Australia’s Video Game Classification Is “A Joke”

Australia’s Video Game Classification Is “A Joke”

That’s the view of Tom Crago, president of the Game Developers Association of Australia. Crago says it makes us the butt of a lot of jokes within the industry.

Speaking on radio station 3RRR (as reported by ITWire), Crago says that lack of an R18+ category in our classification system is the biggest problem.

“It’s ridiculous because it assumes that games are fundamentally different to film and outrageous in that it assumes that adults shouldn’t be allowed to access adult content in video games.

“And of course it is a fundamentally broken system in that games that should be classified R being shoehorned into the [MA 15+]classification, which means you get a 16 or 15 year old, who really shouldn’t be able to play a particular type of game actually able to play that game, under the age of 18.”

Crago says he believes the system will eventually change and he is counting the days until common sense prevails.

“We need some form of classification system don’t we? But it needs to be relevant; it needs to move with the times. It needs to recognise that people’s leisure habits change, and people that are accessing content evolve, and we are looking at a video game industry that is very different from what it was twenty years ago.”

Crago’s comment come in the same week we saw yet another game refused classification. Risen, a fantasy RPG from German developer Piranhan Bytes, was seen to include “sexual activity and drug use related to incentives or rewards.” Such content is beyond the guidelines of the MA15+ category, currently the highest rating allowed in Australia. However, Risen has been classified and will be widely available in all other major gaming markets throughout the world.

GDAA President, Australia’s game classification system is a joke [ITWire]


  • This guy is right. Movies get away with this stuff. Why not games?

    Because it’s violent? Please, we’ve proven that video games DO NOT turn poeple violent.

    Children will play them? Children shouldn’t have them in the first place! That’s the parents/store clerks responsibility. Children can easily watch R rated movies too, are we going to start banning them as well?

  • And yet, sadly, were all too busy playing games to get as a collective and do something about it! I mean, there’s lots of ppl whinging and whining about it (me included), but why is it an issue which just continues to flounder, we know why the issue is as it is, but we’re all relegated to waiting for a religeous nut to up and die of old age (or maybe even be voted out-probably more unlikely tho).
    We need action people, in tight tights, fighting for… oh ffs, can’t be bothered finishing this post.
    *gone playing World of Goo

  • I’m seriously so sick of this problem because of small minded idiots.

    I’m sick of standing idly by and watching it continue… isn’t there something gamers as a comunity can get off their lazy butts and do?

    How about petitioning? I’m sure if a dedicate group of gamers set out into the city or the gates of major events they could easily get the signitures of more than enough people for the fat heads that run this country to think twice?!

    I mean what will it take?

    • That’d be like telling Conroy to stop the internet filtering. They (probably) won’t listen.

      Qum is right about them finally rotting away or getting voted out. We need new fresh blood of this generation in positions that control things like the game industry.

      What can we do? Go on a strike, really. Strikes get the attention and tell them that we’re not happy.

      I cna’t think of anything else apart from that.

    • Apathy is a huge social sickness in this country. We still have no concept of “people power” like many other nations do and everyone is just dandy if ‘it’s not my problem’. A nation of whining hand-ballers. Parent’s don’t care.. No one gives a flying f*ck if it doesn’t affect them directly.

      What will it take for this country to “get it”?

      • thats what i am saying.
        why can’t gamers as a community and industry band together and do somehting, i mean i’m not asking for thousands of people at once, but at least get some sort of a ball rolling!

      • So true Morgion.
        I think I’ve signed 1 petition against this and that’s it.
        Any other pressure groups out there?

        This is more a battle of generations rather than the protection of u/18s.
        Morals vs morals.

  • Dudes we’re gamers, not the democrats…someone says, “U wanna eat pizza and play halo” i can do that…actively particiate in society and politics…no thank u, i play games to get away from the real world, or boost my xbox gamerscore!

  • While i am in 100% complete agreement with the argument he is presenting i simply don’t think that this is going to happen anytime soon until Mr. Atkinson is given the boot at the next SA state election (which i have no idea when that is). There seemed to be alot of hype around this issue about 4-5 months ago with that draft paper supposed to be released, then Atkinson held it up and i haven’t heard crap all since. Anyone know whats the go?

    • It makes me sad, but I have to say I agree with you; Atkinson seems to be the ONLY obstacle standing in the way of us getting a change to the classification system to allow, and rate, games at an R18+ level.
      His naïve and narrow minded views on why these games are violent and/or explicit in other ways is doing nothing but hurting the industry and in fact the very youths who, in his twisted mind, are being protected by his decree that the lack of an R18+ rating is stopping them from playing these violent games.
      Open your eyes Mr. Atkinson, don’t you see that by NOT allowing a R18+ rating you’re allowing people aged 15 to access games that are, with good reason, rated R18+ in other countries.
      In case you didn’t get it, what you’re doing is NOT helping.

