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2021: Jan-March

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Updated: A censorship mystery...

The Australian Censorship Board has banned the video game Disco Elysium: The Final Cut

Link Here29th March 2021
Full story: Games Censorship in Australia...Censorship rules for games
Disco Elysium: The Final Cut is the latest video game in a long line of censorship casualties in Australia.

The game launches on March 30th 2021 for PlayStation and Stadia owners but the Australian government has banned it from sale in the country.

The Australian Censorship Board hasn't specified exactly why Disco Elysium's been banned and developer ZA/UM has yet to publicly respond on this. However the core gameplay mechanics prominently include drugs and alcohol and which is a bit of a no-no for the country's censors.


Update: Criticising Australia's archaic games censorship

29th March 2021. Thanks to Daniel. See article from

The banning of video game Disco Elysium from sale in Australia has renewed calls for the Australian government to overhaul the classification system to move away from the moral panic associated with video games.

The chief executive of the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association, Ron Curry, told Guardian Australia:

Games are treated differently and the classification guidelines do not hide it. In spite of the government's own research to the contrary, when an R18+ classification was introduced for games they still insisted on making interactivity a determinant in classifying games, unlike film and publications.

There are also other restrictions levelled at games around violence, sex, drug use and incentives that aren't applied to film.

The sad reality is that the national classification system applies a stricter set of rules for video games than it does for pretty much every other kind of content, reflecting the early 1990s era in which those rules were written, when video games were associated with a moral panic and certainly not treated as the mainstream medium and artistic discipline that they are.

The Australian Lawyers Alliance said in a submission to a public consultation on the government's upcoming internet censorship bill named the Online Safety Bill:

The online classification system needed review, which should be done before the online safety bill passes. This bill should not be reliant on such an outdated classification system. The ALA therefore submits that this legislation should not proceed until such a review into the [classification scheme], incorporating community consultation, has been undertaken.



Devotion to sales...

Video game under censorship duress from China opens its own international sales website

Link Here14th March 2021
The Taiwan games developer Red Candle fell fowl of China's censorship reach over the inclusion of a Winnie the Pooh meme poking fun at the Chinese president Xi Jinping.

That got the horror themed game Devotion banned from games distributors, most notably Steam. The games has been mostly blocked ever since.

After running into nothing but trouble on other people's platforms, the game's developers have decided to just sell the game themselves, opening up an online store for international customers that is selling digital, DRM-free copies of Devotion, and also their previous game Detention.

Developers Red Candle say that all future releases will also be on their own shop, and will also be free of DRM.



Vintage car theft...

A ludicrous Chicago lawmaker resurrects the notion that banning violent videos can solve all America's covid ravaged societal ills

Link Here23rd February 2021
Full story: Grand Theft Auto...Grand Theft Auto brings out the nutters
Because of a surge in violent crimes like carjackings in Chicago, one state lawmaker from the city has introduced a bill targeting what he sees as a possible catalyst for the troubles, namely violent video games.

Representative Marcus Evans Jr has called for the banning of sales of video games that showcase, among other things, motor vehicle theft with a driver or passenger present.

This comes as a recent local TV news report from Chicago revealed that some carjacking suspects are not even old enough to drive, and it quoted a local philanthropist as speculating that GTA and video games like it might influence young people to do bad things.

The new law proposed is an amendment to an existing statute in Illinois's criminal code. Already, retailers are restricted against selling violent video games to minors. Evans' proposal would just extend that, banning the sale of violent video games to everyone.

This bill would also prohibit the sale of any video game that depicts psychological harm and child abuse, sexual abuse, animal abuse, domestic violence, violence against women, or motor vehicle theft with a driver or passenger present inside the vehicle when the theft begins.



Offsite Article: Shadow the Hedgehog...

Link Here22nd February 2021
Historic computer game cuts

See article from



Mass censorship hype...

Mass Effect re-release suffers cuts in 2021

Link Here6th February 2021
Mass Effect was an action role playing game by BioWare that was originally released in 2007.

There was a little controversy at the time about a marginally sexy 'Hot Coffee' scene that eluded the US games raters. In the UK the BBFC noted the game, including the Hot Coffee scene as 12 uncut, so rather indicating that the controversy was more hype than sexy.

Well it seems that even that 12 rated sexiness is a little too much for 2021 sensibilities and the developers have toned down the 2021 re-release titled as Mass Effect Legacy Edition.

In a recent interview with Metro , members of the MELE development team discussed their approach to updating the games for modern platforms. According to the developers, efforts are being made to smooth out the gameplay experience across all three games in the series. These tweaks include updating animations and unifying the control scheme. The team noted that a great deal of care is being taken to respect the artistic integrity of the original trilogy... but there's an exception. According to Legendary Edition project director Mac Walters:

Kevin (character and environment director Kevin Meek) actually called out some camera cuts that were just... why was that focusing on Miranda's butt? So in some cases we said, 'Okay, we can make a change there'. But ultimately, to change an entire character model or something like that wasn't really... it was a decision that was made as part of many creative decisions and just showing it at the best possible fidelity that we could going forward is really the choice for all of the art that we had.



App Battleground...

India has decided to make temporary bans on PUBG, TikTok and many other Chinese apps over security concerns

Link Here30th January 2021
Full story: Internet Censorship in India...India considers blanket ban on internet porn
In the last couple of days, a report emerged that the Government of India is permanently banning 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok permanently from June 2021. TikTok, which was originally temporarily banned in June 2020, has decided to wind up its business in India.

The permanent ban also has repercussions for PUBG Mobile India.  PUBG Mobile India is now coming to terms that the relaunch which was planned for March 2021 might never happen.

In June and September, when 59 and 118 Chinese apps including PUBG Mobile India were banned, the Government of India stated in the order that the apps were prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, the security of the state and public order. The apps gave a written response to the Government of India. However, it has now emerged according to reports that the government is not satisfied with the response and explanation that were given by these companies. Hence the ban for these 59 apps is permanent now.



Labelled as repressive...

China outlines an age rating system for video games

Link Here21st January 2021
Full story: Games censorship in China...A wide range of censorship restrictions
China first announced consideration of age ratings for games in November 2019. In December 2020, China Audio-video and Digital Publishing Association, an industry organization that works closely with the state censor, the National Press and Publication Administration, released its outline standards on age labeling for online games.

Full details have not yet been published but the outline suggests that the games will be pre-censored by state censors but producers will assign the age classifications. Note that China simply does not allow adult content in games, regardless of ratings, so maybe the state can be more relaxed about assigned age categories.

Under China's age labeling standards, online games will be categorized into 3 types: 8+, 12+ and 16+. Each given age label must be used together with the game descriptions or warnings on the game's official website, log-in or start screen, as well as promotional materials.

However having selected an age classification games providers will have to strictly enforce the rules. The game publisher will have to put in place mandatory measures including ID verification system and restrictions on gameplay hours or in-game purchases. In addition, for the games with age labels of 8+ and 12+, the publishers shall make available a specific privacy policy for young users below 14.

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