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Yet another game banned in Australia
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Konedima
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Joined: 25 Oct 2003
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 6:33 am    Post subject: Yet another game banned in Australia Reply with quote

Hi kids! (Well you play games, right? So, according to the Australian government, you must be under 18, since they won't let adults have their own games). Just thought you might like to know that the latest Mortal Kombat game has been banned here.

I blame the advancement in graphics technology - bloody violence is clearly acceptable when those pixels are clearly blood, but when you have to really squint to see the individual pixels... won't somebody please think of the children?!?!? I mean, I played the first few (admittedly not too much, my parents were smart enough to keep younger me away from games like that, but they couldn't watch me 24/7) and there was no effect. But as soon as I got a MK game on the PS2? Overwhelming urge to chuck a spear into some guys chest and drag him across the room. Praise baby Jeebus that my lawyer was able to get me out of that one.

Note: the above story is mostly made up. Probably.
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Poo Bear
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the U.S. there seems to be this fight to make it illegal to sell games to people under the age rating (presumably age ratings are currently just a guideline?). Now I know that singling out games is bad, any change to the law should be applied to all media. However, if it would calm down the paranoid far right so they leave games alone and move on to something else, then what's the problem? Harshly enforced age ratings shouldn't really make any difference i.e. I wouldn't let kids play GTA anyway, right?

I'm just wondering if this would help in Australia too. What is the problem, I mean, you can buy alcohol and cigs can't you (with appropriate age laws).
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Konedima
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, alcohol and ciggarettes can be bought by anyone over 18. However, age ratings here are fairly harshly enforced - someone under 15 can't buy an MA15+ DVD (or game), nor can someone under 18 buy an R18+ DVD (or for that matter, X18+ - pornography - not actually legal for sale in any state).

However, it doesn't stop kids getting their hands on violent games, since in my experience, parents who don't know any better will buy anything their kids put into their hands.

As for the US, I don't exactly know how their system works. As far as I know, DVDs aren't rated at all, and game ratings are enforced on a state by state basis (since they aren't reated by a government body). Although if I remember correctly, there have been challenges to laws preventing the sale of violent games to minors, saying such laws would be unconstitutional. Games don't actually get banned there - most stores won't sell games with the highest rating (AO). At least as far as I know - someone correct me if I'm wrong.
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Poo Bear
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 11:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I heard Walmart have a policy to not carry any of the highest rated games, which immediately meant nobody made any Smile Which is just silly. Again, I wonder if it actually became law that selling them miners was a criminal offence would that mean they'd actually start selling them? Walmart certainly sells cigs and alcohol.

I think the problem is people suspect games have more influence on the mind than other media, because games are interactive AND because the author cannot control the intent of the piece (i.e. Call Of Duty has an anti-war message, but how many people actually get-it compared to just relishing the thrill of massacring people online and trash talking?).

I wish academia would hurry up and get to the bottom of it, there are a few studies saying violent interactive content has a bad affect and a few saying it doesn't. I'm sure we will get a more definitive answer, but it'll take years.
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Konedima
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GTA: San Andreas is a good example - when someone figured out how to access the hot coffee parts, the ESRB rerated it AO and most stores stopped carrying it. Why? I'm not sure - there was no way to access that content than by deliberately doing so - it was never encountered as a normal part of gameplay. I don't see why game developers/publishers should be responsible for what modders do to their games (within reason of course, obviously if someone hid a fully playable version of Gears of War in Hello Kitty Island Adventure, it would be another matter). (See also: Oblivion boob texture scandal.)

As for whether games have more influence on the mind because they're interactive? I doubt it. I've gunned down more things than I care to count in various games, but I could never imagine pointing a gun at anything, living or not. It might become more of an issue in the future, I mean if you play games on a holodeck and using a replica of a real gun to kill things, that might be more of an issue, but in my opinion there's just too much of a disconnect between moving a mouse around and clicking and firing a real gun. Of course this is just my opinion, I'm sure everyone's differs.

And studies? I don't think they'll ever reach a definitive answer. Studies are all too often biased by whoever is paying for it. I mean, in the future, f the reds take over and we're forced into communism... then the finances might not affect it as much. But the government's agenda will.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the game got re-classified because it contained a naughty sex mini-game that was disabled, the mod just turned it back on. The naughty developer responsible should have completely removed the code and resources, but didn't. I think if someone had used generic modding tools to make the game do something sexy then that would have been fine, not the developers fault.

I bet the person responsible got a complete roasting over that, I think it cost something like $30million to put right. Presumably they were sacked after the telling off too? Unless they genuinely just forgot about it.

You're right about paying for scientific studies, drug companies paying for the trials of new drugs is a scandal really, talk about conflict of interests. I would say though, part of me is a little suspicious over the long term affect of games, especially on immature minds. I'm probably 80% convinced humans are resilient enough to ignore play in other aspects of their lives, I mean all kids play soldiers (a lot), everyone gets biased TV forced down their throats, yet mostly we seem to handle it(ish). It does make you wonder when you see people addicted to WoW playing 12hours a day 7 days a week, or paying $10,000 for virtual **** in farmville.

I suppose its probably something that can really screw up a minority with pre-existing weaknesses, just like drink and gambling. How far do you penalise everyone to try and help protect that minority? I think developers do have a moral obligation not to do harm with their games (using psychological techniques to make people play for very long times, social games making people think about the game even when not playing, social games making player's spam friends, unlimited in game purchasing, etc - all bad really).

Currently the FTC are investigating iphone 'free to play' games after Capcom's iphone social game smurf world had kids racking up $1000 charges. The whole freemium thing stinks, con people into playing for 'free' then use the addictive qualities of games to extract unlimited money. Any reasonable human being could see -> lets make a free to play game to get lots of people in, but then try and get money out of them LIMITED TO SOME MAXIMUM THAT IS REASONABLE i.e. $50 or whatever. Allowing someone to pay you ~$2k when they haven't cost you any more than anyone else and you haven't provided any special service is obviously immoral. It'll be interesting to see if the FTC kicks *** and how far they go. Anyway, i'm off topic Smile
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Konedima
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 11:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The sex mini-game was probably removed at the last minute, but remained on the disc because its assets and probably code (it's very similar to other rhythm based mini-games in the game) are used elsewhere in the game. It would be different if they left an easy way to get to it (such as a cheat code), but when you have to install a mod or edit some locations in memory (using a gameshark, for the console versions) to access it, I think it's hardly the developer's fault - it would have taken a lot longer to remove properly like they did in the patched version, and from a business perspective, it's not a good idea delaying a AAA game like GTA.

Although on a side note, this is why what little mod support that existed in previous GTA games was removed from San Andreas and never made an appearance in GTA IV. Thanks, childish modders.

As for long term effects of gaming on immature minds? I've been playing games since I was 6. I doubt it's had much of an effect on me. I mean, sure, I'm a lazy slob who spends as much time as possible sitting around playing games, but I think I'm just predisposed to that anyway. Not that I'd imagine play WoW 12 hours a day, 7 days a week (for too long, anyway). It doesn't help that most of the media is run by people who have seemingly no idea that it's no longer 1991 and still think games are just for kids, easily amused by watching Mario jump on bad guys' heads (cue mandatory Fox News reference), and that whenever someone (particularly young) commits a crime, and a game is found anywhere, look what's suddenly at fault! I'm much more worried about people killing themselves imitating Jackass than I am about people killing other people imitating GTA.
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