Why That Game Was Refused Classification In Australia

Why That Game Was Refused Classification In Australia

Yesterday we reported that MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death, a dungeon crawling JRPG, was refused classification in Australia. Considering the game was rated ‘Teen’ (13 and above) in the US and ‘B’ (12 and above) in Japan, it seemed strange.

We’ve managed to get hold of the full classification report, which goes into detail on the specific reasons why MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death didn’t make it past the board.

As we suspected yesterday, MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death was refused classification as a result of sexualised content. In particular, sexualised content featuring, what appears to be, an underage character.

The game features a variety of female characters dressed in provocative clothing with their cleavage emphasised by their clothing revealing the sides or underside of their breasts. The five main characters in the game are ‘Machina Mages’, females who pair with robot-like guardians in order to do battle. Four of the five – Estra, Flare, Maki and Setia, although of indeterminate age, are all adult-like, with voluptuous bosoms and large cleavage that are flaunted with a variety of skimpy outfits.
The fifth main character, Connie, is depicted as child-like in comparison. She is flat-chested, under-developed physically (such as the hips), is significantly shorter than the other characters and wears her hair in pigtails. She also has a child-like voice, wears colourful child-like clothing and appears naive in her outlook on life. She is also referred to as a “girl” by the other main characters. In the Board’s opinion, the character of Connie depicts a person who is, or appears to be, a child under 18.
The game features use of the Playstation Vita’s touchscreen feature, that allows the player to touch or run their finger across the touchscreen in order to make any female character’s breasts move in response. The chest area of Connie is viewed moving slightly when this occurs, which is significantly different from the greater movement viewed when one of the four adult-like female characters is touched.
Within the character menu, the player can also touch the head, hips and legs of a character and a voice clip plays in reaction. When the player touches Connie in this mode it prompts verbal responses from her – either, “So flat. Super-flat.”, “Smooth”, “Just a little squishy” or two variations of a perturbed “Woah” sound. The application accompanying the game states there is a reaction to either the breasts, head, hips or legs of a character being touched. The touch response to each is indeterminate, as the gameplay footage does not indicate which area of the body is being touched when a response is heard.

According to the Classification Board, the character Connie is under 18, therefore the gameplay described above constitutes a “simulation of sexual stimulation of a child”. The report states this is “offensive or abhorrent in such a way that it offends against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that it should not be classified.”

Also worthy of note: the Classification Board was explicit in stating that interactivity played a part in the decision to deny a classification to MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death. The report makes mention of guidelines, which state that repeated, interactive movements should be treated as having a higher impact compared to “similarly themed depictions of the classifiable elements in film”.


  • So banned because a character doesn’t have enormous tits and you can poke her. Right. Abhorrent.

    So are they going to apply that standard to all the other Vita/3DS games that have the same content?

    • You’re right. It’s not consistent. Good to know it’s not ‘just’ the flat-chested bit. Grown women now can’t wear their hair in pigtails, have a high voice (it’s not a child VA FFS), have slim hips (like many Asian women), be short (like many Asian women), or be referred to by other women as a ‘girl’.

      • Not even my point.

        There’s tons of games that have been passed through the classification system here that could be described exactly this way. Also the classification board are essentially saying that this is child abuse material, which sounds like a tremendous stretch to me.

        • no it you who has missed the point, congrats, being the whole seemingly underage thing. to the rest of us adults, thats clearly not a good thing. it wasnt just the breast but the whole style and look.

          • You’re still missing my point.

            The government has classed this as Child sexual abuse.

            There are multiple other games that they passed without incident that have the exact same ‘feature set’.

            Ergo, these are also child sexual abuse. When are they taking them off the shelves? They should at least try to look consistent in their rulings.

          • like anything, context plays a very important part. especially forms of art. there will never be consistency, it runs counter to what they are looking at.

          • I agree with the review board on this. They were very clear on why it was banned.
            Now please list the multiple other games you are thinking of (and we can report them to the board).
            As I read it, the feature set that caused the ban is
            * present a character who is ‘girl-like’,
            * lets you rub their body via touchscreen/mouse/controller while playing back a sound in response.

          • Sure. Off the top of my head, at least two of the Senran Kagura games do it to some degree and I think all of them have some kind of slightly pervy touch-based interaction on the character select screen. Characters are all in high school. One of them is flat when the rest are not. I can’t remember if it was also in the 3DS games but I’d be surprised if it wasn’t. Vita one had you blow in the microphone to lift their skirts up and stuff too IIRC.

