Watch How Misinformed Aussie Politicians Are About Video Games

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Watch How Misinformed Aussie Politicians Are About Video Games


Q&Awow

Thanks to Daniel Silk, who pointed me in the direction of the clip. Daniel also went to the trouble of putting together a letter to complain about the panel, which I’ve included after the jump.

If you’d like to read more information about games classification, I urge you to check these out:
Michael Atkinson, No R18+ For Games In Australia: Why It Hurts Children
R18 Classification & Video Games: What You Can Do
Why Michael Atkinson’s Opposal Of An R18+ Rating For Games Does Bugger All To Protect Kids, Promotes Crime

Q&A episode 10 [ABC TV]

To whom it may concern,

I watched you show for the first time last night (24/7/08) as I was informed that the question of “Why Australia doesn’t have an R rating for video games”. I must say that I am thoroughly disappointed at how misinformed most of you panel was on the subject and how quickly the original question was side tracked from.

To start off, the host had a completely wrong idea about the game “Fallout 3” which was used to start the question. This game was only refuse classification (not banned mind you) because of the use of the drug morphine as a pain killer.
Why this ONE game was pick up for its use is beyond me, as there have been countless others that have been classified fine with use of the drug in the game (Half life 1 and 2, Fallout 1 and 2 just to name a couple of popular games).

Also the description your host used to describe Fallout 3 was a bit incorrect, yes there is violence in the game – but the “main purpose” is not to kill everything. The game takes place in a post apocalyptic world – as was stated – but the player is then given the choice of how to interact in this now war torn, almost primitive new world. The player CAN just kill everyone, but that will have ramification on how the rest of the game will play out. Or he could be diplomatic and talk to everyone – be friendly and help them out, and be rewarded for his actions.

This seems to be the idea that most of the older generations (I’m 25 myself and have been gaming since the age of 8) have stuck in their heads – that all these games are just full of violence for violence sake. Most ‘adult’ games have violent themes for the same reason that ‘mature/restricted’ movies have violent themes – to move the story and add suspense/tension.

Now to move on, as the first lady to answer the question decided to take it from a personal position of “I don’t want my kids to play it – so nobody can!”. This does nothing but hurt the Australian economy, but also stabs every parent by saying “You don’t know how to look after you kids, so we’ll let the government do it for you”. I agree totally that minors should not be allowed to play violent games, and that we should have a solid, PUBLISIZED rating system in place (which I’ll get to shortly) to stop minors from purchasing these games. But by refusing classification on games of a mature nature will not stop the minors from getting hold of them anymore than if there was an R rating. But if there was such a rating, at least the Australian economy can be injected with otherwise missing cash, and parents will be more informed about the games that their children are playing.

But like I said, they can still get hold of these games by other means, downloading from the internet (which is not only illegal, but hurts the economy) or importing them from other countries. Well to start, parents can monitor (and should try to monitor) their child’s internet usage as much as possible – and in this day in age is surprisingly easy with numerous programs that allow parent to control what sites can and can’t be accessed. And as far as importing the games goes (which apparently customs would seize all copies of ‘banned’ games) most of the new consoles have parent controls – which stops ANYONE from playing any game deemed so by the user (parent in this case) to a certain rating level.

Now about the rating system, which most of you panel were convinced doesn’t exist in this country. We currently have in place a rating system to a maximum of M15+ which most of these controversial games must get released into in this country if they wish to be sold. This causes confusion in parents as they think “Well little Bobby watches M rated movies he should be fine with this” without realising how broad of a rating that is. If we were to have an R rating it would decrease some confusion, and to properly inform the public about the rating system (like we currently do with television rating) would decrease it even more. I have been in game stores behind a parent who, after being informed about a game by the clerk, says “It’s only rated M so it can’t be that bad”.

How is it that Australia is the only country in the western world not to have an R rating? New Zealand has one and it isn’t over run by people stealing cars and running over pedestrians, and the UK seems to be dealing with one fine. Heck, even in Japan – where they have some really controversial games – they have a Z rating which is illegal to be displayed and must be asked from specifically before showing ID to be purchased. There are many ways to combat any of the misconceptions that are brought up when talking about an R rating, and all of them are valid and proven to work.

