A Game Ban Spree in Australia Precedes New Ratings System

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
| The video game industry has gone from a mole hill to a mountain in no time flat, Chris DiMarco is your Sherpa as you endeavor to scale Mount “Everquest”

A Game Ban Spree in Australia Precedes New Ratings System

If you thought there was a drought of games available in the United States, well, you wouldn't be alone. Personally, there's not a whole lot catching my attention until September 1's arrival of Mad Max ahead of the big magilla that is Fallout 4. But in Australia, the gaming drought is even worse thanks to government regulations that have seen over 200 games get banned in the country in just four months.

I assure you that you read that correctly; over 200 games banned in four months. That's an average of around two games a day, every day, for four months straight, a development that gave me a double take the first time I clapped eyes to it myself. What's worse is that the numbers are apparently ramping up; the 200 plus games banned in Australia--reportedly banned via the simple expedient of refusing classification from the country's rating system--represents fully four times as many titles banned from the entire 18 year period of 1994 to 2012.

Staggering, I know, but the reports suggest that this isn't some kind of nightmarish dystopian move. Rather, the word is that the mass banning was just a means to clear a backlog of titles that have been on the docket for some time ahead of a new ratings system set to start today, July 1.

The denied classification games run the gamut, including a host of lesser-known titles like "Drunk Driver" and "Douchebag Beach Club," and represent part of a backlog of over 150,000 titles. It became clear--according to the Attorney General's Department in Australia--that the "online explosion" has generated far too many titles to be manually classified. Thus, a new ratings system is set to arrive, one that reflects this new reality.

The pilot program in question is known as the International Age Rating Coalition, and turns to the developers themselves--much in the way that the ESRB and PEGI ratings do--to report the content accurately and provide a rating. This gives parents sufficiently accurate ratings to work with to determine which games are appropriate for their children and which aren't, while no longer requiring a massive government boondoggle to take care of the operation.

This is great news for gamers, frankly; in 2015, no government anywhere should have a say in what media its people are allowed to consume. That's a dystopian nightmare on par with the worst of them, and has no place in current society. The only people who should have a say in what media is consumed is the people intending to do the consuming. That Australia finally wised up to this is a good move; shockingly late, but good nonetheless. Of course, there's a fine and noble intention behind Australia's efforts; keeping graphic games out of the hands of children is certainly appropriate at any time, and reasonable enough. But this is a job that can be done by actual parents of said children, not by the government. This is a move that should save tax dollars, should allow more games to reach Australian gamers, and in general improve the state of things all throughout the country.

So in the end, I believe the appropriate phrase here is "good on ya", Australia. You've figured out that it's not the government's job to handle such things. You may have taken much longer than everyone else to do it, but you reached the right conclusion, and so I applaud you for it.

Featured Events