Monday, July 28, 2008

Opinion: What's With All the Banning, Australia?

It came out in early July that Australia has banned Fallout 3 in their country. Fallout 3 was officially banned because of drug use, although the violence could have gotten it banned as well. It crossed my mind then that they seem to ban or restrict a lot of games.

Australia bans games usually because of violence or sexuality or a combination of both. Sometimes a censored version of the game is later released in Australia.

At least 26 games have been banned in Australia, including all of the GTAs since GTA III, Duke Nukem 3D, both Manhunts, and 50 Cent: Bulletproof amongst others.

But what's with all the banning? I couldn't find any country that banned more games. Germany bans games that have Nazi references and a few just for being really violent. But I can understand wanting to ban Nazi references in Germany.

Brazil is actually the second largest game banner with 12 banned games, but most of this is the result of a man in 1999 going on a killing spree which the government believed linked with the man's love of video games.

But Australia? Apparently, one of the problems is that Australia doesn't have an equivalent M rating for video games. They do have an R rating equivalent for movies, but not for video games.

This issue was just recently brought up when citizens questioned the Australian government why there wasn't a higher rating for video games. The response was pretty much "Nobody pays attention to video game ratings so having a higher rating would just let kids get corrupted by games meant for adults."

This sounds like the government should work more on penalties for retailers not enforcing the game ratings instead of penalizing Australian gamers and depriving them of some great games.

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