READY: We Talk To The Australian Christian Lobby On R18+

READY: We Talk To The Australian Christian Lobby On R18+

READY: We Talk To The Australian Christian Lobby On R18+Yesterday we reported that the Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O’ Connor released a literature review stating that “there is no conclusive evidence that violent computer games have a greater impact on players than other violent media, such as movies or music videos.” Given that this assertion was one of pillars of the anti-R18+ argument, we thought we’d speak directly to the Australian Christian Lobby, one of the loudest dissenters, to get their view on the new findings.

“Well look,” began Lyle Shelton, Chief of Staff at the Australian Christian Lobby, “that report was a literature review, and we’re concerned that it would appear they’ve been a little bit selective with the literature. There is a vast body of evidence out there that shows a causal link between violent media and aggressive behaviour. I think they’ve been a little too hasty in coming to their conclusion, which I think is very much disputed.”

But having read through other literature reviews on the topic, such as Christopher J Ferguson’s in the Review of General Psychology (published in June 2010), the government’s independent study remains consistent with other findings. We asked Lyle what research he was referring to.

“Well the studies are listed in our submission for the consultation process,” he began. “There’s the Anderson study, and others that I can’t remember off the top of my head. But just in the synopsis of the review, all of these researchers are dismissed as ‘causationalists’. I think putting a label on someone doesn’t negate the substance of what they’re saying.

“To us, the review does seem a little bit glib,” continues Lyle, “and a little bit hasty in dismissing some of the evidence that is out there. Also the literature review doesn’t deny there is a link – particularly in the short term – and it doesn’t dismiss the possibility of long term links. So I guess it comes down to the question: do we want to take risks with a violent new medium.”

But wouldn’t an R18+ rating help control that risk? There hasn’t been a game banned in Australia for a long time – aren’t parents far more likely to expose to children to violent video games without an R18+ rating to help inform them as to what content is suitable for their child?

“Well I disagree,” claims Shelton. “You’re saying let’s lift the ban on violent video games and allow them into the country – legally, for the first time – and I don’t think that’s something parents would want. I think most parents feel that keeping these games out of the country is the most desirable thing for their children. It is naive to think that if the ban on these games was lifted they wouldn’t fall into the hands of children.

“There’s widespread agreement among politicians, parents and the general public that our classification system is broken. That’s been acknowledged by both Tony Abbot and Julia Gillard. The idea that we would then further liberalise our classification system and allow a new violent medium to be introduced when there’s widespread concern about lax classification standards is way out of step with where parents are on classification issues.”

Now that the government commissioned literature review has stated that there is no difference between the affect of video games and other media, it would seem that the road is clear for an R18+ rating to receive the green light. But Lyle Shelton disagrees – the R18+ debate, to the Australian Christian Lobby, is part of the “liberalisation” of the classification system. We asked Lyle – should other media be restricted in a similar manner to video games?

“Absolutely,” states Lyle. “We’ve just seen the classification board give the green light to a new film where adults are having sex with children, and all sorts of degrading things. We have to draw the line somewhere. The so-called artistic merit is allowing these things into the country. We need some sort of standard. That standard isn’t going to please everyone, but we need to protect innocent children wherever possible.”


  • “You’re saying let’s lift the ban on violent video games and allow them into the country – legally, for the first time – and I don’t think that’s something parents would want.”

    Err, what? Why don’t these idiots realise that an R18+ rating *will not bring more violent games to the country*?!?!?

    • I’m over these people not realising that an R18+ classification is NOT allowing “a new violent medium to be introduced” or “saying let’s lift the ban on violent video games” rather, it’s classifying properly and responsibly what’s already here.

    • And this is the fundamental flaw in the anti R18+ argument – it is NOT about letting more games in but making sure they are rated more appropriately than they are now (games here at MA15+ but in the majority of the world are being being rated at 17 or 18+).

      These guys are just like the former SA AG Mr Atkinson – narrow minded and unable to look at all the information.

      • These guys are just like the former SA AG Mr Atkinson – narrow minded and unable to look at all the information

        Ahh no, not unable, UNWILLING. Massive difference there


    Same old stale argument. Like listening to a broken record.