            IFI released Destroyer Trillion (with a westernized name that I can’t remember) a month or so ago. Same franchise as this game and has the same features. Tenpei Sato character designs (Disgaea) so quite a few of the characters tend toward the petite side.

            I’m not sure if it actually got classified here, but if it did, Monster Monpiece had rubbing girls as a core mechanic rather than just as an incidental thing on the side.

            Fairly sure that I saw Galgun get a classification. That has some questionable touch-based mechanics in some minigames.

            I bet there’s quite a few more, but it’s not something I particularly care for or go out of my way to catalogue. Just like in this case, it’s usually some kind of dumb side activity that you’d notice once, laugh at, and subsequently ignore if you even realized it was there at all.

            EDIT: Also not sure if it was classified here or not but NISA’s Criminal Girls had this as a core mechanic too, except they censored it by taking out the voices the characters make.

          • Ageism and prudery are never good things. Here they hide behind delusions of how the world is.

    • She dresses like a child, acts like a child, sounds like a child and is aged as a child. Why is this so hard to understand?

      • Occam’s Razor. If it looks, sounds, behaves and dresses like a child, then it is a child, not a 400 year old demigod who happens to look like a child when in human form (or whatever). Whether you agree with the decision or not, their reasons for RCing the title are perfectly sound.

          • I hope you’re wearing your “banned in Australia” collar then!

            In greater seriousness. Australia is one of the few countries that bans based on what it looks like rather than what it is. A bit silly if you ask me. But all they really have to do is remove the touching minigame to pass classification.

          • Honestly, I now understand the context of this banning.

            The ESRB in America is industry- regulated. Australian classification is state and territory regulated. So it gets reviewed by people who look at it with different motivations. At least it’s not banned for all breasts jiggling at touch, or something blanket like that, and done in the context of “is this something that is in the classification guidelines?”

            Yes, this game should get something like an MA15+ or R18+ category, but based on that context, it falls under stuff that is always refused classification

        • Occam’s Razor. If it looks, sounds, behaves and dresses like a child, then it is a child, not a 400 year old demigod who happens to look like a child when in human form (or whatever).

          Pretty much the best summary of how the classification system in this country works. Remove context, and just use Occam’s Razor. If it looks, sounds, or is possibly related to bannable item/character/story/depiction, then it is what it is.

      • misnomer: Everyone is a child as everyone has parents. The correct word is kid. However Australian governors don’t care whether one is a kid or a teen, either a minor, nor they do care about the interests of real minors, only their stunted squeamishness which they use to oppress two age groups.

  • This is how our laws roll.

    If you’re a legally aged porn actress and you look young, have flat boobs, and no hips, you’re deemed offensive purely because of the potential thoughts of a sick few.

    It’s pretty obvious what the character is going for, but I know a few naive, young looking women who seem to do just fine.

    Oh well, no mecha witch school girls for us (although the mecha part had me intrigued!).

    • purely (= cleanly) -> sheerly

      Sick means near death or inhibited so it has nothing to do with what you tried to relate.

  • As we suspected yesterday, MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death was refused classification as a result of sexualised content. In particular, sexualised content featuring, what appears to be, an underage character.

    So for once, the ACB did its job right. Not something once can say often given how frequently the ACB is inconsistent.

    • I disagree. But that’s the problem. Staff at the ACB are obviously racist and insist that the adult/child appearance can only be determined by reference to traditional western ideals. See my comment above.

        • He is. If you have been to japan, most woman have this cure slender look. This is why you see western translations sometimes change physique of characters to be more westernized to avoid this issue.

          • Mate she’s proportioned, dressed, voiced and addressed differently to the other girls because she’s being intentionally child-like. It’s not an uncommon thing to see these types of characters sexualised in Japan (I was there this month), but it’s not up to scratch with the standards of most of the western world.

            The sexualisation of these characters is about as subtle as a sledgehammer. You only have to look at the other girls for that to be perfectly obvious. It’s not a genuine attempt to have one character representing the average body shape of an Asian woman, it’s an attempt to include a child amongst a team of hyper-sexualised women with freakish proportions.

            It’s not racist or wrong on any level for the Aussie CB to block this kind of thing. It’s a weird cultural thing that’s near-exclusive to Japan that’s frowned upon most places for the obvious purpose of protecting children.

