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Author Topic: GTA 5 removed from Target Australia  (Read 2883 times)

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Offline SethalaTopic starter

GTA 5 removed from Target Australia
« on: December 06, 2014, 01:19:10 AM »
Not exactly world-shattering news, but recently Target Australia, as well as Kmart Australia (which I believe is owned by the same company that owns Target Australia), as well as a third company (whose name I can't recall at the moment) have decided to pull Grand Theft Auto 5 off of the store shelves.  The reason?  Primarily this petition.

Now first off, let me just say that I agree a retailer is free to pick whatever they want to sell and don't want to sell, that is their right.  However, just because they are legally and morally allowed to do something does not mean that doing so is a good idea.  It is their right to do it, but I do not believe they were right to do it.  I also assume that several people will bring up the term "censorship" here.  The right to free speech, at least in the US (although I assume Australia has a similar law) does only apply to government censorship.  However, that doesn't mean that other entities can't censor something; Target is very clearly trying to censor GTA 5 by removing it from their store.  With that out of the way...

I do have a lot of issues with the petition, because it frames GTA as a "violence against women simulator", when really, it's a violence against everyone simulator that happens to have both men and women.  Yes, I agree that female representation in the game is poor, that there should probably be less female strippers and perhaps a few male ones (of varying sexual orientation), and I do think the game should have a female protagonist.  However, it is a huge leap of logic to say that because you can kill a female sex worker in the game, it implies that the game is encouraging it.  Saying that it is violence against women is putting women on a pedestal to be protected, a far cry from equality.  It seems that it's being targeted because video games are still "new media" to some people, the same as how rock music, violent movies, and so on were common public scapegoats whenever someone wanted to blame the world's misery on something.  Now I do admit, I haven't played GTA 5 myself (I'm not much into open-world games, to be honest, and GTA's theme isn't one I care much about), but nothing I've seen suggests that there's any incentive to kill female characters.

It's also worth mentioning that in Australia, GTA's rating actually has legal punishments for selling it to minors, unlike stores in the US where it's often store policy to not sell to minors, but nothing punishable by law.  However, some of this may be Target's fault thanks to them publishing a flyer that placed the game in the same section as kid's toys.

One thing I do want to point out however.  Back when there was a big backlash against Anita Sarkeesian and a few other prominent feminists involving themselves with video games, one of the common arguments supporting them was something along the lines of "Don't worry boys, we don't want to take away your games, we just want to make sure girls can have fun with them too."  It's a sentiment that I fully agree with and support.  However, this ban makes it seem that yes, they really are out to take away games they don't approve of, and I really can't see how any good can come out of attempts to censor something.

I agree with an individual's right to vote with their wallet and refuse to buy something that they find offensive.  I also agree with an individual's right to attempt to inform others that something is bad and that they shouldn't buy it.  What I don't agree with is an individual, rather than telling people "you shouldn't buy this", is instead telling people "I'm going to make it impossible for you to buy this".

Earlier today, Totalbiscuit did a Content Patch talking about the issue in depth here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rze-TEJJpYs.  Another perspective about the issue talking about how adding a first-person mode to the game may change people's perspective beyond just the camera is here: http://www.gamespot.com/videos/the-point-gta-violence-a-matter-of-perspective/2300-6422613/
« Last Edit: December 06, 2014, 01:40:24 AM by Sethala »

Offline Vorian

Re: GTA 5 removed from Target Australia
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2014, 05:40:51 AM »
I'm not really familiar with the series enough to comment much on the rest of this and don't plan to change that, but personally I've always found a close-camera third person view to be more immersive and a first person view restricted to the tiny box of the screen to be a constant reminder it's just a video game.

Offline Hemingway

Re: GTA 5 removed from Target Australia
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2014, 06:58:41 AM »
I won't go say too much about the decision to pull it from the shelves, or the petition, as TB makes a good job of that. It seems pretty obviously that it's based on a ( possibly willful ) misunderstanding of the game, obvious distortions of the truth ( "given options to kill women . . ." makes it sound like the game prompts you to make some sort of decision ).

