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, as well as drug use that is related to incentives and rewards. More specifically, games which may be Refused Classification include:

  • Detailed instruction or promotion in matters of crime or violence.
  • Depiction of rape.
  • The promotion or provision of instruction in pedophile 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 prescribed areas 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,[3] and the recipient, depending on the number of copies being imported, may receive up to A$110,000 in fines.[4]

The list depicted below is of games that are either still banned, or were initially banned but have been edited exclusively for Australia. Some of 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.

Due to the licensing of the International Age Rating Coalition software for developers to rate their own game, several hundred games have been banned from various app stores and due to said games being relatively minor they will not be listed here.[5]

List of video games refused classification[edit]

Current[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 or a classification has been revoked. Games in this list with a current classification are available for purchase in a censored or altered form.

Name Original Date of Certification[6] Reason Original Rating Present Rating
The Medium (2020) 2020-07-06 Banned through the IARC System.[7]
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Katana Zero (2019) 2019-04-18 Originally banned through the IARC System.[8]
Rating later appealed and overturned.[9]
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
OFLC small R18+.svg
Song of Memories (2018) 2018-08-15 Banned because of implied sexual violence. The game was available for purchase on Steam without classification until it was taken down on 12 October 2019.[10]
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Super Blood Hockey (2017) 2019-03-15 Initially released with an R18+[11] rating but was later banned because of drug use related to incentives and rewards.[12]
OFLC small R18+.svg
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Omega Labyrinth Z (2017) 2018-02-02 Banned because of interactive sexual activity involving a person who is, or appears to be, a child under 18 years.
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
The Bug Butcher (2016) 2016-07-20 Banned because of drug use related to incentives and rewards.
A censored version was later released with an M rating.[13]
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Australian Classification Mature (M).svg
Paranautical Activity (2016) 2016-01-05 Banned because of drug use related to incentives and rewards.[14]
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni (2015) 2016-08-09 Banned because of implied sexual violence related to incentives and rewards.[15][16]
The PC version of the game became available for purchase in the Steam store on 20 June 2017 without classification, until it was finally taken down on 10 August in the same year.
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death (2015) 2016-06-21 Banned because of interactive sexual activity involving a person who is, or appears to be, a child under 18 years.[17]
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number (2015) 2015-01-15 Banned because of a scene of sexual violence.[18][19] Devolver Digital reapplied for an International Age Rating Coalition rating ahead of the Nintendo Switch release in August 2019. The game is still banned in Australia, retaining the Refused Classification status.
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
South Park: The Stick of Truth (2013) 2013-09-19 Banned because of a scene of sexual violence involving minors.
A version was released replacing said scene with a card humorously explaining what has been cut.[20]
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
OFLC small R18+.svg
Saints Row IV (2013) 2013-07-29 Banned because of implied sexual violence and drug use related to incentives and rewards.
An appeal was lodged but failed, though the content involving sexual violence was overturned, the drug use was not.
An edited version was released lacking a mission involving "Alien Narcotics".[21][22]
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Australian Classification Mature 15+ (MA 15+).svg
State of Decay (2013) 2013-06-26 Banned because of drug use related to incentives and rewards.[23]
A censored version that changes the drugs to vitamins was later released with an R18+.[24]
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
OFLC small R18+.svg
Syndicate (2012) 2011-12-19 Banned because of high impact bloody violence.[25]
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (2011) 2011-04-27 Banned because of sexuality and nudity in relation to incentives and rewards.
A side quest was given an edit (where a choice to accept sex as a reward is automatically turned down) and the game was subsequently re-rated MA15+.[26]
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Australian Classification Mature 15+ (MA 15+).svg
Risen (2009) 2009-07-20 Banned because of sexual activity and drug use related to incentives and rewards.[27]
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Shellshock 2: Blood Trails (2009) 2008-06-23 Banned because of high impact bloody violence.[28]