          • ‘Not as developed’ isn’t ‘developed’, and broadly that’s the Western standard for acceptability. The system needs to be robust enough that you can’t just draw a child and wack a 21 in the character bio and call her an adult; and it is.

            I know there’s lots of examples out there of people designing characters who dress like children and then calling them older, but in this case (and most of those cases) the intention is pretty clear. Given that the game allows you to touch them inappropriately the standard needs to be a bit higher than if it’s just a suggestive picture.

            The game allows you to interact with the chest of a ‘not as developed’ “girl” who has pigtails and speaks like a child, clearly for the purpose of titillation.
            I don’t know what else to tell you, that’s the most indefensible shit I’ve ever heard anyone try to defend from a game censorship perspective. The game misses the mark of community acceptability and then some. This is why classification boards exist.

            Would you feel the same if a game let you fondle the junks of four massive, oiled up guys and small, hairless boy, dressed in a school uniform with a childs voice and everyone calls him “kid”?

          • I think we’re trying to make two separate points. I agree that drawing a child and saying they are and adult is not acceptable. I’m saying the system is inherently flawed because it dictates that any character who does not conform to the voluptuous ideal of western womanhood risks being banned. Do a Google image search for ‘heroin chic’ and tell me that a publication featuring any of the women pictured wouldn’t risk be banned if they were depicted in a sexual way. They aren’t curvy or big-breasted, therefore they are child-like. The ACB ruling on this issue is a weak excuse and is a cop-out.

            ‘Community acceptability’ is an embarrassment both because it mandates that anything outside the realm of banality risks being censored. Any form of paraphilia, whether harmless or not, can be labelled ‘offensive’. All forms of pornography featuring depictions of sexual violence (e.g. rape fantasy) or urophilia (golden showers) or female ejaculation is routinely refused classification or seized because it is ‘obscene’ or ‘offensive’. Sexual arousal or activity, between consenting adults, that does not physically or mentally harm the participants, is something that the community should stay out of, in my opinion.

            As for the small, hairless boy, well what about Andrej Pejic https://andrejpejicbaby.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/andrej-pejic-model-andrejpejicmodel-120.jpg?w=640

            The problem is that anime depictions do not conform to the developmental stages of the human body that would allow someone to tell at a glance whether someone is a child, pubescent or an adult. The characters tend to have large heads and eyes that we associate with real life children, but then have super elongated legs etc that not even super-models have. I think the ACB just treats the anime depictions as if they were IRL models, which is flawed.

          • Propriety is defined by the parties, here the player and the avatar, and if something were inappropriate one of them would object to it. It does not matter what you or other third parties think. I’m sure I could find some provision in the constitution or international law that this censorship and sexual prohibition infringes on [despite the contradictory laws I already find].

      • Dude, what? I mean, the classification board is definitely super conservative, inconsistent and run by grannies, but racist seems even more of a stretch than their justification for banning this was.

      • I’m not a fan of down-voting people’s opinions, it’s kind of lazy and passive-aggressive, so I’m going to go out of my way to point out that your post is dumb. Really dumb.

        I’m not even sure what you’re trying to defend here or why, but “racist”? Seriously?

        If you can’t understand what’s wrong with the game and why it hasn’t been approved, you don’t understand context.

        • I responded to another post explaining that racism doesn’t necessarily mean discrimination but that post was either deleted or there was a problem at my end.

          Essentially, the ACB is adopting a racially stereotyped worldview on appearance by implying that the only acceptable standard by which to judge whether someone is an adult or a child is one that puts western (non-Asian) women in a determinative role. Anything that doesn’t fit with the appearance of a ‘western woman’ is automatically viewed as ‘childlike’.

          I had a Japanese teacher at university who was about 140cm tall, had no curves, had a high voice and had to buy all her clothes from Target’s children’s section. She was in her 40s. By the ACB’s standards, she looks like a child. This is an incredibly ethnocentric and racist point of view. This is short step away from saying that someone can’t use a female bathroom because she looks like a ‘man’.

          ACB needs to adopt a wider view of what is a ‘childlike’ appearance. As things stand, the performance of the ACB is unconvincing, and results in decisions that are perplexing and inconsistent.

          • If the other women weren’t hyper-sexualised, ridiculously proportioned caricatures then you might have a point.

            They are though. The game is designed to provide titillation and that character is there solely to fill the underage school-girl niche that acceptable in Japan and frowned upon (for obvious reasons) in the vast majority of the civilised world.

