The Big Question: Do You Think The R18+ Rating Has Helped?

This is something I hear a lot on this site and on Twitter, mostly when a video game gets refused classification: "nothing has changed!" There's a widespread feeling, it seems, that the addition of an R18+ rating for video games has done little to change the situation of gamers in Australia. I'm keen to know how widespread that feeling actually is?

So here's the question: do you think the addition of an R18+ rating for video games has helped gamers in Australia?

I think the answer is a clear yes. I think there's a wide difference between what people expected and what we actually received. That might be the reason for some of the dissonance here.

Some expected the R18+ rating to be this catch-all thing where every single video game would go no matter how violent, no matter how debased. What we ended up with was another box with a slightly broader tolerance for aspects of adult video games.

So games like Mortal Kombat X? Totally fine. Games like Hotline Miami, which features sexual violence? Not quite. It is still the job of the Classification Board to enforce the broader values of the Australian general public and that has not changed, but it has changed enough — I think — to have helped in some way.

What do you think?


    Some of the guidelines are misplaced. Realistic Drug Use is one of the guidelines that drives me insane.

      Comes back to general hypocrisy and a lack of rational thinking when it comes to other things in society. It's perfectly fine for instance for the government to profit from alcohol and tobacco, which causes thousands of deaths each year, yet recreational marijuana use puts you in jail.

      I agree. Sure this constitutes 'mature themes' and what not and should be adult only content. I'm not convinced that the whole interactive thing is reasonable grounds to bas such content in games for adults.

      Serious question, because I am uninformed, but are there restrictions for realistic drug use as a whole, or just realistic drug use as a positive thing.
      Like I said, I'm uninformed, but I thought realistic drug use was acceptable as long as it did not have a positive outcome (like extra health or a stat boost).

        That's it, it's not the depiction of realistic drug use per se', it's the drugs being used as an incentive or reward (so increased stats, health boosts, etc). The same goes for sex and nudity. Fine to be included, as long as it isn't used as an incentive or rewards players.
        Yeah that guideline definitely needs to be updated to make more sense.

    It's certainly improved things. Mortal Kombat being the litmus test - the one prior to R18+ got RC, the new one has made it through (uncut, as far as I'm aware?).

    It hasn't allowed complete open-slather on everything, but it was never going to and shouldn't have anyway. It's not perfect - after reading the reasoning for the RC on Hotline Miami 2, the decision to RC it seemed fair enough. But after actually seeing the "offending" footage, it seems pretty tame and probably should have been allowed through as an R18+.

    Definitely better than things used to be back during the Michael Atkinson reign of terror, though.

      Definitely better than things used to be back during the Michael Atkinson reign of terror, though.

      Sums it up nicely.

      It's not perfect - after reading the reasoning for the RC on Hotline Miami 2, the decision to RC it seemed fair enough. But after actually seeing the "offending" footage, it seems pretty tame and probably should have been allowed through as an R18+.

      Couldn't agree more. I read the description thinking golly that sounds pretty awful, but when I saw it, it was very much 'oh, is that it?' Sure it had an impact but I wouldn't say it was any worse than the general gore and horrible things in a game like hotline miami.

      It hasn't allowed complete open-slather on everything, but it was never going to and shouldn't have anyway. It's not perfect - after reading the reasoning for the RC on Hotline Miami 2, the decision to RC it seemed fair enough. But after actually seeing the "offending" footage, it seems pretty tame and probably should have been allowed through as an R18+.

      Agreed. The problem is the guidelines completely removes context in the equation which is how we end up w/ a JRPG that was PG13 suddenly bumped up to R18+ because of some throw away lines.

      Let alone the fact IMHO the rules are just insanely restrictive in comparison to other media only because of the "interactivity" clause

    It certainly has helped, it has made parents and retailers (slowly) more aware that some games are really *not* for kids, and although the guidelines need tweaking, that is far easier to achieve than getting an R18 category in the first place.
    I think the guidelines will evolve and mature over time, and games will be seen like movies, as having content that is aimed at different sectors of society and labeled as such.

      I think the guidelines will evolve and mature over time, and games will be seen like movies

      I hope you're right.

