Blitz banned in Australia

Midway American football game refused classification because of in-game drug use.

It's only a few weeks into the new year and Australia's restrictive game classification system has already taken its first scalp, with Xbox 360 sports game Blitz: The League being refused classification down under.

Australia's Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) has refused classification for Midway's American football game, effectively banning it for sale down under. Blitz: The League was set for release in Australia on February 22. The official ruling from the OFLC states that the game was refused classification because of in-game drug use.

"In the course of the game, the player may access what are purported to be both legal and illegal performance-enhancing drugs for the members of the team. Choosing to use these drugs (by selecting from a menu) will have both negative and positive effects on team-members, for example, by improving their speed while making them more susceptible to injury. Each drug has different characteristics. Fake urine samples may also be acquired for avoiding positive drug tests. While the game-player can choose not to use the drugs, in the Board’s majority view there is an incentive to use them. By using them judiciously, the player can improve the performance of the football team (while managing the negative effects) and have a better chance of winning games, thereby winning bets and climbing the league table," the OFLC board report stated.

Under the Australian Computer Games Table of the National Classification Code, titles that "depict, express or otherwise deal with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults" will be refused classification.

Red Ant Enterprises, the local distributor for Blitz: The League, has yet to decide whether it will appeal the ruling, according to marketing manager Ivone Bozzi.

"At this stage we haven't decided if we are going to go ahead and appeal it. Quite a shame, as we did get some fantastic feedback from retail. It was unfortunately one of those games that are touch-and-go," she said.

Blitz joins a growing list of games that have been banned for sale down under. Last year, Eidos' Reservoir Dogs was refused classification, as was Mark Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure. Other games to feel the wrath of the OFLC include BMX XXX, Manhunt, Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude, Postal, Postal 2, Narc and more. Some games, such as the two GTA games listed, eventually made it back onto the market after some content changes.

Under Australian law, computer games can be given a maximum classification of MA15+, as opposed to film or DVDs, which can carry up to an R18+ rating (the R rating prohibits sales to anyone under the age of 18). Any games that do not fit under the OFLC's definition of MA15+ are refused classification.

Written By

Randolph is the managing editor of GameSpot, and needs more time to play games.

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Discussion

257 comments
Absent_Gambler
Absent_Gambler

DRUGS!? IN PROFESSIONAL SPORTS!!?? The game designers are obviously sick and twisted, because that sort of thing NEVER happens in real life!!

aus_pride
aus_pride

This list just keeps growing and growing and so does the ebay listings!

Riverwolf007
Riverwolf007

Aussies are some of the coolest people on the planet and anything that keeps them off of xbox live is a shame. Now that being said the upside is they are mos def not missing out on anything by Blitz getting banned. Save your money and buy one of the many good games coming out this year.

bizuit
bizuit

Why dont they ever ban games in america cause there horrid? They need a ranking for age and then a quality ranking if they quality ranking is too low you cant release it!

anarchicgoth
anarchicgoth

Right... why do they bother trying to track down on virtual drugs when there very own citizens are smoking on Uno over Xbox Live??? Looks like they are looking in all the wrong places...

niisan
niisan

While I agree that aussie censorship has been going too far lately, I don't disagree with this case since we have a proud sporting tradition and the fact it saves us from another crap american football game.

dragkill
dragkill

"And people should stop knocking Australia for this. It's not the Australian people or even the Australian Government. Its a little group of tin pot dictators that make up our ratings board and like to enforce their will on others." Seriosuly. It's not the country as a whole, it's a small group of people that are doing this. It's the one thing i hate that the decision of a few can mess up the living style of many. (That's why i hate politics). But, it's funny though that people say content is bad now....look at subliminal stuff from other games, such as mario: You're jumping on enemy heads, and getting mushrooms. =p

Father_Time89
Father_Time89

Gokuu2000 That would be a stupid idea, that would mean that the cenosrs would get a victory and would try other games, also despite the controversy GTA is a great game with amzing sales, some idiots already claimed there is rape in the game (and there isn't) what could GTA 4 possibly do to get more controversy? Even if you could answer that question its not like the controversy will EVER deter people who like the GTA series away from buying it. Also if they canned GTA 4 a TON of people will be angry with rockstar, which is a bad move since they have financial trouble.

goku2000
goku2000

I'm not one to speak out against GTA, but I think it would be wise to just stop making these types of games. It would stop all of these stupid game restrictions and bogus lawsuits.

