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#1 Posted by goatmilk (192 posts) -

Remember back when the OFLC announced they'd introduce the R18+ rating for videogames? Remember how everyone cheered and applauded thinking that adults would be able to make their own decisions on what games they buy/play?

Well, Saints Row 4 has been refused classification.

R18+ ain't so great after all it seems. This just means we'll have to have someone in the US/UK gift it to us on Steam or import the console version from the UK or NZ. That'll be cheaper anyway. Oh well. :)

#2 Posted by YukoAsho (2248 posts) -

Least the PS3 version won't be region-locked.

#3 Posted by Willin (1333 posts) -

@yukoasho: As long as it doesn't get caught through customs.

#4 Edited by Ravenlight (8057 posts) -

Way to continue sucking, Australia. What was even the point of the R18+ rating, then?

#5 Posted by Dark (445 posts) -

Not many cheered as far as I know, looking at the legislation from day dot all they really did was shift MA to R and make MA a bit more lax. It basically allowed slightly more violence but in the end its almost as restricted as it was before.

I mean they rated Last of Us as R, its violent but I don't think its R violent.

#6 Posted by Krushr (60 posts) -

I'm not quite ready to place blame on the classifications board yet as there's not a whole lot of information out there. It'll be interesting to see a full copy of the report if that sort of thing is made available.

#7 Posted by JJWeatherman (14790 posts) -

You would have thought an 18+ category would essentially just be a catch-all for games that didn't meet the lower age group criteria. Australia is like an ultra conservative parent: even when you're 18 or older, sex and drugs are not to be discussed! Ridiculous.

This video isn't on topic, but the spirit of Gary's point applies, I think:

Eventually these crazy out-of-touch people will die off and things will work out.

#8 Posted by BaconGames (3728 posts) -

Yeah, I wonder how much Steam has been a boon to Australian video gaming over the years. I don't assume non-US Steam is absolutely the best thing ever but I would imagine it's been often been superior to alternatives, especially in Australia.

#9 Edited by selfconfessedcynic (2717 posts) -

O_O

But that's kinda what R18+ was FOR. Goddamn it.

Ah well, greenmangaming = your source for US steam codes.

@dark said:

I mean they rated Last of Us as R, its violent but I don't think its R violent.

I beg to differ - TLoU is violent and gory as fuck. I was surprised to see an R18+ logo on it only because I'd missed the memo that we'd already started using it.

As much as I love the game, I wouldn't want 12 year olds to play it (and most teens can find a way of getting their hands on it anyway - eg. PSN).

#10 Edited by Hunter5024 (6246 posts) -

This game is just too mature for legal adults.

#11 Edited by selfconfessedcynic (2717 posts) -

Oh okay, (from that release)

In the Board’s opinion, Saints Row IV, includes interactive, visual depictions of implied sexual violence which are not justified by context. In addition, the game includes elements of illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards. Such depictions are prohibited by the computer games guidelines.

Fair enough - the AUS government has always been against rewarding you with drugs in media, and "implied sexual violence [...] not justified by context" is something I don't want in my games anyway.

I'm perfectly fine with implied sexual abuse in service of a story - I don't need or want rape / similar to be trivialised.

As such, I'm changing my opinion to "I'm fine with this decision".

#12 Posted by EVO (4018 posts) -

Wow, what a fucking joke.

#13 Posted by goatmilk (192 posts) -

Oh okay, (from that release)

In the Board’s opinion, Saints Row IV, includes interactive, visual depictions of implied sexual violence which are not justified by context. In addition, the game includes elements of illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards. Such depictions are prohibited by the computer games guidelines.

Fair enough - the AUS government has always been against rewarding you with drugs in media, and "implied sexual violence [...] not justified by context" is something I don't want in my games anyway.

I'm perfectly fine with implied sexual abuse in service of a story - I don't need or want rape / similar to be trivialised.

As such, I'm changing my opinion to "I'm fine with this decision".

