Australia turns banhammer on Modern Warfare 2?

We’ve previously blogged about South Australia’s (ultimately successful) attempt to cut everything popular out of Left 4 Dead 2 – bye bye gore, violence and (presumably) the more offensive zombies, on the basis that Austalia’s game classification system only goes up to 15 and L4D2 as a game goes well beyond that rating.  The obvious solution would be to introduce an 18 rating (in common with many other countries), but the Austalian response ultimately was simply to refuse to admit the game into the country as it  was presently constituted.  So, instead, EA/Valve had to release a special Australia-only toned down version (with which some sources appear to have been less than impressed).

Now, it seems that a certain South Australian may have set his sights on Modern Warfare 2 (which, by the way, is doing rather well elsewhere in the world).  MW2 at present has a 15 rating, but the South Australia Attorney General, Michael Atkinson, is set to appeal that rating – which, if successful, it seems likely would effectively mean blocking the game in Australia.  L4D2 down, MW2 in the gunsights – good going so far. 

But why MW2?  We would wager it may have something to do with the global political outrage regarding that mission.  This seems to be borne out by a quote from the man himself (thanks, GI.biz): “I worry about any game that encourages gamers to perpetrate extreme violence and cruelty on screen, but this game allows players to be virtual terrorists and gain points by massacring civilians. Expecting game designers to be responsible by not glorifying terrorism will always lead to disappointment.”

Our suggestion: perhaps Mr Atkinson should team up with the UK’s Keith Vaz (Labour MP and no fan of allegedly ‘violent’ games) and combine their individual powers to ban all games other than (i) The Sims (provided each Sim is confined to his/her house); and (ii) Flight Simulator (provided the plane does not actually leave the ground).  It could happen…

4 comments

  1. This is a horribly inaccurate article.

    Neither south Australia the state, or Atkinson had anything to do with L4D2 being refused classification. That happened simply because of the lack of an R rating. For an R rating to be introduced, all state attorney generals need to agree unanimously, and as can imagine, Atkinson won’t agree to this. This has been THE ongoing issue for many years now.

    As for the version of L4D2 we received, it was absolutely not a “special Australian-only” version. Valve didn’t appear to want to waste any time at all making small changes, which is all that would have been needed, to get the game in under the MA rating like the original game did. Instead they just gave us the German version of the game which goes 10 times further than necessary.

    I, and everybody I know, has simply imported a region free overseas version and saved 40% off the local RRP while we’re at it. It is not actually legal to import games that are refused classification, however I am yet to know of anyone that has actually had a game confiscated by customs stretching back to the GTA3 days.

  2. @Dunnas

    Thanks for that useful clarification regarding the lack of R rating and Mr Atkinson’s opposition to it. However, based upon Mr Atkinson’s comments regarding both L4D2 and MW2 (which have been widely publicised on the net) I think it’s fair to say that he is no fan of those games…

    It’s also worth noting that, if Australian law regarding games classification is anything like English law, then importing unclassified games is not only illegal, but a criminal offence!

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