Trouble Down Under: Saints Row 4 Refused Classification

By Cara Ellison on July 29th, 2013 at 4:00 pm.

I had to pause the trailer SO MANY TIMES to get this screenshot. It is now printed out in A3 size and I use it as a tablecloth
Men (and women) have been At Work, Down Under, attempting to classify dildo-filled absurdity-fest Saints Row IV. They have finally… come…. to a conclusion. “In the Review Board’s opinion, Saints Row IV could not be accommodated within the R 18+ classification as drug use related to incentives and rewards is not permitted.” You better run, you better take cover.

On the 25th June, Saints Row IV was the “first computer game in Australia to be Refused Classification under the Guidelines for the Classification of Computer Games that commenced on 1 January 2013,” according to The Acting Director of the Classification Board Mr Donald McDonald. [Donald McDonald?! That guy is making my Scottish credentials feel weak. I imagine him in a kilt on a farm on a mobile phone to his long lost brother Ronald McDonald, who has promised to send him a lifetime’s supply of soggy burgers.]

Back in June, the board had a problem with anal probing, and drugs:

The Classification Board classified the game RC (Refused Classification) in accordance with item 1(a) of the National Classification Code and in accordance with the computer games guidelines.

In the Board’s opinion, Saints Row IV, includes interactive, visual depictions of implied sexual violence which are not justified by context. In addition, the game includes elements of illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards. Such depictions are prohibited by the computer games guidelines.

Mr McDonald said the Classification Board had now been applying the new computer games guidelines for almost six months and this was the first game to be refused classification.

But though the anal probe was removed, the drug use still seems to be taking place. The final decision on the classification took place yesterday, where the board decided the game was to be refused classification. I don’t get it: are Australians a very delicate people? I thought they were very hardy and said ‘meight’ a lot and can survive a kangaroo punch and twenty days in the bush [ha! I said bush] with no water. Next time I see one I will be sure not to mention my copious anal probe and/or drug use related to incentives and rewards around them, in case they may faint. But this is the country that gave us Men At Work right? How did that ever get classification? MY EARS.

Who am I kidding that song is amazing. Vegemite sandwich.

Kieron of Gillen and I anal-ysed the first trailer here, if you are interested. It had dongs.

[Edit: my journo bros in Oz tell me that this was a review of the uncut version, which Koch Media asked to be re-reviewed without the anal probe. They are submitting a cut version, which I expect we will hear about soon. Thanks, Jickle!]

Thanks Eurogamer. Thurogamer.

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181 Comments »

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  1. BobbyDylan says:

    Who needs good parenting when you have the Ozzy Government.

  2. bleeters says:

    All this sort of thing tells me is that the Australian classification board believes adults – fully grown up people – are incapable of telling the difference between fiction and reality. That they might play Saints Row and confuse ingame rewards with real life benefits, despite being over eighteen years old.

    Honestly, Australia? If that’s the case? You’ve got way bigger problems on your hands.

    • Jexiah8bit says:

      ^ This a thousand times over.

      • skittles says:

        Well not entirely. The dildo bit was certainly stupid that they forced its removal. However the primary problem is this incentivised drug use issue, which has been a problem for quite a few video games in AU. And to be honest I sort of agree that games shouldn’t incentivise it, at the same time I consider murder worse than drug use and plenty of games incentivise that, so hardly a legal reason to stop it.

        • Sparkasaurusmex says:

          well if shit is illegal in real life then it should be fair game for video games to feature it. I mean sometimes that’s the point of an escape.

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      What it should tell you is that Australian *Parliaments* can’t tell the difference between real life and video games.

      The Classification Board don’t set the guidelines.

      • Ingall says:

        An excellent point that I wish more people took time to understand.

    • DarkFenix says:

      Australia and America should swap governments. The Australian government treats its people like morons, when in fact they’re all criminals. The American government in many ways treats its people like criminals, when in fact they’re all idiots. A simple switcheroo could solve so many problems!

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      Countries are entitled to democratically set their own rules, why not respect that instead of raging at them? Not everybody will have the same view on morally risky issues like this. Even within a given society, people with children tend to be very leery of this kind of stuff freely floating around, especially with kids’ access to the internet being virtually impossible to control. I suspect most RPS readers don’t have children.

      • Sparkasaurusmex says:

        I suspect you don’t have children if you think access is impossible to control.

        • Sparkasaurusmex says:

          disclaimer- I’m father of a nine year old and a two year old and the existence of a game like this bothers me not at all. In fact I think it looks fun and I will play it when they are not home or asleep.

    • gunny1993 says:

      There is nothing that can make Australians drive more recklessly … seriously Australians; your roads are huge, stop crashing.

      • Post-Internet Syndrome says:

        Research shows that larger roads leads to more reckless driving.

        • Laodicean says:

          Actually, because we have no reluctance to vent our rage, and couple this lack of reluctance with a very descriptive vocabulary, we rarely channel our anger at fellow motorists through aggressive driving. We prefer to hurl verbal insults at them and look menacing.

