Australia banned 4 games in August, and you probably didn’t even notice
Australia sure is taking its history as a prison colony seriously, as those in charge simply can’t trust their adult population with video games featuring sex, violence or drug use. Even after introducing an R18+ rating in 2013, Australia has still banned a significant number of video games, and the Aussie ban hammer has been very busy as of late..
To start, Five Star Games submitted a retail version of DayZ to Australia’s government-run classification board, who in turn effectively banned the zombie-themed battle royale game by refusing to classify it. Despite DayZ being available digitally for years, a physical release was more than the Australian government could bear.
Later in August, the Australian government refused classification of three more titles by refusing classification: We Happy Few, Hotline Miami and a title codenamed “Bonaire“, which is reportedly DLC for Red Dead Redemption 2.
You may recall that Hotline Miami and We Happy Few were already cleared for release in Australia previously, but due to both games either receiving DLC or being re-released, they had to be re-classified. It’s almost as if the entire process is arbitrary, right?
As noted above, the Australian Classification Board is a government-run entity, so that means it’s influenced by sanctimonious politicians who find it appropriate to forcibly mold society according to their own whim and fancy. Certainly we have the same breed of politicians here in the U.S. and Europe, but game ratings in these territories are determined by gaming industry-run bodies, the ESRB and PEGI. While these two self-regulated bodies are far from perfect, Australia should absolutely be a cautionary tale of what can – and will – go wrong if the U.S. and Europe turn video game regulation power over to the government.