Atkinson To Appeal Modern Warfare 2 MA15+ Classification

Atkinson To Appeal Modern Warfare 2 MA15+ Classification

South Australian Attorney-General and video game censorship advocate Michael Atkinson is to appeal the MA15+ rating handed out by the Classification Board to Modern Warfare 2.

Speaking to Radio National, Atkinson was asked for his views on the recently released game, described by interviewer Peter Mares as “violent and bloody and graphic and confronting.”

“I’ll be appealing against that classification, I think it’s wrong,” said Atkinson.

We have approached Activision for comment regarding the proposed appeal, but they have yet to respond.

The Member for Croydon, who will be challenged for his seat at the March 2010 state election by Australia’s first gamer rights party, went on to admit he had no faith in the Classification Board to do its job properly.

“It doesn’t surprise me. The Classification Board in Australia does everything to try to get games in under the radar. But just because the system is not being applied properly, it does not mean that the principles of the system are wrong.

“What I want the Classification Board to do is to apply the guidelines properly. What I don’t want is the extremely violent, sexually depraved, drug use games in Australia at all. At the cinema, we can stop people under 18 going in to see R18+ rated movies. We can’t stop these games that are extremely violent and depraved from getting into the home or getting into the hands of children.”

Atkinson raised the example of “the Japanese game Rape Play where one scores points for raping a mother and daughter.” Mares noted that this game is not available anywhere outside of Japan, even in countries that do have an R18+ rating. But Atkinson suggested that “Rape Play” (sic) would be released in Australia.

“Well, I wouldn’t put it past the Classification Board to make that an R rated game, frankly, on their previous form,” he replied.

Atkinson also described an unnamed game in which “the player straps explosives to himself and blows himself up in a market and scores points for how many people he kills.” (Anyone know what game he’s talking about? I honestly have no idea.)

When it was suggested to Atkinson that, as Attorney-General, he would be responsible for drawing up the guidelines for an R18+ rating if it were introduced, and thus he would be able to ensure that such “extremely violent, sexually depraved, drug use games” would still be refused classification, he once again reiterated his lack of faith in the Board.

“I have no trust in the Classification Board to apply the guidelines sincerely and correctly,” he said. “And thus to draw up such guidelines would be to do so in sure and certain knowledge that they would be stretched and then broken.”

Finally, Mares asked the minister whether he knew the status of the Commonwealth discussion paper on video game classification, originally scheduled to be released to the public in April this year. Mr Atkison denied any knowledge of why it has not yet been issued.

In the second half of the segment, Mares spoke with Gamers 4 Croydon founder David Doe. Hit the link below to listen to the full interview.

Does Australia need an R18+ rating for computer games? [Radio National, via Screen Play]


    • Michael Atkinson … Australia’s next biggest clown.

      I’d find him laughable if he wasn’t single handedly preventing Australia from playing the games we “choose” to play. Unfortunatley I find myself viewing him as an obstacle on the road, much like something that has just fallen off the back of a truck to which now everyone is just going around.

      By not introducing R18+ for video games, our Australian dollars will simply continue going over seas (imports), or simply people will download the game (illegally). Michael Atkinson is both promoting piracy, and encouraging people to spend there hard earned cash overseas.

      By not introducing R18+ for video games, titles that should be considered R18+ are slipping through as MA15. Due to this, parents cannot make informed decisions on what is right for their 15-18 child. From the above, one could argue that Michael Atkinson is in favour of younger children playing “adult” video games (because clearly he isn’t against it). The arguement of Michael not being able to police who plays the R18 title once its in the home is STUPID. Number 1, its not for Michael to police the parents of Australia’s children. Number 2, He’d certainly go along way to helping parents by sticking a big R18+ sticker on the case.

      By not introducing R18+ for video games, Michael Atkinson’s biased views are more easily forced upon us. Michael has “proven” that he is very unwilling to even discuss the issue of R18+ because for the moment, it’s working in his favour. We as everyday Australian’s are unable to discuss the issue with him as he puts up walls and refuses to divulge information that may show his true colours. Michael Atkinson is promoting anti-freedom of speech, something ALL Australian’s pride themselves on having.

      I for one cannot wait for the discussion paper to be released.

      • Unfortunately the freedom of speech appeal holds no water in Australia, as it is not a universal right here as it is in countries such as the USA. It’s implied through our parliamentary system that if the government is infringing upon this right we should vote them out. Of course that’s a bit hollow if it’s a minority being oppressed so that they can’t gain a majority to oust the offending party, or if both sides of the fence will do the same thing so there’s no alternative.

      • the irony is that the fact that the oflc is willing to push some games through as MA15+ is the main reason this hasnt been raised to a point where it has become more widely known

        the difference for rapelay is even with an R18+ rating it doesnt mean we cant ban specific games

        i dont know why he thinks that kids have access to these games(especially since they havent been released so he has no data to go on inside australia(comparing to another country is pointless) i know that when GTA4 come out my brother couldnt pick it up for me and he was like 14 and a half

        but at the same time hes gotten into R movies before that time

  • “At the cinema, we can stop people under 18 going in to see R18+ rated movies. We can’t stop these games that are extremely violent and depraved from getting into the home or getting into the hands of children.”

    Please Mr Atkinson, explain to the rest of us exactly how movies, literature and music can be stopped from getting into the home or into the hands of our children where games can’t. Considering the ease with which movies and audio can be copied and transferred digitally compared to games I’d really like to understand how your statement is not a great hypocracy that undermines all faith in the “princples of the system”.

    The classification system either works or it doesn’t. You don’t get to have it both ways.

    • Excellent point there!

      In addition, this guy is one of those freaks that condone one thing but secretly obsess it. They feel the urge to act all prim and proper to convince themselves that they are sanctimonious — which, as we all should know — such folks are seldom hypocrites! Kinda like those preachers who condone sex and such, only to end up being a sex predator/fiend, themselves! So, what could this Atkinson moron be?