          As a result, Australia has quite a reasonable motor vehicle fatality rate.

          • Ergates_Antius says:

            The fact that you have about 23 million kilometers of roads and about 7 people on them might have something to do with it too.

    • Neo says:

      P4R is a satire site.

    • balente says:

      hahahhahahahahahahahhahahahaha im sorry but just by looking at that picture, anyone would say that your government is retarded xD (i dont want to offend anyone)

    • Risingson says:

      Double checking “Myst”, and I cannot find information about that ban. Ok, banning is absurd, but we’d better stick to the facts.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_banned_video_games_in_Australia

      • Acorino says:

        Ever heard of a little thing called satire?

        • Risingson says:

          Yes. It usually has a context that was removed here.

          • Ergates_Antius says:

            “Yes. It usually has a context that was removed here.”
            Seriously?
            “Banned after some citizens wanted to move saying the island of Myst makes Australia look unappealing to live in”
            Really?

          • Risingson says:

            I’m from Spain. Those things are believable here.

            (OK, IT’S MONDAY)

    • Premium User Badge

      darkChozo says:

      I’m impressed at the number of people who didn’t detect the silliness here. Yay for Poe’s Law!

      • Kaira- says:

        A certain Finnish parody/satire magazine decided to call it quits, because the world had become such that the magazine was no longer necessary – that is, world had started to become a parody of itself.

        • gwathdring says:

          The joke is that they decided to quite NOW and not ten seconds after they started however long ago that was.

          • Premium User Badge

            jrodman says:

            As far as I can tell, the onion gave up satire and now reports actual news.

    • Premium User Badge

      Mr Coot says:

      I’m not particularly bothered by this RC tbh, but I am grateful we finally do have an18+ category for vid games which was previously the cause of a lot of games being RC’d.

      Re: the wikipedia banned list. On a point of order… we don’t ban games in Australia… that is what beknighted folk living under authoritarian regimes must suffer. Here, we… ‘refuse them classification’ – ostensibly because there is no category they can be classified under – it is so much more genteel than banning, don’t you think?

    • Cryptoshrimp says:

      Surely that’s not real. Surely that image is a prank?

  3. Laodicean says:

    As a 21 year old Australian male, I can unequivocally say that our classification board (and the politics attached to it) is one of the most backwards to be found. There are a number of reasons for this, and while I don’t want to write a novel, I’ll distill them down to three basic causes.

    Firslty, you have the fact that the way our political system works means that very little resistance was needed to block the 18+ rating on video games, which has now been implemented, no thanks to Croydon.

    Following this, Australia and its politics just flat out has a bad culture regarding the role of video games in society, largely believing that they’re just for kids, and not something that adults deal with.

    Finally, despite the fact that under the Classification Code we [adults] can read, hear, and see what we want; the classification board has totally missed the point where adding an 18+ rating to video games means that they are legally restricting their sale to adults.

    That said, in no way does slapping an 18+ rating on something completely restrict children from accessing it, although it does limit it. Also, the classification board has their own rules to follow, and as they’ve shown in a number of absurd cases, they will follow them.

    • Neo says:

      B…but parents will buy R18+ games for their children anyway! We need to restrict access to this filth!

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      Who’s Croydon?

      And no, as an Australian adult, you most definitely do *not* have the right to see, read and hear what you want. The Australian Parliament sets the classification guidelines that the Classification Board is *legally required* to implement and they contain very real restrictions on what content is permitted to be classified in Australia.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship_in_Australia

      You might want to read up about just what media our government refuses us permission to obtain.

      • Laodicean says:

        I was referring to the National Classification Code when I made the statement, with the intention of pointing out the flawed ideology underpinning the Classification Board’s reasoning.

        • Premium User Badge

          drewski says:

          Do you actually have any evidence the Review board used a “flawed ideology” in implementing the Classification Code?

          Looks like the implemented the regulations correctly to me, and in line with their previous rulings. I don’t *agree* with the Code/Guidelines in the way they treat drug use, but that’s something to take up with our local representatives.

          The point remains that Australian adults do not have the right to read, see and hear what we want. We never have.

          • darkmorgado says:

            I think the point is more that you SHOULD have that right, instead of having your govenment treat you all like idiots in need of babysitting.

          • Premium User Badge

            drewski says:

            I don’t disagree at all, but we’re not going to get any closer to getting those sort of rights if everyone thinks we already do have them and the Classification Board is just winging it.

            I will repeatedly and endlessly reinforce the message that, regardless of what the preamble to the Code says, Australians *do not* have the right to see, hear and read anything they like. I think it’s very important that people know our Government does not grant us that right.

          • zal says:

            I’ve heard people argue its possible to have a right but have it denied, but that’s probably not worth starting a fuss over.

          • MellowKrogoth says:

            While I agree that Australia is going way over the top with this stuff, I’m glad that governments are censoring some stuff like racial hate-speech and neo-nazi propaganda. Some people are way too easy to move to fanaticism.

            Your pretend right to see/hear/read whatever you want doesn’t exist and never will, no matter where or when you live on earth and who you’re governed by.