What I'm curious about though is, does anyone know if there's any indication that other chains are or will be doing the same? Because Target and Kmart are well within their rights to make decisions that will hurt their profits and their reputation with people who buy games. Other retailers obviously benefit from it, as long as they're actually selling the games. Unless this somehow spreads and effectively sensors a game that, after all, was not refused classification in Australia, I'm not sure I see the big issue.

Offline consortium11

Re: GTA 5 removed from Target Australia
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2014, 08:17:35 AM »
What I'm curious about though is, does anyone know if there's any indication that other chains are or will be doing the same? Because Target and Kmart are well within their rights to make decisions that will hurt their profits and their reputation with people who buy games. Other retailers obviously benefit from it, as long as they're actually selling the games. Unless this somehow spreads and effectively sensors a game that, after all, was not refused classification in Australia, I'm not sure I see the big issue.

GTAV was also removed from sale at New Zealand's largest retailer.

I wasn't going to start a thread about this myself, largely because it seems almost inevitable that the discussion will come back on some level to Gamergate... and we already have a thread on that topic which was locked and then not reopened, seemingly meaning discussion is closed.

But here we go.

For many years Jack Thompson was the deserved target of ridicule by the gaming community for his attempts to link video games and violence and prevent violent video games from being sold to minors. Throughout his misguided crusade his targets were pretty much always the same; he's sue the developers, publishers and retailers of violent video games which were sold to under-18's who then went on to engage in violent acts, he'd campaign and petition states to bring in rules banning the sale of violent video games to minors and he'd write articles talking about how "dangerous" violent video games were and how there was a link between them and those who commit violence. For that he was scorned, ridiculed and made a laughing stock with the mainstream gaming press originally pointing out how ridiculous his ideas were... and eventually just dismissing him out of hand.

Here were are about a decade later and look what happened.

Jack Thompson's wish... that games like GTAV couldn't be sold to minors... is already the law in Australia. As an R18+ product it's a criminal offence for a store to sell the game to anyone under 18. If you read through Thompson's (many) lawsuits, articles, letters and petitions that's consistently the main thrust of his argument. But seemingly that isn't enough. It's not acceptable for the game to not just be sold to children... it can't be sold to anyone. The arguments used are virtually identical; Jack Thompson complained about violence in general, this petition, it's supporters and it's ideological stablemates complain about violence against women specifically. Jack Thompson complained about how games trained children to accept violence, this petition, it's supporters and it's ideological stablemates complain about how games train anyone to hate women. Hell, as limited as it was Thompson at least had some (generally bad) science to support his positions; this petition, it's supporters and it's ideological stablemates have even less.

As mentioned above a frequent retort by those who support Anita Sarkeesian and her frequently incorrect analysis is that they "don't want to take your games away" and that they're "not Jack Thompson" (an actual song by one of Sarkeesian's freinds and collaborators). And they're right that they're not Jack Thompson... Jack Thompson concentrated on preventing certain games being sold to children, this is about games not being sold at all. It's not surprising to me that the petition echoes the language and points that Sarkeesian makes in her videos nor that GTA V... the game Sarkeesian was first to mention when asked to discuss problematic games... is the target (no pun intended) of this.

But that's not an issue right? Just because someone uses the same arguments you do doesn't mean that you agree with them.

Well that position becomes a bit harder to hold to when Jonathan McIntosh... Sarkeesian's mentor, producer and writer... starts arguing in response to the ban that "to anyone outside of the gaming world GTA is seen for the repugnant misogynist garbage that it is" and generally supports the ban (not that we're seemingly allowed to call it a ban). This is a man who many of the most regarded journalists in video games are willing to appear in the videos for... can you imagine the editor of Kotaku appearing in support of Jack Thompson in a video?

(And let's remember, McIntosh is repeating Jack Thompson's arguments about violent video games causing violence)

Let's be clear; you cannot redefine censorship because one doesn't like the idea of being a censor. In response to this I've seen a multitude of people attempt to argue that it cannot possibly be censorship because it's not a government decision. But it doesn't matter if it's a government decision or not. As per wikipedia Censorship is (emphasis mine) "the suppression of speech, public communication or other information which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, politically incorrect or inconvenient as determined by governments, media outlets, authorities or other groups or institutions." Until now there has never seemingly been a limitation on censorship that it only applied when the government or state did it. Deciding that speech (which a game is) is harmful or problamatic and thus refusing to sell it is by definition censorship. It doesn't matter if you don't want to think of yourself as a censor... you are.