            That’s why the context of how the other characters are dressed and treated IS important. If the game contained a bunch of similarly dressed and featured adult women then the context might be different and it might not be an issue.

            Even if you go to Japan and gain a better understanding of the average body shape of a normal woman (in case it can’t be worked out from common sense), a proper understanding of modern Japanese culture is going to lead you to the same sensible conclusion- that there’s a market there for sexualised images of underage girls that’s completely out of step with Australia and most of the west. There’s a reason that the adult channel in your average Australian hotel doesn’t contain a “schoolgirl” option like the hotels in Japan do.

            C’mon man….. she’s proportioned, dressed, voiced and addressed like a pre-pubescent child. In the context of the others surely you can see why it’s inappropriate? I know everyone hates the classification board, but this is ridiculous….

          • I live in Japan and cannot agree with you more.
            The TA of this typpa game is very similar to the DoA beach volleyball.
            Those games that featured different female type with no much gameplay are sorely design for the “gentlemens”.
            Child porn in manga store is not uncommon, and I’ve seen guys reading hentai in the public…

  • If it doesn’t list her age then there’s no proof she’s underage, idiots. I went to school with a girl who’s still the height of a 12 year old even when she was 19, imagine if she was forbidden from getting a boyfriend because she “looked” underage.

    • The game developer could come out and say she’s 57, not going to make much difference. It’s about what the character represents, not what’s on her drivers license.

    • She wouldn’t be forbidden from getting a boyfriend but God help anyone who wanted to publish sexual material with her in it.

      • wouldn’t -> shouldn’t
        God -> wicked crooked mistranslated parokiac imaginary comic book friend who also rapes, murders, and abuses children I like to eironicly call upon for the sheeple’s understanding

  • Makes sense.

    I guess one way around this for the developer would be to put bios in game stating the age of the characters.

    • Or they could just disable fondling for that character. From what it says in the report, it sounds more like an easter egg than something necessary to game mechanics or story.

      • IFI have a very staunch no-censorship policy on their games, ever since they got raked over the coals for heavily censoring one of their earlier game releases. They’ve subsequently been avoiding anything they’d need to censor.

      • As someone who’s played his fair share of fondling games it could work either way. In Project Diva f the fondling is necessary to raise friendship ratings with the characters in order to access certain accessories in the game. In Monster Monpiece it is necessary to level up the playing cards because otherwise it is very difficult to complete the game. In Fire Emblem Fates it is not necessary but the way it has been hacked out, whilst not annoying to me when I heard about it, is SUPER annoying to me now because the result is these stupid 3-second scenes in the player’s personal quarters which obviously you were meant to build up to. I mean, one character (a Kitsune fox/dude) says ‘I like it when you scratch my ears and belly’ when you didn’t even have the possibility of doing it.

        • mate, if you want this game it’s not going to be impossible for you to buy from the JPN or US PS+ store, or if you want a cart then go to Play Asia – we don’t care about your fetish, so much so that the majority all agree with the ACB’s decision.

          • mate, it’s not about anyone’s fetish. It’s about whether or not the ACB guidelines or rulings are reasonable or consistent. I’m not particularly fussed by the game in question and had no plans to buy it anyway.

    • I’m not sure even that would save it – as mentioned in another comment above, even porn stars who are explicitly over 18 can and have been censored because they appear to be under aged. I’m not sure I 100% agree with that, but it is applying the laws as written. So even if they said she was 30 in the game, because she looks 13 or whatever, it would likely still be refused.

      • I have heard this all over the place when people are complaining about Australia’s laws but have never seen a source. Do you have one?

        • From the Victorian Crimes Act 1995, Section 67A (I’m not 100% sure, I’m pretty sure other states have very similar legislation): “[child pornography] means a film, photograph, publication or computer game that describes or depicts a person who is, or who looks like, a minor under 18 engaging in sexual activity or depicted in an indecent manner or context” (emphasis mine).


          I believe this also extends to animated characters to appear to be a minor under 18.

          Note that this is specifically in relation to ‘internet child pornography’ from what I can tell, under which games do fit last I looked, mostly due to the archaic nature of our laws, and there is some significant debate about print and other versions, but almost all states have a statue requiring any material with a minor, or person appearing to be a minor under the age of 16, to be refused classification and therefore illegal to possess or sell.

          • Sorry I should have been more clear. Porn where the people are over the age of 18, but look under that age and being censored.

