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Censorship Games

Australia Could Finally Get R18+ Games 143

Posted by Soulskill
from the they're-all-grown-up dept.
angry tapir writes "Australia may finally get an adults only, R18+ classification for computer games, with the federal government releasing a discussion paper summarizing the key arguments for and against an R18+ classification. Submissions are currently being sought from the community on whether the Australian National Classification Scheme should include an R18+ category for computer and video games. In the past the board responsible for classifying games and movies has banned some titles outright because of the lack of an adults only classification — Aliens Vs. Predator is just the most recent in a long line. The Attorney-General's report on the issue is available online."
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Australia Could Finally Get R18+ Games

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  • by afaik_ianal (918433) * on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @12:58AM (#30440490)

    Aside from the usual arguments surrounding the average age of game players and my right to choose my entertainment (within reason), and shoehorning games into less restricted categories (GTA-IV, anyone?), I believe outright banning R18+ games probably increasing the availability of these games to minors.

    For games that are available in stores, children are the least likely to be able to afford the games. Relative to adults, your average minor is probably going to pirate a game rather than buy it (regardless of legality and classification).

    If you ban R18+ games, then adults are going to pirate the game too - if I want to play a game I can't buy in the store, I know I will. In the day of BitTorrent, more people downloading an item in a geographic area, the more accessible that item becomes in that area.

    All they're doing by banning R18+ games, is giving minors more seeders when they go ahead and download it anyway.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Xiroth (917768)

      Telling us doesn't do much; on the other hand, the Government has opened up a public consultation [ag.gov.au] on the matter, so telling them might make things happen. Just make sure you keep it reasonable and rational, or you might end up being counter-productive.

      • by Fluffeh (1273756) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @01:22AM (#30440666)
        Indeed, one of the first times in my life that I think I will actually make a valid input (aside from voting) on how the country I live in is actually being handled - and how I think it should be.
        • If any of you are an Australian citizen on slashdot who doesn't submit something to the Attorney General I hope you suffer grievous misfortune. Hell, even write to oppose it if you want, I don't care, at least the reasons you'll give will probably be less retarded than the the other people who submit something against this.
        • by deek (22697)

          I've already submitted my response. I argued against the idea that interactivity heightens the negative impact of games. I believe that interactivity helps to enforce the feeling that this is not reality. Therefore interactivity actually lessens any negative effects. After all, the more real you think something is, the more impact it will have. I don't care how realistic the graphics are, as soon as you can control that figure on the screen, you _know_ it's all a fantasy.

      • by srjh (1316705) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @01:45AM (#30440836)

        Unfortunately we can have all the consultation we want - as long as Michael Atkinson (think Jack Thompson with a political office) is Attorney-General of South Australia he will veto it.

        As it stands, the decision needs to be unanimous amongst all the states - support for an R18+ rating seems to hover around 90% in most polls, but without the support of this one idiot, nothing is ever going to change.

        • by CoolGopher (142933) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @04:18AM (#30441516)

          He has however stated that if the public consultation results in overwhelming support in favour of it, he might reconsider.

          If you're in .au - consider downloading and filling in the feedback template and email it back. It'll take 10 minutes of your time. The think-about-the-children zombie horde will obviously spend their individual 10 minutes piping up against it, so if we want to have a chance at getting some sanity, we the .au geeks, nerds, gamers and other sensible people need to do our part. I already have.

        • Why does Australia think adults are incapable of operating on their own? Why is there no unrated category available for people past the age of majority?

          If you want to ban games to children that's fine. But why ban them from adults? Why does Australia think so poorly of it's citizens?

          Not having an unrated category means one person can decide for the entire country what is appropriate. That's ludicrous.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      One of the favoured arguments against classification seems to be that putting it out of reach of kids makes them want it more.

      By the same token, doesn't refusing to classify them make them SUPER-EXTREME out of reach, and therefore even more desirable?

      Hell, if I was EA, I'd put snuff pr0n on the top shelf in a sealed room on Mars and watch my sales skyrocket.

    • by williamhb (758070) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @01:59AM (#30440910) Journal

      Aside from the usual arguments surrounding the average age of game players and my right to choose my entertainment (within reason), and shoehorning games into less restricted categories (GTA-IV, anyone?), I believe outright banning R18+ games probably increasing the availability of these games to minors.

      For games that are available in stores, children are the least likely to be able to afford the games. Relative to adults, your average minor is probably going to pirate a game rather than buy it (regardless of legality and classification).

      If you ban R18+ games, then adults are going to pirate the game too - if I want to play a game I can't buy in the store, I know I will. In the day of BitTorrent, more people downloading an item in a geographic area, the more accessible that item becomes in that area.

      All they're doing by banning R18+ games, is giving minors more seeders when they go ahead and download it anyway.

      Evidence, please.

      The empirical evidence from the current regime is that where a game is refused classification, the publisher will almost always make the necessary alterations (toning down certain amounts of gore etc) in order to achieve an MA15+ rating. The current system has thus been reasonably effective -- ensuring that games are made suitable for a 15+ audience, and given that anyone in the 15-18 category is unlikely to be prevented from accessing a title simply by its having a higher rating that is a defensible approach (by which I mean "there is an argument for it" not "it is the correct approach").

      To respond to your specific comments -

      Children in Australia are very easily able to afford to purchase computer games -- at current prices, a game is likely to be around one to two months' pocket money (not counting additional money from a part-time job, which many 15-18 year olds have).

