Old Stuff 5 – Comparison of video game ratings in New Zealand and Australia

UPDATE: Australia now has an R18 rating! That makes this section no longer necessary, but I’ll leave it up in case anyone is interested.  I posted this information to Australia when they had a public consultation period on the R18 question. I’d like to think that it helped, but I’ll never know for sure.

– – – – –

Australia has no R18 rating. This annoys me.
The reason for this is supposedly to make mature games unavailable to younger people. This approach does not seem to be working. I had the impression that most mature games in Australia are squeezed through as MA15+, a few are watered-down to that level and a couple are banned. I decided to compare ratings between New Zealand and Australia:

TL:DR of 97 games that were rated R18 in New Zealand, in Australia 78 of these were rated MA15+ or lower unrevised, 17 were watered-down and 2 were Refused Classification.
I believe that the lack of R18 classification in Australia makes mature games more accessible to young people
I feel that adults should be allowed to play video games that the OFLC rates as acceptable for adults.

A comparison of video game ratings in New Zealand and Australia

For this comparison, I downloaded the following lists of video game classifications from New Zealand’s Office of Film and Literature Classification website:

I took the games rated R18 and listed as objectionable in New Zealand and I looked up their classifications in Australia. For games which were cut before they were classified, I have simply listed them as “cut”, as I saw no point in comparing the ratings of different versions of the game.

I have done my best to research which games were and were not revised for Australia. Some games were revised by the developer before being submitted to the OFLC, and are listed as Cut on my list even though they are listed as being the original version by the OFLC.

Purpose of this comparison

As you probably know, Australia does not have an R18 rating for video games. This is the doing of South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson. His objection to allowing an R18 rating is his belief that it would make mature games more easily obtainable by young people.

I believe that this lack of an R18 rating is making video games more accessible to young people. The OFLC are rating many games at MA15+ rather than refusing them classification.