I'm not for sexual assault being trivialised but I do take great offence at being told what I can or cannot watch/play/read/listen to. I'm not even thinking about the content here. It's more the fact that we're being treated like children, not adults who can make our own decisions.

#14 Edited by selfconfessedcynic (2717 posts) -

@goatmilk said:

@selfconfessedcynic said:

Oh okay, (from that release)

In the Board’s opinion, Saints Row IV, includes interactive, visual depictions of implied sexual violence which are not justified by context. In addition, the game includes elements of illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards. Such depictions are prohibited by the computer games guidelines.

Fair enough - the AUS government has always been against rewarding you with drugs in media, and "implied sexual violence [...] not justified by context" is something I don't want in my games anyway.

I'm perfectly fine with implied sexual abuse in service of a story - I don't need or want rape / similar to be trivialised.

As such, I'm changing my opinion to "I'm fine with this decision".

I'm not for sexual assault being trivialised but I do take great offence at being told what I can or cannot watch/play/read/listen to. I'm not even thinking about the content here. It's more the fact that we're being treated like children, not adults who can make our own decisions.

I don't think it has anything to do with them treating us like children. Part of the ratings board's job is to decide what is allowed to accept over the counter payment within Australia.

They aren't making this decision to block us from this content per se, they are making the decision that something which positively reinforces drug use and has trivialised violent sexual acts should not be able to be monetarily rewarded in Australia.

Considering those are things I don't want in my media, I'm fine with that judgement. Note that they are perfectly aware that people who want it can just import it (and I have imported banned games before) or otherwise get it online. They aren't stupid.

As for people worrying about customs, I've never had a problem with customs - I honestly think they have bigger things to worry about than video game imports (and it seems like they do, too).

#15 Edited by atomic_dumpling (2510 posts) -

You would have thought an 18+ category would essentially just be a catch-all for games that didn't meet the lower age group criteria. Australia is like an ultra conservative parent: even when you're 18 or older, sex and drugs are not to be discussed! Ridiculous.

Same goes for us here in Germany. USK 18+ and censored is a pretty common combination. Pathetic, I know.

FYI, here are games that are really banned here: http://www.mobygames.com/game-group/germany-criminal-code-confiscations-131-excess-violence (not yet listed is the uncut version of Sleeping Dogs, the most recent addition to this so-called "List B"). You have to be on the ball and do some research, because the 18+ label alone is practically worthless. At least Steam has the courtesy to mark the "low violance versions" in most cases (which translates to "don't buy this butchered POS!").

#16 Posted by Subjugation (4779 posts) -

Is Australia really that much of a nanny state? That's a huge bummer.

#17 Edited by selfconfessedcynic (2717 posts) -

@subjugation said:

Is Australia really that much of a nanny state? That's a huge bummer.

It's not that we're a nanny state, we just take some very hard line stances against drug and sexual abuse. See my above posts for my interpretation of the ratings board's decision.

#18 Posted by YukoAsho (2248 posts) -

@willin said:

@yukoasho: As long as it doesn't get caught through customs.

They check private mail for that stuff? Damn...

#19 Posted by TheManWithNoPlan (6240 posts) -

It's too awesome for the Australian government to handle.

#20 Posted by Jojojimmeny (61 posts) -

Personally I'd be happier if they removed the "depictions of implied sexual violence" from the game, I can certainly do without that sort of content in my life, but without knowing exactly how that appears in the game it's hard to say whether that's even feasible at this stage of the development.

That said, I really enjoyed SRTT, and was really looking forward to SRIV before all of this came about. Hopefully Steam won't block my pre-order (I have no idea if there is precedent for that, though I wouldn't be surprised if there is), I am more than capable of separating what I see and do in video games from what is even remotely acceptable in real life.

#21 Posted by Fearbeard (862 posts) -

I think The Who said it best.

"Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss."

Still, there is no doubt it would have been banned under the old system, so at least some games that might not have gotten through are getting through now. Sucks that they can still completely ban games like that though.

