Company to appeal game's X-rating

Globe and Mail
August 12, 2000
By Kim Lunman, British Columbia Bureau

Victoria -- The U.S. manufacturers of Soldier of Fortune are launching a legal battle over an unprecedented British Columbia ruling classifying thegraphic computer game as an adult motion picture.

Activision Inc. announced yesterday it will appeal the decision by B.C.'s provincial director of film classification that restricts minors under 18 from renting and selling the CD-ROM game. The Canadian distributor of the game, Beamscope Canada, has also filed an appeal with B.C.'s Motion Picture Appeal Board.

"The action of the Film Classification board undermines consumers' rights of freedom and choice of expression and sets a precedent for government censorship," the California-based Activision said in a statement released yesterday.

Mary-Louise McCausland, B.C.'s director of film classification, rated Soldier of Fortune as an adult motion picture in a ruling last month after receiving a citizen complaint.

The classification is similar to an X-rating under film-industry guidelines, meaning rentals or sales of the game to anyone under 18 are illegal and that retailers would have to stock it separately.

Soldier of Fortune is an animated interactive game that allows the player to assume the role of a mercenary soldier in bloody combat with terrorists around the world.

The game is currently rated Mature by the industry-backed Entertainment Software Ratings Board, suggesting players be 17 years or older in order to play it.

The company contends that the B.C. Film Commission does not have the jurisdiction to rate and classify video games.