This still doesn’t lessen the disappointment I feel after watching your show, funnily called “Questions and Answers” to see the person who asked the question spend about 10 minutes with a raise hand to try (I can only guess) and correct your panel on the gross half truths they were saying. Also I must ask, why was the topic switch from talking about bringing in a new rating to compliment they current rating system, to how this would suddenly allow snuff films and excessive pokies to be brought into this country? I have never heard such useless propaganda spread in all my life! Snuff films and video games would still be illegal, even with an R rating, as they will always be deemed inappropriate and unnecessary; just like we can’t have them now. How the topic swung to this I don’t know, but to try and push this as fact is disappointing to hear from people in government. And the guy in the audience with his question about how this would allow more pokies to open? I think he must have confused gaming and Gaming. I can understand how that could happen, as they are both used to describe a similar experience, but they are not related in any way. One is to do with gambling, which as your panel successfully said is bad and does affect others, the other describes a pastime that many people are actively participative in. Neither affects the other.
Another point I would like to bring to light is the passing of information about studies linking violent video games and violent acts. These studies are inconclusive at best and there are also studies that state the opposite, that the playing of violent games actually DECREASES violent outbursts in some people. Trying to state these studies as actual facts when the verdict is still out is just plain wrong and I’m shocked that no-one on the panel tried to debate this. Yes, there are some people who are drawn to violent media – be it games, books or movies; but you don’t see us banning the latter two do you? To say that video games glorify violence is to say that Saving Private Ryan glorified the violence of World War II, or that America Beauty glorifies having sex with minors. If you are going to ban one, ban them all; don’t just ban things based on how you are feeling at the time.

So in conclusion, I am disappointed that your show seemed more like a platform to spout inconclusive propaganda and misinformation; and when your original question asker had a point he was obviously wanted to raise, was turned down and not allowed to speak out. Australia needs an R rating for its video games to bring it in line with the rest of the world, and to allow a more uniformed rating on games that should never be allowed in minor’s hands. The rating systems in Australia need to be publicized more as the public at large seems to be grossly misinformed and needs to be set straight. And seeing that there is only ONE MAN that is holding this country back in the ‘stone age of ratings’ shows that they way that these things are brought into this country need to be looked at as soon as possible.

While I’m not really fussed that I probably won’t get a reply to this letter, I do hope that you will bring these facts to light on your next show – as I feel bad for anyone who was watching to get the wrong idea about this new media type that has now shadowed the Movie and Television industries.

Sincerely,

A concerned citizen.

Comments

  • I really appreciated the last question they fired at the panel: How can the government have such double standards? They freely support a very liberal system of gambling (which it was noted has far more proven social problems than games do) in all Australian states, yet they play the role of the morally righteous crusaders in the great war against video games.

    I wonder if they can hear themselves?

    I appreciated the applause that the question received even more.

  • Those panelists had no idea and formed opinions based on their own assumptions. I want my 7.5 minutes back…

  • Yeah, that has pretty much ruined my day. People like barnaby Joyce i expected to spout off that crap, but i hoped at least one of the others would be even slightly informed or open minded. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to sell totally unrated games to minors.

    As a side note my captcha is ‘total dislike’

    highly appropriate

  • Please dont tell me that letter was submitted to someone? That would have to be the worst letter I have ever read before – didnt the author even bother to re-read it and check the vocabulary and spelling? No wonder Politicians think us game players are kids, unworthy of an R18+ rating when the basics of English writing were ignored in the first paragraph of the letter – firstly try adding an “r” at the end of you so it actually says “your” and the very first sentence isnt complete – surely the author meant to add “was brought up” or “was discussed” at the end of the sentence….

  • Its quite sad to watch that, i cant say im not suprised though. Its funny that most of their basis of their arguments of it being banned was because of the violence, however AFAIK the sole reason it was banned was because of the drug use and not the violence?

    I dont think the conversation got off to a great start either when the game was simplified down to such a level and then described to have a thing in your arm which you administer drugs into that help you kill more people. I mean when you describe any game like that i dont blame the politicians, as ignorant as they may be, for not understanding why we need the games like fallout 3.

    I think it’ll be a long, long time before we get justice on the r18+ matter, props go to the audience member who mentioned the pokies though, thats really something ive never thought about before.

    I think another point they should have brought up is that without the r18+ classification here, other games that would in other countries be classified under such rating, are changed to fit into a ma15+ rating here. Im sure they’d all agree it’d be better to offer a r18+ rating for these games, rather than have them resubmitted and be available to a younger audience.

  • I so hope that letter prompts a response and (please god, please) an apology from the program. Fingers are well and truly crossed, but I’m not holding my breath.

