Read The New R18+ Guidelines, And Prepare For Disappointment

The new guidelines for the R18+ rating have just been released, giving us a concrete idea of what the new adult rating for video games will look like. It's difficult to tell precisely how these will be implemented by the Classification Board when the rating comes into being in 2013, but at first glance, it does not look promising.

To begin with, the issue of interactivity increasing the impact of violence — yep, that old chestnut — rears its ugly head.

Interactivity is an important consideration that the Board must take into account when classifying computer games. This is because there are differences in what some sections of the community condone in relation to passive viewing or the effects passive viewing may have on the viewer (as may occur in a film) compared to actively controlling outcomes by making choices to take or not take action.
 

Due to the interactive nature of computer games and the active repetitive involvement of the participant, as a general rule computer games may have a higher impact than similarly themed depictions of the classifiable elements in film, and therefore greater potential for harm or detriment, particularly to minors.
 

Interactivity may increase the impact of some content: for example, impact may be higher where interactivity enables action such as inflicting realistically depicted injuries or death or post-mortem damage, attacking civilians or engaging in sexual activity. Greater degrees of interactivity (such as first-person gameplay compared to third-person gameplay) may also increase the impact of some content.
 

And it looks as though some games that were banned previously in Australia, without an R18+ rating, would most likely be banned under the new R18+ rating. Particularly with relation to in-game drug use.

Computer games will be Refused Classification if they contain: (i) illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards; (ii) interactive drug use which is detailed and realistic.

It's too early to make judgements — we'll have to wait and see precisely how the Classification Board applies these guidelines — but the R18+ rating, at this stage seems to share similarities to the previous MA15+ rating.

You can read the new guidelines in their entirety here.


Comments

    I don't see anything in that article to support the idea that this means the R18+ rating is a sham. The "interactivity" thing is a relevant consideration to assess the rating of the game in general - it does not apply to R18+ in particular.

    The drug use / incenvtive or reward thing being an automatic RC remains annoying, but is minor. It has nothing to do with why Left 4 Dead 2 was massacred by censors here.

    Of course some people(Geordie Guy) warned us about this before
    http://www.geordieguy.com/2012/06/a-simple-guide-to-how-australias-new-r-rating-for-games-works/

    I told you all a two years ago. . .
    A R18+ rating will not mean games which would normally be banned can be released. It would mean games which would get a MA15+ rating will be rated R18+ instead.
    Who did not know this? Who thought differently?
    You seriously thought the Australian government would allow more graphic and violent games to be released in Australia? Of course they wouldnt. Its the freakin' government! Tighter rules, restrictions and restrictions is what theyre all about.

    Suckers, the lot of you for believing otherwise.

    This whole "oh R18+ is the new MA15+" is demonstrably bullshit, by the way. Compare the new computer game guidelines to the old combined film/ computer game guidelines. Its simply not true. Learn how to read laws.

    "Computer games will be Refused Classification if they contain:
    (i) illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards;
    (ii) interactive drug use which is detailed and realistic. "

    Sounds perfectly logical to me.
    Say in GTA - no getting paid in drugs.
    And no interactive drug taking - actually preparing drugs and then using them, and gaining stat boosts.

    For all those claiming "R18+ is just MA15+" look:-

    Old MA15+ guidelines:-

    Classifiable elements

    THEMES
    The treatment of strong themes should be justified by context.

    VIOLENCE
    Violence should be justified by context.
    Sexual violence may be implied, if justified by context.

    SEX
    Sexual activity may be implied.

    LANGUAGE
    Strong coarse language may be used.
    Aggressive or very strong coarse language should be infrequent.

    DRUG USE
    Drug use should be justified by context.

    NUDITY
    Nudity should be justified by context.

    New R18+ guidelines:-

    THEMES
    There are virtually no restrictions on the treatment of themes.

    VIOLENCE
    Violence is permitted. High impact violence that is, in context, frequently gratuitous, exploitative and offensive to a reasonable adult will not be permitted.
    Actual sexual violence is not permitted.
    Implied sexual violence that is visually depicted, interactive, not justified by context or related to incentives or rewards is not permitted.

