Gamers 4 Croydon Respond To Atkinson Letter

Yesterday we published a letter the South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson is currently sending to those who have written to him in support of an R18+ classification for video games. In response, Australia's first gamer rights political party, Gamers 4 Croydon, has written its own "thoughtful rebuttal" of Atkinson's views.

And by views, they mean his "contradiction-filled, strawman-posing, condescending piece of correspondence."

The full rebuttal can be read on the Gamers 4 Croydon website, but here's the concluding paragraph:

What Mr Atkinson's letter demonstrates is little more than that he has a prejudice against violent video games. Much of the 'evidence' he provides to support his claim is dubious or patently false, and it shows a much greater interest in distracting people with emotive arguments than thoughtful consideration of available information. While he is of course entitled to dislike violence in video games (and any other media for that matter), his personal distaste is not sufficient reason to curtail the rights of responsible adults, expose minors to adult content, and ignore the opinions of an overwhelming majority of Australians.

He is, after all, supposed to be a representative.

Oh, and remember you can donate to Gamers 4 Croydon on their website as well.


Comments

    Atkinson doesn't operate in an objective manner.

      Yeah pretty much this. Hes obviously and ignorant man (concerning video games anyway) who is set in his way, and no amount of reasoning is likely to change that. However Im all for G4C, cause even if they dont achieve their goal, theyre sending out a message that "We wont just sit and take this"

    I find the most interesting parts of Atkinsons letter the fact that he compares the purchase of a video game to that of going to a cinema. Whilst going to a cinema you can be monitored when buying a ticket, you can also be monitored purchasing a video game. However, would it not be more accurate to say, compare the purchase of a video game to say, the purchase or rental of a DVD? I can tell you now Mr Atkinson that my nephew went and saw The Hangover and he was 13 and was let in. That was an MA15 movie. Illegal. He bought himself a copy of GTA 4 with birthday money he acquired himself, and I took him back to EB Games in Brisbane and blew the absolute crap out of the sales rep who sold it to him. I saw The Hangover before he did and I didn't see anything in it I felt was highly inappropriate in it asides some language to be honest, but I did see stuff in GTA4 I felt a CHILD should not see. So I did my part.

    My nephew lives with me and as a guardian, being 32 years of age, I find that being a parental figure it is MY job, not YOURS, to look out for HIS best interest.

    Do your job Atkinson, look out for what the PEOPLE want, stop twisting words and statistics. You may have surveyed people and what I read in your letter was nothing but assumption and you clearly state in it that you assume, but when you assume, you make an ass of you and me as they say.

    Don't speak for everyone else, dont deflect the issue onto other states Atkinson, be man enough to speak for you and noone else.

      While you're completely correct and seem like a responsible adult and guardian, I'm sure Atkinson would jump on the fact your nephew managed to get ahold of GTA4 (regardless of your reaction to it) and use that as an example of adults not taking preventive action against children playing violent games.

      He skews shit like that all the time.

        When he should be using it as proof that the current system is broken and that he should focus on enforcing a working system rather than just banning everything. It is ILLEGAL to sell MA15+ material to anyone under 15 just like R18+ and X, but when did you last see someone get busted for it. Fix the system, then enforce it Mr Atkinson.

    "He is, after all, supposed to be a representative."

    SNAP

    It's great to hear that they got a response, but a shame that it wasn't a well considered one. Hopefully this will just encourage more people to help try and sway the Att.General's opinion

    Pfft making sense never got anyone elected,

    you should just make wild accusations about his private life and then quote a bunch of mindless unrelated research about the breakdown of the family unit if he tries to retort.

    Finish up be belittling him, that's popular these days.

      It does frustrate me that it seems Atkinson is allowed to call gamers antisocial lunatics who will use video games to train for and then justify violent and depraved acts - but when a hotheaded teenager calls Atkinson an offensive name (douchebag is popular on some message boards I visit), he uses that as evidence that gamers have no means of making rational decisions.

