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Text of Decision Report from OFLC regarding Left 4 Dead 2

Text of Decision Report from OFLC regarding Left 4 Dead 2

decision-reportWe just received a PDF of the decision report from Australia’s OFLC regarding their decision to refuse classification for Valve’s Left 4 Dead 2.

The game contains violence that is high in impact and is therefore unsuitable for persons aged under 18 years to play.
The game contains realistic, frenetic and unrelenting violence which is inflicted upon “the Infected” who are living humans infected with a rabies-like virus that causes them to act violently. The player can choose from a variety of weapons including pistols, shotguns, machine guns and sniper rifles. However, it is the use of the “melee” weapons such as the crowbar, axe, chainsaw and Samurai sword which inflict the most damage. These close in attacks cause copious amounts of blood spray and splatter, decapitations and limb dismemberment as well as locational damage where contact is made to the enemy which may reveal skeletal bits and gore. Projectile shots to infected humans can cause abdominal wounds which can reveal innards or even cause intestines to spill from the wounds.
The Infected attack the player in an unrelenting fashion, with numerous foe attacking the player at one time. The use of the “melee” weapons can Wipe out several Infected in one blow which cause the above mentioned blood and gore effects. The player kills a very large amount of enemy characters to proceed through the game. Whilst no post mortem damage can be inflicted, piles of bodies lay about the environment.
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.
A minority of the Board is of the opinion that the violence is strong in playing impact and therefore warrants an MA 15+ classification with the consumer advice of strong violence.
Decision:
This game is Refused Classification.

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

The game contains realistic, frenetic and unrelenting violence which is inflicted upon “the Infected” who are living humans infected with a rabies-like virus that causes them to act violently. The player can choose from a variety of weapons including pistols, shotguns, machine guns and sniper rifles. However, it is the use of the “melee” weapons such as the crowbar, axe, chainsaw and Samurai sword which inflict the most damage. These close in attacks cause copious amounts of blood spray and splatter, decapitations and limb dismemberment as well as locational damage where contact is made to the enemy which may reveal skeletal bits and gore. Projectile shots to infected humans can cause abdominal wounds which can reveal innards or even cause intestines to spill from the wounds.

The Infected attack the player in an unrelenting fashion, with numerous foe attacking the player at one time. The use of the “melee” weapons can wipe out several Infected in one blow which cause the above mentioned blood and gore effects. The player kills a very large amount of enemy characters to proceed through the game. Whilst no post mortem damage can be inflicted, piles of bodies lay about the environment.

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.

A minority of the Board is of the opinion that the violence is strong in playing impact and therefore warrants an MA 15+ classification with the consumer advice of strong violence.

Decision:

This game is Refused Classification.

There you have it. While some members of the board feel that the game warrants an MA 15+ classification, the majority feel that adults can’t handle the high impact of  things like “piles of bodies” and the revelation of innards or even intestines.

Being an adult gamer in Australia is apparently becoming more and more difficult.

Comments

  1. Dali Apparently, Ozzies can't handle videogames. At all.

    I definitely feel for the fans in Australia! What a wickedly bad decision on the part of the OFLC.
  2. ardichoke
    ardichoke Did they ban Dead Rising? I mean, you could beat zombies to death with an even wider array of melee items in that game could you not? What about the recent Resident Evil games? I must say, this is a total crock, and I don't even live in Australia.
  3. bruce I do live in Australia and while I love my country I hate the wankers running it.
    Gamers have petitioned for ratings system change sooooo much most of us here are just over it now and have given up. What can you do when one guy effectively has veto'd any change to include a higher than 15+ rating. Unfortunately democracy here means one guy making the rule for all.
  4. GnomeQueen
    GnomeQueen But...the zombies aren't living humans...that's the point of being zombies.
  5. lordbean
    lordbean According to the storyline of the game, it can actually be construed that the zombies are still living humans, but no longer of sound mind or judgement. If the distinction were made that these are "creatures", not "infected humans", the game may have been allowed. Then again, the gratuitous violence would still be there...
  6. Qube Long... no wait, first... first time reader, first time poster.

    "the majority feel that adults can’t handle the high impact of things like “piles of bodies” and the revelation of innards or even intestines."

    I think you're reading it wrong. Nothing was said about those 18 and over (aka adults) and what they can "handle". The game was deemed unsuitable for those *under* 18 (aka not adults).

