Customs Seizure – Games

The titles covered on this page are a small selection of games that have reportedly been confiscated by the Australian Border Force (FKA Australian Customs and Border Protection Service).

The full list, which includes such titles as GRAND THEFT AUTO III (2001) and LEFT 4 DEAD 2 (2009), can be found on our Game Censorship Timeline under the ‘Customs issues’ heading.

The information has been compiled from a variety of publicly available sources such as forum and social media posts, fanzines and websites. The remaining alerts have been reported directly to us by readers of the site. Any additions, no matter how old, are welcome.

This list has been assembled due to the lack of a publicly available database of seized titles. It is designed to document those that have had importation issues and so may need to be avoided. It is in no way meant to encourage anyone to import a prohibited item. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information and we take no responsibility for errors.

Hooligans: Storm over Europe

Publisher Hip Interactive Corp. / 2002 / MobyGames

There is a report of customs seizing a copy of HOOLIGANS: STORM OVER EUROPE in 2005.

Hooligans: Storm Over Europe (2002) - Game Cover 1
PC Cover

A candid OFLC

The importer of HOOLIGANS: STORM OVER EUROPE wrote to the OFLC for more details.

Could you please verify for me what the Australian rating for the computer game HOOLIGANS is? This is subtitled STORM OVER EUROPE.
I have searched your online database and could find no reference to the title, but the box cover shown at this URL suggests that it has been given a ‘Mature rating’.

– Owner of the confiscated game

The game isn’t classified in Australia.
Customs can seize it if they believe it exceeds Reg 4A of their Act, which means if it is equivalent to an R game (or since we don’t have R here, a game above MA).
It’s up to them to decide that, using our guidelines as a guide.
You won’t get a permission to import such a game.
You may submit it for classification at your cost (see our website for details) but that would make it a very expensive game, if in fact it didn’t exceed MA.

– Office of Film and Literature Classification

Am I correct, then, in assuming that Customs have complete control over the import of any game that is not in the OFLC database, subject only to their own interpretation of the OFLC guidelines?
I wonder if I were to import the American boxed release of the game (ESRB rating ‘M’, as opposed to ‘R’) if they would let it through.

– Owner of the confiscated game

They’d still potentially seize it if it were unclassified.
It’s a bit of a lottery really.
Thousands come in to the country unnoticed, and some get stopped.
Not really fair, I agree.

– Office of Film and Literature Classification