      • Pretty obviously he’s a closet gamer, and fights like this to hide his passion. He’s the type who would be reading the paper with his wife, feel a twitch, then quietly excuse himself to the locked basement where he has a gaming lair set up, in which he plays WoW to exhaustion, enjoys L4D2 which he had gifted from an american steam account, gets off to brutally killing people in an uncensored Manhunt 2 on his WII, and apparently high scores in a game where “the player straps explosives to himself and blows himself up in a market and scores points for how many people he kills.”.

  • All this interview goes to show is that Atkinson is extremely bias and no reason or logic is going to sway him. He should be removed from his post as governer general of his state.

  • Is it just me, or do his rants always sound like arguements FOR an R 18+ rating in games.

    As for the OFLC as some rogue band of government misfits and trying to slip questionable content into Australia under sensitive conservative noses? Mr Atkinson has been smoking some bad granola.

    Better to remain silent and have people only assume you’re an idiot, than open your mouth and remove all doubt. Far too late for Atkinson to stop talking now.

    • well that and maybe an implementation of laws for selling restricted materials to underage kids

      the penalty should be higher even for the cigarettes and what not

  • Oh this is going to go down well…

    Personally I sort of do hope that the game is refused classification to help bring light to the issue that more violent games are being put into the hands of 15-17 year olds.

    Sounds like his “the classification board is doing what it can to get these games in under the radar” is a change of tactics to his previous methods.

    To me this shows he may be getting a bit more worried about the very valid concern about more adult games getting shoehorned into the MA ratings and he is changing his tactics accordingly.

    Gah! so much to be frustrated at with his comments! incredible!

    • I agree, an RC for MW2 would work wonders for getting us an R rating. It would have been good if it was banned just before it came out, the backlash would have been huge.

    • “To me this shows he may be getting a bit more worried about the very valid concern about more adult games getting shoehorned into the MA ratings and he is changing his tactics accordingly.”

      This has been happening for years. So it is kind of sad he is only noticing this now.

      See cases in point that should have been rated R 18+: BioShock, Fallout 3, FarCry 2 and FEAR 2.

      • I know i keep going on about HOTD:Overkill, but i love it.

        HOTD has the PEGI 18+ rating on the disc and i bet some of those games you mentioned would have PEGI or ESRB ratings of 18 on them clearly displayed.

        Funny thing also, one day i went into EB and these kids picked up san andreas off the shelf and handed it to their dad. the dad say the stylised Rockstar logo and said to the kids “im not buying you an R rated game” To which the kids pointed out the rating was only MA15+, even though its now R or 18+ in most countries.. ironic?

        • I just did a check on the Web, here is my game list with PEGI ratings.
          * BioShock: 18+ (new it already because it shows it on the disk!)
          * FarCry 2: 16+ (this surprised me as I expected 17+ in the least)
          * Fallout 3: 18+
          * FEAR 2: BBFC 18

          I took all of these from Wikipedia. It’s worth a look as it shows ratings from various regions on the same page.

          It’s quite sad really. Kids here are able to play violent video games but have to wait a few more years before they can legally vote, drink and drive.

        • That story just demonstrates the ignorance of some parents about the system and why wee need clear indicators of a games content including an R rating, just like the PEGI system which places a big red sticker on the box saying “18” I bet even that father could figure it out.

    • is the Suicide bomber game. One that’s been floating around since at least 2001 or so if my memory serves correctly (at least that’s when I remember playing it for the first time).

      Is it bad that I’d love to see him succeed and get MW2 banned/hit with RC? It may be the final straw that pushes this whole nonsense in to the wide open when something very mainstream is slapped down with the RC category. Alternatively (but unlikely) it may outline what a douche this guy is and that he’s using his platform to inflict his personal beliefs upon the rest of the country.

      • Of course the hilarious part is that, being a browser-based game, it doesn’t get rated by the OFLC, so it wouldn’t matter if they only had a G-rating for games, that one would still be available.

    • Yep I remember that flash game from when I was young. It’s a flash game so it isn’t rated any-how, and even if it was it is doubtful it would be RC, it may not be politically correct, but it is relisticaly no more objectionable than half the events in burnout, and the violence is animated as are the “characters” in the “game” (at least in the one I remember).

  • “At the cinema, we can stop people under 18 going in to see R18+ rated movies. We can’t stop these games that are extremely violent and depraved from getting into the home or getting into the hands of children.”

    Well, we can, it’s called an R18+ classification.

    Also, what’s stopping kids getting their hands on an R18+ dvd? Isn’t that what the R18+ classification is designed to do?

  • Appealing against it? Isn’t that like shutting the gate after the horse has bolted? Words fail me at how utterly stupid and ill informed that man is. Although with his knowledge of a part of Japanese gaming culture (which he seems to think makes up the whole of gaming culture east and west) I wonder what he does in his free time. His obsession begins to make wonder…

  • He is a one trick pony. He always quotes Rape Play as his go-to title… and everytime it’s brought up, he is always quickly reminded that the game is not intended for release in Australia or anywhere outside japan (legally). David Doe FTW!!!

  • Just wow… he truly is on another planet with his views…

    He has no faith in the Classification Board, but never speaks out about movies that “might” be improperly rated also… that only because that is ‘easy to police’ at cinemas…

    Well… might see a huge surge in MW2 games sold this week in AU… just in case we see it removed from the shelves and then replaced with the Russian version…

  • Atkinson ceases to amaze me with his stupidity and sarcasm towards this issue.

    Anyone with half a brain trying to prove a point should at least research the area they are arguing against.

    Atkinson has never played any of the games he speaks about nor does he know even the most basic details about any of the arguments he is debating.

    Gamers should have the rights to choose what they play, And one man who knows litrally nothing on the subject is stopping them because of what mostly he shows as his personal beliefs, Not actual facts.

    Michael if you do suprisingly lurk these posts and read this, Research what you are arguing, I doubt you have ever sat down and played a video game at all, If your basing all your arguments simply on what you personally believe, Then your points are almost perfectly flawed.

  • It’s just political propaganda for the voters. We didn’tm expect him to be logical, did we?

    He was sailing along just fine, and then Gamers 4 Croyden comes out of nowhere, so he’s just trying to keep his family-first image in the minds of the voters.

  • If Michael Atkinson has so much distrust in the system, why is he so against reforming it?