    It seems pretty clear they are clinging onto a vague argument that isnt properly backed up.

  • “There’s widespread agreement among politicians, parents and the general public that our classification system is broken. That’s been acknowledged by both Tony Abbot and Julia Gillard.”

    Can’t disagree there. The classification system is broken, introducing an R18+ rating would help fix it as the purpose of the system is to classify media allowing people to make informed decisions.

    “The idea that we would then further liberalise our classification system and allow a new violent medium to be introduced when there’s widespread concern about lax classification standards is way out of step with where parents are on classification issues.”

    I’m really wondering who is out of step here. A new violent medium is not being introduced and lax classification standards are a concern because there is no higher rating to allow for stricter standards to be enforced without undue and unnecessary censorship which is not the purpose of the classification system.

    The hint is in the name, Classification system, not censorship system.

  • Mark, next time you talk to Lyle Shelton can you ask him where these violent games are coming from. Can he name developers that are just waiting to create and release increasingly violent games because a country that represents less than 1% of game sales in the world will have a game rating for adults?

    For everyone else if you’d like to look at a practical comparison of Australian game ratings versus the rest of the world, using Splatterhouse as a test case, then you might like to read this

    Final point, I think we should ban all furniture that requires assembly from being imported into Australia. Trying to put some of that stuff together makes me angry. Definitive proof that putting together furniture increases aggression in the community.

  • I get the impression he didn’t listen to your questions. Case in point:

    “But wouldn’t an R18+ rating help control that risk? There hasn’t been a game banned in Australia for a long time – aren’t parents far more likely to expose to children to violent video games without an R18+ rating to help inform them as to what content is suitable for their child?

    “Well I disagree,” claims Shelton. “You’re saying let’s lift the ban on violent video games and allow them into the country – legally, for the first time – and I don’t think that’s something parents would want. I think most parents feel that keeping these games out of the country is the most desirable thing for their children. It is naive to think that if the ban on these games was lifted they wouldn’t fall into the hands of children.”

    The fact is they are getting into the country, at a level which is much more accessible than they should be. An R18+ rating won’t change the RC rules (unless they decide to change them as well), it will simply split up the current content into the more appropriate ratings, and thus it will inform the parents in a more clear and vivid manner that these games are definitely not for their kids.

    Am I surprised by his reponse? No. Am I surprised by him dodging your questions and repeating his mantra? No. Am I surprised by him, even off the top of his head, not being able to name the critical papers he felt were missing from the lit review? No. Am I disappointed his views are getting considerable mileage in the mainstream press? Very.

    Not long to wait now though.

    • Wait, you mean you don’t want to be ignorant and tunnel-visioned? Wow. This changes everything!

      Seriously, though, it gets annoying that religious groups think they can control what we see, say, do, think, etc. Especially when I’m not even a part of their religion.

      • Try to imagine how annoying it is when a political group speak on behalf of a faith-group you DO belong to, and get everything completely wrong. Most Christians I know (my self included) are strongly in favor of an R18+ rating, for the exact reasons mentioned on Sunrise. It help parents protect the kids (and after all, won’t someone think of the children?????)

  • The arguement should never be about MY preferences. They, by necessity should be about the most vulnerable in society. Thus regulation isn’t optional – its necessary. The research is clear – far too much “adult” material falls into minor’s hands.

    • “The research is clear – far too much “adult” material falls into minor’s hands.”

      I think sir; you have a very limited viewpoint on life. Many things are suitable for Adults but not children, Sex for example. I dont think for a second you plan on outlawing sex. Do you? How about alcohol or Cigarettes.

      I know, I know I am being facetious. Lets look at something closer to what you propose. Lets look at banning books that are inappropriate for a child? What you ask… an example… OK how about this in a book.

      “There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.”
      Ezekiel 23:20

      I’d say that’s pretty inappropriate for children. So by your reasoning we should not have this in the country at all. You know what, I agree!
      Lets ban the bible.

      In fact considering almost 300 children died in Jonestown following a “religion” and I would say that death is a pretty significant impact on a child’s life I say lets just ban religion all together. (You know just to be safe and prevent harm to the “most Vunerable”)

  • Imagine if the current rules forbade any R18+ movies from being available in Australia, but instead of any movies actually getting banned, they were released in Australia with an MA15+ rating, allowing children to get easier access to them and misinforming parents as to the nature of the content. That is what the current system is like with video games. A more accurate classification system will only lead to better control – I honestly believe that the Christian Lobby is actively working against a system that will protect the children.