  • “AS A MOTHER” I stopped listening at that moment to anything she had to say.

    The responses were offtopic and irrellivant as expected..

    We’re boned!

  • I would have to agree with Daniel – if I was the person receiving that letter in its current form, my opinion of gamers in general would be lowered as a result. The spelling and grammar are atrocious – plus the author puts his worst spelling mistake in all caps to emphasise it! “PUBLISIZE”? Seriously?

  • *sigh*
    We dont stand a chance.
    As far as they are conerned, anything you point a gun at on screen is representative of a living, normal, happy person. Having violence in the context of the story doesnt even occur to them. In that respect its no different to a movie.

    What really pisses me off, no offense to the guy in audience who asked the question, is that it would seem we have dont have a good voice to communicate with these types of people. Noone who gest to speak to these guys about this issue are truely prepared and researched, noone seems to have any skills to debate their arguments. Christ that guy didnt even get to have a word in edge-ways. That was a slaughter.

  • The ignorance is just astounding.
    Rape people? RAPE PEOPLE?!
    *smacks Nationals around*

    All we need is a forum where intelligent and articulate gamers can speak to these people and properly construct the arguments for an R18+ rating. I don’t think it’s as far away as people are saying – we just need to lay the smack down.

  • There are mountains of research and statistics that show that video games are no longer fringe entertainment. They are mainstream! Someone needs to send a copy of the “INTERACTIVE
    AUSTRALIA 2007 Facts About the Australian Computer and Video Game Industry” report to these people, and every politician. A national research report conducted by Bond University, randomly sampling 1,606 households and 3,386 gamers.

    Key Findings:

    79% of Australian households have a device for playing computer and video games.

    The average age of Australian gamers is 28 years.

    Interactive games are attracting new players. 41% of gamers are female. 8% are seniors.

    Parents and children are increasingly playing together. 35% of gamers are parents.

    61% of gamers play for up to an hour at one time. Playing computer games does not compete with non-media and outdoor leisure activities. Instead it competes with other media such as TV, film and music.

    Parents in game households say the positive aspects of game play are more than just enjoyment and happiness. 73% say games help their children learn about technology, 68% say games help their children learn maths, 64% say games help children learn to plan.

    70% of games classified by the OFLC in 2006 were rated G or PG.

    62% of Australians in game households say the classification of a game has no influence on their buying decision.

    Australians are very confused about the difference between the M and MA15+ classification.

    I’m 21, been gaming since I was 4 (Atari 2600). I’m a psychology student at Murdoch University and I’ve taken the time to look at quite a lot of the research of games and aggression. Saying that the research is inconclusive is being generous. In truth the majority of the better conducted research indicates that violent games have no significant causal link to increased aggression.

  • @MRSHLEE

    “”AS A MOTHER” I stopped listening at that moment to anything she had to say.”

    Ha! My reaction also. I can understand people relating the issue to themselves personally, but in a discussion such as this – its the bigger picture that is important. I.e. the entire Australian consumer market.

  • Firstly, yes! This concerned citizen is spot on, and more needs to be done in infultrating the complete and utter misuse of power involving such matters. I completely agree with what he has said, and support him all the way! Keep it up.

  • That video and that letter are equally terrifying. The video because it’s full of knee-jerk idiots peddling crap about a medium they don’t understand, and that letter because the concept of “proof-reading” is apparently alien to the author. The spelling and grammar are terrible and sending that to anybody in authority does nothing to help the cause. Sorry Daniel.

  • I’m glad someone Youtubed that segment since I’d missed it on TV. It’s a shame the main issue was not addressed–that the rating levels are inconsistant between games and other media.

    The letter is a bit embarrassing, and incorrect e.g. games can be rated up to MA15+, not M15+.

    “AS A MOTHER” made me lol. Go Bill Bailey.

  • Yeah, that letter needs a massive re-write, or at least be read for spelling.

    No offence to the guy who raised the question (and good on him for doing so), but he did a poor job of it. He didn’t correct Tony Jones’ description of the game (which purposely highlighted the violence) and he didn’t answer the other questions well either.

    He was up against it though – the panel was clearly never going to be onside, even if he tried to interest them with the censorship angle. Basically I think we don’t have a hope of this getting changed, meaning we either a) go without b) hope for a modified version or c) break the law. What a ridiculous situation to be in.