    So it was essentially a recommendation for an adults only rating, which as we know the OFLC can't issue to a game.

    Don't blame the OFLC for not being able to rate mature games properly. You know exactly who to blame for that.
  7. Mike This is another example of the blatently pathetic censoship in this country. Things will only get worse with the new intern filtering as well. The stupid thing is, it won't stop those of us who know how. I will be importing this game anyway so who are they kidding?
  8. Thrax
    Thrax I feel like it can be read both ways. As an arm of the Australian Attorney General's office, they are very much a political puppet for the moral whims of those in charge. That man is currently, the SA AG Michael Atkinson.

    Those familiar with the politics of Australian censorship understand that he's as puritanical as they come. Not only is he completely opposed to an 18+ rating, he's actively blocking a canvass of the general public which would determine support for the addition of an 18+ rating. And he's doing it against the recommendations of medical and academic professionals.

    In this way, by proxy, the OFLC is very much passing judgment on the delicate sensibilities of the adult populace.

    If we judge the OFLC from the perspective of unwilling body that is given no choice but to be complicit, then indeed your interpretation is correct, Qube.

    Either way: Shit stinks, man.
  9. Josh i don't understand am i still able to download this game through steam and play online on australian servers? if not then there is NO POINT in getting this game. i love L4D but will not bother buying L4D 2 if there will be no servers to play on so it is a even game with minimal latency/ping!
  10. Thrax
    Thrax Josh: As of right now, you can still digitally purchase games in Australia that are "banned" in this way. Steam, your favorite online games retailer, etc. will all be able to sell it, but that's only for right now. These OFLC bans only apply to in-store sales.

    Australia's Communications Minister, however, is working to extend this style of ban to digital sales as well: http://icrontic.com/news/australia-to-pursue-game-censorship -- if he succeeds, you will have to import the game to even play it.
  11. Josh but will this mean it wont have any online servers from australia?
  12. Thrax
    Thrax I'm sure there might be some. Banning a game, or a book, or a movie, often has the opposite effect: People <i>really want it</i>. But it's not a sure thing, as there isn't much incentive to run a server for a game nobody can legally buy.
  13. Kildare Thank god it's banned, it looks awful. I'm surpised people could ever buy such disgusting filth. Mary Whitehouse would collapse if she were around today, and for good reason. F*ing bin it!
  14. Nyrb
    Nyrb This is bullshit, they are zombies! They are at best morally ambiguous cannon fodder, what the hell do they expect us to do, bend over and say wanna bite? This is ridiculous and another example of the older, retarded generation, just not getting gaming
  15. Nyrb
    Nyrb @ Kildare

    We are full grown adults in a free and open democratic society, as long as we aren't hurting anybody, we should be allowed to spend our time however we want, and before you say that games make people violent, you could do a lot worse then a strong team building exercise like fighting off a zombie apocalypse
  16. mas0n
    mas0n Great, well written review, OFLC. I totally want to play this game now. Thanks!
  17. Cliff_Forster
    Cliff_Forster If anyone ever complains about the role of the ESRB again....

    I'm all for the role of an independent organization that rates the content to advise the public, but for the love of humanity its role should never, ever be to block the content from the distribution channels that elect to carry it, and to prevent consumers of adult age from consuming it.

    I remember seeing an interview a while back from one of the co creators for Manhunt 2. He whined and he cried over censorship by the American ESRB and I laughed, I thought, what an idiot, in the USA absolutely nobody is telling you what content you can or can not put into your game. There is no censorship. You made a game, its violent as hell, and it got an AO rating, that means certain retailers will carry your product, and Wal Mart decides not. Everybody is free while the public is duly informed (if they choose to be). It's the best system and given the recent developments nobody in America should complain about how the ESRB handles its buisness. A ratings system is necessary given the variety of content available, the ESRB has done an amazing job of informing the public, and recently states have been enforcing the laws on sales to minors. I have been in gamestop a few times where a kid takes that copy of GTA up to the counter and the clerk says, "hey kid, where is your mom or dad?" I remember one occasion where I was in a Gamestop and the clerk asked a Grandmother, hey, if you don't mind me askin, who is the game for, she said, my grandson, for Christmas, and he went out of his way, with absolutely no legal obligation to explain, hey, did you know you can hook up with hookers and shoot cops in this title, "OMG" she said, and put it back. Does your boy like sports,,, LOL. I told him great job when he completed another sale.

