List of banned video games in Australia

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Below is a list and summary of video games that have been Refused Classification (banned) within Australia.

Overview[edit]

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 Attorneys-General agreed to instate an R18+ rating for video games, which would be available by the end of 2011.[1] 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 sell their game in Australia. The date was later changed to allow the rating to be introduced at the beginning of 2013.[2]

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 A.C.B 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 R.C games (except in Western Australia and parts of the Northern Territory).

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.[3]

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 some of these games were to be re-rated today, they would likely receive the R18+ rating. The second list is of games that have been eventually released unedited, rating appealed or the worldwide edition later being released uncut and being identical to other countries.

Lists[edit]

Currently banned/censored video games[edit]

The list below includes games where the worldwide edition has been banned for sale in Australia because either: the game has been refused classification, a classification has been revoked, or the game has received a local edit that causes it to differ from the worldwide edition ("censored").

Name Original Date of Certification[4] Reason Original Rating Present Rating
50 Cent: Bulletproof 2005-10-25 Banned due to high impact gory violence.[5]
A censored version was later released.[6]
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
MA.svg
(Edited)
Blitz: The League 2007-01-18 Banned due to drug use related to incentives and rewards.
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
BMX XXX 2002-10-16 Banned for high impact sexual references.
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
Dark Sector 2008-02-14 Banned because of high impact gory violence involving mutilations.
A censored version was later released.[7]
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
MA.svg
(Edited)
Dreamweb 1995-02-09 Banned because of a scene of "sexualized violence".
A censored edition was re-released after gaining an M rating.[8]
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
M.svg
(Edited)
Getaway, The 2003-02-03 Originally released uncut with an MA15+, it was later resubmitted and banned due to a scene of high impact torture.
A censored version omitting this scene was later released with an MA15+.
MA.svg
(Unedited)
MA.svg
(Edited)
Left 4 Dead 2 2009-09-15 Refused classification due to high impact gory violence.
A version has been released using the same censoring as Germany.[9]
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
MA.svg
(Edited)
Leisure Suit Larry:
Magna Cum Laude
2004-09-09 Banned due to sexuality and nudity in relation to incentives and rewards.
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
Marc Eckō's Getting Up:
Contents Under Pressure
2005-11-19 Originally released with an MA15+.
Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock used his power to appeal the decision, getting it banned for high impact themes involving the glorification of graffiti.
MA.svg
(Unedited)
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
Manhunt 2003-10-22 Originally rated MA15+.
Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock later appealed the rating, banning it because of high-impact violence involving torture.
MA.svg
(Unedited)
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
NARC (2005) 2005-04-09 Banned due to drug use related to incentives and rewards.
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
NecroVisioN 2009-04-08 Banned because of high impact graphic violence.
A censored version was later released with an M rating.
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
M.svg
(edited)
Postal 1997-11-04 Banned due to depictions of revolting and abhorrent content.
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
Postal 2 2005-10-14 Originally released unrated to some retail stores in Australia.
When picked up for publishing in Australia it was banned because of excessive abhorrent and revolting content.
The game and its expansions became available for purchase in the Steam store in 2012 without classification. It is yet to be taken down.[10]
UNRATED
(Unedited)
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
Phantasmagoria 1995-08-25 Banned because of a scene involving rape/sexual violence.
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
Reservoir Dogs 2006-06-24 Banned because of high impact violence and disturbing scenes of torture.
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
Risen 2009-07-20 Banned because of sexual activity and drug use related to incentives and rewards.
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
Saints Row IV 2013-07-29 Banned because of sexual violence and drug use related to incentives/rewards. An appeal was lodged but failed.
An edited version was released lacking said content.[11]
[12]
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
MA.svg
(Edited)
State of Decay 2013-06-26 Banned due to drug use related to incentives and rewards.
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
OFLC small R18+.svg
(Edited)
Shellshock 2: Blood Trails 2008-06-23 Banned because of high impact gory violence throughout.
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
Silent Hill: Homecoming 2008-09-22 Banned because of a high impact torture scene involving drilling into body parts.
Konami has since modified this part of the game.
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
MA.svg
(Edited)
Singles: Flirt Up Your Life 2004-10-21 Banned because of sexuality and nudity in relation to incentives and rewards.
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
Soldier of Fortune:
Payback
2007-10-17 Banned because of high impact violence involving graphic depictions of dismemberment.
Activision has since modified the game to receive an MA15+ rating.
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
MA.svg
(Edited)
South Park: The Stick of Truth 2013-09-19 Banned due to a scene of sexual violence involving minors.
A version was released replacing said scene with a title card.
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
OFLC small R18+.svg
(Edited)
Syndicate 2011-12-19 Banned for high impact violence including depictions of frequent mutilations.[13]
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
Witcher 2, The 2011-04-27 Banned because of sex related to incentive and rewards.
A side quest was given a minor edit (changing the context of sex being used as an incentive) and the game was subsequently re-rated MA15+.
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
MA.svg
(Edited)
Voyeur 1995-02-09 Originally rated MA15+.
Later appealed and banned because of a scene of high impact sexual dialogue involving incest.
MA.svg
(Unedited)
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION

Unbanned/uncensored video games[edit]

The list below includes games where the Australian edition is identical to that of other countries because either: the rating has successfully been appealed, the worldwide edition has later been released in Australia unedited ("uncut"), or the game has received a worldwide edit.

