While I am sure many were hoping that the R18+ Classification for video games in Australia would herald in the availability of new titles in Australia when it launched on the 1st January this year, it has instead resulted in some degree of chaos – games that were formerly PG have now been deemed R18+ with no notable change in content, we had Saints Row IV constantly receiving RC classifications due to what some would consider trivial content and last month, South Australian attorney general sending off applications to have 12 video games re-reviewed and re-classified.
As a gamer you can now breathe a sigh of relief, as instead of finding out that potentially 12 games in your collection are now R18+ or heaven forbid… Refused Classification and not legal to own in Australia, the Review Board upload the MA15+ (Mature Accompanied) classification for all 12 games – Killer is Dead, Alien Rage, Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Blacklist, Deadly Premonition the Director’s Cut, Company of Heroes 2, God Mode, Borderlands 2: Add-on Content Pack, Fuse, Deadpool, The Walking Dead, Gears of War: Judgment and The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct.
In a press release, the Australian Government’s Classification Review Board stated:
In reviewing the classifications, the Review Board worked within the framework of the National Classification Scheme, applying the provisions of the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995, the National Classification Code and the Guidelines for the Classification of Computer Games. This is the same framework used by the Classification Board.
The Review Board is an independent merits review body. It makes a fresh classification decision upon receipt of an application for review. This Review Board decisions takes the place of the original decisions made by the Classification Board.
This isn’t the only issue surrounding video games currently going on in Australia, with the South Australian government putting up billboards showcasing the words “Gambling Starts With Games”. The Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (igea) have since shared a letter asking for the signs to be taken down.