Why Omega Labyrinth Z Was Refused Classification In Australia

Late last week, the Classification Board announced that Omega Labyrinth Z was refused classification in Australia. According to the board's report, the game was banned due to multiple scenes featuring "gratuitous, exploitative or offensive depictions" of sexual activity with depictions of characters that appear to be under 18 years of age.

Omega Labyrinth Z on the surface is a top-down dungeon crawler, which launched in Japan in early July last year. Released on the PS4, it was set for a worldwide release later this year but local censors banned the game on February 2 under clauses Games 1(a)&(b).

Those clauses basically cover any sexual scenes or instances of excessive drug misuse, addiction, crime and cruelty, as well as descriptions or depictions of characters that are or appear to be under the age of 18 engaging in sexual behaviour.

Where Omega Labyrinth Z fell afoul was multiple depictions with one character, Urara Rurikawa. In the board's report, which was provided to Kotaku Australia, the game depicts her as being "physically underdeveloped" and other characters in the game refer to her and a friend as "the younger girls". Coupled with certain gameplay modes and voice-over lines, the censors felt this depicted sexual activity with a minor, potentially without consent in one quoted scenario:

The game features a variety of female characters with their cleavages emphasised by their overtly provocative clothing, which often reveal the sides or underside of theiur breasts and obscured genital region. Multiple female characters are also depicted fully nude, with genitals obscured by objects and streams of light throughout the game. Although of indeterminate age, most of these characters are adult-like, with voluptuous bosoms and large cleavages that are flaunted with a variety of skimpy outfits.

One character, Urara Rurikawa, is clearly depicted as child-like in comparison with the other female characters. She is flat-chested, physically underdeveloped (particularly visible in her hip region) and is significantly shorter than otehr characters in the game. She also has a child-like voice, wears a school uniform-esque outfit and appears naive in her outlook on life.

At one point in the game, Urara Rurikawa and a friend are referred to as "the younger girls" by one of the game's main characters. In the Boards opinion, the character of Urara Rurikawa is a depiction of a person who is, or appears to be, a child under 18 years.

In some gameplay modes, including the "awakening" mode, the player is able to touch the breasts, buttocks, mouths and genital regions of each character, including Urara Rurikawa, while they are in sexualised poses, receiving positive verbal feedback for interactions which are implied to be pleasurable for the characters and negative verbal feedback, including lines of dialogue such as "I-It doesn't feel good..." and "Hyah? Don't touch there!," for interactions which are implied to be unpleasurable, implying a potential lack of consent.

The aim of these sections is, implicity, to sexually arouse these characters to the point that a "shame break" is activated, in which some of the characters clothing is removed - with genital regions obscured by light and various objects - and the background changes colour as they implicitly orgasm.

In one "awakening" mode scenario, thee player interacts with Urara Rurikawa, who is depicted lying down, clutching a teddy bear, with lines of dialogue such as "I'm turning sleepy...", "I'm so sleepy now..." and "I might wake up..." implying that she is drifting in and out of sleep.

The player interacts with this child-like character in the same manner as they interact with adult characters, clicking her breasts, buttocks, mouth and genital regions until the "shame break" mode is activated. During this section of the game, with mis-clicks, dialogue can be triggered, in which Urara Rurikawa says, "Stop tickling...", "Stop poking..." and "Th-that feels strange...", implying a lack of consent.

...

In the Board's opinion, the ability to interact with the character Urara Rurikawa in the manner described above constituted a simulation of sexual stimulation of a child.

The board's decision means that Omega Laybrinth Z cannot be sold in Australia. There's no word on whether the developer or publisher will appeal the decision, although given the content quoted it's hard to see the board's original decision being reversed given the classification guidelines and their prior decisions on similar games.


Comments

    Although of indeterminate age, most of these characters are adult-like, with voluptuous bosoms and large cleavages that are flaunted with a variety of skimpy outfits.

    Jeez, that's fucking offensive and discriminatory! Associating 'adult' with voluptuous bosoms and large cleavages...