  • If the argument against an R18+ Rating stems from the assumed ‘fact’ that an R18+ rating will not restrict children from accessing restricted content doesn’t that invalidate the entire rating system (i.e. movies etc …) not only that of R18 games ?

    Should the best way to deal with this issue be to invalidate the points that are used to formulate the argument against an R18 rating, and a way to do that is to turn the arguments against the rest of the media that is covered by an r18 ratings system?

  • I find it appalling that the CEO of an organisation that is meant to help Australian businesses run “more effectively and to become more competitive on a domestic and international level” is so clueless about one of the few entertainment industries that isn’t sinking into the quagmire of global dept.

    I’d demand this woman step down from her position as an advisor to Australian industry.

    Furthermore, I want to see leadership on this issue from our own CEOs.

    I think Tom Crago, CEO of Tantalus and head of the GDAA needs to step up and demand an apology on behalf of all game developers in this country from this woman and her organisation.

    She called us all sick and appalling!

    Are you going to sit there and take that, Tom?

  • I think calling this panel “misinformed” is too high praise. Outside of the bald ALP member and the woman with dark hair next to the host, the rest of the panel failed to admit they knew nothing about games… “the Queen has a Wii” showed them up very nicely! But then it didn’t inform non-gamers it only reinstated false stereotypes.

    As for that Independent and Barnaby Joyce, I’d love to know what the hell they’re on. They couldn’t name one study they claimed that existed. Better yet how the hell will an R18+ rating get me snuff films and rape games?!

    In fact I think I might write to Barnaby and ask if he could give me the name of the rape game he’s talking about and some of that North Queensland air he’s smokin… 😉

  • That’s a tactic I support Dave. I have sent a letter asking Michael Atkinson why he is not campaigning against the R18+ rating available to films. Why he allows that sort of violence and sex and drug use in to the homes of our children. OUR CHILDREN! Awaiting the reply still.

  • Anyone else notice his FO3 shirt with the speech skill on it? Awesome.
    Anyway, I was loling the entire time. Jesus Christ.

    Ah well, I’m still importing FO3.

  • *sigh* A government for the people by the people.

    Or in this case, for the people by the people who live under a rock and don’t understand the topic they pretend to have strong opinions of.

  • Wow, that’s a chunk of my life I’ll never get back.

    Why are we plagued with such moronic, uninformed politicians in this country?

  • “there isn’t a rating system on video games….that means anyone of any age can buy them”…Sorry, what? Just like with movies, any MA15+ game is restricted to those over the age of 15 or accompanied by an adult. If the retailers don’t follow that, that’s the retailers fault – it’s not the same as saying we don’t have restrictions.

    Perhaps if you’re going to have a segment on it, the host should at *least* get it right.

  • Australian gamers can’t rely on the GDAA or the IEAA to represent their interests, these bodies are there to promote industry developers and publishers NOT players.

    Gamers need their own group. Guy Blomberg of Australian Gamer has been trying to get things off the ground on this front.

    It’s pretty obvious by now that gamers need a lobby group that fiercely promotes their interests.

  • what’s that comment? people get the politicians that they deserve. clearly gamers are the smart minority then as we don’t deserve these fucking tools “looking” after our best interests.

  • I was talking with some friends about this issue last Friday and he mentioned a political campaigning website called Get Up! (http://getup.org.au/), basically you start a proposal and if enough people support it and raise money to support it they will organize advertisements to support the cause. It may be Oz gamers only hope considering how horrible Q&A went. I was really expecting more from at least the host, he could research Fallout 3 (slightly) yet was unaware of any ratings system for games in Australia, that was shameful.

  • Watched this last night and also felt sinking dismay after listening to 3 of them having absolutely no idea what they were talking about.

    I particularly laughed at the comment “if its been banned it must be pretty bad”. Thank christ the Labor rep wasn’t quite as stupid as the others. The only person who really seemed to make an intelligent contribution was the younger female journalist.

    The gaming industry is just too big nowadays for our politicians to be this amazingly ignorant. They really need to remove their head from their arse and stop listening to the scare-stories making out as if a perfectly normal person can be turned into a psychopath by playing a game. Yes it may trigger a pre-existing mental condition but who with 2 brain cells to rub together is stupid enough to think video games alone can cause people to commit such atrocities.

    Our media and politicians are so out of touch and misrepresent our country and way of life watching TV just makes me sick. This is just one issue of many the people in power are completely ignorant of. Australia just jumps on the political correctness bandwagon that America pioneered

  • I didn’t even read the whole thing, and that letter was nearly half as poor as the show itself. Nearly.