            I understand why the laws are there, you could create very real looking child porn with computers or by a talented artist. But I have never heard of a porn film with legal adults being banned because someone ‘looked’ young or had small breasts. Obvious exception would be if they were role playing as a young person, that would probably fail the test.

        • National Classification Code (chpt 10 cl 10) under the Classification Act:

          That is, the Code requires that the RC classification applies to
          publications, films or computer games that:
          • describe or depict in a way that is likely to cause offence to a reasonable adult, a
          person who is, or appears to be, a child under 18 (whether the person is engaged in sexual activity or not)

          RC = Refused Classification if you hadn’t picked that up yet.

        • Well originally Stephen Conroy tried banning it with his internet censorship filter a few years back and then shortly after that failed, the Classification Board started banning pornographic or sexualised media that contained small breasted women or female ejaculation.


    • The guidelines they’re applying don’t care about the stated age, only the appearance.

      It’s misuse of the law (which was designed to close a loophole in our child pornography laws where if you took actual CP and then drew over the top of it eg rotoscoping or similar it wouldn’t count any more) but that doesn’t really matter. Normally this would apply to deciding whether to allow or disallow pornography, not a video game. They’ve basically declared this game has child pornography in it and that seems like a massive stretch of interpretation.

  • How’s about we not fight this battle?

    Because this game sounds like the worst type of garbage.

    • It really does. No one’s going to defend this (I mean really?) but it really should be defended because in this case the law is bullshit and they’re taking a very extreme stance on it too.

      • I don’t think people really feel comfortable defending a game that is about 1 step above the type of stuff you find in the adult cartoons section of newgrounds.

        • I couldn’t give a shit about MK being banned but I stood beside the fans and the industry to defend the principle. Why can’t you do the same?

        • Though the fact that one step is even there kind of matters. If you leave the next thing alone because it’s one step above this one, and following that is another one step above that one… etc.

          • Will you defend it one step BELOW this one? Seriously, gotta draw the line somewhere. How low do you go before you’re defending the indefensible because to me (and most people), this is already there.

            I don’t think the community needs this and it’s significantly out-of-step with what I’d imagine the average person would think is reasonable, which is precisely why it is banned.

            It’s a weird gimmick for a perverted culture that isn’t common in Australia. It IS intended to be a child (trust me, I was in Japan earlier this month and the guys who make this stuff don’t miss a chance to hyper-sexualise an adult) and it’s intended to provide titillation for the player.

            That’s indefensible, really. The laws are there to reflect community standards and in this case they worked.

          • The line is imaginary, like your morals and beliefs. Wherefore should communities determine how reality works when they don’t watch? Do you know the turnover rate for laws over a few centuries? or for morals?

        • I don’t know, haven’t actually played the game in question but this same stuff is in a lot of other games and I feel that equating it to pornographic flash games is pretty unfair.

          • Touching a little girl and hearing it say “oh so flat” and “it feels squishy” was in other games released in Australia? I question that.

        • The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one’s time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
          H. L. Mencken
          US editor (1880 – 1956)

          • Freedom is the root of crookedness. Shouldn’t a game be about fun rather than freedom? In other words, whom has it battered or bullied?

      • I’m going to disagree with you here. Anything that has parts of it that make it sound like a pedo simulation … no thanks. The OFLC have done their job.

    • Nah, its principle. If we don’t fight it, then its setting a standard. Yeah the game is crap and a bit creepy, but the whole idea of the R18 is for these ‘adults only’ games to be allowed.

  • Hey, wasn’t there some drama a year or two back where someone was trying to ban pornography that didn’t have at least C cup tits?

    Anyways, I thought all Japanese imported games had aged up to 18 characters.

    • A lot of Japanese games have under-ages characters where the ages are bumped for Western release. Many are set in a school setting but everybody is 18-21 years old. Often high schools mysteriously become colleges.

      In this case, as I understand it, the age of the girl is not indicated but she looks and sounds like somebody not merely under 18, but probably under 12. If you google her picture, she looks like she’s in elementary school.

      I don’t like the fact that it’s been banned, but if the classification board are going to treat their guidelines seriously they probably had to slap a ban on this one. In other words, don’t shoot the messenger; the problem isn’t the ACB’s decision, it’s the guidelines they had to follow in making it.

  • i think they did a good thing. while it sucks the game couldnt be altered to remove the touching of the underage character. i think if they had let it through, it would have just been another thing to add to the degradation of society, even it it was just a small part. people dont seem to notice how little insignificant things wear away at social and ethical values. and how in the end people become desensitised when it goes on for long enough.

