Sexy Spanking Games and Murder Simulators

From The Age online dated March 11, 2011

Not long before it banned Mortal Kombat, the Board let a sexy spanking game, We Dare, through as PG, despite the game’s own publisher, Ubisoft, recommending it be rated M.

This follows on from Sex game to hit Australian stores and A Wii bit kinky: sexy spanking game rated PG but Mortal Kombat banned.

The decision to ban Mortal Kombat while giving the risqué We Dare a PG rating has revealed some interesting details about the federal government’s morality on censorship. Judging by the decisions, it appears that games promoting spanking, stripping and sexual partner swapping are acceptable for children while hardcore simulated on-screen violence is strictly off-limits.

It also found its way into this rather muddled opinion piece.

We Dare has caused a bit of an uproar generally, but most of it seems to have come from watching the promotional video for the game rather than playing it, a fact that hasn’t been lost on PEGI over in Europe who recently had this to say to eurogamer about the game and its advertising.

“The Committee concludes that the advertisement does NOT accurately reflect the nature and content of the product and it MISLEADS consumers as to its true nature.”

“It was correct to give the game a 12 rating,” PEGI said. “The content of the game and the interaction that the game itself implies do not warrant a higher rating.

“Marketing may have implied something else, but PEGI does not rate advertising, it rates game content. If people play the game, they will see that there is nothing inappropriate for ages 12 and older.”

There’s a conversation to be had about ratings, classification, sexual content, and their place in videogames, but We Dare is no more a ‘sexy spanking game’ than Call of Duty is a ‘murder simulator’ and maybe, just maybe, the classification board are doing their job.

And maybe, just maybe, employing the same sort of moral outrage tactics as critics of videogames do is perhaps not the smartest tack to take.

[Edit- clarified ‘game critics’]