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Alien probes deny Saints Row 4 classification in Australia

Alien probes deny Saints Row 4 classification in Australia

A version of Saints Row 4 that does not include these offending elements is being worked on by developers.

Saints Row 4 has been refused classification in Australia thanks to its inclusion of a weapon called the Alien Anal Probe and an alien drug that grants superpowers upon smoking it.

The Australian Classification Board announced its decision adding that the game 'includes interactive, visual depictions of implied sexual violence which are not justified by context'. The Board justifies its findings with a description of how the alien probe weapon is used in the game against enemies and civilians and which leaves little ambiguity to what it is actually doing.

The Board's quibbles with the alien narcotic is also justified as showing no significant difference between real-world drugs such as cocaine and heroine and the invented alien substance as it is obtained via street dealers and inhaled through a pipe.

Developer Volition is working on altering the game for resubmission in the country according to the franchise's new owner Deep Silver. Speaking to Polygon, a Deep Silver spokesperson said that there is an intention to launch a version of the game in Australia that is still as 'outlandish' as previous entries in the series.

Saints Row 4 will be the first title to have been refused an 18+ classification since its introduction in January. Australia's video game rating system has always been on the strict side, but this has previously been due to a lack of an 18+ rating.

Formerly published by the now defunct THQ, the Saints Row intellectual property was picked up by Deep Silver at auction earlier this year and the fourth instalment of the series is expected to be released in August this year.

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RedFlames 26th June 2013, 15:58 Quote
State of decay has also been refused classification because the in-game healing items 'encourages drug use by associating it with reward'.

source

Now I know Fallout 3 fell foul of the same rule [originally used real-world names for drugs and showed the player taking them], but it does seem a bit daft. As for the 'It may influence children' argument, well isn't that the whole point of the age ratings? So children can't buy stuff with 'Adult themes/content'.

Plus if your child[ren] don't know the misuse of drugs is wrong whose fault is that?
Shirty 26th June 2013, 16:16 Quote
It's a little known fact that alien anal probe weapon and alien narcotics are serious business in Australia.

Also if your children are allowed to play Saints Row then they're probably having casual sex and abusing drug anyway. Also, they smell.

Seriously though, the ACB is portraying the entire Australian population as a bunch of halfwits unable to differentiate a ridiculously OTT game and reality, even over the age of 18. Which despite the stereotypical viewpoint, is only true of 75% of the population.
Zener Diode 26th June 2013, 16:23 Quote
Are parents going to see their children playing Saints Row and think (picking an extreme example) "this better be the game where you kill hookers to get your money back, not the one with the drugs"?

Maybe the developers should refuse to cave, and eventually the users will get their way.
Corky42 26th June 2013, 17:03 Quote
Maybe they need to actually enforce the current laws they have in place, if retailers sold cigarettes or alcohol to under age children its very likely they would be caught out after a while.
But when selling 18+ games to children under the age no one seems to do anything, well at least hear in the UK.
erratum1 26th June 2013, 17:28 Quote
Why should 18+ games be treated any different to films.

After watching trainspotting did you go out and become a heroin addict?

Did Saw inspire you to be a saddistic murderer?

This is basically saying Australians are all morons that will copy what they see, and need to be censored like children.

Personally I find films harder hitting than a game but graphics are getting better.
Dave Lister 26th June 2013, 17:37 Quote
I know Australia has a tendency to be a bit OTT with classification but I have to agree with the anal probe reason, We are all being far to desensitized regarding sexual assault (among other things) in all forms of media and the leaked photos of U.S troops, gang raping and killing innocent Iraqi woman really has my back up on the subject now !
bigc90210 26th June 2013, 18:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by erratum1
Why should 18+ games be treated any different to films.

After watching trainspotting did you go out and become a heroin addict?

Did Saw inspire you to be a saddistic murderer?

This is basically saying Australians are all morons that will copy what they see, and need to be censored like children.

Personally I find films harder hitting than a game but graphics are getting better.
wish id became a heroine addict instead as per amusing article typo haha
RedFlames 26th June 2013, 18:08 Quote
EDIT: wrong thread ¬_¬
Cheapskate 26th June 2013, 21:37 Quote
Isn't this the same country that outlawed flat chested women?

