Share Your R18+ Consultation Submission Comments

Submissions for the R18+ national classification consultation close 28 February. To promote good thinking, we want to see what you've got to say. The guidelines request a 250-word comment at the end of each submission. Send us yours and we'll publish some of the best.

This consultation process is an important milestone for the maturity of games in this country, both for players and developers. We do enough shouting on blogs and forums, here's our chance to show we deserve to be treated as the adults we are.

In case you're yet to state your case, here's how to do it.

The call for public consultation (AG.gov.au) The Bond University Interactive Australia report (for helpful research insights)

When you have sent in your submission, send Kotaku an email with your 250-word comment from the end of your document. We'll choose some of the best we receive and publish them for everybody's benefit. We can only get better at dealing with the ill-informed by enhancing our own best arguments.

UPDATE: Don't just post your 250-word comment below. We want to highlight the best in separate blog posts in coming weeks, so send it in an email.

If you've already done it, good dog! Send it over via email to get the ball rolling!

Thanks to Greg Tannahill for the suggestion.


Comments

    In my honest opinion; the arguments against the introduction of an adult’s only rating (which would bring Australia in step with the rest of the world) seem to be mainly formed on the view that parents don’t understand gaming & are unable to monitor their own children.

    The average age of gamers in Australia is approximately 30 years old, an age at which (by my own estimation) a small majority of those gamers would already be young parents. Therefore, parents today, understand gaming more so than those of a generation ago.

    Finally, arguments that try to link violent, graphic ‘interactive’ content to anti-social behaviour, while not without merit (in cases where a crime is committed & the perpetrator was found to enjoy violent first-person shooter games, for example) ultimately don’t cover the broader spectrum of influences on the behaviour of such individuals. A person who draws more influence from movies (which already have an adults only rating) &/or games, than from their family environment, is clearly ALREADY disturbed, & simply restricting their access to games of any sort, isn’t going to solve that problem.

    According to the 2009 report by Interactive Australia, the average age of the Australian gamer is 30, and the percentage of gaming consoles in Australian households is 88%. And as such, the majority, of gamers are adults who deserve the right to choose our own forms of entertainment in this free, democratic nation. There is absolutely no conclusive proof that video games harm people. Current studies are flawed and methodically incorrect. R18+ for games in other countries works fine. There are child locks on every retail game console of this generation for parents to utilise; there is a ratings system in place to guide parents. It is of their responsibility as parents to monitor what their children are exposed to. If a child can walk into a store and buy a violent video game, so too can he walk into the same store and buy a violent film. Limited parental control is a reason to increase education for parents, not restrict adult liberty.

    Here is what i said in mine:

    I feel that having an R 18+ rating would help people understand more about what they are buying. I have no doubt there are parents out there who buy games for their children, not knowing that in other countries the game is restricted to people 18 and over.

    In saying this I strongly believe that bringing parents to the attention that modern day consoles have the option to lock out certain rating games; it will help parents limit what their children can play. For example, the Xbox 360 has the option to lock any rating game out and are only able to be used on that console with the input of a code; (Obviously only known by the person who sets it).

    If you have to, mark every R18+ game case with a warning telling parents these options are available and give contact numbers to the systems manufacture for info on how to do it.

    It is unfair to adults in this country; that our Attorney General’s Department doesn’t think that the Australian people should be allowed to play what Video Games they want. And saying that having an R18+ rated game in the home will give younger children more exposure to this type of content is an unfair comment, it should be up to the parents to have that content in the home....not the Government.

    Thank You.

    Guns Kill, Games Cannot

      EXACTLY

    I submitted my form.
    This was my comment:

    Yesterday 09-02-2010, Bioshock 2 was released for consoles and PC.

    Printed on the disc are various classifications for different countries. All of them say 18+ EXCEPT for the Australian rating which is MA15+. Bioshock 2 is not the only game to highlight this. I have no less than five titles in my collection with the same classifications.

    What this proves is games which are not suitable for minors in other countries are being made available to minors in this Australia because of our lack of an R18+ rating.

    An R18+ rating for games will classify these adult games appropriately and keep them out of the hands of minors.
    An R18+ rating will help strengthen Australias classifications by making parents more aware of content.
    It would stop shops selling adult content games to minors and it will stop parents from buying it (if they like). Because, right now, minors are able to buy games which are suitable only for adults elsewhere in the world.

      that's basically exactly what I wrote. Nicely said and it is ridiculous that this is happening.

    Hot alien tits, say no more.