    Even he can see that MW2 should, really, have been an R18+ game. Instead, it’s MA15+. I’m 26 and found some of the content shocking – granted, I wanted to be shocked or I, as an informed consumer, would never have bought MW2 in the first place.
    Modern Warfare 2 is the greatest piece of anti-war media ever produced and frankly, Atkinson should be supporting it – at least supporting the playing of it by adults who are gonig to be receptive to it’s message instead of children who, no offense to our junior posters here, are far less likely to be.

    But then he goes off on a tangent about RapeLay, which once again, is a FOUR YEAR OLD game that was NEVER INTENDED FOR AUDIENCES OUTSIDE JAPAN. It wasn’t refused classification here, the Japanese publishers made the decision not to even let it leave the country.
    He is still operating under the misapprehension that it will somehow become available here, even though it is no longer available for sale in Japan and in fact the controversy over it has caused massive reforms over how hentai titles can be produced and sold in Japan as well.
    And believe me, if a 15 year old wanted to play RapeLay, finding a torrent and crack for it online would be far easier than going to a store, exchanging money for it without having to produce an ID, and sneaking it homep ast his parents. Hell, there are 18 year olds who’d have trouble doing that, if only for the burning shame they’d feel.

    Hey Atkinson, since I know you read Kotaku occasionally: how many hardcore rape porn movies get sold here under an R18+ rating?
    What’s that, none? They’re all rated X18+ or RC? Well fancy that.

    Is that what you’re afraid of? The slippery slope that an R18+ rating would produce? Do you think that an R18+ rating result in an X18+ rating being next on the agenda?
    Why don’t you let us be adults and face those issues one at a time?

    • +1

      The guy clearly has no idea. He has also been saying that other Attorney Generals are against the +18 rating but don’t want to say they are opposed because they are too scared but will take up the mantle if he loses the upcoming election.

      If it’s even true that they are against it, is it because they know what the people want? They probably came to the realisation that they represent the people and not their own personal views.

  • I highly doubt Rape Play would be allowed in Australia even with R18+, heck even I’d petition to have it refused classification (YES THAT WILL STILL BE AN OPTION MR.ATKINSON) due to it’s detrimental impact upon games and videogame culture. And even if it were available.. do you think EB Games would sell it?
    “I’ll be appealing against that classification, I think it’s wrong,” said Atkinson. It is wrong, in the UK they’ve got it right, the game got R18, only adults are allowed to purchase the game legally, this is the way it should be in our country too.

  • Oh my god, does he seriously believe the rubbish coming out of his clown hole? Surely he can hear himself speaking. He contradicts himself so much that it would be hilarious, if he wasn’t making decisions on behalf of SA, and by extension, the rest of the country.

  • I saw this movie called Gone baby Gone yesterday, i rented it. Starring casey afflec (coward robert ford). He killed a pedophile after entering his room and seeing the 7 year old childs dead body, and then graphically and gorily? shot the bastard in the back of the head, gore and all.

    I just dont understand the double standard with videogames.

    • interactivity

      every time the movie plays the bullet goes to the same spot but in a game well i could be a depraved psycho about it

      break his neck stab him in the groin whateva the game allows me to do

  • Oh i remember when a friend took his little sister eight years old to watch saw. with his mother.


    SAW for fucks sake, an eight year old! Jesus this guy is spewing trash, i know his intentions are good but how come if he doesnt trust the system that classifies games, why doesnt he work to fix and reform it .

  • Well if we had an R18 rating in the first place he wouldn’t need to appeal the decision. Because the game would have been rated R18 like the rest of the world. The sooner we get the R18 the better it will be for everyone, especially the children!

  • Activision will be happy about this – sales will skyrocket if banning is imminent, no wonder they didn’t comment.

    Atkinson on the other hand, you continue to shock and amaze me with the level of creativity in your commentary – you’ve honestly left me speechless with these remarks! I didn’t think anyone could be as stubborn or as backward as yourself, and you’ve taken it up another notch today.

  • Let’s try breaking down his stance into the arguments he’s presented so far:

    1) Video games should be treated differently because they are more impactful than other media due to the interactivity.

    Studies regarding the impact of violent video games always draw comparisons to non-violent games and not to other media. These studies are irrelevant to the argument because they demonstrate that after playing a violent video game a person will act more aggressively than someone who played a non-violent video game, but these are only short term results. No long term studies have been conducted aside from one regarding an MMO. A study has also indicated that violent content alone is not the cause of these results, similar results can be replicated by having someone play a frustrating version of a non-violent game (Tetris on a high difficulty).

    Therefore, Atkinson has nothing to back up this claim.

    2) That age restricted videogames cannot be controlled once in the home and that he cannot think of a system that can be enforced to do this.

    This same theory applies to all age-restricted content, just because a child will have difficulty getting into a cinema showing an R18+ film does not mean that they cannot access the film in 6 months time when it is available on DVD or by downloading it (either legally or illegally).

    This logic should be applied to all media or not at all.

    3) That people ignore the current classification system and that the classification board willingly ignores the guidelines in place to allow content which would otherwise be refused classification, but the system itself is fine.

    A system designed to inform consumers that is largely ignored is a broken system. A system that cannot be maintained by the body that is meant to enforce it is a broken system. A system that does not have all of the tools available for it to complete it’s purpose is a broken system.

    4) That adults do not need access to excessively violent or sexually depraved content.

    Why draw the line there? The same argument could be made that all media that depicts any activity somebody does not agree with should not be available.

    Unless the content has been proven to be harmful (and again, I point out that the studies conduct do not show harm but short-term increased aggression), we should be able to choose for ourselves if we wish to view it.

    Also, The Godfather is classified R18+, if the scenes involved that made it R18+ instead of MA15+ were removed, it would not be the same movie. Content that people may not agree with can exist in media to demonstrate a purpose, removing that content changes the media and weakens any entertainment value.

    • my 2c 🙂
      1) Haha. Ive thrown my DS while playing tetris XD
      2) Ps3/Wii/XB 360/PSP/DS have parental controls… easy enough to enable and such. These ratings are in place by the developers themselves, They have intended audiences! and if the parent doest give the kid the physical media to play it, well how is he going to play it then?
      3) Enough said.
      4) Okay then, we dont need R movies then either, get rid of them and watch the Porn/movie industry revolt.