      At first glance I was ready to agree (remember when the govt wanted to ban small breasts from porn?) but this is clearly in contrast with the child character. They have gone into exhaustive detail as to why she is, aside from her underdeveloped physical appearance, a childlike character and why the sexualisation and sexual interaction with her is inappropriate.

      They aren’t saying you’re only an adult woman if you have voluptuous breasts and hips. They’re saying most of the characters do, and appear adult, while Urara is petite, physically underdeveloped, naive, sleeps with a teddy bear and generally displays childlike mannerisms.

      Last edited 09/02/18 3:50 pm

        I know lots of girls who are exact like that. I had guessed some were underage. I was completely wrong they like to keep the child like appearance and mannerisms since they like to be seen as cute. Urara is just like moden day underdeveloped girls in the real world.
        In the past they have tried to ban lots of things involving underdeveloped girls or small boobs since in thier minds it is a child. How messed up must they be to think about doing that to a child I don't see how they can rating our games while thinking things like that. Just hope they don't take action on their thoughts.

          Adult women, even ones who might not have wide hips or large breasts or act in a naive immature way are still clearly and distinctly adult women. This character clearly isn’t. She is a child. She looks like one and acts like one. As a fictional character every aspect her her design is deliberate.
          It isn’t the censors who are sexualising her, it’s the game. You know, the one that lets the player molest her in her sleep?

          Last edited 12/02/18 2:20 pm

      Dude, they clearly state
      One character, Urara Rurikawa, is clearly depicted as child-like in comparison with the other female characters. She is flat-chested, physically underdeveloped (particularly visible in her hip region) and is significantly shorter than other characters in the game. She also has a child-like voice, wears a school uniform-esque outfit and appears naive in her outlook on life.
      and
      The player interacts with this child-like character in the same manner as they interact with adult characters, clicking her breasts, buttocks, mouth and genital regions until the "shame break" mode is activated.

      It sounds like if they cut that one character the game would be fine including the voluptuous bosoms and large cleavages...

      I agree with the classification board banning this game since grown men playing games should not be sexualising little girls.

        This is the problem. You assume the character is a little girl. Since she is not a real girl, we can only judge on physical appearance. The physical appearance (and mannerisms, apparently) of this character are such that she MIGHT be a minor. She also MIGHT NOT be. It's ambiguous, just like a lot of women in real life. The ACB would refuse classification because of a possibility, which in my book is just a cop-out.

          When you design a fictional character you make deliberate choices about design. The devs in this case deliberately decided to make her small, with an underdeveloped body, a girlish haircut, act in a naive, innocent way, and sleep with a teddy bear. Then they let you molest her in her sleep. While she sleepily protests, not seeming to understand what you are doing.

          If they want to make it clear she is actually an adult there are a lot of ways to do that and they did the exact opposite of all of those.

            I don't disagree but who are we to dictate what characters should and shouldn't look like? What if the character had all those features you described, except she had large breasts and cleavage (what the ACB said equalled 'adult')? Would that tip the character over the line from being banned to not being banned? Would it be OK to act in a naive childlike manner as long as the character had huge breasts? Thin hips might be OK as long as we can see the character is an 'adult' (i.e. enormous knockers). Seems pretty arbitrary to me. The ACB picked on one culturally accepted (in the West) aspect of being an adult woman and tossed in a bunch of fluff about a naive outlook. Please...

              I fundamentally disagree. They listed a number of excellent reasons that all added up to one distinct conclusion. If you’re going to refuse to see that then I don’t see any merit in this conversation.

    Great another game not released in australia, you know they could of just took that scene out

      As far as I know, the game is available to pre-order from ozgameshop.com

      Not that I have pre-ordered, because importing such a game that has been refused classification would be highly illegal.

      https://www.ozgameshop.com/playstation-vita-games/omega-labyrinth-z-ps-vita-game

        It's not illegal to import an RC'd game for personal use. You just can't resell it or import bulk units for sale or distribution.

          That's really bad advice. When it comes to objectionable material (that is, material that has been or would be refused classification), there is no distinction between personal or commercial imports.

          While it is possible your package will still be delivered, if Customs actually inspects it there is a good chance they will confiscate it.

            Absolutely! They may even go as far as determine you're importing kiddie porn.

