R18+: Won’t Somebody Think Of The Children?

R18+: Won’t Somebody Think Of The Children?

R18+ is now a real rating for video games in Australia, although it’ll probably be a while before we see any R18+ rated games on store shelves. R18+ should impart knowledge, and knowledge is power. Why shouldn’t we make use of that power in a positive way?

Every once in a while, when I’m looking over the shelves of a game store, I’ll see a small child take up a copy of an MA15+ rated game up to a counter and try to buy it. In one respect, it’s the kind of thing kids do — I certainly recall as a teenager trying to (and sometimes succeeding) in getting into MA rated movies for example. R18+ provides a way for games to be rated across more criteria, which is a good thing, but at the same time, it raises exactly the same troubling scenario.

When R18+ games become a physical reality on Australian store shelves this year, it’s sadly only going to be a matter of time before someone under-age scores a copy of… let’s say Grand Theft Auto V, which, content-wise, is probably going to be a straight candidate for an R18+ rating.

Now, the purpose of the R18+ rating is, in theory, to enable games purchasers to make a more informed decision. A G-rated game (possibly featuring sparkling ponies) is unlikely to directly worry anyone, whereas its R18+ rated counterpart (possibly featuring the decapitated heads of sparkling ponies) is much more likely to. Information is power, and the power of R18+ isn’t just one that will be in the hands of parents this years. It’s also a powerful tool that we as the wider gaming community can use to both inform and spread a more positive image of gamers generally.

Anecdote time: A couple of years back, I was helping out with my daughter’s infants school class. The activity I was helping out with was sentence construction. The kids had to finish the sentence “The thing I would most hate to lose is…”, with most kids of that age opting for obvious targets; their teddy bears, LEGO, mum and dad and so on. One kid’s written response?

“The thing I would most hate to lose is my copy of House Of The Dead for Xbox”.

Some parents, clearly, don’t care much as long as it keeps the kids happy.

But as gamers, that doesn’t do us any favours at all. It’s a relatively easy step from an underaged buyer getting an R18+ game to the screens of A Current Affair or Today Tonight, and that just perpetuates the dual myths that games are just for kids, and that they’re only to do with blood splatters and titillation. We can’t entirely stop that kind of thing from happening. But why shouldn’t we do something equally positive to combat that position?

That’s why I’ve got this challenge. I know I’ve chickened out in the past from speaking up when seeing kids trying to buy games they shouldn’t be playing (and inwardly cheered when sales staff have refused), but that’s not the way it should be. The next time you see this happening, say something. Be polite, but approach either the sales staff or the parents (if they’re around) and point out the rating.

If they’re the parents of the House Of The Dead kid, they may not care, and it won’t change much — but then it’s not as though they can realistically complain about the content in that case! It’s also possible that if you do so (politely, remember), you may just shame them into doing the right thing, although that is admittedly a bit of a long shot.

Chances are with some parents that they haven’t looked properly, and while you may be annoying a youngster dying to get in on some GTA V action, you’re also doing the right thing.

Not just for the parents and the kid, but for gaming in general, because you’d be promoting the idea that gamers are socially responsible types. You may not win over the parents or the sales staff, but the chances are in a busy shopping centre that you’ll never see them again anyway — what have you got to lose? Conversely, anyone noticing what you’re doing — if done politely rather than in a “busybody” way — should come away with the idea that gamers care about R18+, not just for the expanded games scope, but also for the way it can educate gamers of all ages.

I can see some complaints about the idea already; the concept that guidance should be the job of parents. Yes, absolutely, it should; my own kids know what the different rating systems mean, and generally even ask me if they’re allowed to watch or play PG material, just in case. But not every parent cares about games beyond their ability to keep their kids happy. It’s a functional truth, and the reality, I reckon, is that it’s better to give a positive impression than deal with the inevitable tabloid-esque hype. Rather than just letting it be and complaining about the coverage, it’s a chance to take matters into our own hands.

There are games for younger players that I would have utterly adored when I was that age — more than enough these days to keep them busy up until they’re of a more appropriate age to do so. R18+ doesn’t just allow us as mature gamers to enjoy a wider scope of gaming material; it also allows us to educate the wider community, and be responsible in doing so. Who’s with me?


  • R18+ was what we needed many years ago for the next generation of kids but it is implemented too late. Kids are playing extreme gore games which brings up bad personality. I’ve seen kids who think slaughtering people and dismantling a human fun and laughing while doing it. It might be a joke but for a kid to have access to such material is no joke.

    Hopefully this will teach parents to see the rating stickers and buy the appropriate game for their kids.

    Also as an adult gamer, I hate to see whining kids on competitive online games. Ruins the game.

    • I disagree entirely sorry… I grew up playing violent video games whether by parental choice or because I was a crafty little bastard and my parents always taught be right from wrong, fact vs fiction etc and I’ve NEVER seen the real life counterparts to be any less serious or impactual. I’ve also never willingly involved myself in any violent behavior etc.

