I don't know if R18+ was ever about the games. Games can be important, but ultimately they are trivial things.
I am currently holding a copy of Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2+, Australia's first R18+ game, and I'm thinking about how silly video games can be. The original Ninja Gaiden Sigma was a port of an expanded edition of a game that was released in 2004. Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2+ is an enhanced port of a port of a sequel which was in itself also an expansion — is that right? It's a port of an expansion of an expansion of a port. I think. It's truly impossible to tell at this point.
Video games can be stupid, but so can any medium. It's the right of video games to be stupid if they so desire. And it's also our right as adult human beings to pursue this silly hobby of ours as we see fit. If that means going down to the store on March 7 to buy the very first game to receive an R18+ game in Australia then so be it.
It is our right to buy and consume these silly things. That's what R18+ is about.
It is also my right to look down at this video game I'll probably never play, wrapped in a case I'll probably never open, and feel a little smug. For a second I thought 'smug' was the wrong word but the more I think about it the more I realise just how perfect it is.
Select groups barricaded themselves behind utterly illogical 'won't someone think of the children' rhetoric, they peddled their ignorance and, bizarrely, people listened. They listened because they were scared; they listened because they didn't understand. We had to deal with their arguments in private, on public forums, and that was beyond frustrating. We had to listen and watch as video games were misrepresented on mainstream media by people who simply didn't understand them.
But that's all over now. Common sense has won the day and, yes, I feel a little smug about that.
I'll never have to write another article about the Australian Christian Lobby and you'll never have to read it. Lyle Shelton no more, Michael Atkinson, Barbara Biggins no more...
Jim Wallace no more.
That feels pretty good.
It also feels good to be part of a group that affected change. Gamers made noise about this issue. Gamers 4 Croydon, Grow Up Australia, the iGEA, too many people to name. Gamers often do a decent job of arguing with each other over the most trivial things, but on this issue we were truly united and that was powerful. As a group we were engaged, we made noise in the right way and, in the end, the right people listened.
That's what this game represents, this silly little game. The game I'll never open, the game I'll never play. This game means that parents will be better informed, it means that, within reason, we can play what we want.
It means we won.