      Likewise, as G4C have highlighted, his inability to represent the people in his community should bring an end to his tenure.

    Ok, so, this issue needs more media attention. Now, I'm just gonna go out on a limb here and point out that our very own David Wildgoose is in the media. So, is it wrong of me to ask if David can use his journalistic skills to get this more out there. Make a name for yourself by calling tv station, newspapers, radio, that kinda stuff. You could further your career David, and help us out too...

    Just a thought.

    Nice writeup Gamers4Croydon - it's hard not to tear your hair out and just scream abuse at his (Atkinson's) arguments, but you've done it concisely and with a level head.

    Just read the whole thing. It's a fantastically sensible, well-thought-out response. More and more I am impressed by the level-headedness Gamers 4 Croydon continues to demonstrate.

    I'm more impressed that Atkinson is now resorting to blantant lies (in reference to him doing 'nothing' to blocking the dicussion paper) to get his misguided views across to anyone who will listen. Only now, because of his letter filled with contradictions and half-truths, I am truly starting to see cracks starting to appear in what he is doing. Perhaps, just perhaps, this might be something that may resemble the point where he starts to unravel.

    I wrote to Cameron Dick MP, QLD's Attorney General, to ask his stance on the R rating. A couple of weeks have passed and I have heard nothing.

    I read about this over on Grow up Australia last night: http://www.growupaustralia.com/updates/

    Really good response to Atkinson I hope he reads it. Maybe a good debate will follow.

    It's also unfortunate that nobody else in the Australian government gives enough of a toss about the Australian video game industry to pull Atkinson up on his lies.

    A good rebuttal that raises many good points.

    But I think the statistic raised in Atkinson's response that 62% of people ignore the current rating system should be addressed and used to demonstrate that it is possible that they ignore the current system because they fail to understand it.

    A study conducted by the OFLC (and available on their website) showed that many people did not understand the difference between an M and MA15+ rating. This was actually why the brightly colour symbols with (supposedly) more informative descriptions were introduced. I don't recall seeing anything saying that it helped demonstrate the difference between the two because even if people acknowledged a difference between the two they did not understand what that difference is.

    Having an R18+ rating gives people a clear indication that the content in that game/movie is for adults only. That's the point that needs to be hammered home.

    It's a remarkably easy for a 13 year old to convince their parents that something rated MA15+ is okay, but if it's R18+ it takes a lot more (either the parent knows what is there and thinks it is okay for their kid, the parent is completely ignorant or the kid is very manipulative).

    In his interview with either Stateline or Good Game, Atkinson said that countries with R18+ (or equivalent) ratings were just swine being herded off of a cliff, but we're still letting the majority of the content that falls under that rating be available to minors.

    The ratings system is a guideline that parents should use to decide if the content is appropriate to their kids. Give parents the best tools available to make their decisions, don't just shoe-horn in everything into a rating that is clearly not well understood.

    Another issue is that there has been at least one study conducted that shows that it is the experience of the game that effects the aggression shown, not the violent content. This is based on the principles suggested by the researcher who has been most prominent in advocating that video games cause violence, where he states that three factors (content, frustration and something else I cannot remember) are involved. Typically in this research only one factor (content, such as gore and language) independant of the others, which contradicts the principle that the conclusions are drawn on.

    I wish I could be more specific, but I'm at work and don't have the reports in front of me (I have saved them to my hard drive and read them, although I'm interpreting these without any formal training to I could be reading it wrong).

      The fact that he is acting as South Australian Attorney-General in this matter and not the Member for Croydon also needs to be addressed. He says his constituents do not care about this issue, but his constituents are not the approx 20,000 in Croydon, but the approx. 1.6 million in South Australia.

        That's more a matter of how the system is set up to give disproportionate power to a single person. There are plans to lobby federally to have the system changed to remove this glaringly undemocratic element.