  • He plays Wii Sports, and thinks every game should be like that. (I remember seeing the interview with him on Good Game)
    I agree that he needs to research, and he also needs to stop ruining it for everyone just because he thinks its right to not have violent games.
    He should just give in, give us the rating and get onto more important things.

  • I still cant understand why people listen to this guy. He isnt a gamer, how can he make judgements
    Governments hire economists to help with economic policy, people experienced with overseas governments to give advice on foreign relation, etc.
    Yet a person who has little experience with games, and is considered a ludite is allowed to pass judgment on an entire industry. It makes no sense, along with all his arguments.

  • Thanks Michael, I was thinking about maybe buying MW2 some time in the next few weeks, but as a result of this I’ll be going out to buy it today before the fun police rock up. Mission accomplished.

    Also, I hate how he denounces any opposing opinion as “advocacy”, and therefore not worthy of intelligent debate. How would you classify your own views Michael? Fair and balanced? No, you’re advocating a very specific agenda. One which is at odds with the wishes of the other states’ Attornies General by the way.

    That “76% of the vote” that you mentioned is 76% of a single district of one of the least populated states in the country, how dare you extrapolate that to be representative of Australia as a whole.

  • Everyone else has picked apart his flawed argument and his ignorance of the issue, so I’ll say it.

    Man, this guy is such a (Snip! – Ed).

    I wish David Doe and Gamers4Croydon the best of luck.

  • Well once teh game is in the house hold wouldnt it be upto the childrens parents to stop them playing the game? anyways dont all current generation consoles have a parent lock ability?

  • “At the cinema, we can stop people under 18 going in to see R18+ rated movies. We can’t stop these games that are extremely violent and depraved from getting into the home or getting into the hands of children.”

    is this guy for real. last time i checked DVDs get released onto shelves the same way games do and we often get unrated versions of movies that are even more violent or sexual that the theatrical release.

    what a moron. seriously. his arguments are a joke. with an R rating i personally feel parents would be more watchful of their child playing an R rated game over a MA rated game. It would also make some games that IMO should be rated R not squeezed through as MA.

  • Does he intentionally call the game “rape play” rather than “rapelay” because he knows people are only going to download the thing if he mentions it, or is that giving him far too much credit and it’s just because he’s an idiot and never knows what he’s talking about? Who am I kidding, it’s clearly the later. 😀

    The fact of the matter is though that I read about rapelay a few months ago and how controversial it was I was able to find and download a copy of it within a few minutes. It’s a terrible game that is next to impossible to figure out even with the menus in English and was uninstalled the same day, but it’s still easily available to anybody with a tiny bit of computer knowledge. Porn of the same nature isn’t legal anywhere in this country even under an X rating, so his argument that they’d let in a game of it under an R rating is just absolutely ludicrous.

    Also, what is his damn obsession about stating that all these things in games give you points? I don’t recall rapelay having points, just as there are no points in the terrorist level in MW2, or points awarded for killing hookers in GTA.

  • I won’t go into whats wrong about this entire argument but

    Modern Warfare 2 fits into the current guidelines (even the terrorist level)

    It will be fine folks

  • Oh and he is teetering on the brink anyway

    If there is major backlash from the South Australian Premier affair with a woman scandal in the levels the media expect Labor will lose and Atkinson will no longer be AG

  • He truly is a master of spin. Take one nugget of truth – Modern Warfare 2 is definitely under-rated and should be 18+ – and then attach all the rest of this circular logic, irrelevant posturing and fanciful rhetoric to it.

    The more he talks about it though, the more it’s out in the open and the more chances he gives for reasonable opponents to poke holes in his arguments, assuming that the media gives them equal time to do so.

  • The hypocrisy of this guy makes me so sad. Not a month ago in his letter which was posted on this very site, he stated that there are many attorney generals against a R18+ game classification but he is copping all the flak because the others won’t speak out, implying we should sympathise with him for being the face of inaction over the R18+ issue.

    Yet he makes actions like this, declaring on radio that he will appeal the decision to rate the game M15+. You can’t lament your status as a lightning rod of gamer hate on the issue and continue to be an active participant. Either cop your duly deserved criticism as a member of government or sit down and shut up.

    As for the MW2 rating, I believe it is adequate within out current ratings system and I think the rating will likely be upheld if Atkinson bothers to formally appeal at all. Bluster and the appearance of action is better than the reality, the rating will be upheld and Atkinson will lose face, mostly due to the warning system in place within the game for that scene. The system rates of levels of violence, language and horror, it does not measure “that one scene where you’re a terrorist, that you can skip if you like, it’s not a big deal if you do. Or you can play it, but not participate if you like as well”.

    If Atkinson has issue with our current ratings system is being applied and how it would be enforced should an R18+ category be released then he can get off his butt and do something about it. But he won’t, because if he did he would lose either way. Either A the system is fixed and he loses an excuse to refusing an R18+ category or B a report finds that the system works already, and he loses face for being wrong on the issue.

    • Funny, I was thinking the exact same thing. How long until he suffer (enjoys?) the same fate.
      Let him keep talking – he is just digging a bigger hole into which he will eventually disappear.

    • The new Jack Thompson? Hardly…..

      While Jack Thompson was a lawyer, he didn’t have any political authority. And while his views on video games were conservative and almost puritanical at times, to his credit, at least he provided an argument to his beliefs.

      Michael Atkinson is not arguing. He’s simply using his position as Attorney General to enforce a personal agenda. And the reality is that until he’s removed as SA attorney general, there ain’t a damn thing anyone can do to stop him.

  • Maybe some one should point out to Atkinson that RapeLay ended up pissing off a bunch of feminists who bitched about it badly enough to cause a considerable reform to Japan’s adult game market, in regards to what material is appropriate.

    Really, both his examples are games that never even had classifications, were never to be released with a rating, and furthermore never to be released in Australia.

