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?


    I've voted yes - yes because I feel a lot of titles that were slipping in under the radar at MA where everywhere else in the world they were getting the adult rating. For this reason I feel its helped.

    Mortal Kombat being the very exception to the rule, I still feel the guidelines need to be fixed. Comparing Hotline Miami 2's sexual violence to that seen in Outlast is an absolute joke. Comparing clearly fictional drug use in Saints Row 4 to that seen in GTA V is another ridiculous argument that makes me ashamed to be Australian.

    Then theres the whole Target fiasco. "R" is an adult rating, same as cigarettes, booze and porn. Don't advertise it on the same page as Peppa Pig, don't put it visible on the same shelf as Barbie and the 12 Dancing Princesses. Clearly there needs to be some guidelines instead of (un)common sense when it comes to marketing at these retail stores.

    Voted "yes", it has made a difference, but its not enough. The rating needs to be made clear to retail staff (and god forbid, parents) that it is an enforced policy not just guidelines like the MA rating was treated.

    The rating has changed things in the sense that games inappropriately rated MA15+ are now able to be classified correctly, but the conflicting principles of "adults can have what they want, kids must be sheltered from bad things, everyone must be sheltered from anything considered offensive to our oncredibly vague conept of a 'reasonable person'" has not changed. That part is still borked.

    You've asked two questions, @markserrels
    1. Has the rating helped?
    2. Has the rating changed anything?

    Well, those are two different questions. The answer to the second has to be yes, since the rating has changed some of the wording on OFLC documents and the black diamond instead of a red square on some packaging. To say that nothing has changed would be objectively wrong.

    The first question is actually much more interesting, although it's a bit harder to answer with a yes or no vote.

    Ultimately, I don't think the rating has helped, but people were desperate for that "R18+" and did whatever was needed to get it.

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