games.

The Classification Board received 387 complaints in relation to the classification of computer games. The Board made 891 classification decisions for computer games in 2010–11. 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. This compares with the 194 complaints received about computer games classifications in 2009–10.

The computer game Dead or Alive: Dimensions was the subject of five complaints. The complaints were that the PG classification for the game was too low. The PG classification of this game was subsequently revoked.

 

Dead or Alive: Dimensions - PG-rated - Nintendo [au] 3DSDead or Alive: Dimensions - M-rated - Nintendo [au] 3DS


 

 

 

 

Dead Space

Developed by Electronic Arts / 2008 / MobyGames

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

 

DEAD SPACE was passed with an MA15+ (Strong Violence) rating in April 2008, and a revised version passed with the same rating in August 2008.

This second submission resulted in a great deal of forum debate on what version of DEAD SPACE Australia would be getting.

 

The distributor explained the double submission to gamers.

au.gamespot.com/xbox360
dchan01
Sep 17, 2008 11:30 pm PT

I guarantee you guys that nothing has been censored for any territory. We are not going to compromise for any territory that we're not getting a rating in either, just to please rating boards. That's not how we're going to play this one.

We submitted twice to the OFLC because we did an early submission months ago before alpha. We did a courtesy submission when we were nearing final as a courtesy, and to show that the game had not changed materially since the first submission (except for built out levels, polish, etc.)

Rest assured that the version of Dead Space that is played in Australia will be the same version that's played in the US, the UK, wherever.

 

 

DEAD SPACE: MA15+ #1 vs. MA15+ #2

In the case of DEAD SPACE, the distributor was telling the truth. However, it does pay to be sceptical, and question what you are told. Sean did just that, and obtained copies of the Classification Board reports for both submissions.

The second rating submission mentions moderate and mild coarse language that was not present in the first.

The Board notes that the game contains infrequent moderate coarse language in the form of "fuck" and mild coarse language including "shit" and "bitch" which could be accommodated at lower classification levels. The Board also notes that this game was submitted in April 2008 and classified MA15+ with consumer advice for strong horror violence. The applicant has now resubmitted the game in its final form and this most recent copy is the version to which this decision relates.

 

 

DEAD SPACE: MA15+ #1

Board Report
Classification Board

DETAILS OF THE COMPUTER GAME:
FILE No T08/1394
Title: DEAD SPACE
Version: ORIGINAL
Format: Multi Platform
Duration: VARIABLE
Publisher: ELECTRONIC ARTS
Programmer:
Production Co: ELECTRONIC ARTS
Country of Origin USA
Language: ENGLISH
Application Type: Comp Game Assessed Level 2
Applicant: ELECTRONIC ARTS

PROCEDURE:
The Classification (Publication, 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: YES
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: MA 15+
(2) Consumer Advice: Strong horror violence
(3) Key:

 

SYNOPSIS:
The item is a computer game. It is a third-person action-adventure game in which the player takes the role of Isaac Clark, an engineer sent to repair a space-ship. On the ship he finds a deadly life-form against which be must battle.

 

REASONS FOR THE DECISION:
In making this decision, the Classification Board bas applied the Classification (Publications. Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 (the Classification Act), including the matters set out in sections 9A and I1 of the Classification Act, the National Classification Code {the Code} and the Guidelines fur the Classification of Films and Computer Games 2005 (the Guidelines).

In the Boards view this computer game warrants an MA15+ classification as, in accordance with Item 2 of the Computer Games Table of the National Classification Code, it is unsuitable for viewing or playing by persons under15.

Pursuant to the Guideline, for the Classification of Films and Computer Games, this computer game is classified MA15+ as the impact of the classifiable elements is strong. Material classified MA15+ is considered unsuitable for persons under 15 years of age. It is a legally restricted category.

The classifiable element is violence that is strong in playing impact.