    Yes, but we're still relatively way behind everyone else who has had the rating for many years. We're seeing a more balanced rating system now which isn't trying to shoehorn R18+ content into the M15+ bracket and it's improving the public perception, BUT, there are some bizarre classifications coming out of it now as well. There is no reason for the R18+ rating to be applied to the Atelier Plus series because of one non-interactive, difficult to unlock scene which would get an anime with the same content an M or PG rating. It still boggles my mind.

    Last edited 04/02/15 11:29 am

      I know!! and it still annoys the hell outta me to this day.. It seems that they're doing that for alot of anime games and anime dvd's now, quoting R18+ "High impact and sexualized violence" i mean WTF, i see this on alot of anime stuff now... seems we have a bunch of social justice warriors at the australian classification office now with no tolerance at all for obscenity even when its laughably minor. I have a bunch of older anime which are really obscene and are only rated M!

      BUT when you add the word VIOLENCE to SEX it ramps the rating up to R18 even though there is nothing of the sort in these anime (these people are just too stupid to realise it), i think they're doing it as a way to indirectly reduce sex crimes and rape, so kids can't buy it... like thats ever going to change anything.

      Ever seen the anime GATE? Just found out they rated that R18 too for sexual violence which literally has none in it. Hahaha and they rated Highschool of the dead Ma15 where the girls boobs are jiggling and flying all over the place , whats wrong with these people

    The real important question: Has it prevented minors from getting their hands on adult titles? Probably not.

    It's a re-branded MA15+. So not really.

    EDIT: On second thoughts, I stand corrected. It has let some titles through that otherwise would not have been published. And hopefully deterred some parents form buying the game for their kids.

    Last edited 04/02/15 3:41 pm

      That's not up to the rating, that's up to the parents and the stores. The rating is there to educate people about who the game is suitable for, it's up to the parents to decide if they are going to heed that advice and the stores as to whether they are going to enforce it.

        Oh yeah, I totally agree and I'm glad we put it in place. Just not sure how we can quantify if it's helped in that sense as it's virtually impossible to get those stats (i.e. has it prevented more minors from accessing the game).

        I'm certainly glad it was implemented though.

      When I was a child, my Dad let me watch a ton of great action movies, like Bloodsport, which had an R rating.
      Amazingly, it's true. The ratings system is useless if parents decide to disregard the rating. It's not a magical barrier against parental incompetence.

        Some people (not necessarily parents!) think a govt mandate IS a magical barrier, or more likely, a replacement for common sense.

      It's not really a re-branded MA15+. It's picked up a bunch of titles that were being pushed down into MA15+ when they shouldn't have been, but it's also picked up some stuff that would have fallen outside that as well. And one of the R18+ arguments going in was that MA15+ at the top end had stuff that should have been R18+, so that stuff ending up as R18+ is exactly what we asked for.

    The problem still lies with most areas of politics and government, that being that those making policies and decisions lack a clear understanding of the areas they are making those decisions for. [eg: communications ministers knowing nothing about internet technology].

    We need to have some level of technical requirement for those taking these positions in government, all areas of government. Instead, we see all of these decisions being based on political manipulation and bargaining, rather than what is actually a *good* decision.

    Introducing an R18+ rating was vital to ensure games weren't needlessly RC'd or underclassified as MA15+. I think the recent classification of MKX is a great example of this working. It has however brought to light inconsistencies between guidelines for film and literature versus games. Whether or not the guidelines will get a good hard look at any time soon remains to be seen; it is difficult to lobby for being allowed access to the kind of content currently causing some games to be RC'd (e.g. hotline miami 2) without looking like a deviant, as out of context, a lot of this content seems pretty horrible.

    I has definitely helped; games that would not have been released at all, or worse yet been horribly censored, are able to be released. There have been some weird judgements, (as with HM2) but it is definitely better than it was before.

    It HAS been a boon for American publishers.

    Time and again, our classification system has been co-opted into the PR machine of Next Big Game.

    Saint's Row 4? "The game too hot for Australia, don't miss out!"

    South Park? Anticipated so far in advance it was built into the damn product.

    Most recently, GTAV's do-over and Hotline Miami 2 rode the wave of "poor downtrodden oppressed little guy" against an organisation made out to be the North Korea of games retail.

    These are laws in our country that - if it was a case of firearms or racial vilification - we'd actually take more seriously. They aren't playthings, we shouldn't treat them as such.

