On the Left 4 Dead Ban

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DRADIS C0ntact:

ssgt splatter:
I'm saddened that the game was banned there. How will he review L4D2 if he can't get it? Oh wait...GAME TRADERS ROBINA. Good luck Yahtzee, hope you get it.

He can still review it. He should be able to download it on Steam.

Compulsory Internet filter. He might be able to do it now, but in the future it'll become very hard to download games not allowed in Australia.

Can't you just import it? Get a U.S. or U.K. region 360, PS3 and wii (if you must) and order games online?

I live in Denmark, where porn sits right next to the candy at the cashregister in supermarkets, and this Australian ABC stuff thingy really makes my jaw drop =/ I was in England once and tried to buy the Alien Quadroligy, but it was a no go since I wasn't 18 yet. That really surprised me cuz I had never tried something like that:P I know now that I must never go to Australia because it will properly give me a heart attack...

Dwachak:
I live in Denmark, where porn sits right next to the candy at the cashregister in supermarkets, and this Australian ABC stuff thingy really makes my jaw drop =/ I was in England once and tried to buy the Alien Quadroligy, but it was a no go since I wasn't 18 yet. That really surprised me cuz I had never tried something like that:P I know now that I must never go to Australia because it will properly give me a heart attack...

I can now understand why you're known as one of the most liveable places on Earth.

Why dont they just let you prove you are over 18 when you want to buy the game or something..
I dont get the whole ban thing..

This is bollocks!

Sounds tough to be an Australian gamer. It isn't so easy in Norway either. Not that many games are banned or anything, but the marked is too little, so if you want to play a non-mainstream game such as Okami, you will have to order it online.

Chipperz:

yourbeliefs:
Interesting.. but if Fallout 3 was refused classification, how did Yahtzee get to review it? Did he visit his friends at GAMETRADERS ROBINA??

You'll note that Fallout 3 doesn't have Morphine at all? That's because Bethesda removed it so it could be released in Australia. Along with all the other real world drugs that were supposed to be in it, but weren't because the ACB are spineless fuckwits who know nothing about the real world.

Wow, I live the other side of the planet from Australia, and reading about this STILL gets me pissed off...

Ditto. I would give a finger to be able to slap some of those guys around a bit and tell them to stop being so fucking stupid.

I refer Yahtzee back to this chart:
image
Ironically out of his own videos. I agree Australia's rating board is being dickish here. Still, I feel a bit relieved I joined the boycott if only for the feeling I get from the Australia article where I can think "Oh, that's nice. Boo to you Valve, getting what you deserve." (granted, I don't ACTUALLY think Valve deserved this. But you have to admit they're approaching the realm of gore being gratuitous.

I don't think a game could get banned in America, too many people would complain. In Australia there is a smaller gamer to normal person ratio.

"The interactive nature of the game increases the overall impact of the frequent and intense depictions of violence. This, coupled with the graphic depictions of blood and gore, combine to create a playing impact which is high."

What part of this is undesirable?

This quote from the Manhunt ZP seems appropriate

"There's a very clear certification indicating that twelve year olds aren't supposed to be playing it but there's no denying they play it anyone because no one other than twelve year olds are into this thing. Talking breathlessly about wire decapitation and baseball bat cranial explosion is a good way to win friends around middle school but around the office water cooler it's a good way to lose them."

NewClassic:
I can't help but feel like this entire article is like walking into a park, and screaming bloody murder at the grass and trees for having the audacity for being grass and trees. The simple fact of the matter is the ACB is doing it's job. They're paid to do this, and they are working while they're at it. They have to watch the dirty movies, have to play the violent games, and are paid to do nothing other than give the game a classification. For the American readers in the audience, this article is the equivalent of attacking the ESRB for giving a game an M-rating.

It's not the ACB's fault that they have refuse classification because there's no classification this game falls under. The office in charge of classification, the Attorney-General's Department of Australia, is the body that is almost exclusively at fault here. The irony though, is that the department is primarily for the creation of an R18+ classification. However, since the department requires a unanimous vote, there is a single opponent to the classification. An attorney-general named Michael Atkinson.[1]

So, instead of harboring ill-will toward the ACB, it would work more effective to appeal to Mr. Atkinson to change the ruling. As it stands, he's the only thing between the ACB and a full set of classifications for Video Game media.

And the saddest part is, I severely doubt anyone is going to read this.

