South Australian Attorney-General and video game censorship advocate Michael Atkinson is to appeal the MA15+ rating handed out by the Classification Board to Modern Warfare 2.
Speaking to Radio National, Atkinson was asked for his views on the recently released game, described by interviewer Peter Mares as “violent and bloody and graphic and confronting.”
“I’ll be appealing against that classification, I think it’s wrong,” said Atkinson.
We have approached Activision for comment regarding the proposed appeal, but they have yet to respond.
The Member for Croydon, who will be challenged for his seat at the March 2010 state election by Australia’s first gamer rights party, went on to admit he had no faith in the Classification Board to do its job properly.
“It doesn’t surprise me. The Classification Board in Australia does everything to try to get games in under the radar. But just because the system is not being applied properly, it does not mean that the principles of the system are wrong.
“What I want the Classification Board to do is to apply the guidelines properly. What I don’t want is the extremely violent, sexually depraved, drug use games in Australia at all. At the cinema, we can stop people under 18 going in to see R18+ rated movies. We can’t stop these games that are extremely violent and depraved from getting into the home or getting into the hands of children.”
Atkinson raised the example of “the Japanese game Rape Play where one scores points for raping a mother and daughter.” Mares noted that this game is not available anywhere outside of Japan, even in countries that do have an R18+ rating. But Atkinson suggested that “Rape Play” (sic) would be released in Australia.
“Well, I wouldn’t put it past the Classification Board to make that an R rated game, frankly, on their previous form,” he replied.
Atkinson also described an unnamed game in which “the player straps explosives to himself and blows himself up in a market and scores points for how many people he kills.” (Anyone know what game he’s talking about? I honestly have no idea.)
When it was suggested to Atkinson that, as Attorney-General, he would be responsible for drawing up the guidelines for an R18+ rating if it were introduced, and thus he would be able to ensure that such “extremely violent, sexually depraved, drug use games” would still be refused classification, he once again reiterated his lack of faith in the Board.
“I have no trust in the Classification Board to apply the guidelines sincerely and correctly,” he said. “And thus to draw up such guidelines would be to do so in sure and certain knowledge that they would be stretched and then broken.”
Finally, Mares asked the minister whether he knew the status of the Commonwealth discussion paper on video game classification, originally scheduled to be released to the public in April this year. Mr Atkison denied any knowledge of why it has not yet been issued.
In the second half of the segment, Mares spoke with Gamers 4 Croydon founder David Doe. Hit the link below to listen to the full interview.
Does Australia need an R18+ rating for computer games? [Radio National, via Screen Play]