Video games fought off Jack Thompson because they presented a united front and critically engaged with his positions, refuting them at every turn before eventually simply ridiculing them. Now we're in a position where at least some of the video game media are supporting those exact same positions.

And that's a pretty scary thought.

Offline Deamonbane

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Re: GTA 5 removed from Target Australia
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2014, 08:22:39 AM »
Terrifying thought, actually.

Offline Beorning

Re: GTA 5 removed from Target Australia
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2014, 09:48:10 AM »
Okay, but... are we *sure* that video games don't cause violence?

Also, ask yourself: if you were a parent, would you be comfortable with your kid playing some of the violent games?

Personally, I've played Mortal Kombat in my youth... but now, I'm not sure if I'd want my children to play it (assuming I had children, that is).

Offline Deamonbane

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Re: GTA 5 removed from Target Australia
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2014, 09:54:07 AM »
The Problem isn't children playing it... If I were a parent I wouldn't allow my tyke to play GTA V either... then again, I also wouldn't allow them to do a bunch of things that I do (drive a car, watch graphically violent movies, porn etc). Children are one thing, but not allowed ANYONE to play it for the same reason is just silly.

Offline ReijiTabibito

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Re: GTA 5 removed from Target Australia
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2014, 10:09:21 AM »
Okay, but... are we *sure* that video games don't cause violence?

Are we sure that movies don't cause violence?  Or music (whether metal, rap, or pick your genre)?  Or professional sports?  Or...I could go on, but hopefully my point is made here.  If we ask the question 'are we sure that thing X doesn't cause violence,' then we must open the question further to 'are we sure that  anything doesn't cause violence?'  Singling out one of a number of cultural influences that may share a correlation to antisocial behavior (which violence technically is) isn't going to solve our problem with this.  It's a band-aid.  Doesn't help heal the wound, it just makes you feel better because you don't have to look at it.

Also, ask yourself: if you were a parent, would you be comfortable with your kid playing some of the violent games?

Depends on the context of the violence.  Violence for violence sake is not an acceptable thing.  Nor, in my opinion, would it be good to largely expose children to violence against human figures.  But not all violence is bad, especially when it's in the right context - I'm actually watching a Let's Play of the game Okami right now, and while there is violence, the context shows that you are fighting against evil for the good of everyone.  That's a worthy message - sometimes good people must take up arms and fight evil.

Offline consortium11

Re: GTA 5 removed from Target Australia
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2014, 10:44:23 AM »
Okay, but... are we *sure* that video games don't cause violence?

There's been a lot of research into this topic and almost none find any link between violent video games and violent actions in real life. We've had two high profile studies on the topic this year alone: first we could look at Violent video games and real world violence: Rhetoric versus data by the Villanova University and Rutgers University and published recently the Psychology of Popular Media Culture which concludes:

Quote
Annual trends in video game sales for the past 33 years were unrelated to violent crime both concurrently and up to four years later. Unexpectedly, monthly sales of video games were related to concurrent decreases in aggravated assaults and were unrelated to homicides. Searches for violent video game walkthroughs and guides were also related to decreases in aggravated assaults and homicides two months later. Finally, homicides tended to decrease in the months following the release of popular M-rated violent video games.

We also had a study by the University of Oxford and the University of Rochester about video games and aggressiveness. This one actually did conclude that there was a link between video games and aggressiveness but that it had absolutely nothing to do with the content of the game, violent or otherwise. Instead the rise in aggressiveness related to the controls of the game and how frustrating they were to learn and master. According to the study a incredibly violent game causes essentially no rise in aggressiveness as long as the control scheme works well; a "kid friendly" game with no objectionable content but poor controls does.

Also, ask yourself: if you were a parent, would you be comfortable with your kid playing some of the violent games?

