Unless you have been living under a giant, purple genitalia-shaped rock for the past few weeks, you probably know the story of Saints Row IV and their ongoing war with the Australian Classification Board, but for those of you who enjoy their genitalia-shaped boulders, here’s the rundown: Saints Row IV was originally banned in Australia due to two things. The first was a weapon called The Rectifier. While this is marketed as a piece of alien anal-probe technology, in actuality, it’s a giant, purple d@!do sword that you shove up your enemy’s ass before rocketing him off into space. The second reason for the banishment was one particular side-mission in which you take alien narcotics in order to gain superpowers. No matter how many times the game’s developers and publishers tried to appeal the decision, the game was just too risqué for the Land Down Under.
Australia hasn’t exactly had the best track record with rating and banning games. For the longest time, they didn’t even have an adult game rating. It’s only recently, with its new R18+ rating, that it admitted that games can be made for adults. However, Saints Row IV was too bad even for the R18+ rating. So Volition had to change the game up for Australian audiences in order to get a full release. How did they do it? Simple! They just took out the alien drug mission, and BAM, the game dropped down to an MA 15+ rating, the equivalent of a T rating here in America.
This proves that it is not the Saints Row IV team that is being immature with their sex weapons, drug-themed missions, and giant boob masks, but rather Australia that is being immature in the way it handles rating the game. Think about it: The game went from unclassifiable to T for teen, and it did so with the removal of one sidequest. That’s essentially dropping from the level of Lars von Trier’s Antichrist, with all its genital mutilation and psychological torture, to the level of say, Batman: The Animated Series, and all they did was make Willem Dafoe wear a Batman mask over his manhood… geez I really can’t stop referencing male genetalia in this article, can I?
This isn’t the first time Australia has fundamentally misunderstood the way people think. For example, State of Decay was banned from classification because you were able to use “stimulants” to get bonuses. The developers simply renamed these items “supplements,” and suddenly, Australia was open to giving the game an R18+ rating. Does the Australian Ratings Classification Board really think that playing a game with “stimulants” in it will get kids to OD on their parents pain medication, while a game with “supplements” in it, taken from the same prescription-looking bottle, will cause kids to suddenly storm the local Vitamin Shoppe?
That’s just not how people work, Australia! Saints Row IV is filled with hours of death and drugs and superpowers and aliens and other unmentionables, and removing a small 20-minute sidequest isn’t making it any better. That’s not to say the game should remain banned, but rather that the game didn’t deserve a ban in the first place. This idea that people are mindless sheep that will mimic anything that they see and can also be deceived by simple changes in wording or phrasing is far more immature than any alien narcotics. It’s essentially a whole country of that kid who was afraid to look at your Dad’s porno stash because he would get in trouble. Come on! Sneaking a peak at some tasteful 60s ladies didn’t turn you into a roving degenerate, and Saints Row IV won’t do it either.
Angelo M. D'Argenio
Senior Contributing Writer