    • The society is already degraded, wicked and crooked; it needs to be taken down and over. It encourages breeding with the subsequent decay and death of the parents rather than insenility and immortality like other species enjoy. It shames the body and conflates harm and health; it keeps groups ignorant and dependent so it can use them to further their own fantasies.

      • i think we are on the same page.
        a) why the down vote?
        b) what drugs did you smoke/inhale/snort/drink/breed with before visiting the page?
        c) how big is the bee that flew under you engine bay cover?
        d) can i have the same drugs as you?
        e)will it fuck my brains as hard as yours if i only have them once?

  • I think it is necessary since there are a few things that some people that don’t get.

    1) In Australia, our age of consent (or age of adulthood if you want to be precise) is 18. In Japan, their age is much lower at 14. So hence the reason why they have multitude of underage characters. Let’s take Kantai Collection as an example. All the destroyer girls are about 14 or around that age and add in the ecchi damaged arts, you can get the picture. But for us, until 18, any age younger is considered paedophilia.

    2) Linking in with the above, skimpy outfits is alright for any adult girl. I stress the adult part but when you add in underage girls, then that becomes a no-no. Again, our laws consider any outfit not suitable for the age of the girl should be considered paedophilia.

    So those two points are the main reason why it’s refused classification. Sure, you can import it and nothing will stop you there. But that’s the simple point of the matter.

    • 1. wrong – The age of consent in Australia is different from state to state but is 16 to 17.

      Additionally ive read there are also native aboriginal Australian laws which can be 14 years of age is legal in there communities as long as the 2 parties involved are under 18 (while i dont agree with this if its an old custom who are we to judge , but it is usually still seen as against the law to the wider Australian community)

    • If the law says that the earth is flat, blacks are 5/8 persons, women don’t orgasm, witches consort with the devil, or infidels are evil, it does not make it so.

  • Good on them. Who possible needs that sort of interactive game. Go outside meet a real girl.

        • Did you just agree with me when I was disagreeing with you? My brain hurts.

          Regardless, just because you don’t see the appeal of a particular game, doesn’t mean it isn’t legitimate and shouldn’t be made available to those who do enjoy it. How is hitting on virtual girls any less wholesome than shooting virtual people in the face?

          • er no i was saying “yeah, I know its a gaming site” its kinda hard to miss that fact, well actually these days it is.

            You do know there is this little thing in the wide western world we a lot of people are trying to stop the sexualisation of woman unnecessarily and for male amusement alone, especially when its for no other reason because than some pathetic gamers being pathetic.

            As for violence vs exploitation and which is worse, thats a very good question and people have been fighting over that for decades. But the sad thing is the world seems to now accepted violence in gaming and film as a normal, so its like yelling at clouds, where as standing up against a lame male game centred around the sexualising of woman is accepted as the norm. Join us here in the future.

          • Who possible needs that sort of interactive game. Go outside meet a real girl.

            Fuck man, you’re right! Why bother sexualizing women in games like a nerd when you can go outside and objectify a real-life sheila like a real man!

            Don’t get me wrong, I’m not interested in playing this game, or any like it. However, I believe that some people would, and I believe in their rights as adults to choose when and how they entertain themselves. Banning games like this, and then insulting the people that might want to play it, is not a constructive way to approach the topic of gender discrimination in the context of gaming. Hell, you assume that it’s only men that would want to play this, so who’s being the sexist now?

            Yes, you’re entitled to your opinion, but maybe try not to be such a dick about it.

          • Oh right, you didn’t mean to insult the people that might choose to play a game like this? So I guess when you said
            …especially when its for no other reason because than some pathetic gamers being pathetic.
            that was just a misunderstanding as well?

            Constructive criticism – sure. Yes, there is a culture of misogyny in gaming, and clearly it’s a problem. But attacking the people that might enjoy games like this isn’t going to solve it – it’s just going to make it worse.

          • Funny with that one word explains all I need to know about you. Nope I am just a guy who is sick of all needless sexism and the like in gaming. Just a guy who is no longer like a bystander on a train watching someone else being marginalized and just sitting there in silence. Being part of the problem, complacent. Anita may have many flaws and generally I can’t stand her or her videos but at the core she ALWAYS has a point. I have no problems with her videos existing or her speaking her mind, inspiring woman around the world. That instantly makes me better than any gamer who uses her name as an insult for anyone who speaks their 21st century mind. It’s like calling a kid with glasses, four eyes. The only person who thinks that is clever or original is the person saying it.