Quite possibly not... but that would be my choice. As a parent I have near absolute autonomy from preventing my child from playing any games I don't want them to; they have no source of money outside of me as a parent and no-on will make an issue if I confiscate a game (or even a console). These days games have age ratings included within the game itself and you can easily set up systems to prevent profiles from playing games above a certain rating. It's never been easier for a parent to prevent a child from playing a game they don't want them too... but none of that is because shops are banning games.

This is especially true in Australia; it was already illegal for a child to buy GTA due to the R18+ rating so any children who did play the game most likely got it from their parents who had already decided it was fine for them to play it.

Offline Caehlim

Re: GTA 5 removed from Target Australia
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2014, 03:44:05 PM »
What I'm curious about though is, does anyone know if there's any indication that other chains are or will be doing the same?

It's possible that other supermarkets and similar will do the same. They have to be concerned about their profits dropping on all of their product lines.

However there is practically zero chance of this happening for actual game stores. A friend of mine who is a manager at an EBGames store has heard no indications that any of their stores or the upper management are even considering it.

Also, ask yourself: if you were a parent, would you be comfortable with your kid playing some of the violent games?

I don't plan on having children, but if I did I would allow them to play a game like Mortal Kombat as long as I had a chance to explain it to them and set it into context. I think that mystifying violence and making it seem exotic and forbidden is a good way of getting children obsessed with it. When it's restricted to adults only it seems like it's some sort of honour that adults receive, which will only lead them to want it for themselves.

Offline SethalaTopic starter

Re: GTA 5 removed from Target Australia
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2014, 11:09:41 PM »
Admittedly I'm not sure how much this would do to stop the complaints about GTA, but I read a comment on Reddit saying that, in GTA IV, NPCs would actually react differently depending on who you attacked if you randomly went around hitting people.  If you hit a man, it was about a 50/50 chance whether he ran away or tried to fight back.  If you hit a woman, she would usually run away, sometimes try to fight back, and a decent amount of times, other nearby men would also turn and start attacking you.

I don't have any of the GTA games myself and I don't plan on getting them, but if anyone here has a copy, would you mind testing real quick to see if this is true, and if it happens in GTA V as well?

Offline Drake Valentine

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Re: GTA 5 removed from Target Australia
« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2014, 08:36:53 PM »
............

This is the most ridiculous thing I have read as of yet.

First off, the same concept could be said true about any free roam game that lets you do just about anything. Ahem. Elder Scrolls series. Fallout Series. Saints Row Series. True Crime/Sleeping Dogs. Far Cry. Assassin's Creed. Watch Dogs. So on and so forth. There is nothing in those games that makes you HAVE to kill innocent people, the choice itself is up to the player. The game vaguely promotes violence, seriously? You think that GTA is violent, maybe they should try playing that Postal Game which is banned in countries for a reason. There is another game(forgot its name) but PC exclusive that has far more graphic violence and story is centered around killing innocent civilians, but that game is under development and Unreal doesn't want them using their engine cause it is 'that bad..'

If they are worried about games promoting violence(which is optional) to women, then they might as well make a move to pull violent movies that center around women abuse off shelves as well everywhere.

Edit: Ah, Hatred is PC game I am thinking about. Go Google it if you haven't heard of it. It has some rather disturbing graphic violence and is centered on civilian mass murder. That is game I can understand being removed from shelves. GTA, not so much along with other free roam games that lets it be option for murder to civilians.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2014, 09:01:21 PM by Drake Valentine »

Offline consortium11

Re: GTA 5 removed from Target Australia
« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2014, 09:26:13 PM »
First off, the same concept could be said true about any free roam game that lets you do just about anything. Ahem. Elder Scrolls series. Fallout Series. Saints Row Series. True Crime/Sleeping Dogs. Far Cry. Assassin's Creed. Watch Dogs. So on and so forth.

Interesting to note with both the Fallout (Bethesda version) and Elder Scrolls series the only non-killable class of characters (so those who are non-killable by default rather than for plot reasons) are children (and as anyone who's ever been through Little Lamplight can attest that's damn annoying...). In essence that's petitions like this and those who use similar arguments are pushing for... for women to be treated like children.