Name Original Date of Certification[4] Reason Original Rating Present Rating
Aliens vs. Predator 2009-12-03 Originally banned because of high impact violence involving graphic depictions of mutilation.
Rating later appealed and overturned.
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
MA.svg
(Unedited)
Duke Nukem 3D 1996-05-02 Originally banned before it was edited to reduce the sex and violence levels.
Later released uncensored.
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
MA.svg
(Unedited)
Fallout 3 2008-07-04 Originally banned due to drug use related to incentives and rewards.
Edited worldwide due to the small change needed (the name of morphine was changed to Med-X).
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
MA.svg
(Edited)
F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin 2008-11-27 Originally banned because of high impact gory violence.
The decision was later appealed on the basis that the violence was unrealistic.
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
MA.svg
(Unedited)
Grand Theft Auto III 2001-11-28 Originally banned due to sexual violence involving prostitutes.
A censored version was later released.. The PC version was later released uncut.
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
MA.svg
(Unedited)
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas 2004-10-02 Had its classification revoked following the Hot Coffee controversy.
Edited worldwide with this version of the game also achieving an MA15+.
MA.svg
(Unedited)
MA.svg
(Edited)
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City 2002-11-11 Pre-Censored before submission because of the use of prostitutes.
In 2010 the game was re-released uncut, again receiving an MA15+.[14]
MA.svg
(Edited)
MA.svg
(Unedited)
Grand Theft Auto IV 2007-12-12 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+.
MA.svg
(Edited)
MA.svg
(Unedited)
House of the Dead, The: Overkill Extended Cut 2011-08-23 Originally banned due to high impact gory violence.
Sega successfully appealed the rating on the basis that the over the top violence mitigated the impact.
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
MA.svg
(Unedited)
Mortal Kombat (2011) 2011-02-25 Originally banned due to the high impact gory violence.
The Komplete Edition was later rated R18+ in 2013 after the said rating was introduced.
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
OFLC small R18+.svg
(Unedited)
Punisher, The 2004-11-23 Originally banned because of high impact violence involving torture.
Edited worldwide due to international trouble (threats of receiving an AO rating in America and being deemed as "objectionable material" in the UK).
This edition was passed, receiving an MA15+.
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
MA.svg
(Edited)
Sexy Poker 2009-05-13 Originally banned from being released on WiiWare due to nudity being used as an incentive.
Edited worldwide with this edition receiving an M rating.
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
M.svg
(Edited)
Shellshock: Nam '67 2004-06-23 Originally banned because of high impact themes and violence.
Re-rated MA15+ when the game was resubmitted and objectionable content was shown within proper context.
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
MA.svg
(Unedited)
Tender Loving Care 1998-07-30 Originally banned because of high impact sexual references and nudity.
Later submitted as an interactive DVD due to being more of an interactive live-action movie than a videogame.
Due to being under different guidelines it was re-rated MA15+.
REFUSED
CLASSIFICATION
MA.svg
(Unedited)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "'Historic agreement' on R18+ video games". The Sydney Morning Herald. 22 July 2011. 
  2. ^ http://www.kotaku.com.au/2012/02/r18-scheduled-to-kick-in-january-2013/#more-490473
  3. ^ Kozanecki, James (15 March 2011). "Aussie customs to seize Mortal Kombat imports". Gamespot. Retrieved 2011-03-15. 
  4. ^ a b http://www.classification.gov.au/Pages/Search.aspx
  5. ^ Ramsay, Randalph (29 November 2005). "50 Cent shot down by Australian censors". CNET Reviews. CNET.com.au. Retrieved 2006-08-24. 
  6. ^ "Games: 0 to 9 | Censor". Refused-Classification.com. Retrieved 2011-10-26. 
  7. ^ "Dark Sector Gets Un-banned in Australia". GamePolitics.com. 2008-07-08. Retrieved 2013-06-19. 
  8. ^ Anthony Larme. "Games Censorship Collection - Resources - Computer Games". Anthonylarme.tripod.com. Retrieved 2011-10-26. 
  9. ^ Ramadge, Andrew (2009-09-17). "Left 4 Dead 2 refused classification in Australia". News.com.au. Retrieved 2009-09-17. 
  10. ^ Gillooly, John. "Refused Classification game Postal 2 appears on Steam". PC Authority. Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  11. ^ Dudley, Jennifer (June 25, 2013). "New Saints Row video game banned from classification". Switched On (Technology) (www.news.com.au). Retrieved 2013-06-26. 
  12. ^ Wright, Steve (July 29, 2013). "Saints Row IV refused classification for a second time in Australia". http://stevivor.com/. Retrieved 2013-07-29. 
  13. ^ "EA Australia confirms it won't challenge Classification Board decision banning game; shooter still on schedule for a February 24 release in New Zealand". 
  14. ^ [1][dead link]