    It is unbelievable that in 2009 / 2010, we have a need to discuss this!
    Games are no different to any other medium, be it movies, music, art, books etc.
    Some bandwagon jumping politicians continue to attempt to link violence to video games, which has been futile and unsubstantiated (Germany is the worst to over react).
    Australia seems to still have this perception that Games = Kids.
    This is absolutely not the case, the average age of gamers is around 30+ according to surveys held both here and internationally.

    The fact that the current rating system DOES NOT WORK is shown over and over again, when a mature game is released internationally (US 17+ and 18+ in Europe), the ratings board in Australia gives it a MA15+ rating effectively stating “we want our kids to play this game”.
    Gamers 4 Croydon held a survey and many people were angry about this fact and many also had no idea there isn’t a R18 rating for games in Australia.

    Another curiosity is the fact that games are refused classification (effectively banned)
    and then a second review the game passes as MA15+, sometimes the game is butchered (censored) often it isn’t, it seems an awful like there could be some money changing hands to get approvals. Creating a R18 rating would reduce such possible corruption.

    Here is how the ratings system should work!
    - A game is submitted
    - The panel reviews the game
    - The panel give the game a rating

    That’s it NO CENSORSHIP, NO EDITING, The ratings board are not game developers!
    An ADULT game should never be shoehorned into a child rating, as is presently occurring.

    PS: Goodbye Mr Atkinson, your personal agenda to continually interfere by voting against an R18+ rating for games, shows you repeatedly fail to perform your duties to serve the public.

    It is not the government’s role to act as parent in any child’s upbringing. Empowering parents to make informed decisions about the media they purchase and make available to their children is the only solution to keeping adult oriented material out of the hands of minors and young adults.
    The consumption of alcohol is restricted to adults by law because of the risk it poses to children. We did not however restrict access of this potentially harmful substance to the vast majority of lawful consumers just on the mere chance that it might fall into the hands of a child. Instead we put in place of system of laws and regulations to restrict access to those too young to consume alcohol.
    In the quest to protect children, many well meaning but ill-informed campaigners have effectively become de facto censors of Australia’s media. This small minority, via pressure on the Classification Board, have been allowed to make decisions on available media, preventing the vast majority of mature and discerning adults from deciding for themselves whether a certain piece of media should be interacted with or viewed.
    It is my firm belief that without an R rating in our classification system we as a nation censor creative media to satisfy a tiny minority to the detriment of the majority who would access this material with no increased risk to minors than is already present.

    “Computer games should be treated differently from films given the specific, negative effects of interactivity on players, particularly their participation in violent and aggressive content.”

    There is no consensus in the Literature on any demonstrated effects of video games.

    “It would be difficult for parents to enforce age restrictions for computer games.”

    It is a part of their responsibility as parents, it should not be the government’s role to blanket-censor the media. If it is too difficult, the parents should simply not buy the game (presumably for themselves). If parents do not understand the ratings system, a better education policy should be implemented.

    “Minors would be more likely to be exposed to computer games that are unsuitable for them.”

    If this was the case, (see parents’ responsibilities, above) they have the same exposure to R18+ movies, yet that is not a legitimate argument for removing that rating.

    “An R 18+ for computer games would exacerbate problems associated with access to high level material in Indigenous communities and by other nonEnglish speaking people”

    This question has inherently racist implications, and should not be a legitimate supposition made by the (multicultural) Government (or high status representatives) as an argument against an R18+ rating. Are indigenous people more easily influenced by ‘controversial’ material? The corollary is, is that they are more ‘simple’, or ‘too stupid’ to discern fiction from reality!
    Are NESB people more prone to violence?

    Video games should not be treated as different to film until empirical evidence is presented supporting the claim that specific, negative effects exist.
    The difficulty of enforcing an R18+ rating is irrelevant. The current ratings system is misleading and detrimental to minors and rectifying this fact is worth whatever difficulties which must be faced.
    Minors are presently exposed to video games that are unsuitable for them. The number of adult video games wrongly released with an MA15+ rating in Australia far outnumber the amount of adult video games currently Refused Classification. An R 18+ classification category will send a clear, unambiguous message to parents that the game material is unsuitable for minors. The protection awarded by this change would outweigh any detriment caused by additional adult video games entering the Australian market.
    The assertion that the incorporation of an R18+ rating will be detrimental to indigenous communities and non-English speaking people is racist, offensive and underhanded. Ratings can be printed in several languages. The inability of indigenous communities to understand a ratings system should be remedied by education, not censorship.
    Video games containing high levels adult content are awarded a restricted rating in countries with similar systems to ours, yet are currently released in Australia with an MA 15+ rating. This alone demonstrates the need to change existing restrictions.
    The implementation of an R 18+ rating will not mean that extreme content will no longer be refused classification.

