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Narc Banned By Australian Authorities

The Australian distributor of Midway's lurid '80s arcade game remake NARC has announced that the console game has been refused classification by the Australian Off...

Simon Carless, Blogger

April 13, 2005

2 Min Read

The Australian distributor of Midway's lurid '80s arcade game remake NARC has announced that the console game has been refused classification by the Australian Office of Film and Literature Classification. Red Ant has confirmed that this means that NARC, the morally ambiguous VIS Interactive-developed title which allows players to either behave angelically as a good cop, or take drugs and misbehave as a 'bad' narcotics officer, will not be released in Australia at all. Apparently, the OFLC classified NARC with an 'RC' (refused classification) rating in accordance with Part 1(d) of the computer games table of the national classification code, which relates to: "1. Computer games that; (d) are unsuitable for a minor to see or play"*. A seven-member panel of the Classification Board determined, in a majority 6 to 1 decision that Narc be refused classification. Red Ant further commented: "The minority view of the board believes the impact of the game is justified in the context of a game based on busting drug dealers. Unfortunately the majority of the board did not agree that NARC was justified within the current highest [Australian] classification rating of MA15+." Although the game has had a somewhat lower profile in North America, questions regarding NARC surfaced in the Australian press before its release, with it being referenced in government debate, and Electronic Frontiers Australia renewing the call for a MA18+ rating to be instituted, since Australia is one of the only major Western countries not to allow 'adult' classification of games. The OFLC has previously banned Vivendi's Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude, singling out "obscured and/or implied sexual activity and obscured and partial nudity involving stylised, animated characters", and Rockstar's Manhunt, citing "scenes of blood and gore that go beyond strong."

About the Author(s)

Simon Carless

Blogger

Simon Carless is the founder of the GameDiscoverCo agency and creator of the popular GameDiscoverCo game discoverability newsletter. He consults with a number of PC/console publishers and developers, and was previously most known for his role helping to shape the Independent Games Festival and Game Developers Conference for many years.

He is also an investor and advisor to UK indie game publisher No More Robots (Descenders, Hypnospace Outlaw), a previous publisher and editor-in-chief at both Gamasutra and Game Developer magazine, and sits on the board of the Video Game History Foundation.

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