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30th August

  Steam Cleaned...


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Suggestions that the upcoming video Game, South Park: The Fractured But Whole, won't be released in Australia for censorship reasons
Link Here
South Park Fractured Whole Xbox

Ubisoft's upcoming game, South Park: The Fractured but Whole has gone missing from games distribution win Australia via Steam.

Alex Walker of Kotaku Australia reported that the game went missing from Steam for Australians. It wasn't showing up on either the the desktop version of the website, the mobile version, and even the app itself. When the folks from Kotaku Australia tried to find the direct link from everywhere else in the world, it ended up showing a page where it said that the game is not available for Australians.

The Game has not yet been officially censored by the Australian Censorship Board and Ubisoft hasn't made any announcement about any censorship of the ttle. In fact the Ubisoft website still has the game slated for release on 6t December 2016.

Kotaku Australia already reached out to Ubisoft Australia for a confirmation regarding the status of the game's release, but so far no response has been received.

The previous 2014 game in the series also suffered censorship problems in Australia.  South Park: The Stick of Truth was initially banned before suffering 5 minutes of cuts to appease the censors who then granted an R18+ rating.

 

28th August

 Update: Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkuhni...

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The Australian Censorship Board bans another computer game
Link Here  full story: Banned Games in Australia...Adult games ban
Valkyrie Drive Bhikkuhni PlayStation Vita Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkuhni is a 2016 Japan fight game

From the creators of Senran Kagura - Valkyrie Drive is an intense brawler set in a universe where girls turn into giant super-weapons when sexually aroused. Wielded by partner girls called Liberators, players must use this power to take on levels swarming with enemies and giant bosses. Box Contains

The console games has been banned the Australian Censorship Board.

The board claims that the game promotes elements that offend standards of morality, and also uses sexuality as an incentive and reward. A major factor in the refusal of classification is due to implied sexual violence in the game, especially if they pertain to incentives or rewards..

In the game, the girls are able to turn into weapons by kissing and touching one another. This may be part of the reason for the ban.

 

10th August

  From the Censorship Vault...


Nice 'n' Naughty

Australian prudes prevail over modern day nude art
Link Here
vault magazine censored The latest issue of art periodical Vault Magazine has been censored for Australia because it features a Lisa Yuskavage painting of a nude pregnant woman on the front cover.

abc.net.au comments:

You wouldn't bat an eyelid if the front cover of an art magazine featured Manet's famous Olympia , a naked woman reclining on a bed.

But Vault Magazine , a contemporary art magazine published in Melbourne, say they've had to censor a painting of a nude woman on the cover of their latest issue.

Brood (2005-2006), a blonde, bare-breasted pregnant woman in pastel tones, was painted by renowned New York painter Lisa Yuskavage--one of the few female artists whose paintings can fetch over a million dollars on the market.

In newsagents around Australia, however, the work is obscured by two yellow circles stuck to the cover of the magazine, which hide the woman's nipples from public view.

Vault's editor, Neha Kale, says the magazine was told by their distributor, Gordon & Gotch, that the stickers--or an opaque sleeve--were required for the issue to be distributed. Kale says she accepts that the distributor may have faced a backlash from newsagents, but believes the decision is symptomatic of broader problems in Australian culture.

 

6th August

  The Party's Over...

Console game Criminal Girls 2 has been banned in Germany
Link Here

Criminal Girls Party Favors PlayStation Computer games censors from USK (Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle) have banned Criminal Girls 2: The Party's Over, a 2016 Japan RPG adventure game. The USK is self regulating trade group rather than an official state censor.

siliconera.com also reports that the game wont be distributed in Australia but there is no indication that this is due to the official state censors, Australian Classification Board.

Criminal Girls 2 has previously been in the media spotlight as the content has been censored for western releases when compared with the original Japanese release. NIS America explained the changes made prior to submission to the US Entertainment Software Ratings Board,.

  1. Some artwork, especially during the motivation scenes, were altered over their explicit nature. It seems NIS America worried the ESRB would take issue with women tied up against the their will.
  2. Swapping the term punishment for motivation. In the Japanese version of the game, the motivation scenes are actually punishment.
  3. There won't be any English voice overs. All of the text will be displayed in English, but the voice tracks are staying Japanese.
  4. All dialogue has been removed from the motivation scenes.
  5. The stated ages of some the girls have been changed

The games is et for UK release on 23rd September 2016

 

4th August

 Commented: Protecting their hides...