    Copy and pasted from my submission: A couple of reasons Australia needs a change in video game classification –
    1) Australia is being made a laughing stock to the rest of the developed world with the current system, the Government is “bubble wrapping” its citizens and deciding what is and isn’t appropriate. Surely that is the consumers options not the governments we are not a communist country.
    2) Video games along with movies and literature is an art form, by banning certain works of art we are missing out on some pretty incredible talent, in the form of storytelling and graphical design.
    3) How can it be okay to allow an R18+ rating for television and movies and yet not for video games. It’s a giant contradiction. R18+ DVDs are readily available from your local Kmart and the like.
    4) Sure video games have come a long way but are still in no way photo realistic, whereas movies are shot with real people, sex is more realistic, violence is more realistic, drug use is more realistic when you actually see a human beings do these acts rather than a bunch of polygons made to look like a human. Just adds to the contradiction.
    In conclusion Australia needs to come out of the stone age and needs these changes to take place so we are in par with the rest of the developed world and we don’t miss out on future technical marvels in the video game industry. Furthermore not have the government choose what we can and can’t have access to, and stop being babied. We are responsible enough.

    Why bother with it? That's what you have to feel because once again the all powerful, all knowing Michael Atkinson has already stated only gamers will care enough to take part, therefore the discussion paper is not valid. Got to love that logic seeing as a few angry bloggers around election time is enough evidence to repeal his internet laws.

    I also bought bioshock 2 and had a laugh at the fact there is three ratings on the dvd, two of them R and our lonley old MA, bioshock one had one MA and one R, I bet they are doing this on purpose with the second game to have two Rs on there.

    I don't know why sexual content gets a mention in the games debate, even with the R rating, its always just implyed, side glances, a kiss, oooo a kiss, something we did at fn school, what is R for games isn't even M for movies.

    Like I've always said to those who are against the R rating, it's not like the system currently keeps out alot of games, they get in anyway and this debate is not the invention of adult themed games, adult games have already been here for years and years, with an R rating a flood of trash won't come in with content any worse than what is already here, and most of all an R rating is not a government building with the R on the side pumping out smut and guns, the rating itself is only this - a guide to help consumers be aware of what content the product has in it, currently MA is on R rated games, how does this help protect the little ones?
    If it was just a matter of us wanting more blood and gore, the current games (fallout 3) have more than enough, we would just import overseas which is really a day to day thing in this day and age, we want this because it is the same principal as the blogging laws that were repealed and it will keep adult content out of kids hands by stricter retail practices and parents will know which games are not for kids by guess what, the rating! The thing that was invented for this very purpose! How is having everything MA15 meant to keep this out of the hands of 15 year olds?

    I'm getting sick of this issue and will not be voting for labor again, and F the liberals as well.

    I'd like to preface this by saying that I am a Christian. As in born-again, involved in prayer meetings, and I'm a worship leader in my church. I also have a son (14 months) and another on the way.

    That said, I very strongly support the introduction of an R18 rating for video games in this country, and here are my basic reasons.

    1) In response to the alarmist claims that this will allow children to access inappropriate material I have only one thing to say. Prohibition has never worked. Banning something only increases it's appeal, and any kid able to work out bittorrent (seriously, how hard is that?) can download a game which is banned here. (I know we don't use the word banned, it's just 'Refused Classification" but that's just semantics)

    2) An R18 rating will allow for more accurate rating of currently available material. I own a Wii (probably the most 'family friendly' console out there) and have a few MA rated games (and one or two for the GC) all of them also have rating labels from the UK and Europe, and all were rated 18+ in those countries.

    3) Introducing an R18 rating will require an ad campaign to educate people about the change. Maybe, just maybe, this will finally teach parents that games are not just for children. Maybe.

    Anyway, that's my thoughts. I'd just like to be clear that not all Christians are like Atkinson, several people I know well (including a pastor in my church) agree with me on this issue. :)

    I began playing video games at a young age, growing up with them as my preferred form of electronic entertainment. Video games are now widespread throughout the community, with games catering for families, children, teens and adults. Most of the games I choose to play are suitable for my whole family. However I also enjoy games that address themes that are perfectly acceptable for an adult but shouldn’t be available to children. Unfortunately some games are denied to me due to the lack of an R18+ rating. Worse still, many games currently on the market at MA15+ are much more suited to an R18+ rating, meaning minors are exposed to content their parents would otherwise deny them if the rating was more appropriate.

