Atkinson Argues His Case, Says He Doesn't Trust Classification Board

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Michael Atkinson has admitted he opposes an R18+ category because he doesn't trust the Classification Board to apply the guidelines "in their plain meaning". In a third letter to Kotaku, Atkinson outlines his case against the introduction of an R18+ category in response to Kotaku reader Terry O'Shanassy. Atkinson claims the Board will stretch the limits of an R18+ category in the same way they currently stretch the limits of the MA15+ category.


Comments

    For someone who is so quick to blast others for not checking their facts Mr Atkinson once again completely fails to miss the point.

    There are R rated games for sale in Australia, they're just rated MA 15+ here instead and get through with minimal or no edits to their content.

    Mr. Atkinson, please listen to reason, an R rating would keep the grand theft Autos and Fallout 3's, game's of extremem violence, drug use and plenty of other horrors, further away from children and vulnerable adults than they currently are.

    It's not about accessing adult games. You seem to fail to understand we have the access all ready, these games are for sale in your local JB HiFi and Dick Smith's. We want an R rating because it makes sense and its appropriate. Not because we want even more glorified gore. Trust me, we get enough.

    Nice to see him replying to one of the better written criticisms of his stance, but I can't help but see more comparisons to Jack Thompson arising - I suspect this is largely because we're dealing with a Politician, nothing more.

    Just stop threating to harm/maim/kill the guy - It's not going to help get an R18+ category introduced.

    Well spun my friend, well spun. Now we know that what you are doing is changing the paper to be tabled to include "your" choice of what could become r 18+ games. Once again, the rape game is tabled as an argument. This game would not be allowed through however games such as Grand Theft Auto would be bumped to r 18+ where they should be. As a gamer I like the fact that I can play this game legally in this country but as a citizen it affects me that a fifteen year old can play it also. You are the reason for that. You are supplying these games through ignorance, the OFLC is acting in accordance with its boundaries. There is only MA so that's where the border line games fall champ. Well done. Please retire soon so Australia can move in to 2009 and finally stand next to the other socially responsible countries.

    Thank you Mr Atkinson for a much more reasonable and informative response to the issue than your last letter. I can't say I agree with your reasoning, and there is something about the tone of it that still infuriates me, but it's definately better than nothing, and a vast improvement on the last. Civil discourse tends to breed civil discourse.

    However, I'm not sure if it was made clear in Terry's original letter, but I know he clarified it in a later post, that he too feels that the current classification guidelines need an overhaul. You stated "If those games fit into MA15+ , they will still be classified under MA15+ if there is an R18+ category". He infact made this exact point in a later post, and that he wished for this overhaul to happen as a part R18+ introduction.
    (My apologies to Terry if I misunderstood, and my interpretation is incorrect)

    surprise surprise, when discussing an r18+ rating he Mr Atkinson again mentions Rape games as many times as he possibly can.

    Why including this misleading, offensive material in this discussion?? If anything this content should be used as an example of something that is currently refused classification and will remain to be refused classification. Why do you insist on filling this debate with misleading, sensationalist claims that informed readers know is just not true?

    Mr Atkinson.

    It is good to hear that you, like many gamers do not trust the Office of Film & Literature Classification. We are well aware that their rating system is flawed.

    I understand your argument against R18+ games. However I must disagree with it on a personal level. The classification system is flawed in many ways, however we appoint these people to do their jobs and we must allow them to do it.

    The other option is to ensure the system rates games in line with other countries. If a game is rated R18+ in the USA, why is it that the same game is rated MA15+ in Australia with no revisions, it does not make sense.

    I honestly believe that we need to publicise game ratings, to ensure that parents are aware of what happens when they give their 12 year old a copy of Grand Theft Auto IV. In this case it is not the failing of the classification board, the retailer or the child, it is the failing of the parent. Would you disagree with this?

    I also think that as gamers we need to stop the stupid threats, they are not condusive to what we are trying to do, and they set us back everytime somebody makes a stupid threat. We are adults here, not children so lets act like it.

    Please respond to this Mr Atkinson, I would like to talk to you more about this matter, in a civilised manner. However I will not publish my address on this forum, that is a safety issue, but I live in The Gap, in Brisbane. However feel free to contact me at my e-mail address of godis_lives @ hotmail.com

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Paul Rosenow

    Okay, Mr Atkinson.

    If you are so passionate about this issue that you are willing to use your elected position to get the result you desire, then perhaps it's appropriate that you begin your compaign to have the MA15+ rating abolished.

