Shortest Ban in History: Singapore Clears Mass Effect for Sale

November 16, 2007 -
It seems like just yesterday that GamePolitics reported that new Xbox 360 release Mass Effect had been banned in Singapore over a rather mild lesbian sex scene.

Actually, it was the day before yesterday.

But, as reported by Today Online, the game with the sexy, blue alien has now been green-lighted in Singapore:
After fanning the ire of the video gaming community with the ban of Mass Effect, the authorities have done a U-turn by rating the highly-anticipated futuristic space adventure by Microsoft and allowing its sale in Singapore.

In a statement on Friday, the Media Development Authority (MDA) said the game had been reviewed by the Board of Film Censors (BFC) and is now rated M18. The decision comes ahead of its planned implementation of a classification system for video games.

Singapore currently has no rating systed in place for games. Prior to its reversal of course, Singapore was also the only country in the world to have banned Mass Effect. Germaine Ong of Singapore-based gaming mag Gameaxis told Today Online:
The ratings system is a long time coming but any step now is a positive one...

This is significant because gamers would have obtained the game anyway, through parallel importers or illegal means. Now, gamers and parents are able to make a decision on which games are suitable rather than have the games prescribed to them by the authorities.

Ian Tan, a Southeast Asian Xbox 360 exec added:
We welcome the MDA's decision to allow Mass Effect for sale in Singapore with an M18 rating. We will continue to work with the MDA to promote responsible gaming here.

USA Today has more.

Comments

"Now, gamers and parents are able to make a decision on which games are suitable rather than have the games prescribed to them by the authorities."

Bravo.

Wow its good to see them on the ball for once.
No need to ban any game now just make it 18+ (wishful thinking)

They were just jealous of hot alien on human action. They didn't think of it first! (And there were no demons and little girls doing teh dirty.)

Banned for two days? So wait the game gets free publicity and ultimately isn't banned? You're making rockstar jealous.

Thank goodness SOMEBODY actully came to their senses.

Well, this got a good laugh outta me.

We should have our own M18 rating for games.

Well, this is worth a chuckle. Considering i wasn't the least interested in this game in the first place...

"Singapore currently has no rating systed "

You've flipped the translator to "English to Zippy", haven't you?

:D

Nightwng2000
NW2K Software
Nightwng2000 NW2K Software http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Expect video games to be blamed next time they catch a homosexual in Singapore.

Heh, sounds like Singapore's MDA went:

"Ah crap, this is really making us look bad, and probably isn't going to do much anyways. Does anyone actually have a problem with the game?"

"No, doesn't sound like it'd be any worse than an M18 movie. The only problem is that we don't have a rating system for games."

"Fine, then just run it past the film guys. Preferably before we become more of a laughing stock in the tech niche over this."

"We'll get right on that."

So the decision to ban the game was based entirely on media hysteria, and then the decision was reversed after actually looking at the game? Imagine that.

This is rather funny :p .

"over a rather mild lesbian sex scene."

"rather mild" is an exaggeration. You don't see shit. Just them getting close and then a hand.

I'm still laughing that they actually banned it at all for this.

Reminds me of some shit from Borat:

"In my home country of Khazakastan, they take the homosexuals to jail and finish them."

"...YEE-HAW, THAT'S WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO GET DONE HERE."

I do not care if the game had a hardcore lesbian bondage scene that lasts over three hours: no goverment, retailer, liscensing agreement, religious group, or parenting organization has the right to censor or ban it from adult consumers.

Also, remember shit like this is great danger to the artistic validity of gaming as a medium. When a company supposedly seeks to "work with" a handful of moralistic idiots, they are effectively persuading developers to "tone down" content [on a level that will not offend moralistic idiots] so their games can reach out to a broader market.

There are some contexts where sex and extreme violence are tasteful and needed elements of game design.

[...] Source: Shortest Ban in History: Singapore Clears Mass Effect for Sale Bookmark it: [...]

Conspiracy time: What if the whole thing is a PR stunt organized (and paid for) by Microsoft?

@Pandralisk

Here here dude.

And hey, thanks for not attacking religion again, your comments are much more enjoyable to read with this kind of content.

@Pandralisk

And if it did have that, er, scene you mentioned, it'd likely have AO and not be out here either, however, that is where the AO rating is again, useful only as a banhammer

Bioware thanks Singapore for free advertising AND not demanding changes in the game.

Grats for the people in Singapore.
Still doesn't help the fact that Microsoft sent me back my 360, only to have it die again in under 24 hours.
And i so looked forward to mass effect, too.

@Kurisu

That's the exact problem with the ESRB/Retailer side censorship currently screwing over any implementation of adult content. I'm sorry, but in a 75+ hour RPG marketed around adults like Masseffect, it is absolutely absurd that there are not sexual and violent elements comprable to those we see in R movies.

You can tell that most of the garbage on the market has been toned down. I don't talk about religion here, because I am not sure about the motivating force behind the Singapore goverment.

@Pandralisk

Another problem is that you're assuming other nations have free speach laws. Unfortunately they don't, as evidenced by some governments taking steps to ban games that they don't like. I'm not saying that its right, that's just the way it is and only the people of those countries can take steps to change things.

@Pandralisk

can't say I don't agree with you, then again, the movie industry is deeper entrenched as is the comic and TV industries. I think it just needs time.

And the reason we get on your case about religious bashing is, you are kind of an ass about it and tend to bring it up where it isn't relevant. Just tone it down a bit as what most of us can ask I suppose.

Yay!

Now now they just need to unban homosexuality....

And this is how a PR-stunt is properly preformed. I assume you are taking notes, Rockstar. There will be a written test later.

@Pandralisk

As far as I am aware, Singapore is a Secular State.

Pandralisk says,

"That’s the exact problem with the ESRB/Retailer side censorship currently screwing over any implementation of adult content."

You of all people should know who's really responsible for that. It's the big 3's fault, they're the ones who made AO a ban, not the ESRB/retailers.

Oh, yeah, Mass Effect on TV:

http://www.gametrailers.com/player/28032.html

Well, a trailer saying something about it anyway.

@Sean

To be fair, when the ERSB doesn't like a game, they slap an AO on it because they know it'll never be released.

@ blackIce,

Yes, but the slap's power is provided by the big three's policies.

@BlackIce

Maybe, maybe not. But they wouldn't be able to do that if it weren't for the companies.

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