Australian PS2 FAQ by sebiv

Version: 2.0 | Updated: 09/26/05 | Printable Version


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Australian PS2 FAQ
By sebivv:
Version 2.0, 27 September 2005
This FAQ is for use exclusivly at GameFAQs.


Version History:

27 September 2005 - Version 2.0
                    Much needed update. Complete re-write. Revised formatting.
                    Added PStwo section, updated hardware and software
                    sections. Updated new ratings system. Added dedicated
                    Grand Theft Auto section.



NOTE: To quickly scroll to a section, copy the section number (ie. 2.1.1) and
      paste it into the find function in your browser.

=  1.0  General Notes

=  2.0  Hardware

   - 2.1  General Hardware info
     - 2.1.1  Colour System
     - 2.1.2  Network Adapter
     - 2.1.3  PS2 Hard Drive
     - 2.1.4  Other Accssories

   - 2.2  Old "Playstation 2"
     - 2.2.1  Pricing
     - 2.2.2  Plus Version
     - 2.2.3  Other Consoles

   - 2.3  Slimline "PStwo"
     - 2.3.1  Pricing
     - 2.3.2  Noteworthy differences
     - 2.3.3  Other Consoles
     - 2.3.4  AC Adapter safety recall

=  3.0  Software
   - 3.1  Title restrictions
   - 3.2  Exclusive titles
   - 3.3  Release dates
   - 3.4  Pricing

   - 3.5  "Platinum" titles
     - 3.5.1  Description
     - 3.5.2  Rebranding

   - 3.6  "Network Play" titles
   - 3.7  Preowned titles
   - 3.8  Overseas titles
   - 3.9  Overseas DVDs

=  4.0  Ratings and Censorship

   - 4.1  Restrictive nature of Australian market
   - 4.2  Recent changes to ratings labels
   - 4.3  Ratings System
   - 4.4  The 18+ Category
   - 4.5  "Refused Classifiction"

   - 4.6  Banned and Modified titles
     - 4.6.1  Banned titles
     - 4.6.2  Modified titles
     - 4.6.3  Titles under review
     - 4.6.4  Grand Theft Auto Series

=  5.0  Importing into Australia

   - 5.1  Consoles
     - 5.1.1  Points to note
     - 5.1.2  Country comparison
     - 5.1.3  Requirements after importing
     - 5.1.4  Important notes on slimline PStwo

   - 5.2  Software
     - 5.2.1  Importing censored titles
     - 5.2.2  Importing from overseas

   - 5.3  Accessories
   - 5.4  The PS2 Hard Drive and Final Fantasy XI
   - 5.5  Other Important notes on importing

=  6.0  Contact / Questions

=  7.0  Credits

=  8.0  Copyrights


1.0  General Notes:


     + Why have the FAQ?

       Although Australia is a subset of the PAL gaming market, it does have a
       frew significant differences in games, hardware and ratings. This FAQ is
       a references for Australian gamers who are interested in importing games
       and exploring the differences in the Australian market.

     + European/PAL Compatibility

       Much of this FAQ can be applied to other PAL markets, excluding
       Australia-specific sections.

     + New Zealand Compatibility

       NZ shares the same hardware as the Australian market. However, game
       ratings and some game content is very different and should not be

     + Spelling

       This FAQ uses British-English (ie. colour).


2.0  Hardware


2.1  General Hardware info

2.1.1  Colour System

       Australia uses the PAL colour system. This system runs at 625 line
       resolution and 50 Hz refresh rate. In comparison, North America (UC)
       and Japan (J) use NTSC, which runs at 525 line resolution and 60 Hz
       refresh rate.

       There are some issues with the slower refresh rate that comes with the
       PAL colour system. See the "60Hz Compatibility Guide" at GameFAQs for
       more information.

2.1.2  Network Adapter

       There are significant differences between the NTSC UC/J and PAL network
       adapters. The US Network Adapter supports dial up connections and
       allows the PS2 console to be plugged directly into a phone socket. The
       PAL Network Adapter can only be used on broadband internet connections.

