Marc Ecko banned in Australia

Another month, another game ban. This time it is graffiti-focused action title Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure, which has been refused classification by Australia's Office of Film and Literature Classification (OLFC), effectively making the game illegal to sell in this country.

Another month, another game ban. This time it is graffiti-focused action title Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure, which has been refused classification by Australia's Office of Film and Literature Classification (OLFC), effectively making the game illegal to sell in this country.

Marc Ecko was previously granted a MA 15+ classification by the OLFC in November last year. The Attorney General's Office and the Local Government Association of Queensland, however, appealed that decision, with the OLFC's Review Board ruling in a 3 to 2 decision to ban the game after fresh meetings held this month.

OLFC Convenor Maureen Shelley said that under the National Classification Code and the Guidelines for the Classification of Films and Computer Games, games that "include or contain detailed instruction or promotion of matters of crime" would be refused classification. "It is the Classification Review Board's determination that this game promotes the crime of graffiti," she said.

In a press statement, the OLFC Review Board said Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure warranted refused classification as it promotes crime, such as:

  • the realistic scenarios whereby the central character Trane acquires his knowledge of graffiti tips, techniques and styles - including meeting with five real graffiti artists who pass on details of tips and techniques;
  • the reward for and positive reinforcement of graffiti writing on public buildings and infrastructure; and
  • interactive biographies of 56 real graffiti artists, with details of their personal tags, styles and careers. The game detail states that all these artists began their careers performing illegal graffiti on public buildings and infrastructure and that some continue with this practice today.

Atari Australia, the distributor of the game, said in a statement that they "strongly disagreed" with the OLFC's decision. The game was set for release worldwide in February, and has not been banned for sale anywhere else in the world. Atari Vice President of corporate communications Ryan Barr said that Atari would appeal the decision immediately, but there was no telling how long the process would take.

Games have no R rating in Australia, effectively meaning any game that cannot be classified as MA 15+ or below will be banned for sale. Last year, the hot coffee scandal resulted in Grand Theft Auto San Andreas being banned for a few months while new versions of the game were made, while other games like Narc were banned completely.

Additional reporting by GameSpot.com.

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