Here Are The Video Games The Australian Government Won't Let You Play

Won't everyone always think of the children?

Here in Australia the government are pretty willing to decide what video games you play.

DayZ is the latest game to be denied a classification from the Australian Classification Board, meaning that it’s effectively banned here (although if you rush you might be able to download it from Steam before it’s pulled, should you wish to).

Mind you, it’s far from the first game to a non Australia’s notoriously persnickety censors, or for video games to be blamed for things governments have decided to take a stand against. Hey, remember that time when then-attorney general Phillip Ruddock had a Marc Ecko skateboarding game banned because it glorified graffiti? Oh, what a time to be alive!


And dozens of other games have made the authorities sad in their banning-place.

Why? Well, here are a few examples of video games you couldn’t play – at least, for a while…

Mortal Kombat (2013)

Reason: oh, the violence

This kind of started the whole R-rating for games in Australia, with the super-explicit gore of the various fatalities being pure censor-bait. When the ratings were changed in 2015 was eventually released, two years after its initial release. Thanks a bunch.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004)

Reason: pixels doin’ it

There are many, many, many things about the GTA series which are deeply questionable and which aren’t easily glossed over with “it’s a satire, man, it’s not meant to be real!” Like, you know, getting a health boost from hitting a sex worker, who you can then rob and murder. Satire!

Bizarrely, though, that wasn’t the issue with GTA: San Andreas.

It was something that wasn’t even in the game, but was buried deep in the code: the “hot coffee mod” that would have been a sex-themed rhythm game. The fact that it wasn’t even in the actual game didn’t stop censors forcing a recall in 2005.

The Witcher 2: Assassins Of Kings (2011)

Reason: consent-related curiousness

Thanks, I’m good.

Specifically, the ratings board had a problem with the playable character being offered to accept or reject sex as a reward for a quest – which you know, isn’t entirely unreasonable since there’s something undeniably icky about the commodification of sex.

However, the game was deemed fine when the developers removed the choice and just made the sex an automatic reward. So… so negotiated sex is unacceptable, but when it happens without choice that’s fine? That seems to raise more questions than it answers.

South Park: The Stick of Truth (2014)

Reason: dildos

Look, you know what you’re getting, surely?

The idea that a South Park game would be gleefully tasteless is hardly a shock, but Australian players were denied levels where characters had their butts probed by aliens (not a surprise) and where characters impregnated with alien foetuses have them aborted (which… that seems more sinister).

We Happy Few (2018)

Reason; drugz

It’s a strong look.

We Happy Few was massively anticipated for its stylised artwork and a plot which suggested a fascinatingly British flavour of fascist dystopia. However, the plot device of the populace being kept docile via a drug called Joy (shades of soma from Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’) meant it fell afoul of the censors.

However, the developers argued that the drugs were not shown in a positive light and that the player was actually encouraged not to use them in-game, and the ban was overturned.

And then Australia learned that the game was a bit rubbish. So… yay?

This Amazing Hunger Games Theory Explains The State Of The World Now

Look, it makes exactly as much sense as anything else…

It might seem like a stretch to suggest that the world is currently embroiled in The Hunger Games, but bear with us for a second.

Have a think about the rise of populist politics around the world: the election of Donald Trump, the calls for Brexit in the US, everything One Nation says here (and the battle over regional Queensland in the Australian election)… there’s a shared narrative in place.

And that narrative is this: that there are “real” people outside of the cities, and there are the elitists in the ivory-towered cities who are at best out of touch with the reality of modern life – and at worst part of a sinister cabal of perverted, corrupt monsters, most likely engaged in some vast conspiracy against the salt-of-the-Earth populace.

Sound familiar? Like, both in the sense that it sums the strain of populist (and often openly racist and anti-intellectual) politics around the world, and also in that it’s the setting of a certain popular young adult book and film series about a near-future dystopia?

This idea was touched upon in an article in Cracked. Or, more accurately, a pretty meme:

And that seemed a stretch, until you consider the timeline.

The Hunger Games was first published in 2006, but the film came out in 2012 and was a sensation. Three years and three sequels later Donald Trump announces his presidential run.

The following year he gets the presidential nomination, the UK narrowly votes to leave the European Union, and One Nation win four seats in the Australian senate.

Of course, there’s a small problem with this The World Is Now Hunger Games theory, in that this narrative is all over the place.

Star Wars. Mr Smith Goes To Washington. Ready Player One. It’s a classic for a reason: it lets the audience go “sure, I might not know stuff but that doesn’t matter; being pure of heart is more important than all that effete book-learnin’.”

Meanwhile even enormously well-paid media types and politicians who live in multi-million dollar properties try to present themselves as honest Joes who can see through the cheap lies of… um, the Bureau of Meteorology?

(Then again, that stereotype is equally offensive in reverse – and there was a spate of suspense and horror films which posited that the world outside cities was terrifying and weird, from splatter flicks like The Hills Have Eyes to acclaimined classics like Deliverance and one of the most acclaimed Australian films ever, Wake In Fright.)

It’s basically a documentary.

So yes, correlation doesn’t equal causation and given if it wasn’t The Hunger Games it’d probably be something else.

That said, if Trump starts demanding young people engage in formal bloodsports in the coming months…

Pop-up Channel

Follow Us