In November, 2005, the Australian Office of Film and Literature Classification had granted the game an MA 15+ classification, allowing the game to be sold, but only to those aged fifteen or older. However, the Attorney-General and the Local Government Association of Queensland asked for the game's rating to be reassessed , which in turn lead to a 3-to-2 decision in favour of refusing to award the game a rating. This has for all intents and purposes resulted in Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure being banned across Australia.
"Both the National Classification Code and the Guidelines for the Classification of Films and Computer Games state that a computer game will be refused classification if it includes or contains detailed instruction or promotion of matters of crime," said the board's Convenor, Maureen Shelley. "It is the Classification Review Board's determination that this game promotes the crime of graffiti."
Atari vice president of corporate communications Ryan Barr says his biggest concern is not the cost of promoting the game only to have it banned, but the fact that the government was censoring entertainment.
"Essentially they banned the game, which in our opinion is rather ironic considering that the game takes place in a city with a tyrannical government that tries to suppress the freedom of expression," Barr said speaking to GameSpot. "Life is imitating art right now. This is censorship, plain and simple. This is tantamount to burning books. If you start censoring video games, where does it stop?"
The review board stated that one such element that promoted criminal activities was the game's "realistic scenarios whereby the central character Trane acquires his knowledge of graffiti tips, techniques, and styles." Other areas of concern were that the game rewards players for graffiti, and that it includes biographies of 56 graffiti artists, each of whom began their careers in illegal graffiti.
Barr has said that Atari will be appealing the decision, but how long that process will take is not known. Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure is released in Europe on Friday February 17 on Xbox, PlayStation 2 and PC.