Australia Needs To Mature Up

r18.pngThe ongoing debate for the introduction of an R18+ classification for video games in Australia was taken official on March 28th at a meeting of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General.

There are many arguments supporting and defending the push for Adult Only games to be sold in Australia – so much in fact that a decision was not finalised last week, but extended out for the public’s approval. And we all know what happens when the public get involved.

The decision for an R18+ classification for video games in Australia is determined when all Australian Attorney Generals come to a decision, despite their recent ask for the opinion of the public.

The King Koopa of anti-adult gaming, South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson, is often first to push his opinion on the topic –

“I do not want children to be able to get their hands on R18+ games easily; I understand that the lack of an R18+ classification denies some adults the chance to play some games, however, the need to keep potentially harmful material away from children is far more important”

Fortunatley some crusaders for the cause are present in our Governmentary system with Deputy Premier and Attorney-General Rob Hulls supporting the classification review.

“While computer games have predominantly been considered the domain of children, the most up-to-date research indicates a steadily growing trend in adult consumers of the product, with the current average age of gamers reported to be 28 years”

“It seems inconsistent that in Australia, adults are allowed to view ‘adult only’ films which have been classified R18+ by the Classification Board, but not computer games with an equivalent high level content.”

“With the increasing convergence between films and games, the different approach to classification principles is difficult to sustain.”


ma15.pngThere’s no wind yet as to how or when this public polling will commence but considering the current apparent demographic of abusive soccer mum’s and self-righteous politicians, I would deem the future bleak.

And now, for an opinionated rant.

The refusal of classification for R18+ rated games in Australia is a complete load of tripe. Denying mature adults the basic freedoms of creative expression for the purpose of protecting those who were never intended for nor allowed such material is a complete joke. The problem here is that the situation is being approached in all the wrong places.

I support and actively express my attitude towards enforcing classification and this is exactly what needs to be done. Not allowing the R18+ rating is entirely the lazy way of preventing such material from reaching our children. There’s no need to monitor your children or worry when you cut the material off straight at it’s source. It is the job of parents’ to ensure such material does not reach their children and to a lesser extent this is also the job of retail outlets, but NOT game developers and those who are having their creative outlets shortened. After all this is what it’s all about right? The children?

Considering that 70% of people playing video games are over the age of 18 (these are statistics, trust me), that leaves a 30% gaming demographic that could potentially ‘benefit’ from the lack of an R18+ rating, while 70% of those who peruse the medium are being denied what the rest of the world, including New Zealand, are allowed.

It’s not an ask for violence and gratuity, it’s an ask for a basic RIGHT. When one paints a painting, does one worry about the children?

  • Adrian Love

    Yeah, I suppose the reason a ratings board exists in the first place is so that creative people can still create but get judged on what is ‘okay’ for the delicate minds.

    it just seems that the law is pretty lax about enforcing the ratings on kids, I understand it can be hard for parents to control what their child does 24-7 which is why the fines exist at alcohol vendors, if it’s as big of a deal as the parents / Michael Atkinson say it is then why don’t they focus their efforts on enforcing the fines.

    Good piece.

  • QueyJoh

    Unfortunately, until retailers man up and seriously prevent under-15’s getting MA rated stuff there’s really no way to argue that under-18’s won’t get R rated stuff.

    And yes, I’ve seen retailers sell MA games to 10 year olds, both accompanied by a parent and not. Supposedly there are penalties to retailers who do this kind of thing, but I’ve never actually heard of them being enforced.

    That said, retailers may well start lobbying this themselves, given stories such as this emerging about the rate at which people are turning to imports.