       Sony Australia has said the difference is because of the geographical
       distance between Australia and the US, where most game servers are
       located. Only a broadband connection will give a sufficient transfer
       rate for play.

2.1.3  PS2 Hard Drive

       The PS2 Hard Drive has not yet been released on the PAL market. It is
       very unlikely Sony will decide to release it in the future, especially
       since the slimline PStwo units cannot use it.

       It is possible to import the hard drive to play games like Final
       Fantasy XI. For more infromation see section 5.5.

2.1.4  Other Accessories

       The PAL market sells the tranparent red Dual Shock 2 controller that is
       not available in the US.

       The PS2 Linux kit which is no longer available in North America is still
       available on the PAL market. In Australia is must be bought directly
       from Sony as it is not sold in retail outlets.

2.2  Old "Playstation 2"

2.2.1  Pricing

       When the Playstation 2 was first released in Australia the recommended
       retail price was close to AU$800.

       The old Playstation 2 models are no longer being produced in Australia
       and therefore buying them new is difficult. Just before their
       discontinuation the RRP was AU$299. This equates to approx US$226.

2.2.2  Plus Version

       Shortly before Sony released the slimline PStwo models in late 2004,
       they released the plus (+) models. They could be identified by the plus
       symbol in the corner of the console's packaging. Plus models were the
       original PS2 models with built in IR receiver and the ability to play
       DVD-R and DVD-RW discs.

2.2.3  Other Consoles

       The PAL market had the exclusive "Satin Silver PS2" for a short time. It
       was introduced over the 2004 Christmas period. The console was similar
       to other PS2 models however had a silver body. It was originally
       packaged with two silver Dual Shock 2 controllers. Later models were
       only packaged with one. The Satin Silver consoles used different laser
       lenses and several batches had severe game playback problems. The
       original Satin Silver PS2 is no longer available.

       The original Playstation 2 models were also widely packaged with games
       (usually Sony produced games). Some games to be sold with consoles as
       a pack have included: Metal Gear Solid 2, Gran Turismo 4, Final Fantasy

2.3  Slimline "PStwo"

The slimline PStwo console in Australia has the model number SCPH-70002. It is
identical to the UK PAL version however is packaged with a Figure-8 cable with
an Australian plug on the end.

2.3.1  Pricing

       The recommended retail price of the slimline PStwo units as of
       September 2005 is AU$249.95. This equates to approx US$188. The US
       version of the console retails for around US$149.95.

2.3.2  Noteworthy Differences

       + Power supply
         The slimline PStwo has an external power transformer. Although this 
         may sound like a hassle, it makes importing consoles a lot easier.
         See the importing section for more info.

       + Internal Network Adapter
         The network adapter is built in to the slimline PStwo. The UC version
         of the slimline PStwo only supports broadband connections, which is
         the same with PAL / Australian versions.

       + Laser issues with mod chipping
         There are many reports of the SCPH-70002 lenses burning out after a
         mod chip was installed. This seems to happen on earlier batches when
         playing disc-intenstive games such as Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
         Of course Sony will not cover this under warranty due to the mod chip.

2.3.3  Other Consoles

       As with the original Playstation 2, a Satin Silver version of the
       slimline PStwo has been released. It retails for RRP AU$259.95.

       The slimline PStwo is sometimes packaged with games such as Singstar

2.3.4  AC Adapter Safety Recall

       In September 2005 Sony issued a worldwide recall of PStwo power
       adapters. Sony found a part used in the adapters was prone to
       overheating. Recalls are handled by the regional divisons of


3.0  Software


3.1  Title Restrictions

Australia is restricted to the PAL market, which itself only gets a small
percentage of games made. Other titles will not be released in Australia if
distributors do not feel they will make good sales. For example Australia
only has one version of Dancing Stage (the UK translation of Dance Dance
Revolution) while the UK has several.

3.2  Exclusive Titles

The only games exclusive to Australia are AFL-related (Australian Football
League). AFL is the popular local sport in Australia.

Titles include those part of the "AFL Live" series (usually one released
each year). Another series called "AFL Premiership" was created in 2004 (one
game released per year).