jaefrmbk2k
jaefrmbk2k

poor poor Aussies :( i love the Aussies now cuz of the way Steve Irwin's family got over his death so quickly. now they're laughin' & skippin' around on every talk show-they must've immediately realized how filthy rich they are :)

Cloud737
Cloud737

Weee...let`s ban all games now, cause it`s cool to do that! Seriously now, what is the world coming to? First off, why is Australia's Office of Film and Literature Classification in charge of classifying games? Second, they say they ban any game that is against the standards of propriety, yet there is a law that enables a home-breaker to sue the victim if he got hurt in the process of robbing him...wtf? Third, they do jack to stop Australians to play those games. They only encourage piracy that way, as well as blowing away a potential tax income. Keep up the good work! Maybe it can even introduce a law to send game players to jail like Germany is trying to do.

Bathyj
Bathyj

mitchellzam No one agrees with you, and I hope your comments were tongue in cheek. I love games as much as I love breathing but even if they banned them all, I'd still rather be an Aussie. Move to the US indeed, and so close to Australia Day. You need to be slapped in the face with a thong. ( Thats NOT a G-String for all you yanks.)

gatsbythepig
gatsbythepig

Sucks for the Aussies, I don't know why they are so strict

popdude338
popdude338

at least in australia we don't seem to have politics running around trying to perform a complete and utter ban on all video games with the slight indication of violence like in america and now germany (yet), but it is sad that they don't give us an R18+ for those few games happy 26th to all fellow aussies

bennae66
bennae66

im an aussie and responding to mitchellzam; dont bother hanging around for the 26th. if i was truly unhappy with my country id move. enjoy america, i wont alter my life because of a sports game getting banned. happy australia day to any aussies out there, heres to the 26th. its a crying shame that blitz may never see light officially here; but thats life may just have to get a copy elsewhere.

ddt88
ddt88

Given Australia's strong standing on anti doping in sport, this decision doesn't surprise me. All we can hope for is an R18+ classification at some stage.

ddt88
ddt88

Given Australia's strong standing on anti doping in sport, this decision doesn't surprise me. All we can hope for is an R18+ classification at some stage.

Dolacide
Dolacide

That seems horrible. "standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults" Who chooses these reasonable people.

mitchellzam
mitchellzam

Australia's classification system never suprises me, i mean im sorry to say this but Australia totally sucks. All the bloody good games are band in this country, im moving to America the land of dreams. Who agrees with me.

illisium
illisium

The "juice" is crap anyway; your cash is better used training your players through more traditional means. Personally, I found the use of drugs less amusing then the fact the game rewards you for brutal, injurious hits on other players with Clash icons, which allow you to perform Unleash moves, thereby potentially inflicting even more devastating, injurious hits. Good times. Great game. Too bad they won't get to play it in Oz.

freek33
freek33

I'm from the UK but have lived in Oz for 5 years and it seems to me that because Australia is still a very young country (in westernisation terms) and still searching for its identity. At the momment this (among other things) comes in the form of being Very good at most sports. I'm not suprised that this ban has been made as sport here has a different kind of importance that it does in other countries. Not saying i agree but i do understand that a little game that could, possibly influence sport in a negative here would be banned. Just isn't worth the risk. But it's fine to chainsaw someone to bits as that isn't close to the bone (pun intended)

diableria
diableria

dont youguys let other people choose whats best for you. do whatever it is that your into and feel no remorse.

Riverwolf007
Riverwolf007

Wow, I didn't know Blitz was an accurate football simulator, I thought it was arcade.

GoldenSilence87
GoldenSilence87

Its odd. Certainly, rather than censoring Blitz or withholding it sales, wouldnt this game shed light on the use of performance enhancing drugs?

dQuarters
dQuarters

Fair enough. It's not like they made the game illegal. Just don't want to support it. Still pretty uptight though. I swear, nothing from Australia suprizes me anymore. Seems like Aussie gov's willing to try anything.

ashghan
ashghan

FISHDOG1619: I think you'll find that in a lot of circumstances, games not available in Australia are not allowed to be imported from other countries. Try ordering a game from amazon.com for example - they cannot ship them to Australia for risk of circumventing our own restrictions and OFLC rulings. So they can "do *** about it ".

ashghan
ashghan

The OFLC is really getting out of control with their classifactions and subsequent banning of so many games that are approved for retail in so many other countries. If this outdated and unrealistic system of digital entertainment classification continues then we will see a lot more games being banned as the graphical and thematic depth of games increases. I can only hope that this years most anticipated title - GTA IV - is not on the black list already.

games_pot1
games_pot1

Blitz was a fun game it just got to repetitive and I dont see that game selling well there.