There is another game(forgot its name) but PC exclusive that has far more graphic violence and story is centered around killing innocent civilians, but that game is under development and Unreal doesn't want them using their engine cause it is 'that bad.

Hatred?

That was subject to its own petition; while the new version has softened the language considerably the original one essentially went "I know lots of developers and because I dislike this game if you don't apologize and cancel it I will conspire with the whole industry to blacklist both it and you".

Personally I've got next to no interest in ever playing Hatred but I'm pretty worried that we live in a time where it's no longer sufficient to just not buy a game you dislike (or even find offensive) but instead to try to prevent the game ever seeing the light of day.

If GTA had never moved to 3D and someone without the commercial clout and respectability that Rockstar now have wanted to make a 3D version would it be allowed in today's world? Or would it be subject to endless petitions, low review scores on the basis of its controversy ("a woman's the villain!", "you can slaughter women!", "it's a KKK simulator... a white main character can murder thousands of people of colour" etc etc) and basically run out of town? Worse, would people be doing it by regurgitating Jack Thompson's arguments with a few words changed?




On a side note it's not only through direct petitions that "violent" games are being attacked. A developer recently posted about how he and his team were refused normal product liability insurance for an upcoming game on account of the violence within it. Considering we're talking about a developer who's previous credits are pretty much all squad based shooters (lots of Tom Clancy games, one he kickstarted himself) we're unlikely to be talking about Postal reimagined; we're almost certainly going to be talking about a mild-to-generic level of FPS violence.

In the end he was able to get insurance from a different provider but it cost more; considering that even major studios frequently run fairly close to the breadline even a relatively minor increase in cost can kill off a studio (or at least a project)... and for indy developers who frequently work somewhat hand to mouth it's even worse.

Offline Formless

Re: GTA 5 removed from Target Australia
« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2014, 09:44:15 PM »
GTA has always been a stigma to the gaming community. The concept of the game itself is rather immature. And the developers behind it are not trying to hide it. They did create the game knowing as ' Bully ' afterall.

And anyone outside the gaming community always find it easy to relate GTA to their lives and how it promotes violence since the setting in the game is the current modern world.

I always hoped that the gaming community would put an end to GTA , not some non-gaming group that only see the bad in a video game. And there in lays the problem. People who do not try to understand the medium are trying to change it. They might as well just ban any game that provide any sense of conflict , because they may promote some kind of ideology conflict that ends up as an inconvenience to their world.

Offline SethalaTopic starter

Re: GTA 5 removed from Target Australia
« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2014, 12:32:57 AM »
GTA has always been a stigma to the gaming community. The concept of the game itself is rather immature. And the developers behind it are not trying to hide it. They did create the game knowing as ' Bully ' afterall.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that most of the controversy around Bully was completely false hype because it was made by the same studio that does GTA, and there's not much controversial stuff actually in the game...

Quote
And anyone outside the gaming community always find it easy to relate GTA to their lives and how it promotes violence since the setting in the game is the current modern world.

I always hoped that the gaming community would put an end to GTA , not some non-gaming group that only see the bad in a video game. And there in lays the problem. People who do not try to understand the medium are trying to change it. They might as well just ban any game that provide any sense of conflict , because they may promote some kind of ideology conflict that ends up as an inconvenience to their world.

The problem with this sentiment is that, in order for you to say that we're better off if something violent doesn't exist, you have to prove that, somehow, the world is better if there's less violent media (or, conversely, the world is worse if there's more violent media).  So far, any study that's tried to find a link between "violent games" and real-world violence has been inconclusive at best, and there's a decent correlation that matches releases of violent games and decreases in violent incidents.  That doesn't imply that violent games cause less violence, but it is something that anyone trying to argue the opposite will have to find an answer for.

Offline Formless

Re: GTA 5 removed from Target Australia
« Reply #15 on: December 08, 2014, 06:48:07 AM »
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that most of the controversy around Bully was completely false hype because it was made by the same studio that does GTA, and there's not much controversial stuff actually in the game...

Nothing is wrong with the game ' Bully ' from a player's perspective. I mentioned it as an example of what Rockstar's mentality represents. The game is immature compared to other games of the same genre.