      Sure, leaving your kid to play Call Of Duty just like that and not supervising is probably a bad idea, but you’re a parent in this instance, be involved, care about your kid! That’s all I can say anyway :\

      • I agree, I would think it was the parents decision to decide when they think their child should play games and when they do the parents need to take an active involvement! I remember my childhood playing Mario Kart 64 and Star Wars Pod Racer with my father. I think the first ‘violent’ game I played was Jet Force Gemini. Despite this I wasn’t allowed to play 007 Goldeneye. It wasn’t until I was 10 I was able to play 007. I also loved playing online games of Halo 3 with my father when we got a 360. As long as the parents are involved it can make a big difference in a child’s gaming life.

    • You see kids laughing while dismantling humans????? WHY HAVEN’T YOU CALLED THE POLICE???

      In all seriousness I think that games bring up a bad personality is complete crap, My friends and I played GTA III from the age of about 7 onwards and knew it was just a game, if kids see that and it makes them violent it’s the parents fault for not teaching their kids the difference between real life and fiction.

  • I think the idea that a game like Grand Theft Auto is going to lead children to gang violence etc is absurd. I don’t think the moral complexity of decisions to kill, rape and steal are so easily thwarted by a video game, especially when most kid’s don’t know or care about what drug their selling or who they’re killing in game.

    I can understand the issue of knowing what is appropriate for children to watch/play, but if the parent’s don’t see a problem with it, then by all means go ahead.

  • It’s amazing how little many well meaning parents know about the media their kids consume. I’m already a party pooper with family and friends whose kids are playing games that aren’t appropriate for little kids, so I guess if I’m with you!

  • Thoroughly disagree with this. What are the odds that some person from the media will notice that you ruined some kid or teen’s hopes of getting a game? And secondly, and more importantly, who seriously gets affected by video games? I played so many bloody video games when I was younger and I had no intention of doing anything of the sort outside the video game. Lets not subscribe to the view of these conservative idiots that violent video games affect children, because for the vast majority it doesn’t.

    • Then I perhaps haven’t made my point clearly enough. It’s not (per se) about ambushing camera crews, but more about a widespread effort to help educate parents who may not know or care, but may have that same conservative viewpoint.

    • There are effects beyond replicating actions in society. There are some things that kids are just not equipped to deal with.

      Most of my irrational fears stem from early exposure to adult content I wasn’t ready for.

      • Not to mention the kids who grow up thinking that it’s fine to say (you’ll have to pardon my language here) ‘fuck’ and ‘cunt’ as if it were the new ‘and’ or ‘is’.
        I was never a perfect child. Or teen. As a matter of a fact i was one of those kids you usually see hanging out at train stations in large groups and all that. But we didn’t hassle people. We may have said things to each other, but let others be and, for the most part, tried not to disturb other people.
        But i digress – the main thing i’m saying is that when i look at the way kids are now, i am honestly and seriously disgusted to my core. it’s not just the language, but so many other things. Things i would have never of dreampt of when i was that young…

        I may be more lenient to a 16 or 17 year old playing an R18+ game – But when you see 14, 13,12 year olds or younger – it’s just not on…
        I’ve been a gamer all my life – and not getting a chance to play games like postal or carmageddon never bothered me – there are always so so sooo many other things to choose from.

        • I agree. Many kids nowadays absolutely disgust me. What the hell happened that made the mature games ”cool”? I understand adults playing them, but kids playing GTA and the likes is really messed up. Parents need to be stricter. Kids who lack discipline lack respect and that just causes all kinds of problems.

          • I agree. And I really want GTA V to be rated R18+ because I am very sure there are a LOT inappropriate contents for kids. But it will be hard to keep these things away from kids because they can still get these games from other ways e.g. ebay, amazon but of course with a older person’s help but the problem here is that if the kid asks a teenager to help, the teenager might not care and still get the game for the kid. Another thing is putting the games R18+ may cause the kids to be more tempted to get it. They may think, “Oh, the game is rated R18+, that means there must be a lot of violence and “fun mature stuff” in the games. I must get it.”

          • It’s more adult. As a primary schooler, being “adult” always was (and from what i’ve seen, still is) important. Watching high rated movies made you “cool”. What’s happening now is no different, the content for a particular rating is just more extreme…

          • Many adults these day disgust me, forget what it was like when they were kids and start thinking that all teenagers/children are different than they were when they were that age.

        • You sound like you watch ACA and TT, kids are no different now then they ever were, crime rates are down but don’t let ACA and TT tell your otherwise, sheep.

          • I don’t watch ACA, TT, The news or whatever else is meant to ‘inform’ me.
            I remember what it was like being a kid quite vividly, as it wasn’t all that long ago – and when i was a 12 year old, i was never a disrespectful, foulmouthed little shit.
            As i mentioned, I was far from a saint – but i knew where to draw the line.

            Why are you even mentioning crime rates? What does that have to do with anything? Espeically if you’re talking generally and not within a certain age bracket.

            I will happily admit that there have always been little shits around, but it seems like the proportion of little shits to well-educated/well-adjusted kids are much different.

            Go throw your think-you-know-everything attitude around somewhere else, kiddo.

          • Dear chestbrah,

            Thank you for summarising the content of ACA and TT for me. I don’t watch those shows, but it’s good to have someone around who does, on the offchance that I might need to know what’s happening in the world. So they’re saying crime rates are up, are they? No wonder. I got mugged eleven times last week – it felt like a little more than usual.

