The Australian government has banned the sale of "Grand Theft Auto III," a popular new video game for the PlayStation 2 console in which players steal and wreck cars, commit contract killings and indulge in a variety of other crimes. Australian law requires that all games offered for sale include a rating from the government's Office of Film and Literature Classification. The office's Classification Review Board refused to rate "GTA III" earlier this week, stating that the game was "unsuitable for a minor to see or play."
The board confirmed the decision in a subsequent statement, adding that the decision "leaves retailers liable for prosecution. It is an offense to sell or demonstrate the game in Australia." In the United States, the game is rated "M"--mature audiences only--by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board, a voluntary ratings service supported by most game publishers.