The problem with this sentiment is that, in order for you to say that we're better off if something violent doesn't exist, you have to prove that, somehow, the world is better if there's less violent media (or, conversely, the world is worse if there's more violent media).  So far, any study that's tried to find a link between "violent games" and real-world violence has been inconclusive at best, and there's a decent correlation that matches releases of violent games and decreases in violent incidents.  That doesn't imply that violent games cause less violence, but it is something that anyone trying to argue the opposite will have to find an answer for.

I guess my previous post wasn't clear so allow me to explain what I meant.

As a player , I do not condemn violence in a game if its put in the correct context. Take the God of War series for example. It is full of violence , but it is all tied to the character , with his past and his mission. However , in GTA , while the game does have its story , the open world aspect is what draw most players to it. But without the story it provides , the violence allowed in the game serves no purpose. But that in no way is a problem to me as a player. I know its just a virtual world and I know better than to ' fall to the manipulative charm ' of video games. ( Sadly some people think we're easily brainwashed by video games. )

However , with the unrestricted use of violence in the game , and how it matches our current lives , the non-gaming community see it as an incentive for players to just replicate what they see in the game right down the street. Some think the idea that you can pick up a bat and start whacking someone on the street as bad influence. And when you think about it , why does the game allow that? Giving you the role of the criminal is all well and exciting , but offering all of this violence without a driving reason for it just makes it difficult to defend the game and the gaming community. That's why I consider it a stigma.

If you want to make a violent game , go nuts , just make it serve a purpose ... any purpose.

I mean look at Modern Warfare 2. It had a mission where you kill hundreds of innocent people in an airport. But the game didn't receive too much heat for long because it was just a mission tied to a story , and the developer gave players a choice to play it or skip it.

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Re: GTA 5 removed from Target Australia
« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2014, 04:52:39 AM »
And when you think about it , why does the game allow that? Giving you the role of the criminal is all well and exciting , but offering all of this violence without a driving reason for it just makes it difficult to defend the game and the gaming community. That's why I consider it a stigma.
...
If you want to make a violent game , go nuts , just make it serve a purpose ... any purpose.

One can make the case that the expansion of possibilities (both desirable and undesirable) actually serve to reinforce positive behaviors.

For example, negative reinforcement is the idea that, "a response or behavior is strengthened by stopping, removing, or avoiding a negative outcome or aversive stimulus."  In other words, if a player is on a GTA mission (which is a purposeful in-game task), he/she learns to avoid detrimental tasks (such as hitting random pedestrians) if his/her aim is to succeed in the primary objective of the game.  From a negative reinforcement standpoint, players learn quickly that hitting random strangers attracts unwanted police attention, reduces their health, and provides little benefit, if any, to their in-game character's goals. 

From what I know, most of the 'violent missions' required for 100% game completion are framed within the context of the character's story.  Interestingly, several of the side missions (based on random events which are outside the game's primary storyline) actually feature benevolent acts such as rescuing a woman being robbed at the ATM, and rescuing a woman who is abducted. Ironically, if GTA did not permit players to engage in mindless violence outside of missions, one could actually make a stronger case for the game encouraging violence among children.  By permitting the potential for mindless violence, yet not rewarding players for it, Rockstar is actually contextualizing the violence as a means to an end, rather than an end unto itself.

In simple terms, experienced players learn that the $50-100 reward of randomly robbing a pedestrian does not justify the in-game consequences of needing to deal with a 2 or 3-star wanted level.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2014, 04:58:05 AM by Valthazar »

Offline ladia2287

Re: GTA 5 removed from Target Australia
« Reply #17 on: December 15, 2014, 05:25:18 AM »
Just adding my 2 cents as an Aussie.

The concept of R-rated games being available in Australia is fairly new; up until a few years ago if it was considered that the next-most restricted rating (MA 15+, meaning that you had to prove you were over 15 to be allowed to buy it or play it in a public place), then it simply wasn't allowed to be sold here.