#22 Edited by TruthTellah (9614 posts) -

I want to hear a clarification about these aspects of the game before I make a more definitive call on how I feel about this. If they really have added a system for incentivizing drug use and allow for context-less rape, they may have genuinely gone too far.

I still think it should probably be available to adults over 18, but while I have been critical of the Australian government treating their citizens like children in the past, it sounds like they might have some legitimate grievances here. If what they're saying is true, I hope Volition will patch the game. But hopefully this just sounds worse than it really is, as these things sometimes do.

#23 Posted by ebbsnone (44 posts) -

Wish they would tell us exactly what bothered them about the game. When I hear "sexual violence", I think rape, and I doubt Volition are stupid enough to put that in the game. I wouldn't want to play a game with rape in it anyway.

In Saints Row 3, I could beat people to death with a giant purple dildo, so I guess it's worse than that.

#24 Posted by ebbsnone (44 posts) -
#25 Posted by Shorty (25 posts) -

@goatmilk said:

@selfconfessedcynic said:

Oh okay, (from that release)

In the Board’s opinion, Saints Row IV, includes interactive, visual depictions of implied sexual violence which are not justified by context. In addition, the game includes elements of illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards. Such depictions are prohibited by the computer games guidelines.

Fair enough - the AUS government has always been against rewarding you with drugs in media, and "implied sexual violence [...] not justified by context" is something I don't want in my games anyway.

I'm perfectly fine with implied sexual abuse in service of a story - I don't need or want rape / similar to be trivialised.

As such, I'm changing my opinion to "I'm fine with this decision".

I'm not for sexual assault being trivialised but I do take great offence at being told what I can or cannot watch/play/read/listen to. I'm not even thinking about the content here. It's more the fact that we're being treated like children, not adults who can make our own decisions.

I don't think it has anything to do with them treating us like children. Part of the ratings board's job is to decide what is allowed to accept over the counter payment within Australia.

They aren't making this decision to block us from this content per se, they are making the decision that something which positively reinforces drug use and has trivialised violent sexual acts should not be able to be monetarily rewarded in Australia.

Considering those are things I don't want in my media, I'm fine with that judgement. Note that they are perfectly aware that people who want it can just import it (and I have imported banned games before) or otherwise get it online. They aren't stupid.

As for people worrying about customs, I've never had a problem with customs - I honestly think they have bigger things to worry about than video game imports (and it seems like they do, too).

Except that if Koch Media don't appeal this or their appeal fails, none of us will be able to buy the game in Australia, so we can't really know if the game does actually "trivialise violent sexual acts" or even what they mean by "implied sexual violence". We can only speculate. Or download the demo or import the game.

So I can't be fine with the judgement being made because, like @goatmilk, I don't take kindly to being told what I can play. I have no problem with people having played some or all of the game and deciding that it's not for them because at least that decision comes from direct experience. I just don't want those kinds of decisions made for me.

#26 Posted by TruthTellah (9614 posts) -

Well that's good. It sounds like Australian players may just get the best version. ha.

Though, I really want them to explain what specific content must be removed to comply with this. When you think of how far Saints Row already goes, you really think of some rather awful things that would fit with this description....

Like, instead of just being able to dropkick random people, maybe you can now remove people's clothes and sexually assault them. And while he's doing it, your avatar says, "Shhh... Just let it happen. It'll be over soon... And remember to buy Killer Instinct!" Which would be super weird.

#27 Edited by selfconfessedcynic (2717 posts) -
@shorty said:
@selfconfessedcynic said:

@goatmilk said:

@selfconfessedcynic said:

Oh okay, (from that release)

In the Board’s opinion, Saints Row IV, includes interactive, visual depictions of implied sexual violence which are not justified by context. In addition, the game includes elements of illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards. Such depictions are prohibited by the computer games guidelines.

Fair enough - the AUS government has always been against rewarding you with drugs in media, and "implied sexual violence [...] not justified by context" is something I don't want in my games anyway.

I'm perfectly fine with implied sexual abuse in service of a story - I don't need or want rape / similar to be trivialised.

