Dead or Alive Dimensions: Banned in Australia!

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What in-? Dead or Alive banned? In yet another case of particularly stupid political correctness influencing Australia’s backwards video game rating and classification systems, the popular 3DS title “Dead or Alive Dimensions” has been removed from sale in Australia, AFTER it’s initial classification and release. This action follows the similar ban of the popular fighting game series in Sweden for not adhereing to their strict content laws regarding pornographic material. In a move that has left many in the Australian gaming community dumbfounded, the OLFC reviewed the “PG” classification, and had the game’s rating completely revoked, thereby banning it’s sale in Australia for content that media outlets have bastardised as “child pornographic”. The reasoning behind this decision was that the game’s theatre and display modes provided players the opportunity to look up the skirts of the various female fighters.

The “pornographic” content being addressed is questionable at very best. Having played the game, its clear that this is just another case of critics not knowing what the heck they’re talking about. At worst, the game shows a slight amount of thigh and waist and the occasional show of Kasumi’s undergarments, but nothing explicit beyond that. The argument made in question is a weak one at best, as the “child” part of this stems from a claim that the in game characters are under the age of 18. While some of the characters of the universe were previously listed as under 18 years of age, this particular game omitted their ages entirely from the content, thereby not establishing an actual age of the characters in question (namely Kasumi and Ayane, who were listed in DOA 4 as 17). Being about 5 years between games, and constucting a new “annual” DOA tournament in-game, one would assume that the next year in an “annual” event would have them listed as at an age of at least 18 now, if the DOA tournament in Dimensions is assumed to happen a year after DOA4. Logically, this is the case, but as the OLFC and classification systems have proved so many times in the past, logic is hardly an option. -_-

My response to this report is mixed, in both positive and negative terms.

On the one hand, it proves that the OLFC screwed up the first time around. As such, a review of their investigative process and the entire classification system needs to happen. This is, by and large, a good thing for the promotion of the R18+ rating in Australia. However, the donwside to all of this is that for the first time in a while, a game has been pulled from shelves AFTER its initial release and classification. The implication of this is that, in future if the R18+ rating is stalled AGAIN, then game previously passed as acceptable by the classification board may be later revoked if enough insolent or misinfored critics kick up enough of a stink. What really grinds my gears is how these people are in the minority, but seem to garner all of the political power and attention.

What is also kind of perplexing is that the decision to have the game reviewed came from the Federal Home Affairs Minister Mr Brendan O’Connor, a renowned supporter of the R18+ debate. At present, Mr O’Connor has put it to the State Attorney Generals to reach a consensus on the R18+ issue by next month. While it’s a little odd that the supporter of the new ratings system would make such a decision without fully researching the content in question, it does highlight how determind he is to have the Australian ratings system fixed and to have the appropriate rating applied to the appropriate titles.

And link to the coverage of this story can be found HERE

Don’t let the headline of the story fool you however. Calling this an issue of “Child Pornography” is highly misleading. Personally, I do agree that perhaps the PG rating may have been a little inappropriate, given that most previous DOA games garnered an “M” rating. And of course, anyone promoting content regarding children should not be tolerated, but I think a distinction really has to be drawn here. There’s a difference between standing up for what is morally acceptable, and just bastardising the gaming industry, as critics, the media and politicans seem to be so fond of. It’s just unfortunate that a series like DOA has had to find itself on this ledge. A simple addition of a single year to Kasumi’s and Ayane’s character ages could have averted this.

One of the “offending” picutres…

While this has left many scrathing their heads as to what the heck this means for the classification system, the good news is that DOA: Dimensions has a good chance of being re-accepted into Australia by tweaking the classification to an “M” rating instead of “PG”. The ball is currently in Ninentdo’s court now to see if they wish to re-submit the game for an “M” rating review. Although why the OLFC didn’t simply alter the rating at the time of scrutiny is anyone’s guess.

I'm one of your typical Generation Y gamers who began my lifelong obsession with video games at the age of 3. I'm currently a university student living in Sydney Australia with the hopes of pursuing a career in a creative media, whether that be writing, publishing, artistic, or any of the like. Favourite game series': Sonic/Halo/Left 4 Dead Favourite anime: Gundam Favoutire Console: Xbox360 Favourite TV show: Firefly Favourite Pokemon: Jolteon

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