          Very bad advice, especially if a person happens to live in Western Australia where the possession of an RC game is illegal.

    I always enjoy the game summaries written by the classification board. It's not quite as good as lawyers defining games, but still good.

    The "perceived underage" thing is an understandable no-go according to our laws, but I'd argue against that consent ruling. There's a gulf between "don't touch me there" and "don't touch me".

      You just have to look at the yokels that make up the classification board. You will then be unsurprised that such garbage is printed by them.

      http://www.classification.gov.au/About/BoardMembers/Pages/Classification-Board-Members.aspx

        Jesus... there's a Dockers supporter on the list!

        And I there I was thinking that the people who made this game were the deviants... :P

        Wow there's like 2 people there that likely even play games let alone should be allowed to classify them. I like how they have all these qualifications that haven't even got anything to do with their job in the board. Explains alot....

        Last edited 09/02/18 9:07 pm

          I bet the hairdresser lady would have allowed it with an R18+ classification. We wuz robbed!

      There's a gulf between "don't touch me there" and "don't touch me".

      Is there though? If I touch two different people on the boob and they each said one of the above, which implied I have consent to touch them on the boob?

        Clearly i needed to italicise "there".

        The context of the situation in the game is that you're touching the wrong spot, failing at foreplay. In THAT instance, saying "don't touch me there" is still a part of consensual sex, no?

        That's what i was getting at, and no they aren't the same thing.

          Let's say that that particular scene is okay. The report also details another interaction where the same character appears to be drifting in and out of consciousness. That seems a bit messed up.

          While some of the things in the Classification Board report might seem passable on their own, when you add them all together it is a bit more problematic. So nitpicking over one claim in isolation of everything else isn't really helpful.

      There's a gulf between "don't touch me there" and "don't touch me".

      No, there's a gulf between "don't touch me" and "tee hee, oooh don't touch me there, touch me here.."

      "Don't touch me there" in the context of this game is clearly meant to be the player insisting and pressuring the other person into a sexual act.

      Both of your examples constitute assault, so no. No gulf of difference.

    From Destructoid, attributed to PQube, the game's publisher: "Regarding the situation with Omega Labyrinth Z in Australia, we’re not really surprised, unfortunately. Australia has always been one of the more conservative territories and we knew it was a distinct possibility due to the contents of the game.

    We’ll always try to get games through classification regardless of the possibility of it being denied, as we feel that everyone should have the right and the access to play the games they want to play. It is our opinion that disliking the content in a piece of entertainment or art, and voicing that dislike, is totally fine and even encouraged, but denying that work the right to exist in a market based on personal opinions and prejudices, is something we strongly disagree with.

    Sadly, this is not the first game of that type that we’ve had similar issues with. It’s quite unfortunate and we feel for the gamers in Australia who were interested in this title, however, we will have to accept and respect the decision of the Australian Classification Board."

    https://www.destructoid.com/-update-why-does-australia-hate-boobs-so-much--486022.phtml

      I mean at least they’re aware that sexualising a childlike character might have caused some issues, so good on them for copping that on the chin.

        They're aware they are sexualising child like characters but then say were prejudiced. I'm still trying to grasp that.

        I think they love the publicity, which is why they keep doing it. Submitting a copy to the ACB only costs a couple of grand, and when it's refused, someone will report on it. Pretty cheap at the price if you ask me :-P

      That Destructoid piece is a load of rubbish. The writer doesn't seem to get it that portions of the game is just plain kiddie porn. Or he does and it's click-bait at it's worst.

    You won't let this game get released yet they release no game no life on DVD in Australia

    Last edited 09/02/18 3:50 pm

      Edited, because poster changed his statement to something completely different.

      Last edited 10/02/18 7:25 am

      Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view) Australia doesn't distinguish between fictional and real children when it comes to pornography laws. I won't get into the reasoning too much. Suffice it to say that the rationale is that people shouldn't be allowed to stimulate themselves to anything that even looks like an underage child.

        I just pictured a couple sitting in a doctor's office. The woman is 4'10" and slim, with relatively narrow hips. She doesn't wear much makeup.

        The doctor has good news, she's pregnant!

