Another Game Is Getting Pulled From Steam For Aussies

Image: PQube Games

Despite being banned for sale in Australia during 2018, Song of Memories is still available on Steam for Australian players. But it won't be for long.

Song of Memories, which describes itself as a romantic adventure, allows you to play as a male character and starts out as a somewhat of a dating simulator before turning into a zombie-esque apocalyptic thriller by the end of it.

While it was initially due for release an August 2018 Australian release, Kotaku confirmed with Australia's Classification Board it was refused classification on August 15 2018, making it illegal to sell or distribute copies in Australia. But a quick check reveals the game is still available for purchase on Steam.

Song of Memories PC SteamImage: Steam

Classification Board confirmed it had asked Steam to make the content unavailable for Australian audiences but as of writing, it still remains available.

"The Department has advised Steam that the computer game, Song of Memories, has been Refused Classification in Australia and has requested that it be removed from sale for Australian audiences," a spokesperson confirmed.

Classification Board's entry says it was refused classification as the game "depict[s], express[es] or otherwise deal[s] with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that they should not be classified."

We've reached out to Classification Board to confirm when it requested the game's removal from Steam but it has yet to respond.

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It's understood this could be referring to a particular scene in the game, according to the board's 2018 - 2019 annual report. In it, the report outlines some male characters in the game want to kill one of the main females, Yuno, but decide to commit an act of sexual violence against her beforehand. The report explains the player isn't given an option to avoid this particular sequence.

"A portion of this sexual assault sequence... is also featured in the game’s gallery mode," the report reads.

So, how come it's on Steam?

Since Valve axed its Greenlight program back in 2017, it's been much easier for indie developers to upload their creations. This is generally a good thing but it makes it harder for government bodies like the Classification Board to ensure all the content available on the site has been properly vetted.

This is likely what happened with Song of Memories, which despite being specifically mentioned in their annual report, was still available for digital sales for Australians for more than a year. While censorship might not always be celebrated, it's important that all platforms are treated with the same rulings.

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    Why is the classification board taking issue with this game specifically? Did the devs submit it for classification? There are hundreds of similar games on steam.

      Seems it was submitted and declined but it still appears for sale anyway.

        Thanks for the clarification. I doubted that the board would just go searching for games on steam. Seems weird the dev would even submit it in the first place.

      It was getting a physical PS4/Switch release which seems to be a trigger for ‘needs classification’. I didn’t even realise it was on Steam as well.

      The article links to the classification record for the game, which states that the applicant is "Pqube Ltd", who appear to be the Europe/Australia publisher for the PS4 version of the game.

      The game appears to be self-published by the developers on Steam, but they are still bound by the classification decision based on the submission made by their publisher.

      It was submitted for classification, but refused for inappropriate sexual content... Reading between the lines suggestion that lack of consent from characters involved may be an issue here.

    The report explains the player isn't given a decision option during this particular sequence.

    So even if a game is non interactive like a movie or book, it's not actually subject to the same classification rules of a movie? And what exactly are these standards of decency and morality adults are supposed to have when you look at some of the puerile and offensive things that make it onto television and into movies?

    I don't know what happens so maybe there is a strong line that gets crossed but it still sounds a bit inconsistent, especially since visual/kinetic novels tend to be some of the least interactive forms of gaming out there.

      They've had different guidelines for ages. Here are the guidelines for film:

      And here they are for computer games:

      There is a lot of common language between the two sets of guidelines, but there are obvious differences. It's also worth noting that the result can depend on the experience of the person making the submission. If the game contains content that might cross the line, but the submission doesn't provide any information on context to mitigate it, then you might get an RC rating for a game that may be okay.

    except for the apocalyptic stuff it could have a few things in common with Yume Miru Kusuri: A Drug That Makes You Dream

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