  • Okay, classifications in Australia are inconsistent. That’s old news though.

    Okay, game is not allowed sales in Australia. But it’s a PS Vita game, so here’s two counter points:
    1) Not much of an issue because the PS Vita is booming in Aus (/sarcasm). Sure, it’s not helping the Vita grow, but I doubt this game will have any impact on the Vita’s popularity.
    2) Import it. Get the American or Japanese version if you know Japanese. Hell, 90% of my Vita games are imports because most of the games never make it to Australia because there isn’t that much of a market for them.

    • Context. Its not that they are inconsistent but all forms of create works like movies/tv/books/games are different. Its not enough to say X is banned, but X in the context of a, b, c is banned but other times its acceptable. That is the nature of creativity. Who created it for what audience and why. They are just as important as to what is being looked at. That is the very nature of having a diverse standards board not a flat/rigid Fascist styled information ministry of censorship. The fact they are flexible is what makes us kinda lucky but it means its capable of being flawed sometimes… still rather what we have not what North Korea or the like have.

  • “he is flat-chested, under-developed physically (such as the hips), is significantly shorter than the other characters and wears her hair in pigtails. She also has a child-like voice, wears colourful child-like clothing and appears naive in her outlook on life.”

    This is hilarious because it almost perfectly describes some asian women I know at university.
    So the classification board is now racist or…? 😛

  • These people do know that this game is from Japan, right? Have they seen what comes out of Japan, this is tame compared to most stuff from over there!
    There’s a reason why we have R18+ ratings and it’s for games like this.

  • It’s outrageous people telling me about what I can and cannot do and I’m frankly sick of it.

    I’m taking this all the way to the top.

    There is only one man who can help us now.

    That’s right I’m calling Alan Jones…

    • or move to North Korea or China. I am sure you will be right at home there, all that freedom and lack of censorship er—-

  • God Kotaku does my head in. If a Western game had this attitude towards women it’d be the end of the world. If a Japanese game does it, it’s a travesty if someone tries to prevent it from coming here.

    Are we all just going to pretend that Japanese erotica isn’t obsessed with underage girls? Are we going to pretend that it’s not riddled with school girls? Is it a secret that they deliberately make girls look/sound/act like children in animated things because they know they can just slap a line or disclaimer in that says the person is 18 (or my favourite, the old 1000 year old demon trick)?

    Japanese erotica is weird. I could be wrong, but I thought it was perhaps even somewhat famous for this. Remember also that these characters aren’t based on real people and they’re made deliberately, and deliberately to be objects of desire. One of them was deliberately made to appear child like.

    I agree the ratings board is inconsistent, and all the other stuff. You can argue technicalities about this one, but I don’t think the conclusion they reached is at all unreasonable, or racist for that matter, which is such a casually stupid and insulting thing to say about people.

    • Kotaku didn’t really comment on whether they thought it was good or bad, it’s just the facts around the ruling.

      • Sorry, you’re right, I should have been clearer in what I was saying. I meant overall the Kotaku community. The actual article on this is perfectly good.

    • Well played. I fully agree with you that the classification board got this right.

      You’re also correct in pointing out that if a western company or individual submitted the same game for classification they’d be chased down the road (or off Twitter, more likely) with pitchforks by a good portion of the people complaining about “censorship”.

      • I don’t think that’s right. The Kotaku community is generally very supportive of games where sexualised content is the entire point. Complaints are usually levelled at non sex-games that sexualise their female characters. The point, I think, is that games that are supposed to have a broader appeal should not alienate half (roughly) their audience. Then again Dragon’s Crown got some thoroughly mixed messages on this topic. I wonder if it came down to whether the commenter thought it was meant to be a sexy game or not.

    • Or maybe Japan hasn’t been damaged by religion, forgetfulness, and pretense like your country has.

  • Not that I particularly disagree. However the fact is in the case of AU, the country is generally out of step with the rest of the western world.

    It is not “frowned upon” except by certain groups. And on a classification level it is only really frowned upon here. Hence why the game enjoys a perfectly normal release and classification in other western countries.

    • Like @negativezero pointed out, this approach opened up a loophole where people took actual child porn, put a cartoon-y filter over the top of it, and then could say it wasn’t actual footage so it wasn’t technically illegal.