I agree that 100% of the problem is parents letting their kids see the stuff. The rating system is useless otherwise.
Adnoctum 26th June 2013, 23:12 Quote
How about some thought before everyone goes off with their first impulse?
Quote:
Originally Posted by ACB

The game includes a weapon referred to by the Applicant as an “Alien Anal Probe”. The Applicant states that this weapon can be “shoved into enemy’s backsides”. The lower half of the weapon resembles a sword hilt and the upper part contains prong-like appendages which circle around what appears to be a large dildo which runs down the centre of the weapon.
When using this weapon the player approaches a (clothed) victim from behind and thrusts the weapon between the victim’s legs and then lifts them off the ground before pulling a trigger which launches the victim into the air. After the probe has been implicitly inserted into the victim’s anus the area around their buttocks becomes pixelated highlighting that the aim of the weapon is to penetrate the victim’s anus. The weapon can be used during gameplay on enemy characters or civilians.
In the Board’s opinion, a weapon designed to penetrate the anus of enemy characters and civilians constitutes a visual depiction of implied sexual violence that is interactive and not justified by context and as such the game should be Refused Classification.

Doesn't that sound like all kinds of fun?

It is a little bit more than just "protecting kiddies" issue. It is about graphic sexual violence and rape with an instrument. And it is supposed to be funny, is it? I don't think it is a censorship issue, and I agree with the ACB on this issue. It will be removed, SR4 will come out, and it will have no impact on gameplay. Go get your alien anal rape jollies elsewhere and forgive me if I choose not to make my stand on censorship over interactive violent anal rape.

As the game was always going to be a R18+ game, protecting kids is irrelevant to this and shouldn't be used in the debate. The reason is extreme depictions of graphic sexual violence. That is it. Not kids, not parents, not censorship, not prudish outrage. Australia (or their representatives in a democratically elected system) has decided that such depictions of graphic sexual violence is not wanted. If Britain wants it, or the USA, then good on Britain and the USA. If you are Australian, then change it democratically if you don't like it, but that is what it is.

Drug use in games. Australia has rules about the realistic depiction (note this part) of drugs in games that are different than films because games are interactive. Realistic drug use cannot be shown to provide a positive effect in game. Drug use is fine (which is why you see all sorts of powder snorting in GTAs), realistic drug use to enhance combat performance is not. Fallout 3 had the same issue where Morphine was used positively, so the name was changed to Med-X.
Did you miss the "Morphine" references, or was Fallout just as fun with "Med-X"?

Whether you agree or not is immaterial, because those are the standards in Australia. I seriously doubt your enjoyment of SR4 will suffer if the Alien Anal Probe is removed, and if it is then I pity you.
Corky42 27th June 2013, 00:59 Quote
We change people through conversation, not through censorship.
konstantine 27th June 2013, 01:12 Quote
Don't they get tired of making those degenerate games? From Bioshock Infinite to Borderlands 2, all we see is unjustified violence, misandry and a multicultural non-European West.
Other than the fact all those games are horribly designed and are 5 generations old, technology wise, what kind of purpose/s or vision/s do those games serve?
Almightyrastus 27th June 2013, 09:15 Quote
But other probing methods are just so inefficient in comparison.
Adnoctum 27th June 2013, 09:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
We change people through conversation, not through censorship.

Who is trying to change people? I'm being serious, who is trying to change who? Change people who violently anal probe people into people who don't violently anal probe people? Is this a large segment of the population?

This isn't about trying to modify society into something else, it is about a democratic country that says we have standards for of the kinds of media we want in our society whether the consumers are adults or not. The difference between this and the Saw movies or books or any other media source you want to compare it to is the interactivity part - you are controlling and not observing the activity, which is chasing down people and raping them to death.

I actually disagree with the ACB restrictions on positive realistic depictions of drugs, but I understand why the standards are there, and the changes made to games (see Fallout 3 example above) are so minimal that they have no impact on gameplay or the enjoyment of the game.
But I do agree with the ACB decision of the Alien Anal Probe in SR4. It has gone a little beyond the side-splitting hilarity of hitting people with huge dildos in SR3.

Seriously, I'm not going to make my stand against the evils of censorship by trying to defend an alien anal probe machine that rapes people to death.
Shirty 27th June 2013, 10:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adnoctum
Seriously, I'm not going to make my stand against the evils of censorship by trying to defend an alien anal probe machine that rapes people to death.