I will KILL Atkinsdiet if I ever meet him! W/ MAH BEAR HANSD!!!!

Ok, well the whole protecting children from images that may have negative consequences isn't too bad of a stance to have. However, this does invite a question as to when a person should be held accountable. By refusing to classify L4D2, they have effectively banned the game from being sold within the borders of Australia. However, if they're worried that children may be getting ahold of this game and would then go about shooting up their neighbors with assault weapons, isn't there a bigger issue at hand here? The first issue would be: WHAT THE FUCK ARE THEIR PARENTS DOING WHEN THEY'RE BUYING AND PLAYING THIS GAME? The second issue would be: HOW THE FUCK ARE THEY GETTING ASSAULT WEAPONS AS MINORS? These two questions are just starters as to the irrational nature of this ban. If minors are openly gunning down fellow citizens in the street, then Australia is in a state of disarray so grand that the banning of a single violent video game seems more like an attempt to cover up the fact that the country is already fucked up to the point of irreparability. I, however, doubt that this is the case with Australia.

As an American, I find this ban to be unfair and stupid. Unfair due to the fact that a majority population of gamers are being denied to enjoyment of one of their favorite pasttimes, due to the negligence of some outraged parents or whatnot. Stupid, because this could be damaging to business relations with video game companies and Australia. If there's one thing that should be avoided during times of economic stress, it would be bad business relations. To protest this ban would be intelligent on these grounds alone: the dissatisfaction of a large population and the dissatisfaction of businesses in relation to Australia.

This also brings in the point of accountability for actions. If these games are being obtained by minors, then that means someone has provided them with the game. There are several possibilities as to who is doing so: Video Game Retailers, Parents, Older Friends, or Shifty Men on Street Corners. This means that there has been an act of negligence somewhere in this chain. If friends are giving friends the game, then there should be no reason why parents cannot step in and halt this from continuing to playing the game. If Video Game Retailers are providing the game, again parents could step in when the game comes home, and also, there should be a government crackdown on retailers instead of on the product. If parents are giving the game, then there is an obvious lack of interest in the argument that the ban is for "the welfare of the children" in these adults. This would be a judgment call by the guardian figures that the game is appropriate for their children. If shifty men on street corners are giving the game, then your police department sucks because this is the preliminaries to a full-scale drug ring operation. In all these cases, the product would not be the problem, but the accountability of the providers.

The accountability issue further continues if/when the child commits an act of violence outside of the video game. If the person is in their teens, do we hold them accountable as freethinkers? What about a person aged 20? How about a 40 year old man? At about 14 or 15, people can start to make their own decisions as to how they want their lives to go and can be self-sufficient, so why not start holding them accountable for their actions at this instead of providing an excuse for them to use against you later? How many murderers down the line will begin to use "It was the video games that did it" as a valid reason for how their behaviors were shaped if you don't start holding people accountable for their choices as teenagers?

This ban is just another way for parents, retailers, the government,etc. to place blame on something other than themselves or the individuals that engage in violent actions. In the end, it's really just a way to avoid being held accountable.

I'm not really concerned with this trend of censorship and ban on games. Or should I say, attempts to perform the one or the other. As with any new media, the people in charge do not understand it. It'll take numerous amounts of reception analysis performed on the subject matter before they're convinced of the "effects" of the use of the media. I just wonder whether it would be faster, more efficient even to wait for the responsible people to die from natural causes. Hm. Which should be fairly soon, I reckon. Mindsets like those exhibited in the legislation can by definition not have en expiration date too far from the present. If not, move to Denmark, as suggested previously.

Samurai Goomba:
[

Seriously, this guy is a nut. He'd have been considered oppressive and dictatorial in the '50s.

He seems to not be protecting the children, but the general populace. He believes that there is a possibility that any person, regardless of age, could commit atrocities just because they played a video game (he even uses an example of someone acting out a gta scene...in Taiwan).

So basically as long as violent people exist, we must try to give them as little inspiration as possible.

He also admits to being unable to tell if his children have been using the computer to play violent games because he can't watch them every hour of every day...

Well I'm glad I'm not Australian! And I'm glad that we have managed to hold on to our video game rights in this country, and I'll be the first on the frontlines of protest if they try and ban a game I want to play!

I wrote to some of the fatheads awhile ago about the need for R18+ ratings. I received a bunch of garbled non-sense in reply. One of the replies actually stated that the minister does not reply to emails... I thanked him for the reply and mentioned how I was disturbed about the reply that he wouldn't reply to my email.

