We typically only hear about the Classification Board when they’re enforcing guidelines that ultimately result in some frustrating decisions. But just before Christmas, the statutory censors gave a little shoutout to some homegrown products.
The highlight on local productions – a small highlight, mind you – was part of what you could call the Classification Board’s crack at Christmas content. It was mostly an advisory to parents to check classification labels and ratings restrictions ahead of the holidays, otherwise known as the “No, Your Eight-Year-Old Kid Is Not Mature Enough To Play GTA 5“.
But as part of that general missive, the Board opted to provide a list of stuff that had been released throughout the year, as well as some upcoming releases for movies. And when it got to the video game part, the Classification Board decided to highlight four family-friendly releases: Florence, Big Ant’s Big Bash Boom, The Gardens Between and Colin Thiele’s Storm Boy.
There’s substantially more Aussie games that were released in 2018, of course, although most of them are mobile projects that end up being rated through the automated IARC process rather than the Classification Board directly. Still, the small, tiny sign of acknowledgement from a statutory body that Australian games exist – and it’s not a bad little selection, although I can think of a few additions.
Outside of the Aussie titles, the Board listed a bunch of “recent and upcoming games”, as well as “popular games”. The Board’s “popular games” included Spider-Man, Red Dead 2, Forza Horizon 4, FIFA 19, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Black Ops 4, and the wholesome Just Dance 2019. Pokemon! Let’s Go, Battlefield 5, Spyro and Smash Ultimate got a mention as well, but only in the “recent and upcoming” section. (Not that it has any meaning or anything, although not seeing God of War there is a little unfortunate.)
As a fun aside, the Classification Board also had what might be the closest thing to their recommended picks for 2018. It was for film, rather than games, but obviously someone at the Board decided to do a quick whiparound:
Other films which the Board found memorable during 2018 included:
Goosebumps 2 Haunted Halloween (PG, Mild supernatural themes)
Le Retour du Heros AKA The Return of the Hero (M, Sex scenes)
On the Basis of Sex (M, Coarse language)
Roma (MA 15+, Strong themes and nudity)
Sorry to Bother You (MA 15+, Strong sex scenes, coarse language, drug use and nudity)
The Price of Everything (M, Coarse language and nudity)
They Shall Not Grow Old (MA 15+, Strong war themes and injury detail)
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (MA 15+, Strong themes and coarse language
Venom (M, Science fiction themes, violence and coarse language)
Who’s Watching Oliver (MA 15+, Strong themes, sexual and sexualised violence and coarse language)
You Were Never Really Here (MA 15+, Strong themes and violence).
The inclusion of Goosebumps 2 is pretty questionable, but there’s some interesting picks in there if you’re hard up for something to watch over the coming weeks. (Peter Jackson’s They Shall Not Grow Old is a must-see for history and war buffs, in particular.)