    As an adult I should be free to choose games that address themes interesting to someone of my maturity. The campaign for an R18+ rating is not about making extreme content available, which is undesirable to most Australian gamers, but is about allowing adults in this country to enjoy age appropriate entertainment just as those who prefer movies do.

    The lack of an R18+ rating indicates that the government’s view is all gamers are children, and all games currently rated MA15+ are suitable for children. This is a very mistaken view and needs to be corrected.

    It is my firm belief that the introduction of an R18+ rating will grant much greater protection to young people as well as treating Australian adults with respect, allowing us fair choice in our preferred entertainment format.

    well raise the drinking age to 21=unfair R18+=unfair to the young mature teens out there that play video games so they get in troule by the law so what is the point

      Jake if young mature teens are recognised by their parents then I am sure that those games will be allowed into their homes.
      All this will really do is make it hard for "young mature teens" to buy it for themselves.

      It is not illegal to own a R18+ game nor play it. What will be illegal is the supply of the game over the counter at your local gamestore to an underage buyer.

      I have a son about to turn 11 that has seen all the Disney Pirates movies starting with the first on DVD, he was around 5 then, all the Spiderman Movies also Avatar and Sherlock Holmes more recently, all of which are rated M. He plays multiplayer COD 4 MW, TF2, CS:Source, L4D alongside me and I take him regularly to a small monthly LAN.

      I have found him to be a rather mature kid to be able to enjoy games and movies for what they are fun, entertainment and escapism. I prescreen a fair amount of the stuff I let him watch just to make sure there are no hidden surprises as well.

      He has been able to sit still for a feature length movie in a theatre since he was 2 and has always had a great attention span.

      Being a horror and gore fan myself I can't wait to introduce him to the Alien franchise, I myself watched Aliens around Grade 6 aged 11/12ish when it was first released on VHS at a mates place as I had fairly restrictive parents. (Scared the crap out of me and gave me nightmares on and off for a couple of years but to this day remains one of my all time favourite movies.)

      However I wont force my kids to watch/play something before they are ready either.
      Those DVDS sit on their own shelf in the loungeroom and my kids know they are Dad's movies and they dont bother giving em a second glance.

      When they are old enough to discover them let alone start nagging to watch em and I know they can cope with what they are about to witness and put it down to just a movie then I will gladly chuck em on.

    There are already plenty of games shoehorned into the MA15+ classification that are rated by multiple overseas classification boards a unsuitable for minors. Australian children are being exposed to these inappropriate games right now. Examples include Grand Theft Auto IV, Aliens Vs. Predator and Modern Warfare 2. I feel this is a direct failing of our current classification system and that change is needed.

    An R18+ classification would provide a proper rating for these games to prevent them from "wearing shoes that do not comfortably fit". It would also send a clear message to parents that the content is not suitable for children and allow Australian adults the option to legally consume the games that are being produced around the world.

    All games would still require approval from the OFLC and would be refused classification if deemed inappropriate.

    Adult games are thriving worldwide regardless of our classification system. After five days of sales, the controversial Modern Warfare 2 had earned revenue figures of $550 million worldwide.

    Australians gamers are no different to other gamers around the world and it is time Australia adapts to adult games. We can legalise them for adult-only consumption and provide clear messages to parents that they are not suitable for minors or we can continue the "out of sight, out of mind" attitude that is putting minors at risk and restricting Australian adults who desire the adult games already being developed, reviewed and sold by the rest of the world.

    My comments for the Submission.

    Having an R18+ rating will not allow anything extra into the country, under the classification guidelines anything that shows despicable crimes such as Rape in all severity is refused classification whether MA15+ or R18+. It can serve to help educate parents to what is actually suitable for their Kids to play. If your child asked you to buy an R18+ rated game would you? If they try to slip it on the counter how soon would you realise when asked for proof of age? Do parents think twice about a MA15+ game when they don't know it has been rated 18+ overseas? Or M? A Disney brand movie and game series involving Pirates on most media formats is rated M? How many under 15s have watched it? My children do not witness myself buying toys to copycat behaviour nor after playing games practise to kill people. When we leave a cinema we discuss the movie, when we finish with games we usually do chores, a long way from what some opponents think gamers want to or will do. When finished with our escapism, we live, breath and participate in a real world. Kids learn the difference rather early. I am an Adult closer to 40 than 30 and have 3 young children. I believe I was raised by responsible if somewhat overprotective parenting at times. I can make my own mind up over what is suitable for myself to watch/play/read as well as censoring what my children have access to.

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