 

VIOLENCE
The game contains violence that is strong in impact and justified by context. Throughout the game, the player must fight against a deadly life-form that has infected the crew of space-ship. The player uses various weapons including a machine gun, flamethrower, and a projectile-based weapon designed to cut off enemy limbs. These attacks result in decapitations and dismemberments involving depictions of blood spray and blood-splatter. Body parts remain in the environment and can be further manipulated.

The player's character also suffers wounds and injuries during combat as the enemies bite, slash, rip and tear. The character can be dismembered or decapitated at which point the game ends.

The Board notes that, despite the depictions of blood and injury and the sense of suspense and foreboding in the games, the science-fiction setting and the unreality of the alien-enemy mitigate the impact of the game. In the Board's view, the impact is no more than strong.

 

DECISION
This computer game is classified MA15+ with consumer advice for strong horror violence.

The classification decision is based on section 21A of the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 which states that if the Board is of the opinion that a classified computer game contains contentious material (whether activated through use of a code or otherwise) that was not brought to the Board's attention in accordance with subsection 14{4) or 17(2) before the classification was made and if the Board had been aware of the material before the classification was made it would have given the game a different classification, the Board must revoke the classification.

 

 

DEAD SPACE: MA15+ #2

Board Report
Classification Board

DETAILS OF THE COMPUTER GAME:
FILE No T08/1394
Title: DEAD SPACE
Version: REVISED
Format: Multi Platform
Duration: VARIABLE
Publisher: ELECTRONIC ARTS
Programmer:
Production Co: ELECTRONIC ARTS
Country of Origin USA
Language: ENGLISH
Application Type: Comp Game Assessed Level 3
Applicant: ELECTRONIC ARTS

PROCEDURE:
The Classification (Publication, 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: MA 15+
(2) Consumer Advice: Strong horror violence
(3) Key:

 

SYNOPSIS:
Dead Space is a third-person action-adventure computer game in which the player takes the role of Isaac Clark, an engineer sent to repair a space-ship. On the ship he finds a deadly life-form which has infected the crew and turned them into zombies. He must battle against them to find and rescue his girlfriend.

 

REASONS FOR THE DECISION:
In making this decision, the Classification Board bas applied the Classification (Publications. Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 (the Classification Act), including the matters set out in sections 9A and I1 of the Classification Act, the National Classification Code {the Code} and the Guidelines fur the Classification of Films and Computer Games 2005 (the Guidelines).

In the Boards view this computer game warrants an MA15+ classification as, in accordance with Item 2 of the Computer Games Table of the National Classification Code, it is unsuitable for viewing or playing by persons under15. Pursuant to the Guideline, for the Classification of Films and Computer Games, this computer game is classified MA15+ as the impact of the classifiable elements is strong. Material classified MA15+ is considered unsuitable for persons under 15 years of age. It is a legally restricted category.

The classifiable element is violence that is strong in playing impact.

 

VIOLENCE
The game contains violence that is strong in impact and justified by context.

Throughout the game, the player must fight against a deadly life-form that has infected the crew of space-ship. The player uses various weapons including a machine gun, flamethrower, and a projectile-based weapon designed to cut off enemy limbs. These attacks result in decapitations and dismemberments involving depictions of blood spray and blood-splatter. Body parts remain in the environment and can be further manipulated.

The player's character also suffers wounds and injuries during combat as the enemies bite, slash, rip and tear. The character can be dismembered or decapitated at which point the game ends.

The Board notes that, despite the depictions of blood and injury and the sense of suspense and foreboding in the games, the science-fiction setting and the unreality of the alien-enemy mitigate the impact of the game. In the Board's view, the impact is no more than strong.

 

OTHER MATTERS CONSIDERED
The Board notes that the game contains infrequent moderate coarse language in the form of "fuck" and mild coarse language including "shit" and "bitch" which could be accommodated at lower classification levels. The Board also notes that this game was submitted in April 2008 and classified MA15+ with consumer advice for strong horror violence. The applicant has now resubmitted the game in its final form and this most recent copy is the version to which this decision relates.