    Based on your opinion, the fact that my 15 year-old nephew can head home after school, fire up Grand Theft Auto 4 and proceed to drive around a city, stealing cars, running over pedestrians, shooting women in the back of the head, having carpark sex with prostitutes, executing police officers, and other obviously criminal activites, suggests that the current ratings system is flawed.

    ...but you don't want the ratings system reviewed, do you? You like it just the way it is.

    If there was an R18+ rating, this kid would not have access to such a game.

    As a person who has been Exposed to Pornography Violent games (i have killed trillions of virtual Characters)
    and Extremely violent movies from the Tender Age of Seven (vividly Remember watching fightclub and Seven at that age)
    i have never been in a fist fight.
    i was never reactive to mates who would punch eachother for kicks.
    an i am extremely disturbed by human sufering
    Which is why i take interest in terrible things that happen around the world and try to what i can to Educate people.
    Which is why i think u should take more interest in these things and stop Bicaring over video game

    Child Witches in Africa
    http://tinyurl.com/2cjpgb

    But i am sure you are only out to protect those kids living in australia from ummm nothing.

    Hmm.
    It seems to me a little bit double standard that he -to paraphrase- "stands for the whole of Croydon", and yet holds his own family experience as what is a necessity.

    Excessive Gaming is a different issue, Mr. Atkinson. Please stay on topic.

    It's funny, though. I know Terry well online and would like to point out this - Mr Atkinson writes:

    "... Of the 24,000 people in my electorate of Croydon only one - yes, one, Terry - has told me he opposes my stance on R18+ games and supplied me with his name and a street address".

    However... Terry actually lives in Vic ;)

    "Machine Noise"?
    The echoing corridors of Dead Space?
    Songs from multiple genres and eras on GTAIV?
    Sweeping instrumentals from the menus and cutscenes of Halo?
    Machine noise!

    "Terry claims: "Those mature adults are not, I might add, playing simplistic arcade-style shoot-em-ups. Mr Atkinson is erroneous if he thinks so." Again, Terry has just made this up and verballed me." There was an obvious if in Terry's statement, and from "machine noise" it seems Mr Atkinson may unknowingly think all games are "simplistic".

    If he'd prefer people import the games illegally (it's illegal to import a game refused classification, or a game that's unedited whereby the same game was edited for a MA release in Australia), then fine. I'll continue to download or import games from online. Currently enjoying my unedited copy of Silent Hill Homecoming, which I would have bought if it hadn't of been edited and resulting in a delay in release.

    Sounds a bit ridiculous to me - a member of parliament who doesnt even trust their own classification board.
    The OFLC has stretched and changed the requirements because over time people and the communities conceptions can change.
    By stifling debate and discussion there is no way we can move out of the dark ages.

    "The Classification Board is an independent statutory body which makes classification decisions about films, computer games and publications. Principles for decision making are set out in the National Classification Code, agreed by the Australian Government and the States and Territories."

    http://www.classification.gov.au/special.html

    "I am an M.P. not the general manager of the universe. And I think this will become worse if R18+ games become available. The O.F.L.C. will then stretch R18+ so far that nothing much is RC, as it has done with film."

    As a M.P. and the Classification Board as an independent statutory body working within the National Classification Code... how can you make such a calm as above? Clearly M.P's would never "stretch" electoral promises in their favour to achieve re-election?

    Wow... just wow.

    I do not believe that he understands the issue in debate here at all.

    He doesn't trust the Classification Board? But they are controlled by the Attorney-Generals as they are a department of the Attorney-Generals - I can't profess to know what power Mr Atkinson has towards or regarding the Attorney-Generals Classification board, I mean, he is only the South Australian Attorney-General after-all.

    I'm completely convinced that the discussion paper will have invalid 'examples' of what will be allowed through as an R18+ game.

    The content used for the examples of content that will be allowed through classification at an R18+ level should come directly from the games that have received an RC classification in the last few years, of which there are very few, and of which I don't believe any to have been RC due to Rape being included in the game.

    I would like to refute:

    To my mind, a child being able to watch ultra-violence and sexual defilement in a movie is damaging to the child, but a child participating in ultra-violence or sexual defilement, or both, in a computer game is worse. Moreover, playing a game with on-screen violence makes violence part of their everyday lives and what is especially concerning is that this is the gamer's recreation. Terry O'Shanassy asserts that interactivity doesn't make violent games a greater risk than violent films or violence in other mediums ("The contention that the interactivity of video games makes them trainers for anti-social behaviour and even causes anti-social behaviour is an insupportable one.") - tell that to the family of the Bangkok cabbie murdered last year in a literal re-enactment of a scene from Grand Theft Auto. Ask the murderer, Terry - he told us what he was doing.

