Why Mortal Kombat Was Refused Classification

Why Mortal Kombat Was Refused Classification

We’ve just gotten a hold of the Classification Board’s report for Mortal Kombat, which states the reasons why the game was Refused Classification in Australia.

According to the report Mortal Kombat “contains violence that exceeds strong in impact and is therefore unsuitable for persons aged under 18 years to play.”

As you’d expect – the fatalities were to blame.

At the conclusion of a bout, a character is invited to perform a ‘finishing move’ or ‘fatality’. To perform a fatality, a player has to push a series of button combinations within a short period of time. If this is successfully accomplished, a non-interactive cut scene is triggered which depicts a character explicitly slaughtering their opponent.

Initially, the Move List Within the game includes one finishing move per character, although a player is able to unlock up to four per character. The Board notes that fatalities cannot be performed in Story mode and are unlikely to be performed frequently during gameplay; however, it is also noted that there are more than 60 fatalities available and they are an important component of the game.

The report then goes on to describe some of the fatalities in detail…

– Stryker tasers his opponents and then explicitly shoots their head off with his gun. Blood and gore is noted.

– Shao Khan uses his hands to explicitly rip an opponent’s body vertically in two

– Kitana uses her ‘folding fan’ weapon to explicitly dismember then decapitate her opponent, with copious blood flow noted.

These fatalities are then cited as being one of the major reasons why Mortal Kombat has been Refused Classification.

The game includes over 60 fatalities (some of which are noted above) which contain explicit depictions of dismemberment, decapitation, disembowelment and other brutal forms of slaughter. Despite the exaggerated conceptual nature of the fatalities and their context within a fighting game set in a fantasy realm, impact is heightened by the use of graphics which are realistically rendered and very detailed. In the opinion of the Board, the game contains violence that exceeds strong in impact and is unsuitable for a minor to see or play. The game should therefore be Refused Classification pursuant to item 1(d) of the computer games table of the National Classification Board.


    • “…impact is heightened by the use of graphics which are realistically rendered and very detailed…”

      Apparently it’s not the violence, per-se, but the level of detail of the graphics that is the problem. Why did they have to make the game so pretty…?

  • Can they just seriously retroactively RC every MK game then so they at least remain consistent!

    Sub Zero ripped off a head with a dangling spine in the original, we’ve also since had Brutalities… I would even suggest that the PS2/XBOX games are just as graphic intensive (3D models, graphics that protray human form quite well)… yet just because this is a prettier version it’s now too much.

    Perhaps we will get an edited version in the future with only Friendships!

  • “In the opinion of the Board, the game contains violence that exceeds strong in impact and is unsuitable for a minor to see or play.” Maybe that’s why it’s NOT FOR MINORS? Jesus Christ. That statement was almost as bad as some from Faux News’ ‘exposé’ of Bulletstorm.

    • They can’t stop minors (15 year olds) getting the game with current ratings. It’s not the boards fault, it’s the limitations set by the classification system

    • The board reports now state not suitable for minors as a statement to the fact that the board supports a review and believes in an r rating. This is there way of making a point about how the games should be rated. This particular sentence has been present for the last couple of years and recent interviews with board members back the reasoning for it. It is an internal protest.

      • There might be something in your point there. I didn’t think the review panel would actually take the violence into context, but they did it well. The final sentence doesn’t say “not suitable for release” it says “not suitable for minors” and according to the rule saying no R18 it cannot be granted classification.

        This is fair enough. It should be R18. A lot of others games that have been released should be R18 too.

  • I wonder if the board would have allowed the game through if there were less than 60 fatalities.

    It doesn’t matter though, what this shows is that the Ready logo has far too little facepalm.

    • I could see them passing it if there were only one fatality per character. Like the qualified, it is a minor part of the game, and would rarely be seen. The fact that they put in so many to specifically draw attention to these rare fatalities seems to be what shot them in the foot.

    • The Australian Classification Board does NOT use a system which involve a precident. So they don’t look at previous classifications to try and decide how a new item should be rated. I believe the thought behind this is to allow the “community standards” to change over time, but in practice, it really hurts the classification of individual media, as it makes each item wholly on the random people that are on the board on a given day.

    • I don’t think the board is the problem but the “minorities” who would rather not risk Australia’s identity(?) for the compramise of having us living 100 years in the past as mushrooms and feeding us nothing as bullshit….