3.3  Release Dates

Australia usually gets titles a few days after European PAL releases. Very
rarely a game will be released in Australia before other countries.

3.4  Pricing

The average popular new release title will retail for between AU$99.95 and
AU$109.95, depending on the store. This equates to approx US$75.

3.5  "Platinum" Titles

3.5.1  Description

       "Platinum is the PAL equivalent of the North American "Greatest Hits"
       range. To qualify for Platinum a game must sell 500 000 copies. When a
       game becomes Platinum, its price drops to AU$49.95.

       The packaging for the game is also changed. Instead of the regular black
       or blue plastic case, platinum titles have a silver case. The front
       artwork is changed (see Rebranding section below).

3.5.2  Rebranding

       In August 2005 Sony Europe changed the artwork design for Platinum

       Previously the designed featured the original game artwork cropped down
       and surrounded by a silver border. The Platinum logo banner is
       displayed across the bottom of the case and the regular Playstation
       logo across the top of the case has a silver border. Instead of a white
       background spine with black writing, the platinum case has a black
       background spine with silver writing. Any artwork on the game CD is
       discarded and the disc has a generic black print of the game's title.

       The new design features the same silver background for the Playstation
       logo. However the original artwork is cropped with a thin silver border
       and black background. A new circular Platinum logo with a red background
       is placed at the bottom of the case.

3.6  "Network Play" Titles

"Network Play" is the label given to PAL games that have online gaming
components. It is the equivalent of the US's "Online" labels. The label is a
blue strip that appears just below the Playstation 2 logo on title artwork. It
will either be labelled "with network play or "network play only". A small
logo will also appear on the spine of the game.

3.7  Preowned Titles

The most common place to buy preowned games in Australia is via Electronics
Boutique stores, which are located nationwide. Other smaller local game stores
may offer pre-owned titles. eBay is also a popular option.

3.8  Overseas Titles

Out of the box, Australian Playstation consoles will only play PAL PS1 and PS2
games. Games imported from Europe and other PAL countries will work, however
games from the US or Japan will require a mod chip.

3.9  Overseas DVDs

Australian PS2 consoles will only play Region 4 DVDs (Australia and New
Zealand). A mod chip is required for playback of DVDs from other regions.


4.0  Ratings and Censorship


4.1  Restrictive nature of Australian market

In comparison to other western video game markets, Australia is quite strict.
on game content.

In Australia, video game ratings are distributed and enforced by The Office
Of Film and Literature Classification. The main difference is that these
ratings are managed by the government, rather than the industry (as is the
practice in the United States).

A long-running argument against the ratings system is that the lack of more
mature ratings is outdated. The argument has been drawn out for a long time
and reached a climax in early 2005 when the ratings were put under review.
However no changes were made. The Grand Theft Auto series has also put the
ratings into the spotlight (see GTA section below).

Critics have noticed a recent trend of inconsistancy in OFLC decisions,
particularly over sexual content in a game. While some decisions show a trend
towards leniency, other contradictory decisions are made because of political
pressure, particularly in the case of the Grand Theft Auto series.

4.2  Recent changes to ratings labels

In August 2005 the OFLC changed the ratings labels placed on all games.
Previously the labels were a black and white sticker 2cm x 2cm placed on the
top of the case in the bottom left corner.

The new labels are 4cm x 3cm and required to be printed on the game sleeve,
often covering up parts of the game cover art. The label is circular and split
in two: the left contains the rating with a coloured background (the colour
depends on the rating). The right half is white with black text explaining
the ratings advice (eg. "Contains mild violence).

The colour scheme is as follows:

G     - Green
PG    - Yellow
M     - Blue
MA15+ - Red (with black "RESTRICTED" bar)

4.3  Ratings System

G      For General Audience
       Games rated G are available to play by anyone.

PG     Parental Guidance Recommended
       Previously G8+. Available for anyone to play however parental guidance
       for those younger than 15 is recommended.

M15+   Mature
       Games rated M15+ are available for anyone to play however are
       recommended for those aged 15 and above.

MA15+  Mature (Restricted)
       Games rated MA15+ can only be sold and/or played by people aged 15 and
       above, except if accompanied by a parent or guardian.

