Friday, June 27, 2008

Shellshock 2 Banned In Australia

Atari's Vietnam War shooter Shellshock 2: Blood Trails has been refused classification by the Australian Office of Film and Literature Classification. This has the effect under state and territory law of banning the sale or advertising of the game within Australia.

Shellshock 2 joins a long line of videogames banned within Australia, including titles such as Manhunt, Manhunt 2, Mark Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure, Reservoir Dogs and recently Dark Sector.

The highest rating for videogames in Australia is M15+. While films classified by the OFLC can receive ratings of R18+ and X, games that are deemed unsuitable for persons under the age of 18 receive no rating at all. OFLC guidelines also provide that material which would be classified M15+ in a film may receive a higher rating in a videogame by dint of being interactive.

By all accounts Shellshock 2 is a rather mediocre game, which comes as no surprise when you learn that Atari is behind the wheel. Unfortunately, as a result of the OFLC's decision and current censorship law, Australians won't get the opportunity to decide for themselves.

If you want to see change in Australian censorship law:
* write to your Federal Member or Senator to request an R18+ classification for videogames.
* contact your local member of your state or territory government to request a change to state sale and advertising laws.

Thanks to Kotaku for the tip-off.


Nismo said...

It still confuses me knowing that a game like Dark Sector got banned while Gears of War, Ninja Gaiden 2 and plenty of other games with arguably a lot more gore than Dark Sector has, are still on the market.

It is something most of us have been saying for far too long now but that R rating really needs to be included for our rating system. It's even more annoying when you think that it is only ONE Attorney General who is blocking it too...

Greg Tannahill said...

There's not a thing about current videogame rating that seems sensible to me.

If you live in Canberra, I'm about to making a much more specific suggestion about what people can do to change censorship laws. Stay tuned.

Nismo said...

Late reply is late, but I am Canberran so I look forward to the suggestion. I think I have a fair idea of what that might be, but we'll see. ;)

I agree though, the fact that gaming doesn't have an R 18+ or Adult rating of some kind just doesn't make sense. Not only are games being rated inconsistently as I alluded to in my last comment, but it just seems idiotic almost that there isn't one.

It would be interesting to see if one were to be included in the classification system if that particular Attorney General wasn't there. From what I have heard it is only him stopping the vote so if he wasn't there, would we have it? Obvious answer seems like it would be a yes but honestly, I'm not so sure. I mean it is almost as if the misconception is still there that gaming is supposedly irrelevant as an entertainment medium still. Anyway...

Greg Tannahill said...

While the Attorney-General is fairly prominent in the debate, there's significant pressure coming out of the Liberal Party and certain politicians in Queensland regarding this matter. It's something where leadership and common sense needs to triumph to move things forward.