Skip to conclusion

R18 games to 30 October 2009

Title Other Titles Classification Descriptive Notes Status in Australia
25 To Life R18 Contains violence and Offensive Language MA15+
50 Cent: Blood On The Sand R18 Violence and offensive language MA15+
50 Cent: Bulletproof Fifty Cent: Bulletproof R18 Contains graphic violence and offensive language Cut
Army Of Two R18 “Contains graphic violence and offensive language” MA15+
Backyard Wrestling 2: There Goes The Neighborhood R18 contains violence MA
Blade II Blade 2 R18 contains violence MA
BloodRayne Bloodrayne, Blood Rayne R18 Contains violence,horror and sex scenes MA
BMX XXX R18 Contains violence,sexual themes and offensive language Cut
Boiling Point Boiling point: Road to Hell R18 Contains violence MA15+
Borderlands R18 Violence MA15+
Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 R18 Violence and content that may disturb MA15+
Condemned Condemned: Criminal Origins R18 Contains violence and offensive language MA15+
Condemned 2: Bloodshot Condemned 2 R18 Contains graphic violence and offensive language MA15+
Crackdown R18 Contains violence MA15+
Dark Sector Darksector R18 Contains graphic violence Cut
Dead Space R18 Violence and horror MA15+
Def Jam: Fight For NY Def Jam 2: Fight For NY R18 Contains violence and offensive language MA
Driv3r Driver 3 R18 Contains violence M
Driver 76 R18 Contains violenece & offensive language MA15+
Driver: Parallel Lines R18 Contains violence and offensive language MA15+
F.E.A.R. Fear; First Encounter Assault Recon R18 Contains violence and horror MA15+
F.E.A.R. 2 Project Origin First Encounter Assault Recon: Project Origin R18 Violence and horror MA15+
F.E.A.R. Files F.E.A.R. Extraction Point / Perseus Mandate R18 Contains violence Cut (Extraction Point)
F.E.A.R. Files F.E.A.R. Extraction Point / Perseus Mandate R18 Contains violence MA15+ (Perseus Mandate)
Fallout 3 R18 Contains graphic violence and offensive language Cut
Fallout 3: Broken Steel And Point Lookout Fallout 3: Quest Pack 2 R18 Graphic violence and offensive language MA15+
Fallout 3: Mothership Zeta R18 Graphic violence and offensive language MA15+
Fallout 3: The Pitt/Operation Anchorage Fallout 3: Quest Pack 1 R18 Graphic violence and offensive language MA15+
Fight Club R18 Contains violence and offensive language MA
Final Fight Streetwise R18 Contains violence and offensive language MA15+
Gangs Of London R18 Contains violence and offensive language MA15+
Gears Of War 2 R18 Contains violence MA15+
Gore Ultimate Soldier Gore R18 Contains graphic violence MA
Grand Theft Auto GTA R18 Contains violence MA
Grand Theft Auto – The Trilogy R18 Contains violence and offensive language No matching entry
Grand Theft Auto Collector’s Edition R18 Contains violence No matching entry
Grand Theft Auto III GTA 3 R18 Contains violence Cut
Grand Theft Auto IV GTA 4 R18 Contains violence and offensive language Cut (before submission)
Grand Theft Auto IV – Unedited Version GTA 4 R18 Contains violence, offensive language and sex scenes No matching entry
Grand Theft Auto IV: Lost And Damned GTA 4: Lost And Damned; Lost and Damned R18 Violence, offensive language and drug use Cut
Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad Of Gay Tony GTA: The Ballad Of Gay Tony; GTA: Episodes From Liberty City R18 Violence, offensive language and sex scenes MA15+
Grand Theft Auto London Special Edition Grand Theft Auto – London Special Edition R18 Contains violence MA
Grand Theft Auto Vice City GTA Vice City R18 Contains violence Cut
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories GTA: Liberty City Stories R18 Contains violence, sexual themes and offensive language MA15+
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas GTA 4: San Andreas R18 Contains violence and offensive language Cut
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (Hot Coffee Modification) R18 contains violence, offensive language and sex scenes No matching entry
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories GTA Vice City Stories R18 Contains violence, sexual themes and offensive language MA15+
GTA2 Grand Theft Auto 2 R18 Contains violence MA
Just Cause R18 Contains violence MA15+
Kane & Lynch: Dead Men Kane And Lynch: Dead Men R18 Contains violence and offensive language MA15+
Killer 7 Killer7 R18 Contains violence and offensive language MA15+
Left 4 Dead R18 Contains graphic violence MA15+
Left 4 Dead 2 R18 Graphic violence Cut
Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust R18 Sexual references MA15+
MadeMan Made Man; Interview With A Made Man R18 Contains violence and offensive language MA15+
Madworld R18 Violence and offensive language MA15+
Mafia R18 Contains violence MA
Marc Ecko’s Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure Marc Ecko’s Rhapsody R18 Contains violence and offensive language RC (after appeal)
Miami Vice: The Game Miami Vice R18 Contains violence and offensive language MA15+
Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance R18 Contains violence MA
Mortal Kombat: Armageddon MK Armageddon R18 Contains violence MA15+
Mortal Kombat: Deception MK: Deception R18 Contains violence MA
Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks R18 Contains violence MA15+
NARC R18 Contains violence, offensive language and drug use. RC
Ninja Gaiden 2 Ninga Gaiden II R18 Contains graphic violence MA15+
Painkiller R18 Contains violence and horror MA
Prototype R18 Violence and offensive language MA15+
Resident Evil 4 R18 Contains violence MA
Resident Evil 5 R18 Violence MA15+
RoadKill R18 Contains violence and offensive language MA
Rogue Warrior Dick Marcinko Rogue Warrior R18 Violence and offensive language MA15+
Saints Row R18 Contains violence, offensive language and drug use. MA15+
Saints Row 2 R18 Contains violence and offensive language MA15+
Scarface: The World Is Yours R18 Contains graphic violence and offensive language MA15+
Silent Hill: Homecoming R18 Contains graphic violence Cut
Soldier Of Fortune R18 Contains violence MA
Soldier Of Fortune Gold R18 Contains violence No matching entry
Soldier Of Fortune II Soldier Of Fortune II Double Helix R18 Contains graphic violence No matching entry (see Soldier of Fortune II Double Helix)
Soldier Of Fortune II – Gold Edition R18 Contains graphic violence Cut
Soldier Of Fortune II Double Helix R18 Contains graphic violence MA15+
Soldier Of Fortune: Payback R18 Contains graphic violence and offensive language Cut
Sopranos: Road To Respect The Sopranos: Road To Respect R18 Contains violence, offensive language and drug use. MA15+
State Of Emergency R18 Contains violence MA
State Of Emergency 2 R18 Contains violence and offensive language MA15+
Suffering: Ties That Bind The Suffering Ties That Bind R18 Contains violence and offensive language MA15+
The Chronicles Of Riddick: Assault On Dark Athena R18 Violence and offensive language MA15+
The Chronicles Of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay R18 Contains violence and offensive language MA
The Darkness R18 Violence and horror MA15+
The Getaway R18 Contains violence Cut
The Getaway: Black Monday R18 Contains violence and offensive language Cut
The Godfather II The Godfather 2 R18 Violence, sexual themes and offensive language MA15+
The Godfather The Don’s Edition The Godfather: The Don’s Edition R18 Contains violence and offensive language No matching entry
The Godfather The Game R18 Contains violence and offensive language MA15+
The Punisher R18 Contains violence and offensive language Cut
The Suffering R18 Contains violence and offensive language MA
The Warriors R18 Contains violence and offensive language MA15+
Total Overdose “Total Overdose: A Gunslinger’s Tale In Mexico” R18 Contains violence MA15+
True Crime Streets Of LA True Crime: Streets Of LA R18 Contains violence, sexual themes and offensive language MA
True Crime: New York City R18 Contains violence and offensive language MA15+
Urban Chaos: Riot Response Urban Chaos; Nick Mason Urban Chaos Riot Response R18 Contains violence and offensive language MA15+
Watchmen: The End Is Nigh R18 Violence and offensive language MA15+
Wet R18 Graphic violence and offensive language MA15+
Wolfenstein R18 Violence MA15+
X-Men Origins: Wolverine R18 Violence MA15+

Objectionable games to 30 October 2009

Title Other Titles  Classification Status in Australia
Manhunt Objectionable RC
Manhunt 2 Objectionable No matching entry (never submitted)
Postal 2 Demo Game Postal 2: Share The Pain Demo Objectionable No Matching Entry
Postal 2: Share The Pain Objectionable RC
Reservoir Dogs Objectionable RC
Three Sisters’ Story Objectionable No matching Entry

Overview

Games rated R18 in New Zealand

MA15+ 57
MA 20
M 1
Cut – a revised version was classified in Australia 17
RC – banned in Australia 2
Total: (game titles matched) 97
No matching entry – not in Australian classification database 7

Games listed as objectionable in New Zealand

Banned in both countries 3
No matching entry – not in Australian classification database 3

Conclusion

I looked at the Australian ratings for 97 games that were rated R18 in New Zealand. 78 of these games were rated MA15+ or lower in Australia in their unrevised states. 17 were revised, either before submission or before being given a classification. 2 were refused classification.
Almost 90% of games rated R18+ in New Zealand are available to Australian teenagers in an unrevised state.
Adults in Australia should be allowed to play games that the OFLC rates as acceptable for adults.

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