  • You may as well have posted an interview with a brick wall. You would have got a more intelligent response.

    That’s not to poo-poo the interview though, it’s good to see them done and you did well. But yeah, these people are just so frustrating.

    • Hang on – everybody here seems to be forgetting that, well, it *is* a push for more violent games. This “better classification” thing is part, but not all of what we’re seeking to have amended.

      Remember, this whole push started because we were pissed off when games were actually being banned, or heavily edited to avoid being banned.

      Ask yourself – would you consider it a total win if the attorneys general agreed to an R18+ rating, but only if it had *exactly* the same maximum acceptable bounds as the existing MA15 rating? I know that I wouldn’t!

      • I wouldn’t say no to a R18+ with the same as MA15+, in the short term if the long term was to draw a more common line between Movie / Game / Book on what it was to be R. Hopefully the report will allow for the most of the movie rating guidelines to move across, as “not higher impact” and in line with movies.

        An awful lot of MA15+ should be in R18+, that’s most of the point.

  • Well we’ve got trouble friends, right here in River City.
    It starts with Tee and that rymes with Pee and that stands for pool.
    Why yes we’ve got trouble (trouble) right here in River City…

  • But what would Brian Boitano do?

    He’d kick the Christian Lobby back to the dark ages where they belong. They don’t care about anything except pushing their own ‘morally righteous’ agenda & have no idea how the world REALLY works.

    Those idiots are up there with Benny Hinn & other degenerates as a fine example of why religious nuts are just that – nuts.

  • Mark did you set up poor Lyle by asking for other media to be restricted if unsuitable for children? Because the first thing on that list would have to be the Bible.

    Plenty of incestial sex, bigamy etc not to mention the levvel of violence.

    Oh may I also mention that Mary was probably about 13-14 when she gave birth to Jesus.

    I wonder if Joseph thought of her as a child?

    Also here plenty of more banable offences.

  • I make a point of not reading (would you like your) News Limited papers, but sitting down for a haircut this morning, this is what I got- -if the Sydney Telegraph (and its ilk) are finally writing articles like this, and publishing articles with even the slightest lean in *our* direction, then the R18+ argument must finally be making headway, and any gamer should be happy with that..

  • Last I checked 18 year olds aren’t children. It’s the parents and retailers responsibility to follow the classification system.

    • Why do website/media keep giving these fanatics a soapbox to stand on ?? is another site i will have to add to my boycott list.

      Anyone that gives these twits a soapbox to spread their hate, discrimination and religious propaganda are as bad as them.

      Sorry Kotaku, I have enjoyed reading your site… Up till now. I shall return when you stop giving religious bigots a place to spread their fear mongering propaganda.

      “I think most parents feel that keeping these games out of the country is the most desirable thing for their children. ”

      They are already here for one……

        • I think Kane has something of a point, actually, though I do think it’s somewhat inadvertent. Why do media organizations continue to give the ACL a prominent voice in public debates? Every interview request they get simply increases their profile, to the point where the level of influence they have in the public arena is incredibly disproportionate to their actual support base. This sort of thing only serves to lend them legitimacy, rather than write them off as the fanatical fringe element they are.

      • Uhhh seriously read the article dude.

        Sure it’s allowing the ACL somewhere to say their comments, but since Kotaku is at least trying (honestly I’d say succeeding) to provide good journalism on this issue they’re allowing both sides space to make their point, rather than sensationalising and only allowing people on their side of the argument a voice.

        Even so if you read the article you’d notice the ACL really doesn’t need much help to look like a bunch of ignorant fools. Their arguments have no basis and their “evidence” is vapour.

      • I think you are over reacting a bit. This is one of so many articles about this issue. If you never ask why someone opposes your idea you can’t change there mind. This group has been very vocal on the topic so it makes sense to ask them. But as you can see from the all the comments here, no one puts much stock in their arguments.

        Maybe you should read the article and comments again.