    • Contrafibularity says:

      To be fair to the Australian government, they seem to hate and ban all good things more or less equally: videogames, immigration, the natural splendour of planet Earth, rap music that uses one or several letters of the alphabet, mild weather, free speech, science.

  4. Dominic White says:

    Another recent ban down under was State Of Decay, a fairly gritty zombie survival game. Why? Because there are DRUGS in it. Like morphine or antibiotics, and they’re used for MEDICAL PURPOSES. Those villainous game developers, suggesting that medicine might actually be beneficial to human beings must be stopped. Australians must remain ignorant that medicine exists; it is a closely guarded secret of the ancient Brotherhood Of Caduceus.

    • Neo says:

      You can thank us for ‘Med-X’ in Fallout 3 and New Vegas.

      • colw00t says:

        I still think that Med-X was an improvement. It wasn’t just a plain boring morphine syrette, it was a high-tech science fiction drug that temporarily turned your skin to iron so as to make you more bullet resistant!

        I mean, this is a setting with pills that make you prettier and your brain bigger, but only for a few hours. Morphine would have felt boring.

    • gunny1993 says:

      What has commerce got to do with medicine?

      You mean Asclepius?

      Edit: I find it highly amusing that a lot of commercial American companies use the caduceus as a medical symbol:

      “The long-standing and abundantly attested historical associations of the caduceus with commerce, theft, deception, and death”

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      The right wing press will go apeshit if videogames start “teaching kids to be drug addicts”.

      And the right wing press controls Australian politics.

    • Scrumptatoes says:

      State of Decay was banned in Australia because the ratings guidelines clearly state that any game containing “illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards” will be refused classification. There were two in-game items that fell foul of the ratings board: amphetamines provide a stamina boost and are described as being “glass – the good stuff”, thus inferring that they are crystal meth, so it would seem to be a fairly obvious strike to include an illicit drug that is related to incentives and rewards; to a lesser degree, yet still within the bounds of the guidelines, morphine is a proscribed drug that restores health to the character.

      Both State of Decay and Saints Row IV were given a rating appropriate to the available guidelines. The introduction of an R18+ rating in Australia for video games was pleasant but the amended guidelines are still lagging behind the level ground of the ESRB and PEGI, and I doubt it will change any time soon through the actions of the lobbyists for or against.

    • darkmorgado says:

      It’s almost like they don’t know what “context” is.

    • Phasma Felis says:

      I’m not at all defending Australian censorship, but, um, I’m pretty sure that real-life morphine does not, in fact, cause your wounds to close instantly, and then leave your system with no side effects.

  5. seniorgato says:

    Treat everyone like children. For the children. I’m surprised they let us drive cars and walk down the street without a helmet.

    • GameCat says:

      Helmet? Silly, you can strangle yourself with straps while trying to wear it! And think what’s gonna happend when you will accidentaly drop it on your leg!

  6. Contrafibularity says:

    Filed under Australian Games Fascism, Compulsive Ludophobic Fatuity-syndrome, irrational fear of giant virtual dildos, THQ bad luck extended indefinitely.

  7. Premium User Badge

    Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    Saints Row 3 turned me into a dildo bat murderer.

    • Premium User Badge

      darkChozo says:

      Someone think of the poor dildo bats!

      • The Random One says:

        They’re endangered, you monster!

        • Premium User Badge

          Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

          I have personally extincted three species with my redoubtable blunderbuss: The English sloth, the African double-lizard, and the red-tailed mountain Jimmy.

          This will make it four.

          • The Random One says:

            Wait, the African double-lizard is extinct? I’d heard their numbers had been halved, but- oooooooh, right.

          • Tams80 says:

            I was going to say you rustled my Jimmies, but rather unfortunately they were deftly extirpated in their very cage by your audacious raid.

            While a zemblatinous occurrence, I feel I should salute your ability to surpass my security and the diligence to which you have gone to in order to make the red-tailed mountain Jimmy extinct.

          • Premium User Badge

            Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

            Your Jimmies were the regrettable casualty of my patriotic mission to reclaim the mantle of “Most Species Rendered Extinct by a Private Individual” after it was taken from Group Commander Humphrey Blithering-Humphrey (9 species, 1954) by the dastardly Frenchman Maurice Cochon d’Inde (10 species confirmed in 1988, currently reputed to be at 21 species and still rising).

    • Teovald says:

      To be honest I replayed the MurderBrawl XXXI mission yesterday and massacring Luchadores with a chainsaw while listening to “You’re the best” is just way too fun !

  8. Premium User Badge

    drewski says:

    God knows how morally corrupt this country would be if 18 year olds were able to play games where drugs were used as rewards.

    Floodgates, I tell you. Floodgates.

    (I’m kind of OK with the rapey gun being removed because that’s actually pretty uncool. Yes, I know it’s “not real life” but I just don’t think rape is fun.)

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      It’s an alien anal probe, a pop culture reference. Calling it a “rape gun” is disingenuous.

      • Premium User Badge

        drewski says:

        Oh, well if it’s pop culture rape then it’s totally fine.

