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.