    I cannot believe that he said this. Especially after the comments made earlier about 'hearsay' and 'arguing with facts'.

    I'm sorry but NO study has definitively found one way or another that interactive or non-interactive entertainment makes a human being any more or less violent. Mr Atkinson is extremely hypocritical here, he can pick and choose information to better serve his argument, but shoots down comments that are equally un-proven as 'un-educated' and suggests further research to be done.

    Sorry, but I believe that if a human being is born with violent tenancies they will do something violent whether a video game, movie or anything inspires them or not. Massacres and extreme violence happen, they are NOT caused video games.

    And to use Grand Theft Auto as an example... a game that is currently available in Australia with an MA15+ classification blows the mind...

    This brings to my attention a point that I don't even think Mr Atkinsons realises about his view on this issue. His debate is not about R18+ games at all, it is about the moralistic viewpoint of violence in video games and its effect on society, it's not about having R18+ games or not - and thus it is very disappointing that someone so disconnected from this debate has such an imovable opinion on the matter.

    Does anyone else think that he is sticking to his guns just because he sticks to his guns? So many valid points have been made and dismissed because they are 'anonymous' and 'uneducated' this is ridiculous, a valid point is a valid point - this is just an excuse to ignore facts.

    It confuses and baffles me why I am being harangued, threatened and abused by people who want the right to play a handful of games. It confuses my why so many gamers are arguing that they should have the right to play games that enable them on-screen to bash, torture, slay, slaughter, rape and take drugs. I am concerned about the state of mind of an individual who thinks he should have the right to do this in a computer game and then wants to tell me about it. Add to that the threats to me and I feel more certain about my stance that I should do what I can to minimise the number of these games in Australian homes.

    This is just amazing!! I take that as a direct insult on my intelligence and my freedom of choice. Just because you can't understand it doesn't mean anything for someone else. It's like saying your opinion is the only one that matters because it's right. But sorry, it's an opinion.

    Consider this. Video-games and movies (interactive and not) are an escape from reality. In these situations I can experience different experiences that I cannot morally or legally experience in real life. This is not a case of me wanting to 'bash, torture, slay, slaughter, rape and take drugs' this is a case of me doing this in a situation where it doesn't directly hurt or effect anyone because it is 'fake'. But alas, by saying that it 'confuses and baffles' you that people want to play these games then you obviously consider anybody who would play these games to be at a level of lower intelligence than your own and to not have the ability of free choice and not have the ability to discern the difference of what is 'real' and 'fake'. That said, I would never and have never participated in 'rape' in a video game, neither have I participated in 'torture' and I do not want to ever participate in these things, however our classification system will not allow these types of contents at an R level either.

    You seriously asked your own child if they thought that the person they just killed in a fake, computer generated video game had an aunty or a cousin? SERIOUSLY?

    At this point, I'm done. I doubt I will receive any response but as we continue along this direction I realise that the situation is hopeless because the parties involve are so hopelessly stubborn that things will never change no matter how bad the point of view on the situation is.

    Please also note, that Mr Atkinson is correct that this is a fairly minor issue. I would not vote based on this notion. Frankly, I don't care about the removed content or the extra pushing of boundaries personally, I just think that we have the most relaxed rating system in the world at the 15+ level and it is a major slight on our society to keep it so.

    This dabate isn't just about letting adults play adult games. We can play adult games now. Importing and Downloading are just a few ways to do this. It’s about having a responsible rating in Australia for these games so that the general public can make an informed choice about what they and their family play.

    By not having a Rating System with a R18+ rating we are in fact making it easier for our children to access these games. The game manufactures simply tweak a name or some small other detail until it can be released under the MA15+ category.

    Games such as Fallout 3, Silent Hill, Resident Evil and Grand Theft Auto should not be placed in a category for people under 18. The fact that a 15yr old can buy Grand Theft Auto is just disgusting because the game is made for adults and should be placed in an adult category.

    It is irresponsible to continue to permit these games to be placed in the MA15+ category.

    It's nice to have him talking at last, but instead of talking about keeping adults away from content, he should be pushing to get tougher restrictions on MA15+ games.
    If there is a viable alternative (R18+) then tightening the current rules on MA15+ games would be a much simpler process that wouldn't have much opposition (and I daresay there would be a lot of support for).