4.4  The 18+ Category

A controversial topic in the Australian video game market is the R18+ rating.
As of yet it does not exist (it does for movies). The cinema equivalent states
a movie may not be watched by anyone under the age of 18.

Gamers have long wanted an R18+ rating for games. The category has been
proposed in Australian parliament 2-3 times in last few years. However, it
looks unlikely in the near future as the idea has already been rejected in
early 2005.

4.5  "Refused Classification"

"Refused Classification" (or RC) is the technical term used for games that have
been banned. If a game receives an RC rating, it becomes illegal to sell, play
or import the game on a state level.

Games which have "sensitive content" that would rate higher than the MA15+
rating receive an RC rating because there is no 18+, and are therefore banned.

Because the legality of RC games is enforced on a state level, the punishment
for breaking this law varies in different states of Australia. The most common
punishment for individuals is a fine of AU$10 000 and AU$50 000 for businesses
who sell or display the game.

4.6  Banned and Modified Games

4.6.1  Banned Titles

       There are currently two PS2 titles banned in Australia:

       + BMX XXX
         This game was banned because of "excessive nudity". Players can choose
         a female character who rides a BMX bike topless. This nudity was
         deemed unnecessary by the OFLC and the game was given an RC rating.
         The game was not banned in New Zealand and was even sold with a label
         across the front bragging "BANNED IN AUSTRALIA!".

       + Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude
         The newest LSL game was refused classification by the OFLC due to
         sexual content. This stirred some convtroversy shortly after when
         the OFLC allowed "Playboy: The Mansion" to go on sale in Australia.

4.6.2  Modified Titles

       There are currently four PS2 titles in Australaia that have been
       censored in some form:

       + The Getaway
         This game was originally given the MA15+ restricted rating. For some
         reason Sony Computer Entertainment resubmitted various versions of
         the game and they were refused classification. A final edited version
         went on sale with the MA15+ rating. It has 20 seconds of cut scenes
         edited out.

       + Shellshock Nam '67 (NOT MODIFIED)
         There has been a lot of confusion over whether this game was edited.
         The alpha version was shown to the OFLC and refused classification.
         A later version was submitted and rated MA15+, prompting gamers to
         suspect it had been censored. Atari denied the claims. It later
         turned out that Atari edited the game in the final development stages
         all over the world, so technically the Australian version is not

       The other three titles that have been modified are part of the Grand
       Theft Auto series - they have their own dedicated section below.

4.6.3  Titles Under Review

       There are two titles considered "under extended review". Although the
       OFLC has passed these games for sale, events after the game launch
       led the OFLC to review their decision. The OFLC does not give any final
       decision on this review. The two games that are under review have been
       on sale for a long period of time and it's unlikely they will be banned
       in the future.

       + Hitman: Contracts
         This game was released in March 2004 with an MA15+ rating. A few
         months later a conservative journalist complained about the game in
         a major newspaper. This began debate over the game and prompted an
         extended review.

       + Manhunt
         This game caused some controversy when it was banned in New Zealand
         and not Australia. Usually NZ is more liberal when it comes to
         violent games. However this time Manhunt was passed in Australia with
         a MA15+ rating.

         The 2004 Stefan Pakeerah murder case in England brought Manhunt back
         into the spotlight. As with newspapers and TV news around the world,
         Australian press incorrectly reported the game caused the murder.
         When it was found the game belonged to the victim and not the
         murderer, the Australian press ignored the information.

         However the damage had already been done. A state parliament member
         published a press release opposing the game. This lead to the OFLC
         placing the game back under review, more than six months after it was

4.6.4  Grand Theft Auto Series

       The GTA series has an extremely bad track record in Australia. It is
       also the game that has gained the most attention for video game violence
       and has placed a spotlight on the OFLC ratings system.

