Atkinson Confirms Classification Appeal, Misrepresents Modern Warfare 2 Content

South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson has today reiterated his move to appeal against the MA15+ rating granted to Modern Warfare 2. The Member for Croydon believes the game "glorifies terrorism" and will seek to have it banned by the Classification Review Board.

However, as of yesterday afternoon, the Classification Board had not received any official correspondence from Mr Atkinson regarding the proposed appeal. An Activision spokesperson confirmed to me that they "went through the proper classification process in Australia as part of a thorough review of Modern Warfare 2 and stand by the current rating for the title."

In a statement sent to Gamespot AU, Atkinson wrote:

“I worry about any game that encourages gamers to perpetrate extreme violence and cruelty on screen, but this game [Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2]allows players to be virtual terrorists and gain points by massacring civilians. Expecting game designers to be responsible by not glorifying terrorism will always lead to disappointment."

As mentioned by the Gamespot reporter, Modern Warfare 2 does not allow players to "gain points by massacring civilians." The claim is presumably made in reference to the controversial No Russian mission in which the player takes on the role of an undercover agent who has infiltrated a Russian terrorist network. The mission sees the player alongside four terrorists who open fire on unarmed civilians at a Russian airport. The player is not rewarded for killing any civilian; indeed, the player does not even have to fire a weapon until the terrorists leave the civilians behind and encounter armed SWAT teams outside the airport terminal.

Critics of the No Russian mission have described it varyingly as "morally confused and dramatically lazy", "a flawed idea, a flawed execution", "upsetting, chilling and horrifying", "unnecessary, cheap, and disgusting", and "bullshit. It’s a lie. It means nothing." But no critic has thus far described it as glorifying terrorism. I'm sure if Mr Atkinson had actually played the game he so determinedly wants to ban, he would come to the same conclusion.

Atkinson confirms Modern Warfare 2 classification appeal in Australia [Gamespot AU]


    Is it me or is Mr Atkinson sounding more and more like Our good friend Jack?

      Was thinking the very same thing... wonder if there's an equivalent of disbarring him from politics??

        There has to be something equivalent of disbarring to politicians who continuously spreed lies. I wouldn't get upset if his arguments are valid and true. But when they are lies and propaganda, that's when it's worrying.

          Isn't spreading lies and propaganda a requisite of becoming a polititian?

          whoa there... forcing politicians to be honest?... that is a dangerous precedent. :P

          A politician's JOB is to SPREAD LIES.

          no the really worrying thing is that hes actually in a government position to cockblock legislature and with no constitutional protection to make his bullshit illegal

          Peter there wouldn't be any politicians left if that were the case.

          Politicians cannot be prosecuted or face civil action for lying in parliament. I’m not sure if this same protection extends to their external activities, though I suspect it does unfortunately.

          The QLD opposition is apparently trying to make it a criminal offense for politicians to lie in Parliament. It’s a good first step, however until all states and federal governments introduce similar controls over their own behavior as these same politicians forced on the corporate world we’ll always have dishonest people like Michael Atkinson in positions of power.

          Have a read of this PFD; it explains how such controls can be introduced.

          No, politicians pretty much get a free pass on lying. It does form a significant part of their job, after all.

          Heh, if there was a way of giving them the boot when they constantly lie, we wouldn't have to many politicians left.

      I never got any 'points' during the terrorist mission.... thats it! Im sueing activision! I want my points!

        gamerpoints you got some off them didnt you(but you dont have to shoot the civs for that i gues just finish the lvl

          You could only earn achievements and trophies in the No Russian mission that could be obtained in other levels (like the one for multiple kills with a grenade launcher). The game actually specifically states that you will not be penalised for skipping the level and that there are no achievements specifically for it.

      That thought also struck me. I think my first tinge of detection came when I realized that the board did not hear from him, but a news source did - meaning he's going for attention not actual effect.

    OFLC officially stated that killing Civillians is a mission failure. He's mixing up that suicide flash game with MW2.

    Atkinson is downright lying, and I bet he's aware of it.

      well thats not true. I murdered every single one of them and got neither punished nor rewarded.

      ironically the only time I was punished was when I accidently broke from my murderous rampage and shot at one of the terrorists.

      I'll admit that i didn't play the rest of the game, just that mission, so i don't know the story, but I find it unlikely that any organisation would ever knowingly let such an attack occur, let alone send in one of their own guys to participate...

    how stupid will he look if the MA15+ is held up...

      ahh he wont look stupid when it fails to all the parents who dont game out there

      its a catch 22

      if it gets banned he was standing up for them if it doesnt he was being cautious and had there childrens best intrests at heart

      hell look like a moron to u sure but he has to look like a moron to croydon to get anything done

      Did you listen to his recent Radio National interview? He is now claiming that the classification board is not doing its job and helping violent video games fly under the radar and receive MA15+ ratings when they should be banned.