  • Hey I hate to play devils advocate here, but the current system is flawed. My brother, 13, owns COD MW2 and GTA4, both of which he bought without the help of an adult from the local game store. The fact is that even with the ratings in place, at the end of the day they don’t get enforced. He has no idea how to torrent, and wouldn’t be able to get a hold of these games if they were made illegal.

    It’s a shame that Atkinson has to be so closed minded about it, because it does effect my gaming experience as an adult, but the fact is that the current system needs a complete overhaul from classification to distribution. Until that happens, who is to say that maybe it is not in our best interest, in our children’s best interest to refuse classification on some titles?

    Just some food for thought. My gamer tag on MW2 is NRKey if you want to try taking it out on me!

    • “”Hey I hate to play devils advocate here, but the current system is flawed. My brother, 13, owns COD MW2 and GTA4, both of which he bought without the help of an adult from the local game store. The fact is that even with the ratings in place, at the end of the day they don’t get enforced.””

      That’s one of the fundamental reasons why we need an R18+ rating… if this happens now the store is likely to get a slap on the wrist (if that) and the employee will probably lose their job (maybe)…

      With the R18+ rating, the store would face MASSIVE fines if caught selling to a minor, no company would want to be seen doing that, so they are likely to make sure that staff are checking for ID…

      Parents MIGHT get a clue then, if they are carded to buy the game in the first place for Little Johnny, they might think twice at what they are buying because it’s designed for adults.

    • I would agree that we need better enforcement, both now and if a new system is put in place. I would daresay though that if R18+ classifications were put in place then the penalty for breaking that and selling to a minor would be just as stiff as other restricted items (alcohol, cigarettes and DVDs), and would hopefully whip the retail industry into shape.

      However I can’t agree with you that using the current RC model to keep these games out of children’s hands is the best course of action. Aside from my own personal views on the matter, I say that because the fact is that not even that is working at the moment. GTA4 was originally refused classification, but was reclassified as MA15+ following a few minor changes. Specifically: sexual acts were no longer shown, characters no longer accumulated pools of blood after dying, and characters no longer showed wounds as they were being injured ( These are only minor aesthetic changes that hardly address the adult content that still shows up in that game (not to mention the ninja-update they did with the episodes…).

      I’m not a parent or guardian so it’s easy for me to say this now, but I think that if parents are concerned about what their kids are playing then they should take some responsibility for it.

    • you say he doesnt know how to download the games its not hard to learn and trust me once him and all his friends can no longer buy the games they want one of them will figure out how to download it(only takes a google search)

  • he thinks that based on the clasification boards past conduct they will slip a rape game an R rating if it were introduced??!?!? the only reason they slip games MA ratings is cause its so obserd that we dont have an R rating…
    their behavior stems from the problem you have created you idiot.

  • when the entire industry pulls out and 1000s of people lose their jobs (retail, distributors, publishers, developers)

    only then will he be happy but only then will Rudd arc up and tell him what an idiot he is, especially in such an economic climate.

  • You can’t regulate something unless you legalise it. That is why R18+ games need to be legalised, so we can have proper legislation put in place to control the sale and rental of these titles to minors.

  • I hope there will be more shows like this in the future.

    I honestly think the best way to bring an R18 rating to Australia is to force Michael to speak in public on the subject as often as possible.

    If you listen to the show, Michael comes across as a jowl-wobbling reactionary, with David presenting commonsense ideas in a way I think a lot of Australians can appreciate.

    All that is being suggested is that Parents and Adults should be able to decide what is best for themselves and their families, and that they should have the resources necessary to make that decision an informed one.

    Right now, if you google ‘Michael Atkinson’ – it’s all about his stance on video games. Hopefully this will extend to other forms of media, and as NegativeZero says above, give an opportunity for his other opponents (we can’t be the only ones) to challenge his argument.

  • “At the cinema, we can stop people under 18 going in to see R18+ rated movies. We can’t stop these games that are extremely violent and depraved from getting into the home or getting into the hands of children.”

    It’s a good thing movies aren’t released on some sort of format that would allowed them to be sold at retail and then viewed at home, if that happened our society would be full of desensitised, violent youths!

    Oh, wait…

  • The man might aswell just ask to ban all video games, he isn’t even trying to come up with an alternative, he’s just treating video games like they are the devil, as shown in the chinese studies, internet is the source of brain damage in relation to video games, video games are just the catalyst, Atkinson could be reasonable, though the internet isn’t a very reasonable place, just a place where self control can reign (children won’t learn this on the internets).

  • This is actually good news. (1) Gamers and Atkinson are on common ground that the Classification Board in its current form doesn’t produce consistent decisions in a way that the industry can understand and work to. (2) Gamers and Atkinson are on common ground that the Classification Board needs to be reformed. (3) Atkinson is independently generating publicity for the classification reform debate without just responding to gamers. (4) Legal challenge (presumably under the AD(JR) Act) puts the matter before a court, who will produce binding, public precedent on the manner in which the Classification Board should be discharging its duties and the tests it should be applying. All parties will have a clear sheet to be working from in understanding how the law should be applied and developers will have a better understanding on their chances in future legal appeals.

  • He does have a good point, I mean, look at all the rape games that flood the markets in countries with an 18+ rating!!

    Hes single handedly saving the country guys!!

  • Mr Atkinson seems to fall back on the same arguements time and time again and they are wearing extremely thin.

    I get extremely frustrated everytime I see his comments “At the cinema, we can stop people under 18 going in to see R18+ rated movies. We can’t stop these games that are extremely violent and depraved from getting into the home or getting into the hands of children.” I would very much like him to expand on this view and explain exactly how games differ from these R18+ movies once they are released on DVD.

    It is all very well and good that cinema workers can refuse to sell tickets to a movie to any under 18+ or under 15+ for MA classified movies, but once said movies are released on DVD they are obtained in the exact manner in which a game is purchased. DVD stores can refuse to sell R18+ movies to under 18’s. but why can’t game stores be trusted to do the same? As it stands game stores (should be) refusing sales of MA15+ games to under 15’s. Again I ask, how or why is this any different if an 18+ rating was introduced?

