Aussie Mortal Kombat ban appeal unsuccessful

UPDATE: Classification Review Board says Mortal Kombat could not be accommodated within the MA15+ guidelines because the level of violence "is higher than strong"; upholds original ban on Mortal Kombat.

On February 25, the Australian Classification Board effectively banned Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment's upcoming fighter Mortal Kombat, slapping an RC (Refused Classification) rating on the title and thus banning it from sale and distribution in Australia. Publisher Warner Bros. quickly launched an appeal, however, but it seems that the effort was to no avail.

Warner Bros. has confirmed that its appeal to the Classification Review Board has been unsuccessful, with the Board upholding the original refused classification decision. This means Mortal Kombat will not be legally available in Australia.

"We're obviously extremely disappointed that the Refused Classification decision has been upheld by the Classification Review Board," WBIE Australia said in a statement today. "We want to thank the thousands of Mortal Kombat fans in Australia and around the world who have voiced their support during the appeal process."

According to the Classification Board's original ruling, the reboot of the classic game franchise features "explicit" violence, blood spray and limb dismemberment during fatalities, which made it unable to be accommodated within the maximum MA15+ guidelines. Australia still remains without an R18+ classification for video games, meaning all games that cannot be accommodated within the MA15+ guidelines are automatically banned.

"The game includes over 60 fatalities, which contain explicit depictions of dismemberment, decapitation, disembowelment, and other brutal forms of slaughter," the official Board report stated. "Despite the exaggerated conceptual nature of the fatalities and their context within a fighting game set in a fantasy realm, impact is heightened by the use of graphics, which are realistically rendered and very detailed. In the opinion of the Board, the game contains violence that exceeds strong in impact and is unsuitable for a minor to see or play. The game should therefore be Refused Classification pursuant to item 1(d) of the computer games table of the National Classification Board."

Mortal Kombat's fatalities were too much for Australian censors.

Five days after the Classification Board announced its ruling, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Australia appealed the Board's decision and resubmitted an identical version of the game for reclassification by the Classification Review Board, claiming that the violence in the game is on par with other games already available for sale in Australia.

"After careful consideration, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Australia have decided to appeal to the Australian Classification Review Board against the RC (Refused Classification) decision given to Mortal Kombat," WBIEA said in a statement to press. "After reviewing both the gameplay and the Board's original decision, WBIE Australia believes the violence in the game is on par with numerous other titles readily available for sale in the Australian market. As such, the company wants to exhaust all options to make the game available to Mortal Kombat fans in this country. An identical version of the game will be submitted for appeal."

UPDATE: GameSpot AU has just received the Classification Review Board's report on the Mortal Kombat, and it seems the decision to uphold the ban was a majority vote.

"In the Review Board's opinion, Mortal Kombat could not be accommodated within the MA15+ classification as the level of violence in the game has an impact which is higher than strong," the Board said in a statement. "As MA15+ is the highest classification category available to computer games under the Australian Classification Scheme, the Classification Review Board must refuse classification to Mortal Kombat."

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Discussion

152 comments
9thedevilmaycry
9thedevilmaycry

if a 12 year old kid is playing an R rated game, think how he got the game. BECAUSE HIS PARENTS DONT READ THE FRIGGIN BOX, THATS WHY WE DONT HAVE AN R RATING

matjones13
matjones13

@Conpanbar Awesome, amazing posts!

conpanbear
conpanbear

*Specifially refering to Mortal Kombat, I just want to point out that to ban this game due to the Fatalities is a bit unfair. I would presume that Fatalities work in the same way as always, that is, you don’t HAVE to finish them with a fatality move (in fact, as a kid, I could never figure out how to do them). So it’s being banned for an optional piece of brutality?*

conpanbear
conpanbear

We need a R18+ classification in Australia. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the average age of gamers is 28: http://tinyurl.com/5bz8sq 28!! How is it that, in a first-world country, adults are not being allowed to buy games made for adults?! The classification system is dated, and needs to be rectified. I can illegally download a copy of a game that has been refused classification in Australia... but why should I, as an upstanding citizen of Australia, be forced to commit a criminal act in order to play a game that I (and the rest of the world) believe to fully be within my rights to play as a gamer over the age of 18? I'm not sure if it's paranoia about children getting their hands on an R-rated game, but I see no reason why Australia shouldn't have the R-rating. Why not make it so that the R games are locked behind the counter, and only purchasable upon presentation of identification (akin to how one would purchase cigarettes)? We don't even go this far in limiting the purchase of R-rated DVDs! The gaming industry here is estimated to be worth $140 mil. per year! This money comes from adults. Potentially, this industry would boom with the creation of the R18+ classification. We need to rise up out of the Dark Ages. The gamer stereotype of teenage boys who are maladjusted members of society needs to be eradicated. Gaming should be recognised as a legitimate past-time, art form and sport. From a 21-year-old, female adult who is passionate about gaming.

G_gglypuff
G_gglypuff

Australia: Country of Darkness and tiranny.

gbrading
gbrading moderator

The ACB continues the policy which the OFLC did so well: Censoring games.

oR3PTiLEo
oR3PTiLEo

What keeps the Australians from ordering a copy from ebay or something from the US or UK?

rushisurf
rushisurf

@Vesica_Prime You know what's funny though? I was checking out Dissidia 012: Duodecim Final Fantasy, and the website here in the United States censors the "Cloud of Darkness" character's breasts. Yet on the Japan and European site, they don't censor her at all. The United States did the same for Morrigan in MvC3. Pretty ridiculous here too. It's just artwork, doesn't make sense to me.

rushisurf
rushisurf

So are there any doctors in Australia? Because it seems like no one over there can handle seeing intestines, gall bladders, stomachs, or blood for that matter.

raichou
raichou

@WinstonBullock This is Australia not the U.S., mate.