          It's probably the only way that we're actually going to have the R18+ rating pushed through, aside from a cabinet reshuffle.

          Just out of curiosity, has Gamers 4 Croydon approached or been approached by any TV journalist about this? I know that Stateline covered this when Fallout 3 was a hot topic, but it seems to have fallen off of the radar outside of a few articles published online.

            Any kind of media we can get out hands on is the aim as we get the snowball moving faster.

      The difference between MA and M is very poorly differentiated. Both are for 'mature audiences' which is 15+. One of them is legally restricted and a minor should be prevented from access without being accompanied by a parent or guardian.

      Really the MA rating is broken. It's not clearly differentiated from M - and the statistics prove this - and because of that 'it's okay if the minor is with their parent' element, it gives the impression that it's fine for older kids.

      And then we have the issue that games with adult content are getting shoehorned into the category. So you have parents that think MA is okay for kids, and MA having adult content shoved into it.

      This isn't just a problem with games, either. Film has the same issue. It's just that film actually has two more higher classifications.

      Honestly, if Atkinson is so worried that there will be 'abhorent' content getting pushed into the R18+ rating for games, perhaps if it's introduced they should codify some actual solid guidelines as to what's acceptable in each category rather than leaving it so completely subjective? The classification board seems so random sometimes.

      Something interesting to do at some point would be go through all the MA15+ games released in say the last five years which have an 18+ rating in countries that do have that rating, eg PEGI ratings or BBFC. Maybe that would highlight how much of a problem this is.

      Also, as an aside, it seems that Atkinson misunderstands the purpose of our classification system. It's intended to classify the content of our media, so that we can make educated decisions about our purchases. It was considered so important that having a classification was made mandatory. While censorship arises from the system as it's implemented (refused classification means banned from sale), censorship was not purpose it was designed for. That's why it's legal to own refused classification or unclassified material in most parts of Australia, so long as the content is not actually illegal (eg child pornography). Semantics, maybe, but I think that the subtleties of this are completely lost on Mr. Atkinson, which is a shame.

    He'll throw out a canned response, pointing fingers at bigger issues affecting his 20,000 voters than "murder rape simulators". The only way anything will change is when/if he loses his seat in the next Federal election or the balance of power shifts back to the Coalition..

    It's pretty safe to assume that his staff read these comments, so I have a simple question for those staff members...

    Surely, at some point, some of you have disagreed with Atkinson's viewpoints. I'm only assuming here, but you must be educated enough to want to be involved in the world of politics at this state level. Educated enough to realise that what Atkinson is consistently saying doesn't make sense when you break any of it down. You must have your own opinions about this matter. I refuse to believe that a large group of people like yourselves are as clueless/arrogant about this matter as the man you work for. So here is my question: What are you doing?

    Trjn: I touched on the more clearly adult nature of the R18+ stamp vs MA15+, as below. But you're right, it could have been said more explicitly. The poor understanding of the rating system is something G4C hopes to address, if only by raising public awareness by existing and making noise.

    "It would provide an appropriate rating for adult-oriented games, while providing a clearer warning about the nature of the game to parents who might otherwise buy an unsuitable game for their child."

      Hi Chris, I've been thinking that we really need to have more 'mums' in on this. If more parents were aware that games internationally recognised as 18+ were being classified for and sold to children here in Australia then I think you would have a lot more supporters on your hands.

      From what I have read it seems that the Att.General is dismissing the emails and letters as being from 'violent boys/men looking for more violence'. If you could write a few letters into mum mags such as women's weekly and even aim to get a segment on Today Tonight with this 'australian children are being exposed to violent games' angle then you should definitely stir up the masses and also be able to use the Att.General's argument against violent games to your advantage.

      Everyone, in particular the Att.General, needs to understand that we are _all_ against violent games being accessible to children.