 

DECISION
In the view of the Board the impact of the game is strong. The game is therefore classified MA15+ with consumer advice for strong horror violence.

The classification decision is based on section 21A of the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 which states that if the Board is of the opinion that a classified computer game contains contentious material (whether activated through use of a code or otherwise) that was not brought to the Board's attention in accordance with subsection 14{4) or 17(2) before the classification was made and if the Board had been aware of the material before the classification was made it would have given the game a different classification, the Board must revoke the classification.

 

Dead Space - Electronic Arts [au] PC


 

 

 

 

Digital Dancing: The Erotic Challenge

Developed by New Machine Publishing / 1993

In May 1997, a CD-ROM of DIGITAL DANCING: THE EROTIC CHALLENGE was banned because of nudity, which was used as an incentive or reward.

The Victorian Police were the applicant.

The aim of the game is described in the book, THE PHOTOGRAPHIC IMAGE IN DIGITAL CULTURE by Martin Lister.

...the user chooses one of four stripteasers and the plays the paper-scissors-rock game against the computer. If you win, a brief movie clip of the dancer is played. the more you win, the more the dancer takes off, but if you don't 'win' then you won't see any flesh.

 

 

RC games submitted to the OFLC by the Victorian Police

 

RC games submitted to the OFLC by the NSW Police

 

Digital Dancing: The Erotic Challenge (1993) - New Machine Publishing [us] PC 


 

 

 

 

Dracula Unleashed

Developed by Viacom New Media / 1993 / MobyGames

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

 

In April 1994, DRACULA UNLEASHED was passed with an MA15+ (Realistic Horror) rating. Sega Ozisoft was the applicant.

 

The OFLC explain their reasoning in this extract from their 1993 to 1994 Annual Report.

Another game, Dracula Unleashed, is a more sophisticated problem solving CD-Rom game. It was classified 'MA(15+)', a classification that is restricted to 15 year olds and over, with a consumer advice of 'realistic horror'. It contains video footage showing body puncture marks in the victim's neck, an off screen implied stake into a vampire's body and a 'mannequinesque' severed head.

In the context of a 'vampire' game the depictions were considered mild and unrealistic. However, within the guidelines, and in recognition of community concern, the Board believed the visual strength and impact of this full motion video were best suited to the legal restriction of the 'MA'. Further, the Board believed the full motion video depiction in this game changed the intensity from the low impact associated with the animated violence to a higher one, flagged by the consumer advice of 'realistic horror'.

 

Dracula Unleashed - Viacom [us] PC


 

 

 

 

Dragon Ball: Origins

Developed by Game Republic / Japan / MobyGames

In September 2008, DRAGON BALL: ORIGINS was passed with a PG (Mild violence) rating. Atari Australia was the applicant.

 

 

DRAGON BALL: ORIGINS - Australian recall

In January 2009, Atari was forced to recall all copies of the game in Australia due to it being incorrectly rated.

The problem scene was described in the U.S. Entertainment Software Rating Board report.

One scene involves a girl flashing an older man, then some arguing about her panties. Some brief, non-explicit nudity is shown during a cutscene involving a bath.

 

The original PG-rating of DRAGON BALL: ORIGINS was awarded under the Authorised Assessor Computer Games (AACG) scheme. This allows an authorised person to make a classification recommendation for a game that would likely be rated G, PG, or M. The assessor's report would then be taken into account when the Classification Board make their decision.

 

 

DRAGON BALL: ORIGINS - Re-rated M

In March 2009, DRAGON BALL: ORIGINS was re-rated with an M (Sexual references). Again, Atari Australia was the applicant.

 

Decisions: M
Computer Games
Classification Board Annual Report 2008-2009

The Classification Board found that the Nintendo DS version of the computer game Dragon Ball: Origins, originally classified PG, contained contentious material that was not brought to the Classification Board's attention by the applicant. The Classification Board revoked the classification in accordance with section 21A of the Classification Act. The computer game was resubmitted for classification and classified M with consumer advice for 'Sexual references

 

 

Classification revoked

In September 2009, the Classification Board listed DRAGON BALL ORIGINS as having its rating revoked. It is unclear why this was done, although at the time Atari's website was still advertising it as being PG-rated. Note that the rating revoke has now been removed from the Classification Board's database.

