List of banned video games in Australia
Below is a list and summary of video games that have been Refused Classification (banned) within Australia.
Originally, video games in Australia could only be rated up to MA15+. At the time, the R18+ classification rating could be given to film, but a video game with content deemed fitting for the R18+ rating would be 'Refused Classification' due to an appropriate classification not being available for the medium.
In July and August 2011, all Australian state Attorney-Generals agreed to instate an R18+ rating for video games, which would be available by the end of 2011. Many games previously refused classification would now fit into the R18+ rating and, if the publisher chose to pay the reclassification fee, would theoretically be able to be sold in Australia. The date was later changed to allow the rating to be introduced at the beginning of 2013.
With the R18+ rating in place, it is expected fewer video games will be refused classification. Games may still be refused classification if deemed to contain material unsuitable for R18+ classification, such as depictions of sexual violence or the promotion of illegal drug use. More specifically, games which may be refused classification include:
- Detailed instruction or promotion in matters of crime or violence.
- The promotion or provision of instruction in paedophile activity.
- Descriptions or depictions of child sexual abuse or any other exploitative or offensive descriptions or depictions involving a person who is, or appears to be, a child under 18 years.
- Gratuitous, exploitative or offensive depictions of:
- (i) violence with a very high degree of impact or which are excessively frequent, prolonged or detailed;
- (ii) cruelty or real violence which are very detailed or which have an extremely high impact;
- (iii) sexual violence
- Depictions of practices such as bestiality
- Gratuitous, exploitative or offensive depictions of:
- (i) activity accompanied by fetishes or practices that are offensive or abhorrent;
- (ii) incest fantasies or other fantasies that are offensive or abhorrent
Classification is compulsory, and games refused classification by the ACB are banned for sale, hire or public exhibition, carrying a maximum fine of $275,000 and/or 10 years jail. It is, however, legal to possess RC games (except in Western Australia and parts of the Northern Territory), unless they contain illegal content (e.g. child pornography).
Material that is refused classification is put on the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service list of prohibited items. Any copies of such games found at the border will be seized, and the recipient, depending on the number of copies being imported, may receive up to A$110,000 in fines.
The list depicted below is of games that are either still banned, or were initially banned but have been edited exclusively for Australia. It should be noted that these games were banned before the introduction of the R18+ category; if most of these games were to be re-rated today, they would likely achieve the R18+ rating uncut. The second list is of games that have been eventually released unedited.
Currently banned/censored video games 
|50 Cent: Bulletproof||Banned due to a high degree of gory violence throughout. A censored version was later released.|
|Blitz: The League||Banned due to drug use related to incentives and rewards.|
|BMX XXX||Banned for high impact sexual references. A censored version was later released.|
|Dark Sector||Banned because of gory violence involving mutilations. A censored version was later released.|
|Dreamweb||Banned because of a scene of "sexualized violence". However, the game was censored, and re-released with an M rating in 1996.|
|The Getaway||Originally released uncut with a MA15+, it was later resubmitted and banned due to a scene of detailed torture. A censored version omitting this scene was later released with a MA15+.|
|Left 4 Dead 2||Refused classification due to relentlessly gory violence. An edited version has been released using the German cut. This version of the game is now less violent than its predecessor, which was released with a MA15+.|
|Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude||Banned due to sexuality and nudity in relation to incentives and rewards.|
|Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure||Originally released with a MA15+, Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock used his power to later appeal the decision to get it banned for high impact themes involving the glorification of graffiti.|
|Manhunt||Originally rated MA15+ but Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock later appealed the rating; it was banned afterwards because of high-impact violence involving torture. The publisher chose not to release Manhunt 2 in case it met the same fate as its predecessor.|
|NARC (2005)||Banned because of drug use related to incentives.|
|NecroVisioN||Banned because of relentlessly graphic violence. A censored version was later released with an M rating.|
|Postal||Banned due to depictions of revolting and abhorrent content.|
|Postal 2||Originally released unrated to some retail stores in Australia, when it was picked up for publishing in Australia it was banned because of excessive abhorrent content.|
|Phantasmagoria||Banned because of a scene involving rape/sexual violence.|
|Reservoir Dogs||Banned because of frequent depictions of realistic violence and disturbing scenes of torture.|
|Risen||Banned because of sexual activity and drug use related to incentives.|
|Shellshock 2: Blood Trails||Banned because of frequent and disturbing gory violence throughout.|
|Silent Hill: Homecoming||Banned because of a scene of very disturbing content involving drilling into body parts. Konami has since modified this part of the game to meet MA15+ guidelines.|
|Singles: Flirt Up Your Life||Banned because of sexuality and nudity in relation to incentives and rewards.|
|Soldier of Fortune: Payback||Banned because of high impact violence involving graphic depictions of dismemberment. Activision has since modified the game to meet MA15+ guidelines.|
|Syndicate||Banned for graphic violence including depictions of frequent mutilations.|
|The Witcher 2||Banned because of sex related to rewards. A side quest was given a minor edit (changing the context of sex being used as an incentive) and the game was subsequently rerated MA15+.|
|Voyeur||Originally rated MA15+ but later appealed and banned because of a scene of explicit sexual dialogue involving incest.|
Unbanned video games 
The list below are of games that have been eventually released unedited, rating appealed or the worldwide edition later being released uncut and being identical to other countries.
