You Can Now Read The Reports Of All 12 Games Reviewed By The Classification Board

Late last year, at the request of the South Australian Attorney-General John Rau, The Australian Classification Board was asked to review the classification decisions for 12 games that had received MA15+ ratings here in Australia, but adult classifications from overseas ratings bodies. After reviewing all 12 games individually, the board came back with the precise same rating for each and every single game up for review. Now, the Classification Board has made these reports available to the public.

If you want to read each and every report for the dozen games put up for review you can find them here.

What's interesting about almost every single decision is the fact that the board is, for better or worse, simply implementing the guidelines. Each and every single review makes reference to them in its decision. "The Review Board unanimously decided that the impact of the classifiable elements is no higher than strong", therefore the game is rated MA15+ not R18+. If anything, it's heartening to see that a level of consistency is being reached as the Classification Board gets used to the new guidelines.

Of course there is an element of human error here, and there have been inconsistencies in decisions over the years, but it's actually reassuring to see that the Classification Board is reviewing the same games twice and coming to the same conclusion both times — in 12 different cases. That suggests there is a layer of consistency there, and that's a good thing.


Comments

    With John Rau following Michael Atkinson, there also appears to be a layer of consistency in the stupidity of South Australian Attorney Generals (Attornies General? Whatever).

    does anyone actually have some substantial information on games that have been RC'd since the implementation of R18+ classification? It'd be interesting to know if the board isn't just refusing classification on stuff they would refuse anyway pre-R18+

      Atelier Totori Plus was a pretty weird decision - initially RC'ed, later revised to R18+. The R18+ classification was due to "High Impact" in the "violence" category.

      Allegedly the RC was due to the swimsuit DLC where several of the girls are fooled into appearing in a mildly embarrassing swimsuit competition. Somehow this was regarded as sexualised violence (which is an automatic RC).

      I haven't yet encountered anything in the game which would cause it to to be blocked from a prime-time cartoon slot. The Atelier games are ridiculously mild by most standards; the only somewhat mature element is that the clothes are often somewhat skimpy (which is to say, about normal for a video game.)

        Here are the classification board reports for both Atelier Totori and Atelier Totori Plus:

        https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/85716979/AtelierTotori%20ACB%20Reports.pdf

        From the article:
        http://potakudotcom.wordpress.com/2013/03/15/atelier-totori-r18-for-kids/

        Some of the text (detailed in the report) were the reason for the R 18+ ("references to sexual violence") rating for the Plus version.

        The article link above is a great read. Apparently the content that caused the R 18+ (not an exhaustive list though) also appears in the PG rated non-Plus version, and the reason for the rating disparity is due to the non-Plus version being dealt with by an Industry Assessor recommending a rating to the board and the board agreeing with it while the Plus version was sent to the board for rating with the distributor choosing to ignore the Industry Assessor scheme. (Due to a change in publisher / applicant).

        A minority of the board classified the Plus version RC (!)

        I can't find any mention anywhere on the net (or the board's database either) of Atelier Totori Plus ever being "initially RC'ed".

        Personally i think that its absolutely stupid that they rated this, of all things R18+ (restricted the release as well!!) . How about Akiba's trip: undead and undressed (Rated M) or the Neptunia Series (PG to Ma15+) as a whole, Highschool of the dead (anime) is even rated Ma15+ in Australia and in that their breasts are practically flying everywhere like they've messed up the physics and turned off the gravity just for that part of the body there's even a part where a guy uses the cleavage of the woman's breasts to support the sniper rifle and reduce the kickback.

        I'm greatly dissapointed in the way in which they rate games/anime in Australia.

        Apparently it was also denied access due to the fact the ACB are banning depictions of small breasted A-cup women in media; Read more here http://boingboing.net/2010/01/28/australian-censor-bo.html (The text in the link may be inappropriate for minors)

    Would i be right to assume this is a fairly low paid job? Seems pretty easy to put a movie/game through the same doco and just change the last 3 sections... I hope there's not too much tax payer money going towards this.

    OMG : l. A total remuneration package of $125,000pa, including base salary of $107,500pa

    .. No Formal Qualifications required...

    WHAT A JOKE AUSTRALIA

    Let's not forget that the taxpayers still had to pay for this monumental waste of time and resources.

    after reading the SRIV doc i feel a little less angry about the initial RC. seems legit.

    I thought they'd decided not to do this on account of it being a monumental waste of money.

      Never underestimate the willingness of the government to waste money.

      No, but there was a report that it was a giant waste of money. That's a thing.

    Only two games were refused classification under the new scheme in 2013- Saints Row IV and State of Decay, and both of them were released after the publishers made reasonably small changes- and in both cases it was drug references not violence that pushed the rating up. The South Australian Attorney-General was obviously willing to pony up the $6-12k per game that the Classification Review Board charges to do this kind of thing. Waste of money in my book.

      Fail. 3 games were banned under the new scheme in 2013. You missed South Park: The Stick of Truth. All 3 were censored and the censored versions were / will be released here. Some new scheme. Just a cosmetic change.

      ..."in both cases it was drug references" (actually it was drug use related to incentives and rewards) "not violence that pushed the rating up."

      It seems that Ubisoft asked the Classification Board not to publish the RC decisions for South Park: The Stick of Truth on their public database when it was banned in its uncut form and also banned in a censored form. The banning and censoring came to light later on. Ubisoft also hid the real title of the R 18+ censored #2 version of the game in the same database by getting the board to call it CODENAME. This has happened with other titles too. It was only when the real title appeared in the database, and I found CODENAME too, (they both had the same consumer advice, rating and other details) and they were both listed as being "modified" with no "original" version, that it became apparent that something was amiss. I told Gamepron/Player Attack about this anomaly and they made a good article about it after contacting the board and getting the info.

      www.playerattack.com/news/2013/12/18/south-park-the-stick-of-truth-the-offensive-bits/

      There's still no record in the online database of South Park: The Stick of Truth ever being classified RC.

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