            I’m glad that you think kids are the same as they always were, though I suspect from the way you write that ‘always’ encompasses a time period of less than five years, maybe the age gap between you and your nearest sibling. For my part, I remember when a kid said ‘doody’ in class and everyone burst out laughing. Energy drinks didn’t exist then. A skateboard was a method of travel, not a layabout lifestyle. People conversed in person and by letters. Computers, by and large, didn’t exist in the home. Kids had no avenues other than parental gatekeepers to select their own entertainment. But it’s good that the kids and their lives never changed. I might get my kid a stick and a hoop for her next birthday, see how she likes it.

            I’ll seek you out when I need some more simple black-and-white advice.


    • Really? “for the vast majority it doesn’t”….
      This is the point – it only takes one screwed up individual to cause grief for many – whose to say that the guy that shot all those kids in america didn’t do it so easily because he was desensitized to violent acts? It only takes one person – and this system is what its trying to help prevent – if there’s even a small chance – best to squash that chance asap.

    • Ultimately, that’s exactly what they will do — I’m not advocating grabbing games from their arms. Just informing them politely.

    • Yes well in the end that is what he is implying is the case but just ensuring they are informed that the game they are allowing their child to buy is indeed adult content as they may not know that especially now that the games that they were previously playing are now correctly rated as R18+.
      For example a parent might allow their 15yo to get GTA 4 seeing it is rated MA15+ not knowing about the “adult” content in the game, then when GTA 5 comes out they think well its just the same thing and not realize the new R18+ rating, if you raise that with them they might check the game out and realize those things are in it and not buy it.
      Its called educating the unaware parents which is the whole point of the new rating, keeping parents informed and educated about the content their kids consume.

  • I am, although I rarely attend places like the Kmart games section (worst kind of place for this) as they don’t have PC games and the local EB here are generally pretty good at this but if I do come across it then I will speak up….politely of course lol
    After all I am also a parent and I do what I can to prevent my son from seeing or playing mature content but he is still only 4 so sometimes I let him grab the mouse and just wave the gun around shooting, he likes it and thinks he is playing the game just like me.
    Or I will let him play racing games, he is surprisingly good at them using an xbox controller lol
    Once he gets to the age that gaming becomes a hobby, (if it ever does since he would take outside playing over any kind of inside media be it TV or games), then the restrictions will come in but for now its just playing around trying to be like daddy and I don’t mind that for now.

    • I went into Kmart on the day Halo 4 was released because I got to the shopping center too late and EB Games was closed.

      After walking around there fairly extensive game section for 10-15 minutes, I gave up and asked a 14-15 year old employee where they kept their copies of Halo 4.

      He then searched for a further 10 minutes, before asking another staff member and confirming that they hadn’t ordered in any copies of Halo 4 for the launch day.

      He then told me to “go to EB”.

      I replied “did you think this was my first choice?”

      Never again.

      • Non specialist stores in Australia are generally horrible when it comes to games. Kmart, Myers, Target etc, they’re almost never going to have what you want in regards to games and are certainly never going to have it at a resonable price.

        • The worst part was that I went across to Myers directly after this took place and they were still open. So I found their shockingly tiny game section – and they had about 40 copies of a wrestling game which had come out the week before (good luck selling those) and still no copies of Halo 4.
          Much anger was had that day.

      • I’m sorry but what the living f**k does kmart not having a game and telling you to go to EB Games have to do with the R18+ news story?

  • Maybe if the parents are known to you it’s fine to approach them, but I don’t think ambushing people you don’t know in a store is a good way to go about it; unsolicited advice is the worst kind of advice.
    If sales staff are knowingly selling restricted material to underage children, surely there will be/are official channels to contact.

      • Which is why it’s about the polite approach; it’s pretty simple to lean over and say “You realise this is R18+, yeah?”. They may not, they may be fine with it. Only the crankiest of types are likely to take offense at that. I’m not talking about setting up a half-hour lecture, just a friendly interest, in the interest of all gamers.

        • Agreed, it is pretty easy to spot the people who are unaware and uninformed and generally these people would not mind, as Alex mentioned some people just don’t care and these people may ark up at you but then you politely apologies and walk away.
          Being a parent, yes I prefer not to be told how to look after my son but if I was about to unknowingly buy him an adult game then I would be appreciative of somebody letting me know and sales staff my not have the confidence to speak up as it is after all it is the parent buying it.
          Also in reply to almightybooka, I for one would rather say something before they buy it then subject a poor 15yo kid to possible large fines and loosing his/her job just because they were afraid to say no sale to another teenager who might go to there school, or that other teenager might just be there when he/she said no to another 15yo resulting in bullying and such.
          Be an informed adult, take responsibility for when no one else is around to do so or they are are just uninformed.

      • Especially the ones who are doing a piss-poor job of it.

        This idea, honestly, seems a little ambitious. Society is going to alter its view of games and gamers because of a few instances where we point out to an indifferent parent the content of the game they’re about to buy little Johnny?