    I think we fixed the framework for the most part and brought the guidelines up to the standard for media in Australia, but now we're stuck at the same point the rest of the media is. To get things working properly we have to be willing to defend stuff that has no justification, and we're all way too self concious to do that because we know the common perception is that if someone is defending something's presence in a video game that must mean they want to do it in real life. If I defend Hotline Miami 2 that paints me as a rapist, and that's a pretty big price to pay for a game I don't even want to play.
    It's sort of funny when you think about how much the Australian government sinks into anti-bullying campaigns, yet they're perfectly happy to stomp all over groups that have a hard time being vocal enough to swing an election.

      The guidelines for games are actually more conservative (in terms of what's not allowed) than those for film and literature. You're right though, it's hard to credibly argue for such content being allowed without the whole 'what kind of *decent person* would want to see that anyway' backlash

        I just sound like a crazy perverted asshole when all I actually want is NO censorship. It's my biggest gripe with the whole system at the moment.

        Yes, we got R18+, but that means nothing to me if you censor or outright ban products. To me, the ratings board should just be a damn suggestion for parents buying products for their kids. I'm an adult that doesn't even look at the ratings of movies, tv or games that I consume, unless I read something is going to be censored, because someone that was never going to consume the product was/is/may be offended by some part of the product.

        Frack, this topic makes me so freaking mad. People come on here defending the idea that the Gov can (and should) decide what entertainment media I can consume. *too mad to continue*.

        That's been an "old" tactic of the conservatives though.. from Music (ie. listening to Rock n Roll made you a devil worshipper, Elvis would turn you into a sex fiend and so on), Literature and Movies.

        The thing is at the end of the day what we're arguing for is the same respect that all these previous media receive. Yes we'll get tarred and feathered but that's the case when you argue for "free speach"... people are fine as long as your "free speach" doesn't cover something people are uncomfortable with. Much easier to say no to them if you succeed in demonising them first.

        Hence I *always* like to make comparisons to material in other media as a preface. Why does movies get away with it? And if someone brings up the interactivity card then that's when you take the "we are talking about *adults* of sound mind and judgement. if the same taboo topic did not affect a normal adult on movies/films how can games be the same?"

    As an adult gamer I think the R18+ Rating should be used exactly the same as movies, some movies have heaps of sex, drugs, gore, violence, rape and some very unthinkable inhumane things... But still they come on the shelf rated R and no one bats an eyelid. Gaming has been around for long enough, that if you played a SNES , SEGA or even a PS1 there's a good chance your over 18 ... If a game comes out that deserves a high rating, they should still release it in Australia that's up to the people to go off the rating system, just like they do with movies... It's stupid to create an R rating then not realease something or take scenes out because it's too violent or sexual..that's what the ratings for!!... So I guess we probably won't be getting the game "Hatred" then. Oh but what about the kiddies that could still play the game.. Well those same kiddies are probably surfing xnxx watching rape porn while u read this.. So what's really worse?

    Voted "Yes" because it helped a little bit. Only a little bit.

    I said this yesterday and I know it's long but here it is again. Just my 2c:

    R18+ should, in theory, be the classification for 'restricted' content. The content is classified as restricted right? In that it should be able to exist and is up to the beholder to decide if they want to put THEMSELVES through it. (After all the classification board was always meant to establish a guideline for viewers discrepancy in relation to the content and standards, not weather something is aloud to exist and be sold!)

    Hence the guidelines state:

    Mature Accompanied (MA 15+)


    Restricted (R 18+)

    I don't see why Restricted 18+ (R 18+) cannot house content some may view as inappropriate, much like a porno or something like that. It's entertainment aimed at a mature audience that can discern what to view for itself.

    I, for instance, don't particularly find the scene in Hotline Miami to be tasteful. That's not to say I wouldn't play the game or would want to stop others from playing it. After all, everyone has the right to draw their own line in terms of what they find tasteful and acceptable when it comes to media.

    The ratings board were originally there to give a GUIDELINE, or a point of reference, to the content being delivered. After all this is entertainment, not something that can be used as a weapon and hence banned. It's not legal to sell restricted media to a minor, just like alcohol or cigarettes, is that not good enough?!

