Among Us Is An R18+ Game According To The eSafety Commissioner

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Among Us Is An R18+ Game According To The eSafety Commissioner
Image: Among Us

Among Us is the latest smash deceptive party game for everyone. Unless you ask Australia’s eSafety Commissioner, which thinks the game should be classed alongside things like Cyberpunk 2077.

Update 11/2: The eSafety Commissioner has since pulled the listing down. That’s probably handy, since the official “website” on the Among Us advisory was actually linking out to an unaffiliated third-party “fansite” that advertises free games and cheats. More info on that here.

A listing for Among Us, which currently has a staggering 267,000-plus reviews on Steam and tons of downloads on mobile, has appeared on the official website for Australia’s eSafety Commissioner. The eSafety Commissioner frequently posts small advisories about the most popular video games and apps online to help parents.

Most of these are simple explainers: what TikTok is and links for protecting personal information; a quick primer on Apex Legends and how it works; and how things like Facebook work. Even Doki Doki Literature Club has its own little official eSafety Commissioner guide:

Doki Doki Literature Club is a free-to-play psychological horror computer game that begins as a dating simulation about a high school boy pursuing different girls. However, the game quickly puts the player into deeply upsetting situations that can make them highly uncomfortable and on edge. At some point in the game a character takes their own life and the player is unable to do anything to prevent it. This content has been described as distressing, producing a warning: ‘the game is not suitable for children or those who are easily disturbed’. Doki Doki Literature Club can be downloaded onto a computer with either Mac iOS or Windows. 

So you can understand why Among Us, which has had enormous success over the last couple of months, would be on a government website. However, there’s a small quirk: according to the eSafety Commissioner, the deceptive party game is R18+:

The site says the game is rated 18+ “according to Among Us” , but there’s no such age advisory from the developers or platform holders. The iOS listing rates Among Us as suitable for 9-year-olds or higher; the Google Play listing says “Everyone 10+”. (Among Us hasn’t been officially classified by the Classification Board or the online IARC tool, so there’s no age rating or guidance on the Steam listing.)

It’s kind of funny, if only because the eSafety Commissioner is — inaccurately — telling Australian parents that Among Us is less appropriate for children than games like Call of Duty, FortniteCode Vein, Counter-Strike and Dota 2. (Interestingly, World of Warcraft is rated as an 18+ game, while Apex Legends is 13+ and Doki Doki Literature Club is 15+.)

Another bit I find interesting is that the eSafety Commissioner doesn’t appear to be lifting or referencing Australia’s classification ratings. Those are specifically designed to provide similar guidance and advisories for parents, so it’s weird that the eSafety Commissioner is then referencing ratings from the own developer. Or, in Among Us‘s case, ratings that appear to be placeholders and nothing reflecting the developer’s (or first-party platforms) actual guidance.

In any case, I’m sure some parents don’t want their kids playing Among Us anyway. Can you imagine the family arguments once everyone starts stabbing each other? At least we all have Fortnite. Or Roblox — which probably has its own Among Us spin-off already.

Comments

  • I’m not defending the esafety commissioner but there is something to be said about themes of Among Us and smaller children.
    (Not teens, more kids nearing the acceptable age and some around that area)

    Betrayal and lying can be a bit complex for kids in a game and I’ve seen quite a few not coping with harmless shenanigans before, granted they shouldn’t have been playing those games anyway.

    Just want to say I don’t consider these massive problems that kids can’t overcome and the majority show overwhelming ability and understanding for the most part, just got me thinking of some past experiences.

    • It’s not just betrayal and lying, however, it’s also the kind of game that can lead to significant online toxicity, abusive behaviour and trolling, not to mention our recent examples of hacking.

      That aside, even where children are familiar with betrayal and lying from fiction and movies, it’s quite a different thing again to have some random stranger on the internet trying to verbally manipulate your child.

      Further, from a parent’s perspective, having your child immerse themselves in an environment that rewards deception, lying and manipulation is not necessarily the kind of lesson you want your children to take away, particularly where they don’t yet have a lot of experience with the uncensored internet and don’t necessarily have the maturity to fully understand that it’s “just a game”.

      The warning is entirely fair, in particular because Among Us presents a very cartoonish and disarming impression that isn’t necessarily very representative of the actual gameplay.

  • “Online Interactivity and communication” does change the experience greatly. Its how people act on voice chat and in text chat… but that’s not the game or devs fault. People are toxic when competitive.

    However in all my years of online gaming, its the “teens” which are R rated… not the games. So many expletitive ridden cursing and obscene sexual acts/insults come from people who are not adults. It scares me that those kids can’t filter there own brain and seperate their anger from games that are meant to be fun.

    • Yup it’ll be all about that online interactivity and communication.

      iOS app store rates Firefox and Chrome as 17+ because of the internet…

  • I found it interesting that the website that they reference is not the developer’s website. Instead, it directs them to Games.lol website…

    • All the links are wrong!
      It also says “Snapchat is used for: gaming, messaging/online chat, in-app purchasing.”

      Who made this?

  • My 10yo plays this with his friends. I haven’t played it so I don’t have a strong opinion either way, but sitting with him while he plays it, it seems harmless in that they really see it just as short game where everyone wants to be the imposter. They know it’s not “real”. The adult-ness of the likes of COD is far more obvious and to me less appropriate. He plays Fortnite and Fall Guys as well.

    • I think that really comes down to children playing with their friends, not random strangers.

      I think the eSafety guy probably just open a public/random lobby, and that’s were the toxicity thrived… if you judged a game by its public chat, most games would be R rated.

      • Yeah, if ‘unmoderated chat’ capability is the standard for warranting an R rating, I’d say they need to go back and re-review the majority of titles on the site.

          • Given that the ‘unmoderated chat’ is an objectively clear inconsistency, I have to assume they’re leaning into some kind of objection to the themes and/or how they’re presented. The thing’s a very kid-friendly packaging, but it’s also jarringly violent, but I don’t get how that isn’t suitable for 15+ or less, with some context. Hell, the way people and creatures explode in more detailed games only register a 13+to 15+.

            Also, they rated Episode as 13+. They’ve clearly never seen some of the user-generated content horrors that plague that platform. Straight-up orgies, drug use, murders, satanic rituals, etc… I’ve, uh. Seen them on youtube.

  • I’d be fine with any game with online chat/voice be R18. You just can’t account for all the toxicity out there and it would make me feel better that I’m not verbally abusing children.

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