DoA: Dimensions has rating revoked in Australia

Nintendo resubmitting 3DS title after THQ accused of not providing "adequate information"

The Australian ratings board has revoked its initial PG certificate for 3DS title Dead or Alive: Dimensions after being made aware that several of the characters are under 18, which renders what the previous classification has referred to as "sexualised gameplay" as unsuitable for a PG audience.

Speaking to GameSpot AU, the board made clear that it considered the game unsuitable for publication under its current classification.

"Information provided to the Board last week suggested that the game contained content not drawn to the Board's attention in the original classification application," a spokesperson for the Board told the site.

"After considering the response to a show cause notice issued last Thursday, June 2, the Board made the revocation decision. Dead or Alive: Dimensions is now unclassified and cannot be sold in Australia unless it is re-submitted for classification."

The game had previously been submitted by the original distributor, THQ, and had been passed as a PG title. However, when a scandal erupted over the age of some characters in the famously risqué fighter, the Australian authorities returned to the case.

According to the authorities themselves, THQ had originally submitted the game without publishing the ages of the characters in question, listing them as N/A rather than as below 18 as they were in other regions. Nintendo has made clear that it will rectify that error upon resubmission.

"When Nintendo Australia agreed to distribute the Dead or Alive: Dimensions game in Australia, it had already been submitted for classification by another video game company," a Nintendo representative told GameSpot.

"It was classified PG (Parental Guidance) by the Classification Operations Branch. Nintendo Australia did not submit the classification. The application did not provide adequate information regarding the contents of the game."

Australia has still not decided whether it will be introducing an R18+ rating for games, although the Federal government is reportedly supporting the move. Currently, any games deemed too mature to be granted a 15+ certificate are judged as unsuitable for sale in the region.

However, Home Minister Brendan O'Connor has released a draft of a government paper, listed as being revised in 2008 but still under deliberation, which discusses the possible application of an R18+ rating for games. That rating, the paper explains would be likely to operate on similar grounds as those devised for film classification.

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Latest comments (8)

John Bye Lead Designer, Freejam9 years ago
This strikes me as being a bit bizarre. How many gamers are aware of how old the characters are supposed to be? Does the game even explicitly tell you this anywhere? If they look dramatically underage, that's one thing, but if a game's being re-rated or banned entirely (as in Sweden) just because a fictional polygonal character is notionally 16 or whatever, it's hard to see what difference that makes to the actual player experience, which is what the rating should come down to.

I guess the real issue here is if THQ tried to cover up the possible age issue by not listing those characters' imaginary ages. And how a game that notoriously features scantily clad buxom women beating each other up got a PG rating in the first place...
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Tony Johns9 years ago
In Japan age 16 is like age 18 in western countries...

Instead of forcing the game to apply to our laws, we should consider the fact that we are talking about FICTIONAL CHARACTERS THAT ARE NOT EVEN REAL!!!!

Like to me, it is rather moronic that we should be concerned with the age of fictional characters...

But then again, we live in a mad world where most people are pushing their political-religious morals on us all.

I would rather move to Japan and not have to deal with this sort of stuff.

Get a life politics and religious BS, it is only just a game. These are fictional characters.

Just say they are aged 18 and be done with it.
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James Stanard Principal Engine Programmer, Eat Sleep Play, Inc9 years ago
"Oh, our mistake. That character bio should actually read 18 because outside of Japan that's considered the ideal age for male fantasies. That's not actually her birthday because SHE'S NOT REAL."

What the hell. It should be ten times easier to eliminate stupid laws than to create stupid laws. Alas, it's reversed.
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James Prendergast Process Specialist 9 years ago
.... and hence the reason why moving to Pegi, where developer/publisher filled-out forms is the paradigm, is a bad thing...
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Tony Johns9 years ago
To be honest, the ESRB in America does it better, because they view the game, they don't have publishers and developers fill out a survey (PEGI) on said game and they DON'T hire people who have never played a game in their lives and ask them if this is offensive to their tastes (Australia's classification board) and they don't have a no-no list of what to look for when trying to ban games (Germany).

And perhaps in Japan, they have people who PLAY THE GAME TO DEATH AND GET ALL THE RIGHT INFO FROM IT in order to do their ratings from A, B, C, D and Z.

I would rather live in America or Japan....I wanna get rid of the rest of the world's gaming rating system and put real people who have game experience in charge.
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Jeremie Sinic9 years ago
Unbelievable... you know what? I am sure the Grunts in Halo are under age. Let's ban Halo too :D
By the way, if Tecmo decided that all characters depicted in the game are actually highly human-like cyborgs (who could be less than one year old BTW), would it be OK?
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Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 9 years ago
Japan is hardly a mecca. Foreign games such as Uncharted and Heavy Rain were edited in the Japanese release to remove blood and sex, and the Playboy magazine you can buy on any newsstand in the U.S. would be illegal in Japan (for clearly depicting the general area).

That said, given that a substantial percentage of the gaming audience anywhere in the world is in their late twenties through early forties, Australia banning any games that are not appropriate for fifteen year olds seems rather ludicrous. They'd never get away with it for films.
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James Prendergast Process Specialist 9 years ago
IIRC the BBFC have banned and/or required edits or omissions to the fewest games compared to the ESRB, Japan's rating system and (obviously) Australia's.

This was because the ESRB didn't see any appreciable difference in psychology between a passive entertainment consumption and an active (i.e. the comparison between movies and games) in any studies they commissioned.
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