    Anyhow, this is a complete disgrace that they would spread completely wrong information like this on Television, and I am writing to Mediawatch right now.

    …Apparently Mediwatch is on ABC. We’re screwed. I think SBS has something similar, I’ll take a look.

    In case anyone doesn’t know, we DO have a rating system for videogames, it just bans all games that would be rated R18+. Yes, bans. It is a myth that you can still import the games legally. You just probably won’t get caught.

  • Alright, I have written an email to MediaWatch.

    “Last night the ABC program Q&A ran a discussion on whether Australia should have an R18+ rating for videogames (currently any game that comes under the category of R18+ is banned for sale, import, etc.). The host clearly stated that we do not have a rating system for videogames, although we do for videos. This was discussed for a significant amount of time, and he was never corrected. This is completely inaccurate:

    “Computer games, whether they are locally made or come from overseas, have to be classified before they can be sold, hired or demonstrated in Australia.” – http://www.classification.gov.au/special.html?n=253&p=78#cg

    This means that many games cannot legally be sold to anyone under 15, just like movies.

    Here is a YouTube video of the relevant section, the part I mention begins somewhere around halfway through. (The ABC also makes the entire episode available on their website for free.)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4KR3nmDpz0

    (Members of the panel also inaccurately described several games, imply that psychological studies generally show a significant causal link between games and violence, and state that a game ‘turned everyone into car thieves’. These are all incorrect, however, the statement that the OFLC, a Government office, excludes videogames entirely, is clearly the most direct and most significant error.)

    They debated this for some time, and I think people need to be shown that we HAVE a working, enforced rating system for games, just not an R18+ rating. As a future game developer, my career, and the Australian game industry, lies in the hands of horribly misinformed and ignorant people, and I hope that the ABC will at least begin to right what they have done with this ridiculous program.

    Thankyou for your time.”

    I doubt they’ll see enough significance in this, but seeing as they’ve basically said the Office of Film and Literature Classification is not classifying things, maybe they’ll at least mention it online or something small.

  • This makes me sad. When is the government in this country going to wake up to itself in relations to this.

    Even some ‘informed and educated’ people, as these people probably think they are, still have no idea.

  • The sad part is I got out of bed to watch this segment last night. Also afterwards I chatted (or typed really) with the guy who asked the question on Facebook. I pointed out to him that the question was full of holes and it was easy for uninformed panelists to misinterpret the question, but then he explained that before the show goes on the air the questions are rewritten/edited to suit the show because of the limited time allocated to each question.

    So he was pretty much screwed from the start with the same scaremongers rewriting his question. Also he had his hand up for almost the entire time offering to correct the untrue statements but was pretty much ignored by all the panelists, and when the sounds cut out when he finally got another word in I knew there was no chance of this going well.

    Sad to say, we may be stuck in this rut until Generation Y hits the appropriate age group to start making a difference in Australian politics.

  • Federal Government of Australia, here is a question that you people may need 10 years to answer: are ALL video games violent?

    Alas, can the government grow up when it comes to this sort of thing? Apparently not. It is blatantly obvious that none of them have actually seriously played a video game before, no matter what genre. I find it rather difficult to comprehend the utter stupidity behind all their arguments. Parents are perfectly aware that video games might contain some violence, and that’s all very good, but what sort of parent would let a little kid play Grand Theft Auto?

    The Xenophon dude’s psychology is bull. As stated somewhere above, the average gamer is 28 years old. People who are age and older are perfectly capable of deciding whether to copy violent traits shown in video games. A seperate report (can’t remember the source) claims that over the past few years the crime rate has decreased. I hope these politicians, so called, can work out what this means.

    ‘No ratings system on video games’? Who are you trying to kid?! The ‘non existent’ ratings system is what pretty much the whole Australian gamer population is trying to improve here. We want an R18+ rating for games, hence the existence of a proper but poor ratings system.

    Barnaby Joyce. Urgh. I have nothing to say except ‘disgusting’. It’s interesting that you bring up rape. There are many, many more movies with pretty explicit views on rape, and yet they are still permitted into the country with an R18+/X rating. The concept which the government has astonishingly failed to grasp: video games are similar to movies, yet the games cannot have a similar ratings system. The gamers of Australia are consistently let down by an INCONSISTENT ratings system – Fallout 3 is RC, but jabbing EVE syringes into your wrist is considered MA15+?