    If the R18+ category for games was to follow the same rules as the those set for films then graphic depictions of rape or sex would STILL BE ILLEGAL so arguments talking about keeping them away from kids have no standing.

    Opening up an R18+ category allows for more control not less.

    Allow the category in, change the rules on MA15+ as part of the same proposal, and take the GTA's and Saint's Row's out of kids' hands and into those of adults.

    Firstly Mr. Atkinson, your tone offends and frustrates me.

    1."I hope Victorian Attorney-General Rob Hulls doesn't stop the discussion paper's being released in April."
    - Please don't pass the buck here, Mr. Atkinson. YOU are the one who has delayed the release of the paper because YOU wanted to change something - though it has taken you QUITE a while (almost unreasonably so). Anyway, to me it seems to me, if Mr. Hull were to stop the release it would be because he doesn't agree with your changes. Is that what you believe?

    2. Please don’t compare us with members of outlaw motorcycle clubs. It is ludicrous and bordering on the defamatory. It’s a needless comparison that only serves to disparage gamers.

    3. RE: Eros Foundation – Please keep to the topic on hand Mr. Atkinson (R18+ rating for games). Again, it would seem you are trying to compare our two parties.

    4. "Terry claims: "Those mature adults are not, I might add, playing simplistic arcade-style shoot-em-ups. Mr Atkinson is erroneous if he thinks so." Again, Terry has just made this up and verballed me."
    - Well he did say 'if', Mr. Atkinson. He did not make anything up; he did not put words into your mouth. Though please forgive him (and all of us) if we think it's possible you have such a small-minded view of computer games.

    5. “As my youngest boy blew away one humanoid after another with an automatic rifle recently, I ribbed him "Do you think any of these have aunties or cousins?"”
    - Did he respond by saying, “No O father of mine, I don’t. You see, they’re not actually real...and I can understand the difference between reality and a game.”

    6. “I worry about parents not taking an active role in regulating their children's game playing.”
    - So you think YOU should be the one to regulate every child’s, every adult’s, game playing instead? Because by not allowing some games into the country (as a result of not supporting an R18+ rating), that is what you are doing.

    7. RE: The Thai shooting. ONE person? One instance of game-related violence, from a different country no less, is NOT enough ‘evidence’ to base any sane legislation here.

    8. “The reason Terry is so angry at me is that I have belled the cat - told the public what is in these games.”
    - He is angry (we all are, and frustrated) because it is a lie. You said that an R18+ rating would allow a game into the country that has the player raping other people. That’s not true. That’s providing misleading information.

    Which game 'allows' rape?

    If we're talking about GTA San Andreas

    1. It isn't rape. It's consensual
    2. It isn't an official part of the programming. Only hiding the code (and modding) allowed it to be played. It was rogue programming.

    Had a game studies lecturer try and tell us the same thing.

    ok so essentially what he is saying is that in order to keep 3 games (thats THREE! games) out of the country he is willing to relable dozens of R18+ games as MA15+ and make them available to children all over the country.

    and i bet u 2 of those 3 would have been banned under a 18+ system anyway

    well dont "atko" your a credit to hypocrites everywhere.

    Ok, Mr. Atkinson, how about we argue about this matter through an Everybody's Golf: World Tour battle royale match, which is as G Rated a game as you can get, so you won't be too offended by it.

    Personally I am offended that a politician would ignore his own people about a notable issue. Julius Caesar didn't care about the Gaulish villages he exploited and conquered, but that was a simpler time where people named Brutus were to be wary of, and the Ides of March was considered very unlucky indeed. I am not threatening you with violence, I am just pointing out that if you were a senator in Ancient Rome you would be dealt with in a different way to how we deal with politicians we don't like now, in our own country, by voting them out. Thankfully politician mortality rates associated with assassination are at an all time low in Australia, because people play violent video games to avoid doing that kind of thing in real life.

    By the way, my name is Jacob Martin and I live in Abbotsford, Sydney. There, now you know who I am. My PSN nick is GeekPhilosopher, so if you have a PS3 do send me a message with your reply. Or you can leave a comment on my blog through my URL.

    Anyway, enough is enough Mr. Atkinson, we need an R18+ certificate to address content which is mislabelled under the MA15+ rating, the MA15+ rating was used well in the Nintendo 64 era but times change and gamers get older and the adult themes need to be given a rightful place. People like you are the reason why Brett Easton Ellis's "American Psycho" is shrinkwrapped in every bookshop I find it in. Censorship of art isn't right, but sometimes art needs to find its proper audience without being gutted of its meaning. Like with video games.

