*shakes fist* at Australian game censorship

New Zealand has been caught in the crossfire by Australia’s draconian game classification laws. New Zealand gamers normally have a laugh at Australia’s expense due to their lack of an R18 rating for games, but not this time.

It would appear that in the opinion of Australian politicians, gamers are all children. There is no need for an R18 rating because adults don’t play video games. The consequence of this is many games are modified for the Australian market or are just banned outright. Take2, the publishers of the Grand Theft Auto series have been down the Australian censorship road before. To avoid trouble this time they’ve pre-emptively cut some of the more mature content from the game for the Australian market.

This kind of thing doesn’t normally effect New Zealand. We have an R18 rating – because adults play games. However many of the games sold in NZ for economic reasons are the Australian version. As is the case with GTA IV. So thanks to another countries brain-dead game classification laws the game New Zealanders will be playing is censored.


5 Responses to “*shakes fist* at Australian game censorship”

  1. 1 Lawrence Hodson (aka.Sharky) April 16, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    Yeah that does suck!

    Hey Cam.

    I just discovered your blog. Don’t know if you’ll remember me, but I was at eCentric with Lee Herd and crew back when you were doing the Adidas World Cup project. (Lee’s sitting next to me right now – working at Intergen)

    I remembered we shared a common interest in game development, and thought I’d Google where you got to. Bitshifter & Lungfish turned up, and rang some bells.

    Fantastic to see you made a career out of it. Living the dream eh!

    I’ve been doing a lot of XNA development, as you’ll see from my blog.
    I really hope the Australian censorship thing doesn’t hinder XNA’s 360 home-brew plans.



  2. 2 bitshifter April 16, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    Hi Lawrence, good to hear from you. I was trying to wangle a job at Sidhe when we were working on the adidas project. It didn’t pan out then but I guess I was persistent. I’ve been there nearly 3 years now. It has it’s ups and downs but on the whole it’s pretty good.

    How is XNA? I haven’t looked at it at all. Is it all C#? Can you run the Xbox XNA stuff on a retail Xbox or do you have to have a development kit?

    I don’t think Oz censorship will hinder XNA homebrew unless you’re trying to make interactive pr0n 😉

  3. 3 Lawrence April 16, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    XNA is brilliant. Yes it’s all C#, and no Dev kit required! Just an Xbox 360 off the shelf. To deploy to the 360 at the moment, you need to have a membership to the “XNA Creators Club”. A 4-month membership is worth $79 NZD. 1-year is $149 NZD.

    However, soon Microsoft will be allowing anyone to discover, download and play these Community games via the 360 Dashboard. So the membership will be required for developers of the games only. They’re even saying they’ll support a payment model too. So I’m hoping to monetize my game in some way.

  4. 4 bitshifter April 18, 2008 at 8:34 am

    It will be interesting to see how they roll that out. With disc and Live Arcade titles there are a lot of mandatory Xbox features are rules to adhere to. I wonder if they’ll impose the same on homebrew developers?

    Is the XNA Creators Club tied in with your Live account in some way? Applications must be signed by Microsoft to run on a retail kit, so have they released a XNA runtime which you start up and then load your game into?

    I should check it out sometime, I’ve been meaning to learn more C# anyway.

  5. 5 Lawrence Hodson (aka.Sharky) April 18, 2008 at 10:40 am

    Yeah, the Creators Club is tied to your XBOX Live account. There is an XNA runtime. Some kind of launcher. At the moment it is listed with the games you can download. You don’t actually need to run it to play an XNA game though. Once installed on the 360, XNA games appear in the Dashboard seamlessly with other installed games. I just select it to run it!

    MS are readying things allow the general public to find and play these games (straight off the dashboard I hope, but not certain. Details TBA).

    Since these games are unrated, I imagine there’ll be some sort of Disclaimer built in to protect them. The games themselves won’t make it in without being peer reviewed by other peers in the dev community. (http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/3545/sponsored_feature_democratizing_.php)

    More info here:

    Feel free to email me. Be good to talk more.

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