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Mortal Kombat: AU appeal fails [UPDATED]

All over Australia, fans of fighting games held their collective breaths, as they waited to hear the Classification Review Board's decision about Mortal Kombat.

The game had been effectively banned down under late last month, but publishers Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment decided to re-submit an identical copy of the game for review, claiming that it was no worse than many other games currently on shelves. It seems the Board thinks otherwise, and the game remains Refused Classification in Australia.

It gets a bit messy...

It gets a bit messy...

According to the Review Board's official report, a four-member panel came to the majority decision that the game should be Refused Classification. The group made a fresh decision based on the appeal for review, and their findings now take the place of the original decision.

In the Review Board’s opinion, Mortal Kombat could not be accommodated within the MA15+ classification as the level of violence in the game has an impact which is higher than strong. As MA15+ is the highest classification category available to computer games under the Australian Classification Scheme, the Classification Review Board must refuse classification to Mortal Kombat.

We contacted publishers WBIE for comment, and received the following statement:

"We're obviously extremely disappointed that the refused classification decision has been upheld by the Classification Review Board. We want to thank the thousands of Mortal Kombat fans in Australia and around the world who have voiced their support during the appeal process."

WBIE have not yet announced their plans for the future of Mortal Kombat in Australia, but an earlier statement explained that the company "would not market mature content where it is not appropriate for the audience".

We are extremely disappointed that Mortal Kombat, one of the world's oldest and most successful video games franchises, will not be available to mature Australian gamers.

"...We understand that not all content is for every audience, but there is an audience for mature gaming content and it would make more sense to have the R18+ classification in Australia."

Content that is Refused Classification in Australia is not outright banned from the country. It is, however, banned for sale, hire or public exhibition, and punishment includes hefty fines and/or jail time. The laws vary from state to state within Australia. Generally speaking, it is legal to possess content that has been Refused Classification (unless it contains something illegal) - but in Western Australia and parts of the Northern Territory, even this is against the law. "Public exhibition" is also an awkward topic - as it can potentially include "playing the game in your loungeroom with the windows open where someone who walks past can see you".

...and then there's the fact that Customs can - and often does - confiscate the material as it is imported into the country. While you might get away with buying a copy of the game overseas, it's not guaranteed, and can potentially put you in hot water. So - how much do you want your fatalities?


This story was featured in Episode 7, Season 2 of GamePron News:

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11 Responses to “Mortal Kombat: AU appeal fails [UPDATED]”

  1. Kingsley Foreman says:

    that sucks…. :(

  2. Chucky says:

    Yes yes it does!!!

    However you can now pre-order MK from Mighty Ape in NZ. Once converted to Aus $ it is pretty much the same price as Amazon (US). For those purchasing different editions, I suggest getting the Tournament Stick version from NZ, and the Kollectors edition from the US (as they are the only one with the book ends). That way you should have less problems with DLC using the NZ version. Additionally by importing from multiple sources, you can avoid customs seizing it under the reason you are going to resell a second copy ;)

    Obviously that is only if you want both the Tournament and Kollectors editions :P

    Just canned my Amazon US order and ordered from Mightyape NZ :mrgreen:

  3. Nick says:

    The Australian Review Board simply need to do two simple things… GROW UP and TAKE OFF YOUR ROSE TINTED GLASSES!! For once im actually gratefull to live in South Africa! Games arrive on our shores, thick and fast, no questions asked!

    I feel sorry for the Australian gaming public! But dont you think its time everybody makes a stand and make your voices heard! Its BS! The fate of a game worth pottentially millions of Ozzie Dollars in sales is to be decided by a panel of 4 old geysers! BS!!

  4. [...] Mortal Kombat: AU appeal fails [UPDATED] [Gamepron] [...]

  5. Bob says:

    Nick,
    Its not the ratings boards fault. They can only work with the ratings we have in AU. The real problem is the lack of an R18+ rating for games, the attorney generals of each state are holding up approval of this & unfortunately for approval to be given it has to be a unanimous vote. Currently this proceess is being dragged out to the longest extent possible thanks to the political meddlings of several Church groups exerting power over members of parliamtent whom they have backed for years.

    What these Zealots don’t understand is that because there is no R18+ rating, extremely violent games like bulletstorm and Aliens Vs Predator end up being shoehorned into M15+ and then falling into the hands of kids who are not the publishers intended audience.

    Oh well, I had already looked at ordering this from overseas anyway as I figured this would happen.

    • subzy says:

      youre absolutely right about violent games making it through under the guise of an m15+ rating. I also want to order from overseas, but ive read that if caught i could be looking at a $110,000 fine. All over a videogame. Is it worth the risk? What would the chances be of getting caught by customs? These are the only things I wanna know right now, not if or when we’ll finally get an R18 classification.

  6. [...] organs being ruptured. More violence, indeed! Apparently, this was too much for Australia which banned the game and made it illegal to import. You can see some of these new moves in the gameplay trailer [...]

  7. [...] GamePron reports Warner Bros. issued the following statement: [...]

  8. [...] the 2011 Mortal Kombat was effectively banned not once but twice, it's not really surprising that this third attempt to get the game approved has [...]

  9. [...] of the game has been granted an R18+ adults-only rating, succeeding where the original game failed (twice), and the handheld version was considered too [...]

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