    Jackman woman (and rest of the panel) – a Wii, just in case you’ve been sleeping under rather large rocks for the past 2 years, is a CONSOLE, and a unique one at that. It is generally controlled with a white thing that you wave around, like a cursor on the screen. It’s nothing to laugh about. Get a life, all of you.

    We have all seen the consequences of video games on behaviour for decades. What happened when Spacewars! was first played? Nothing. No one took shuttles into space and staged a rocket duel. When Space Invaders was first released, did people go out with body armour and gun down others with a turret? No. Did people who played Doom go out onto the streets and start a massacre? No. Did people who played San Andreas with the Hot Coffee mod pick up girls from a street corner, take them home and start raping them? No. This is probably a lame argument – but it’s passable.

    I’m so disgusted by the sheer idiocy politicians in this country have shown.

  • the pokie argument was quite valid so that part of your argument was lost, in that how can the government approve pokies that generate a lot of revenue but adversely affect many lives, but ban video games that could (but not proven) adversely affect peoples lives?

  • Here’s what I find excruciatingly hilarious in all of this.
    For the most part the government condemns games for their explicit nature. Grand Theft Auto for instance often crops up because you have the ability to steal cars, pickup prostitutes, deal drugs and kill innocent people mercilessly.
    HOWEVER, under our current ratings system both the government and the OFLC, despite their objections, must feel that, horrible though it may be, all of this content is suitable for anyone that is at least 15.
    If this was not the case then they’d have made the R rating long ago.
    What does that say about them?

  • That was terrifying, not a single thing anyone said on that panel was even correct, no ratings system for games? rape simulators? the psychological research is that games make people violent?

    Honestly if I hear anyone start their speech with “and I have children”, I may choke, what authority does having children give you on making arguements for and against R ratings, its not a rating for children.

    Thank god for the above letter writer for setting the record straight, and thank god the shows on ABC so no one will have seen it 😛

    Australia really needs a vocal champion with media attention to campaign over this issue. If these are people who are discussing the issue now, we are completely fucked.

  • these politicians must remind themselves that the opinions of the community supersede their own. And the video game industry is on the rise. Though I doubt this will reach the producers of this show, I do believe an apology is in place, as the lies of these politicians are truly despicable and outrageous given the immense breadth of the video game industry. Their opinions will be laughable in the history books, as were the condemnations of Shakespeare’s plays laughable. Such is the consequence of talking with minimal research.

    anyways! apology! now! 🙁

    These guys target something to demean, but unfortunately this time they’ve targetted one of the largest entertainment industries without realizing it 😀 this is really going to bite them in the ass and i’m loving every moment of it.

    if any of these politicians want any future credibility, i suggest they apologize ASAP (+admit they didn’t know much about the topic at the time)!

  • I’m sorry but this was just a terribly misguided panel that had only a slight idea about what they were talking about. It also apears that, depressingly, they have all made their minds up on the idea that ‘games are bad’. Even the easy going Barnaby held this school of thought.
    It seems that we’re only ever going to get some changes round hear when this generation of politicians that know nothing of games are replaced by those who do.
    Fear not though Australia, for I am currently taking uni courses in politics, and know quite a number of my politics friends enjoy video games. So it may take a while, but there is hope.

  • When does this rape game come out? I’ve been closely following the gaming scene for a long time now (I do have Kotaku bookmarked after all ^^) and I have never heard of a game with a rape in it. I have seen plenty of movies where rape plays a part in the story, celebrated movies by the likes of Steven Spielberg and Kimberly Peirce for example, but I have yet to hear of any evidence of an actual video game where you go around raping people, or even with an actual rape scene in it (I’m actually struggling to think of a single game where an “implied rape” occured, let alone an on screen rape or player controlled rape).

    I am certainly looking forward to this rape game, because when video games can take something as grotesque as a rape and have it artfully in a story just like some of our most lauded films, when this happens I will know that video games are on their way to becoming a respected entertainment just like our Golden Globe winning films are.

  • We can’t ignore the fact the guy who asked the question was also asked “Is that a fair summary?” after Jones made his ridiculous opening remark on Fallout 3 being a game where you take drugs and kill everybody.

    The audience and panel take their cue FROM THE GUY WHO ASKED THE QUESTION, laughing at the fact he agreed that taking drugs and killing people was the premise of Fallout 3.

    Every time I wish for change, another sub-par ‘representative’ of the gaming community puts their foot where their mouth is.