        Nothing says cultural popularity to me like being forcefully penetrated in the anus without consent.

        • Pich says:

          You must be the life of the party.

        • Premium User Badge

          darkChozo says:

          By that logic, prostate exams are (consensual!) anal sex, and anal thermometers are dildos.

          I think suggesting anal probes are completely separate from juvenile humor is a bit silly, but I’m not very convinced they’re rape analogues so much as proof that butts are funny.

          • Premium User Badge

            drewski says:

            Sure, you can find other examples of anal penetration which aren’t rapey.

            I happen to find this particular example of non-consensual forceful anal penetration rapey and, therefore, not cool. I don’t mind that it’s not in the game any more.

            YMMV

          • Nick says:

            to be fair, a probe gun is a bit much.

    • Premium User Badge

      LTK says:

      I’ve heard the argument against the anal probe weapon before, and I feel like it’s supposed to have merit, since jamming a weapon up someone’s ass is a Bad Thing and all, but I don’t get it. Just from the promotional materials of SR3 I know that you can punch a guy in the nuts, smash their head against the pavement, kneebash them in the face, and use them as a human surfboard. To say that an anal probe weapon is unacceptable, but all of those other things are, defies common sense. It’s all equally senseless violence, and drawing the line at senseless violence that is perpetrated on someone’s anus but not any other part of the body strikes me as hypocrisy.

      • Premium User Badge

        drewski says:

        Except it’s not all equally senseless violence, because one’s rapey, and the others aren’t.

        Unless, of course, you actually think rape is on a par with being whacked in the nuts.

    • Milky1985 says:

      You must have really hated the first south park episode, or in fact most popular culture or joke sci fi from the past god knows how many years because anal probes ARE PART OF THAT. Its as serious as … well a saints row game since saints row 3.

      God knows how we had games in the past, why in the last few years are people seeing “rape” references everywhere when its obvious none was intended or even seen, its as if it was in the mind of the person shouting about it?

      • Premium User Badge

        drewski says:

        *sigh*

        This probably isn’t the place to deconstruct the anal probe trope in media, but it’s clearly not meant to be consented to or found enjoyable by the majority of it’s victims.

  9. Yargh says:

    Does this mean they’ll also be banning Payday 2? So far, my crew have protected Coke shipments, cooked and traded Meth (when the kitchen didn’t blow up) and murdered several thousand officers of the law…

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      Possibly, but it’ll probably depend on whether player characters actually use the drugs in question.

      If they’re just macguffins, it should be fine.

      • jonahcutter says:

        They don’t actually use the drugs. They just murder dozens of police officers and civilians whilst trafficking in them.

  10. GreatBigWhiteWorld says:

    This made me so angry that I went out and gave another guy a bj.

  11. Premium User Badge

    padger says:

    GREAT BIG WILLIES!

    Ahem. I don’t know what came over me.

    I’m still doing it!

    I said ‘doing it”.

    • The Random One says:

      Great big floppy willies with jelly-like dangling physics of dangerous gangsters working for the President! We’ll take the case!

      Get to the car, Max! We’re going to Australia!

  12. Strangerator says:

    Personally, this game looks like it should be rated 18 and UNDER. I’ve never played any of the Saints Row games, because they always struck me (from trailers and screenshots I’ve seen) as a series of dick jokes punctuated with cartoon violence. Anyone care to tell me what I’m missing?

    • Premium User Badge

      Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      I actively seek out humour that is so highbrow it takes me half an hour of research, an hour of reading for context, and two days of pondering to “get” it, but I also enjoy a perfectly executed dick joke.

    • ZIGS says:

      Fun gameplay

      • ResonanceCascade says:

        Yep. It’s all the anarchic joy of GTA (and then some) without the laughable attempts at telling a “serious” story.

      • Premium User Badge

        Stellar Duck says:

        Having played the second and third game I’ll actually argue that the humour, while juvenile and ultimately boring is a lot more interesting than the game play.

        Aside from the atrocious car physics the game seemed to be a hodge podge of mini games that were interesting precisely once. The story, such as it was, had some interesting missions like the SM club but mostly seemed to just be a tutorial for a mini game and that’s it. And frankly, the insurance scam was fin a couple of times but that too got boring.

        How many times were driving a tank around fun? Once, to me. The fact that there was a tank mission on every street corner or close to, completely undermined the fun of a rampage. In all the noise and fury I think SR3 lost what fun it had by simply numbing me to it. Again, beating someone with a dildo is amusing once or twice. After that, there is nothing left in the game. And thank fuck Johnny Gat died. God, I hate that guy.

    • LukeNukem says:

      The same thing that GTA often misses: fun.

    • gunny1993 says:

      It’s fun in the same way Micheal Bay is a fun director, i.e. rather enjoyable as long as you leave self respect and quality at the door.

      • mondomau says:

        What utter nonsense – Bay’s finest movie is still leagues below the basest dick joke in SR:3 in terms of maturity & wit.

        • guygodbois00 says:

          Hahaha. Truly spoken, kind sir.