    In the end it's what you and others find enjoyable. People can frown on what others find enjoyable, sure, but I don't see what gives one person the right to stop the other from enjoying it, that's why these ratings are stated as GUIDELINES (edit: For consumers) and not REQUIREMENTS for publishers to meet.

    Last edited 04/02/15 5:05 pm

      The key is that the reviewers consider content in a videogame to have a higher impact than a film due to the interactive nature of the medium (something yet to be proven by anyone, anywhere, but held to be true nonetheless) so things that would scrape by in R in a film gets pushed out in a game by default. There's no reasoning for this on paper but I strongly suspect it links back in with the "think of the children" mentality because even though we have an MA15+ and R18+ rating for games, the nanny state still thinks of games as nothing more than toys for children. While the R-rating forces them to concede the content is aimed at consumption by adults, they're still abiding by the "not in MY house" rules when something is sufficiently personally affronting.

        I think a big part is that when people see someone in a movie shoot up the place they say 'The Terminator shot a bunch of cops' not 'I shot up a bunch of cops'. People who don't get video games don't really know how to process the language we use when describing in-game actions. It's first person but it's not. To kill you in PvP is 'I shot Kermitron', but it has as much of a relationship with actual murder as 'I stole the ball' has to do with stealing.

          I've always been of the opinion the interactivity line of argument is a huge strawman in relation to the R18+ rating.

          We are talking about what we would expect to be a rational and full grown adult here. If we were talking about material for minors then of course I would say you're a twit for showing that stuff that would apply to *ANY* media. But we aren't talking about "impressionable youth" or "children who don't know better" we are talking about the average adult which we assume has a better grasp on morality and ethics.

        I get that, but my point is that these are meant to be guidelines to rate content so that the viewer/ consumer has something to weigh their expectations of the nature of the experience against. Where as they are sometimes used as censorship 'tools' (in a way).

        Obviously that's a dramatic statement, but I say it like that to make a point more than anything.

        If R18+ content is restricted then its already restricted to a certain age group and censoring/ not allowing it kinda makes having a 'restricted' rating available moot.

    "If you suck on a tit the movie gets an R rating. If you hack the tit off with an axe it will be PG"

    - Jack Nicholson

    It's definitely changed something but it's nowhere near good enough for a supposedly progressive, western country which has an insane history of shaming what we don't like to the point where the shame becomes fact. Video Games are shameful in the eyes of most who don't play them and it's a sad day when people are deterred from politely defending them and encouraged to be arbitrarily critical whenever a social issue is involved by sites like Kotaku in an attempt to show the world how mature and progressive we are in critiquing ourselves.

    Rape: A vile act that is rarely, if ever, completely understood. A social and cultural problem since the beginning of time. We, as a people are so sickened by it and any mention of it that we must pretend it doesn't exist or else it will be labelled exploitative regardless of the context. I once watched Irreversible - which has an 8 minute rape scene - and was so sickened by the act and it's detailed portrayal that I had to look at the floor through half of it. I'm not sure why but to me, this is a confronting depiction of an act that forces the viewer to empathise with the ferocity and cruelty of such an act. It even has a low, deep tone underpinning the scene that is designed to make you feel uneasy. It was one of the only films to affect my ability to empathise to such a drastic degree. Unfortunately, i'm not even sure anyone would give the notion of this the time of day simply because it contains the word at the start of this paragraph.

    I think scenes like this are valuable to us but under our current social climate, this is still seen as exploitation (since people refrain from asking questions these days), much like a fetish video. It's insane that the mere depiction of any social issue causes a stir because as a collective, we are not smart enough to interpret these challenging and virtually taboo issues. People simply don't know enough about video game storytelling; about perspective, choice, agency, mechanics and metaphor etc. and many can't even fathom this could possibly exist, even many video game writers who... well... should.

    I don't mind an R rating that informs us of what we are viewing, but i don't want one that restricts me from understanding a perspective. We have so many voices today and I think we need to start actually thinking about how educated they are before we actually enforce our own critique too deeply. I mean, it's one thing for victims of sexual violence to want to rid the world of such atrocity but it's another to humour their misrepresentation of any creative work or stay silent when their basic information is blatantly incorrect because of who they are. Instead, the loudest responses were a bunch of idiotic petitions with "fuck" and "shit" in the descriptions, taking the place of potentially progressive discourse for everyone.