As such, I'm changing my opinion to "I'm fine with this decision".

I'm not for sexual assault being trivialised but I do take great offence at being told what I can or cannot watch/play/read/listen to. I'm not even thinking about the content here. It's more the fact that we're being treated like children, not adults who can make our own decisions.

I don't think it has anything to do with them treating us like children. Part of the ratings board's job is to decide what is allowed to accept over the counter payment within Australia.

They aren't making this decision to block us from this content per se, they are making the decision that something which positively reinforces drug use and has trivialised violent sexual acts should not be able to be monetarily rewarded in Australia.

Considering those are things I don't want in my media, I'm fine with that judgement. Note that they are perfectly aware that people who want it can just import it (and I have imported banned games before) or otherwise get it online. They aren't stupid.

As for people worrying about customs, I've never had a problem with customs - I honestly think they have bigger things to worry about than video game imports (and it seems like they do, too).

Except that if Koch Media don't appeal this or their appeal fails, none of us will be able to buy the game in Australia, so we can't really know if the game does actually "trivialise violent sexual acts" or even what they mean by "implied sexual violence". We can only speculate. Or download the demo or import the game.

So I can't be fine with the judgement being made because, like @goatmilk, I don't take kindly to being told what I can play. I have no problem with people having played some or all of the game and deciding that it's not for them because at least that decision comes from direct experience. I just don't want those kinds of decisions made for me.

Oh certainly, there is definitely an element of doubt - but that's why the appeals process exists. I believe how that works (according to an article a couple of years ago, so it may have changed, but it sounded like a decent process) is the board rotates out the majority of the original members for the appeal and sits through the content again - but the publisher is allowed to edit the submission to provide more context etc to justify the content.

The board is way bigger than a couple of people (to allow for a large breadth of views), so the new sitters are a subset of a much larger whole, and are pretty much randomised.

If they have already gone through the appeals process and lost, then I'm willing to side with our ratings board in saying it was probably pretty bad stuff (considering what was in Heavy Rain and some other games). As I said earlier - they are perfectly aware that people who really want the game can and will import it or buy it online, the censorship side of it is not the whole picture by a long mile.

Also, it sounds like they're editing that stuff out - which is worse from a PR standpoint, but it may allow for some interesting comparisons when it comes out.

#28 Posted by selfconfessedcynic (2717 posts) -

@truthtellah said:

I want to hear a clarification about these aspects of the game before I make a more definitive call on how I feel about this. If they really have added a system for incentivizing drug use and allow for context-less rape, they may have genuinely gone too far.

I still think it should probably be available to adults over 18, but while I have been critical of the Australian government treating their citizens like children in the past, it sounds like they might have some legitimate grievances here. If what they're saying is true, I hope Volition will patch the game. But hopefully this just sounds worse than it really is, as these things sometimes do.

I agree with you 100%.

I'd love more info - we may need to wait til after release to see the differences between that patched version and the original though.

#29 Posted by TruthTellah (9614 posts) -

@truthtellah said:

I want to hear a clarification about these aspects of the game before I make a more definitive call on how I feel about this. If they really have added a system for incentivizing drug use and allow for context-less rape, they may have genuinely gone too far.

I still think it should probably be available to adults over 18, but while I have been critical of the Australian government treating their citizens like children in the past, it sounds like they might have some legitimate grievances here. If what they're saying is true, I hope Volition will patch the game. But hopefully this just sounds worse than it really is, as these things sometimes do.

I agree with you 100%.

I'd love more info - we may need to wait til after release to see the differences between that patched version and the original though.

For those who have pre-ordered, I really think they should clarify what the heck the Australian government has suggested is in the game. Maybe it's just the government overreacting to something silly, but then, I wouldn't put it past them to have inadvertently gone too far. Gamers should be able to have some better idea before it comes out.

#30 Edited by NekuSakuraba (7779 posts) -

Are you fucking serious? Isn't this why there is an R18 rusting in the first place? This is a joke...