      I would say more both within and after what I’ve already said, but I feel that, if they do fall under Mr. Atkinson’s gaze, that his eyes would be blinded by his closed mindedness.

  • There was a discussion paper but well….yeah.

    I think we should each be attempting to convince the Attorney Generals of the states that do agree to introducing an R18 rating, to go solo and simply introduce it for their own states, gaining economic benefits from video game sales. After all the National Classification Code is voluntary and states can set their own guidelines such as with X rated movies here in the ACT, surely if we can buy pornography we can buy “Risen”. We just need to convince them that it is worth it.

  • hehe now i feel special but at the same time I am annoyed at how right I am when i asked Tom Crago the exact same question when he visited us earlier.

    As I said, why don’t they just give us the same system as they do Movies and other content. They can even be slack in upholding the rules as they do for TV content if they like.
    I am all for banning adverts with the word Bugger in them. haha!!
    The way they treat the kids these days makes you wonder if kids are wrapped in cotton wool till they get to 21yo, especially as they must want under 18s to believe babies are delivered by a stupid bird with a long neck.
    Common already!! We all know what you are all trying to hide anyway.

    Btw, when it comes to drugs, and other dangerous substances, has anyone ever turned over a food item and read all the “stuff” they use in these items. As if this stuff is not killing you.
    They don’t ban this crap, do they??

  • I’m all for the R18 classification. It’s quite interesting when you compare thedifference between movies and computer games. Generally speaking, in movies you are a spectator, you merely watch the narrative. Computer games are intertactive, player driven entertainment. The difference between Soldier of Fortune 2 (on its’ release) and say Commando (Arnie) is quite vast, but both are MA15+. The player in SOF2 can vividly select ways in disposing enemies and can do so over and over again, at their own pleasure. It’s violence driven entertainment in a lot of ways, even though the other dynamics of the game are also entertainming. In Commando you are merely a spectator to a story, where everyone else commits violent acts, there is a separation between the audience and the action.

    Alternatively I would suggest altohugh the interactive aspect should be considered, it is not different to other emerging forms of entertainment. The onus of protection should not be placed on the different forms of media and entertainment. The onus should be on mental care and support that should be provided to identify the individuals who are prone to violent crimes. Before the internet, there were still phedophiles; before computer games, there were still violent crimes. There has and always will be violent offenders within our society, the issue is whether as a society we want to address the root causes or merely blame an emerging form of mainstream entertainment.

  • Possibly some of the reasons why people don’t jump up and down and protest / burn effigies of attorney-generals etc is because Australia is often too laid back about things the ‘She’ll be right, mate’ thing, that or their far too busy working to care. Secondly, if someone really wants a game they can usually import it (and it’s often cheaper). Lastly, in the grand scheme of things it’s a game, it’s a fleeting piece of entertainment that will disappear six months after it is released.
    Politicans aren’t going to pay attention unless it affects the majority which this doesn’t, these laws in politican’s eyes protects the majority so they’ll probably be around for a long time.

    • The problem is that you arn’t protecting the majority. The people that shouldn’t being playig these games are the ones that are prone to mental health issues and violence. Those people are going to seek out this content regardless. Whether that be by importing or othe means. Young people are saavy with technology, with bit torrent and file sharing technologies, they will have access to whatever they choose to seek. The current laws prevent access to a target group that were never prone to violent acts in the first place.

      • I’m not disassociating from the problem, I’m arguing that the people that need to be protected, won’t be from the current laws or a R18+ classification. That’s not an opinion, that’s a fact due to technology. Ignorance is creating laws that merely block the majority from accessing content that only negatively impacts a minority that will access it anyway. Majority drive vehicles safely, a minority recklessly drive and endanger/harm other people. Same can be said with kitchen knives, alcohol and wii controllers. I’m not saying do nothing, it will happen anyway. I’m saying don’t be ignorant and keep the current system believing this is protecting those at risk, because it isn’t.

      • @Will, sorry dude… i was replying to HoloGraham. If you are HoloGrahan, maybe you shoud inform your other self..??? peace out brudda.. 🙂

  • If game ratings were going to be taken serious then children wouldn’t be allowed to purchase MA 15+ games. But, M15+/MA15+ ratings are useless as it isnt even being policed.

    Really, if they added the R 18+ rating there would NEED to be a policing system. Game stores would have to be given permission to ask for I.D.

    Now i want an R18+ rating as much as the next person, but i just don’t think it will happen – and if it does the lack of control over content kids can purchase will not be policed well enough.

    Children can’t purchase adult movies, nor rent them. The same should apply to games.

    • I would say the majority of adult orientated games purchased in stores that wind up in the hands of young children are purchased by parents. Simply introducing a policed R18+ rating is going to do very little to change this culture.

      The root of the problem is that most parents don’t care about games and aren’t really interested in giving it any further thought. If little Timmy wants GTA IV, it’s just another game to them. I’d be surprised if these people even read the title half the time. Then they get home and see little Timmy beating up hookers, selling drugs and popping cops and suddenly it’s “OMGWTF, why doesn’t someone do something about this!!”.

