A video game containing violence and partial nudity has had its PG rating upgraded to an M classification by chief censor Andrew Jack.
Nintendo's 3DS game Dead or Alive: Dimensions bypassed New Zealand classification as it had already been classified PG overseas despite it not being sold in parts of Europe because of concerns it breached child pornography laws.
Dr Jack called the game in for re-classification last month after the Waikato Times alerted his office to its content. He subsequently issued an instruction that copies must carry an M label and a note indicating it contains violence and nudity.
The game temporarily banned in Australia before receiving a higher rating can be switched to "figure mode", which allows players to dress or undress female characters and photograph them from any angle, including up their skirt.
The Office of Film and Literature Classification found a small number of "partial glimpses of cleavage, buttocks, thighs or underpants" but they were not in significant detail to warrant a rating above M. It concluded the game was designed for a mature audience at least 16 years old.
An M rating, however, does not restrict its sale to minors as it is only an advisory.
Dr Jack said the game had not previously been through his office because the law did not require films and games already classified the equivalent of G, PG or M in the United Kingdom or Australia to be reclassified here. Restricted material from overseas that likely to get at R13 rating or above did require reclassification in New Zealand.
Dr Jack said a recent survey showed New Zealanders expected a Kiwi set of eyes to look over anything imported and respondents from all demographics were surprised to hear so much was not seen by his office. In all, 71 per cent thought all video games needed New Zealand classification. Cambridge mother of three Liz Quilty, who last month objected to the PG rating, welcomed the M rating for game.
EB Games, which last month said it had sold out of the game in one of its Hamilton stores, did not reply to the Times following the ruling.
EB Games spokesman Shane Barker said the retailer would be working swiftly with Nintendo to ensure the game carried the correct classification.
Internal Affairs Minister Nathan Guy said in general the current system worked well. "However, the classification system has to keep up with technology and the public's expectations.
"I think in the next few years we may need to look at a decent review of how we handle computer games, and the wider classification system."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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