Australia Bans Eidos' Reservoir Dogs Game

From GamaSutra:

Australia Bans Eidos' Reservoir Dogs Game

Australia Bans Eidos' Reservoir Dogs Game According to a posting at the Australian Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC), the entity has refused to give official classification to Eidos' upcoming Atari Australia-distributed video game version of Reservoir Dogs, meaning that the game cannot be sold in stores.

The game's application for classification was filed by Atari, the game's publisher in Australia, but it appears that application failed to comply with the country's classification guidelines (G, PG, M, MA15+), since the content was apparently too extreme to do so. However, the official OFLC explanation of the reasons for the banning is yet to be posted on the Government institution's website. A report on the APC website notes that, when asked if Atari planned to resubmit an amended version of the game for reclassification, PR and Promotions Manager David Wildgoose replied: �That�s the end of the matter.�

Due to the game's unclassified status, the decision by the OFLC has made it illegal to sell or rent the game in Australia. The announcement is particularly notable because Reservoir Dogs is not likely to be released until at least September, according to many release lists, so it seems likely that Atari filed a beta version for classification ahead of time to avoid the recent troubles it ran into with Marc Ecko's Getting Up, which "was refused classification three days before its worldwide release", according to a statement made at the time.

Due to a quirk in Australia's classification system, it is impossible for game titles to be rated MA18+, a mature rating which can be applied to games, meaning that games in Australia can either be rated MA15+ or banned entirely. In recent months, this topic has come under more intense discussion in Australia, Electronic Frontiers Australia renewing the call for a MA18+ rating to be instituted, since Australia is one of the only major Western countries not to allow 'adult' classification of games.

Thus, the country has one of the strictest histories of video game censorship in the Western world, outside of Germany, having previously banned titles including Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Carmageddon, Manhunt, and NARC.

Mario's picture

Its disappointing this continues to be an issue in Australia.

New Zealand has an R18 rating, but the classification office still has the ability to ban games if they consider them harmful to society (the games I recall being banned are Manhunt and Postal).

We also have legislation in place which makes it illegal to sell games to persons below the rated age, or to buy them for someone below the rated age (even if you are the parent). Though in reality this isn't really that well enforced (this is slowly changing though).

If Australia were to adopt this system then it would provide a mechanism for adult Australians to access more mature content, while putting additional controls in place to ensure minors didn't end up with inappropriate material.

Its frustrating to see games not really being taken seriously (because games are only for kids, right?) year after year.

lorien's picture

Our Attorney General is a wonderful bloke... Just ask him about Escape from Woomera if you want to really piss him off [:)]

lorien's picture

I've been told it's Phillip Ruddock who decides whether we have an R rating. He's same guy who was minister for immigration when Sharaz Kayani doused himself with petrol and set himself on fire in front of parliment house...


The Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs and the minister Phillip Ruddock have been quoted on various occasions as estimating that it will cost Australian taxpayers $750,000 (US$383,925) to provide the necessary care and medical treatment for Mr. Kayani's 10-year-old daughter Annum who has cerebral palsy. But although Mr. Kayani has written the Australian government pledging not to expect "one cent" from the authorities for care for his daughter, this had no impact on his application, which has been pending since September 2000.

Guess why he set himself on fire... [:(]

souri's picture

I haven't even heard that this game was being made, and it's peaked my interest a bit since I really liked the movie. (Off to find out more on the game)

LiveWire's picture

the latest update on Gamasutra about this includes some examples of the violent content that lead to this game being banned. Some pretty horriffic stuff in there, so I can totally see why they wouldn't want this played by minors. Certainly this is
an adult's game that was banned because it is unsuitable for children, if you need a more blatant example of the flaw in the Australain rating system, I don't know where you'll find it.

souri's picture

Anyone else think this will all be a non-issue in the very near future, now that digital distribution is becoming a more common and better alternative, considering the markup we pay on games when we buy from local retailers?

Caroo's picture

Logically - you're all correct. There should be a 18+ rating for games so that the adults can enjoy adult games [though...truly.. as most games banned has been snuff/torture related, I don't think "Mature" or "Adult" is the right way to categorize this stuff.]

These games are not for kids. They where never designed for kids and more to the point games are getting to the point where the frequency of games aimed at adults is quite high. Therefore the rating system needs to be reviewed and retooled.. it WILL happen.. but only when the ratings board gets refreshed with new blood.

personally, I think anything Tarrenteno makes or assists with is a load of streaming shit. But I?m a vast minority on this. Most love him like the sun shines out of his ass.