        • TechnicalBen says:

          I raise you Transformers 2 and 3… and parts of 1 I’ll pretend don’t exist so that I can call that one transformer movie “good”.

          However, to say that he has a “finest film” would require at least one of his films to be above the rest in quality and… gah, nope I loose, I’ll still choose Transformers 1 as at least watchable, so I can’t complain.

          Just wish Bay and Abrams would make a film together so that they would both disappear into the black hole they create… ;)

        • LennyLeonardo says:

          WHAT DID YOU SAY ABOUT BAD BOYS 2?!!

      • Nick says:

        Nah, its fun in a fun way. Michael Bay is shit in a shit way. See the difference?

  13. Premium User Badge

    Dingbatwhirr says:

    What they really need to work on is enforcing the age restrictions, so the game only ends up in the hands of over 18s, the audience for whom it is intended. Sure, there are problems with internet distribution and parents buying unsuitable games for their children, but this approach would surely solve many more problems than banning stuff outright.

    And anyway, there are plenty of films and books which glorify and celebrate illegal drug-use – why are they allowed to exist? As usual, because of the misapprehension held by many misguided individuals (many of whom have no knowledge of video games or the gamer culture) that ‘games are for children’ and are the spawn of satan, video games receive the short end of the stick.

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      The Classification guidelines consider drug *use by players* in video games to be higher impact than just watching some other idiot do it on film/reading about it. It considers violence the same way – a violent act performed by an actor might be classified MA15+, whilst the same act performed by a player in a videogame might attract the R18+ classification.

      Again, something to take up with elected representatives.

  14. Mattressi says:

    Australians are what you get when you take a bit of the US and a bit of Europe and mix it together. You end up with a bunch of punces who carry on about disliking the government, while really hoping that the two sides of the double-tails coin (Labor/Liberal) will both ban everything non family-friendly (like right wing America) and will ban everything else (like Europe).

    Yes, I’m from Australia and I’m pretty bloody sick of our politics.

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      “and will ban everything else”

      …except negative gearing.

      • Mattressi says:

        From what I understand of it, it’s less about banning negative gearing and more about not giving people tax deductions for it. It’s like saying they should ban public housing – it’s more accurate to say that they should stop providing it.

        • Premium User Badge

          drewski says:

          “…except the tax break for negative gearing” was insufficiently concise to be aesthetically pleasing.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      I don’t recall right wing America trying to ban much lately. The people who want to ban things seem to be mostly moderate/centrist Democrats and Republicans, like Leland Yee and Arnie. Anyway, carry on.

      • Comrade Roe says:

        That’s because Right Wing America wants to keep things banned, like drugs. And mostly drugs. As far as I’m concerned the liberals only wanna ban firearms. And then there’s Michael Bloomberg, who wants to ban 32 oz soda. So far it’s only in NYC, fortunately.

      • derbefrier says:

        Has america ever actually banned a game before? I know some buisness have refused to sell certain games but I can’t think of any game that’s ever banned by our federal government.

        • Premium User Badge

          drewski says:

          The First Amendment makes it almost impossible for a US government to restrict freedom of expression in such a way.

          • Premium User Badge

            darkChozo says:

            Not entirely, First Amendment rights have their limitations. You could presumably ban a game under all the usual exceptions (defamation, obscenity, something something national security, etc.).

            I doubt that SR4 would meet any of those requirements, though.

          • Premium User Badge

            drewski says:

            Defamation isn’t something the government can prosecute, it’s a civil matter. Maybe you mean “false statement of fact”?

            Obviously there are the standard exceptions, but I don’t think it’s overstating it to say they’re essentially impossible to apply to this sort of media.

          • Premium User Badge

            darkChozo says:

            I meant defamation; even if it’s a civil matter brought on by a third party, it’s still the government restricting speech.

            The other two are more likely to be things brought on by the government itself; I’m sure they’d have words with the devs behind FMV Child Porn Hero and US Nuclear Secrets Quest.

            Like I said, almost certainly wouldn’t apply to SR4, but it’s worth noting.

        • ResonanceCascade says:

          They’ve banned games for child pornography (it was discovered that some game or other had an underage nude girl in it a few years back). Other than that obvious huge exception, someone would have to argue obscenity to get an actual “ban” in place, and I reckon someone would have to be mighty wealthy, bored, outraged, and extremely lucky to get that through the courts.

      • Mattressi says:

        Yeah, sorry; by “right wing” I just meant the typical Republican right wing (pro big government, against abortion, against drugs, and all that). I should probably give up trying to use the terms “right/left wing” any more, given that in most countries they seem to be exactly the same, if you go by the established two main parties.

        • The Random One says:

          In most countries there will be several big parties. Usually amongst the big ones you’ll find a far right party, a moderate right party, a moderate left party, a far left party, and a centrist/one issue/special interest party.

          America only has the first two.

    • PopeRatzo says:

      Australians are what you get when you take a bit of the US and a bit of Europe and mix it together.