|Aliens vs. Predator||Originally banned because of violence involving graphic depictions of mutilation. Rating later appealed and overturned, now rated MA15+.|
|Fallout 3||Originally banned due to drug use in relation to real world drugs and connection to incentive/rewards. Edited worldwide due to the small change needed (the name of morphine was changed to Med-X). Therefore the same game that was rated 17+/18+ in other countries was rated MA15+ in Australia.|
|F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin||Originally banned because of frequent and gory violence, Warner Bros. Interactive later appealed the decision and received an MA15+ uncut rating on the basis that the violence was unrealistic.|
|Grand Theft Auto III||Originally banned because of the use of prostitutes. A censored version was later released. PC version was released uncut with MA15+.|
|Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas||Had its classification revoked following the Hot Coffee controversy. Edited worldwide with this version of the game also achieving a MA15+.|
|Grand Theft Auto: Vice City||Pre-Censored before submission because of the use of prostitutes. In 2010 the game was released uncut again receiving a MA15+.|
|Grand Theft Auto IV||Pre-censored before submission because of sex scenes involving prostitutes. An uncut version was later released for the PC with an MA15+. A patch was later released to completely uncensor the PS3 version and the 360 version. The complete edition is fully uncut and all its expansions are unedited with an MA15+.|
|The House of the Dead: Overkill Extended Cut||Originally banned due to relentlessly graphic and detailed depictions of violence and gore. Sega successfully appealed the rating and the game is now rated MA15+ uncut on the basis that the over the top violence mitigated the impact.|
|Mortal Kombat (2011)||Originally banned due to the graphic, realistic depictions of mutilations and gore performed by the fatalities. Re-rated R18+ uncensored in 2013 after the rating's introduction.|
|The Punisher||Originally banned because of disturbing and graphic scenes involving torture. Edited worldwide due to troubles with other countries as well (such as being threatened with an AO rating in America and also being threatened as being objectionable by the UK's BBFC) and this edition was passed through with an MA15+. Australia received the same version as Europe.|
|Sexy Poker||Originally banned from being released on WiiWare due to nudity being used as an incentive. Edited worldwide and this edition received an M rating.|
|Shellshock: Nam '67||Originally banned because of themes and violence that were high in impact; however, it was re-rated MA15+ uncut when the game was resubmitted and objectionable content was shown within proper context.|
|Tender Loving Care||Originally banned because of high impact sexual references and nudity; however, due to being more of an interactive live-action movie than a videogame, it was later submitted as an interactive DVD and due to being under different guidelines it was re-rated MA15+ uncut.|
See also 
- Australian Classification Board
- Australian Classification Review Board
- List of banned video games
- Censorship in Australia
- Video gaming in Australia
- The Sydney Morning Herald. 22 July 2011 http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/games/historic-agreement-on-r18-video-games-20110722-1hs78.html
|url=missing title (help).
- Kozanecki, James (15 March 2011). "Aussie customs to seize Mortal Kombat imports". Gamespot. Retrieved 2011-03-15.
- Ramsay, Randalph (29 November 2005). "50 Cent shot down by Australian censors". CNET Reviews. CNET.com.au. Retrieved 2006-08-24.
- "Games: 0 to 9 | Censor". Refused-Classification.com. Retrieved 2011-10-26.
- Anthony Larme. "Games Censorship Collection - Resources - Computer Games". Anthonylarme.tripod.com. Retrieved 2011-10-26.
- Ramadge, Andrew (2009-09-17). "Left 4 Dead 2 refused classification in Australia". News.com.au. Retrieved 2009-09-17.
- "EA Australia confirms it won't challenge Classification Board decision banning game; shooter still on schedule for a February 24 release in New Zealand".
- [dead link]