  • I have a cunning plan!
    We are ALL going to import this game right?
    So if Gerry Harvey was to find out how much revenue Aussie Retailers will be missing out on, won’t he step up to bat for us and DEMAND the governement fix this!

  • “the game contains violence that exceeds strong in impact and is unsuitable for a minor to see or play”

    Will someone tell the ACB that not all games are meant for minors thus should not be reviewed as such.

    • Its not entirely their fault though, their hands are tied. With no R rating, all we have is MA15+, so if a game is deemed unsuitable for minors it has nowhere to go, it can’t be made MA15+ because then minors would have access to it, and theres nothing higher to give it, so it gets RC’d.

      If you want to hate on something, hate on the fact we don’t have an R rating, don’t hate on the classification board just for doing its job.

      • I’m not hating them, Carroll. But they are not doing themselves any favors not proof reading their reports before publication.

        Had they said “this exceeds the limitations of a MA15+ rating,” then I would have accepted it.

        I am sure they are doing their job – but it does not help the case when they make publications like this.

        Let’s see how long it takes for the ACL to jump on this again.

        • “Unsuitable for minors” and “Surpasses the maximum allowed in the MA15+ rating” are functionally equivalent statements.

          A minor is defined in Australia as a person under the age of 18, so I don’t think you should take issue with the way they wrote that; as Warren said, they’re simply constrained by rules outside their control.

      • I think the In-consistency of the decisions are the sticking point with the board, we understand that they have rules to follow and are only doing their jobs within those guidelines, but letting DNF through and then banning this one just reeks of inconsistency and makes us question the valadility of the board itself.

  • So a game that’s not meant for minors has been deemed unsuitable for minors.

    What a revelation. Next they’ll be telling us fish live in the sea.

    But apparently Australia is only populated by minors. There are no adults here. Nope.

    What a joke this classification system is.

  • Agree completely with the board – this should not be M rated, I wouldn’t want a 13yo playing it.

    This isn’t a failure of the board but justification towards a R18+ classification. Contrary to what opponents believe the games that are deserving of R18+ are already out there – Creating a legititamate classification is not going to result in more of these games being developed – it’s going to help keep parents informed and keep them out of reach of minors.

    • I don’t think I’d personally have an issue with a 15 year old playing this, as is the rating it was being considered for. MA15+ is a Restricted classification, meaning it’s illegal for a youth to view it, even if it’s legal to sell to people over 15.

      That said, you are absolutely correct about how this is a great title we can use to champion a true R18+ rating.

      I’ll point out also that I don’t really disagree with the board on this, just wish they had more options.

  • I’m 31. I am trusted by the government, parents, education boards, my professional peers etc to teach young, impressionable people. I am given the responsibility every day to know what is right and wrong for other people to learn in my classroom and have done so, successfully, for the last 6 years of my teaching career. Yet, confusingly, I am not trusted by a board made up of random people to make a decision for myself. I am not given the option, via an 18+ classification, to decide whether or not I would like to buy a game aimed for mature people.

    I really don’t see the logic here and all I can hear in my head is Mrs. Lovejoy from the Simpsons hysterically screaming “Won’t somebody think of the children?!” Hurry up and create an 18+ rating so that adults can buy games that they wish to play.

    • Ahh, but the kicker here is that YouTube now flags videos with mature content. You must have a YouTube account that is > 18 years old to view those videos. I would guess the videos depicting the fatalities would be marked as mature content.

    • I’d like to thank you for taking the time to put the ‘***’ in the post. It saved me a few seconds. Which I’ve now returned to you by writing this post.


  • I will have no choice now but to watch my DVD of “Wolf Creek” again in order to see a huge knife inserted up to the hilt in a girls spine.


  • I Love It How It Always Says Unsuitable For A Minor To Experiance This In Any Way. Etc =\
    It’s Pretty Stupid When The Product Is Specifically Rated To Be Kept Out Of The Hands Of Children. So That People Under 15 Or 18 Cannot Buy The Game.
    “In the opinion of the Board, the game contains violence that exceeds strong in impact and is unsuitable for a minor to see or play.”
    They’re Using Any Excuse To Keep Violence Out Of Games Because Of Their Own Beleifs Of What It Does To People.

    • They aren’t doing anything on their own beliefs. They are applying the classification guidelines to this game and it doesn’t make it through.

      The rules are the problem. When an R18+ category is introduced then they can say that it is strong violence and only adults should have access to it.