  • Lord, this makes me incredibly glad I don’t live in Australia. It seems like the government there is run by a bunch of ignorant right wing morons. For a nation that seems so forward thinking in some ways it’s incredibly scary in others.

  • Wow, this really makes me glad to not live in Australia. I mean lord, every time I read something (except for the recent moves towards recognition of the Aboriginal People) the government rulling the nation seems to be a bunch of ignorant right wing yahoos who’s head is so far up their own backsides they have to drop their fly to breathe. Where I live isn’t perfect and there are similar arguments going on, no where is perfect, but at least there’s not the active banning of media.

    Frankly I was less then impressed by the questioner as well, the fact wasn’t raised that there are in fact no viable and legitimite studies proving increased violence based on game play, in fact there are studies that show the oposite is true. Additionaly he didn’t call them out on their lack of knowledge or the gross simplification of the material (despite his wearing a Vault-tech t-shirt.)

    Any how, again a reason why I’d visit your lovely country but would never want to live there.

  • omfg.

    i feel like finding the nearest sharp instrument and stabbing myself in the face with it.

    Fucking Idiots. Jesus i mean. Jesus.

  • Oh well Seamus, wishing for change sure is doing heaps! At least the topic is being discussed more now. Why don’t you step up and be an above par representative instead of just criticising from the sidelines?

  • For what it’s worth, he’s my fairly long e-mail to them:

    After watching an excerpt of the program that aired last Thursday (24/07/08) that covered the questions regarding video game classification and censorship I was shocked to discover both a considerable degree of ignorance to the area from both panelists and the host, Tony Jones, and a reluctance, excluding panelists Mark Arbib and Christine Jackman, to admit to being unfamiliar with the issue.

    The most glaring inaccuracy was Tony Jones’ statement that there is not a rating system on video games, further suggesting that any individual of any age can purchase any video game that has been approved for sale. This is incorrect (see http://www.classification.gov.au/special.html?n=271&p=190) and any video game that posses a certain level of violence (typically either showing blood or the like) cannot be sold to anyone under the age of 15. Instances in which young children are in possession of such games are typically a case of parents not aware of the classification system (as Tony Jones himself showed is certainly prevalent) or poor policing of retail guidelines. Those against video game censorship are largely in favour of solutions including better classification education for parents or stricter retail guidelines.

    The discussion of Fallout 3 also seemed skewed towards discussing the violence within the game and the dangerous potential of that, however the reasoning behind refusing classification for the game did not mention violence at all, but rather due to the appearance of morphine in the game’s publicity stills. While I in no way condone the use of drugs, its appearance in various media as a story-driving element is important as seen in works within other media (such as the book/film Trainspotting or the film “Requiem for a Dream”. Those involved in the discussion also used the term ‘ban’ or ‘banned’ frequently but this, too, was erroneous, as the title has been technically been ‘refused classification’. While this may appear to be splitting hairs, the difference is that ‘banned’ suggests action of an active classification board while refusal to classify is indicative of the fact that the incompleteness of our rating system results in censorship as default.

    Many statements made by panelists seemed obtuse or irrelevant such as Barnaby Joyce’s mentions ‘avatar rape’, though such a title would likely be illegal with or without an R18+ classification nor does his vague description suggest such a title exists; it appears as though he is assumptive that a game like that must exist. Heath Ridout states “Grant Theft Auto seemed to turn everyone in to a car thief” and “violent games breeds violence” as though it was accepted fact (http://www.pbs.org/kcts/videogamerevolution/impact/myths.html is an excellent and well researched source to discount some of these beliefs). Ridout goes on to suggest that those over 18 will obtain the games anyway, which would require either importing (illegal due to customs law) or through illegal downloading. Is Ms Ridout suggesting that breaking the law is the best solution to this incomplete classification system?

    An R18+ classification for video games is present in nearly all developed countries, excluding Australia. The issue is not about making games more accessible to minors but by giving video games the same classification used by other media. I concede that the question on your program was poorly asked and the asker unfortunately accepted Tony Jones’ loaded description of the title involved, however the responses clearly highlighted the misinformation over the issue both with politicians and the media.

    I can only hope that this is an issue that might receive more thorough research and investigation in the future.