Of course the content could be going seriously too far, but I doubt it for some reason. I guess I shouldn't jump to conclusions without knowing what the actual content is though. Still, my gut reaction is that this sucks.

#31 Edited by selfconfessedcynic (2717 posts) -

@selfconfessedcynic said:

@truthtellah said:

I want to hear a clarification about these aspects of the game before I make a more definitive call on how I feel about this. If they really have added a system for incentivizing drug use and allow for context-less rape, they may have genuinely gone too far.

I still think it should probably be available to adults over 18, but while I have been critical of the Australian government treating their citizens like children in the past, it sounds like they might have some legitimate grievances here. If what they're saying is true, I hope Volition will patch the game. But hopefully this just sounds worse than it really is, as these things sometimes do.

I agree with you 100%.

I'd love more info - we may need to wait til after release to see the differences between that patched version and the original though.

For those who have pre-ordered, I really think they should clarify what the heck the Australian government has suggested is in the game. Maybe it's just the government overreacting to something silly, but then, I wouldn't put it past them to have inadvertently gone too far. Gamers should be able to have some better idea before it comes out.

Agreed - or at least, Steam and retailers should let the people who preordered know that they are potentially getting an edited version of the game, and as such those people can wait for comparisons to decide which they want. It's easier than ever to import or get US steam codes (greenmangaming sells US versions of edited games, GOG does too, usually).

I would like the info now, but I assume every party involved is tied down by disclosure agreements.

#32 Edited by kristov_romanov (490 posts) -

And they have a fairly big booth planned for PAX Australia.

Not much smaller than the Nintendo booth. I assume it will still be there given that PAX AU is less than a month away.

#33 Posted by TruthTellah (9614 posts) -

@truthtellah said:

@selfconfessedcynic said:

@truthtellah said:

I want to hear a clarification about these aspects of the game before I make a more definitive call on how I feel about this. If they really have added a system for incentivizing drug use and allow for context-less rape, they may have genuinely gone too far.

I still think it should probably be available to adults over 18, but while I have been critical of the Australian government treating their citizens like children in the past, it sounds like they might have some legitimate grievances here. If what they're saying is true, I hope Volition will patch the game. But hopefully this just sounds worse than it really is, as these things sometimes do.

I agree with you 100%.

I'd love more info - we may need to wait til after release to see the differences between that patched version and the original though.

For those who have pre-ordered, I really think they should clarify what the heck the Australian government has suggested is in the game. Maybe it's just the government overreacting to something silly, but then, I wouldn't put it past them to have inadvertently gone too far. Gamers should be able to have some better idea before it comes out.

Agreed - or at least, Steam and retailers should let the people who preordered know that they are potentially getting an edited version of the game, and as such those people can wait for comparisons to decide which they want. It's easier than ever to import or get US steam codes (greenmangaming sells US versions of edited games, GOG does too, usually).

I would like the info now, but I assume every party involved is tied down by disclosure agreements.

Personally, I'm also concerned for those getting the unedited version; they should get to know what is so obscene in this game. I know someone with it preordered, and while he loves crazy stuff, he certainly might take issue with what this questionable content is. Again, maybe it's just an overreaction by the ratings board, but if what they're saying is true, I can see some people not supporting the unedited version.

#34 Edited by mrfizzy (1651 posts) -

@yukoasho said:

@willin said:

@yukoasho: As long as it doesn't get caught through customs.

They check private mail for that stuff? Damn...

They don't. All packages that enter the country from overseas are x-rayd for drugs, guns etc. Other than that they don't do anything unless they see something in the x-ray that looks odd.

To be clear on this, the government is not banning the game from being purchased by Australians, they are just banning it from sale. They have no issue with you ordering it online and bringing it in and playing it. It is not a crime to buy or play the game.

