Stop me if you’ve heard this one before; the Australian government REALLY doesn’t like video games. The world’s smallest continent has a long-standing adversarial relationship with the video game industry by refusing to classify adult-themed titles, and it looks like the latest chapter is being written as we speak.
It was believed at the beginning of this year that this kind of problem would be a thing of the past, as Australia introduced a rating of ‘R18+’ for games they feel are only appropriate for adults. It however seems that in their eyes, the upcoming Saints Row IV goes too far even for their new scale. It has been refused classification, which puts it in some fuzzy legal territory; there is no law against anyone owning the game in Australia, but vendors who sell an unclassified game can face repercussions up to and including having their licenses revoked. Indeed, this is serious business.
I’ll be honest; I like the Saints Row series just fine but I’m nowhere near as crazy about it as many of the Twinfinite gang. The incredibly lowbrow humor can grate at times, but one thing this series NEVER does is take itself seriously. Based on what I played of Saints Row IV at E3, there is no danger of this series going the navel-gazing route, and it’s astounding that someone with any common sense would fail to see that.
I don’t know; I guess it’s the Australian government’s business how they conduct this sort of thing within their borders, but it feels like they’re kind of missing the mark. There’s nothing inherently wrong with them imposing standards on video games — that’s their right. However, by going after a game as silly and unsubstantial as Saints Row IV, they’re just kind of opening themselves up to ridicule with their reactionary response and apparent lack of due diligence towards content versus context.
What do you think about all of this? Please leave a comment and enjoy some healthy, Australia-approved entertainment!