The first game to get an R18+ rating has been revealed; it'll be Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge for its "High Impact Bloody Violence".
I'll give the credit here to the ever-reliable Vooks, who's covered this one nicely this morning, noting that it means curiously that the first R18+ game will come on a Nintendo console; not exactly the kind of match you might expect.
The classification board has sent out a release covering the announcement of the first title to get an R18+ rating, which means it'll face an interesting mix of state-based restrictions, including whatever it is Queensland finally settles on.
‘Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge’ first R 18+ computer game in Australia
The Director of the Classification Board, Ms Lesley O’Brien announced today that Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge was the first computer game in Australia to be classified R 18+ in the newly created adult category. The Classification Board classified the game R 18+ (Restricted) with consumer advice of ‘High impact bloody violence’.
Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge is an action adventure game for the Nintendo Wii U console in which players assume the role of Ryu Hayabusa, a cursed ninja battling a terrorist organisation. Ms O’Brien said computer games classified R 18+ are legally restricted to adults. “Under the Guidelines for the Classification of Computer Games, R 18+ computer games will have a high impact and it is for this reason that these games are not suitable for under 18s,” Ms O’Brien said.
“Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge contains violence that is high in impact because of its frequency, high definition graphics, and emphasis on blood effects.” When making decisions about computer games, the Classification Board must use the criteria set out in the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games Act) 1995, the National Classification Code and the Guidelines for the Classification of Computer Games.
The new Guidelines for the Classification of Computer Games came into effect on 1 January 2013. Prior to then, Australia did not have an adult category for computer games. Under state and territory laws it is illegal to sell R 18+ computer games to people under 18.
An application to classify Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge was received by the Classification Board on 3 January 2013 from Nintendo Australia Pty Ltd and the decision was finalised today (11 January). It was classified M (for ages 17 and over) by the Entertainment Rating Software Board (ESRB) in the United States and 18+ by the Pan European Game Information (PEGI) Scheme which covers most of Europe and the United Kingdom.
‘I encourage consumers to use the National Classification Database to find out about the classifications of computer games,’ Ms O’Brien said. The database is on the classification website at www.classification.gov.au.
The Interactive Games & Entertainment Association has also quickly put out a release, below.
Sydney, Australia – 11 January 2013 – The first R18+ classified video game is set to hit local shores after Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge was given an adult rating by the Classification Board today. The announcement is welcomed by the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association after more than ten years lobbying for the introduction of an R18+ classification for computer and video games.
January 1, 2013 marked the introduction of a new legislation to include an R18+ category for computer and video games. Prior to this, Australia was the only developed nation without an R18+ rating for video games despite the fact that the average Australian gamer is now 32 years old.
According to Ron Curry, CEO of Interactive Games & Entertainment Association, introducing an R18+ category for computer and video games is a key step in harmonising Australia’s overall classification scheme, and giving consumers better tools to manage and understand content in a rapidly changing environment.
“The classification guidelines for video games are now more closely aligned with the guidelines for film and TV which makes it easier for parents to make informed decisions about the interactive content they choose to buy and play,” said Curry.
Under the new legislation, computer and video games can now be classified as either G, PG, M, MA15+ or R18+.
“It’s important for people to keep close attention to these ratings before buying a game, but we also encourage parents to do their own research and read reviews about the game before they make a purchase. This also serves as a timely reminder for parents to update control settings on game consoles to ensure children are only accessing age-appropriate content,” said Curry.
Curry added, “It’s great to finally see Australian adults have access to video games designed specifically for mature audiences, after more than ten years working with government, families, businesses and the broader community to introduce an R18+ category.”
The trailer does somewhat back up that description of "High Impact Bloody Violence", really.