#35 Posted by Shorty (25 posts) -

@selfconfessedcynic: Agreed, but the relative lack of diversity and representation of actual gamers on the Classification Board has been pointed out before (source: http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/3755220.html), so again, I don't really trust them to make those decisions on my behalf. Personally, I don't think media classifications should be mandated in Australia, anyway. People have the right to be informed about media content, but that kind of information is readily accessible these days (young parents are pretty Internet-savvy, these days; certainly moreso than our leaders assume). Given that the vast majority of content has already been rated by about a dozen other agencies before it arrives here, I have yet to see the CB find anything *important* that everyone else has missed.

And as a general note, I would like to know what the CB found so objectionable they felt it should be initially banned, given that both Europe and the US passed the game UNCUT.

#36 Edited by YukoAsho (2248 posts) -

@selfconfessedcynic said:

Oh okay, (from that release)

In the Board’s opinion, Saints Row IV, includes interactive, visual depictions of implied sexual violence which are not justified by context. In addition, the game includes elements of illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards. Such depictions are prohibited by the computer games guidelines.

Fair enough - the AUS government has always been against rewarding you with drugs in media, and "implied sexual violence [...] not justified by context" is something I don't want in my games anyway.

I'm perfectly fine with implied sexual abuse in service of a story - I don't need or want rape / similar to be trivialised.

As such, I'm changing my opinion to "I'm fine with this decision".

Do they go into detail of what was offensive? Recently, the ESRB has been doing a fine job of detailing what exactly they found wrong with a game's content. If the Australian OFLC can tell us what instances or examples of instances rubbed them the wrong way, that would go a long way in explaining.

And, as much as I'm against censorship, if the rules are fair and clear, then yeah...

I wonder if we'll get details from the New Zealand OFLC on its ratings decision...

@mrfizzy - OK that's different. As much of a bummer as it is that the game won't be in stores, at least they're not doing crazy shit like sifting though people's mail... Though that does beg the question as to why these games can't be sold mail-order-only...

#37 Posted by Damodar (1591 posts) -

This is annoying. Prior to having an 18+ rating available for games, I think the issue was blown out of proportion by people outside of Australia. The lack of an 18+ was really just a shortcoming of the rating system that was being held back by the filibustering of basically one man. It seemed like a lot of people in, say, the US interpreted that to mean that more or less anything that got an 18+ rating there wouldn't be released here, which is inaccurate. For about 99% of the games that got an 18+ in the US, they came out in Australia unedited etc with a rating of 15+, the highest we had at the time. The very occasional (seems like maybe one game every year or two off the top of my head) game that would be refused classification wasn't really the result of Australia being some hyper conservative place (not to say Australia and Australian politics haven't had some disappointingly conservative views on some things and we haven't had some nanny-state type issues, but I'll stay off my soap box) but more just because there wasn't a suitable rating available to be given to the game, due to some obstructionist politics surrounding changes to the OFLC's classification rules regarding games. Yadda yadda yadda.

So while the new R18+ rating really didn't change much (potentially all of the titles that have had 18+ ratings thus far would have released fine as 15+ games) it is rather disappointing to have something like this come along. I could understand before that the ratings board had their hands tied a bit. That's a bit harder to swallow on this one where they now have a rating that starts at the age at which you are a legal adult.

Also, since nobody else has, I would like to point out that the press release lists the acting director of the OFLC Classification Board as one Mr Donald McDonald.

#38 Posted by TruthTellah (9614 posts) -

@damodar said:

Also, since nobody else has, I would like to point out that the press release lists the acting director of the OFLC Classification Board as one Mr Donald McDonald.

I'm surprised it took this long for someone to mention it here. Everywhere carrying this story has had people snickering about the acting director's name.

#39 Posted by kristov_romanov (490 posts) -

@damodar: Haha, Donald McDonald? If I didn't know better I would assume this was viral marketing.

And if it were fake it would have worked wonders. Given the number one story on news.com.au at the moment:

(Oh and the publisher has confirmed they will make some edits)

What federal political infighting? What loss of Australians in foreign wars?

SAINTS ROW WAS REFUSED CLASSIFICATION!

