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. It should be noted that 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
50 Cent: Bulletproof 2005-10-25 Banned because of high impact bloody violence.[7]
A censored version was later released with an MA15+.[8]
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
MA 15+ classification tag from OFLC.svg
Blitz: The League 2007-01-18 Banned because of drug use related to incentives and rewards.[9]
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
BMX XXX 2002-10-16 Banned because of high impact sexual references.
A censored version was later released with an MA15+.[10]
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
MA 15+ classification tag from OFLC.svg
The Bug Butcher 2016-07-20 Banned because of drug use related to incentives and rewards.
A censored version was later released with an M rating.[11]
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
Australian OFLC M logo.svg
Crimecraft 2009-11-26 Banned because of drug use related to incentives and rewards.[12]
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
Dark Sector 2008-02-14 Banned because of high impact bloody violence.[13]
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
MA 15+ classification tag from OFLC.svg
Dreamweb 1995-02-09 Banned because of a scene of sexual violence.
A censored edition was later released with an M rating.[14]
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
Australian OFLC M logo.svg
Enzai: Falsely Accused 2009-08-21 Banned because of sexual violence.
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number 2015-01-15 Banned because of a scene of sexual violence.[15]
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
Leisure Suit Larry:
Magna Cum Laude
2004-09-09 Banned because of sexuality and nudity in relation to incentives and rewards. But is available to purchase on steam.[16]
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
Marc Eckō's Getting Up:
Contents Under Pressure
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. But is available to purchase on steam.[17]
MA 15+ classification tag from OFLC.svg
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
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.[18]
MA 15+ classification tag from OFLC.svg
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death 2016-06-21 Banned because of interactive sexual activity involving a person who is, or appears to be, a child under 18 years.[19]
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
Narc (2005) 2005-04-09 Banned because of drug use related to incentives and rewards.[20]
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
NecroVisioN 2009-04-08 Banned because of high impact bloody violence.[21]
A censored version was later released with an M rating.
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
Australian OFLC M logo.svg
Omega Labyrinth Z 2018-02-02 Banned because of interactive sexual activity involving a person who is, or appears to be, a child under 18 years.
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
Paranautical Activity 2016-01-05 Banned because of drug use related to incentives and rewards.[22]
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
Postal 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.
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
Postal 2 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.[23]
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
Phantasmagoria 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.[24]
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
Reservoir Dogs 2006-06-24 Banned because of high impact violence and torture.[25]
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
Risen 2009-07-20 Banned because of sexual activity and drug use related to incentives and rewards.[26]
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
Saints Row IV 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".[27][28]
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
MA 15+ classification tag from OFLC.svg
Song of Memories 2018-08-15 Banned. Full explanation forthcoming.[29]
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
State of Decay 2013-06-26 Banned because of drug use related to incentives and rewards.[30]
A censored version that changes the drugs to vitamins was later released with an R18+.[31]
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
OFLC small R18+.svg
Shellshock 2: Blood Trails 2008-06-23 Banned because of high impact bloody violence.[32]
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
Silent Hill: Homecoming 2008-09-22 Banned because of a high impact torture scene involving drilling into body parts.[33]
A censored version was later released with an MA15+, changing the angles of said scene.[34]
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
MA 15+ classification tag from OFLC.svg
Singles: Flirt Up Your Life 2004-10-21 Banned because of sexuality and nudity in relation to incentives and rewards.
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
Soldier of Fortune:
Payback
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]
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
MA 15+ classification tag from OFLC.svg
South Park: The Stick of Truth 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.[37]
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
OFLC small R18+.svg
Syndicate 2011-12-19 Banned because of high impact bloody violence.[38]
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings 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+.[39]
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
MA 15+ classification tag from OFLC.svg
Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni 2016-08-09 Banned because of implied sexual violence related to incentives and rewards.[40][41]
The PC version of the game became available for purchase in the Steam store on June 20, 2017 without classification, until it was finally taken down on August 10 in the same year.
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
Voyeur 1995-02-09 Originally rated MA15+.
Later appealed and banned because of a scene of high impact sexual dialogue involving incest.[24]
MA 15+ classification tag from OFLC.svg
Refused Classification Rating.jpg

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
Aliens vs. Predator 2009-12-03 Originally banned because of high impact bloody violence.
Rating later appealed and overturned.[42]
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
MA 15+ classification tag from OFLC.svg
Duke Nukem 3D 1996-05-02 Originally banned because of sexual violence.
Later released uncensored with an MA15+.
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
MA 15+ classification tag from OFLC.svg
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).[43]
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
MA 15+ classification tag from OFLC.svg
F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin 2008-11-27 Originally banned because of high impact bloody violence.