      Of course the result of this argument could go two ways, either the R18+ rating is accepted or all games internationally recognised as being too adult for an M15+ rating are banned.... but I would hope that the path of least dissent - the R18+ rating - is the one our representatives decide to take.

        I've already spoken to a number of mums and dads who are a bit concerned about it. Though, the awareness of the lack of R18+ is a major issue and obviously something we're hoping to address. That should at least blunt some of the 'gamers are evil teenagers' shtick from Atkinson.

        While it's technically possible we'll end up with no R18+, and more games RC, I don't see it happening. The same problem we're having getting an R classification would be faced by anyone trying to tighten the guidelines. Plus, there are more Attorneys-General publicly in favour of an adult rating than against.

    All we want is one thing.

    Classification uniformity accross all media, film, print, or interactive.

    Anyone with an objective mind that hasn't distorted their opinion with assumptions and false facts can see that this is something sorely missing in Australia and restricts the OFLC's ability to do their job effectively.

    Having a uniform rating system accross all media will simplify things for everyone.

    It really appears that Mr Atkinson 'believes his own press' (as the saying goes) and the further that this continues, the less rational his argument appears to get.

    An R18+ rating should have the same laws that Video and Alcohol have. At the moment I do not believe retailers are scared about selling MA15+ to a 9 yr old because there are no penalties.

    My GF works at a bottle shop. She knows if caught selling to minors, it will mean $1000 per staff member plus the Store paying more. The same should be for MA15+ and R18+. MA15+ should require someone over the age of 15.

    R18+ should ensure that only someone over 18 can buy the game. If a mother comes in with a son and he pick out an R18+ game. Refusal of Service just like alcohol should apply.

      Once we get an R18 and we will in time. Adding this law is common sense. No retailer will risk heavy fines it's that simple.

    you have my vote!

    $20 donated to G4C. Keep up the good work.

    yet another joke of the system is games getting R18 in europe then MA15 here - Killer 7 had an MA15 sticker on the plastic over the original casing saying R18+

      LOL. Epic fail.

      Better yet - Fallout 3. Our disc and case are exactly the same as the UK's, with just a MA15+ sticker over the 18 UK rating. In fact the disc has BOTH on it next to each other (same BLES code for PS3 too!).

      I've got a tonne of games (for PC and PS3, and some PS2), that do the exact same thing.

      It's ridiculous. I imported L4D from the UK and it's R rated as it should be. I don't know how MW2 or similar can be classified as MA. I've come across kids playing MW2 online. MW2 campaign is not suitable for unsupervised children.

      Parents are possibly confusing M rating which the more abstract Halo3 is rated, with the similar gametype of MW2 which is MA. There is no confusion with R rating.

    As much as this has been an issue in Australia and for as long as it has been an issue. I have to ask a question that I think is very pertinent to this issue.

    Who keeps voting for him that he stays in power ?

      The voters of Croydon and the state government for keeping him in the role of attorney general

    I like the idea behind their campaign, but I don't know if the name "Gamers4Croydon" is going to appeal to the masses. Most people over 40 still think games are for kids and geeks. They wont vote for a gamer party. It needs to be a name that shows more about how they are protecting australian family's. Like how they are like Family First, but less nazi like.

    It's a no-brainer....

    I work in retail and parents do know the difference between an MA15+ sticker and that giant black R18+ label...

    They recognize the R18+ logo as being associated with adult content.... same as you never see parents buying R rated films for their kids/teens.

    It's simple freakin logic!

    our govt doesnt care about the games industry, just ask anyone actually in the industry and get them to compare the amount of support the australian games industry (local developers) gets from the govt compared to the film/tv industry.

    give it a few years, australia is always behind the rest of the world by a few years. greatest country in the world my ass

    What I find most interesting in this hole thing is that Mr. AM wont do anything cos he believes he is safe from being voted out of his electret. how ever, he is the AG for the hole state. He his putting votes before his job. This is NOT what he is support to do.

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