Fourth R18+ Video Game in Australia Raises Questions Over Usefulness of System
A fourth game has been granted the R18+ rating in Australia, just 24 days after the new classification was introduced.
This time, PlayStation Vita title Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 has been slapped with the restrictive rating, meaning persons under the age of 18 are unable to buy the title. The rating is questionable considering the exact same title was released in 2009 under the MA15+ rating.
In 2009, and indeed any time before January 1, 2013, any game with “high level impact” violence, sexual themes or drug use would be banned from sale since they were considered unsuitable for 15 year olds to play. The curious thing is that this game was rated MA15+ in 2009 on PlayStation 3, and the PlayStation Vita port doesn’t have any notable improvements to the content over the original.
Still, it’s worth noting that Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 was rated M by the ESRB in the USA, which advises people under the age of 17 should not play the game. The new Australian classification stands to highlight just how broken the old system was, and how inconsistant the new system may be: after all, the PlayStation 3 version of the same game has not been reclassified.
This means that if a 15 year old wanted to access the content that the Classification Board says is unsuitable for them to play, all they need to do is pick up the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
This isn’t the first time we here at Aussie-Gamer have poked holes in the Classification Board’s new ratings system, but this example is the first real-world example of how the whole usefulness of classification in Australia can fall apart due to inconsistant values.
We can’t help but ask the question: is the game unsuitable for 15 year olds? If so, why can they buy the PlayStation 3 version? Why wasn’t it banned in 2009?
Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 on PlayStation Vita hits stores on March 1.