    Mr. Atkinson,

    I understand your stance on classification. In fact, I work in the retail industry, specifically in the business of selling games. It is a trying thing to inform parents that the game their child has selcted is extremely violent/contains high-level sexual references/drug use, etc. This is because the MAXIMUM rating we can allow is MA 15+. Now, to use a recent example, GTA 4 should never have received that rating. Do you want to know the largest difference between the US and AUS versions? You can select the type of 'service' supplied by a hooker. That, and you see some of the action (albeit badly animated). With this in mind, this game is totally unacceptable as an MA 15+ game.

    Being in the industry, I would love the power to say to people: "Legally, I can't sell you that, as I can face a massive fine." Just like a liquor store. I think what we really need is the classification (to prevent games from sneaking in on a lower rating), as well as giving retailers the legal right/imperative to refuse to sell a game to a customer due to the rating.

    If you combine the two, I believe you will eliminate a large number of the problems associated with adding the R 18 classification to the gaming industry.

    Once again, thank you for reading my points, and please, ignore those of the gaming community who flame and otherwise call you names - they are not an accurate portrayal of the majority of games I know.

    Regards

    Last edited 09/03/16 1:26 am

    First off I need to commend Mister Atkinson for taking the time to read our posts and respond to them. It's more than what others would do.

    "It seems to me disproportionate for some adult gamers to be so agitated about their 'right' to play a few games. The Classification Board considered 903 applications in 2007-2008. Three of those games were RC (Refused Classification). Most of the decisions gave G, PG and M ratings. The highest number of decisions was for G ratings and 55 games were MA15+."

    Yes, only 3 of those 903 games were refused classification. That number only represents the games though that were not modified to squeeze into our MA15+ rating - be that prior to or after being initially refused classification. Many developers pre-emptively alter their games slightly (and I do emphasise the word "slightly") in order for it to sneak into the MA rating before even submitting it for classification to get around the delays that would happen should it be knocked back. Out of those 55 MA rated games, how many of them do you think did this? Some of the modifications were so minor, it was simply changing the name of a drug. The player still takes the drug in the game, they are just taking a made-up drug instead of a real one. I don't see the difference.

    "My main concern is that these games will become available to children and vulnerable adults. Again, Terry tells me off for being concerned about children accessing these games."

    You see though Mister Atkinson, if a game was classified R18+, it would not be freely available on shelves for anyone to walk in and buy. You would need ID for a start, and the games may not even be advertisied or on the shelves at all. In fact, in many countries who have an R18+ system, the developers modify their games to fit into MA15+ anyway because being classified R, to them, is effectively banning it from sale, due to how they are more difficult to buy. Many retailers refuse to stock R18+ games in some countries.

    As to what happens once the game comes home, and who has access to it, well that responsibility lies soley with the parents or guardians. I'd also like to know who you classify as "vulnerable adults". Do you mean those with a mental health problem? Because those people with those issues don't need games to do something stupid.

    "(And Terry, if you haven't seen someone become obsessed with a computer game, then perhaps you haven't sat around while they play into the early hours of the morning and writhed to the machine noise that passes for background music.)"

    I've done better - I've done it myself. Countless hours spent playing games until the early hours of the morning in my youth. I still do it occasionally. Its fun. But am I a murderer? No. I know when something's not real. I don't think you are giving people enough credit to have the capacity to tell the difference between real and make believe.

    "If those games fit into MA15+ , they will still be classified under MA15+ if there is an R18+ category."

    No they won't...not all of them anyway. They won't be modified, and will be classified R18+ instead, like they should be.

    "Information about the classification system is easy to get, it's easy for parents to find out more, or just sit down with their child while he or she is playing the game and watch what he or she is doing. It's not hard for parents to decide whether the game is appropriate or not."

    Exactly! So put the decision in the hands of the parents, please. Don't make a parent's decision for them.

    "("The contention that the interactivity of video games makes them trainers for anti-social behaviour and even causes anti-social behaviour is an insupportable one.") - tell that to the family of the Bangkok cabbie murdered last year in a literal re-enactment of a scene from Grand Theft Auto. Ask the murderer, Terry - he told us what he was doing."

    So, one murder by a guy who said he was re-enacting a scene from a game. I'd like to know how that compares to the number of murders re-enacting a scene from a movie, or TV show, or book, or how many murders have been made by copycat killers. The fact is murderers will murder, and you can't blame that soley on games. Thousands die in car accidents each year, does that mean we should ban all motor sport because it's a bad influence?

