The Australian Government is being urged to move away from its “moral panic” approach to video games after Disco Elysium found itself being banned.
Disco Elysium is the latest game to be banned there after the Australian classification board refused to rate the game.
The classification was denied due to the game’s content, which apparently goes “against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults” [via The Guardian].
While Disco Elysium does feature sex, drugs and crime, it doesn’t go above and beyond your average adult-rated film.
The game has been available in Australia for two years via Steam. However, bringing the game to consoles means it’ll be available in Australian stores, which leaves it at the classification board’s mercy.
Games are frequently banned in Australia thanks to its classification system, with even big-budget releases like The Medium being subjected to declassification. Luckily, the system does have an appeals process, which has allowed various games to release with an R18+ rating.
In a conversation with The Guardian, Ron Curry, the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association chief executive, shared his frustrations with Australia’s classification system.
“The sad reality is that the national classification system applies a stricter set of rules for video games than it does for pretty much every other kind of content, reflecting the early 1990s era in which those rules were written, when video games were associated with a moral panic and certainly not treated as the mainstream medium and artistic discipline that they are.“
Australia’s classification issues also seem to be extending to other forms of content. The government recently introduced legislation that allowed the eSafety commissioner to enforce the classification system on websites and social media.
The Australian Lawyers Alliance responded to the bill with concerns over its use of the classification system, which it claims is outdated.
The IGEA is pushing for the government to review its classification system. Hopefully, the Australian Government will acknowledge its classification process’s archaic nature while implementing some sort of meaningful change.
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