The Australian Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) has recently been the recipient of quite a lot of misdirected rage from Australian gamers. The OFLC is just performing its function under the law and actually does a pretty good job. Games publishers find the OFLC to be very easy to deal with in general and they tend to be fairly consistent in their ratings of games that fit within the law’s specified guidelines. In fact the Australian OFLC has historically been quite relaxed with a number of games that received R18 ratings elsewhere in the world.
The actual problem is not the OFLC but rather the law which it enforces. If you go to the OFLC website you can read the classification code and find out exactly how ambiguous and shoddy it really is. In particular the rules governing the Classification Review Board, which can be used by politicians and other pro-censorship groups as a forum in which to overturn legitimate OFLC classifications.
I find it ironic that a game such as Getting Up, which has a fictional plot centered around fighting a repressive political regime using the urban artform of Graffiti, is banned by the very same thing in the real world.
If you want to make a difference regarding Australia’s backward games rating system then you need to write to your local MPs, and State and Federal Attorney Generals. The only way to change the law is to get the law makers to agree to it. Australia needs an R18 rating for games to bring parity of classification to all visual media.
It is at times like this that I’m glad I’m a Kiwi who only lives in Australia. It also saddens me that games are still treated as a second class citizen next to Film.