This just in: some Australians are confused

Discussion in 'NMA News and Information' started by Per, Jul 25, 2008.

  1. Per

    Per Vault Consort Staff Member Admin

    Apr 1, 2004
    Kotaku presents a clip from an Australian panel discussion TV show on the subject of banning violent games. The segment begins with a person in the audience wearing a Fallout T-shirt asking why there isn't an R rating for games. Here's a transcript of what follows:<blockquote>Presenter: A little bit of background for the uninitiated: one of those banned video games is called Fallout 3 if I'm correct, it's set in a post-apocalyptic Washington D.C. in which people come out after a long period of time and start killing everybody. And those people as I understand it have a little attachment to their arms where they can self-inject intravenous drugs to make them kill more people. Is that correct? Is that a fair summary?

    Guy with Fallout T-shirt: That's correct, yes.

    (everyone laughs)</blockquote>And that's the shows's moderator; the experts go on to say other baffling things, although not much of it directly touches on Fallout 3.

    In related news, a petition (probably multiple petitions, really) has been started to protest the banning of Fallout 3.

    Spotted on the BGSF.
  2. Per

    Per Vault Consort Staff Member Admin

    Apr 1, 2004
    I like the part where she says she doesn't want to judge, but she presses the guy on "why would you even want to".
  3. Seymour the spore plant

    Seymour the spore plant Still Mildly Glowing

    Mar 5, 2008
    Huh? How on Earth is that a fair summary of the game? The guy made it sound like using Psycho and shooting old ladies is the whole point of the game, which not only is ludicrous but still does not invalidate the R rating argument. Why couldn't adults decide for themselves wether to play a game where you can shoot up drugs?

    I'm curious now, did Bioshock also get this kind of treatment in Australia? Seems to me that injecting Adam is the kind of thing they would go after like a pack of hungry dogs.
  4. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Apr 3, 2003
    No. Nor did GTA IV.

    Which is part of the reason people are so unhappy about this. Not only does the lack of R-rating make no sense, but it's also applied inconsistently. GTA IV (edited) was rated MA15+, Max Payne never had a problem despite extensive use of painkillers, yet Fallout 3 is banned?

    Such nonsense.
  5. Ausir

    Ausir Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Apr 20, 2003
    Did any of the aforementioned games use a real-world name for the drugsn though, like FO3 did with morphine?
  6. TTTimo

    TTTimo It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Apr 26, 2008
    Truly, the government has been slow in taking the necessary steps. Technology may be going at an accelerated pace, but that does not mean they are allowed to just sit there and discuss whether or not to implement proper ratings. They just don't want to come to terms, and would rather relegate games as a child's amusement thing. You can even tell from the panel, the fact they know the average gaming age is 30, that is something amusing to them.

    By the way, the Vault Boy picture on the guy's shirt sure did him no good... Speech, hah
  7. Autoduel76

    Autoduel76 Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    May 14, 2007

    GTA has cocaine, pot and more.
  8. TTTimo

    TTTimo It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Apr 26, 2008
    This government has done some good things, games are not one of those. I mean, for entertainment, the movie industry has always been given a bigger budget, tax cuts, better subsidies etc. We know now gaming is almost as big, if not bigger than movies in some ways. Only recently have they given more support to the local gaming industry, and even then it is not much. It is sad that the Australian gaming industry is not strong enough, what with companies going under (recent one being Auran, going into voluntary administration and laying off their staff, just after Fury was released).

    This is not just about censorship in gaming, this is their attitude on the industry as whole. Where is the love?
  9. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Apr 3, 2003
    Does it in the edited Australian version, tho'?

    Couldn't find any info on it.
  10. ArmorB

    ArmorB Still Mildly Glowing

    Dec 24, 2007
    I just got carded buying a game at my local Bestbuy at the age of 34, why is it so hard for the sales people of that country to do the same?
  11. Makagulfazel

    Makagulfazel Adept Bungler of Things Orderite

    Jun 14, 2007
    Lol. I'm 21 and I hardly ever get carded for beer.

    Small town Missouri > Slightly bigger town Illinois.

    On topic, the point your making is good. If there's already a rating limiting sales to adults, why can't adults make their own decisions? If anything, punish the retailers. Don't punish the customers and ultimately the citizens of your country.
  12. Interkarma

    Interkarma First time out of the vault

    Jun 18, 2007
    Judging from the wince and forced smile of the guy in the Fallout t-shirt when he says: "That's correct, yes." I think the poor bugger was trying to keep the topic on censorship, and not about any one game. I feel he did quite well, considering the stone wall of misinformation spouted by the panel.