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
CrimeCraft (2009) 2009-11-26 The always-on DRM game was banned because of drug use related to incentives and rewards.[29] The game's servers were shut down in 2017, rendering it unplayable worldwide.[30]
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
NecroVisioN (2009) 2009-04-08 Banned because of high impact bloody violence.[31]
A censored version was later released with an M rating.
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Australian Classification Mature (M).svg
Silent Hill: Homecoming (2008) 2008-09-22 Banned because of a high impact torture scene involving drilling into body parts.[32]
A censored version was later released with an MA15+, changing the angles of said scene.[33]
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Australian Classification Mature 15+ (MA 15+).svg
Dark Sector (2008) 2008-02-14 Banned because of high impact bloody violence.[34]
A censored version was later released with an MA15+.
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Australian Classification Mature 15+ (MA 15+).svg
Soldier of Fortune:
Payback
(2007)
2007-10-17 Banned because of high impact bloody violence.[35]
A censored version was later released with an MA15+ rating, disabling the ability to mutilate enemies.[36]
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Australian Classification Mature 15+ (MA 15+).svg
Marc Eckō's Getting Up:
Contents Under Pressure
(2006)
2005-11-19 Originally released with an MA15+.
Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock later appealed the rating, banning it for high impact themes involving the glorification of graffiti.[37] The game is still available to purchase on Steam and has not been removed from steam and nor has it been taken down.
Australian Classification Mature 15+ (MA 15+).svg
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Reservoir Dogs (2006) 2006-06-24 Banned because of high impact violence and torture.[38]
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
50 Cent: Bulletproof (2005) 2005-10-25 Banned because of high impact bloody violence.[39]
A censored version was later released with an MA15+.[40]
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Australian Classification Mature 15+ (MA 15+).svg
Narc (2005) 2005-04-09 Banned because of drug use related to incentives and rewards.[41]
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Blitz: The League (2005) 2007-01-18 Banned because of drug use related to incentives and rewards.[42]
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Leisure Suit Larry:
Magna Cum Laude
(2004)
2004-09-09 Banned because of sexuality and nudity in relation to incentives and rewards.
However, it is still available for purchase on Steam as of December 2019, albeit without a classification.[43]
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Manhunt (2003) 2003-10-22 Originally rated MA15+.
Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock later appealed the rating in September 2004, banning it because of high impact violence involving torture.[44]
Australian Classification Mature 15+ (MA 15+).svg
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Singles: Flirt Up Your Life (2003) 2004-10-21 Banned because of sexuality and nudity in relation to incentives and rewards.
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Postal 2 (2003) 2005-10-14 Banned because of high impact themes involving abhorrent and revolting content.
In 2012, the game became available for purchase on Steam without classification and has yet to be taken down as of December 2019.[45]
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
The Getaway (2002) 2002-11-22 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+.
Australian Classification Mature 15+ (MA 15+).svg
BMX XXX (2002) 2002-10-16 Banned because of high impact sexual references.
A censored version was later released with an MA15+.[46]
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Australian Classification Mature 15+ (MA 15+).svg
Enzai: Falsely Accused (2002) 2009-08-21 Banned because of sexual violence.
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Postal (1997) 1997-11-04 Banned because of high impact themes involving depictions of revolting and abhorrent content.
In 2012, the game became available for purchase on Steam without classification and has yet to be taken down as of December 2019.
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Phantasmagoria (1995) 1995-08-25 Banned because of a scene involving sexual violence.
In 2016, the game became available for purchase on Steam without classification and has yet to be taken down as of December 2019.[47]
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Dreamweb (1995) 1995-02-09 Banned because of a scene of sexual violence.
A censored edition was later released with an M rating.[48]
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Australian Classification Mature (M).svg
Voyeur (1995) 1995-02-09 Originally rated MA15+.
Later appealed and banned because of a scene of high impact sexual dialogue involving incest.[47]
Australian Classification Mature 15+ (MA 15+).svg
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg

Overturned[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[6] Reason Original Rating Present Rating
DayZ (2018) 2019-06-04 Originally passed with a MA15+, but was banned upon its PlayStation 4 release because of drug use related to incentives and rewards.
Edited worldwide with this edition receiving an MA15+.[49]
Australian Classification Mature 15+ (MA 15+).svg
We Happy Few (2018) 2018-05-21 Originally banned because of drug use related to incentives and rewards.[50] The game was re-rated R18+ after a review was conducted with input from Gearbox Software, the game's publisher.[51]
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
OFLC small R18+.svg
Outlast 2 (2017)[52][53][54] 2017-03-15 Originally banned because of implied sexual violence.
The game was resubmitted without the scene and received an R18+ rating. The updated rating reflects the modified version of the game that will be released worldwide. The developer has said that the scene was taken from an 'alpha' version.[55][56][57]
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
OFLC small R18+.svg
The House of the Dead: Overkill Extended Cut (2011) 2011-08-23 Originally banned due to high impact bloody violence.[58]
Sega successfully appealed the rating on the basis that the over the top violence mitigated the impact.
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Australian Classification Mature 15+ (MA 15+).svg
Mortal Kombat (2011) 2011-02-25 Originally banned because of high impact bloody violence.[59]
The Komplete Edition was later rated R18+ in 2013 after the said rating was introduced.
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
OFLC small R18+.svg
Aliens vs. Predator (2009) 2009-12-03 Originally banned because of high impact bloody violence.
Rating later appealed and overturned.[60]
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Australian Classification Mature 15+ (MA 15+).svg
F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin (2009) 2008-11-27 Originally banned because of high impact bloody violence.
The decision was later appealed on the basis that the violence was unrealistic.[61]
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Australian Classification Mature 15+ (MA 15+).svg
Left 4 Dead 2 (2009) 2009-09-15 Originally banned due to high impact bloody violence.
A version has been released using the same censoring as Germany.[62]
On 29 August 2014, the uncensored version was passed with an R18+.[63]
Australian Classification Mature 15+ (MA 15+).svg
OFLC small R18+.svg
Sexy Poker (2009) 2009-05-13 Originally banned because of nudity in relation to incentives and rewards.[64]
Edited worldwide with this edition receiving an M rating.
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Australian Classification Mature (M).svg
Fallout 3 (2007) 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).[65]
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Australian Classification Mature 15+ (MA 15+).svg
The Punisher (2005) 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+.
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Australian Classification Mature 15+ (MA 15+).svg
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004) 2004-10-02 Had its classification revoked following the Hot Coffee controversy.
Edited worldwide with this version of the game also achieving an MA15+.
Australian Classification Mature 15+ (MA 15+).svg
Australian Classification Mature 15+ (MA 15+).svg
Shellshock: Nam '67 (2004) 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.
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Australian Classification Mature 15+ (MA 15+).svg
Silverball: Product Version 8 (2003) 2003-11-21 Originally banned because of sexuality and nudity in relation to incentives and rewards.
Rating appealed and re-rated to an unrestricted M on the basis that the nude static images were incidental to play rather than as a reward.
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Australian Classification Mature (M).svg
Grand Theft Auto III (2001) 2001-11-28 Originally released uncut with an MA15+, it was later banned due to sexual violence involving prostitutes.[66]
A censored version lacking the ability to pick up prostitutes was later released with an MA15+.
On 26 September 2019, a version restoring the use of prostitutes was rated R18+.[67]
Australian Classification Mature 15+ (MA 15+).svg
OFLC small R18+.svg
Tender Loving Care (1998) 1998-07-30 Originally banned because of high impact sexual references and nudity.
Later submitted as a 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+.
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Australian Classification Mature 15+ (MA 15+).svg
Duke Nukem 3D (1996) 1996-05-02 Originally banned because of sexual violence.
Later released uncensored with an MA15+.[49]
Australian Classification Refused Classification (RC).svg
Australian Classification Mature 15+ (MA 15+).svg

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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