  • “What I want the Classification Board to do is to apply the guidelines properly. What I don’t want is the extremely violent, sexually depraved, drug use games in Australia at all.”

    That one sentence sums up everything so well.

    Its not about what the people want, its all about Michael Atkinson and what he wants, doesn’t matter that he is a representative of the people…No.

    His God Complex and the fact he thinks what he believes and wants is more important than anyone else shows how delusional and out of touch with reality he is.

  • So as a 17 year old I can join the army, fight and die for this government but I’m not allowed to do it in a game?

  • It’s simple, if he gives us an R18 classification. We’ll be able to buy the game as it comes in Aus, if he doesn’t. We’ll bit torrent, usenet, and any other means possible to get the game, in all it’s uncensored glory… and so will the kids who shouldn’t be playing it.

  • I’m shocked and appalled by the interview with Atkinson.

    He is completely disconnected from the medium that he is trying to protect, and to say that the Classification Board (an arm of the government) is neglegant when it is a constituant of the Attorney-Generals Department is basically stating that the government cannot be trusted!


    I am an authorised assessor for the Classification Board and I can tell you now, every single MA15+ title is deliberated in full by the board members, however they rely on information provided to them from the publisher / distributor. If that information is not fully disclosed then it is not the fault of the board to classify a title wrong.

    It’s funny, because if a company is more ‘honest’ about disclosing all information about content of a game then they are more likely to be judged more harshly. But deliberately (or not) not disclosing full details makes it easier to ensure that your game is classified.

    As an authorised government representative – I have played through Modern Warfare 2 and I believe and content in that game can be easily justified under the MA15+ rating banner.

    If you want some more detail on this and a break down of the way the classification system works at this level Jason, let me know.

    I made this post –

    It might help you to see things a bit more officially.

    • Considering the accusations he’s made, would it be possible for you, someone from your office or a representative from the Classifications Board to formally respond?

      It’s clear to most of us that the Board does the best it can with the tools available, but those tools are nowhere near enough for the job to be done properly and one of the reasons we’re pushing for the changes to the system.

  • lets ban cigarettes and alcohol … kids can get their hands on them too … and they are far worse …. also … lets ban cars … kids can be killed by those too …. what else can we ban ?

  • Mr atkinkinson is leading Australia to the garden path to imports and piracy.

    Australia has already been named one of the biggest contributures to piracy todate

    All i have to say is game and eb will not be getting my money any more and i will be taking my purchases off shore.

    I was trying to reason with myself to purchase an os console and here it is

  • The whole ‘games can’t be controlled when they’re inside the home’ is absolute crap, incidentally. All the current consoles implement some kind of parental control feature which can actively lock kids out of being able to play content rated above a certain level defined by the parent. Windows also has had this capability since Vista.

    If anything, modern games consoles make it *easier* for parents to control what level of content their children can access, should they care enough to bother setting it up.

    If this is such a worry perhaps the classification board should make parental control for video game systems a mandatory feature and provide parents training material to show them how to set it up? The purpose of classification is to help people make an educated choice about what media they or their children access, not censoring content that certain political groups don’t like!

  • Doe’s arguments aren’t flawless, but he makes a great deal more sense than Mr Atkinson. Even in this short interview, Atkinson manages to use ALL of the following rhetorical fallacies in his arguments:

    Appeal to fear (argumentum ad metum –

    Appeal to ignorance (Argumentum ad ignorantiam –

    Appeal to popularity (Argumentum ad populum –

    Attacking the character of the opposition (argumentum ad hominem –

    Argument from authority (argumentum ad verecundiam –

    Straw-man argument (

    ‘Slippery slope’ (‘…a relatively small first step inevitably leads to a chain of related events culminating in some significant impact…’ –

    • According to the principles of Argumentum ad populum, Mr Atkinson is completely in the wrong. At least here on this forum, anyway. I don’t think I’ve read a single post that agrees with the poor guy.

      Oh well, can’t feel too sorry for him. He is a snip after all.

  • just thought i would let anyone know who was wondering about that “unnamed” game, well i also am unsure of the name but i do remember playing it at school a few years ago

    • one word STEAM if it get refused clasifacation they can gothrough steam to shut down the game now obviously youll just have to count to 5 then download any one of the 5 jillion work around hacks that spawned int hat time to get your game back but hey thats five precious seconds with out a frag

  • This guy is a total idiot, and I dont see why he has to trash talk the OFLC like that. THEY ARE DOING THE BEST THEY CAN!

  • It’s interesting that he says that he has no idea why the discussion paper hasn’t been issued. Is there a way to find out what the hold up is? If it turns out that it really is being held up by Atkinson, then this is a fairly clear example of him not being honest with the public. Isn’t that the kind of no-no that costs politicians their jobs? Lying?

    • It’s hard to believe that he can say that as it was in fact him that has barred the release of the discussion paper. He himself barred it by withdrawing his support for the paper unless some changes he requested were made to the paper.

      • This is the thing. It was commonly understood that Atkinson was holding up/preventing the issue of the discussion paper as he wanted to add in some details – most likely including RapeLay as an example of the kind of game permitted under an R18+ classification. However, here he is stating in this interview that he doesn’t know why the paper isn’t being released. Either he doesn’t know what’s going on (when he should) or he’s lying (which is just plain wrong). I’m not sure what his game is, but it almost feels as though he’s simply treating this issue with utter contempt. So, I’m just wondering that if the Liberals get elected next election, can Atkinson do much from the opposition side?

  • I was in EB on Thursday picking up ACII, and there was a mother in child in front of me in the line. The boy couldn’t have been more than 10, but his mother was buying him 2 different GTA’s for the PS2. She even asked him if he wanted the guide books for them.
    Now I’m not sure if those particular games warranted a R rating because I don’t play the GTA games, but from what I’ve heard they are definately not suitable for a 10 year old. I would bet there’s no way she would have bought them for him if they were rated R.

    • Exactly, IN FACT, if the mother was with the child and tried to purchase R18+, she would be by law have to ask if it is for the child (minor) and if she responded yes be refused the sale of the game

      if she said no and in fact it was, she has broken the law by exposing an R18+ item to a minor and is a disgraceful parent

      one could argue she is a disgrace anyway based on the fact she is exposing a 10 year old to GTA, but im guessing that this is an ignorance is bliss situation.