    SEX
    Depictions of actual sexual activity are not permitted.
    Depictions of simulated sexual activity may be permitted.
    Depictions of simulated sexual activity that are explicit and realistic are not permitted.

    LANGUAGE
    There are virtually no restrictions on language.

    DRUG USE
    Drug use is permitted.
    Drug use related to incentives and rewards is not permitted.
    Interactive illicit or proscribed drug use that is detailed and realistic is not permitted.

    NUDITY
    Nudity is permitted

    See? Different.

    Welp, what a complete and utter fizzer. Back to importing it is, but you did try Australia, maybe next time when people above 18 are actually recognized as adults, we will get a, y'know, ADULT rating?

    I don't get what the whole MK9 thing is about... you rip someone in half and their is some red splatter on the screen... it's a cartoon... it's not traumatising to kids... am I the only 14 year old in Australia that doesn't giggle like a 5 year old at the sight of a sex scene or gets scared at animated blood on a screen?

      I don't know Nicholas. You may be the most mature 14 year old on the planet. The point is YOU'RE A 14 YEAR OLD and shouldn't be seeing that, regardless of your own self assessment. Hell you shouldn't be playing MA15+ games now. This debate isn't about the maturity level of minors in this country, it's about letting adults play adult video games judges on the same criteria that the adult movies and books are juded on.

    Seriously i don't fucking know why i still live here, everything is over priced, people can't drive for shit and the government is just a collection of pedantic, carebear retards.

    R18+ ?

    HA!

    More like MA15+ V 2.0.

    All these comments like "I will just keep importing".

    Are you forgetting these same arguments eg protect the children, are coming up in Gov discussions on trying to control the internet at an ISP level. What if they block game sites including torrents ?

    Drug use in games was only an example anyway. This government is still going to ban for all the reasons they did before, shown I think because of the emphasis on child protection and mental health concerns in the new 18+ rating.

    The Aus Gov has shown itself to want to be more conservative than most Western counties in Internet control and censorship. Maybe it's ideological or maybe it's an attempt to woo some socially conservative voters.

      Blocking game sites including torrents won't stop me buying physical copies of games from another country.

    I have long since stopped giving a shit about this. Our government are a bunch of moronic, paranoid, conservative morons who wouldn't know what the modern era is like if you wrote it on a big tuna and slapped them over the head with it.

    I import almost all my games now anyway due to the ridiculous local prices, so best that we all just kill two birds with one stone and give the finger to the government and anyone else that doesn't like it.

      *That first moronic should be "pedantic"

    *HEADDESK* Government! WTF?!
    Steven Moffat treats children with more respect than you treat adults!

    Everyone,
    Please send submissions to ban HHGTTG for the realistic use of prescription drugs ( analgesics)

    Notice how they use the word "may" like its going out of fashion? That's because there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that their comments are true (there has been research done IN AUSTRALIA that disproves the popular notion that videogames are connected to real world violence). The ACB is just manipulating wording based on unfounded concerns to refuse classification to videogames.

    I must say, I actually despise this whole R18+ thing. All you oldies that have been posting on here are talking about complete bullshit. The people who rate these games are a bunch of grey-haired old yahoos who are still living in the 60s, where when you saw a bit of boob was considered porn. Children have matured much more from when they were sitting round the idiot box watching Happy Days with their family in 1975. The Australian Classification Board really needs to tune game ratings down a notch. Before you know it, Super Mario will be turned into an interactive porno just because of it's rating! It's ridiculous that the media, the government and the world are telling parents all over that "video games will rot kids brains". Video games are merely a fun way to pass time, no matter how many sexual references or guns there are in them. Children are not gonna go around shooting people in Fighter Jets just cause they trolled someone in GTA V (which, by the way, should not be R18+ just because of bloody drug use). If they're gonna rate something, rate the news. Half the violence, drugs, guns, and sexual references are heard about on the news, while the family is sitting around watching. The PEGI and ERB are going around rating games practically by what they see on the cover, and its ludicrous! This rubbish must stop, no matter what.

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