      If the review board holds up the MA15+ rating, then that is just proof that the classification board can't be trusted.

    “I worry about any game that encourages gamers to perpetrate extreme violence and cruelty on screen, but this game [Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2] allows players to be virtual terrorists and gain points by massacring civilians. Expecting game designers to be responsible by not glorifying terrorism will always lead to disappointment.”

    Has he even played the game ? If anything it goes against glorifying it.

      Of course he hasn't played it. Why would he be interested in knowing anything about it? Heresay is more than enough to make informed decisions from!

    Another day, another Atkinson 'news' post. I'm really hoping all this exposure leads to his downfall.

      Too bad the laypeople of Australia don't read Kotaku or other game-centric sites.

      This stuff should be published in a sidebar in our big papers or something. Anything that would propagate the fact that this guy's a massive fucking liar.

    It won't pass...
    it's his personal grudge against the gaming community....and he's clearly stated that he doesn't trust the ratings board, which I'm sure they won't really care about.

    Whenever he can't spin the truth his way it then turns into "I have no comment at this time".... a freakin game that was made this decade - A LOT has changed since the 80's....

    Can we please be shown a different image when Atkinson starts talking to "glorify" his idiocy. I was thinking something along the lines of (and if MW2 is successfully appealed) "The Grinch"?

    this guy really believes he is on a personnal mission of some sort doesn't he? Every interview i've read from him however just seems to further the arguement for a R18 rating and a overhaul of the entire rating system i might add, it would solve his and our problems.

    Also his photo just proves what a (corn on the cob - Ed) he is, look at him!!!

    Dude...those teeth...

      I can't help but wonder if he practiced for hours before that photo so his top row showed fully with out any of the bottom row.

        BAHAHA what a lolfest

    i agree the level was pointless to the game and just IW being irresponsible but he has shot himself in the foot on this one haha. too late douchebag the game has sold a bundle at MA15 because you don't want an R18.

    YOUR FAIL. hurry up and die so we can make our own choices, as adults, in life.

    What's his obession with "gaining points"? Every time he mentions something bad in a video game, he almost always mentions that you gain points for doing so.

    Rape a mother and her daughters? Gain points.

    Shoot civilians? Gain points.

    Blow yourself up in a marketplace? Gain points.

    Run over a pedestrian? Gain points.

    Play a recent Sonic game? Gain points.

    Not to mention, I don't see anything that indicates that gaining points makes something worse.

      Play a recent sonic game is definately something to be worried about. If he had concerns about this, regardless of points, i think it would be the only thing me and him work agree on.

      I do not mean to cross the line here, but saying abusive words about him is only going to give credit to what he says. If we wish to beat him, we need to take his arguments apart.

      That aside, it is clear the man really hasn't played anything other than Wii Sports which came bundled with his Wii.

      As for myself, if I hear something odd about a game, I at least either play the game or watch a YouTube video to confirm it. The media, after all, tends to blow everything out of proportion.

      Furthermore, if he's attempting to appear the decision, it would not surprise me if his appear gets streamlined. I'm gonna get myself a copy in the next day or so.

        Odd, this post was submitted as a reply.

        Sorry, Trjn, I think I pressed the wrong button.

      He's generalising for the general public, most people don't understand the mechanics behind games or why most gamers continue to play. So saying something is "for points" is the only way a non-gamer will grasp why we do the things we do in games and why we continue to play.

      It also only makes his argument sound stronger that we're mindless crazies who do anything for said non-existent "points."

        Wouldn't it be great if we could point out in the general media that games are not played for points but instead for story progression? If his argument is founded on playing on people's ignorance, why not remove the ignorance?

        I can't believe I'm suggesting this, but it seems like something for ACA *shudder*

          Except ACA generally takes the more sensationalist side of any story and would run with "videogames training our children for terrorism!!"

          Oh god, now I've just given him another argument for it.

        Well he still has to submit an appeal.

        And unless his argument totally changes it will be "Glorifies terrorism by rewarding players for killing civilians".

        To which of course the answer is "no it doesn't, what game were you playing? Or did someone just describe part of it to you and you filled in the blanks with your own moral panic fueled dementia."

          Politicians play for points to sure theres not a physical point counter in the corner of thier brain but im pretty sure running in an election whoever gets the most points wins

      I think his main argument here is that when a game awards you points for doing something it is providing an incentive.

      He isn't arguing that it is wrong for a game to provide incentives. He is arguing that games shouldn't provide incentives for objectionable actions.

      Of course, in this case the game doesn't provide an incentive for what he claims it does.

    No doubt he hasn't even witnessed the scene he's talking about.

    Complete douchebaggery.

    As I've posted many times before, I believe this fits within the MA15+ classification.

    Michael Atkinson lies in order to lend his indefensibly flawed argument some credence.

