Victorian deputy premier and attorney general Rob Hulls believes that Australia is behind the times when it comes to video game ratings, and I'm inclined to agree. Currently the top rating a game can receive is MA15+, as opposed to movies which can be rated R18+. While games like the Grand Theft Auto series have squeaked by with an MA15+, games like Dark Sector and Soldier of Fortune: Payback have encountered trouble limboing under the bar. Hulls thinks it is time to raise the bar.
"It seems inconsistent that in Australia, adults are allowed to view 'adult only' films which have been classified R18+ by the Classification Board, but not computer games with an equivalent high level content," he said in a statement. "With the increasing convergence between films and games, the different approach to classification principles is difficult to sustain. At the moment, Australia is out of step with the rest of the developed world on this issue."
The Australian federal government is currently considering whether to support the addition of an R18+ rating for games, but is hesitant to make a decision until they hear from the public. Things aren't looking good so far, as in order to bring about the change, all of the Australian government's Attorneys-General would have to agree, and some - like South Australian Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Multicultural Affairs Michael Atkinson - remain strictly opposed to such a move.
"I do not want children to be able to get their hands on R18+ games easily. I understand that the lack of an R18+ classification denies some adults the chance to play some games, however, the need to keep potentially harmful material away from children is far more important."
It's a battle that could take months, if not years to resolve. In the meantime, there's always porn.
Australian pol says country's ratings 'out of step' [CNET Australia]