      Bring in an R18+ rating and publicize/promote the damned thing, along with responsible parenting. You’ll wind up with greater awareness, less adult-orientated games will making their way into the hands of children and everyone over the age of 18 (ie. the majority of gamers) getting to enjoy games that are designed to be enjoyed by a more mature audience. Everyone is happy (perhaps with the exception of little Timmy and hardcore fundamentalist christian fascists like Atkinson).

      It’s really not rocket surgery.

      • A parent isn’t going to think R18+ is suitable for kids, ever. Period.

        This never happens with films – Adults only and mature audiences are descriptions far apart.

        I’m sick of the ‘education needs to be spread’ line. Everybody knows what an R movie is, and why their kid can’t see one. Same with magazines. We should bring in the rating because it would work to seperate violent content from kids if for no other reason.

    • Uhm… I do have permission to ask people for their ID? I’m going to work in an hour, and I regularly turn people away, inform parents of violent content, demand ID, etc.

      If people don’t police this, they should be fired, and/or fined. Just as though they’d been selling alcohol to under 18’s. MA15+ is a RESTRICTED rating. It HAS to have ID or be very obvious. That’s the law in Australia.

  • I need to stop my self from getting worked up about this.

    The change will come. I’m sure of it. But the only time I can see that happening is when Michael Atkinson retires or is no longer Attorney-General of SA.

    I’m sorry to say but from his comments in interviews in the past he doesn’t see any value in arguments that kids are actually exposed to more violent material without an R-rating in place (remember his Good Game interview).

    Thankfully every other AG seems to be for the introduction so all I can seem to do is sit and wait and try not to get worked up over something that I don’t think I can change.

  • I’m not so sure on the, eventually a R18 will become available. Look at Germany atm, they’re trying to stop violent games from even being developed.

    And these days its all about protection for the children. And something like a R18 is definitely not going to be approved when parents, politicians and groups step up to vote against a R18. There are more of them than us unfortunately.

    I’m not saying its right that there is no R18, but i can look at it and see WHY they haven’t brought one in, but also say, its stupid because US, the over 18 Y.O’s are being affected by it when its not us being targeted or protected, its the under 15Y.O’s etc.. that they’re trying to protect but harming everyone.

    I think the good thing though is, not MANY games are being refused classification. Risen, a game that i only searched on YouTube roughly a month ago and watched the trailer was the LAST game i thought would be refused classification. The trailer shows no signs of a game with drug or sex references.

    But the game before that, that was reported on here to be refused, from what i can recall, was that game about shooting undead people, a sequel i think. And before that, i think it was Fallout & GTA which had to be re-edited.

    It could be worse. But with the games being re-edited (to only a small degree) the Government are kinda being stupid about the whole thing. If you’re gonna refuse classification for so much violence and sex references for GTA as an example, but then make them re-edit it yet there is still A LOT of violence and sexual references, then why do that. WHy not just, ban the game full stop. GTA always makes headlines for the wrong reasons with its violence and sex. Yet they refuse classification, re-edit it so little and slap it with a MA15+. It jsut goes against the NO R18 LAW. Cause its pretty much a R18 game with just a little taken out but with a MA15 tag.

    They should just give it a R18 and allow it with REALLY STRICT conditions with retailers and selling it. Perhaps limit the copies each can sell and order. Or ban the game altogether. It’s really embarrassing for the Government.

  • Election law changes to keep up with the times

    From the Hon. Michael Atkinsons OWN siteMarch 4, 2009

    The Attorney-General Michael Atkinson will today introduce legislation to Parliament to increase voter participation in elections and bring election laws up to date with modern times. Read More ..



    Graeme Stacey
    August 14, 2009 at 11:12 AM
    If game ratings were going to be taken serious then children wouldn’t be allowed to purchase MA 15+ games. But, M15+/MA15+ ratings are useless as it isnt even being policed.

    Really, if they added the R 18+ rating there would NEED to be a policing system. Game stores would have to be given permission to ask for I.D.

    Now i want an R18+ rating as much as the next person, but i just don’t think it will happen – and if it does the lack of control over content kids can purchase will not be policed well enough.

    Children can’t purchase adult movies, nor rent them. The same should apply to games.


    Children AREN’T ALLOWED to buy these games, go into any EB or GAME and I know for a FACT if you don’t look old enough you’ll be turned away. It’s parents responsibility to enforce what their children see and do. Not the retailers, we do our bit by making sure games that are inappropriate don’t get into their hands in the first place. If Mum or Dad so wish their children to involve themselses in anything inappropriate, we cannot be blamed at the end of the day, as the parents would have been asked if they were OK with the kids hacking at a massive worms insides and swimming in it’s blood. They say Yes, thats our bit done.

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