It's an immature concept without a doubt, but consenting adults should be perfectly entitled to play a game whatever the content. Have you ever considered that killing realistic looking people violently with realistic weapons is probably more of a disturbing concept than gaining health from using pretend morphine or roger-launching cartoon people to death with an OTT cartoon alien probe?

Because we sure as hell see a lot of the former in games and films, and frankly murder tends to be considered at least as abhorrent as rape/drug abuse in actual society.

It's always baffled me how societies are quite happy to encourage censorship to save the children, whilst at the same time removing the rights of adults to do perfectly legal things like play stupid violent video games. I've never played a Saint's Row game (nor Rapelay or Postal etc.), but I did pay Manhunt many moons ago and have enjoyed a GTA or two.

I don't know the context of this weapon, I assume it's used to kill "enemies" as opposed to random civilians, whereas in GTA it's a free for all with whatever you can find - yet that's OK? :?
Corky42 27th June 2013, 10:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adnoctum
Who is trying to change people? I'm being serious, who is trying to change who? Change people who violently anal probe people into people who don't violently anal probe people? Is this a large segment of the population?

This isn't about trying to modify society into something else, it is about a democratic country that says we have standards for of the kinds of media we want in our society whether the consumers are adults or not.

But it is about what a society considers acceptable, you cant change that by banning something.
E.g. you probably couldn't find a game depicting kiddy fiddling as the vast majority of the world has been educated in recent times on how sickening and damaging this is.
Shirty 27th June 2013, 10:33 Quote
Kiddy fiddling is highly illegal, whereas firing people in the air via the medium of an imaginary anal skewer is not a tried and tested facet of reality, and never will be. Nor is it even possible - it is cartoon violence and far worse has already been depicted elsewhere, just a few clicks away.
Corky42 27th June 2013, 11:12 Quote
Yes it is illegal, but go back into history and it wasn't
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_consent
Quote:
Female reformers and advocates of social purity initiated a campaign in 1885 in the United States which petitioned legislators to raise the legal minimum age to at least 16, with the ultimate goal to raise the age to 18. The campaign was successful, with almost all states raising the minimum age to 16–18 years by 1920. In France, Portugal, Spain, Denmark and the Swiss cantons and other countries, the minimum age was raised to between 13 and 16 years in the second half of the 19th century.

AFAIK depicting violence or drug use isn't illegal so people should be allowed to make the choice if they want to view such material, banning something that isn't illegal does nothing to further societies understanding on why new laws maybe needed.

There are laws already in place to protect minors from inappropriate material, if governments are not enforcing these laws then we have to ask why and if current laws need revising.
runadumb 27th June 2013, 11:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shirty
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adnoctum
Seriously, I'm not going to make my stand against the evils of censorship by trying to defend an alien anal probe machine that rapes people to death.

It's an immature concept without a doubt, but consenting adults should be perfectly entitled to play a game whatever the content. Have you ever considered that killing realistic looking people violently with realistic weapons is probably more of a disturbing concept than gaining health from using pretend morphine or roger-launching cartoon people to death with an OTT cartoon alien probe?

Because we sure as hell see a lot of the former in games and films, and frankly murder tends to be considered at least as abhorrent as rape/drug abuse in actual society.

This is what gets me, how are we so okay with large scale murder whenever these games are rated in such a way a fictional weapon and drug can get it banned? We are talking about a very unrealistic and silly beyond belief weapon in a game filled with much more realistic forms of violence. A game where you could go on a massive hit and run/drive by shooting murder spree filled with gunning down innocent bystanders and any police that try to stop you.

Taken out of the context that this is a game, a very very silly game, you could be mistaken for thinking only a ****ing sadist would get pleasure out of this. Ignoring the fact that each of the mechanics that enable this play is built around a (supposedly) fun game system that makes the various skills required to do it entertaining.

I don't understand how people can possibly draw the line at a fictional and incredibly stupid weapon ( which is likely optional) under the pretence that is depicts sexual violence in a game that will have you murdering literally thousands of characters in many violent ways while rampaging through a city.
Dave Lister 27th June 2013, 15:30 Quote
I'd rather be murdered than raped as i'm sure a lot of rape victims would agree. And Its a fine line deciding what should and shouldn't be censored without a doubt. Generally I'm against censorship, but I just feel the anal probe thing is a step too far.
Adnoctum 27th June 2013, 17:32 Quote
Societies make a choice on what shape their community will take, and in a democratic society this shape is formed through a bit of give and take. To get an R18+ classification in Australia required a bit of give on the extreme end of the sexual violence and drug use spectrum.