Australian politician takes aim at video games offering skins betting opportunities
Link Here
Counter Strike Global Offensive Poster Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 are at the center of a proposed bill in the Australian parliament, which would define the titles as gambling and could potentially see them banned or mandatorily 18 rated .

Introduced by independent Senator Nick Xenophon, a veteran politician in Australia, he told the Sydney Morning Herald that the bill is looking to curtail what he considers to be the Wild West of online gambling that is actually targeting kids.

The concept of skin betting is a nominally no-cash betting entertainment where the stakes are game commodities eg skins, hides, cases, chests. Presumably the skins are made available in the games. The skins betting sites are quite professionally presented along the lines of cash sports betting sites. And several have been linked to games producers. Of course even if skins are nominally not cash, the fact that they are scarce resources makes them suitable for trading and purchases somewhere along the line.

Skin betting has been controversial of late  with CS:GO and Dota 2's developer, Valve, eventually responding to the controversy by sending cease and desist letters to 23 of the most prolific third-party gambling sites, asking them to cease operations.

Xenophon argues that the in-game commodities known as cases (or chests in Dota 2) is gambling in and of itself, due to the differing value of the rewards players receive from them.

Should the bill become law, games providing such betting opportunities will be 18 rated, regardless of the level of content in terms of sex and violence etc. Furthermore if games become classified as gambling, Valve would find itself in breach of Australian law as only companies registered in the country are allowed to offer gambling services, meaning the games could get pulled from sale in Australia altogether.

Nick Xenophon's bill will be introduced to the senate next month as Australian Federal Parliament resumes.

Offsite Article: Xenophon's ill-judged counter strike

4th August 2016. See  article from theconversation.com

Nick Xenophon plans to introduce a bill to Parliament that could stipulate a minimum age for playing first-person shooter games which include payment for mystery items. This is a feature of games such as Counter Strike: Global Offensive , Overwatch and indeed many mobile games that get revenue through micro-transactions.

News reports have inevitably represented the issue according to the same media effects model Xenophon has adopted. That is, first-person shooters groom kids for gambling and video games expose unsuspecting children and young people to danger and risk. It is the kind of half-story often told, one that reflects our tendency as a society to reductively demonise every new medium, to blame them for our problems, and turn them into scapegoats for our bad habits and antisocial behaviour.

For instance, book-reading was once considered a lazy, indulgent or reclusive activity, TV gave our children square eyes and being online all the time prevented young people from learning how to behave appropriately in face-to-face contexts. Oh, and video games turn high school kids into mass murderers (think Columbine or Sandy Hook), or at the very least make our children obese, more aggressive and lacking in empathy. They also have been said to cause learning difficulties, behavioural problems and now, according to Xenophon, early-onset gambling addiction.

...Read the full article from theconversation.com

Australian Film Classification Board

Australia

The Film Classification Board

The Australian state censor has responsibility for cinema, home video, video games, books and magazines.

Appeals about censorship decisions are heard by the Classification Review Board.

Film & Game Classifications

- G: (General Exhibition) These films and computer games are for general viewing.

- PG: (Parental Guidance) Contains material which some children find confusing or upsetting, and may require the guidance of parents or guardians. It is not recommended for viewing or playing by persons under 15 without guidance from parents or guardians.

- M:  (Recommended for mature audiences) Contains material that is not recommended for persons under 15 years of age.

- MA15+ (Mature Accompanied) The content is considered unsuitable for exhibition by persons under the age of 15. Persons under this age may only legally purchase or exhibit MA15+ rated content under the supervision of an adult guardian.

- R18+ (Restricted) People under 18 may not buy, rent or exhibit these films

- X18+ (Restricted) People under 18 may not buy, rent or exhibit these films. This rating applies to real sex content only

- RC (Refused Classification)Banned

Note that there is no R18+ X18+ available for games so adult games often end up getting banned much to the annoyance of gamers.

Note also that films classified as X18+ (Restricted) are banned from sale or rent in most of Australia. They can only be sold from Northern Territory and ACT (Canberra). Mail order and imports are allowed though and possession of X18+ material is legal

Publication Classifications

 - Unrestricted

- Unrestricted Mature: Not recommended for readers under 15.

- Restricted Category 1: Not available to persons under 18 years. Softcore

- Restricted Category 2 : Not available to persons under 18 years. Only to be sold in adults only shops: Hardcore

- RC: Refused Classification. Banned

Only publications that would be restricted 1 & 2 need to be submitted for censorship. There is also a scheme that magazines only need to be submitted once. Subsequent issues inherit the same rating. However later issues can be 'called in' for reassessment if anything crops up to alert the censors of changes.

Websites:
Classification Board

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