       + Grand Theft Auto 1/2 (PLAYSTATION 1)
         When GTA 1 was released it was considered borderline MA/RC. However
         the OFLC considered the "top-down" view lessened the impact of the
         game's violence and passed it with an MA15+ rating. GTA 2 was the

       + Grand Theft Auto 3
         Arguably the most well-known example of Australian censorship. The
         game's distributor Take 2 "jumped the gun" and assumed the OFLC would
         give the game a MA15+ rating. The game was shipped and went on sale
         branded with this rating on the cover. However, after it went on sale
         the OFLC refused classification on the title, effectively making it

         Take 2 defended the rating but to no avail. Copies of the game were
         recalled from stores and quickly replaced with a new censored version.
         This new version had several minutes of cut-scene footaged removed.
         The editing surrounded a scene where a mechanic talked about having
         sex. Take 2 also removed the function where players can pick up
         prostitutes and have sex with them. Since players could beat up the
         prostitute aftewards, the OFLC deemed this as sexual violence, which
         is not allowed in Australia in video games or movies. The cover art on
         the new version was also different.

         Before the game was recalled some fans were able to buy the uncensored
         version. After the ban, gamers began importing the game from nearby
         New Zealand where it has not been censored. Most were successful,
         however there was a report of a shipment of six games being
         confiscated by Australian customs.

       + Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
         Take 2 removed seven seconds of footage before submitting this game
         to the OFLC. Again the prostitute feature was removed. Gamers again
         turned to New Zealand to import uncensored versions of the game.

       + Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
         Surprsing GTA: SA was initially released and given an MA15+ rating
         with no modifications or editing. Fans of the series were not
         convinced at first and ordered copies from New Zealand. However it
         later turned out the Australian version was not modified and even
         contained the prostitution feature, which had caused the censorship
         in the previous two games. It is believed the prostitution feature was
         left in because it is in context: the ability to pick up a hooker
         depends on respect, weather, car type, appearance etc.

         However in mid-2005 the "hot coffee" modification was released onto
         the internet by a gamer who found secret content through the game's
         code. The mod unlocked a mini-mission where the player had sex with
         a woman. The mission was left in the game's coding but was not
         accessible without the hot coffee mod.

         The modification led the ESRB in America to up the game's rating to
         "Adults Only". In Australian the OFLC "revoked" the game's
         classification and it was pulled from shelves. They stated this new
         content could not pass under current ratings. Take 2 resubmitted the
         game for classification in September 2005. The new version cannot
         be changed by the "hot coffee" mod and was rated MA15+. Furthermore
         the ratings advice was changed from Medium Level Animated Violence,
         Medium Level Coarse Language" to "Strong Violence, Strong Coarse


5.0  Importing into Australia


5.1  Consoles

5.1.1  Points to note

       + Colour Systems
         Australia users the PAL colour format. Consoles from the US and Japan
         use NTSC. If you plan to import an NTSC console you will need to make
         sure your television can display NTSC pictures. Most newer television
         sets sold in Australia will display both colour systems.

       + Voltage
         Australia uses a 220/240 Volt power source. The US and Japan use 110
         Volts. This presents a problem on older consoles as the power
         transformer is located inside the console. If you import a 110V
         console you will need transformer to convert 110V to 240V. These can
         be quite expensive, however if you can afford one they can be bought
         from stores such as Dick Smith Electronics, Jaycar Electronics or

       + Games and NTSC UC/J
         If you import a console then expect to import games as well.
         While PAL games are universal on PAL consoles, there are two different
         NTSC "regions" for games: UC for North America and J for Japan.
         NTSC-UC games will only play on NTSC-UC consoles, and the same applies
         for NTSC-J. If you want to play Japanese games, you will need to
         import a console from Japan.

       + Importing difficulties
         Sony doesn't like people importing consoles and games from other
         regions, and will sometimes discourage stores from shipping overseas.
         There have been reports of PS2 shipments coming out of Japan being
         blocked by local authorities. In the US major game retailers such as
         EBgames will not ship overseas.

5.1.2  Country Comparison

       + Europe (PAL)
         Because Australian PS2 consoles will play European PAL games, there is
         no advantage to buying a console from Europe/UK. The only benefit
         would be the ability to play Region 2 DVDs, which is monst cases are
         also Region 4. PS2 regioning can be unlocked by a mod-chip

       + Japan (NTSC-J)
         Unless you are really into Japanese games, or know the language, I
         don't recommend it. If you are importing an older "Playstation 2" unit
         there is also the issue of voltage.