        Warning labels are pretty visible, easy to understand, and have been around for ages. My uncle, who could charitably be called a complete technophobe, even knows about warning labels when he buys games for his grand kids.

        I’m afraid you can’t enlighten the indifferent.

  • I wish parents would stop buying their young teenage kids call of duty each year.
    I hope the R18 Raiting stands out a lot more at the parents when they go to buy these games than the MA15+ one did.

    • I tried this once. I saw a father buying the latest CoD for his 10 year old son and asked him if he felt that its appropriate to buy it. His response was that they play it together and have a laugh over how silly the game was. At that point I face palmed and walked away

  • any bet the OFLC will deface GTA V somehow in regards to some minor detail involving drugs or prostitution leaving scuffs and marks on the overall presentation of the game experience as some sort of stale reminder, its bound to happen.

  • Fair enough if you don’t want your own kids playing something they shouldn’t, but impeaching your views on some random stranger in a video game shop just makes you sound like a pushy religious nut job. If I was still 12 & some random told my mum who was just about to buy the game id been waiting for for months, well, id kick him in the nuts to be honest. (Or at least be incredibly pissed off & get my nice Aunty to buy it for me instead the following day)

    • So what we are meant to take away from this is that we shouldn’t inform parents that R18+ content isn’t suitable for minors because this might make said minors upset?

      Do you have a newsletter I can subscribe to?

    • So you are one of the person that supports selling R18+ titles to minors?

      For example, what you are saying is that sex education is bad because its like pushy religious nut job? If you were young and some random sex education person came to your college to explain to you how the importance of prevention and you will kick him in the nuts because you like it to do it without thinking. And the result is we have higher rate of teen pregnancy and abortion.

      Sometimes when it needs to be told, it needs to be told. These are the educations that is needed by adults and you may not accept the view because you like your kids to play violent games, fine by me but at least have a thought about it first before being ignorant.

      • Way to miss the point. Anyone below 18, who wants to participate in something thats been deemed inappropriate for them by someone older…will find a way to do so. My folks wouldn’t let me do a whole lot of things when I was young, yet I still did them. And for the record, that sex ed teacher in primary school wasn’t impressed when I knew the answers to all the “bits”.

        • Well, if they’re going to do it anyway, we might as well just abolish the laws and let anarchy reign.

          Can’t win the drug war? Might as well give it up then.
          No chance of gun control? Better to give everyone a gun.
          Can’t protect our kids from themselves? Just let them run wild in the streets. Why not?

          Of course not all the kids will be shielded from content all the time. But that’s no reason not to try. To educate parents with clearer, more accurate labels. To introduce enforceable classifications upon content and restrict access. Because it will work some of the time.

          Honestly, I cannot believe the number of people on the forum today advocating violent and other mature content for children, as if their own gaming rights were being stripped from them. Ridiculous.

        • Miss the point? Sorry it is exactly the point which tick you off because im a total stranger tell you what to do. Just because you had a rebellious childhood does not mean every kid should be like you.

          Please tell me you are not under 18 right now.

  • This article has the wrong idea – MA & R games may not be suitable for kids, but its still up to the parents. Thats why MA stands for Mature Accompanied. Its also not illegal to allow a minor to play an R rated game or movie at home. Fact. The last thing we need are random strangers sticking their nose in and telling parents how to raise THEIR kids.

    The information on the case are to inform. If parents want to be blissfully ignorant, that’s their issue. There still isn’t any proof games are even harmful to kids. Myself and many other people growing up played MA games, yet are perfectly well adjusted & not shooting up schools.

    So, mind your own business. You’re starting to sound like the busy bodies at the ACL.

  • While I certainly agree that parents should definitely be taking a stance and paying attention to the rating of a game — and that sales staff should not be selling these games to unattended kids. I also think it’s a parents right to decide to disregard the rating as well. If a child is mature enough to handle games with ratings above their age, no one should be judging a parent for allowing their child to play it. Ratings are guidelines, not the be-all-and-end-all that shows like A Current Affair and Today Tonight make them out to be. (Both shows are sensationalist bullshit and should never be taken seriously anyway.)

    The only examples I have in these cases are myself and my brothers. As I’ve probably mentioned in comments regarding these kinds of topics, my parents allowed me the right to watch R rated movies (not pornographic — of which they were certainly against me having access to), most often unsupervised. This is not to be mistaken with bad parenting. My parents knew what I was capable of handling back then, and decided ultimately that R rated movies (Total Recall, The Running Man, which were R at the time (and possibly now)) weren’t going to harm my personality. They never handed me a movie they hadn’t personally seen themselves.

    I like to think they were right. When I was a video store clerk, I’d often get young kids coming in with notes from parents saying “Blah blah is allowed to rent [this specific titled film] which may be above the legal rating”. In those situations, I would look up the account members phone number and call them for clarification. I would also make sure to keep and later bin the note once the transaction had been completed. One group of kids were after an R rated movie (Chopper I think) with a note of allowance from their parents. The movie was out and their reasoning was “well, mum said we could watch that R rated movie, so why can’t we take [this one]”. I called their mother via member info and she said “no, thanks for calling me about it”.