  • We have to stop the small minority groups controlling our rights.
    Australia and especially the Gillard government treat its citizens like retarded children. (No offense to the retarded children out there.)
    Regular movies are FAR more influential than a games, yet we can have blood splattering violent shows on at prime time for the family to watch, but this mob want to stop adults buying adult games.
    The end of the day, people will simply buy the games online anyway. I have had to do that a number of times, resulting in profits going overseas and zero control on what kids are buying!
    The christian groups and other minorities are destroying Australia and turning it into dictatorship country.
    Lay off of the games, lay off of the Filters, the monitoring, the breaches of basic human rights and go read a good book, (one that hasn’t go a cross on the front of it!)

    • Don’t drag Gillard into this, the minority Christian Lobby has its hooks into both parties but the Right more than the Left.
      Thankfully the Greens will block the filter, so hopefully it will never see the parliament floor.

  • “I think most parents feel that keeping these games out of the country is the most desirable thing for their children”. Right, when every poll conducted on the issue says otherwise. Who’s being “a little bit selective” now?

  • Good work mark. It is good to see the other side respond to some direct questions. Even if we don’t agree with the answers.

  • No nothing gets banned in australia, it just gets watered down so that it may be sold in australia

    Where children then purchase these games because of the lack of an R18 rating

    Works completely against the idea of protecting children.

  • I was going to write something constructive and insightful but most of you guys have already written it and everyone here already knows it.

    My synopsis of this interview and the Australian Christian Lobby…


    Honestly, it would take less than 10 minutes of research to debunk all the arguments they are leaning on, yet they still have people who believe their drivel and are getting more widespread media coverage.

    Well done Mark for not reaching through the phone and slapping Lyle. I can imagine you finished that phone conversation with much anger and red forehead 😉

    Hey… games don’t make people angry, Christian lobbyists do!

  • Splatter House was recently released here an, one again, we are the only developed western nation where one does not have to be 18 to play it – you only have to be 15 and over.

    Will someone please put such facts to the Christian Lobby, point out to them that there is also the classification code which would stop any flood and that the flood they keep preaching already exists under the MA 15+ bracket.

    • Facts to the ACL are irrelevant in this(anything); this is entirely about their right to tell us what content we should or shouldn’t be viewing. The “protect the children” idea is used as a guise to hide their true agenda. I feel sorry for kids, always being used as fodder for folks like this.

  • There is a vast body of evidence out there that shows a causal link between violent media and aggressive behaviour.

    [citation needed]

    Seriously, there’s no point even talking to them. They’ve made up their minds already, and their postion is not and will not ever be swayed by logic or reason, because that’s not the basis of their position in the first place.

    • Shelton seems to accuse the report’s authors of bias for selectively using evidence, without realising that the ACL’s own use of a few reports to justify a “causal link between violent media and aggressive behaviour” is biased in itself.

      Personally and obviously I’d trust an independent government commission over the ACL. Arguing against the evidence because they don’t like its conclusion is absurd. You’re right that their minds are already made up.

  • Hmm when will they do a study on the archaic moral paradigms perpetuated by ignorant Christian lobby groups, and the subsequent effects on the intelligence and overall mental condition of our children? I’d rather have my kids playing violent games thanks very much!

    • “ignorant RELIGIOUS lobby groups”

      Fixed that one for you, if you think Christian lobbyists are bad, wait until the Catholics have their say.

      One whole side of my family is all Christian, and even the majority of them can’t stand these lobbyists, claiming they are the reason Christians get such a bad name.

      • I believe the Catholics were actually in favour of the R rating, saying something along the lines of “Well, obviously we’d rather there were no violent videogames at all but we know the world doesn’t work that way. So we’d rather have them rated properly and kept away from children”. Massive paraphrasing there, and going by a usually unreliable memory. But you know 😛

      • seriously? i’m fairly certain that catholics are christians. last time i checked, at least (or has the wikipedia definition been revised?).

        not to mention that the Oz Catholic Bishops Conference supported an R18+ rating.

        Most Christian mobs are not too bad – its the wowser/happyclapper element (such are the actual real supporters of ACL – not mainstream churches) that initiates nutjob campaigns like the ACL runs with.

