Banning of Video Game Highlights Flaws in Classification Review Process


Banning of Video Game Highlights Flaws in Classification Review Process

Apr 13, 2006

The Board of the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia has determined that it will not appeal the refused classification category given to the video game Marc Ecko’s Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure.

The game was originally classified MA15+ but following a request for review by the Local Government Association of Queensland, the Classification Review Board determined that the game should be refused classification.

“Our advice indicated that we have strong legal grounds to contest the decision of the Classification Review Board” IEAA CEO Chris Hanlon said.
“For example the Review Board mistakenly found that the “Black Book” and the use of the graffiti “Legends” in the game operated interactively and were of a high impact. In fact the biographies of the graffiti artists are not interactive and hence they can not instruct in matters of crime”.

“We also believe that the Review Board did not consider the artistic merit of the game and adopted an extreme definition of detailed instruction or promotion in matters of crime.”

“Our decision to not appeal this matter in the Federal Court was made on the basis of the costs involved in establishing these facts in a court of law. The IEAA also believes it is more constructive to work with the Attorney General’s Department to improve the classification process”.

“This game was refused classification three days before its worldwide release despite already being given an MA15+ classification. It cost the distributor Atari Australia hundreds of thousands of dollars to withdraw stock and refund advance purchases.

There needs to be a more timely process of review where those objecting to a classification decision are required to have detailed knowledge of the contents of the game or film.

Usually those who object to a game or film have never played or watched it and this was the case with this game.

It’s important that the classification laws are clear, consistent and applied equally to films, games and publications.