      • Their solution is a bit overly broad, however. The reason that child pornography is meant to be banned is that it is predicated on abuse – it’s impossible to make the real thing otherwise. In a purely fictional work with completely and obviously fictional characters that’s not the case. It’s a really thorny and controversial argument regardless though and definitely a hard one to defend.

    • It’s a simulation though that’s part of it. If you made a beat a dog up with a cricket bat simulator it’d be banned as well. So why make a molest an under age girl simulator legal?

      • How is she or anyone molested? I assume you, like the others, don’t know what this or other words mean, also that you may pull the wrong definitions from a book rather than the proper one.

  • As others have pointed out, the interesting part is how they determine that the character is a “child” by using physical traits that are shared by a lot of adult females. I’ve known adults that look like they might be children and children that look like they might be adults. I’m sure that it’s correct that she is underage by our standards, but if an artist depicts a petite female adult in a game and gives them a bio that says they are an adult, then are they an adult or a child?

    • It’s an interesting moral dilemma. What if someone had a condition where they stopped physically aging at 15? Would they be considered a child?

      • No, because from social and mental age, they’d reach 18, and be judged able to make decisions for themselves, even if their body physically appeared to be 15 forever.

        They’d just have to be EXTREMELY careful sending risque pictures of themselves to anyone, ever, because as written, Australia’s law about Child Pornography would mean depictions of them would breach the law.

        • Ah yeah, I meant from a child-pornography perspective. I guess the question I was (poorly) trying to ask was: Should an adult in the body of a 15-year old be considered a child from a pornography perspective?

  • Fascinating how the GG weebs who excoriated Alison Rapp for her alleged endorsement of child pronography are the first to line up and decry censorship on the basis of underage appearance. Cognitive dissonance, eh?

    Or just the fact GG didn’t actually care about her stance on the depiction of children in weeaboo literature and were just angry at her because, you know, GIRL.

    • That was the irony of that whole saga – they went after the one person at Nintendo who had nothing to do with what they were upset about and actually shared a lot of their views.

  • Who cares. Not like banning a game has ever changed anything. It just makes it ”slightly” more inconvenient to buy it. If you want to play this game, just import it and ignore the idiotic, childish Australian government.

    I imported Mortal Kombat when it was banned (which was subsequently lifted some time later) so the ”refused classification” means jack squat.

  • I often consider the ACB to be heavy handed and out of step but for once I find myself not too fussed about this decision.

  • Come on folks, the US gave the game a T rating – it ain’t child porn. Get real. The US is notoriously harsh on sexual content and yet thks passed without issue. The fact is, no age is given for the character and despite the ACBs simplistic view on what constitutes child abuse material, people need to dig deeper and get the facts right. Flat chested, lack of hips and a higher pitched voice does NOT mean someone is under 18.

    This nations conservative and overly simplistic way of thinking needs to be addressed: don’t be a simpleton. Just becauae the ACB says the game is offensive to “reasonable” adults that doesn’t make it so. They are inconsistent and laughable in the highest degree.

    You can’t “ban” adults from being sexualized just because they possesses traits of a younger person by the atypical western standards. Look at Japanese women ffs. I don’t want to even play the game but all the self righteous bullshit written on here is ridiculous. You all said the same thing about fhe fake rape scene in Hotline Miami 2 until you actually SAW it for yourself and then wenr WTF? The ACB needs to be abolished and replaced with an industry body. Again, the game is fictional, no one was harmed – so who cares what it contains? This is the same government board that bans the mention of morphine but lets you blow people apart. Yep what a track record! People who want the game will just pirate it as they always so. Conservative wowsers will think society has been protected and the ACB has accomplishes precisely NOTHING. GG AUSTRALIA!

  • -shrug- I have things with roughly the same problems on the tablet I am posting from.
    I understand the decision, though aspects of it offend me, honestly.
    If you include my tendency towards wearing my hear in a variant of pigtails a lot, I meet about half the criteria they use to declare that something depicts a child.
    If my voice were different, and I was a lot shorter, I’d meet nearly all of them. And I am definitely not a child. not even young enough to be remotely close to it, so to suggest that so many of the elements of my appearance (and even parts of my personality) can be considered childlike is really kind of insulting.
    No, no-one would mistake me for a child.
    But that depends solely on a handful of aspects of my appearance.

    Well, whatever.

  • What’s up with the awful non-descriptive title of this article?

    ” Why That Game Was Refused Classification In Australia “

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