#40 Posted by selfconfessedcynic (2717 posts) -

@mrfizzy said:

@yukoasho said:

@willin said:

@yukoasho: As long as it doesn't get caught through customs.

They check private mail for that stuff? Damn...

They don't. All packages that enter the country from overseas are x-rayd for drugs, guns etc. Other than that they don't do anything unless they see something in the x-ray that looks odd.

To be clear on this, the government is not banning the game from being purchased by Australians, they are just banning it from sale. They have no issue with you ordering it online and bringing it in and playing it. It is not a crime to buy or play the game.

*nods head in general agreement*

@shorty said:

@selfconfessedcynic: Agreed, but the relative lack of diversity and representation of actual gamers on the Classification Board has been pointed out before (source: http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/3755220.html), so again, I don't really trust them to make those decisions on my behalf. Personally, I don't think media classifications should be mandated in Australia, anyway. People have the right to be informed about media content, but that kind of information is readily accessible these days (young parents are pretty Internet-savvy, these days; certainly moreso than our leaders assume). Given that the vast majority of content has already been rated by about a dozen other agencies before it arrives here, I have yet to see the CB find anything *important* that everyone else has missed.

And as a general note, I would like to know what the CB found so objectionable they felt it should be initially banned, given that both Europe and the US passed the game UNCUT.

That's kinda the point though, right? Gamers tend to be more open minded and lax about these things in general (considering that our very hobby has become what some could construe to be a glorification of violence and sex). As I stated in a prior post, part of the board's job is to decide what is acceptable to be sold within Australia, it isn't just about possible censorship. They are not stopping you from importing it / downloading it.

I think a board with - what that author describes as - 4 middle aged women with arts and law degrees +others is a pretty good group of people to have on board to decide whether a work of art goes against the values of the Australian government.

BUT, I do agree, as stated earlier, that more transparancy would be fantastic. I'd bet that at a minimum having drugs as a reward is one element that Australian ratings boards does care about that those other two don't (and honestly, I'm fine with that objection).

@yukoasho: They, sadly, aren't completely transparent as to why these things are being blocked beyond the statement linked in the op and subsequently quoted by myself.

I obviously don't know for certain, but it seems likely that they are tied down due to non-disclosure agreements and hence can't tell us any more than the basics. Perhaps Deep Silver will elaborate.

#41 Posted by TruthTellah (9614 posts) -

@selfconfessedcynic: I do agree with criticism that people on the panel should at least know about videogames a bit. They don't have to be hardcore gamers or something. Just not seem completely out of touch.

To me, it's like a board ruling on healthcare when they have little understanding of the medical field. Uninformed people making moral or legislative judgments just seems like a recipe for bad governance.

#42 Edited by selfconfessedcynic (2717 posts) -

@truthtellah said:

@selfconfessedcynic: I do agree with criticism that people on the panel should at least know about videogames a bit. They don't have to be hardcore gamers or something. Just not seem completely out of touch.

To me, it's like a board ruling on healthcare when they have little understanding of the medical field. Uninformed people making moral or legislative judgments just seems like a recipe for bad governance.

cc @shorty

Honestly, I think the older generation growing out of touch is a problem which exists on a massive basis throughout most of the world's governments. But young males have always thought that :D (see: most rebellions etc throughout history).

But specifically in this case, I honestly don't mind that particular group of people making these choices. If someone is getting violently sexually abused off screen without any narrative need or context then it doesn't take a 30-year-old male gamer to tell that it's wrong and shouldn't be in the game.

If you're getting bricks of coke as a reward for doing things, that's pretty crappy, too (even though, worded that way, it doesn't sound so bad).

Transparency is, of course, the key here that we can all agree upon. Sadly, I think non-disclosure comes into it - hopefully Deep Silver can elaborate.

#43 Posted by Darson (466 posts) -

Australia can't handle the mighty dildo swords.

#44 Posted by Vextroid (1449 posts) -

Hopefully the Steam version is still uncensored. Otherwise off to Amazon for me.

#45 Posted by The_Laughing_Man (13807 posts) -

They banned the wub wub?