  • He’s doing it for attention.

    MW2 is an extraordinarily high profile and popular game which has already been released. Of course it is THIS game he’d appeal the classification of.

    NOT Clive Barker’s Jericho, which had utterly insane amounts of graphic torture and blood on every wall combined with very disturbing adult themes including every kind of sexual unorthodoxy that Atkinson condemns.

    It is clear that Atkinson is picking his targets on the basis of what will get him into the news.

    His arguments as stated above are so logically fallacious no one could take them very seriously at all, i.e. “we can police movies” (what about DVDs? Also, you know the consoles have parental controls?).

    He’s only doing this because he believes it can get him attention.

    Ignore him and circumvent him. Import your games.

  • Ah well Attkinson is as good as gone as Attorney Genral, thanks to Premier Rann’s indiscretions – sucked in Michael hahahaha

  • I do hope mainstream media pick this up and seriously give it some air time as this is the only way things are probably going to get changed at this stage. Put it in the general publics minds and get them interested in this issue. It’s sad to say but you would probably get more people taking notice if you jump up and down about the evils of the terrorist level of MW2 and that kids have access to it because of a lack of an R18+ rating rather than talking about ‘we want an 18+ rating because we are adults’.

    Also you have to attack Atkinson on his comments regarding his upcoming re-election and 76% approval rating as proof the entire Australian public does not want an R18+ rating. That is just a load of rubbish. If he gets re-elected, he gets re-elected by the voters of his electorate of Croydon who think he’s doing a good job. He directly represents 27,000 odd thousand voters, not the entire SA or Australian voting public.

  • I suggest everyone writes sincerely to Atkinson with these views at [email protected]

    For him to take you seriously, he wants your full name and residential address. He has said to me in an email “I suspect dozens of emails come from the same person who is trying to exaggerate the number of supporters of an R 18+ Classification.”

    Ha. Let him know exactly how many of us, as tax-paying, voting Australians, want something done.

  • Yeah Rape Play isn’t even around anymore i don’t think. And its not allowed in any other country legally or has even been classified in ANY country with a R rating. This guy is just pathetic and needs to do his job properly and not waste his time on such “issues”. At the moment he is the lead considering their is no R rating, but to appeal a game thats already been released.

    What does he think he will accomplish? Making it refused classification so that the 2% of people who haven’t bought the game yet, cannot play it. LAME!

    Or does he expect everyone to turn their copies of the game over if he succeeds? What a loser.

    Everyones pretty much bought the game now douche head.

  • The world can not be serious, all of the news of banning mw2 is just because of one freaking level, WHICH YOU CAN HAVE THE OPTION TO SKIP. i did play through it and i found it a bit hard to play, but im not making a big fuss of it, if i was completely offended by it, i would SKIP IT. NOTE PEOPLE: S K I P I T

  • Hon. Michael “Double-Standard” Atkinson, strikes again.

    He refuses to reform a system he says isn’t doing it’s job, where the hell is the logic in that?

    And of course we stop under 18s getting into R movies, we card em at the cinema ticket booth. How do we stop R rated DVDs and adult literature getting into a household? We DONT. It gets in the same as anything else.

  • I’d love to see him turned into the next Jack Thompson, particularly the part where ultimately nobody listens to him anymore and becomes a threat to the Australian gaming community no longer.

  • Quite frankly this man is an idiot, Yes australia needs a R18 rating so we dont have to put up with, for example, a censord version of l4d2, but mw2 is a perfectly legitimate MA15 game, and the level in which they are probably saying is innapropriate, can be avoided, infinity ward gave you a choice… and we all know games have parental controls and if the game doesnt, parents should be smart enough to use the inbuilt windows services available to restrict games from their children…im not aware of the procedures for console games..

    dont ruin it for the rest of us

  • OMFG!
    Listening to him rambling on just makes me so angry. he is a walking talking contradiction. As someone above said, it sounds like he is arguing FOR an R18 rating with the reasoning behind his opposition. If the OFLC let in something like “rape play” I think there would be widespread retrenchments within the dept. No-one wants to see garbage like that entering the country. Well no-one with any moral decency.

  • Im not sure if this has been said already, but people seem to be commenting on how games like FEAR 2 and such have an 18+ rating overseas and only a MA here, thats because the australian versions are censored. things are removed. so we lose out.

    • Not always true.
      Hardly any games get censored. I don’t know about FEAR 2, but there are tons of games that got an 18 in the UK but got an MA15+ rating here.

      We had toned-down usage of prostitutes in GTAIV, and we’ve got a gimped version of L4D2. That’s about it for recent worthwhile games.

      Fallout 3 for instance was RC’d based on morphine, which was changed back to Med-X in ALL VERSIONS INTERNATIONALLY. This game STILL garnered an 18 in the UK.

  • No one should care about what this (Mighty Boosh – Ed.) has to say about the target audience of specific games. Some games are aimed towards the more mature age, and for that, we should have an R18+ rating for games, instead of being cut down, censored til rainbows and unicorns come out of headshots for the MA15+ Ratings. It’s ridiculous.

  • This guy gets more and more ridiculous as the days go on… This is the public vs private dichotomy that exists in law. I don’t think this clown will be happy until he has the power to regulate every media facet of our lives. This all seems like it stems from some personal problem haha

  • I wrote about this topic for my recently acquired position as content admin for

    My article is titled “Taking the Mickey out of the R18+ Debate” and can be read at and soon at! I take a more in depth look at some of Mickey’s arguments and point out the logical flaws behind them.

    Feel free to take a look at it and my other articles!


  • I am curious how he feels about DVD/Blu-Ray sales.

    He points out that it is okay to have movies with the questionable material, because theaters can restrict who enters. However, eventually the same movies will be released to home media. Do these movies then become banned because they are suddenly “easier” for minors to access?

    It seems odd to restrict one but not the other.

  • So we want an R-18+ rating because the current system is broken… And Atkinson doesn’t want an R-18+ cause the current system is broken…

    Damn I hope this Queensland petition actually amounts to something… I get tired of people who you can’t rationally discuss things with after a while.

