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]


    It's a bit late now isn't it? Haven't most people already bought MW2?

    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.

    next on Atkinsons appeal list:

    Pong, those tablets must represent some kind of drug, what else makes ghosts edible.

      pong? ....edible ghosts?? .... ooooooo .... on a gaming forum? ... ouch!

        my bad, im overtired. i meant Pacman.

          clearly your gaming has driven you to heavy drug use. Watch out, you might accidentally murder and rape someone next. I'm afraid violence and depraved sex is all I can see for your future.

    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 not aware of the procedures for console games..

    dont ruin it for the rest of us

    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.

    The unnamed suicide bombing game Atkinson refers to would appear to be "Kaboom: The Suicide Bombing Game", a flash game covered by Game Politics here.

    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

    Damn, I had no interest in MW2, but now I might go pick it up for the sake of owning it. <_<

    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...

    Seriously. Can we get rid of this guy? He's our own Jack Thompson.

    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.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now