On the same day as DRAGON BALL: ORIGINS, Atari Australia also had the rating of GOTHIC 2 revoked.

 

DRAGON BALL: ORIGINS and GOTHIC 2 were listed in the category as 'RECSec21'. This was presumably Section 21 of the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995, which states:

 

21 Declassification of classified films or computer games that are modified

(1) Subject to subsection (2), if a classified film or a classified computer game is modified, it becomes unclassified when the modification is made.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to a modification that consists of:

(a) including or removing an advertisement, other than an advertisement to which section 22 applies; or

(b) for an imported film or computer game that was in a form that cannot be modified and has subsequently been converted to a form that can be modified—removing, from the film or game, material that was advertising referred to in paragraph (f) of the definition of advertisement in section 5.

21A Revocation of classification of films or computer games that are found to contain contentious material

If the Board is of the opinion that:

Classification Part 2 Classification of publications, films and computer games Division 2 Section 22 Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 21

(a) a classified interactive film or a classified computer game contains contentious material (whether activated through use of a code or otherwise) that was not brought to the Board’s attention in accordance with subsection 14(4) or 17(2) before the classification was made; and

(b) if the Board had been aware of the material before the classification was made, it would have given the film or game a different classification; the Board must revoke the classification,

and must also revoke approval of any approved advertisement for the film or game.

 

 

Games with Revoked ratings

The following games have now had their ratings revoked.

 

Dragon Ball: Origins - PG-rated - Atari Australia [au] NDSDragon Ball: Origins - M-rated - Atari Australia [au] NDS


 

 

 

 

Dream Web

Developed by Creative Reality / 1994 / MobyGames

In February 1995, DREAM WEB was banned because of sexual violence. Playcorp was the applicant.

The OFLC explained the reasons for the ban in their 1994 to 1995 Year in Review.

Dream Web is an overhead perspective adventure/shoot-em-up game. One scene depicts male and female animated characters performing simulated sexual intercourse on a bed. A character controlled by the player enters the room and implicitly shoots the male with resulting animated blood splash from the male's head. The Board believed this combination of elements produced a scene of sexualized violence which warranted Refusal under the Computer Games Guidelines.

 

 

DREAM WEB review

Thanks to Richard C. for this review.

The problem scene in DREAM WEB can be found at 07:29 in this YouTube clip.

A couple are shown having sex in the bedroom. The gunman (the player) walks into the room, raises his gun, and aims at the couple. The woman screams, jumps off the man, and crawls under the bed. The man grabs a pillow to cover his genitals.

On screen text reads.
"The bedroom is a mess. Clothes lie on the furniture and the floor. Loud music blares from the concealed speakers. In the centre of the room is a bed upon which lies David Crane"

The player then chooses the gun.

On screen text reads.
"A small hand gun that fires bolts of high energy plasma. The digital readout on the handle gives an indication of the amount of fuel left"

"Your hand shakes as you take aim and pull the trigger..."

The player shoots David Crane, and a pool of blood appears on the bed. His stomach then explodes and a blue ball of plasma emerges and flies off.

I find it amazing that this one small scene was enough to get DREAM WEB banned in 1994. The graphics are so poor that the sex scene just looks comic!

 

 

DREAM WEB: Censored version

A censored version of DREAM WEB was passed with an M (Medium level animated violence) rating in June 1996.

 

For more information on DREAM WEB in Australia, see Anthony Larme's Dangerous Games? page, and Games Censorship Collection site.

 

Dream Web - Empire Interactive [us] PC


 

 

 

 

Duke Nukem 3D

Developed by 3D Realms Entertainment / 1996 / MobyGames

In May 1996, a shareware version of DUKE NUKE EM 3D was passed with an MA15+ (High Level Animated Violence) rating. Mannacom was the applicant.