    Nobody wants eight year olds playing Left 4 Dead 2, but ultimately if I'm a well informed parent, and I don't think its going to warp my kid to pretend to wield a shotgun during the Zombie apocalypse, why the heck can't I decide for myself as long as I am well informed about the content? At the same time, if a specific retailer wants to refuse to carry certain content based on the rating, that is their right as well.

    I'm a parent, on one hand, I want to know clear as day what content is contained in that game or film, I want to see it on the package before I purchase. On the other hand, I don't want anybody to prevent me from enjoying the kind of content I want to enjoy. I like killing Zombies, I'm an adult, very well adjusted with absolutely no criminal background. Heck, I don't even speed or smoke weed, if capping a virtual threat or two gets me through my week, who are they to tell me no? When my kid and I play, we like a nice round of Wii sports resort or Madden big head mode, once my kid is in bed and the days work is done, Nazi's and Zombies be damned, I'm sure I have earned it.

    I will say this against Rockstar, you guys really set everyone back when you got cute with the Hot Coffee "mod" that was "hidden" in GTA San Andreas. Straight up Joe Wilson style, YOU LIED. You lied to the ESRB up front as a way of challenging their authority, and all it did was cause tension that neither the ratings organization nor other developers needed. That being said, I think the ESRB responded appropriately and I think they generally do an amazing job of monitoring the content while not restricting it.

    Australia, you should immediately contact the head of the ESRB and see what we are doing in the states. It's a great system, one that protects children from objectionable content while maintains the consumers rights.
  18. Thrax
    Thrax You know, Hot Coffee was only unlockable with a hack to the game. You literally had to hack the game to get to it. Is it still lying?

    If I told you your child's favorite playtime DVD had porno on it, but could only be accessed if you ripped the DVD to a hard drive and modified it with a hex editor, would you be outraged? And on what grounds? The content is completely and 100% inaccessible without willingly and premeditatively going out of your way to unlock it.
  19. primesuspect
  20. QCH
    QCH Damn those Zombie Lobbyists... ;D
  21. Cliff_Forster
    Cliff_Forster
    Thrax wrote:
    You know, Hot Coffee was only unlockable with a hack to the game. You literally had to hack the game to get to it. Is it still lying?

    If I told you your child's favorite playtime DVD had porno on it, but could only be accessed if you ripped the DVD to a hard drive and modified it with a hex editor, would you be outraged? And on what grounds? The content is completely and 100% inaccessible without willingly and premeditatively going out of your way to unlock it.

    Lets get this out of the way, I'm only going to comment here on this once, because I don't want to shift the conversation in a way that takes the attention from the subject at hand.

    Before talking about the side topic we disagree on, its important whenever you engage someone with your opposing viewpoint that you at least acknowledge where there is common ground (makes the other guy feel a little less combative, its good practice), here is where I'm fairly certain we see eye to eye but you can rebuke if you so choose.

    We agree that,

    1. Censorship sucks. If someone wants to make a game or movie with violence and sex, they can and adults should be allowed to decide if its worth consuming and ultimately be permuted to decide if their child may benefit from its consumption. A good case would be me allowing my son to watch Saving Private Ryan, a violent R rated film when he was 13 because I felt it depicted violence in a gritty way that may actually make someone less prone to consider it as the best means to resolve a problem.

    2. Rating content is necessary to inform the public prior to purchase and consumption of content, and rating content is not a form of censorship as long as the content provider can release the content and all distribution channels, retail, digital or otherwise have freedom to decide if they want to carry that content based on its rating.

    3. What the ESRB does in the USA is vastly superior to what is going on in Austrailia with the OFLC right now. The ESRB provides us with an option that is vastly superior to what the government might provide if they intervened.

    Okay, so there was the bulk of my message, lets no loose that because I made a side note you did not care for.

    One time only. I believe that the ESRB is entitled to full disclosure from the publisher on any content that may be considered objectionable. The people working at the ESRB will be the first to tell you that its hard because playing through the massive amount of content and experiencing every single potential variation in game play is an arduous if not impossible task. The way the ESRB see's it is that they work in partnership with developers to properly inform the public about content without censoring it. Instead we have developers complain, whine and cry about the existence of the ESRB because sometimes it keeps them off Wal Mart's shelf. That's not the decision of the ESRB, nor their primary concern, they are in existence to inform the public while not restricting legal consumer access to products with Mature and Adult only ratings. This helps parents who are not gamers make better informed decisions about what content they allow their children to access and I honestly feel like they have done a very good job. In fact, the ESRB does a valuable service for developers because the better job they do at quelling controversy though proper ratings the less likely the government will be to interfere.

