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Australia Bans ‘Soldier of Fortune: Pay Back’ Videogame


As Asher Moses reports in The Age, Australia’s censors have banned yet another videogame:

Australia’s draconian classification regime for video games has taken yet another scalp, with local retailers banned from selling the upcoming shooter title Soldier of Fortune: Pay Back. The highly anticipated game, which was to be released on PC, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, was refused classification by the Classification Board for being too violent. Aside from Singapore, which is reviewing its classification system, Australia is understood to be the only country in the western world that does not have an R18+ rating for games. As a result, games that do not meet the MA15+ standard – such as those with excessive violence or sexual content – are simply banned from sale. This is despite recent figures from the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia (IEAA) showing the average Australian gamer is 28, and over 50 per cent of gamers are over the age of 18.

While Solider of Fortune: Pay Back certain sounds very violent, the decision by the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) should, of course, have placed this game in an R18+ category, if only Australia had such a rating for games. Instead, games like this are refused classification altogether, implicitly suggesting that videogames are meant for kids (by having no adult game category) despite, as Moses notes above, the average age for gamers being well over 18 in Australia! Really, it’s time for the OFLC (and the Governors General at State and Federal levels, who’d need to push such a plan) to take note of the actual demographics of game players in Australia, and update the ratings system accordingly.

Of course, as comments on The Age‘s Screen Play Blog suggest, officially banning this game will likely result in it being downloaded illegally or simply purchased overseas – and legally – in pretty much any other English-speaking country.

[Via Peter Black]

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  1. Downloaded illegally is right.

    It’s also a lot of fun. Bloody, but fun.

    Australia definitely needs a rating system for games. A proper one. I am so sick to death of people dictating what I’m allowed to play on my own damned computer. Grr!

  2. I remember buying Duke Nukem 3D years ago as an adolescent, to find that the Australian version had the parental lock already utilised, hiding much of the game’s content. This was apparently in lieu of the Port Arthur massacre. Australian gamers get punished because one maniac puts himself in the Guinness Book of Records.

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