  • The amount of shit that spews from this guys mouth is just ridiculous…

    Let’s see if he has the balls to challenge MW2 – Go on, ban the biggest selling game EVER!, then see what happens…

  • Funny he criticizes the ratings system, I’m pretty sure a while back I saw him saying he was happy with the current state and that it enforced restrictions and censorship to a reasonable level. I’d love to see someone dig up that quote and see how he reacts to being labeled a hypocrite.

    In regards to his challenge, I say bring it on Micky A. There’s far too much support for an R18+ rating both from inside the hardcore gaming community and anyone who knows about censorship. If he makes a big deal about this, this whole thing is going to blow up in his face and the gamers will win out. So I say bring it.

  • I wonder…

    There was a episode of The Simpsons (Treehouse of Horrors) where advertising characters were destroying the town, and they ended up defeating them by just ignoring them.

    I wonder: if everyone just stopped giving Mr Atkinson the time of day, would he just disappear?

    At the end of the day he is no different from any other attention seeking, opportunistic politician. He’s hardly unique in that sense.

    Import people, import. Let him have his 15 minutes of fame (which is his real motivation). Once he is gone some other attention seeking do-gooder will take his place, and around and round we go.

    So, ignore him, import, and get on with it.

    • Complacency will only encourage him. Democracy fails if we become complacent.

      The Simpsons was broadcast by Fox, owned by the money-loving, Rupert “Uberconservative” Murdoch.

  • 1. Its not Rape Play, its RapeLay, and that still could (and should) be refused classification if we ever had a R18+ rating.

    2. The Game with the bombs strapped to himself was a flash game that some guy made… Kotaku covered it like… 12 months ago or something… So that doesn’t even make sense… because Flash games aren’t even classified…

  • i do agree, that MW2 should have a higher rating, not 15+. It should not be for the kiddies. That said, it should be available for the adults.
    The system is screwed. There are way too many games getting rated 15+ here that are adults only around the world. The system is really screwed. What kind of system allows adult only games to kiddies, and has no adult rating at all.

    I wonder the outcry if our current system was applied to other media.

  • It’s amazing how one person, can screw over the rest of the country – just because they are on an ego trip. Let’s be honest, Atkinson is getting more media attention because of his stance than he otherwise would and if he was to allow the new classifications, he’s sink back into obscurity. He’s really just a sad little man with the usual insecurities and will use any excuse, no matter how crazy to rationale people, to justify himself and keep himself in the spotlight. I’m guessing if Rann goes down, Atkinson may try to get the top job in SA – and still block the reclassification – simply because he can.

    It’s another example of a politician abusing their position, because they can – like Tony Abbot rejecting medication simply because of his own religious beliefs.

  • Just read through all the comments, yes really.

    We all agree this guy just doesn’t make any sense.

    Now if MW2 where to be classified to R18+ does that make it illegal to own, and if so would that mean the Goverment would have to buy back the game? And when I say Buy Back I mean from all retail outlets as well as all owners?

    After that gun buy back nobody’s been shot since so if we buy back all the violent video games society will reset to 195X.

    I played a few Hentai games years ago back when I was still a teenager (Late 90’s) they where pretty boring back than. I’d rather play Dragon Age or Super Mario Bros Wii.

  • I just don’t understand why one guy seems to have so much power in relation to this issue. I’m pretty sure that we live in a democracy and that he is an elected government official.

    Man this dude really grinds my gears 😉

  • If you want a laugh, click my name. It’s a blogpost explaining why he is such a moron.

    He really believes he is a moral crusader, but I doubt we will be convincing him anytime soon. It’s obvious he is wrong. But these people want to believe what is in their minds so much they will grasp at the shortest straws without looking at how silly it really is.

  • Maybe if we showed the government how much money Australia was losing when it stops a game, especially a popular one, then they might get a little bit wiser.

    I mean, imagine if Modern Warfare II had been banned right out? That was one of the highest selling games ever in its first day, wasn’t it? Thousands and thousands of dollars, wasn’t it?

    I know where my $100 is going, and it’s not to an Australian L4D2.

  • I emailed Mick yesterday, he replied 5 minutes later saying he would not take my email serious unless i provided my postal address to verify against the electoral roll, i provided my details strait away and am yet to hear anything. Sure, he may be busy. But he has read my email, replied and now he knows im legit he hasnt bothered to reply in depth to the question everyone has asked here.

    “If you would like a considered response to your email, please supply me with your home address (a street address, not a p.o. box) to be checked against the electoral roll.

    I ask for this because I receive many crank, hoax and abusive emails on this topic.

    When I research and write a reply, I want to send it to a real person at a real address and not an electronic phantom or hydra.

    I am sorry to put you to this trouble but I think you will understand.”

    • You really think he cares about our opinions? The opinions of ‘R18 nerds seeking virtual gratification’? His letter to the site and well….anything else on the subject has made it clear that he doesn’t give a rat’s ass about our opinions.

      I dunno….. between Atkinson’s stubborn refusal to give games an R18 rating and Rudd trying to filter our internet….. I think it’s the start of something truly scary….

  • David,

    If I had to make a guess, the ‘unnamed game’ Atkinson refers to where you “play as a suicide bomber and blow yourself up in a market” is a flash based game called ‘The Suicide Bomber Game’, it appeared on the web in 2002 and can be found on newgrounds: . Clearly however, the author made it with the intent to piss off victims of the 9/11 attacks and to gain media attention. Personally I couldn’t put it past me to call it a game, more of a waste of time.

    You can’t help but wonder why Atkinson keeps repeatedly referencing games which have never been reviewed by the OFLC.

  • As much as I hate to say it, Atkinson is right – as WiseHacker already pointed out, we get a lot of games unmodified at 15+ where everywhere else in they’re 18+.

    We NEED an R-rating for games so the ones we have already can be classified correctly such as Left 4 Dead 1, Bioshock, Fallout 3, F.E.A.R. 2, Gears of War 2. Compared to Modern Warfare 2, these titles are far more brutal in their violent content.

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