#46 Posted by Muttinus_Rump (814 posts) -

Oh okay, (from that release)

In the Board’s opinion, Saints Row IV, includes interactive, visual depictions of implied sexual violence which are not justified by context. In addition, the game includes elements of illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards. Such depictions are prohibited by the computer games guidelines.

Fair enough - the AUS government has always been against rewarding you with drugs in media, and "implied sexual violence [...] not justified by context" is something I don't want in my games anyway.

I'm perfectly fine with implied sexual abuse in service of a story - I don't need or want rape / similar to be trivialised.

As such, I'm changing my opinion to "I'm fine with this decision".

Oh, heaven forbid anyone make their own choice in the matter.

#47 Edited by selfconfessedcynic (2717 posts) -

@muttinus_rump: If you wish to boil down the argument to that level, that's your prerogative.

I won't be following you down that path though.

#48 Posted by Cheesebob (1285 posts) -

Too much dubstep for Oz to handle

#49 Edited by Brodehouse (10434 posts) -

@selfconfessedcynic: Do they not have freedom of speech in Australia? I'm honestly shocked and appalled that you would use a phrase like "goes against the values of the Australian government". I'm trying not to shout here, but the government does not exist to impose its values on the citizens, the citizens impose their values on the government! You're supposed to be living in a constitutional democracy not a police state where the government decides what's best for you. You bring up that it's legal to view, just not legal to sell to adults; imagine if the Australian government decided that there were certain books that weren't legal to be sold. Or you couldn't legally sell anything that espoused a political viewpoint that "goes against the values of the government".

FURTHERMORE, who are these 4 middle-aged women, and who elected them to decide what art a democratic nation is allowed to consume? Are they government appointees, and who gave the government the rights to extend this privilege to censor to unelected officials?

You know I watched a YouTube video by an Australian, it was titled The Forbidden History of Unpopular People. It's primarily about how freedom of speech is more important than playing to whatever the popular culture or status quo believes is right, and near the end it talks about a new 'News Media Board' or something similarly scary sounding, whose sole role was to police news channels and programs to make sure that the reporting was 'fair and balanced'. Fair to whom, according to whom? Balanced according to whom? Apparently it's according to the values of the Australian government, overriding the free speech of the people.

The only situation in which you can constrain freedom of expression in this manner is when it can be proven that the participants within do not consent to being in it (the difference between actors and actresses in rape scenes compared to actual snuff films and etc). In effect, it doesn't matter if you don't like graphic sexual violence, I don't either, but what you or I like has no impact on free speech. That's what comes with a free society, you don't get to erase anything you don't like and you should be ecstatic that you can't; because it means the government can't erase things they don't like either. But hey maybe you just want to be told what is and isn't acceptable for you to know. Maybe just get rid of this whole constitutional democracy thing and go back to monarchy and doing what you're told.

Edit; sorry if I come off extremely hostile but next to the abuses that go on in the third world, I place people in the first free societies in human history actually advocating against their own freedom. It just sounds like "please put the chains back on me" and that's how you arrive at those third world abuses.

#50 Posted by MildMolasses (3188 posts) -

Oh okay, (from that release)

In the Board’s opinion, Saints Row IV, includes interactive, visual depictions of implied sexual violence which are not justified by context. In addition, the game includes elements of illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards. Such depictions are prohibited by the computer games guidelines.

Fair enough - the AUS government has always been against rewarding you with drugs in media, and "implied sexual violence [...] not justified by context" is something I don't want in my games anyway.

I'm perfectly fine with implied sexual abuse in service of a story - I don't need or want rape / similar to be trivialised.

As such, I'm changing my opinion to "I'm fine with this decision".

That wording seems so vague. Does the dildo bat constitute implied sexual violence? Is purchasing a meth lab to boost income the same as incentive related drug use? Without specifics its hard to say what they are objecting too. Nobody is going to equate beating people with the dildo bat to sexual assault, but the wording they use could mean either