For those of you not in the know, Australia's classification board is fucked. Simple as that, and because of that horror gaming from this point onwards is pretty much fucked as well. What am I talking about? Silent Hill: Homecoming has been banned here. For disturbing gore and horror violence. Apparently there's a somewhat nasty sequence involving drills, so the game has been banned outright. Nice. Screaming Eastern Europeans are free to go about their grotesque chainsaw decapitations in Resident Evil 4, but this gets the game banned. And get this, previous disappointments thanks to the OFLC include Fallout having to remove all reference to actual drugs (what?!) and the most recent Leisure Suit Larry games were also banned. I don't care how good or bad these games are, I wanted to play them, and the reason for their banning simply isn't good enough in my mind. But the fact that the games were banned is only a part of what irritates me about this.
What really pisses me off is the fact that from here on out, we're going to be getting neutered versions of everything. I'm worried Resident Evil 5 and a lot of other promising horror titles are going to have their balls removed to get a greenlight here. Ultimately the horror genre is NOT for children. Horror games have never been geared towards anyone under the age of 15, and my big concern is that all the games geared towards adults are going to feel the pinch. Ultimately, horror is a genre that NEEDS to push boundaries. Yes it can go too far, but at the moment, I don't feel it has. There are FAR worse things floating around on cinema screens and readily accessible to ANYONE at their local video store. The one guy in the way of games getting an R rating here in Australia points to the fact that games have an interactive element films do not. Where was this arguement when a bloody chainsaw peripheral was introduced for all consoles capable of playing RE4? Or when the game was modified to be even more interactive for release on the WII? Gotta love that interactive stabbing and knife slashing!
Interactivity also means fuck all in my mind when you have films like Saw 39 hitting screens every Halloween. Films which thrive on simple gratuitious violence and gore in some of the most disturbing and off-putting ways should come before a game that doesn't recieve advertising on national television (I saw the syringe pit sequence on a TV Spot for God's sake!), and is far LESS accessible to inappropriately aged audiences.
Child gamers will not play games they don't understand or have trouble controlling. There's a level of complexity to the Silent Hill and Resident Evil titles that will go right over the audiences these people claim to be concerned about, and for these sequences in question to occur, the player has to reach a significant point in the game. Kids simply won't have the patience for it. The psychological complexity of the Silent Hill series alone is enough to put a young gamer off. They simply won't understand it, and because they won't understand it, they won't play far enough into it! This is why the Wii has been thriving amongst younger and more inexperienced gamers, they're easily accessible games that don't require a significant investment of time or understanding from a player. It's exactly the same with books and comics. Kids won't read anything they don't understand, because they can't!
The people who classify these games DON'T play them! They see or read about violent sequences totally out of context. The questionable content is shown to them without their prior knowledge of the games in particular series' and they pass judgement on that.
That said, I have just imported the game, so eat shit Michael Atkinson. Thank you PS3 region-free games.