    Movie at 11.

    Should I rush out and buy it now then, or will it still be safe in a few months?

    A person should have to know what they're crusading against before they're allowed to take any kind of official action, I think. It's Jack Thompson all over again. To me, it is unacceptable and criminally irresponsible to start shouting rhetoric, pointing fingers and yelling accusations in a public manner without bothering to check their facts or sources.
    When asked if they've actually seen what they're screaming blue murder about, they always seem to fall back on the arguement of "Of course not! Why would I want to expose myself to that?"
    Get off your high horse, Atkinson, and bring that inflated ego of yours back down to reality. We live in the age of the internet now, politicians seem to have a hard time grasping that anybody, ANYBODY, can fact check their bullshit in under a few minutes flat.

    *Sigh* .... seriously? The game has already sold a gazillion copies so why waste your time.

    I'll bet this (kick bag - Ed) hasn't even watched the whole thing, let alone played it. The level does the opposite of glorifying terrorism, it's not made to desensitize, and it's a tangible step towards making video games a more serious medium. Why does this tired old conservative insist on ruining everything for ADULT gamers, like me...? when if this content was in a film, he wouldn't think twice about it?

    I've said this before, but I would say I wish these backwards pieces of (Messerschmitt! - Ed) who have a PERSONAL grudge against games would all just disappear, but they're so wrong that I know they will eventually anyway. I'll say the obvious... "terrorists" are not inspired by video games. Violence has existed a long time before video games. Why can't people see it like it is? They're killing art.

    Atkinson's the only terrorist around here... hahahahahaha... there I said what we were all thinking.

    He loves the points because the last game he played was on Atari - and those are for kids.

      Maybe if he mentions points enough, people will think he has one.

        Now that's a Zinger!

        OH SHIT! oh no he didn't hahaha!

    "glorifies terrorism" The game definitely does not GLORIFY terrorism. That's a pretty liberal use of the word "glorifies" by my standards anyway. Misrepresentation indeed.

    Unfortunately the ramblings of someone so disconnected with the gaming community has a much larger voice than all of us combined.

    Thankfully some proactive gamers are taking some steps to get him out of his seat.

    He doesn't have to be right, he's playing politics and he's no doubt very good at it.

    He can continue his misinformed arguement as there's no one else who has the media platform to denounce his claims. Sure we sit here in Kotaku and say "there aren't even any points", "he doesn't know what he's talking about". but 98% of the constituents in his electorate. Won't see our rebuttals to his statements.

      That's a good point. Also, arguing pro R18+ on kotaku will nearly entirely be preaching to the converted.

    If anyone is glorifying terrorism its america and the media.

    When your headline starts with "Atkinson Confirms Classification Appeal", it's typically good for the body of your article to quote the statement in which he actually confirms he's still appealing. Although I suppose it's difficult when your source ( doesn't quote it either, or print the text of the letter they received. The next step would be to ring his office and confirm it directly, thereby producing a quotable confirmation.

    I'd suspect that Atkinson made the statement before talking to his lawyers, and his lawyers have brought to his attention some difficulties with the appeal relating to the broad discretion of the Classification Board and possibly his standing to bring the appeal.

    So he prevents the classification board from having an R rating and then attacks them for abiding by his limited restrictions?


    I tire by the day of the glaring inconsistencies in every argument you present on this issue, Mr Atkinson. You are directly affecting the freedom and liberties of grown adults throughout this whole country. This goes beyond entertainment and enters what has now become obviously your own personal vendetta. When you can't consistently present convincing facts to support any of your statements, you have already failed and it becomes clear that you no longer care about what people want and simply are concerned with own likes and dislikes.

    Nobody actually wants you doing this, Mr Atkinson. Do you realise this? There is not actually any lobby group/politicians/bunch of constituents who are aware of all the facts and support you. And when you constantly misrepresent the facts on this issue so glaringly that they can all be refuted within a matter of seconds, you are all alone in wanting Australia to not progress with the rest of the world and to be chained to an opinion, not a law, AN OPINION that is yours and yours alone.

    To quote Oliver Cromwell, Mr Atkinson, and please listen carefully: You have sat too long for any good you have been doing lately. Depart I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!

    Ignorance is bliss, 'eh Atkinson! teehehee...

      I vote you send that to him in the mail.

        That was supposed to go with DavidR's Comment, Kotaku fix ur commens :P

      If this guy gets elected again - it will sad.

      It is getting very tiresome, isn't it? I've just gone and suggested this as a story for TodayTonight and think you should as well. Hopefully if we have enough people suggest it then they might seriously consider it as a story to run. I think Atkinson has dug himself deep enough into this hole now that no one is going to be able to save him.

        stupid kotaku-au commenting system ... this was meant to be a reply to DavidR. But you can feel free to suggest a story as well, Satyr.

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