      And then remove Europe’s maturity and America’s Freedom of Expression. Add a dash of prudishness and then strain out the ability of the people to say “no” to their government.

      Chill and serve.

      • Mattressi says:

        This, exactly.

        You worded it better than me, since my comment on right wing America was more about what they would ban if they didn’t have freedom of speech.

    • Premium User Badge

      Mr Coot says:

      Our politics is nothing like US politics. Our (right wing, conservative) Liberal party, might, just might, (now that the whole Australian political landscape has shifted to the right) coincide with the US Democrat Party. We have no equivalent to the Republican party in Oz.

      The US and Australia are 2 entirely different cultures. All we have in common is the language.

  15. Niko says:

    Australia, the country in which Adventure Time is censored?

    • excel_excel says:

      holy shit, I thought that might be a joke but nope, they actually censor it…..my God some of these edits are embarrassing. They edit out the word ‘suck’. YOU CAN’T SAY SOMETHING SUCKS.

      • Premium User Badge

        drewski says:

        Private organisations can self-censor in any way they like in Australia, much as they can anywhere else in the world.

        • excel_excel says:

          Well there clearly must be some sort of pressure from somewhere. The editing is beyond ridiculous.

  16. The Random One says:

    I remember watching a BBC documentary about Scottish restaurant owners being sued by McDonald’s for using Mc in their names. They interviewed this Scottish nobleman who had a gourmet restaurant in an actual castle who was called Lord McDonald of McDonald.

    What I’m saying is, maybe McDonald McDonald wouldn’t be so chummy with coz Ronald.

  17. The JG Man says:

    “Thanks Eurogamer. Thurogamer.”

    Has someone been watching Look Around You?

    I mean this is all nonsense really, isn’t it? I’m sure there are plenty of Australians who have seen drugs, seen dongs and a few who believe that anal probing exists. Heck, there might even be some overlap in these categories! Who are the classification board trying to protect here? Children? The same children who shouldn’t be playing this in the first place (and in all likelihood, wouldn’t even get half the humour anyhow)?

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      The classification board are, I would suspect, trying to protect their jobs.

      As in they’d be fired if they consistently refused to apply the classification guidelines created by Australia’s elected Parliament.

  18. DeFrank says:

    Kind of hard to believe that they are so stringent on games when some films released there are so ahead of the curve on gut-punch thrillers.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1313092/

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1680114/

  19. Premium User Badge

    mrwonko says:

    In an ironic twist, us Germans get this SR in its full uncensored glory with an 18+ rating for a change. Looking forward to it.

    I do feel sorry for the Australians though.

  20. Muzman says:

    While the tortured stupidity of the ratings system continues to plague us, now and then those in charge do something interesting.
    After finding the pricing of software in Aus to be grossly unfair, but finding no satisfactory means to do anything about it, the government just plain told people to circumvent local pricing and buy from somewhere else. Sure plenty where doing that already, but it’s not often the government basically instructs you to do these things.

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      The findings of that particular committee aren’t actually government policy, and appealing to them in a hypothetical civil or criminal case would be rather ineffective, unfortunately.

      I wouldn’t mind the government enacting some laws that make it more legal for Australians to circumvent unreasonable local pricing, but I’m not holding my breath.

  21. hitnrun says:

    Two thoughts:

    1) To borrow from Jeff Gerstmann’s old shtick, they really ought to stick “Banned in Australia!” on the box art for their game. That goes for almost any such game, but especially this one.

    2) It would be really funny to see some kind of blanket piracy amnesty thrown out by the publisher after one of these decisions. I mean, just go and say “In response to the the Australian board’s unfortunate decision, Deep Silver grants full license to Australians to access and reproduce Saints Row IV. Enjoy!” I mean, it’s not like they can sell it there anyway, and we know that anti-piracy stances don’t actually have any bearing on piracy. A company could get some free marketing out of that.

    • PopeRatzo says:

      I wish I’d read your comment before I wrote the same thing. You’re absolutely right.

      They should put out DLC that includes hysterically prudish and politically correct Australians who clutch their pearls and head for the fainting couch whenever anything rude happens, which in Saints Row is about every 6 seconds.

  22. ralphie says:

    At least we get to save $90+.

  23. Yosharian says:

    Not that I’m for censorship in general or anything, but is anyone really surprised? A fucking dildo which you use to rape people?

    I for one do not need this shite in my games, and I really have to question the sanity of anyone who does…

    • The Random One says:

      You don’t rape anyone with the dildo. It’s just a glorified, jiggly baseball bat.

      • Yosharian says:

        http://kotaku.com/alien-anal-probe-gets-saints-row-iv-banned-in-austr-579208506

        “The game includes a weapon referred to by the Applicant as an “Alien Anal Probe”. The Applicant states that this weapon can be “shoved into enemy’s backsides”. The lower half of the weapon resembles a sword hilt and the upper part contains prong-like appendages which circle around what appears to be a large dildo which runs down the centre of the weapon. When using this weapon the player approaches a (clothed) victim from behind and thrusts the weapon between the victim’s legs and then lifts them off the ground before pulling a trigger which launches the victim into the air. After the probe has been implicitly inserted into the victim’s anus the area around their buttocks becomes pixelated highlighting that the aim of the weapon is to penetrate the victim’s anus. The weapon can be used during gameplay on enemy characters or civilians. In the Board’s opinion, a weapon designed to penetrate the anus of enemy characters and civilians constitutes a visual depiction of implied sexual violence that is interactive and not justified by context and as such the game should be Refused Classification.”