The decision was later appealed on the basis that the violence was unrealistic.[44]
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
MA 15+ classification tag from OFLC.svg
Grand Theft Auto III 2001-11-28 Originally released uncut, it was later banned due to sexual violence involving prostitutes.[45]
A censored version was later released with an MA15+.
The PC version was later released uncut also with an MA15+.
MA 15+ classification tag from OFLC.svg
MA 15+ classification tag from OFLC.svg
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 15+ classification tag from OFLC.svg
MA 15+ classification tag from OFLC.svg
The House of the Dead: Overkill Extended Cut 2011-08-23 Originally banned due to high impact bloody violence.[46]
Sega successfully appealed the rating on the basis that the over the top violence mitigated the impact.
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
MA 15+ classification tag from OFLC.svg
Left 4 Dead 2 2009-09-15 Originally banned due to high impact bloody violence.
A version has been released using the same censoring as Germany.[47]
On 29 August 2014, the uncensored version was passed with an R18+.[48]
MA 15+ classification tag from OFLC.svg
OFLC small R18+.svg
Mortal Kombat (2011) 2011-02-25 Originally banned because of high impact bloody violence.[49]
The Komplete Edition was later rated R18+ in 2013 after the said rating was introduced.
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
OFLC small R18+.svg
Outlast 2[50][51][52] 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.[53][54][55]
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
OFLC small R18+.svg
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 Rating.jpg
MA 15+ classification tag from OFLC.svg
Sexy Poker 2009-05-13 Originally banned because of nudity in relation to incentives and rewards.[56]
Edited worldwide with this edition receiving an M rating.
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
Australian OFLC M logo.svg
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 Rating.jpg
MA 15+ classification tag from OFLC.svg
Silverball: Product Version 8 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.
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
Australian OFLC M logo.svg
Tender Loving Care 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+.
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
MA 15+ classification tag from OFLC.svg
We Happy Few 2018-05-21 Originally banned because of drug use related to incentives and rewards.[57] The game was re-rated R18+ after a review was conducted with input from Gearbox Software, the game's publisher.[58]
Refused Classification Rating.jpg
OFLC small R18+.svg

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. ^ "Frequently asked questions—importing and exporting". 
  4. ^ Kozanecki, James (15 March 2011). "Aussie customs to seize Mortal Kombat imports". Gamespot. Retrieved 2011-03-15. 
  5. ^ "Australia bans 220 video games in four months". ABC News. 2015-06-30. Retrieved 2017-04-19. 
  6. ^ a b http://www.classification.gov.au/Pages/Search.aspx
  7. ^ Ramsay, Randalph (29 November 2005). "50 Cent shot down by Australian censors". CNET Reviews. CNET.com.au. Retrieved 2006-08-24. 
  8. ^ "Games: 0 to 9 | Censor". Refused-Classification.com. Retrieved 2011-10-26. 
  9. ^ https://www.gamespot.com/articles/blitz-banned-in-australia/1100-6164484/
  10. ^ "View Title - Australian classification". Australian Classification Board. Retrieved 2015-01-07. 
  11. ^ http://www.refused-classification.com/censorship/games/b.html#bug-butcher
  12. ^ https://www.gamespot.com/articles/crimecraft-rubbed-out-in-australia/1100-6241564/
  13. ^ "Dark Sector Gets-banned in Australia". GamePolitics.com. 2008-07-08. Retrieved 2013-06-19. 
  14. ^ Anthony Larme. "Games Censorship Collection - Resources - Computer Games". Anthonylarme.tripod.com. Retrieved 2011-10-26. 
  15. ^ http://www.classification.gov.au/Pages/View.aspx?sid=RfGswWYF5cPC5o5j1oGJGw%253d%253d&ncdctx=o6%2bfrfTanKlJxlJM8G9sJBYafpLUo5bsNE5eTqkanXBSB%252fd9Gqd%2bXcXXwLlLfZlc
  16. ^ https://www.gamespot.com/articles/leisure-suit-larry-banned-in-australia/1100-6110243/
  17. ^ http://www.smh.com.au/news/breaking/graffiti-game-banned/2006/02/15/1139890798010.html
  18. ^ https://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/09/30/oz_manhunt_ban/
  19. ^ http://www.kotaku.com.au/2016/06/why-that-game-was-refused-classification-in-australia/
  20. ^ http://edition.cnn.com/2005/TECH/fun.games/04/22/narc/index.html
  21. ^ https://www.gamespot.com/articles/update-necrovision-banned-in-australia/1100-6207872/
  22. ^ "View Title | Australian Classification". www.classification.gov.au. Retrieved 2016-10-16. 