 

 

DUKE NUKE EM 3D: Censored version

In July 1996, a modified version of DUKE NUKEM 3D was passed with an MA15+ (Medium level violence rating). 

The OFLC classification report was as follows.

In the Board's opinion Duke Nukem 3D warrants an MA15+ for Medium Level Animated Violence. Duke Nukem 3D is set in futuristic towns & space stations, the lighting is bright and footsteps and creature 'roars and groans' echo through the hallways and down the streets.

In the Australian release of Duke 3D the suppliers have opted to remove the images of females in cocoons, female waitresses and dancers. These are present in the US release of the game and in the Shareware version previously classified by the Board (File No C96/51).

The optional background music is fast paced and action orientated and the gaming environment is well lit. This setting produces a lighter tone which compliments the futuristic environment and reduces the games overall impact.

When the player defeats a fantasy enemy combatant, it falls to the ground with a groan followed by a small pixelated red splash that is a unrealistic representation of blood. As with most 1st person perspective shoot-em up's Duke Nukem 3D suffers from increased pixelation as the alien creature draws near. The Board is of the opinion this diminishes the impact of the game considerably.

Although Duke Nukem 3D has a significant adventure /strategy component which is strongly developed by Duke's monologue in the game, Duke Nukem 3D essentially involves shooting the onslaught of fantasy creatures.

Cumulative elements in the Board's opinion are a well lit, futuristic environment, the larger size of fantasy characters & frequent appearances of enemy creatures. These combined with sound effects of explosions and roars produce depictions of stylised violence of medium intensity can be accommodated in the lower end of the MA15+ category, as being suited to those aged 15 years or older.

This decision is based on the understanding that should the game be found to contain contentious material (whether available through code or otherwise) that was not brought to the attention of the Board before classification was made, the game is taken never to have been classified.

 

 

DUKE NUKEM 3D: The controversial material

The OFLC report mentions that Mannacom had opted to remove "...images of females in cocoons, female waitresses and dancers" from the game. Here is Anthony Larme description of the missing gameplay

At the root of all this controversy were the depictions of scantily clad female figures that may be seen in many locations throughout the game. Duke Nukem, the player's character, must single handedly save the world from an invading force of evil animal-like humanoids. A major part of the aliens' malevolent plans - in the tradition of various B-grade science fiction films - is to kidnap much of Earth's female population for unknown purposes.

This task takes place behind the scenes. All Duke Nukem sees are the captives while imprisoned and some similarly non-combative female dancers and prostitutes who have been left unharmed in the seedier parts of the cities. In the case of the captives, some have been tied up while others are encased in a harmful slimy green substance reminiscent of certain scenes from the Alien trilogy movies. If they have been encased in slime, they weakly ask to be killed if Duke Nukem walks up to them. If they are bound, Duke Nukem, clearly annoyed and offended by what he sees, remarks words to the effect of, "This is really p***ing me off". The dancers can be asked to, "Shake it baby" (whereupon they open their bikini tops and shake their breasts whose nipples are covered with tassels), but Duke Nukem cannot obtain the services of any of the prostitutes.

In short, the one and only character under the control of the player - Duke Nukem - has no motivation to harm any of the women with the possible exception of those in unbearable pain underneath the slime who ask to be put out of their misery. This just makes Duke Nukem more determined than ever to put an end to the aliens' evil designs on his planet. Should the player elect to cause Duke Nukem to shoot any of the women, aliens appear seemingly out of nowhere and attack Duke Nukem as punishment. Captive women are occasionally placed near explosives and normal enemy encounter areas, forcing the player to take extra special care. No women are counted as points or any other form of reward within the game. Motivations to perform in-game evil actions against them are non-existent.

 

 

The modified version is hacked

The modified version of DUKE NUKEM 3D that Mannacom released turned out to be the uncensored version, with the parental lock permanently turned on.