    Yours,

    Alex Collie

  • I urge all Australian Gamers to complain to the ABC about this.
    http://www.abc.net.au/contact/complain.htm

    If you want to contact the people on the show individually, here’s how:
    Nick Zenophon is http://www.aph.gov.au/SEnate/senators/homepages/contact.asp?id=8IV or [email protected]

    Barnaby Joyce is http://www.barnabyjoyce.com.au/Contact.asp or [email protected]

    Mark Arbib is http://www.alp.org.au/people/email/arbib_mark.php

    Although Ms Redout’s association doesn’t have appear to have a general email, there’s numerous emails on her associations website – [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected].

    Christine Jackman is a little hard to track down, even though she is a journalist. Try [email protected] or simply [email protected]. However, like all “good” journalists, she does have a facebook account…

    Also, I suggest you also write to Tom Crago ([email protected] or possibly [email protected]) and demand that he step up and defend Game Developers of Australia from this type of ignorance and slander.

  • Watching that was like watching a train wreck in slow motion. I’m glad I missed the show when it was live otherwise I would have annoyed the neighbours with my shouting at the television. We won’t get any serious progress on this issue until we get representatives who have some knowledge about it and I sadly don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon.

  • I wonder if any of these people have ever read the report by the OFLC called ‘Computer Games and Australians Today’. It was released in 1999 but society hasn’t changed much at all in 9 years. I suggest you all go read it; despite being 912 pages long you can still churn out some laughs comparing the report to their preposterous arguments.

  • Where is the video games industry on this issue (and I dont mean game “journalists” aka kids that live in mums basement)? Why are they not speaking out on this issue? Surely Australia is turning some sort of profit for them to lobby the required government officials.

  • Now that all the major consoles have “family settings” can someone please explain to drop-kick parents how they can stop their kids playing content (games/DVD’s/downloaded content etc) they do not think is appropriate?

    Please?

    Pretty please?

  • Funny as hell that we can have 13 year old girls posing nude for photographers IRL and galleries are quite happy to show it (and even seeking this stuff out) but can you imagine if a character in a game had that option?

    Instaban.

    The whole place is a stinking mess with its double standards and over regulation. And yet nothing seems to actually get done! I’m off to england.

  • How idiotic can our politican’s be, it’s the parent’s reponsibility to monitor what there kid’s play but until there children are at the age to get a job they are the one’s that buy them the game’s so if a child under the indicated age get’s a MA15+ or R18+ game shouldn’t the parent’s and the shop clerk be to blame for selling to and/or buying it for them. Until people stop trying to blame someone else for there own mistake’s the gaming community might aswell just bend over & take a deep breath since it’s probably going to be awhile till we get a R18+ rating

  • Alex, I believe the ‘avatar rape’ Joyce was referring to occurred in Second Life, as made possible by user-created animations/accessories etc. Otherwise you’ve hit the nail on the head. It is not sensible to extrapolate from that despicable instance of antisocial behaviour in an MMO to the conclusion that a board intended to classify media is given the power of censorship of material potentially appropriate for adults as a result of a poorly defined classification system. If this debate is to be reduced to stupid jingoism, as is apparent from the video, we should at least “call a spade a spade”. Ill informed moral outrage and daft appeals to motherly experience do not justify the utterly broken rating system which we currently endure.

  • Man 0 Woman!

    What is going on!

    Here is clearly a failure to communicate…..Them and us senario! True it may be, though not intangible…. I am a sole care, single parent of 3 Beauty Australians of over over 12 years….These Beauty’s are under no illusion of there reality, though they do play and enjoy the games online and through commercial marketed lines ie: xbox,play/S,nintendo etc ( someov=scaryshite) even scare me!!

    What we are really truly’ talking about here is respect…..
    Unfortunately something the media has lost!!! but ofcourse us civilians hold close?

    Please tell me you care? about your Kids?? when you ban them from some violent game yet let them watch mainstream Tele. and you can!

    Please “dont” tell me you care about your kids and your worried over a game? Yet dont ban the daily news??bloody pleases dont tell me that!!

    Go! Gen Y!!! you may not have so much wisdom but you certainly have honesty…..And even in my Gen Honesty was always the best policy!! no…matter whom or who gets hurt…. x’s & hugs to all out there….. Tim

  • its actually proven that video games are an outsource for violence and anger. And for me when im upset i play video games and i come away feeling calm and i have never commited a crime in my life, except when i was a kid i shop lifted, felt bad and went back the following day and owned up and payed for the item.
    also to blame games for murders in american schools is wrong, bullying is what lead to tht.
    they really need to get the info correct.

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