        • PopeRatzo says:

          Man, I really can’t wait to play this game. “Too Strong for Australia” is a terrific sales slogan. If I were Deep Silver, I’d be putting that on every advertisement for Saints’ Row IV.

          I mean, a gun that you stick up the victim’s butt and then launch them into space? Friggin’ brilliant.

          There is nothing rape-y about this. If someone sees this and thinks of rape, I don’t think the problem is with the game. It’s pretty funny that shotguns that blow holes in people and rocket launchers that incinerate them are OK, but that alien butt gun is out of bounds.

        • SkittleDiddler says:

          It’s still not rape. It doesn’t matter what some prudish group of Aussies is saying about it.

          If you’re looking to get upset over a video game that has actual simulated rape in it, do something better with your time and complain about truly repulsive shit like this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RapeLay.

        • The Random One says:

          Thanks for the info, but the dildo is still a glorifed baseball bat.

        • Milky1985 says:

          Yes, its a reference to the alien anal probe that is in basically any pisstake of sci fi ever (as there’s always the wack job who insists that the aliens have done an exploratory mission) but hey, if using that is rape then using guns is also rape

          They also fire things that penetrate the body without permission

          Or you could get the stick out your ass (odd it was there consider what you are moaning about) , realize its a jokey game with a jokey reference and stop crying rape even when its not there? All you are doing is undermining things, because your shouting rape every single time even if its not justified, when it is justified you have watered down your point.

          Then theirs the fact that people have been raped tend to want to forget about the whole experience (was close to someone who has experienced this :( ), they oddly don’t go into sweats if its mentioned once when its not actually referring to the act but it tends to get bought back when people go on and on about it. I imagine she would see that thing for what it is, something silly and comical, only when some idiot decides to link it in with rape and go on and on would they get a bit worried about it.

          Tl; dr version? Stop it, your undermining everything and likely pissing off the people your trying to protect

          • Premium User Badge

            drewski says:

            Nobody is trying to “protect” anyone and you trying to marginalise people’s distaste for this issue as being a white knight quest is extremely unhelpful.

            If you don’t think shoving a dildo up someone’s arse without consent is rape, then I don’t know what to tell you.

            And yes, that is EXACTLY what the game infers happens with that gun.

          • Premium User Badge

            Mr Coot says:

            Ya really, I don’t get why ppl are so outraged they can’t virtually non-consensually bugger someone with a gun in a game.

            Initially I was honey badger about this RC issue, but actually, I’m pleased by the RC status, I don’t want this crap in my games. I also don’t want portrayals of sexual violence (funny refs to South Park and all aside, the minute you penetrate someone non-consensually that is rape), nor portrayals of drug use to be considered normative in games.

        • Khalan says:

          Apparently some people don’t see a dildo forcibly shoved up their arse as rape. Personally I think it is, and as an Aussie I’m happy that this part is being left out of the game. I play many violent video games (I’m in my 30’s) and don’t have a problem with either violence or sexuality in the proper classifications, but I don’t think there is ever any need to portray rape in media, be it films, books or games, unless there is sufficient story justification.

          From what I’ve read there is no justification in my mind for SR4. Usually I’m all for the uncut versions of games (such as Left for Dead 2), but in this case I’ll be fine with a cut version.

          To be honest I’m not sure why violence is ok with me but not rape, but there you go.

  24. PopeRatzo says:

    Does this mean the game cannot be sold in Australia? If not, then isn’t this “refused classification” the same thing as an adults only? And since this is a game clearly meant for adults, isn’t that appropriate?

    What does this all mean?

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      It’s illegal to sell/possess/distribute it in it’s current form in Australia. Theoretically punishable by up to $250,000 as a fine or ten years imprisonment (!) – realistically Customs just ask you if you want to come claim it and when you don’t, they incinerate it.

      • PopeRatzo says:

        Unbelievable. I had no idea the ratings were more than just advisory.

      • wu wei says:

        My understanding of Refused Classification content is that it’s illegal to sell or exhibit, but not to possess, unless the content itself is illegal, such as child pornography.

        As with Left4Dead2, it’s perfectly legal to have someone outside of Australia gift you a copy of the RC version.

        • LennyLeonardo says:

          I wonder what that would mean for digital distributors from whom Australians buy the uncensored game using a spoof IP?

        • Premium User Badge

          drewski says:

          Having looked into it a bit further, it seems to vary from state to state and even down to where you’re possessing the item (ie. in the Northern Territory and NSW you can possess an RC item, but not on premises where it could be sold). WA is the only state that completely prohibits possession of RC material.