Soon, hacks began to appear on the internet that disabled this lock, and allowed the full version to be played. This came to the attention of the OFLC, who in August 1996 attempted to revoke the MA15+ classification. By this time, 18,000 copies had already been released to the market.

 

 

DUKE NUKEM 3D: OFLC demand recall

Following the OFLC warning, Manncom wrote to distributors of the game.

August 1996
Re: Duke Nukem 3D
We have received a letter from the Office of Film and Literature Classification stating that "It has been brought to our attention that the above game contains classifiable elements that were not identified in your application for classification." This of course is a reference to the fact that we permanently locked the game with adult mode off, but hacks have appeared on the internet.

We dispute the fact that we did not identify "classifiable elements" as the OFLC were aware at all times that the complete game was on the CD and that we had locked it using a permanent lock out of adult mode. We submitted it for classification in the form in which we intended to distribute it, in accordance with their request.

The MA15+ classification has nevertheless been revoked, despite our protestations, and we have now submitted Duke for reclassification in the unlocked mode. With some luck the emotions have subsided a little, as it is now three months since Port Arthur, and the complete version will be classified MA15+. We believe that the problem with Duke is the fact that women are bound and can be shot. We have pointed out that these figures are only two dimensional, pixelate if viewed close up, and that shooting them is part of the game as the spawned aliens make game play more difficult.

In the meantime the complete version of the game should not be sold. If you choose to sell copies of Duke that you have in stock you may be committing an offence as the game is deemed to be no longer classified. We do not believe that this situation applies to the shareware version in any way - it remains rated MA15+.

Please hold any stock you may have until the reclassification process has been completed - that is likely to be a week or so. To the best of our knowledge this situation has not arisen previously with computer software but we intend to implement our normal sale or exchange should it be necessary to recall the stock.

Once again, please hold your stock until the situation is clarified. We will contact you again as soon as we know more.

I should also mention that we have had our solicitor write to the OFLC and inquire as to what action they intend to take on direct mail imports, unclassified imported copies, pirate copies (sold in shops, at flea markets and available on the internet) and the fact that the hack is on the internet. There has been no response from the OFLC! We hope that they do at least take some notice of the issues and when it comes to review the situation in six months or so, they at least are aware of the situation in the real world.

We are giving a thought to starting a petition to be available for signature at our reseller's stores urging legislators to introduce an "R" classification for computer games. it seems that the legislators think only kids play games! We'll reserve our decision until we see if the full version of Duke gets through the classification process this time.

Thanks for your support in the past and your understanding at this time. Remember, please hold on to any stock on hand until we are able to advise the final outcome.

 

 

OFLC back down on revoking classification

Following the OFLC back down, Mannacom wrote again to games distributors.

30th August 1996
Re: Duke Nukem 3D
We have today received a letter from the Australian Government solicitor, on behalf of the Office of Film and Literature Classification, stating that they have reviewed the situation and now agree that "the existence of the contentious material....was in fact brought to the Classification Board's attention before the classification of the game was made."

This means that the OFLC does not have the power to revoke the classification which was given to the modified version of Duke Nukem 3D.

The classification of the parental locked version has now been confirmed MA15+ and in short this means that the modified version can be sold again.

The US version of the game has not been classified and sale of imported copies of this version are against the law.

Out of stock?
Shipments will re-commence immediately - get in early so that you are one of the first to have stock available again. You can either contact your rep or simply fax us your requirements .

We have had an encouraging response to our idea of a petition to prove that not all game players are kids. We will proceed with this shortly.

Thanks for your patience - now it's full speed ahead again.

 

 

MA15+ for uncut USA version

In April 1997, the uncut 'USA version' of DUKE NUKEM 3D was passed with an MA15+ (High level animated violence, Sexual references) rating.

 

For more information on DUKE NUKEM 3D in Australia, see Anthony Larme's Dangerous Games? page, and Games Censorship Collection site.

 

Duke Nukem 3D - Formgen [us] PC


 

 

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