    The new rating system has changed things but we still have an underlying problem of complete media illiteracy in this country (maybe many countries) which means most of our decisions end up being arbitrary anyway.

    I'll be the guy who says that I don't actually mind if a game occasionally gets Refused Classification...
    *dodges tomatoes*
    Depending on what for though!

    I mean, there's reasons for it to happen.
    Someone said the other day in a comment on Kotaku that "Hotline Miami 2 got Refused Classification because of 3 seconds of pixelated rape that was in context".
    Can rape even be in context?
    I don't particularly want to see rape in my games, pixelated and in context or not.
    *dodges tomatoes*

    After the R18 rating was bought in, most of the guidelines for refusing classification come down to scenes of sexual violence, minor sex, and paedophilia, which I don't want in my games anyway. Though saying that, I'm pretty sure it only applies to actually seeing it. A good story driven game wouldn't need to show any of that. Sometimes implying it is more powerful.
    I'm also going to say that there does come a point where there may be too much violence, such as manhunt. Whether the game is banned or not in that case isn't up to me though.

    I do agree that the drug guideline should probably be in the Restricted category, though I'm going to point out that I think names such as "Rad-X" and so were way more fitting with the Fallout games rather than using real drug names.
    "You used Rad-X" or, "You used Meth".
    I know which one I would rather.

    Lastly, you guys have heard of importing anyway, right?

      You don't like it? Don't buy it. That's entirely your decision, and up to you to make. But, what give you the right to impose your moral views onto others?

        *sigh* I knew this'd be the responses for posting an opinion...
        I do do that already, obviously. If I'm not interested in a game, of course I won't buy it. That's just common sense.

        I'm not imposing my morals onto anything either, just stating that I don't really want to see sexual violence and such in games anyway, and thus occasionally agree with an RC classification. Again, if a game is released with it in, then whatever, I simply won't buy it because I'm not interested in it, but neither will I care if it is refused.

        That's also why I pointed out importing. If you really want an RC game, importing is quite easy. And yes, I know, "You shouldn't have to import", but what are you gonna do?

          I know, "You shouldn't have to import", but what are you gonna do?
          Bitch about it on the internet until it changes someone's mind!

          importing is quite easy

          And illegal the way it currently stands.

            Oh yes, there is that little conundrum, admittedly.
            Still, I know plenty of people who import if there's no other way.

            Something something it's only illegal if you're caught something something.

          I'm not imposing my morals onto anything either

          But you are. You may not be saying 'everyone must think like I think' but you are saying 'this is what I think, and effectively banning anything outside of that is ok'.
          I don't want Hotline Miami 2, even before the rape scene* I didn't really want the game to be made. I'm perfectly happy with the idea of people not buying the game or stores like Target refusing to stock it. However I believe the job of a proper classificiation system is to catalogue content and inform consumers of what they're purchasing, as well as to break content down for distribution to minors but not to decide what is and isn't ok for adults. Their job is to classify media, so if a game can not be classified under their guidelines then those guidelines have failed. In this case it means that either their guidelines are too strict or there needs to be a higher rating above R18+.

          *And for the record the context for the rape scene is that it's a three second non-interactive cut scene fade out that's instantly revealed to be part of a movie being filmed. It doesn't glorify rape or intentionally titillate. I doubt you want to see it anymore knowing that, but it's important to be specific with these things or else it gets out of control and suddenly people think it's a rape simulator.

            I'm really not imposing my morals onto anything.
            I have very little sway in the decision to if a game is to be banned or not.

            All I'm saying is that, occasionally, I understand why a game is refused classification, and occasionally I agree with the decision. I'm not saying it's a right or wrong decision.

            Similarly, sometimes I don't understand why a game is RC (South Park), but I simply roll with the punches and go from there.

            I think the misunderstanding here is the levels at which you guys assume I care about this stuff. I'm not pro RC classification, nor am I against. I simply take it as it comes.

              "I'm not pro RC classification"

              Of course, you can see how that's confusing when you blatantly say you agree with the decision to RC.

              Last edited 04/02/15 6:22 pm

                Sorry, it's hard to get my particular stance across.
                I'm neither for or against RC classification.
                It purely depends on the game and the circumstances.

