UPDATE: Steam stops Manhunt sales Down Under

UPDATE: Valve's digital distribution service stops listing the 2004 Refused Classification (RC) title Manhunt after initially making it available; refunds sent to those who already purchased the game.

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Rockstar Games' 2004 stealth action title Manhunt was the subject of wide controversy over its graphic violence and context, earning bans in New Zealand and Germany and receiving 17+ and 18+ classifications in North America and Canada respectively. In Australia, the title was originally classified MA15+ in October 2003, only to be revoked in September 2004 following an appeal by then Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock. Manhunt was given a Refused Classification (RC) rating and banned for sale in Australia.

Now, seven years later, it appears Manhunt is once again being made available to Aussie gamers. Valve's digital distribution service Steam is allowing Australian users to purchase the game from its online store, with GameSpot AU successfully purchasing and downloading the title. Manhunt's existing RC status should technically make it illegal for sale in any form Down Under.

"The game Manhunt was refused classification on 29 September 2004," director of the Classification Board of Australia, Donald McDonald, told GameSpot AU. "It is an offence in all states and territories of Australia to sell, hire or demonstrate a computer game classified Refused Classification (RC). As classification offences are established in the State and Territory enforcement legislation, it is the responsibility of the various states and territories to police these matters.

"A computer game classified RC would also be a prohibited import under Regulation 4A of the Customs Import Regulations. Any person importing an RC computer game into Australia needs to consider whether they are committing an offence."

Rockstar Games Australia representatives said they had no comment on the story as of press time.

UPDATE: Overnight, Steam has updated its Australian store offerings and has now removed Manhunt from sale, with the game no longer appearing on searches. Those who bought the game during its brief window of availability are also out of luck, with refunds now being sent out to purchasers.

Discussion

29 comments
SwiftusMaximus
SwiftusMaximus

Bought it, 2 days later ,deleted and refunded. Outrageous that 40yo can't play a mature game. Steam just abiding by our ridiculous prehistoric gaming laws. Still..., pisses me off! Time to import, Again!

foojam
foojam

@ 9thedevilmaycry For you steam is pc gaming? Amazing point of view.

WindsweptSpy
WindsweptSpy

That's too bad for the people down under... Little things like this add up and makes me feel privileged to live somewhere where I'm allowed to make my own decisions on which game I want to buy and play

shani_boy101
shani_boy101

All thanks to the publicity given to this by sources like you, Gamespot.

muzza93
muzza93

@Captain_Tom Hey, we have SOME rights, they are entrenched in our constitution and some are implied in the constitution, i think we only have free speech on political matters

mp01juve
mp01juve

This just makes people who haven't played it want it more. "I'm playing something banned"

3lusiv3
3lusiv3

@Hypnotoad We don't have a Bill of Rights, so technically, nothing is being breached.

tyco_ex
tyco_ex

@hypnotoad8128: You, frankly, have no idea what freedom of speech means. Freedom of speech is not limited to physically speaking. Freedom of speech is just a common way of saying "freedom of expression." Whether that be in video, drawing, writing, typing, talking, or any other form of expression. Just because the thing they're banning is not physical "speech" doesn't mean they aren't violating the concept of freedom of speech.

Xtos89
Xtos89

its an old game. Who gives a damn, not a particularly good one either.

pad69
pad69

Foolish Freedom suckers are alive and well. What a bunch of garbage having to deal with this kind of stuff. Stop Banning games as they are clearly marked MATURE!

illmatic87
illmatic87

They sold Risen a few months ago on sale and took it off when it went off sale. Funny that.

brok
brok

Is this really even news? An online store offers a game for sale worldwide despite the game being banned in some areas. Since when did the internet have borders?

eriktkire
eriktkire

The PC version wasn't banned. They banned the console version, then around 8 months later the PC edition was released and you were able to grab a copy off the shelf with ease at places like Harvey Norman. Was that the thing that was revoked because if it was, a few shops in QLD were still carrying copies until hey sold out the last of their stock in 2005.

caityful
caityful

Way to dob Steam in, GS :lol: On the other hand, thanks for the heads up!

DigiTM73
DigiTM73

This is a perfect letter to the classification board, asking why this is so, yet Left 4 Dead 2 is still censored. It's all double standards.

hypnotoad8128
hypnotoad8128

How on Earth is this about freedom of speech?? The government here doesn't stop you all from talking about a potential R rating on games and It doesn't stop protesting about it, so there is no restriction on free speech at all! Denying us playing these games is a restriction on our personal liberties though which gives us our own personal responsibility and free will to do what we want. That is being breached..

Captain_Tom
Captain_Tom

@random515 No codified bill of rights ≠ we have no rights.

Danm_999
Danm_999

The High Court has ruled Australians have an implied right to free speech, even if it's not explicitly stated in the Constitution. So actually, you do have a legal right to free speech, much like Americans have a right to say, abortions through Roe v. Wade, even though their Bill of Rights is silent on the issue. Not to mention Australia is signatory to dozens of UN treaties and international obligations which require its government to protect free speech. All adding a Bill of Rights would do is define how that right could be taken away (a referendum).

random515
random515

@TBoneTony I would point out that Australia doesn't have a Bill of Rights, so we technically don't have a legal freedom of speech.

spawnassasin
spawnassasin

thatsucks manhunt is an awesome game i really hope they make a 3rd one or HD remake the first one that would be pretty cool

dr_satan666
dr_satan666

I STILL have this on ps2. Awesome, awesome game!

johnnyauau
johnnyauau

This reminds me, until the R18+ is passed by all attorney generals, Manhunt 2 for the Wii and PS2 will still be banned because anything over MA15+ doesn't do much but appeal to people over 15. If you remember the skit about making games for Australia, "this is not permissable".

TBoneTony
TBoneTony

Seriously, it is only a game. Get a life politcians and consider the fact that games and Freedom of Speech and Expression and CAN'T be silenced by politics. Unless if you are a country like North Korea.

Paul2004
Paul2004

Get it while you can :P.