Just eleven days after the legislation was officially introduced, Australia has its first R18+ rated adults-only video game. And it's for Wii U. Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge took out the honours, with the Classification Board citing - predictably - pretty significant amounts of violence and gore.
The official news came from Lesley O'Brien, Director of the Australian Classification Board. She explains the rating is thanks to the game's "High impact bloody violence".
Under the Guidelines for the Classification of Computer Games, R 18+ computer games will have a high impact and it is for this reason that these games are not suitable for under 18s. Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge contains violence that is high in impact because of its frequency, high definition graphics, and emphasis on blood effects.
Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge is a re-released, enhanced port of Ninja Gaiden 3, released in 2012 for Xbox 360 and PS3. The Board granted that original game an MA15+ rating, citing "Strong bloody violence", and acknowledging the "gaming experience may change online".
The difference between the original and Razor's Edge? It bundles up all of the downloadable content from the game, and throws in a few "additional enhancements" designed to make things even more hectic, intense, and - we assume - bloody.
In case you were curious, it seems that local publisher Nintendo waited a little while before submitting the game to the Board - Razor's Edge has already hit North America (November) and Japan (December), and arrived in Europe today, while the title wasn't even submitted to the Classification Board until January 3rd this year - after the new rules came into effect.
In other regions, Razor's Edge is also considered to be a fairly adult title - rated M (ages 17 and over) by the ESRB for the US, and 18+ by PEGI for Europe and the UK.
The game marks an impressive step in Australian gaming history - fans have been begging for an adults-only rating for more than a decade, with the legislation only now starting to fall into place. Under state and territory laws it is illegal to sell R 18+ computer games to people under 18. The retail future of Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge is a little murky for the time being, with Queensland still not sure how it will deal with the new rating. All other states and territories have put procedures in place, but - this soon after the changes, it's not clear whether retailers have caught up with the news.
At this stage, Nintendo Australia has not set a local release date for the game, now emblazoned with a big, black R.
I like video games, fishing, Depeche Mode, long walks on the beach, writing discussion papers and cups of tea. Not necessarily in that order.
Jimmy the Geek