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]


    Words fail, yet again. When will this nonsense end...

      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

        I agree with you there, even though Im 15 i've just gone ahead and imported L4D2.

    I'm amazed at the level of trash talk he manages to spew during interviews .

    "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.".

        robert do you mean condemn not condone

          Ah, thanks, Alinos for pointing out my mistake. I do in fact mean condemn.

    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.

      attorney general, bro. governor general is the queen's representative in australia, and is a federal post.

    But MW2 doesn't have depraved sex in it, so I don't see why he wants it refused.

      That's just because people haven't found out the codes to enable them yet.

        I lol'd. Very Hard. You made my day.

        Its nice to laugh after reading an interview with a biased imbecile.

    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.

            Not to mention the ability to own a gun and have sex with prostitutes.

    The blowing up game he is referring to is a flash game from way back. 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!!!

      Its not even called Rape Play, its 'RapeLay'. I'm assuming you're supposed to get 'play' out of that, but still, if Atkinson is gonna keep bitching about it, at least he can get it right!

        Rape Play is (sic)!

        I can't believe I just made that joke. Sorry all...

      That game and similar games are banned in Japan too. He's a dolt.

    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?


      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.


      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

    Ah what the hell is wrong with this guy, I cringe just reading his opinions.

    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.

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