    Rockstar never disclosed the Hot Coffee content to the ESRB. Not mentioning something just because you would rather not have the discussion is a lie. Robert, lets say you decide to buy my PC from me, I say, okay here is the price, I ship it to you. I conveniently leave out the fact that I just decide to tape a dime bag inside the case in case pigflipper wants to visit for a lan round of TF2 later on. I figure you might find this objectionable, so I just don't mention it, did I not lie? I mean, nobody knew about it except me and pigflipper, nobody would find it unless they opened up the case and peeled it off the side. Come on Robert, I know your parental units taught you better.

    Now the point is why. Why did Rockstar do it? They did it as a big fuck you to the ESRB because they don't like that a botty love scene gets an AO instead of an M which means no shelf space at Wal Mart. They figure, lets just tape the dime bag in, and for those that want to find it and smoke it they will, so what right? Wrong! The problem with this is that the ESRB had a right to full disclosure for that type of content hidden or not. Rockstar knew what they were doing, and they fucked the ESRB and other developers by overstepping and getting cute. If Rockstar wanted to make an M version without the content and an alternate AO version with the booty love scene they could, but they were only trying to prove a point, and that point was, that they don't respect what the ESRB is doing, and that is unfortunate because without the ESRB you have the government, and see how that is working out in Australia now? I don't think anyone wants that.
  22. UPSLynx
    UPSLynx Australia is a joke. This is yet another reminder of why I love the United States so much.

    It's funny though, as mentioned before, this will hardly stop the gamers that want to play it from getting it. This kind of needless censorship makes the product more desirable, and does nothing to stop eyes from seeing it.

    If someone wants it, they'll have it.
  23. Basil
    Basil Kinda a leap from the OFLC sucking to the entire country being a joke :eek3:
  24. Cliff_Forster
  25. Snarkasm
    Snarkasm Don't you dare attack Steve Irwin's character.
  26. Cliff_Forster
    Cliff_Forster Seriously, any culture that would allow you to walk your infant into the crock pit and does not immediately arrest the parent for child endangerment has far bigger fish to fry than the quality of blood spatter in Left 4 Dead 2.
  27. Snarkasm
    Snarkasm That man knew more about wildlife than everybody that ever visits this site combined.
  28. Thrax
    Thrax (He also did more to preserve it than anybody who has ever visited this site combined).
  29. Snarkasm
    Snarkasm
    Snarkasm wrote:
    Don't you dare attack Steve Irwin's character.
  30. ardichoke
    ardichoke It was probably Aussie Take Your Child to Work day anyway. Are you saying Irwin shouldn't have been able to participate?
  31. Beaver LOL... just reading that makes me want the game even more.. its saying all the best parts @_@
  32. Nyrb
  33. Josh ok just so we are all clear, WE WILL GET L4D 2 however it will be a "watered down" version in other words we won't get as much of the blood guts, slice and dice action as the rest of the world except perhaps germany (look up L4D german version) it does suck that we will get the modified content however it's better than nothing...... i guess
  34. Ian I'm a UK citizen, I just happen to live in the People's Republic of Australiastan.

    What i really want to know is... if I buy L4D2 using my UK credit card and my steam account (which I set up when at home), am I going to be prevented from downloading and/or playing the game, just because I am stuck in this barren, backwards shithole of a country?
  35. primesuspect
    primesuspect
    Ian wrote:
    People's Republic of Australiastan
    ;D

    Wahahahahaha
    :necro:
  36. GnomeWizardd
    GnomeWizardd I understand with some of it, I have 2 yr old daughter I play halo3 all the time If she is around, L4d and TF2 I wait till she is asleep, Certain aspects of games shouldn't be open to young Kids until the parents allow it, Hence the American ESRB is outstanding when it comes to video games, I believe all clerks should be trained like the one mentioned above to inform, Information is the key here, inform the people and let them choose, I will get L4 D2 eventually, I love killin me some zombies even more so than Nazis! But my 2 year old will never be awake or around when I play. Halo 3 is a diff story, I only play multi player and yea there is no guts or gore at all so No biggie

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