  • Christian Bible bashes can go jump, I have seen more violence due to religion than any games I have ever played. If they had there way we would have no TV or Music too. Keep your BS to yourselves, Christians can’t organise their own lives and have to use a book written to subdue the population into believing BS.

    What a joke.

    • Heh, I was making a comment to a mate last night on a different issue but I think it kinda applies here.
      It was something like “If we judged what should be banned based on number of deaths it caused then religion would be illegal.”

      I did indeed giggle at my statement, but it was the sort of half-hearted giggle you let out when you’ve said something utterly terrible and all you’re capable of doing is laughing in a vain attempt to try and stop thinking about how completely horrible it actually is. :/

  • So… what evidence do they have to back up their position? Where do they point? Whenever a lobby, or a body opposing a motion cites “they have a huge body of evidence suggesting bla” I would call them out to produce this evidence to be taken into account and scrutinized. His criticisms of the evidence which already been considered aren’t very substantial. He should provide his so-called evidence for review and see if it’s valid before an independent body. Just claiming he has studies which show support for his conclusion isn’t enough.

  • “do we want to take risks with a violent new medium”

    It hasn’t been ‘new’ for decades now. I have never had, nor read, a legitimate discussion on ANYTHING with someone who follows a strict religious regime. Their ‘beliefs’ always compromise their reasoning.

  • As usual they are assuming that parents are completely ignorant and want someone else to raise their kids for them. That “Why have to make a moral choice when there is no choice to make?” attitude is so frustrating. Let the parents take some responsibility for what their children are playing.

  • Wow, just wow.

    I think the ACL should be tried for attempted murder, after all with statements as astronomically stupid as these there’s a huge danger of people facepalming themselves so hard they kill themselves 😛

    On a serious note these people are SO ANGRYMAKING! It’s so disappointing that people who’s arguments are based solely on massive ignorance are allowed to effect this important decision. Introduction of an R18+ rating can only be a positive thing, it’s so damn obvious that’s the case.

    It’s just shocking this is even an issue anymore, it never should’ve been one in the first place. If our laws were based on logic and reason it never would’ve been an issue, but of course we have to listen to the opinion of a minority of idiots who are so removed from the issue basic logic is like an alien lifeform to them.

  • I’d just like to make a point that the ACL does NOT reflect the view of all Christians… I’m SICK of seeing Christians being stereotyped and all of us being lumped in the same bag as Michael Atkinson and all the other conservative groups.

    The ACL is a political party that has their own agenda. I know that they didn’t consult me when they decided to make up their political ideals.

    Myself and many other Christians I know are FOR an R18+ rating. Please think twice before dumping on Christians in general, and put the pressure on the people that are making the noise of opposition: the political parties.

    It’s interesting to note how quick people are to rag on Christians, but almost twice as many people as those who rag on Christians, stand up and defend almost any other religious belief. But that’s another discussion for another time.

    • Agree totally!

      Jesus said to go into all the world and delvier the good news to all creation.

      I certinally do not remember the part where he said go into all the world and make total dicks of yourselves, and alienate as many as possible.

      Unfortunately this is what these “extremists” do. They don’t introduce people to GOD, they chase them away with there out of touch, far from reality thinking and idealisms.


      • Exactly. Many of us WANT an R18+ rating!

        And having an R18+ rating would help children rather than hurt them. And yet the ACL continues its bland rhetoric that if you’re not with us, then you’re against children. It’s so stupid. Children will still be able to access adult games just as children can still access pornography, cigarettes, and alcohol, but having a legal adult restricted category of games would help retailers and parents in keeping kids from playing games inappropriate for them. I don’t know why the ACL can’t comprehend that.

    • Unfortunately when you categorise people in such a general way as “Christian” your automatically creating a large group and you’re always going to have a wide variety of views in such a large group.

      That said I’d like to think most people (especially here) recognise that it’s no all Christians that the ACL represents and the only reason why its called the Australian “Christian” Lobby, rather than a more specific name like “Australian Fundamentalist Christian lobby” is it gives their name more weight than its due.

      For what its worth…
      Sorry if you feel like you are being lumped in the nutjobs.

