R18+ Debate: Industry Responds To Atkinson

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Following on from SA Attorney-General Michael Atkinson's reiteration of his opposition to an R18+ rating for videogames, we asked several senior Australian games industry figures for their response. Just, you know, in the interest of balance and all that. And here's what they said.


    Ha! no one sides with michael hes a one mand band with a broken drum and a rusty trombone.

    Tom pretty much stated my thoughts exactly (albeit in a much more concise and eloquent manner than I would be able to)

    Well said, gentlemen.

    Michael Atkinson doesn't have it right when it comes to this issue. He is the lone voice of ignorance and the public consultation will prove that. I don't think it's right for him to stand in the way of the people he is meant to serve getting what they want and are entitled to.

    I believe Tom's got it right - until a higher classification is available, adult games will just be modified enough to fit with the MA15+ category, and just removing a bit or something here and there is unlikely to remove the adult concepts that the game is built on.

    I am 100% confident Atkinson will completely ignore SCAG's results, if it does not fall in line with his stance on the situation (just like he and his supporters did last time.)

    Mr Atkinson appears to have no faith in the ratings system at all, and is actually blind to the type of games kids can get now. Young kids are getting very violent games NOW, a R rating should help prevent that.

    I would be interested in the response from those responsible for rating other media such as movies, mags, etc, and see how they feel about Mr Atkinson saying the ratings system is pointless.

    Obviously Mr Atkinson doesnt believe in democracy and representing the people. The people need to be babysat and not allowed to think for themselves.. He seems to believe he is in a dictatorship like North Korea. He is right, the majority are stupid and wrong!

    This seems to be in line with some of the governments other ideas such as censoring the internet. "The people are too stupid to look after themselves, we must guide them like cattle to where 'we' want to go.

    Tom pretty much hit the nail on the head.
    By not having a R18 classification, parents are infact being misinformed about violent video games and their children.

    If parents were actually told about the more accurate rating that the game would have recieved, they would be rather angry about our limitation of classifications on games, especially with their 'interactive nature'.

    The shame here is that we are progressing everywhere but in getting the classification system updated,(no debacle over GTA IV for PC w/ the hooker options left in - wouldn't have happened a couple of years ago, just look at San Andreas). When is Mr Atkinson going to realise that he represents the people of Australia and should not be pushing his own agenda? Oh wait . . . he is a pollie!!! Not going to hold my breath yet and in the mean time kids will still get their hands on inappropriate content.

    Unfortunately it's times like these I wished we were still in the middle ages, I'm sure Mr Atkinson would have met with unfortunate ends or have been strung up by the public for his little attempt at playing God to the masses.
    Maybe he thinks he's going to be the next on the throne or some such... Queen Atkinson has a nice ring to it lol.
    To Mr Atkinson... dude, get your head out of your a$$, and stop power tripping. Remember, the higher you are, the further you fall.

    I think the most significant example of something being put into MA15+ that should be R18+ is Fallout 3. How the level of violence showen in Fallout 3 is MA15 I have no idea.

    Slow motion head explosions, while hilarious, dont really have any place in a MA15+ game OR movie.

    Wake up Michael and see how broken the rating system is.

    Dear Mr Atkinson,

    Please re-instate my right to choose. Thankyou

    "He seems to believe he is in a dictatorship like North Korea"

    With Conroy's Great Firewall of Australia incoming, you might not as far off the mark here as you think.

    Go Tom. Much love.

    It's pretty simple.
    Lets say a dad and his 14 year old son going shopping.

    **The way it should be**
    Son: Dad, Christmas is coming up and I would like a copy of GTA IV.
    Dad: I'd like to mate, but it's rated R18+, I'm sorry but your not old enough to play it.

    **The way it is now**
    Son: Dad, Christmas is coming up and I would like a copy of GTA IV.
    Dad: Hmmmm, it's rated MA15+, your only a year younger than that... sure thing champ, (don't tell your mother)

    Therefore having an R18+ is more likely to keep a game away from younger kids.

    Finding a 15 year old with a Playboy DVD is very different to finding them with a Private (XXX) DVD.

    100% agree with you, fallout 3 doesnt even come close to M15+ rating, especially after being the 'interactive nature' it is and how graphically violent it is.
    As tom stated in a not so blatant opinion, young kids should be bending over backwards to kiss atkinson's rear because HE is the one who is letting their parents(kids under 18) buy video games for them.

    Mr Atkinson is playing to the sensitivities of the conservative far right. Logic is not an issue here, it is simply a matter of appeasing a portion of society that is closed off from everyone and is suspicious of everything, and cannot be reasoned with...it is sad but this is one example of many out there...

    What is the purpose of the discussion paper?

    Mr Atkinson will clearly block the introduction of an 18+ rating and it only takes one negative vote to block it.

    it's a real shame tom crago isn't heading up the ieaa ...

    How many games get banned, then have very minor content tweaks to sneak in under the bar? With an R18+ rating, developers won't be making small, letter-not-spirit tweaks to make their games easily accessible to children. By opposing a rating that reflects the content coming into the country, Atkinson is ensuring his fears come to pass.

    Atkinson has no idea how broken this system is at the moment. I work at GAME, and I literally saw a dad come over to the counter with a copy of Dead Rising for his kid, who couldn't have been older than 13.

    And it's not only that.
    -A 15 year old buying, in one go, Far Cry 2, CoD4, and GTAIV.
    -A Mother buying her son Saints Row 2, because "at least it's not GTA"
    -and this one is the kicker, a man with a 6 year old boy in tow, who bought about 5 MA rated games, when I asked about it, as I'm supposed to, he said they were for him. And you seriously can't tell me that there was absolutely no way that that boy couldn't get a hold of them if he wanted to badly enough.

    BTW, isn't it funny that content, that in other countries is reserved for Adults, is almost always made through our MA rating without edits? Only a few games, I think it was 5 at last check, were banned, edited slightly, then resold. I can't believe that this man can't see how much this system fails.

    This whole thing continues to be a vast embarrassment. How on earth did we wind up with a system where one person can block a necessary reform that 95% of people are demanding? How is this remotely democratic?

    @David Fowles

    Exactly. It contradicts the entire concept of democracy. By the people for the people, majority rules. If every other attorney general in the country plus the people support the introduction of an R18+ rating for games then such should be implemented based on the fact the majority is in favor, as this is the entire point of a democracy. One man dictating the will of the majority is called a dictatorship and in this case Mr. Atkinson is indeed being a dictator.

    Compulsory voting is another example of how much of a joke this countries so called 'democracy' really is. Compulsory voting contradicts the entire concept. We're all forced to vote and provide our preferences but what if I don't want any of the parties on the ballot paper to run the country? I'm still being FORCED to vote for somebody I DON'T approve of. THIS IS NOT DEMOCRACY! THIS IS THE OPPOSITE OF DEMOCRACY!


    "Only a few games, I think it was 5 at last check, were banned, edited slightly, then resold."

    It's even stranger than that: the PC version of GTAIV is unedited from the international release, yet got exactly the same rating as the console version (which was edited prior to submission).

    I raised a similar point to Tom Crago's about cars in an open letter to Atkinson (http://intouchwiththeobvious.wordpress.com/2008/11/16/an-open-letter-to-michael-atkinson-mp/)

    I've yet to hear back from him. (Maybe I will in 10 months or so...)

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