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New look for Australia's game rating system

Australia's Office of Film and Literature Classification has introduced a new colour-coded system to make the age ratings featured on games and DVD packaging clearer for consumers.

Australia's Office of Film and Literature Classification has introduced a new colour-coded system to make the age ratings featured on games and DVD packaging clearer for consumers.

However, despite calls from the games industry, the OFLC will not be introducing a new 18+ rating for titles containing adult content.

Although an 'R' rating exists for DVDs, the highest classification which can be awarded to games in Australia is 15+.

As a result, titles which feature sex, drugs or violence, such as Midway's NARC and Vivendi's Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude, have been refused classification and effectively banned from sale.

Attorney General Philip Ruddock, who approved the classification review by the OFLC and government censorship ministers, defended the decision not to introduce a new rating on the grounds that it would be too difficult to ensure minors did not get access to 18+ games.

"Based upon the agreement of the National Ministerial Council, if broader classifications for video games were available, they were not satisfied that those games would only be available to adults," he said.

OFLC director Des Clark added: "The actual content and the classifications haven't changed because we've been testing the standards that the community is comfortable with in terms of classification.

"There's been no particular change over time with that so the standards haven't changed."

The classification markings feature a larger consumer advice area as well as new colours. They can be viewed on the OFLC website.

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Ellie Gibson

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Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.

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