    For me, the most horrible thing about that clip is the near-unanimous opinion of the panel that video games are dangerous. Never mind that alcohol and gambling destroy hundreds of lives every year and remain at the apex of social acceptability in this country.

    I am not a proud Aussie right now. :|
  13. golfmade

    golfmade It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Apr 9, 2008
    What a load of horseshit coming from the mouths of those panelists. If you don't know what the fuck you're talking about shut up. If somehow I were a panelist on such a show and someone asked a question about, oh I dunno, let's say the impact on human health that stuff like artificial sweeteners and other man-made chemicals injected into foods, I'd shut my yap because I know squat about it.

    I don't know anything about Aussie politics or it's politicians but god damn they sound like American politicians, in that they talk out their ass.

    More on subject though for our Aussie members: Why is there no rating system for video games? What would need to happen for there to be one?

    Oh and since someone has to say it:

  14. Interkarma

    Interkarma First time out of the vault

    Jun 18, 2007
    We do have a rating system for video games (another woefully inaccurate statement from a panelist) but the cutoff is currently MA15+. Anything with content beyond that group is pretty much banned by default.

    For an R18+ category to be implemented in Australia, the Attorney General of each state has to vote unanimously. Just one guy (Michael Atkinson, South Australia Attorney General) blocks the vote, seemingly on moral and religious grounds.

    Haha! exactly. :)

    Edit: Letter from AG Michael Atkinson on the subject of an R18+ category can be found here.
  15. Jesuit

    Jesuit It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Jul 14, 2008
    Doesn't it seem sort of twisted that, if I understand it right, the authorities are objecting to the presence of morphine in the game? A drug that is in wide spread medical use for the very same function it fulfills in the game? If you ever have any major medical operation there's a pretty good chance you're gonna be given some form of addictive pain killers.

    More interestingly, if there's anything I'd be worried about people emulating in this video game it'd probably be the bloody, indiscriminant murder spree thing. Though I know that people don't emulate things they see in video games, if you're going to operate as if they do, what message does it send when you rank bad behavior in this manner? Violence: ok. potential semi-legal pain killer abuse: completely unacceptable.

    Part of me is glad to see that it isn't just the U.S. that's completely out of whack in this respect. (Our obsession having to do with boobies, of course).
  16. RobOverall

    RobOverall First time out of the vault

    Mar 19, 2008
    I sent this to the OFLC:

    To whom it may concern

    I am a 32 year old male who lives in South Australia and I am a father of two children of school going age.

    I am employed fulltime. When I am not spending my free time with my family I, amongst other things, play computer games.

    Over the past year, I have been following the development, and anticipating the release of a game called Fallout 3.

    Fallout 3 is a computer game currently under development by an American based company called Bethesda Softworks. As the title suggests, it is part of the established Fallout series that was first released in 1997 (then developed by "Black Isle Games" and published by "Interplay"). The series is based on a post-apocalyptic world aimed at a mature audience with mature themes.

    The themes visited by this series include Strong Violence, Sex, and Drug and Alcohol use. They are open world games that involve choices & consequences and they allow the player to tackle various situations using styles of play including combat, diplomacy and/or stealth.

    The series draws it's inspiration from many areas including the Australian movie "Mad Max".

    If you have received this correspondence from me it is because I believe that you have some influence over the classification of computer games in Australia. As I believe the previous statement to be true, I also make the assumption that you are aware of the fact that computer games in Australia may carry the maximum classification of "MA15+" unlike other forms of media.

    On the 4th of July 2008, upon revue, the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) refused classification of this game rendering it unable to be sold in this country.

    The reason for the refusal as stated by the board is as follows:

    "The game contains the option to take a variety of "chems" using a device which is connected to the character's arm. Upon selection of the device a menu selection screen is displayed. Upon this screen is a list of "chems" that the player can take, by means of selection. These "chems" have positive effects and some negative effects (lowering of intelligence, or the character may become addicted to the "chem"). The positive effects include increase in strength, stamina, resistance to damage, agility and hit points.
    Corresponding with the list of various "chems" are small visual representation of the drugs, these include syringes, tablets, pill bottles, a crack-type pipe and blister packs. In the Board's view these realistic visual representations of drugs and their delivery method bring the "science-fiction" drugs in line with "real-world" drugs."