I don't know enough about GTA V to comment on whether it deserves it's R18+ rating, but I do know that putting it on shelves in a family department store was probably not a wise move on Target's part. The way the law is written, any game, film or other publication that has an R rating cannot be sold or made available to anyone under 18, under any circumstances. There are even restrictions on it being on display. I gather the concern was less about the game itself and more about whether they could reasonably be expected to enforce this rule, considering they are not exactly accustomed to having such restricted items on their shelves.

Offline Derwaysh

Re: GTA 5 removed from Target Australia
« Reply #18 on: December 15, 2014, 06:34:19 PM »
The concept of R-rated games being available in Australia is fairly new; up until a few years ago if it was considered that the next-most restricted rating (MA 15+, meaning that you had to prove you were over 15 to be allowed to buy it or play it in a public place), then it simply wasn't allowed to be sold here.

I don't know enough about GTA V to comment on whether it deserves it's R18+ rating, but I do know that putting it on shelves in a family department store was probably not a wise move on Target's part. The way the law is written, any game, film or other publication that has an R rating cannot be sold or made available to anyone under 18, under any circumstances. There are even restrictions on it being on display. I gather the concern was less about the game itself and more about whether they could reasonably be expected to enforce this rule, considering they are not exactly accustomed to having such restricted items on their shelves.

That sheds so much light on the issue and explains it in more detail why exactly the game would be removed from the shelves.

Whilst not savory but the law really is the case in point here.

Offline SethalaTopic starter

Re: GTA 5 removed from Target Australia
« Reply #19 on: December 15, 2014, 07:15:46 PM »
That sheds so much light on the issue and explains it in more detail why exactly the game would be removed from the shelves.

Whilst not savory but the law really is the case in point here.

As far as I'm aware however, there are other R18 games in Australia that are stocked at Target and Kmart, but GTA was the only one pulled.  Further, there are other types of media with similar adults-only content (movies and books, for instance) that are also stocked at Target. 

If they decided to pull all R18 games from their shelves, I wouldn't have a problem with it, and I may even support Target's stance on being a family-friendly store if they also pulled similarly-rated movies, books, music, and so on.  The problem I have is that this is a response to a targeted attack on GTA specifically, because a certain group with very authoritative feminist leanings decided that they didn't like the game and wanted to get rid of it by making it impossible for consenting adults to purchase it.  (If you think I'm going overboard, the petition for Target to remove the game did state that they want this to "be an example for other stores to follow", so no, I don't think that it's a stretch to say that their goal is to kill the game completely.  I don't think it'll happen, not yet anyway, but I do think it's what they want.)

As an aside however, I don't live in Australia and don't know anyone there.  Would anyone living near a Target or Kmart there mind swinging by and seeing what other R18 rated games they carry?

Offline Hemingway

Re: GTA 5 removed from Target Australia
« Reply #20 on: December 15, 2014, 07:28:35 PM »
I gather the concern was less about the game itself and more about whether they could reasonably be expected to enforce this rule, considering they are not exactly accustomed to having such restricted items on their shelves.

Given the content of the petition to have it removed, no, this is clearly not simply a case of a game being inappropriate for display. The petition made specific points about the alleged content of the game - many of which were misleading at best.

I'm puzzled now, though, about Australia's ratings system. I went to Target's website to see what games they're selling, and there are a lot of MA 15+ games, including such titles as Far Cry 4 and Advanced Warfare ( both rated 18+ here, for the record ). There are a few that say 18+, too. Watch Dogs is one of them. Now, I've played all these games and ... why on earth would Watch Dogs be rated higher than Far Cry? Watch Dogs is violent, but Far Cry is, too. And Far Cry has more than drug references. I suppose it's possible that content is cut from the Australian version of Far Cry, but this still makes very little sense.

Offline SethalaTopic starter

Re: GTA 5 removed from Target Australia
« Reply #21 on: December 15, 2014, 07:37:36 PM »
Given the content of the petition to have it removed, no, this is clearly not simply a case of a game being inappropriate for display. The petition made specific points about the alleged content of the game - many of which were misleading at best.

