Wednesday, September 14

How did Dead Island defy the classification Ban Hammer?

The Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) has done it again. Their decision to bestow Dead Island with an MA15+ rating - and as a result, green-light it for sale in Australia - has left me confused in light of some of its more recent bungles.

In the hope that you'll understand my bewilderment, I'll show quotes from OFLC reports for games that were previously refused classification and compare them to some screenshots from Deep Silver's zombie RPG.
The use of the "melee" weapons can wipe out several Infected in one blow which cause the above mentioned blood and gore effects. The player kills a very large amount of enemy characters to proceed through the game. Whilst no post mortem damage can be inflicted, piles of bodies lay about the environment.
Excerpt from the OFLC report detailing reasons why Left 4 Dead 2 was refused classification (care of

In the six hours that I've spent playing Dead Island, I've fired three bullets. Three! Almost every zombie that I've killed has been bludgeoned or cut with a melee weapon; and my word is it graphic. Sure, the effects may not be overly convincing, but the level of gore is far greater than that seen in the original Left 4 Dead. Worse than that, you can actually inflict post mortem damage on zombie corpses, as below:

Before hammer facial

After hammer facial

As for the "piles of bodies" comment:

Slow day...
However, it is the use of the "melee" weapons such as the crowbar, axe, chainsaw and Samurai sword which inflict the most damage. These close in attacks cause copious amounts of blood spray and splatter, decapitations and limb dismemberment as well as locational damage where contact is made to the enemy which may reveal skeletal bits and gore.
Another excerpt from the OFLC report detailing reasons why Left 4 Dead 2 was refused classification (care of

Here's some of my handiwork using my trusty "Flimsy Diving Knife."

You may care to disagree, but there's a fair bit of "blood spray" in the image that I captured above. "Locational damage" and "skeletal bits and gore" are also readily apparent. I'm curious as to how the violence depicted in Left 4 Dead 2 would've had a lesser impact than that shown in the shots I've taken. I can't say for sure that I would've been less affected by the violence in Valve's zombie shooter sequel, as I've never played the uncut product; what I do know is, the action that I've seen in Dead Island covers all of the criteria that got L4D2 banned.  

Now let's have a look at a more recent example, House of the Dead: Overkill Extended Cut. As reported by Kotaku AU:
“The “Hardcore” game mode allows players to play in a manner that exceeds strong in impact,” claims the report, “engaging a headshot-only mode which results in frequent, detailed blood and gore as the zombies and mutants heads explode into bloody pieces that spread around the environment and onto the screen.
While I'll concede I haven't burst any skulls with a gun (yet), you can burst many a zombie's frail skull with blunt objects in Dead Island. You can refer to the hammer facial above if you want explicit proof, but take my word for it: I've popped scores of heads in a game that was cleared for release by the OFLC. If anything, I'd argue that the damage that players can inflict on live opponents and on corpses post mortem would cause as much impact as SEGA's banned light gun shooter.

I'll finish with sorest wound on the 2011 Australian release schedule, Mortal Kombat. Once again from Kotaku AU:
At the conclusion of a bout, a character is invited to perform a ‘finishing move’ or ‘fatality’. To perform a fatality, a player has to push a series of button combinations within a short period of time. If this is successfully accomplished, a non-interactive cut scene is triggered which depicts a character explicitly slaughtering their opponent.
While non-interactive violence and gore can be viewed often in Dead Island - with zombies attacking NPCs and feasting on random corpses - if you would like to see some explicit slaughter: all you need to do is spam the right trigger. No context-sensitive button combinations are required for scenes like this:

Stop! Zombie Hammer Time!

Should I stop now before another game is banned in Australia? Can anyone enlighten me as to whether Left 4 Dead 2 features violence that is of a higher level of "impact"?

  1. Games Censorship: Left 4 Dead Series -
  2. Why Mortal Kombat was refused classification -
  3. This is why House of the Dead: Overkill - Extended Cut was refused classification -

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