It’s long been a source of annoyance and disbelief that here in Australia we have a rating system that thinks a fifteen year old and an adult have the same ability to deal with mature content. Whereas in other media – such as film – we recognise that content that’s appropriate for adults is NOT appropriate for minors and lock it away with an R18 rating to protect them, in the area of videogames the system is currently unable to make any such distinction. Consequently, 15 year olds are playing the same games as adults, and adults are being prevented from experiencing content appropriate for them.
In the movies, the aliens and predators are nightmarish antagonists for human characters; in videogames, they’d better not do any more than play slightly aggressive chess if they want to avoid being banned.
As those who’ve been following the issue are well aware, the apparent sticking point for fixing this situation is the South Australian AG, Michael Atkinson who, under the present scheme, can veto any change – and who has declared that he will. I’ve argued that there are actually ways around this (the code is only an agreement between the states; if they wanted to they could simply withdraw from it, or add an R18 rating of their own), a suggestion which has now been presented to the Queensland parliament by a state Labor MP. (Nothing here in Victoria yet, though.)
Atkinson making a goose of himself in a recent ABC TV story on the subject (click for video)
Those still optimistic that the deficient national classification code can be reformed have been waiting for the discussion paper to formally be released – and, at last, after years of obstruction by Atkinson, this week it finally has been. It can be downloaded here, as can templates for submissions.
Obviously I strongly recommend you make a submission and let them know your opinion. As with every other area where they want to control other people’s lives, you can be sure the fundamentalists will be vigorously sharing theirs.