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".