        A swat team kicks in the door and puts five knees in the husband's back.

          Exactly what point do you think this makes?

        I completely understand the reasoning, but then on the flip-side, games like Battlefield, Gears of War, Halo, Call of Duty and Overwatch are perfectly fine. Y'know, despite murder being illegal.

          That is war which is 'legal' so to say. Which is why games like manhunt are illegal.

          Child pornography and the sexual exploitation of children is a special case in Australia. It's the only kind of media/art/whatever that is illegal to even OWN.

          I know you want to oppose this ban because "muh gamez, muh free speech" but come on. She even gets a different kind of "shame break" scene where she pretends (or is I guess) to be sleepy. There's nothing "dude you're foreplaying wrong" about her scene.

          You will get no sympathy from the law or from the vast, vast majority of Australians on this issue. Tentacle rape, "strategic dismemberment", torture-porn, non-consensual sadism... whatever you want.

          Just leave the kids (and adults pretending to be kids) out of it.

            Come on now, don't kink shame the adults pretending to be kids! There's nothing wrong with a bit of role-play between consenting adults.

      You're free to contact the Classification Board directly to make that argument.

    Ah yes, the "She only looks like she's twelve, wink" excuse for putting a clearly underage girl in a game where you can date/sleep with/molest.

      To be fair, Japanese parliament voted AGAINST making virtual depictions of children having sex illegal. Only actual child abuse pornography is outlawed. Manga/anime/games are still fair game over there.

        Different country, different laws. But the intent is clearly hoping that changing a lower number to a bigger number somewhere will make it suddenly acceptable, when it shouldn't.

        Yes I'm aware there are people who do have physical developmental issues, but I can't see them liking their condition being abused to give the okay to letting you play games about molesting 'totally not' underage girls.

        I find the fact that you don't see there to be an issue with that to be distressing. And judging by the deletion of an earlier comment thread you contributed to, so do the mods.

        The fact that anyone can justify the exploitation of children in any context is abhorrent. "Real" or no, the sexualisation of children should not be something with which anyone is comfortable.

          Do I agree with the availability of child-porn anime/manga/games? Absolutely not.

          Do I think that the Australian Classification Board is taking things too far, when the rest of the world including Europe and North America, have no problem with this game? Yes I do.

    A RC didn't stop me importing Mortal Kombat 9 (and speaking about it in an article here on Kotaku) and it didn't stop me importing Silent Hill: Homecoming back in the day. It's not going to stop me importing this game either.

      Why was SH:I RC'd here?

        There was one of the scenes deemed too violent. It was removed and the game got classified as MA15+

      Are you importing it because you really want it or just because it's been refused classification? Either way, what point are you trying to make? "Classification doesn't work because I can still get games that have been RC'd" or "How dare those people try to stop me from getting mah gamez"?

        I was actually looking forward to the game, that's the reason I want to get it

    If the game this is a sequel to is anything to go by, nothing of particular value was lost. It was a mediocre Dungeon crawler where the premise was that the main character was severely underdeveloped and looking for a magical way to increase her boob size. :/

    I dislike censorship but in this case it's probably the board applying our laws correctly. And even if not, it's not really a particularly good hill to choose to die on.

    Good. How anyone can read that write-up and think this type of content is okay is way beyond me.

    Kinda saddens me that people want/buy trash like this.
    Looks crazy pathetic.

      It saddens me as well but what concerns me is every post that says child porn is bad has been down voted by one person.

    FYI kids, the days of arguing whether or not customs will take your game are over.

    Downloading is where it's at. Get a PSN/XBL card from pcgamesupply, cdkeys etc and you're set. Or just download the PC version any way you please. It feels like people have been saying the same crap for years and it amazes me that anyone still cares what the ACB thinks. THIS IS THE DIGITAL AGE! DUH!

    Implied inappropriateness in a game?! OH NO! Society will fall!

    Thank goodness the thought police arrived in time to save us from having to question our own morality. I'm so happy to let other people think for me.

    Those crazy japs and there love of young girls has always weirded me out. Even there porn is creepy it's always got a rapey vibe too it and the school girl fetish is weird as fuck

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