                Banning Hotline Miami 2 for including a rape scene = agree.
                Banning South Park for anal probing = disagree.
                Banning Fallout 3 for using real drugs = neither (though I think it turned out better)

                I purely take it on a case-by-case basis, and agree in some circumstances, depending on why it's banned and so forth.

                Though I can't do anything about it anyway, so I don't really get all up in arms about it.

                  I guess I'm just so anti censorship, that I can't understand why other people are ok with other people making their entertainment choices for them. As always everyone is entitled to their opinions/positions.

    The problem was never a lack of R18+ rating, it was the fact that games that couldn't fit into those ratings were banned.

    It should be entirely optional to get games rated. there is nothing in them that should be banned, everything is a work of fiction.

    There are pre-existing laws banning the possession of child pornography/snuff films and alike, outside of any ratings system, those are all we need to prevent the illegal things from being released.

    A ratings systems should purely be about advice as of the content in each game/film/TV show/book. Consumers, and parents and guardians, should take that advice on board when deciding if to consume a form of entertainment. That in mind, it's in the best interest of publishers to provide some kind of advice as to the suitability of the products, that's how voluntary rating systems come about.

    We need to get rid of the archaic system, where anything that doesn't fit into the view of the bureaucrats that set up each rating level gets banned. It shouldn't be up to them to decide what's appropriate for anyone to consume, much less adults who can make up their own mind. Our classification board is being used to censor art, simply by doing their job.

    For me there's not much point voting when the options are 'Yes' or 'No'.

    The answer is a little bit. It's helped slightly but as we've seen plenty still get refused classification that make it fine through other countries.

    I remember when the last changes were made the Classification Board (I think) said something along the lines of 'Don't think this means we've opened the floodgates'. I'd argue that a gate opening was exactly what we needed considering how much we were behind. Obviously there should still be limits but clearly they are still too tight.

    At the end of the day the CB get to interpret the guidelines how they want and maybe that's what contributes to these strange decisions with arguments citing 'because of the interactivity' and other non-scientifically supported excuses.

    Unfortunately it still feels like there's stigma around video games in this country. I get the feeling the older generations think they're mostly used by children and that means we all still need babysitting from the evil interactivity. Not entirely surprising when you consider that the average age of the CB is around 46. They didn't exactly grow up with these kinds of games. Alternatively maybe the guidelines just need updating again (as if last time wasn't painful enough).

    If you want to get really technical about it, then sure! It changed things! In about the same way as me turning off the lights in my house before I leave for work has an impact on global warming.

    In the broader scheme of cloistered prudes making decisions about what content other fully-grown intellectually-independent adults have the right to consume, bent over an absurd double-standard compared to other entertainment 'because interactivity' (*cough*BULLSHIT*cough*), then no.

    No. Not a god damn thing has changed.

      You say that, but games such as Mortal Kombat X and GTA V would have been refused classification before the introduction of an R18 rating.
      Though saying that, those who wanted them badly enough would've imported anyway, so I guess much hasn't changed in that regard, just the games being banned and imported.

      I guess it's changed more so to what degree a game gets refused at, and to some extent, bought the issue more into the spotlight.
      It's changed some, but not much, I think.

        In the broader scheme of cloistered prudes making decisions about what content other fully-grown intellectually-independent adults have the right to consume, bent over an absurd double-standard compared to other entertainment 'because interactivity' (*cough*BULLSHIT*cough*), then no. No. Not a god damn thing has changed.

        While I'm on your side, I know people have bought GTA V for their 10-year-old kids to play, so there is an argument to say that things have potentially gotten worse in some instances.
        However this comes down to the parents being idiots (The one I know in particular is a dropkick and I feel really sorry for the kid for more than just GTA V).
        I'm of the opinion that the guidelines do need to be brought a bit more in line with other media, but mostly there needs to be some sort of education campaign of some kind.
        Oh, and proper labelling. It's bulldust that the rating label on GTA V only says R18+ for drug use.

    The one preview of Mortal Kombat X that I managed to watch almost all the way through ended with the featured character entrancing his victim to sleepwalk forward open mouthed onto a massive sword, presumably grossly and completely dismembering the victim, I don't know because I had to look away at that point, it was utterly gruesome in every sense of the word.

    The scene from Hotline Miami (which incidentally you can watch unrestricted on YouTube) was 4 seconds of implied rape, with no nudity and with all the fidelity that 8 bit pixels can render.

