Australian Classification Board
The Australian Classification Board (ACB), formerly known as the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) is a statutory classification body which provides day to day administrative support for the Classification Board which rates films, computer games, and publications in Australia, and the Classification Review Board which reviews films, computer games and publications when a valid application has been made. Since the name was changed to ACB, the analogous New Zealand body no longer has the same, but still has the old name. Both organizations are completely separate entities and as such, ratings do differ between them.
Film and Video Game Ratings
Below or beside the picture of the classification label is a list of the reasons the product received that classification.
A rating of 'RC' denotes 'Refused Classification', where the game is effectively banned from being sold or demonstrated in the country. (there is no label as it is not a public rating)
Previous Video Game Ratings
These ratings are still shown on some older video games that are still on sale in Australia
|G — General : The G classification is for a general audience.|
|G8+ — General for children over 8 years of age: Material classified G8+ may contain material which some children find confusing or upsetting, and may require the guidance of parents or guardians. It is not recommended for viewing by persons under 8 without guidance from parents or guardians.|
|M15+ — Mature: Material classified M15+ is not recommended for persons under 15 years of age, however there are no legal restrictions on access.|
|MA15+ — Mature Restricted: Material classified MA15+ is considered unsuitable for persons under 15 years of age. It is a legally restricted category -- children under 15 cannot buy or hire an MA15+ computer game unless accompanied by a parent or adult guardian.|
List of GTA ratings
The Classification Board has been quite harsh on the GTA series in comparison with other ratings boards. Grand Theft Auto III was originally restricted by the Classification Board who gave it a rating of "RC," but it later gained an "MA 15+" rating meaning the game could be sold in the country. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas had its "MA 15+" rating revoked after the Hot Coffee incident, resulting in the game being banned. The updated re-release allowed the game to regain its "MA 15+" rating. GTA IV was originally awarded a rating of RC, until a censored version of the game was submitted for classification. The PC version of GTA IV, however, remained uncensored.
Historically, video games could not be awarded the R 18+ rating, resulting in these games been banned or censored. This is contrary to a line in the classification code which states that "adults should be able to read, hear and see what they want". As of 2013, however, this has been changed. It is therefore unknown whether GTA V will need to be censored. Some stores may not wish to sell games with the adult rating.
The GTA series is rated as follows:
- Grand Theft Auto 1 - MA 15+ (M15+ on Game Boy Color)
- Grand Theft Auto: London 1969 - MA 15+
- Grand Theft Auto 2 - MA 15+
- Grand Theft Auto III - MA 15+ (originally RC)
- Grand Theft Auto: Vice City - MA 15+
- Grand Theft Auto Advance - M15+
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas - MA 15+ (later revoked due to Hot Coffee, updated edition given MA 15+)
- Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories - MA 15+
- Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories - MA 15+
- Grand Theft Auto IV - MA 15+ (originally RC, re-rated after a censored version of the game was submitted)
- ESRB, the United States and Canadian computer and video game rating system
- ELSPA, the former British computer and video game rating system, replaced by the PEGI ratings.
- PEGI, the European computer and video game rating system
- BBFC, the British Board of Film Classification