    Kids trying to rent M and MA I tried to prevent for a while, but ultimately fell to the pressure of parents more often than not complaining at me for bothering them over something ‘trivial’. This annoyed me. I would get more aggravated parents over asking if their child is allowed to have it, verses just giving it to them and seeing what happens. I’m glad I don’t have that kind of work any more. (This is when the child was in the store alone, I wouldn’t question a parents choice if they were accompanying them.) I treated games in much the same way. Though the store had very few and most of them were child friendly.

    I imagine it’s even harder for people at stores like EB, where there might not be (or isn’t? — I don’t buy games from Australian stores, I like my money) member information available.

    • Ratings are indeed guidelines, but Restricted ratings (MA15+, R18+, and X18+ where that’s available) are legally enforceable, with fines and jail sentences possible results from selling or screening such material to people under the age. Ultimately, you can only stop a parent from purchasing by using your discretion as a retailer/clerk, but that’s a good way to get yourself in trouble with the boss, even though it is both ethically and legally fine.

    • For the record, I worked at an EB for many years, and telling kids “no” in the face of their notes (Oh yes, I remember the notes…) was one of the funnest things about working there.
      There’s nothing that will ruin some little Bathurst slumdog’s day like being told GTA is completely off-limits. I used to get the sense that their parents presented them with few (if any) boundaries in their behaviour. Being told by a complete stranger that they can’t do something – and that they could do absolutely nothing about that fact – legitimately seemed to confuse them, and I enjoyed it immensely.

  • I wish I can do that when a kid is buying Far Cry 3.

    “Of course that game isn’t appropriaite for your son. You take drugs to make yourself better at shooting people and better at skinning dogs!”.

  • Difficult. Parents are notoriously bad at taking parenting advice, from other parents, from strangers, from friends and family. Having your parenting challenged, however politely, is going to raise defensive screens immediately in most cases, and is just going to make a situation awkward.

    I’m trying to picture a scenario where a parent says, “Oh really? I thought the guns and blood on the cover were just pretend. Better put it back, darling” … and it’s just not coming to me.

    Honestly, I think it’s better to approach it this way. Let the staff handle it. If they don’t handle it, report the store the authorities. A few non-compliance fines will soon see retail staff appropriately retrained.

  • I think the article hits it on the head in regards to the major problem of parenting. This sentence really highlights it. “Some parents, clearly, don’t care much as long as it keeps the kids happy.” Therein lies the problem. If parents can’t give a damn, then who would? A lot of the responses seem to miss this point quite easily such as there is only so much we can warn or parents are notoriously difficult, etc etc.

    But as responsible adults (which I’m assuming the majority of us are), we do have to actually point it out. Heck, as a teacher, I’m inclined to tell kids I teach that some things are not tolerated. Some moan and whine about it but I have to as part of who I am. That’s what the article wants to highlight. Sure, we see kids trying their best to get MA15+ games and we think “Whatever, not our choice.” But we do anyway.

    Rate me down but I think the author is on the mark here. The stigma of gamers will always be there, regardless of our actions. But if we can change that perception, even if it gets the parents annoyed at us, at least we’re doing something.

  • A few weeks ago I saw a mother attempting to buy her son (who i would estimate to be 12 or so) a copy of Red Dead Redemption. The guy working the counter (Indooroopilly EB games) explained to her that the game wasn’t really appropriate for him. She asked what was wrong, and he explained that it had a fair amount of violence, alot of language and “other things that might not be appropriate”. The mother thanked him for the info; and told her son to go and pick another game. While he did, the cashier explained the rating system. Kid came back to the counter with another MA rated game, and the mother explained he should pick something with a green or yellow box on the bottom, or maybe a blue.

    People are busy and uneducated, but the cashier taking a few moments to explain this made this woman aware, and she seemed grateful.

    (For the record, the kid got Rayman Origins, so he didn’t lose out at all)

    • I think it’s easier for the cashier to do this than random people.

      And I’ve seen this at a lot of EBs I believe it is policy.

      • EB, regardless of what else they are (or are not), are incredibly stringent about enforcing the rating system. It’s an integral part of bringing in parents, who will, ideally, think of EB as a place where they can get useful information about what they’ll be buying their children. And from EB’s perspective, every time they don’t ask is is another opportunity to inform. But the choice is always their’s.
        When parents would ask about a game’s content when I’d give them the “this is MA” speech, I’d tell them straight up, in blunt terms, in an attempt to shock them into understanding an adult rating means properly adult content. It usually worked, once they realized I was being sincere rather than judgmental.

  • I’m sure this will go down great. Make sure to pop into McDonalds and warn those parents about the dangers of greasy food. Pop over to the local church while you’re at it, warm them about the kiddy fiddling priests. Then go chuck a sad at drivers for running our children over and escalating asthma rates. At least those are REAL quantifiable problems, not pseudo science made up by the religious right. Enjoy your pointless campaign.

  • What i really don’t understand is how few actual kids games are being released that aren’t shovelware or movie tie ins(and even they seem to be M rated), if you walk down an aisle in a Big W or Kmart the shelves (except in the nintendo section) are dominated by the latest and greatest M+ and above games while the majority of G or PG games are racing games.

