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LONG BLOG

Why Left 4 Dead 2 was banned in Australia and why it might stay that way

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So by now we've heard that Left 4 Dead 2 is banned in Australia but now we actually have the details of why it's banned. I'm going to list the reasons below:(A PDF of the report can be downloaded here, but is anyone else annoyed that the fate of a game can come down to half a page of A4 paper?


* The game contains violence that is high in impact and is therefore unsuitable for persons aged under 18 to play.

Ok, and how is this different from the first game?

It notes that this violence is “inflicted upon ‘the Infected’ who are living humans infected with a rabies-like virus that causes them to act violently”.

Again, this is the same as the original Left 4 Dead. And Resident Evil 5.

* The report singles out the use of melee weapons as those that “inflict the most damage” and cause “copious amounts of blood spray and splatter (sic), decapitations and limb dismemberment.. or even cause intestines to spill from the wounds”.

Whilst I agree chopping someone's arm off with a chainsaw is a pretty visceral image, shooting them with a gun isn't?

* In conclusion, the Board finds that the “interactive nature of the game increases the overall impact of the frequent and intense depictions of violence. This coupled with the graphic depictions of blood and gore combine to create a playing impact which is high.”

The "interactive nature of the game"? I'm sorry, but doesn't the board already go into the classification process of a videogame realising that it is an interactive medium. I may be taking it the wrong way, but is it implying a movie depicting the same actions wouldn't be as bad?

The reasons are there and the worrying thing for me is that it's not something that's easily changed. When [url=http://www.kotaku.com.au/2009/03/why_fallout_3s_drugs_were_bad_but_velvet_assassins_are_ok/Fallout 3 was refused classification[/url], it was due to the fact that morphine was identified as a substitute for a health pack[/url]. Bethesda changed the name to Stimpacks and classification was given. The interesting thing I found about that case was that as far as I understand, only Australia changed the classification of the game because of the name change. All other countries kept the game at a high rating (18+ in the UK, 17+ in the US), but in Australia it was ok for 15 year olds to play Fallout 3, despite the violence. As long as they didn't realise morphine can ease their pain, they could shoot people's heads off all they wanted.

The thing that worries me, is that whilst Fallout 3 had a mere cosmetic change to get it through classification, the reasons for Left 4 Dead 2's banning are the core gameplay mechanics. I'm not sure how EA is going to try and appeal the game's classification without some hefty gameplay cuts. Maybe whilst Gabe Newell is down here, checking out that guys' mod, he speak up about the issue. Man, the Refused Classification guys are gonna be pissed off; this week's show will be a must listen if only for Mr Dillinger swearing for an hour and a half.
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About Alasdair Duncanone of us since 9:17 AM on 10.13.2007

Alasdair Duncan is that bearded, bespectacled Scotsman that covers PC gaming that is not Fraser Brown. A long time Destructoid community member and forum moderator, he covers adventure, puzzle, FPS and all kinds of games on the PC. Watch, as he adds more games to his Steam library with only the vaguest hope of ever playing most of his games.

Alasdair has been gaming since his mother bought a Commodore 64 back in the early 1980's. He adores Deus Ex, GTA Vice City, Team Fortress 2, Borderlands, Super Mario Brothers 3 and all those weird indie titles on Steam.

You can meet Alasdair at places like PAX where he tries to convince people he isn't a) drunk or b) Irish.

Plus he crave attention via the following:

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Ali D waz on the front page!
Objectivity: Are We All Just Fanboys
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