Graffiti game banned in Australia

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Friday, February 17, 2006

Screen Shot from Getting Up

The Office of Film & Literature Classification Review Board in Australia has refused to classify Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure. The computer game's premise is a future world where freedom of expression is suppressed by a tyrannical city government and to win the game the player has to express his message through graffiti. The decision was made by 5 members who voted 3/5 against the classification of the game; Ms Maureen Shelley, the convenor, broke the deadlock on the grounds it encourages crime. The game cannot be sold, demonstrated, hired or imported without a classification. Australia is the only country to ban the game so far. The decision comes even though OFLC guidelines state that adults may hear, read and see what they wish.

The game was originally rated MA15+ for Strong violence, and strong themes on 18 November 2005.

Other games to be banned in Australia include Postal and BMX XXX, while 'Combat: Task Force 121', a game whose premise involves shooting people to defend US interests from Marxist rebels [1] was rated M (below the maximum rating of MA for a video game in Australia) and is therefore available to buy by anyone of any age.

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Atari Australia, the games local distributor has said it strongly disagrees with the outcome and they defend the original MA rating "We are definitely investigating all our options at the moment. If we can appeal it we will," said Mr David Wildgoose, public relations manager at Atari. Any action to be taken would take place after they receive the Review Board's written decision. Mark Ecko has been also expressed his point of view “I am extremely disappointed in the Australian Government Classification Review Board’s move to ban my video game ... based solely on a perceived notion that it somehow will promote the crime of graffiti.”

Ms Maureen Shelley, when questioned on her decision by the ABC’s Lateline, said she didn’t need proof that video games encourage crime—only that she thought they could.


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