  • lol, that wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

    except for that question that he completely misunderstands:

    “it seems most games aren’t being banned anyway, so they are making it to our shores rated MA15+, so shouldn’t we introduce an R rating to better inform parents?”

    “I disagree, you are talking about lifting the ban on games…”

    no he isn’t.

    and I hate the stupid argument “the system is broken, so there shouldn’t be another R 18 rating cause that will just be broken too”

    how is that fair!? shouldn’t you be campaigning equally as hard to have R18 classifications removed from OTHER MEDIA TOO if that’s the case??

    • If it was up to them it probably would be the case too. So say bye bye to pretty much all horror movie and get ready for some nice clean and wholesome entertainment. Now excuse me while i go replace Freddy and Jason’s knives with prutty flowers.

  • “…but we need to protect innocent children wherever possible.”

    why can’t parents protect their cildren?

    perhaps they’re at church fighting their imaginary satan god, with their invisible magic weapons and their book of spells

  • Well, that’s all very well. They have their principles.

    But they lost all credibility when the last line was effectively “Someone please think of the children!!”

    Then again, Mr escapist wrote the damn article…

  • I’m 17 and i think this is BS. Example:

    L4D2 was heavily censored because of wording within the documentation. If it said “zombie” rather then “infected” it would, more-than-likely, have been allowed in.

    In COD:BO, *possible spoiler, very small*, play up to the Vietnam section where you have to, literally, go up behind them and slice their neck in full screen view.

    Surely that should have been censored considering they are real people.

    And this push for an R18+ classification WILL stop parents buying MA15+ games for their kids, who are between 8-14 who legally shouldn’t be playing said games.

    FK, I swear our government is becoming communist

  • I am all for the R18+ rating for computer games; this is why:
    1) Games, as with literature that are considered illegal will still remain illegal and should not be brought into Australia. R18+ rating does not change that.
    2) Games that are legal, even if you dislike the content, should be allowed into Australia and should not be banned just because we cannot classify them.
    I hate horror movies and I hate romantic movies. But they are legal and other people choose to watch them.
    3) Lastly, and I think most importantly, there are games that are borderline R18+ material that have already been brought into Australia under the MA15+ category. If we had an R18+ category, those games won’t be as readily available to children. For example, I have seen Call of Duty:Black Ops (MA15+) that I believe should be R18+. But that game is already in this country and is available to children under 18.

  • Whilst I think he’s got a lot of things wrong, what hurts me most is how he kept referring to video games as a “new violent medium”. I wish that some of these people would actually play a wide variety of games – after all, how can a medium in itself be violent? After all, these guys are being just as “selective” of their content as anyone else.

  • Wow, Mark, you deserve a Silver Star, or a Purple Heart or whatever we give for bravery for enduring that interview. Tell me you weren’t fantasising about punching him listening to that drivel and having words put in your mouth.

    My favourite part was his response that started with, “You’re saying…” and went on to contradict what you said, that an R18+ would properly classify violent games by using the tired and false counter arguement that an R18+ will suddenly open a flood gate of banned games into the country.

    Lyle basically compounded every negative stereotype the Christian Lobby has, that they’re a reactionary nutjob outfit more keen to impose their narrow conservative values on others than they are to discuss the slim merits of their values or the questionable logic of their arguements.

    Seriously Mark, silver star.

  • I’m so tired of the ill-informed groups like this Christian one.

    Video games are a reflection of society not society determined by the content of video games. A small nuance with huge implications.

    Imagine pre technology, violence was even worse in children and society in general. Kids have always played cowboys and indians, played army, got into fights at school etc.

    To suggest video games are responsible for kids actions is misplaced at best. Parent have to take responsibility for their choices and their children. The R classification will allow proper classification and easy recognition of this by responsible parents.

  • a few folk here are making the mistake that the ACL is any sort of reasonable organisation. they have a specific agenda, and heretical deviants like kotaku readers can be safely ignored because they don’t fit into the ACL’s idea of ‘good Australians’ (guess what that is).

    Mark – you should have asked the ACL for their reaction to the Oz Catholic Bishops support for R18+ – after all, the ACL claims it represents Oz Xian churches.

    Mark, do you have a transcript of your phone interview? Or are you able to post it somewhere (and if not – was there an ACL proscription on doing that?)?