GMG_Da_Punisher
GMG_Da_Punisher

I pity the gamers in that country ... O well, more for me (OM NOM NOM NOM)

wondernova
wondernova

@ Sinpersonified Thanks. I'm still surprised I havent received a "violation" for that comment, like others on here. E.g. apollo333. Been there before!

AlexLJ
AlexLJ

Dang, I guess we're lucky our game laws haven't become this strict yet.

apollo333
apollo333

@MNBeta03 I completely agree. The game is rated 18+ in most countries, so it actually made little sense for WB to try to pass it for 15+ again. The whole issue is that they need to have an 18+ classification, and I have no idea why that hasn't happened yet. Maybe Gamespot should get the details on that.

apollo333
apollo333

What's really hilarious is I made a comment about how Australia acts like there are no adults in the country, i.e. criticizing their idiotic censorship, and then GameSpot gave me a TOS Violation because they're also obsessed with idiotic censorship!!

MNBeta03
MNBeta03

I admire the Australian review board for sticking to their guns. All they are saying is that their current rating system does not accommodate the depictions in the game because their highest rating is MA15+ and they do not think the game is appropriate for that age without parental consideration. The solution is to lobby for an MA18+ rating to be added. I'm all about freedom of speech but this is the right way to handle this... for now.

Ceraby
Ceraby

Ohh...Sorry Australian Mortal Kombat fans =(

steveguttenberg
steveguttenberg

Honestly, Mortal Kombat games have always been, and still are, Bugs Bunny / Three Stooges violent. It's not a complaint, it's just that the gore is so caricatured and light, it's hard to be shocked or offended.

suhinho
suhinho

OH GREAT now i need to goto new zealand buy MK and a copy of "barbie does the cable guy" and do a lil switcharoo cuz their favorite teen icon exploring her new type of excitement other than her cable is sooo okay. What's so harmless of a fighting game with gore in them? Let your kids copy some moves in the game nothing tomorrow will say a 11 year old blew his friends head open with a uppercut... omg this is stupid

Chaoscomando32
Chaoscomando32

@apollo333 I agree 100%. Its like they dont have adults that can make up their own minds what to buy and what not too. Im pretty sure you can watch hack and slash horror films, or for that matter xxx porn in Australia, so why not MK? It makes no sense. If I lived there I would protest the censorship. Australian gaming companies should get involved too. This is 2011 not the 1980's.

andalore
andalore

I feel sorry for Australian gamers, both the government telling gamers what they can and can't play and spiders as big as your head :(

Auction_Sniper
Auction_Sniper

Oh well, it's better they stick to their guns and not release it, than to tone it down to fit the MA15+ category.... Maybe if more publishers did this they debate would be taken more seriously.

BodyBag22
BodyBag22

Looks like an import for me :(

Sinpersonified
Sinpersonified

@wondernova Oh well done. Excellent literary reference. Also, I'm moving to Canada, at least they believe parents aren't idiots who can't tell what to let their kids play.

wondernova
wondernova

@Vesica_Prime Be careful with a comment like that. Gamespot will issue you with a "warning". They dont like citizens thinking for themselves too. Oh darn, I'll recieve a warning now too. At least I'm not scared of rats!

chelanza
chelanza

Hang on, why won't playasia ship here? I already preordered and didn't get any notice about not shipping to australia!

Vesica_Prime
Vesica_Prime

"Australians all let us rejoice, For we are young and free" What utter bull ****, no free country should even have a 1984 style iron fist of censorship.

apollo333
apollo333

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Dark_Highlander
Dark_Highlander

the irony of it is now that the game has been banned from the country gamers there will be even more interested in it and willing to get their hands on an import.....

Mark355
Mark355

Sorry lads, just gunna have to import. it's a shame, but tbh this game isn't gunna be totally epic, so don't worry too much.

BelmontWolf
BelmontWolf

there are books more brutal in description than mortal combat

whispershade86
whispershade86

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Sirbobislost
Sirbobislost

ok lets see if i can solve this problem....make a 18+ rating? taa daaaaaa amazing what 3 seconds of brainpower has accomplised now why after all these years havnt they done this? i remember the original grand theft auto was banned in australia and since then countless games have had this problem

isnot-important
isnot-important

Pathetic... If retail stores want to continue to stay in the game (see what i did there?..) they need to support these appeals and/or support the proposal for an R18+ rating. Until they do that i frankly don't care how much money they lose to overseas competitors or online retailers. They have more power than the average citizen, yet they (as far as i know..) have done nothing to help the customer in these situations.

GreyWizzard
GreyWizzard

@WickedWeavile Play Asia. Because this is a big deal at the moment, customs are going to be told to go hard on DVD like cases. The government are going to want to show that they are strong on this item. The RC decision of MK is been big news (as in it has made headlines in mainstream media) and people showing how easy it is to get there hands on the product will be a bad thing for the gov. Sure customs aren't going to check every dvd sized box they see, but they will be stopping a lot more than usual around the release of MK.

WinstonBullock
WinstonBullock

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

WinstonBullock
WinstonBullock

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

89stealth
89stealth

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

damaster101
damaster101

Damnit, now i won't know how to grab someones spine and rip it out of there skull! No matter, i heard that Gears of War 2 game wasn't censored so maybe that will teach me how to execute someone properly.I am 57 years old.

StJimmy15
StJimmy15

@WinstonBullock i'll second that! And this really sucks. Ya'll need to hurry up and pull an Egypt. Nothin like a little revolution to reorder the ratings system. lol

StJimmy15
StJimmy15

@WinstonBullock i'll second that! And this really sucks. Ya'll need to hurry up and pull an Egypt. Nothin like a little revolution to reorder the ratings system. lol