    On the point of parents dont care as long as the kid is happy my 5 year old niece used to play Red Dead Redemption rather than confront my brother directly about it i simply got her addicted to more age appropriate games Minecraft, the ratchet and clank games, and when shes a little older the Jak series (thank the person who signed off on the HD rereleases) my brother took the opportunity to ween her off red dead claimed that they lost their copy and now she doesnt even think about it anymore she just builds and builds in minecraft.

    • Just by chance do you live in a city and not a rural location? Because the only games I see are guitar hero, singstar and other such party games.

      At the very least, my area is lucky to offer MA games outside of whatever Video Ezy became.

      • Im in whats classed as a rural area on the NSW Vic border.
        Big W, Jb Hifi, and Kmart are an hour or two away by car and the majority of games they stock are M or above besides racing games and singstar (and even then theres only 1 or 2 singstar of guitar hero games in stock these days)

  • When I worked in a (now bankrupt) retail games store I routinely refused to sell MA15+ games to kids underage, even going so far as to deny parents obviously buying it for their kids, (who were usually standing right next to them telling the parents to buy it). Some parents actually got a bit p*ssed and tried to force me to sell it or threaten to go over my head to the manger (i was usually the manger on duty anyway), which seems ridiculous when you compare it to alcohol/tobacco sales.

    The bottom line is that if I sold a MA15+ game to an underage kid i would be breaking the law and could get a fine, or get the store fined and maybe even lose my job, so it was in my best interests not to.

    • It’s not illegal to buy an MA rated game for your kid. So if the parent was aware of what they were trying to buy it is their choice to make, not yours. You are obviously able to make a recommendation and try to inform them, but in that case they, (and by extension you), are not breaking any law.

      (PS, I also used to work in games retail and I always advised parents about the content of what they were buying if if was obvious it was for a young child, I’m just reminding you they aren’t doing anything illegal, which is probably why some of them got really pissed off with you for refusing to sell to them!)

      • Well I wasn’t willing to get in trouble, and possibly put my job in jeopardy, just so some brat with bogan parents can play COD, I was just following what I was told by my superiors. I could care less about if the 12yo wants to play COD or not, but let’s be honest, he’s probably better off without it.

        • Just to play devils advocate here:

          Maybe the best business practice of your supervisors would have been to follow the law and let the customers make up their own mind. By refusing the parents wishes to purchase what they are legally entitled to for their own children would have pissed them off enough to stop shopping with you and just go elsewhere in future. All of this of course is made funnier by the fact the “holier than thou” attitude of deciding what people should buy for their own kids probably contributed in some way to them going bankrupt. πŸ˜‰

          Basically, let stupid people raise stupid kids, they are entitled to do so and it isn’t your place to stop them.

  • Slightly off-topic, I have great praise for the folks at I’pilly EB Games in general, but I am even happier to see that they also take this issue seriously.

  • Why do we need these games at all. It’s bad enough out kids are spending so much time in front of the screen why encourage role playing murder?

  • I would argue that if you see a minor buying an R18+ game at a retailer, you don’t step in directly on the spot, but instead you report that store to the authorities, as they are breaking the law.

  • As the mother of a 10 yo ‘tween’ boy I can confidently say violent video games definitely do affect children – especially boys – badly and that there needs to be much more information made available to parents about gaming culture. I bought my son an Xbox for Christmas 2011 because he said his friends were playing them; he got Halo 3, Halo Reach and Halo 4 because I was told they were more fantasy-based than, say, Black Ops – and he’s now totally addicted to the Halo franchise. I will not buy him anything else rated above an M, which is a source of ongoing dissatisfaction for him – but that’s life. The real harm caused to us by gaming culture began with pornographic trash-talking and insults in the playground from another 10 yo who plays Dead Island and Dead Space. In the effort to master the language and the concepts he was encountering at school, my son sought it out online at home and can now trash-talk with the best of them. It’s taken 6 months to bring the aggression and absolutely appalling language under some kind of control and to normalise his ideas about sex. In the meantime the sheer shock caused to him by some of these concepts is something that I think will leave a mark on him for a long time. Certain Xbox subcultures entail concepts that no adult should have to deal with, let alone impressionalbe kids. Parents who don’t care what their kids are playing or doing online let everyone else down too through the effects their own child has on others, so I’m in favour of as many responsible comments at the video game counter as observers can bring themselves to make!

    • Pornographic trash talking? what does that even mean. Wait, he heard them at school and came home and googled them, how is that a video games fault? how do you know that those games caused that other kid to talk like that? normalise his ideas about sex? I don’t recall any sex in any of the Halo games so not sure where he got that from.

      In the end, you are the one that wasn’t responsible enough to research the games first, Google is an easy thing to learn. In the end the game didn’t cause the kid to end up like this, you did.

      • Once again in your mad rush to … do whatever it is you’re trying to do… you’ve missed the point. This parent is clearly saying that they wish they’d been offered a little more guidance when buying games. Jumping down their throat for no reason is hardly helping anything, and is in fact making you look like the prototypical hyperaggressive gamer, which is doing none of us any favours.