Any Australians who wish to start a civil war and overthrow our ridiculous excuse for a government (looking at you K Rudd) let me know.

warbaloon:

Samurai Goomba:
[

Seriously, this guy is a nut. He'd have been considered oppressive and dictatorial in the '50s.

He seems to not be protecting the children, but the general populace. He believes that there is a possibility that any person, regardless of age, could commit atrocities just because they played a video game (he even uses an example of someone acting out a gta scene...in Taiwan).

So basically as long as violent people exist, we must try to give them as little inspiration as possible.

He also admits to being unable to tell if his children have been using the computer to play violent games because he can't watch them every hour of every day...

I didn't even mention the Taiwan example because I figured most people would notice right away how far he was reaching to form a reason for why he should be allowed to dictate other adult's hobbies.

I think what this comes down to is he thinks he's smarter and more able to decide how you will react to things than you are. He's taken an aristocratic approach to this-that he is in authority, and his ideas on how to "protect" you from yourself are true... Despite the fact that he can't control his own kids by his admission.

He's using the actions of a few nutcases to enact what comes down to restriction of freedoms upon every law-abiding citizen. I don't suppose his other last name is Bush, is it?

The thing that really got me is when he said he was open to negotiation, but then stated that his "terms" were that everyone tell him he was completely right. So basically, "Appease me, and I might grant thee some games, peon!"

williebaz:
I don't think a game could get banned in America, too many people would complain. In Australia there is a smaller gamer to normal person ratio.

This is another thing: Why is it a ratio at all? Shouldn't it be some kind of Van Diagram? Atkinson seems really set on making a distinction between "normal people" and gamers (you can see this in the GS Interview). This sort of divisive approach just splits people up. If we can make this an issue of oppression and not just a "gamer" thing, maybe more people would be on our side.

I'm not angry at you, mind, but gamers ARE "normal people." They do taxes, they drive cars, they act like morons every election year... The only difference is a FREAKING HOBBY. This media stereotyping of gamers needs to stop. And I think it slowly is, but Atkinson definitely hasn't gotten the memo yet.

To all fellow Aussies out there there is an attempt being made to get the review of the classification system that was promised early last year to actually happen. It is being combined with an attempt to get South Australian Attorney General Micheal Atkinson to be excluded from any future decision process due to his major conflict of interest and previous abuse of his power. Join in our whirlpool thread over here -> http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=1286583.

Hey Yahtzee - how about some celebrity endorsement?

Samurai Goomba:

williebaz:
I don't think a game could get banned in America, too many people would complain. In Australia there is a smaller gamer to normal person ratio.

This is another thing: Why is it a ratio at all? Shouldn't it be some kind of Van Diagram? Atkinson seems really set on making a distinction between "normal people" and gamers (you can see this in the GS Interview). This sort of divisive approach just splits people up. If we can make this an issue of oppression and not just a "gamer" thing, maybe more people would be on our side.

I'm not angry at you, mind, but gamers ARE "normal people." They do taxes, they drive cars, they act like morons every election year... The only difference is a FREAKING HOBBY. This media stereotyping of gamers needs to stop. And I think it slowly is, but Atkinson definitely hasn't gotten the memo yet.

I guess one could stop paying taxes and claim that since Atkinson doesn't consider gamers as people then it's hard to pay money for a government for the people, which you aren't.

Granted that's also a good way to wind up in prison.

I'm just more...amazed I guess that there's a place making even Germany start to look bad in terms of wacky censorship laws (which is unfair to say now given how off-the-handle Germany flew after that kid shot up his school). For all the shit the rest of the world likes to give America for having a corrupt/flawed/broken democracy the other countries aren't doing much better if one thickheaded dingbat can forestall something that would actually only benefit the public at large (and yes, I know, healthcare reform but technically that's a lot of people being thickheaded dingbats). With an R18+ rating and ID checks there'd be no reason for anybody to worry. And if underage people did purchase these games there'd just be repercussions in place. M17 has worked as a rating in America, I can't see why Atkinson is so blind to the obvious benefits other than the distinct possibility that he's just an interactive media fearing zealot who doesn't "get it".