Snomel
Snomel

Bathyj, I did consider books as well when I was writing my original message, but left my thoughts out because, to be honest, I'm not quite sure what I think about that. I agree that books can have a larger effect - so many books have had a much stronger emotional impact on me than any film or game could manage. However, I still have a (possibly irrational) feeling that a game is worse than a book, as you actually see - and potentially act out - the actions for yourself. You're the one controlling what goes on. In that sense, a book still feels more passive to me. (Although I have seen ratings on some books, but I think they're the advisory kind rather than the legally enforcable kind.... not sure if that's even relevant =P ) Totally agree with you in that "Give us an R rating like every other form of legitimit media and all of this problem goes away." I don't understand the logic behind "hmm, we don't have a suitable rating for this, so let's just ban it". Introducing a suitable rating would surely be a much better solution?

crazykidsmokin
crazykidsmokin

I wonder what will happen if they ban halo 3? Will there be a revolt? i hope that would make great news.

mjwickstrom1
mjwickstrom1

Blitz is a terrible game, so I'm sure that everyone in Austrailia is thankful it got banned.

firebird23
firebird23

orangebrat. It's called natural selection. If children are stupid enough to emulate the acts they see on video games, movies, shows etc. Then they deserve whatever they get in return. Regardless of whether or not it's harmful to a child's psyche doesn't give the government or any ratings group the right to decide what is acceptable for adults to play or what adults let their children play.

fishdog1619
fishdog1619

it doesnt matter about restrictions with ps3 games anymore because they are region free so they can b bought overseas so either way the govt wont b able 2 do **** bout it

Wej_accept_it
Wej_accept_it

Point of order: This is an American football game, most Australians couldn't give a sh*t about US football (no offence, we've got our sports) so why the hell are so many ppl saying they feel sorry for us Aussies? And if this game in any way encourages illegal drugs it shouldn't have been made in the first place.

Proman84
Proman84

I feel sorry for Australians. This decision is truly idiotic.

Bathyj
Bathyj

And people should stop knocking Australia for this. It's not the Australian people or even the Australian Government. Its a little group of tin pot dictators that make up our ratings board and like to enforce their will on others.

Bathyj
Bathyj

Snomel You dont like the comparison between movies and games, but what about books. Books have far worse things in them then games or movies and are far more likely to influence your thinking because they ingaged your mind and intellect. They are much more emotionally involving because you invest into the charactors and storyline. Do books even get rated? I dont know but I've never seen a big fat OFLC sticker on a book so I'll guess no, but I could be wrong. And why this double standard? Because books are educational and therefore could never be harmful, while games are just for kids, according to them. Give us an R rating like every other form of legitimit media and all of this problem goes away.

ragtag11
ragtag11

Too bad because this game is frikkin funnnnnn

EnigmaNemesis
EnigmaNemesis

Gotta love it when countries take away peoples freedoms. Democracy my arse!

godoftheds
godoftheds

HAHA! stupid stoner football players....

samekila
samekila

Not to much of a football fan but if they ban stuff like this its only a matter of time before we are all playing barbie's horse adventures because everything will get banned.

penguinofire
penguinofire

"In other breaking news, a game based on the spirit of the ANZACs has been banned because the characters can clearly be seen carrying and displaying Australian flags"

acesion
acesion

Agreed khellendros. But the reason why polititions dont see this is because the major voting population is 40 and up, mostly senior citizens 55+. Also brainwashed liberal college students who vote for demicrats are the reason why game restictions are becoming more evident. Considering that next year might be a year in which demicrats gain control of the nation, expect to a great increas in game restrictions.

khellendros1
khellendros1

Its' not the government's job to ban a game or any content from the people. True this is Australia and not the U.S. but it should be up to the people to choose and regulate what we want to see. That's the problem with everything today. No one wants to take personal responsiblilty. What if they tried to pass a law that says that real life football or soccer or rugby because they cause aggression in fans. Videogames are just getting a bad rap because people still think that it's only for kids. The biggest market for games is 18 to 35. Why don''t the politicians see that?

johnnylex
johnnylex

moot!! I could just import it from NZ . If I wanted it.

ryokinshin6x3
ryokinshin6x3

good for you lmao, the fact is all of this is fake, simulated

Bladefist
Bladefist

It should be banned in the US too. Mainly because it is one of the worst games Midway has ever released. Stranglehold will more than make up for it (and will probably get banned too). XBOX360LIVE - Killing people while on massive amounts of steroids would probably be worse.