Furthermore, we can all argue about how stupid this is, but the wider (non-core gamers and/or anal-probe enthusiasts) Australian community will no doubt agree with this determination. That is democracy in action.
No doubt there will be calls for liberty by adults who want the freedom to anal probe NPCs to death. As an intellectual exercise I yell "Simulated Anal Probes And/Or Death!" at your cause, but in the real world social and personal liberty isn't a black or white/all or nothing spectrum. If a society is allowed to restrict gameplay that simulated violent sexual abuse of children or women, then it has both the legal and moral right to extend that ban on extreme sexual violence to "enemies and civilians".

Also, Saints Row 4 is no Tropic of Cancer and Volition is no Henry Miller.

People talk about censorship. Sometimes they refer to the inter-racial kiss on Star Trek and how that was an important step in breaking down race barriers on US TV, and official or internal censorship could have stopped that in its tracks. Do you think in 20/30/40 years we'll be referring back to the Alien Anal Probe in SR4 and how it broke down the social barriers between . . . um . . . and . . . ?

The Australian Classification Board isn't a bunch of government appointed prudes. I watched a documentary (which I can't find online now) about the process. It was very informative.
They are AVERAGE Australians who apply for a position, it is a job and not a crusade and they aren't a bunch of Mary Whitehouses. They are of all ages, social positions, and interests. They are gamers (whatever one of these actually are) and non-gamers. If you are an Australian you can apply yourself.
The member determinations of the game are then peer reviewed to ensure consistency and that it adheres to the Board guidelines. It is discussed so a consensus is formed. It is not a knee-jerk process.
PingCrosby 27th June 2013, 20:56 Quote
That anal probe is MINE, I had my spaceship broken into when I was shopping at Aldi, bleedin neer' do wells
theshadow2001 27th June 2013, 21:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adnoctum

Furthermore, we can all argue about how stupid this is, but the wider (non-core gamers and/or anal-probe enthusiasts)

you mean and/or proctologists
fluxtatic 28th June 2013, 08:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adnoctum
Also, Saints Row 4 is no Tropic of Cancer and Volition is no Henry Miller.

Not at all the point - shall we burn Slaughterhouse 5 for being "dangerous filth"? The Catcher in the Rye?

Much as I loathe Beyonce, I'm not going to try to have her banned for either her messages of submission nor her 'empowered woman' bit (she's a touch contradictory, since her songwriters haven't agreed on a consistent message.) After all, she's no Joni Mitchell.

My being able to "violently rape someone to death" by twitching my thumbs doesn't have any more impact on the likelihood I'll go out and do it than seeing violent rape in A Serbian Film.

Likewise, as has been the case since I started playing video games in the early 80s, Narc didn't make me go shoot drug dealers, Mario didn't make me kill turtles, MSX didn't make me take up street racing, TF2 didn't make me shoot people, etc, etc.

This is comic violence - I'm as horrified as anyone by sexual violence. I'm married to a victim of it. Given the style and sensibilities of SR, I guarantee she'd find it more entertaining than anything.

And come on - I can't comically launch someone into the air via some sort of alien dildo, yet I can mow down people on the sidewalk in my car for blocks at a time, and then stalk the city on foot, only killing people by shooting them directly in the face (a realistic face with a realistic gun, resulting in realistic blood spatter while they realistically hit the ground like a sack of meat)? And when the cops come, I'll take one as a human shield, switching tactics to holding off the cops by shooting them in the groin to slow them, then shooting them in the face when they straighten back up. That's totally fine?
Corky42 28th June 2013, 08:37 Quote
@Adnoctum, i understand what your saying, and im not against the decisions of the Australian Classification Board. But i do question if a classification board is best suited to be making the choice on what any individual adult is allowed view, especially as they are not democratically elected AFAIK.

I would hazard a guess most reasonable adults would be able to tell the difference of violence, drug use, etc. depicted in a game from real life. The hint is in the name "Classification Board" meaning they are supposed to be classifying something not banning it.

The question is should the current laws meant to restrict the selling of 18+ games to people under age be enforce better, or should the politicians be introducing new laws ?
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