Effing retarded, I thought it was stupid for the recall of San Andreas just because of the "hot coffee" crap

AceDiamond:

I guess one could stop paying taxes and claim that since Atkinson doesn't consider gamers as people then it's hard to pay money for a government for the people, which you aren't.

Granted that's also a good way to wind up in prison.

I'm just more...amazed I guess that there's a place making even Germany start to look bad in terms of wacky censorship laws (which is unfair to say now given how off-the-handle Germany flew after that kid shot up his school). For all the shit the rest of the world likes to give America for having a corrupt/flawed/broken democracy the other countries aren't doing much better if one thickheaded dingbat can forestall something that would actually only benefit the public at large (and yes, I know, healthcare reform but technically that's a lot of people being thickheaded dingbats). With an R18+ rating and ID checks there'd be no reason for anybody to worry. And if underage people did purchase these games there'd just be repercussions in place. M17 has worked as a rating in America, I can't see why Atkinson is so blind to the obvious benefits other than the distinct possibility that he's just an interactive media fearing zealot who doesn't "get it".

the way i understood it, atkinson does not want 18+ ratings for games, because he thinks that too many young people want to play it and get pirated versions of it from the net.
but at the same time, i see games here (because i live in australia....unfortunately), like bloodrayne 1+2 at 15+. GTA SA and all that at 15+. ok, i hurd that GTA 4 has bin cut abit. soldier of fortune games, all at 15+ and many other games which should have a 18+ rating.
i always thought germany has stupid politicians but atkinson can keep up with them.

randommaster:

oppp7:
Why does everyone hate blood and gore? It's anatomy. And violence is a natural occurrence. Kids are gonna see it in school anyways...

Do you live in Sparta or something, where blood and gore are an everyday part of school?

So...you never took a biology class?

I saw blood and gore (not necessarily at the same time) in the class. Most of it hands on.

Likewise I assume you never saw the "Meaning of Life" Video where baby rockets out of the harriest vagina in existence in a scene that cause nightmarish horror to all those innocent souls who dared wonder "What was after the Butterflies."

Oh god...

The memories...

Samurai Goomba:

williebaz:
I don't think a game could get banned in America, too many people would complain. In Australia there is a smaller gamer to normal person ratio.

This is another thing: Why is it a ratio at all? Shouldn't it be some kind of Van Diagram? Atkinson seems really set on making a distinction between "normal people" and gamers (you can see this in the GS Interview). This sort of divisive approach just splits people up. If we can make this an issue of oppression and not just a "gamer" thing, maybe more people would be on our side.

I'm not angry at you, mind, but gamers ARE "normal people." They do taxes, they drive cars, they act like morons every election year... The only difference is a FREAKING HOBBY. This media stereotyping of gamers needs to stop. And I think it slowly is, but Atkinson definitely hasn't gotten the memo yet.

If you separate folks apart it makes it easier to make them look less than human.

Once they look less than human it makes it easier to treat them as such.

Finally you can do anything that you want to them and generally at this point it isn't pleasant.

A gamer holocaust? Extremely unlikely, but historically this is the strategy used in every war and act of horror across the world. Stripping the humanity from the prey and from the hunter.

Damn I can't believe some governments and their ignorance! Well I feel for Yahtzee on the point that games get released much later in Oz than USA and UK. I live in South Africa and we have the same problem, luckily all our games are Made in EU and our government doesn't give a crap about violence in games, they barely give a damn about real life violence so I guess that's good. We also have nice beaches, not as nice as Oz but pretty close. XD

I wonder if Yahtzee is comforted knowing that the logic they used to ban Left 4 Dead 2 will be the same logic that will have all of Australia taken over by zombies when the apocalypse finally comes - because they can't order military violence against creatures that look so human.

Sonicron:

It's not as if I play games just to see lots of blood and gore. It's disappointing that I am forced to play games that have been censored, but at least I'd get to play the game, so as long as Left 4 Dead 2 is actually released, I'd be... well, I'd be more or less satisfied. Happiness seems to be a revolution away, though.

Sonicron:

Well... that may be true in part. Most of the censorship madness we have here at the moment, though, is the result of a school shooting in Erfurt only a few years back - that's when the thumbscrews on gaming went from squeezing the metaphorical fingers to grinding them into paste.

I'm with Sonicron on this one. I don't need the gore every time but I refuse to pay money for a product labeled 18+ which still got cut because it's "youth endangering". That's just plain stupid.