    It goes on to cite that the use of Morphine in the game is another reason to refuse classification as it is a "Proscribed Drug" highlighting the reward in game of using this drug (but neglecting to reinforce the negative effects in the final judgement).

    It was also stated that Fallout 3 contains strong violence and "Warrants an MA15+ level of classification" in relation to the violent content in the opinion of the minority. The majority stated that "the game could be accommodated an MA15+ level of classification" in relation to violence.

    From what I have read and seen of Fallout 3, this seems to be a fair assessment of the content of the game in its current form.

    What I find concerning is the consistency of the board in relation to the ratings that it gives to other computer games.

    A few for examples: (note: all classifications where taken from ""):

    BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2008 (M): When the character is injured the player applies a syringe containing drugs directly to the character's chest to restore the character's health.

    HALF-LIFE 2 2004 (MA15+): When the character is seriously injured, a computerised voice in the suit that the character is wearing states words to the effect of "Administering morphine."

    BIOSHOCK 2007 (MA15+): Within the first 15 minutes the character graphically injects plasmids (drugs) into his left arm to gain powers. This is an essential activity to progress further into the game. The character has a gauge on the screen which measures Adam (the fuel) essential to use these powers. When this fuel is low, the character injects himself again to top up this gauge.

    Last but not least...

    FALLOUT 1 AND FALLOUT 2 1997/1998 (M): All of the chems (drugs) listed in this assessment with all the positive and negative effects.

    I understand that the spirit of the classification legislation is to protect younger people and assist parents and guardians to make an informed choice in relation to what their wards are exposed to.

    I also believe that it is also the spirit of the legislation to enforce the freedom of the mature adult to choose what they wish to watch, read or play.

    As a mature gamer, I implore you to support Fallout 3, in it’s current state, to gain a classification that allows it to be sold in Australia in line with the above listed games which currently hold valid classifications.

    I also ask that you support an 'R' rating for computer games to bring parity to all forms of media classification. However I will cover this issue in more detail in the future.

    Yours Sincerely

    Rob Overall
  17. rcorporon

    rcorporon So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Jan 31, 2008
    I'm so glad we live in a time where our beloved government's are able to decide what I may or may not find offensive, and ensure that these potentially harmful products never reach my store shelves.

    Hooray for our "democratic" countries and all of our "freedoms."
  18. Phil the Nuka-Cola Dude

    Phil the Nuka-Cola Dude Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Jul 9, 2004
    Speaking of hilarious government censorship: I wonder how they'll castrate the game in Germany...
  19. URAGR8M8

    URAGR8M8 First time out of the vault

    Jun 18, 2008
    I'll sumarise what the panelists said on QandA that night:

    Nick Xenophon: I want to ban pokie machines so I also support banning video games - it's only logical...

    Barnaby Joyce: I'm right-wing so I say ban these games.

    Mark Arbib: I'm against censorship but I'd have to see the actual content of the games therefore I will say nothing (ie I am a coward who doesn't want to upset anyone).

    Christine Jackman: I wouldn't want my kids playing this stuff therefore ban it.

    Heather Ridout: I'm a real nutjob. I'm also against censorship but I'm a strange kind of left-wing nutjob - I'm pro child pornography but I'm against violent games. So REAL pictures of naked kids is liberating and FAKE violence will kill us all.

    I'm pissed off, I though the only high-profile person supporting this censorship was Michael Atkinson but basically each person said keep the games banned and don't introduce a new ratings system. It doesn't make sense that they have no problem with hardcore pornography featuring REAL people being legal but FAKE violence (and in fact in this case it's actually the FAKE drugs) is oh so horrible. There is no reason why both shouldn't be legal.

    Heather pissed me off the most with her BS about how she sees artistic merit in Bill Henson's photos featuring 12 year old naked boys and girls front on but anyone who sees artistic merit in a video game is wrong. I'm partially joking about the child pornography thing, but if people can call naked 12 year olds art then I sure as hell can call video games art. Fallout 3 may not be the best example for many, but they will ban other games in the future too - games with rich stories and characters which can say more than some photos of naked boys before their balls drop.
  20. golfmade

    golfmade It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Apr 9, 2008
    Ahh ok, was misinformed and drew the wrong conclusions from watching the video with said misinformation. Thanks for the clarification.