Gaming News & Opinions

Australia Punishes Gamers With Prudish Ideals in Rockstar ‘Bonaire’ Ban

By Rockstar Games, the studio which published such smash hits as Grand Theft Auto V and the Red Dead Redemption series has seen yet another title banned in Australia—’Bonaire’, an unknown RockStar Games project has been struck by the AUS banhammer. The only other title to receive an initial ban was Manhunt.

While game rating boards have specific purposes, namely balancing artistic merit with the consumer’s well-being, they must also serve as an arbiter to the list of games allowed in their respective countries. A rating of “RC” means that a game will not be sold in the country. Bonaire has not been located within PEGI or any other rating systems as of this writing.

The AUS games rating board, known as the Australian Classification Board (ACB) revoked their rating for GTA: San Andreas after the Hot Coffee scandal, though they have been notoriously heavy-handed in the past, issuing tactical banhammer strikes against well-known titles such as Fallout 3 (Overturned, Morphine references changed to Med-X), We Happy Few, and South Park: The Stick of Truth (Overturned, with edits).

Bonaire Rated ‘RC’ in Australia | Image courtesy: Kotaku

Games Rating board Criteria’

  • For Mature (18+) Restricted ratings, the ACB utilizes the following criteria:
  • “Realistic and explicit” depictions of violence is permitted, but violence that is “frequently gratuitous, cruel, exploitative and offensive to a reasonable adult” will not be permitted.
  • Themes can have a “very high degree of intensity” but should not be “exploitative”.
  • Sexual violence is permitted only to the extent that they are “necessary to the narrative” and “not exploitative” or “not shown in detail”.
  • Sexual activity can be “realistically simulated”, but a depiction of “actual sexual activity is not permitted”.
  • Drug use can be shown but “not gratuitously detailed” and should also “not be promoted or encouraged”. For computer games, drug use related to “incentives and rewards” is not permitted.
  • Nudity in a sexual context should “not include obvious genital contact”.
  • Coarse language is virtually unrestricted.

Any games which fall in the ‘too extreme’ for this category area are assigned an ‘NC’ rating, or refusal to rate the content. People over 18 years of age in most areas of Australia are legally allowed to own NC-rated content, but stores in Australia are prohibited from selling it to them.

Last modified: September 23, 2020 12:54 PM

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