       + USA (NTSC-UC)
         If you want to play NTSC titles that have not been released in PAL
         format, there is the option to buy a US console. Keep in mind these
         consoles will not play Japanese games. US consoles take a 110V power

       + Canada (NTSC-UC)
         Recommended if you want to play NTSC titles. Canadian consoles will
         play North American NTSC games and also operate on 220 volts, the
         same as Australia. They will also allow you to play Region 1 DVDs.

5.1.3  Requirements after Importing

       If you import a console you may need one of the following:

       + Power transformer
         To convert 110V to 240V. These are available from stores such as Dick
         Smith Electronics, Alltronics or Jaycar Electronics.

       + Figure 8 Cable
         This is the cable that runs from the console to the power outlet (on
         the old Playstation 2 consoles), or from the external power
         transformer to the power outlet (on the slimline PStwo). You will need
         to swap it for one with an Australian plug on the end. Luckily these
         cables are very common and cheap.

       + Games
         In most cases you will need to import games from wherever you imported
         your console.

5.1.4  Important notes on slimline PStwo

       The slimline PStwo has an external power transformer. This makes
       importing them a lot easier. The transformers themselves will accept any
       voltage from 110-240V whereas previous Playstation models with the
       tranformers built in would only accept voltages used in their local

       If you import a slimline PStwo you only need to swap the figure-8 cable
       that comes with the external transformer (they aren't wired together).

5.2  Software

5.3.1  Importing censored titles

       The most common place to import censored titles from is New Zealand.
       With the exception of "Manhunt" New Zealand games aren't censored or
       banned to the same degree as Australia. NZ is geographically the
       closest PAL country so postage will be less.

5.3.2  Importing from overseas

       If you are looking for titles that have not been released in PAL format,
       USA or Canada are the best countires to import from. Keep in mind you
       will need a mod-chipped Playstation 2 or need to import one from either
       country. Unless you specifically want a Japanese game, avoid importing
       from there.

5.3  Accessories

There is no point importing standard accessories from other countries. In
almost every instance it will be cheaper to simply buy the Australian version.

You may want to import peripheral accessories made for games you import - for
example a dance mat for Dance Dance Revolution.

5.4  The PS2 Hard Drive and Final Fantasy XI

The American PS2 Hard Drive will work on Australian consoles (older Playstation
2 units). You will need to import it from the US or Canada.

As there are no PAL games with Hard Drive support, Final Fantasy XI is pretty
much the only reason you would want to import a Hard Drive. You can play FFXI
on an Australian console by providing a fake US address during signup. To buy
credit, you will need to use a credit card.

If you have a home computer with reasonable specs, it is much easier (and
cheaper) to simply buy the PC version of the game.

5.5  Other Important notes on Importing

There is a small chance you may have to pay import duties on anything you bring
into the country. This generally happens if the value exceeds AU$500 or if
there are many items including in one shipment.

If you import a game that has been banned in Australian, there is a small
chance of it being confiscated by customs when it arrives in the country. This
is very rare but there have been a few reports.

Couriers are not always the best idea. Packages delivered by courier services
are often more frequently searched by customs.

For best chances at smooth shipping, only ship in small amounts.


6.0  Contact / Questions


Feel free to contact me with any questions to add to this FAQ. The address is:

Please label the email with "PS2 FAQ" in the subject line.


7.0  Credits


Playstation North America -
Playstation Australia     -
Playstation UK            -
Refused Classification    -
Future Gamerz             -


8.0  Copyrights


"PlayStation" and "DUALSHOCK" are registered trademarks and "PS2" is a
trademark of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.

Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. is a registered trademark of Sony 


"PlayStation" and the "PS" Family logo are registered trademarks of Sony
Computer Entertainment Inc. Copyright Sony Corporation 1995, 2000. All
rights reserved.

"PSX" is a registered trademark of Sony Corporation, Copyright 2003, 2004.
All rights reserved.