I'm puzzled now, though, about Australia's ratings system. I went to Target's website to see what games they're selling, and there are a lot of MA 15+ games, including such titles as Far Cry 4 and Advanced Warfare ( both rated 18+ here, for the record ). There are a few that say 18+, too. Watch Dogs is one of them. Now, I've played all these games and ... why on earth would Watch Dogs be rated higher than Far Cry? Watch Dogs is violent, but Far Cry is, too. And Far Cry has more than drug references. I suppose it's possible that content is cut from the Australian version of Far Cry, but this still makes very little sense.

They have only had the new rating for less than two years now, I think, I'm not surprised if the ratings board is still waffling over what makes a game 18+ instead of 15+.

Still doesn't mean Target is justified in becoming a moral guardian, especially if their information is the horribly misleading petition, however.

Offline ladia2287

Re: GTA 5 removed from Target Australia
« Reply #22 on: December 15, 2014, 10:45:20 PM »
As far as I'm aware however, there are other R18 games in Australia that are stocked at Target and Kmart, but GTA was the only one pulled.  Further, there are other types of media with similar adults-only content (movies and books, for instance) that are also stocked at Target. 

If they decided to pull all R18 games from their shelves, I wouldn't have a problem with it, and I may even support Target's stance on being a family-friendly store if they also pulled similarly-rated movies, books, music, and so on.  The problem I have is that this is a response to a targeted attack on GTA specifically, because a certain group with very authoritative feminist leanings decided that they didn't like the game and wanted to get rid of it by making it impossible for consenting adults to purchase it.  (If you think I'm going overboard, the petition for Target to remove the game did state that they want this to "be an example for other stores to follow", so no, I don't think that it's a stretch to say that their goal is to kill the game completely.  I don't think it'll happen, not yet anyway, but I do think it's what they want.)

As an aside however, I don't live in Australia and don't know anyone there.  Would anyone living near a Target or Kmart there mind swinging by and seeing what other R18 rated games they carry?

I do live in Australia, and not a single Target I have ever visited has ever stocked ANYTHING with an R18+ rating except for The Godfather Part 1 (and even then they rarely have it in stock).

Furthermore the game is still in abundant supply in specialist game stores. Yeah, you have to show your ID in order to buy it. Most people who are into it aren't all that fussed. I gather the petition came about simply because Target staff weren't enforcing the rule and a couple of kids managed to buy it, and the hysterical parents brigade kicked up a stink because it was either that or learn to tell their children they couldn't have it. As to why the game has attracted such a rating, I haven't played it myself so I don't actually know. If there is any nudity or anything that could remotely be construed as pornographic though, that might be the explanation right there.

Offline SethalaTopic starter

Re: GTA 5 removed from Target Australia
« Reply #23 on: December 15, 2014, 11:27:28 PM »
I do live in Australia, and not a single Target I have ever visited has ever stocked ANYTHING with an R18+ rating except for The Godfather Part 1 (and even then they rarely have it in stock).

I just pulled up their official press release, and it did say that Target plans on selling other R-rated DVDs and games.  This is the first I've heard of them not stocking other R-rated things, to be honest.

Quote
Furthermore the game is still in abundant supply in specialist game stores. Yeah, you have to show your ID in order to buy it. Most people who are into it aren't all that fussed. I gather the petition came about simply because Target staff weren't enforcing the rule and a couple of kids managed to buy it, and the hysterical parents brigade kicked up a stink because it was either that or learn to tell their children they couldn't have it. As to why the game has attracted such a rating, I haven't played it myself so I don't actually know. If there is any nudity or anything that could remotely be construed as pornographic though, that might be the explanation right there.

Admittedly, this may be entirely Target's fault, as they did put the game in a flyer next to kids toys shortly before pulling it.  I don't see any comment on this in either the petition or the press release, however, so I'm not sure if that's actually relevant or not.

Offline ladia2287

Re: GTA 5 removed from Target Australia
« Reply #24 on: December 15, 2014, 11:36:30 PM »
I just pulled up their official press release, and it did say that Target plans on selling other R-rated DVDs and games.  This is the first I've heard of them not stocking other R-rated things, to be honest.

Are you able to give me a link to this press release please?

It could well be their intention to sell other R18 items in the future. Like I said, I've never seen any R-rated items on their shelves to date. Personally, I don't see it working without making a few changes to their training and procedures first.