  23. ^ Gillooly, John. "Refused Classification game Postal 2 appears on Steam". PC Authority. Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  24. ^ a b https://www.kotaku.com.au/2017/03/a-look-back-at-some-of-the-games-australia-has-banned/
  25. ^ https://www.cnet.com/au/news/reservoir-dogs-game-banned-in-australia/
  26. ^ http://kotaku.com/5334595/risen-banned-in-australia-sexual-activity-and-drug-use-cited
  27. ^ Dudley, Jennifer (25 June 2013). "New Saints Row video game banned from classification". Switched On (Technology). www.news.com.au. Retrieved 2013-06-26. 
  28. ^ Wright, Steve (29 July 2013). "Saints Row IV refused classification for a second time in Australia". stevivor.com/. Retrieved 2013-07-29. 
  29. ^ "View Title | Australian Classification". www.classification.gov.au. Retrieved 2018-08-16. 
  30. ^ https://www.gamespot.com/articles/state-of-decay-banned-in-australia/1100-6410739/
  31. ^ https://www.gamespot.com/articles/state-of-decay-no-longer-banned-in-australia/1100-6411337/
  32. ^ https://www.gamespot.com/articles/shellshock-2-banned-in-australia/1100-6193152/
  33. ^ https://www.gamespot.com/articles/silent-hill-homecoming-banned-in-australia/1100-6198219/
  34. ^ http://kotaku.com/5124589/australian-silent-hill-homecoming-ban-lifted
  35. ^ https://www.gamespot.com/articles/soldier-of-fortune-payback-banned-in-australia/1100-6181240/
  36. ^ https://www.gamespot.com/articles/soldier-of-fortune-payback-gets-unbanned-in-australia/1100-6183312/
  37. ^ http://kotaku.com/south-park-game-hilariously-censored-in-australia-1486177087
  38. ^ "EA Australia confirms it won't challenge Classification Board decision banning game; shooter still on schedule for a February 24 release in New Zealand". 
  39. ^ http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/109795-The-Witcher-2-Sexed-Down-for-Australia
  40. ^ "Valkyrie Drive Bhikkhuni Refused Classification in Australia". 
  41. ^ "VALKYRIE DRIVE BHIKKHUNI". 
  42. ^ http://kotaku.com/5429337/aliens-vs-predator-unbanned-in-australia
  43. ^ http://www.cinemablend.com/games/Australian-Censorship-Makes-Fallout-3-Better-Everywhere-12150.html
  44. ^ https://www.gamespot.com/articles/fear-2-unbanned-in-australia/1100-6202359/
  45. ^ http://www.zdnet.com/article/grand-theft-auto-iii-banned-in-australia/
  46. ^ http://www.vg247.com/2011/08/23/house-of-the-dead-overkill-extended-cut-refused-classification-in-australia/
  47. ^ Ramadge, Andrew (2009-09-17). "Left 4 Dead 2 refused classification in Australia". News.com.au. Retrieved 2009-09-17. 
  48. ^ http://www.classification.gov.au/Pages/View.aspx?sid=wqtRvYeIZZbkpdY4a7Ma0w%253d%253d&ncdctx=EeoDpmXk7Qq6ivC3AI6rFiiVvoUpwnlR0ScyCWz9uh9qawLmVA0tWHsHBG9lWpXU
  49. ^ http://www.ign.com/articles/2011/02/25/mortal-kombat-banned-in-australia
  50. ^ Tran, Edmond (March 15, 2017). "Outlast 2 Banned In Australia". GameSpot. Retrieved March 15, 2017. 
  51. ^ Plunkett, Luke (March 23, 2017). "Australia Bans, Then Un-Bans Outlast 2". Kotaku. Retrieved March 23, 2017. 
  52. ^ http://www.digitaltrends.com/gaming/outlast-2-banned-australia-version-2/
  53. ^ Walker, Alex. "The Wrong Video Of Outlast 2 Was Sent To The Classification Board". Kotaku. Retrieved 19 April 2017. 
  54. ^ Reilly, Luke (March 27, 2017). "OUTLAST 2 DEVELOPER CLEARS UP AUSTRALIAN RATINGS CONFUSION". IGN. Retrieved March 27, 2017. 
  55. ^ Grixti, Shannon (March 24, 2017). "OUTLAST 2 WILL NOW RELEASE IN AUSTRALIA AFTER CLASSIFICATION REVIEW". Press-Start. Retrieved April 19, 2017. 
  56. ^ http://www.cardplayer.com/poker-news/6830-sexy-poker-banned-in-australia
  57. ^ "Why We Happy Few Was Refused Classification". Kotaku Australia. 2018-05-22. Retrieved 2018-05-22. 
  58. ^ "We Happy Few Has Been Reclassified R18+". Kotaku Australia. 2018-07-03. Retrieved 2018-07-03.