  • Isn’t this a bit of an irony? Seeing as mortal kombat games were the games parents freaked out over a decade ago, and seeing as fatalities have been in all the other 100 mortal kombat games released always with just as bad violence? The games looks about the same as the others, the stiff movements of characters, the over the top comical fatalities. I just find this somewhat amusing for some reason for this game to get banned, I didn’t realise that it’s still 1995 in this country.

    Here is to novels making us unable to imagine anything anymore, to comic books that will destroy the minds of children, to movies that will melt away everyone’s sense of right and wrong, to computer games that will turn us all into murderers and any other future forms that will no doubt stop the hearts of right wingers for generations to come!

    • The Irony is that we could play it as kids with content aimed at adults, and now that we’re adults we can’t play it because the content is aimed at us.

  • Splatterhouse, Saw 2 and Dead Space 2 made it in just fine. I only just started playing Dead Space 1 this week, discovered stomping on the corpses of other humans until they’re in little pieces counts towards the Dismemberment achievement.

    My better half walked in mid-stomp and turned right around and walked out.

    How is that any different?

  • Splatter House and its wanton massacring is okay but tongue-in-cheek MK with its contextual violence is not…?! o_0

    Senile geriatrics in power, please… >_>

  • Kabal: (shows face) “AHHH!,AHHH!” Classification Board guy: “ARRRGH! (Ghost runs out of his body game never gets classified)

  • And they think this is going to stop people here playing it? All it’s going to do is increase the occurrences of piracy and illegal importing of the game as gamers decide the classification board has a duck shoved up their collective ass and that their heads can follow suit. And frankly, they’re correct. They’re (mostly) adults. They should be entitled to see all the blood, gore, decaptiations and disembowelment they like (they can in movies, after all).

    It’s Mortal Kombat. Ofc it’s violent. It’s also a damn fun game. Let us play.

  • PS I just watched Pirahnda last night on cable. People being eaten alive before the camera. Blood, guts, and general gore mayhem everywhere. Nudity, profanity, but hey its ok for movies… can’t do that in games, no sireebob!


  • Wow, I didn’t realize how serious Mortal Kombat is in Australia. I remember when they tried to ban MK in the US. It was all over the news but it didn’t work. It was far too many people buying the game. I know I would be pissed if I lived in Australia. Better get the imports!!

  • I think we’re just found the solution here for retailer’s complaints against imports! Just do not allow retailers to sell the games at all!

    You’re welcome, government.

  • You’ve all seen the trailers, so you all saw this coming. And you know damn well that all the logical arguments you can concoct won’t mean diddly squat to the guys making the decisions(be it the OFLC, SACG, etc), assuming any of them even read this article.

    Unfortunately, we need to accept that we can’t buy this game in retail. I suppose you could try to order it online or pirate it, but there’s a good chance that anyone who’s claiming to do this is having their isp address watched right now. I think I’ll play it safe, and just watch the gameplay vids on yout- wait, they can censor vids for individual regions.

    In anycase, the odds in this one are stacked too high against us to fight it.

  • wtf srsly – the original game, and in fact the entire saga had the same level of gore, violence and fatalities, why in the f*** is this not okay all of a sudden? Sigh / Facepalm.

  • if we cant get it in Australia, then get it from play asia or something like that. just get it from another country unless its illegal.

  • ‘ According to the report Mortal Kombat “contains violence that exceeds strong in impact and is therefore unsuitable for persons aged under 18 years to play.” ‘

    Isn’t the point of an R18+ rating to assist parents knowing which games children should not be playing?

  • Wow. Im pretty sure all the other Mortal Kombats have finishing moves…
    Games dont kill people, Games refused classification in Australia kill people.

  • *clap-clap* Thank you classification board – you have made sure once again I have to spend my money overseas to buy this game (which is BTW cheaper anyways).
    While I’m at it I’ll buy a few more items just to be sure.
    *waves at the face of stupidity*

  • I think the real reason it was banned was so it wouldn’t distract all those 13 year olds while they have underage sex parties after playing We Dare!!! (PG rating)

  • I bet all the people claiming MK is a game targeted at adults and kids shouldn’t be playing it were playing MK in the 90s, as a kid. It is pure teenager-level entertainment, ridiculous and unrealistic. It’s a kids game and it’s totally suitable, moreso than most shooting games or GTA.

  • When will these assholes learn that as a mature adult i will NOT bow to their wishes. As a mature adult i think i am capable of deciding what i can decide is suitable without their big brother tactics.

    Fuck them all!!

    Import FTW!!!

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