  25. Michael Fogg says:

    This is effed up. You’d expect that games with adult content would simply receive the ‘adults only’ or equivalent rating. Refusing to give a rating at all and, consequently, preventing the game from entering the market would be counted as gross abuse of power in most Europen states. That would definitely be actionable and would appear to be some sort of law evasion by a governement body.

  26. Advanced Assault Hippo says:

    I’m absolutely fine with blasé depictions of drug usage and benefits getting the automatic highest adult rating. But a ban is obviously silly.

    Well-adjusted adult Australian readers of RPS, you have my sympathy.

  27. Greggh says:

    LOL his dong is curved.

    Couldn’t read the rest of the article after the caption of the curvy-dong picture XD

    I’ll read it later when I’m not giggling anymore.

    EDIT HAHAHAHA THE UNCUT VERSION -oh my, pardon me, but I look like a five year old when it comes to double entendre-dick jokes XD

  28. Catocalypse Meow says:

    I don’t understand this level of censorship.

    Who gains from this?

    Are “Legacy Media” (TV/Newspapers/Magazines/Radio) so powerful in Australia that perhaps their paranoia of “New Media” leads them to do this?

    It seems like it’s happening in the UK too. Every chance old media has, it shines a negative light on the Internet and Gaming.

    War of the new/old media – or – paranoia of the entrenched publishing establishment?

    Or maybe someone just doesn’t get satire and crass American/Canadian humour?

    • drinniol says:

      It’s the last gasp of the non-gamer generation. Once the kids of the 70s start being in charge it will change. They’ll have their own crusade against something the kids these days do.

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      “Who gains from this?”

      The politicians who rely on the votes of the religious right for power.

  29. JoshuaMadoc says:

    The best part about this kerfuffle is that there are actually fellow Australian gamers who support the Board’s decision.

    Like as if they’ve been brainwashed.

    • drinniol says:

      Or maybe they understand that it’s not the Board’s decision. It’s a binary YES NO.

      IF DRUG_USE = REALWORDNAME
      AND DRUG_USE = BENEFIT
      THEN CLASSIFICATION = REFUSED

      The Board DO NOT make the rules. As has been explained above, it’s the elected politicians that make the rules.

      • JoshuaMadoc says:

        Well, whatever. This game’s fucked either way, seeing as even Steam is rolling out a censored version.

        • drinniol says:

          How long until it’s modded back in though?

          • JoshuaMadoc says:

            Probably NEVER. I’ve already been fooled with promises of flexible modding from Torchlight (outdated plugins for a modelling tool that’s been out of print for years), Don’t Starve (never delivered on promises of official modding tools, have to rely on the community), or Skyrim (Too many problems to count). What’s one more game with even shittier and more inflexible modding tools?

          • Premium User Badge

            Jackablade says:

            It wasn’t exactly difficult to circumvent the censorship on L4D2. I’d say there’s a pretty good chance the same will be true of SR4.

  30. JackShandy says:

    Dear sirs,

    The sick and degenerate comments in this thread have caused my poor Australian grandmothers heart to explode. We were hoping to give her small doses of the outside world, bit by bit, until she could finally leave the hyper-polite super-utopia we have here in Australia. Now she’ll never know the wonders of suggested violence and incentivized drug use.

  31. Notspelling says:

    For those curious, Steam has released the game for Aus but a censored version, similar to how it worked for L4D2.

    http://i.imgur.com/C3pk5yE.png

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      That could well be a placeholder until Deep Silver get a classification for their de-drugged, de-probe gun version.

      Given that it’s not, apparently, the violence that the Classification Board had a problem with, I’m not sure that version would actually solve anything…

  32. Megakoresh says:

    Holy shit…
    Seriously they get screwed over on every Steam sale ever, they get screwed over with most game server’s not being close to them, they get screwed over with stupid licenses and censorship and now they get screwed over with games just not comping out for them? WTF is wrong with their fucked up government? Are they trying to kill gaming in Australia? They should boycott this shit somehow. And I though gaming in Russia was bad…

  33. Milky1985 says:

    I like how the Aussie system works, its comical in the best way, one of the ones i read from the banned games wikipedia page :

    Tender Loving Care

    “Originally banned because of high impact sexual references and nudity.
    Later submitted as an interactive DVD due to being more of an interactive live-action movie than a videogame.
    Due to being under different guidelines it was re-rated MA15+.”

    So banned for having lots of sex in it, released as a film, oh yeah thats fine anyone over 15 can see it, how the balls does that work

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      It “works” on the basis that the Australian governments who passed the legislation governing classification believe that passive and interactive media have different impacts on people.

  34. Premium User Badge

    Jackablade says:

    We also pay roughly twice as much as everyone else does for our software, so even if they did release Saints Row 4, we couldn’t afford it.

  35. tuttelihevonvittu says:

    So how come practically any depiction of women in popular culture apparently perpetuates rape culture but showing drug use and/or violence in video games or movies has no effect on the consumer of said entertainment? In other words, why should one type of unsavory behaviour be absolutely verboten, while another is an example of free speech that must never be restricted?