  • These people get me so frustrated they are too busy with their religious views that they do not see the big picture.

  • I understand the Xtian position completely. They don’t want sexual and violent media coming into the country. For them its not a question of protecting children… Its protecting EVERYONE! Family values applied to all. To do this they use the broken system: every drop of blood censored, every morphine injection renamed ‘roast chicken’ is a win! If they could they’d break it more to outwork their objective of censorship. Arguing against their standpoint is useless because your objective is completely different.

  • Mark. I’ve seriously found this to be the single most enthralling and informative piece in Kotakus history. Are you planning to compile all the articles around the time just before the decision is made, yay or nay for an R rating, for people to re-read? Either in one long document or a pile of URL’s?

    I’m sure our friends overseas on the American and other Kotaku boards (are there others? Brazillian isnt there?) might also find an article compiling it all too) quite interesting to see a country slowly crawling out of the quagmire of ignorance and growing up just that little bit?

    So yeah… will you guys be compiling it?

  • Classification, not censorship! Allthough there are some things that should not exist in any form of literature (Snuff/child porn/beastiality) – but there are laws against those (so they legally shouldn’t get to our shores)! Its interesting to note how they propagate R18+ as if it is X18+! There is big difference between “high level of violence” (R18+), and “extreme level of graphic violence” or whatnot.

  • “We’ve just seen the classification board give the green light to a new film where adults are having sex with children,”

    New? I take it he never saw “Bad Boy Bubby”?

  • I was reluctant to read the article due to the expectation it would just have the same tired old arguments…

    I’ll give them something, they do consistancy well…

    I would like to know where all ultraviolent and sexually depraved games are though… Have there been studios turning out games for the past decade awaiting for an Australian R-18 to be introduced so there’s actually a country where they’d be legal to sell?

    There’s some japanese stuff, but I ather the developers doing the more explicit stuff don’t even want to sell overseas.

  • “Well I disagree,” claims Shelton. “You’re saying let’s lift the ban on violent video games and allow them into the country – legally, for the first time”

    This is completely divorced from the reality of what is actually happening. I think that people who are pro 18+ should make a promise to read the Bible if this guy and his friends promise to start reading about games that actually exist and how different international markets handle them.

    Now to work on my computer game about a drunk widower who gets raped by his daughters. In later levels you get to brutally murders 1000 soldiers with the teeth of a dead mule.

  • I am a parent and a gamer. I have the right to play any game I so choose, but I also have the responsiblity of monitoring what my children play…plain and simple. Its not the governments role to tell me what my children can play its mine!!

  • At the end of the day people (especially kids) will just download pirated copies of the unedited games from the internet, having a classification simply creates parents a way to self regulate what they want to expose their children to and I quite frankly am pissed of that the church of all things has any say in the matter whatsoever. This is political people, not religious. All this is doing is promoting piracy. I wonder if the government has actually considered that for a second.

  • I keep hearing those against the R18 system say there has been reviews/study’s into the effects of video games on people. I believe study’s have been conducted, but my major concern is how controlled the study is. Were the participants denied access to music, TV, magazines etc. and only subjected to video games?

    – How were the participants chosen?
    – What attitude did they have before taking part? – Were any of them between the age of 14 and 17 – If so how do we know the video games are the cause of their anger issues? Kids that age just ‘meh’ grunt and seem to be angry about anything; Pimples, lack of fashion or iPhone, girl problems, homework, casual work, sports etc. Unless the study forbid these children from growing naturally then there are too many anomalies to say for sure videos games cause their anger problems.
    – Of the participants, those older than 30 (if any took part); Were these people computer iliterate? If so, was their anger caused by their inability to play the game or control the PC? If not computer iliterate, did this person have any interest in playing video games prior to the study? I could imagine a random 30 year old something being paid $80 to participate, has no interest in gaming, problem solving or tactics and simply playing to provide statistics. The person would most likely just cruise through and provide a list of things wrong with the game. I know id be angry if someone asked me to attend a book-club meeting for the purpose of measuring the link between reading books and paper cuts. I dont read books, i read the internet, therefore as a savy tech-guru my instinct is to question archaeic reading methods, second question the whole book for having 50 interpretations and interweaven sub-plots similar to watching Shutter Island and not Googling “shutter island ending explained”.
    – Were the participants nothing more than reported cases of anger issues due to video games, written by doctors & psychologists? Someone seeing a psychologist for anger issues steming from video games, first they are in the right place, second the person would have underlying issues adding to the whole problem, third the psychologist would have a solution which starts with not playing video games.
    Doctors reports? “Hi Doctor my son plays World of Warcraft 5 hours a day, has an attitude problem, screams when i dare to unplug the internet and is getting fat and lazy” Clear indication of video games causing anger issues? No. Clear indication the child is spoilt, the kid doesnt respect his parents and the parents are too soft on him. Do the reports prescribe a dose of concrete for the parents?