    It is completely beyond my understanding as a sane human being why the first scene is considered acceptable for adults and yet the second isn't.

    Having said that - the R category has been a good thing overall, in that a lot of games are now being classified correctly.

    It has helped get some games rated appropriately but other games are still being banned for stupid reasons where a movie with similar content would still get through on R18.

    It's better, but it's still not great. Guidelines are arbitrary and their application is inconsistent. Games held to a different standard to other media despite no evidence to suggest they should be. Prior classifications are not allowed to be used as precedent to inform new classifications. Additionally it's still ridiculously expensive to apply.

    Needs to transition to an industry-run system like the bulk of the rest of the world. I still don't understand how we can't just adopt PEGI and map their classification categories to ours.

    Speaking as a games retail employee: absolutely not.

    The reason is that our R18+ laws don't function the same way as, say, alcohol laws. With alcohol, if it is suspected that it is being purchased for a minor, we have to refuse the sale. With games, that's not the case. A kid comes up with GTAV, they just need to grab their parent and make them say yes and bang, it's done. And despite repeatedly telling parents the content in the games, they couldn't give a flying fuck what letter of the alphabet is on the front of it.

    The law needs to be made the same as alcohol. Then maybe the parents might actually start getting the hint.

    Definitely. Of course the introduction of the R18+ classification has helped.
    It's clearly not just an MA15+ re-branding.
    If it hadn't been introduced, GTAV, Mortal Kombat X, The Witcher 3, etc. There's no way those would see the light of day down here. It's small steps, but there's still much to be done.
    The guidelines for the R18+ category definitely need to be looked at. The branding is there, but the guidelines that overlook it, don't quite match up.
    I can understand not wanting to allow content relating to sexual violence, but I think to some degree (as in the case of Hotline Miami 2) some parts of it could easily fall under the R18+ rating.
    Whether or not there should be restrictions on adult content at all - well that's a whole entire different argument.

      "Whether or not there should be restrictions on adult content at all - well that's a whole entire different argument."

      Is it though? Couldn't we have had that conversation first and not wasted time on the conversation now... (if we can ever get the law makers to acknowledge that there is still a problem).

        Well that's the censorship argument that may never have an end isn't it.
        Yes I think certain content doesn't belong in a video game... Child pornography, pedophilia, etc. Here's the conundrum though. But if I say I agree with allowing graphic violence, sex, nudity, drugs, etc to be explored in a video game, and making it the adult's choice whether to purchase said video game or not - How is that not a general example of being a hypocrite?
        Why is it we can say "you can't have a rape simulator, but you can play this game where you can kill as many people as you want". Murder is just as wrong and illegal as rape. So why not?

        Quite the conundrum indeed...
        * I don't support the notion of a rape simulator, it was just an example.

        Last edited 04/02/15 10:17 pm

          Forgive me if I'm wrong but I thought child porn was covered by a separate law... Of course I don't want to see child porn in games, but I would like to see games given the same treatment as all other media in Australia

          I don't really see the hypocrisy in allowing games to deal with the same issues as movies and tv.

          I personally don't see any hypocrisy.

          What you're arguing about is basically buying into the hyperbolic reaction that pro censorship people like to resort to. That arguing for the inclusion of what can be seen as "inappropriate" means you approve of any form of extreme morally/ethically reprehensible actions linked to said inappropriate action.

          A famous quote from Voltaire - "I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it."

          The point that people seem to gloss over is "reasonable context" something that is not even *considered* in Video Games. VG ratings are obsessed over the interactivity part over the content part that context is completely overlooked. Hence get all these draconian restrictions to Video Games *only*

          As for "rape simulators" their fairly common in Jp and yet it hasn't devolved into a country hell bent on sexual deviency... but that's a different topic. The point though is the fact that a "rape simulator" wouldn't even get through as a "movie/book" to begin with... why? There is no proper context in that it would be "acceptable" to western ratings. The same with snuff and peadophilia. These are materials that won't be accepted in any other media anyway... but the problem is arguing for graphic content on video games has been reduced to be seen as arguing for the hyperbolic extreme ends of graphic content. Something which is simply not true but people still make a connection to.

          Last edited 07/02/15 8:29 pm

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