Game might incite naughtiness

So the Classification Review Board has banned another video game in Australia. This time it’s Marc Ecko’s Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure. And in what way has this game offended the censor? It promotes graffiti.

Yep, that’s right. Graffiti.

Anyone for Pong?

Getting Up

The game, originally classified MA15+ on 18 November last year, was sent back for reclassification by Phil Ruddock after a bunch of Queensland politicians complained.

Why do our elected leaders and appointed bureaucrats insist on presenting Australia as an ignorant throwback to the 1950s? Peter Beattie’s done a great job on this one - apparently he reckons the game “glorifies high-risk, law-breaking, violent and even deadly behaviour.”

Well duh! That’s the whole point of a video game. Simulated high-risk, illegal activity with no consequences. People, it’s called fantasy.

And let’s face it video games have been glorifying “high-risk, law-breaking, violent and even deadly behaviour” since the invention of the first-person shooter - attention Mr Beattie: that was back in 1992 when Wolfenstein 3D was released.

Not the first

It’s certainly not the first time a video game has been banned in Australia but it appears to be “the first time we have refused classification for a computer game because it promotes crime” according to Maureen Shelley one of two dissenting members of the Classification Review Board.

By my reading of the IGN review of the game, it doesn’t sound any more offensive than any other game in the FPS or combat genre. Nor does it sound like a particularly interesting or innovative game.


This is a ridiculous situation on a number of counts:

Firstly it presumes that teenagers aren’t capable of distinguishing between real and fantasy. This is nonsense - as a society we constantly underestimate our kids.

Secondly, it assumes that consenting adults don’t play video games. This is nonsense. Maybe the game is too violent for teens. So it’s high time this country had a R18+ for video games, rather than this:

Films and computer games are now classified G, PG, M or MA 15+ … R 18+ and X 18+ are not classifications for computer games.

Where do I live? The bloody nanny state? As Geoffrey Palmer would say on Grumpy Old Men: “Give me strength!”

Thirdly, it makes Australians look like we’re a pack of ignorant wowsers from some retrograde backwater. This is nonsense. Unless you live in Queensland.

I don’t particularly give a damn about this game - it actually sounds pretty lame to me - but I do give a damn that the Classification Review Board appears to have made a monumentally stupid decision for political reasons. I’m certainly no expert on the subject but it seems to bring the whole question of film and literature classification in this country into question.


Heath Gibson points out the incongruity of this decision over on catallaxy:

Did I miss something here? The game has been slapped with a ban because it might encourage or incite people to spray graffiti. Presumably then the aforementioned “street-fighting” was not an issue?

He then goes on to examine his games collection, finding games that perhaps should have been banned because they incite speeding, murder, terrorism …

And of course a game that allows you commit the most heinous of all crimes in Australia – losing the Ashes to England. (Shane Warne Cricket).