Michael Atkinson is gone, but his legacy remains. Etched into said legacy is a clever use of language intended to manipulate, and play on, the fears of those uninformed on the issue of an R18+ rating for games. Mythbusters is a regular section intended to help dispel such fears. Kotaku readers are amongst the most highly informed gamers when it comes to such issues, but we hope that READY Mythbusters will help provide info for when it comes time to inform others of the misinformation surrounding the debate.
MYTH: An R18+ rating will open the floodgates for sexually depraved, excessively violent games.
The wording is deliberately misleading
The word ‘floodgate’ is frequently used in arguments against the R18+ rating. The word has been chosen to deliberately conjure up images of a chaotic, lawless flow of violent, hyper sexualised games – to create the impression that there will be nothing in place to stop these games entering the country and being sold to children.
Games will still have to be rated
The argument for the R18+ rating does not advocate a lawless free-for-all – games will still have to be rated – there will simply be more scope with which to accurately rate them, and therefore more accurate information for parents to make an informed decision about the kind of media their children consume.
Any games that contain portrayals of excessive violence or sex exceeding the guidelines provided will still be refused classification under a new set of guidelines that are just and fair.
There is no ‘flood’
The amount of games that were actually refused classification are limited. The video games industry is not a festering cesspool waiting for the R18+ rating before unleashing a production line of unsuitable video games for a baying public. Developers will continue to create the same games as before, and the vast majority of them will fit into the guidelines with little trouble. An R18+ rating simply makes it easier to accurately rate the content.
An R18+ rating will not result in an increased amount of games featuring excessive violence or sex
Films containing excessive amounts of gratuitous violence are currently refused classification – an R18+ rating for video games would ensure that similar standards be applied to games. There is no floodgate, we’re not asking for games to become an ungoverned, lawless wasteland where anything and everything goes. We’re simply asking for some sort of parity and fairness.
An R18+ rating for games would provide that parity and fairness.