    • It sounds to me like the real problem you have with games is the online multi-player communities. I suggest you select the “mute all” option for game chat if you are going to continue to let him play online, or just don’t give him XBOX live, the single player of Halo games certainly doesn’t have that kind of profanity in them.

    • Tw[enty]een[ager]”. You do not have someone requiring a buzzword for the transition from teenager to adult. You have a child. Please keep this in mind. Ten years old is a child, not a teenager, not a young adult, certainly not an adult, a child.

      I’m also struggling to understand what ‘gaming culture’ is to you. Or what it is at all for that matter. I’m not part of any culture I’m aware of. I just like to play (and discuss) games — normally stoned — that’s all there is to it. Then again, I’m a PC gamer and I don’t take games too seriously. I play them for fun. Not for competition. Only to unwind. Yet the two concepts aren’t exclusive. If I get frustrated at the other players (normally for not working as a team — I don’t particularly care what they say, if they say anything), I simply log off and move to another game. If they are harassing me personally (IE: “Hey Tib you [expletives follow]”), all they get from me is “k bro” or “whatever bro”. Don’t get me wrong, I sink lots of hours everyday into multiplayer gaming. There is not much else to do in rural Australia (especially here) other than gaming, drugs, harder drugs and vandalising things. Since I have no interest at all in the later two, I’ll stick to the former two (the second I’ve pretty much quit now anyway — so there’s no need to worry about gaming turning your child into a stoner, they aren’t inclusive of one another) and be contented.

      Your problem isn’t with ‘gaming culture’ or games in general. It’s with the parents of the boy at school. I’d suspect you’ve called them up and told them about what their son says, and the games behind it? Probably also with the parents of children who use consoles as a babysitter and let their kids play unsupervised on the console WITH a microphone. (I never got my first microphone until I was fifteen/sixteen. Something about someone being younger having one seems dangerous, and probably leads to the “pornographic trash-talk” you’re referring to more-so than simply playing games. Hearing is one thing, responding is an entirely different kettle of fish.)

      If purchasing the right game is an issue for you, simply find a gaming forum (there are millions) for the console your child uses, and ask there. If gaming forums are too immature, try game development forums (you’ll more than likely find adults with children who play games there). “Hey there, I’m a mother of an [x] year old boy, I was just wondering if [y title] would be suitable for him? He’s pretty mature, he knows he can’t go and hurt people like he sees in games. But he may get impressionable when it comes to language. Should I purchase this title for him? If not, is there a similar title that eases up on the swearing a little?” If you’re polite about it, I doubt you’d have a problem getting a straightforward answer. (I don’t know what the Steam community is like — I just use the software — but I assume there are people there that can help you.)

      Kudos for going with Halo over CoD as well. They’re both similar fast-paced shooters. But you recognised a science fiction setting might be more suitable than a ‘real world’ setting. This is positive parenting that should be rewarded.

  • Hmm a very difficult topic, indeed. Reading most comments, I can only add: to each their own. Forget parenting advice, this new rating is meant to enforce – just like the current alcohol, smoking, driving and pornographic restrictions for minors. Where MA (Mature accompanied) blurred these lines, R makes it clear. That is whether elders-who-should-know-better choose to supply kids with restricted games or not. Everyone makes their own choices.

  • I was under the impression that buying an R18+ game would be similar to buying alcohol or cigarettes in that you need ID (if you look underage) and you can’t supply minors?

    • Pretty sure it’s more like a video store, where you can rent R18+ movies aslong as a parent or guardian above the age of 18 is present.

    • lmao, what gave you that impression? this isn’t something that can kill a kid and it’s just the same as buying a DVD.

      • It is in fact like this – with the lowest penalty for supplying a minor with a R18+ game being a $5000 fine (in SA) and the highest being 6 months prison (in Vic) so its a bit more than an impression – its reality.

  • Let parents make their own decisions, if someone came to me and told me that a game wasn’t appropriate for my child I would be really annoyed. I wont look at a rating to decide whether my kid can watch/play it, I will judge from their maturity level.

  • From what I understand some states make R18+ no minors and others are up to the parents.

    Personally I think games being constantly underfire for the ills of society need to take a more hardline stance. If EB won’t sell a R18+ game to a kid even if his mum says ok they won’t end up on trashy sensationalist Today Tonight or A Current Affair. If his mum gets him GTA V and he slaps little Suzy the trash TV will headline R18+ game GTA 5 turned my 10 year old into a pimp.

    No blame will be given to the mother who had no idea how to read a label, and when warned didn’t care. But they will track down the poor EB employee shove a camera in his face and ask why he sold a 10 year old an R18+ game. His story of the mother said it was ok after she was warned will be called a lie by the mother who will have no recollection of the event.

    I hope EB don’t put the R18s on the shelf, I hope you need to preorder or ask for it. It’s a lot easier to tell a kid and his mum it’s out of stock than he’s too young for the game she needs to shut him up.

    To all the good parents who take offence to what was written above and know not to give your kids games they aren’t ready for, I’m not talking about you. It’s the idiots who don’t care as long as the kid won’t bother them.