I guess there's not that much of a difference betwwen here an Australia. There may be no 18+ rating in Oz, but the USK is much stricter than most other similiar boards. Take Bionic Commando for example, which I recently bought. There's also the British label on the disc which declares it to be okay for 15-year olds but in Germany it's 18+ because of the ragdoll physics. Yes, the ragdoll physics. They usually cut them out for the German versions. In the Bourne game it is not possible to throw people of the train because they don't fly far enough when you throw them. Just one of many examples.

Samurai Goomba:

williebaz:
I don't think a game could get banned in America, too many people would complain. In Australia there is a smaller gamer to normal person ratio.

This is another thing: Why is it a ratio at all? Shouldn't it be some kind of Van Diagram? Atkinson seems really set on making a distinction between "normal people" and gamers (you can see this in the GS Interview). This sort of divisive approach just splits people up. If we can make this an issue of oppression and not just a "gamer" thing, maybe more people would be on our side.

I'm not angry at you, mind, but gamers ARE "normal people." They do taxes, they drive cars, they act like morons every election year... The only difference is a FREAKING HOBBY. This media stereotyping of gamers needs to stop. And I think it slowly is, but Atkinson definitely hasn't gotten the memo yet.

You don't have to read into peoples posts that much. You realize I'm a gamer aswell. No one's normal there are tons of types of people. I was just using normal people as a term for people who don't play videogames on a daily basis.

i cry for Australian gamers every night. the ratings board people are douches.

"Oh, god forbid that post-mortem damage be inflicted. It's perfectly rational to separate a limb bloodily from a torso with a single sweep of a machete while the owner is still alive and capable of raising an objection, but once you start hacking away at dead bodies, well, suddenly we've crossed a line."

Laughed till i cried....

Yea, classification systems suck ass, as it's non-gamers telling gamers what we shouldn't play, backed up with legalise and lawyers to make sure we don't complain. Just take refuge in the thought that, when the revolution comes, they'll be the first up against the wall.

Also, Logan's Run is a great film, first time i ever saw nudity on the big screen. Gotta love sci-fi when it was actually PUSHING BOUNDARIES, rather than being Star Trek-style cg-effects and terrible writting/plot. _

I can think of a shit load of titles that are just as gory that have escaped the censors to grace Australian shelves.

If they're going to patronize us by insisting its for our benefit then at least they should be fucking consistant.

What a joke.Hypocrites.

oppp7:
Why does everyone hate blood and gore? It's anatomy. And violence is a natural occurance. Kids are gonna see it in school anyways...

Point proven nicely.

Violence is something kids know since they could........ well they were born pretty violently , so i guess violence is what made kids.

I wonder...

what if they replaced the zombies with monkeys.. would it still get banned?

jthm:

Can't you just import it? Get a U.S. or U.K. region 360, PS3 and wii (if you must) and order games online?

The silly thing is we (Aussies) can order L4D2 in PAL format from New Zealand or Hong Kong. Refusing the game a classification won't stop people buying it as long as there is a credit card invovled..

Glefistus:
Honestly, why do governments care SO much about snot nosed minors. If the parent is a shitty parent and cannot control what their child sees then that is THEIR problem, not every adult in the nation, whose liberties are infringed thanks to concerned religious mothers.

Absolutely agreed. We have similar problems here in the U.S., just not on the same scale. Every time this issue has come up with some government official or other uppity individual (for example, Jack Thompson), we've somehow managed to quash it. Congressmen and other busybodies refuse to acknowledge that it is the parents' job to police the hobbies and goings-on of their own children. I can see why, given most parents around here seem to think it the responsibility of the government to do their job for them.

I used to work at a game store, and even though we had large posters outlining the meaning behind each ESRB rating, parents STILL didn't get that buying an M-rated game was going to expose their offspring to. . .well, not-so-kid-friendly stuff. I would point out the rating and the contents of the game to a parent at checkout, and, sometimes, I would get through to them exactly what they were about to buy for their kid. On those occasions, the parent would look at their child, and you could see from the child's face that they had hoodwinked good 'ol Mom or Dad into purchasing a game they really shouldn't be playing until long after puberty. Other times, though, I'd get screamed at for trying to tell a parent how to raise their little hellion. Is it any wonder why I no longer work in retail?

Bottom line: Parents, do your damn job. You've got to be at least a little better at it than the government. I mean, look at their track record. Do you REALLY want those idiots raising your kid?

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