    Also, I'd like to compare that one murder with this story: http://www.kotaku.com.au/games/2009/01/grand_theft_auto_helping_six_year_olds_drive_to_school-2.html - where, inspired by the very same game, a 6 year old kid took the family car because he missed the school bus, and he really wanted to get to school. Ignoring the obvious fact that the parents shouldn't have been letting a 6 year old play GTA, the kid wasn't trying to murder anyone. He wanted to get to school!

    "The reason Terry is so angry at me is that I have belled the cat - told the public what is in these games."

    How many of these supposedly R18+ worthy games have you actually played, Mister Atkinson? I mean you are speaking with such authority about what's in them, you must play them all of the time...right?

    "To my mind, a child being able to watch ultra-violence and sexual defilement in a movie is damaging to the child, but a child participating in ultra-violence or sexual defilement, or both, in a computer game is worse. Moreover, playing a game with on-screen violence makes violence part of their everyday lives and what is especially concerning is that this is the gamer's recreation."

    This is opinion. This is the problem with so-called 'common sense'. It's not necessarily correct at all. It has never been definitively proven that there is a causal link or even a higher level of risk involved. There have been a smattering of studies which support the position, however their support is usually showing correlation, and that correlation can be explained by asserting that people who have strong, anti-social violent tendencies tend to be attracted to extremely violent media. Not games, but media in general.

    In fact, for every study done that has supported these conclusions, there are many more which are not trumpeted as heavily in the media because they fail to confirm 'common sense'. Either they show no link, or they actually show the opposite, that violence in games is actually less impactful because it is interactive. Recently there have been studies which showed that playing games actually engages our subconscious, and that what we're doing is akin to engaging in a lucid dream. In fact, gamers have been showed to have a higher instance of lucid dreams and a much lower chance of having nightmares, despite having more exposure to violence. It has also been shown that this subconscious engagement can significantly help in the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, among other things.

    I could understand an agument that suggested that higher-rated games should not be allowed because there may be a risk to the small minority who may be 'at risk' because they already have mental issues, though I would not support the position. However it still seems inconsistent, as what they are susceptible to is violence. The medium doesn't matter, and so if R18+ games are banned, then R18+ films should also be banned by the same logic.

    Really, I think what this comes down to isn't a case of ignorance. Mr. Atkinson is probably aware of studies which show his position to be shaky. However I suspect that he simply doesn't care about the science, unless that science supports the position he 'knows' is 'right'. In other words, no amount of evidence to the contrary will sway him from the position. Attacking through logic doesn't work with people who are convinced that they are correct, unless the evidence is completely overwhelming, and honestly there hasn't been enough evidence in this debate to conclusively end the debate.

    Australia will get an 18+ rating. But it won't be until Australia's current generation of politicians retire and those of my generation, 20-30 now, who have barely known a world without video games, are in power. It's a shame, but I suspect it's just a waste of effort at the moment.

    On the R18+ games being squeezed into MA15+ issue, that is actually one major issue. The OFLC are viewed as inconsistent and untrustworthy because they do this, but the other option for them is to ban tons of games. One only needs to look at the ratings issued to games at the top end of the classification scheme and compare them to game ratings issued in New Zealand, which has a near-identical classification process and generally has very similar community expectations and ratings rules. There are a lot of games that get 18+ ratings in NZ (and from the BBFC in the UK, the PEGI in Europe...) which are released at MA15+ here. They should be refused classification but the OFLC are not unreasonable tyrants and will bend the rules just enough to allow things through, or they will get publishers to modify things so that the games slip just inside the bounds of the rating.

    My opinion:
    - The MA15+ bracket should be tightened.
    - R18+ should be introduced for games, designed to grab the upper end of what is acceptable in the current MA15+ bracket, plus a little more flexibility. Probably you wouldn't allow much more through in terms of violence, but generally speaking it should be on par with what is allowed in film, for consistency. The oft-quoted Japanese Rape game would definitely not be allowed through. I don't think that it would make it through the OFLC even if we had an X rating for games. Which I'm personally fine with us not having.
    - The powers that be (whether at state or federal level) should increase and enforce penalties for retailers that sell R18+ games to minors.
    - A major education campaign should be embarked upon to educate parents on the rating systems for games and the sort of content that is allowed in each rating bracket.

    If I get pulled over for speeding and I tell the police I was doing it because I love computer games, will Need for Speed Games also start to be banned?
    If a guy kills a guy in a taxi, chances are he was already messed up, i don't think GTA made him do it.

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