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]


    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?

    Can somebody just get rid of this outdated man?

    I really wanna slap him in the face.

    What, Rape Lay, seriously? Who would have expected FUD from a politician?

    Fun Police much?

    Mr. Atkinson.

    We want an R rating for games, not an X rating.

    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.

      Thank you for linking that post; a very interesting read. :)

    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!

      Very good.

    Could this be the game Atkinson was talking about? Market place, points, bomber..

    Suicide Bomber: (flash game)

    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

    I already bought it... so bad luck

      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?

      Last I heard it was being held up by the department of the Minister for Home Affairs.

      This guy:

        Thanks, mambodog. That clarifies that issue, then.

        So what's this guy's story? Is on the same page as Atkinson? Or is he just holding it up until Atkinson's ready to talk?

    I happen to agree with him. Clearly MW2 is classified inappropriately.

    It should be rated G.

    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.

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