    Lets say none of the above were used when this report/study was being conducted. Then i suppose the evidence is found where ever kids and xbox are together.
    You put a bunch of kids in front of an xbox, give them a shooting game and i can guarantee there will be some level of anger. Every gamer knows first hand it sucks when you lose, the kid who dies 10 times in a row is going to throw his controller down and go for a walk while spitting some swear words. Everyone has been there. I would say it is highly likely that competitive emotions are being mistaken for genuinely rooted anger issues. How shocking that kids get so competitive? It happens in all types of sports too and I would even argue that someone who plays football is far more aggressive than the kid at school who plays video games.

    No matter where you look, there is a severe lack of understanding on the opposing side. Many of what they regard as ‘facts’ are misinterpretations. There is a driving force behind the Christian lobby which is religiously motivated, which means the ‘better safe than sorry’ approach is the only solution. They will never support R18+ games simply because if 1 child is exposed to R18 games and commits a crime, then Christians would feel responsible for supporting R18+.

    To summarise, in my opinion there is no real evidence that video games are any worse than movies or music. I firmly believe the Christian lobby is exadurating or stretching the accuracy of their supporting evidence, by which i mean this ‘study’ which apparently confirms a link. A ‘better safe than sorry’ approach is your personal bias getting in the way of a logical debate and sorry but we cant keep the world covered in bubble wrap forever.

  • Weighing into this arguement a little late 🙂


    Speaking as a parent and a sometimes-gamer (age:40), I believe there needs to be 2 things done:
    1. Put in the R18+ classification so the parents can make a slightly better informed decision as to the type of content they are looking at on the shelf.
    2. The Gov’t AND the industry should run a large scale education campaign for those parents who simply dont know much about this stuff. How many parents know that there are now parental controls on most (if not all) of the new consoles today? Techniques like limiting pc/console time to specific times of day with specified time limits, no online play unless monitored, researching games via game reviews on the ‘net, etc, etc. Both the Gov’t AND Parents have a responsibility.

    I dont think there is a “one-to-one causal” relationship between games and real-world behaviour ie playing shooters makes kids go out and shoot people, but I DO believe that they can have a behaviour modifying effect – who hasn’t wanted to throw the controller in frustration as being beaten by the level boss? As an adult player, it is easier to recognise the frustration level and stop playing, with kids, they need to learn how to recognise this and self-regulate their behaviour. Again, this is where parents need to step in – stop the game and talk about whats happening. I have a 12yo stepson and so many times I have had to do this or we’d be buying a new tv every other week *grin*.

    Another situation that is a little overlooked here is the added situation of having smaller children in the vincinty of the older children playing these games. I have this sitation now – my stepson is 12, while his brother and sister are 2 and 4 respectively, the consoles are in the family room (I dont believe in consoles/tvs/etc in bedrooms) so I (and my wife, who is NOT a gamer) have to balance the type of game the 12yo can play while the other two children are around. This can be difficult.

    I’ve seen all this since it started with Doom and Quake – the games have moved from pixelated, cartoon-style to some very realistic and hyper-realistic scenes depicting very real world situations. Personally, I think companies that put out these violent shooters and the like really suffer from a lack of creativity – almost cookie-cutter stuff. Strategy and puzzle stuff that makes your brain think (Starcraft), or games that allow you make moral or ethical choices on how to play (Mass Efect, etc) are where it’s at….but thats just me.

    Sorry for the rant 🙂

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!