  • I work at JB HiFi, and always ask for I.D when little squirts try to by MA15+ games.
    And when a parent is buying the game, and they are accompanied by children (most of whom the game is for), I still politely interject and inform them, that this title may not be appropriate for their children. And most of them are either grateful for my suggestion or unaware of the game’s inappropriateness towards their children. But majority of parents understand the distinct differences between MA and R.

  • See, my original post was correct – there are definitely some busy bodies posting here who are no different to the religious extremists who think its their right to interject and act as some sort of parenting authority.

    Parents are legally allowed to buy MA15+ media for their underaged kids. Hence the law saying “parent or guardian must be present during point of purchase”. Even clerks have no right to refuse to sell an MA product to a parent who is obviously buying it for their underaged child.

    I agree that retailers may choose to inform parents of adult content in games, but refusing a sale outright even with a parent present is just stupid. Who ever posted that they did that while working at a video games retailer should be sacked.

    As for R rated content, the sale can be refused even if a parent is present. R18+ obviously means adults only, so that’s fair. It is also illegal for a minor to play or view R rated content in public but NOT at home with the permission of a parent or guardian. Just as it is NOT illegal for a parent to allow their child consume alcohol or tobacco at home, under direct supervision of the parent or guardian.

    The only media which is outright illegal for kids to view, even at home, is X18+ content. It says so on the official label.

    To Catherine who said video games definitely affect kids – that is called anecdotal evidence. Not scientific evidence. Studies conducted by professionals have concluded the complete opposite. Your post indicates a lack of irresponsible parenting on many fronts. Don’t even bother pulling out the “games did it” card. It’s tiresome and outright wrong. Just like the “red cordial makes kids excessively energetic” myth.

    All in all folks, let retailers and parents do the enforcing. Don’t stick your nose into someone elses business unless you’re looking to cop a big F you.

    That is all.

    • “I agree that retailers may choose to inform parents of adult content in games, but refusing a sale outright even with a parent present is just stupid. Who ever posted that they did that while working at a video games retailer should be sacked.”
      Actually, being stringent with ratings increases revenue for EB Games. How? Because parents build a brand identity where it’s a good place to shop, where the clerks are looking out for them – so they come back. To trade.
      Anyone old enough to buy games for themselves is likely over eighteen, and the small loss of revenue from individual sales (where you’ve probably made a sale anyway) is far outweighed by the money brought in by loyal, repeat family customers.

  • This is a good idea. I have often eavesdropped and butt in when i felt it was appropriate.
    i have old parents not to buy their kids shovelware and showed them a better game for the same price. I also explained that the reason is the games are often broken and the kids may get bored of them quickly.
    In this instance, the mother was very happy that someone helped her as she didn’t have much of an idea.
    i also helped another family from buying a 4GB 360. i told them about the cost of the hard drive and such. Later on I saw them in Gametraders. i jokingly said ‘i told you.’ and which point they said ‘we’re beginning to realise that.’ They were better informed then they’d been when they walked in.
    As far as I am aware, Ebgames, Gametraders and JB will not sell Ma15+ games to minors. The parents have to buy them. Unfortunately, some parents just don’t care.

  • I’ am glad there is now an R18+ rating. Joining the conversation I do agree that video games have no if not incredibly low impact on the child’s/ teen’s mind. I’ve played GTA III as one of my first games on PS2… we got a PS2 when I was 5. The fact that not only am I not a murderer, but an intelligent person who is already in the middle of a novel that has gotten nothing but positive feedback is just proof that video games do nothing to the mind of people who are not mentally sick. Back to R18+, I’ am glad it’s here (considering my two favorite games GTA 5 and The Last of us are probably going to be R18+), but I’ am worried about the use of it, I just know it will be used ‘way’ too much. I’ am not worried about getting the games since my mother and my brother could just get them (and they know it’s just fake violence and they know I’ am not stupid). Anyway, just my two cents.

  • I don’t think anyone relises that kids simply by a r rated game over the ps store or Microsoft store without using a credit card so just drop the ratings there’s no point other than to be used in court cases

  • I agree totally that kids need these kinds of boundaries. And maybe this R18+ rating will finally put an end to some of those problems, but I think it may be too late. So many youngsters have MA15+ video games. And yes, it’s easy to purchase without a parent. I know first hand because I had games like GTA 3 when I was around 13-14 yrs old. Before that I also had many MA15+ films and some R18+ ones too, some showing extreme gore and violence. No I didn’t have an uncaring parent. What I did have was a parent who educated her child in what is reality and fantasy. These films and games were fantasy. My then small horror film collection on VHS was all fiction and I knew it. Parents don’t realise how much influence they have on their kids and by using that to properly educate them then this problem wouldn’t arise. Unfortunately most parents panic that they’re kids will grow up disturbed and desensitised by it all and refuse it all, which only makes the kids want it more. Now, speaking as an adult I can’t help but say “Finally!!”. Because now maybe some games that were previously banned (example: Mortal Kombat 9 – which is now released as R18+) can now maybe be released under this new rating.

  • I love how half the people on here are saying kids shouldn’t play these games and should stop whining that they should find G or PG rated games when they would do exactly the same thing at their age.

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