      Regarding BitTorrent, the speed with which a title can be downloaded (ie, the number of active downloaders) isn't actually relevant to availability. There's no part of classification law that says "it's better if you have to leave the download going overnight". The speed of the download isn't difficulty-to-obtain, it's just latency-to-obtain, and I doubt anyone would consider a few extra hours of waiting significant.

      In reality, the vast majority of items made illegally available to minors are purchased from shops in defiance of 18+ ratings: cigarettes and alcohol. The number of 16 year-olds who can get a PS3 to play an illegally downloaded game, while large, is much fewer than the number who can get cigarettes illegally from the local store. From an evidence-based perspective, if you want to prevent illegal access by minors, it really is physical availability from shops that should be targeted.

    • Just to counter with a devil's advocate...

      Parents and grandparents have the money. It's they who buy a big chunk of games for kids. They don't or aren't technically inclined to keep up-to-date with the violence levels of the multitude of games launched every year. Even with adult ratings, it's difficult to imagine the insane levels of graphic violence in today's games. It's worse if you consider it's active participation playing the bad guy enacting kill and torture scenarios rather than passive observation

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by HTH NE1 (675604)

      They don't have the R18+ rating yet. Instead the games are refused classification, and those games that are refused classification (RC) are banned.

      But so what if they introduce an R18+ rating? How is that going to differ from being banned?

      Compare the US's ESRB's "Ao" rating. Not only will vendors not carry it, all the current console makers say they won't allow them to be played on their systems. And so the publishers edit the games to get an M rating.

      Add a R18+ rating to Australia? There will be no net eff

  • by Sirusjr (1006183) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @12:59AM (#30440504)
    Its about time the Australian government realized that games are not just for kids anymore. Its no more objectionable to have a game that is made for adults than it is to have a movie made for adults, yet some countries think there is a difference. I doubt Aliens v. Predator has anything I haven't seen before in my games that would otherwise scandalize me as a well-adjusted adult. We have had extreme violence in movies for years, there is nothing significantly different in games other than increased cathartic release.
    • by williamhb (758070)

      Its about time the Australian government realized that games are not just for kids anymore. Its no more objectionable to have a game that is made for adults than it is to have a movie made for adults, yet some countries think there is a difference

      That is an interesting question, and one worthy of research. (Hopefully a kind replier will link some research papers.) However, as movies involve observing, while games involve participating, the scientific default position would be that there probably is a difference unless proved otherwise.

      • by quadrox (1174915)

        I don't think that that is the way science works. You don't get to declare a default positions based on intuition alone (the important word being alone).

        (note that this is only a minor nitpick about your use of the phrase "scientific default position which I think is incorrect)

        • by Capsaicin (412918)

          I don't think that that is the way science works. You don't get to declare a default positions based on intuition alone (the important word being alone).
          (note that this is only a minor nitpick about your use of the phrase "scientific default position which I think is incorrect)

          Indeed, where there is not already a strong body of evidence, the "scientific default position" (aka null hypothesis) would have to be there is no difference.

          IN OTHER NEWS ... Conroy announces Net Filtering legislation will intr

    • by Capsaicin (412918)

      We have had extreme violence in movies for years, there is nothing significantly different in games other than increased cathartic release.

      Can movies not cause "cathartic release?"

      I would anticipate that the counter argument would run something like, "the significant difference is that with movies viewers are passive audience members, whereas with games, players are entrained as actors."

    • by Samah (729132) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @02:08AM (#30440956)

      Its about time the Australian government realized that games are not just for kids anymore.

      This has nothing to do with the government's opinion as a whole.

      Any changes to the film and literature classification system must be approved unanimously by the Attorney-Generals. Michael Atkinson (AG of South Australia) is the only one against the introduction of an R18+ rating. His arguments are essentially "think of the children"-based. He fully understands the "games are not just for kids anymore" argument but is on a personal crusade to protect the country from anything he sees as bad for children. He will never change his opinion because it would make him look weak. Nothing will happen unless his ability to veto the decision is revoked.

      It almost makes me ashamed to live in the same state as him.

  • Democracy... (Score:4, Informative)

    by TapeCutter (624760) * on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @01:02AM (#30440524) Journal
    ...is when the people give one state AG the power to frustrate the wishes of all the other state AG's and the people who pay his wages.
    • by Jeeeb (1141117)


      It would be probably a lot less democratic to give the government the power to arbitrarily change the censorship laws without any checks and balances.
      • WTF, did you answer the wrong post? Where did I suggest giving the government abritray powers? If I suggested anything at all it was to remove the existing arbitrary power that a solitary AG can weild over the entire nation.
        • by Jeeeb (1141117)
          I did answer the right post although apparently I did forget to close an italic tag :/

          What I mean is that if you are going to have censorship laws (and all western nations do) the fact that one AG can frustrate any attempt to change the laws isn't a bad thing in itself. It's a very important check and balance. We'd be very thankful for the system if for example the changes being proposed were limits on press freedom.
  • by Psaakyrn (838406) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @01:07AM (#30440564)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Atkinson [wikipedia.org]

    This person has been the sole reason why Australia doesn't have a R18+ rating, and I highly doubt a discussion paper will change his mind.

    • He's unlikely to change his mind because he's stubborn and couldn't care less about his responsibilities as a politician (like doing things for the majority of the public rather than his own beliefs) but in March 2010 we'll be rid of him and the rest of the Rann Government... I hope.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Orteko (530397)

      Correct - public level consultation won't change anything.

      The commonwealth still needs to get the unanimous approval of all states and territories and Atkinson has already started that he will never support the introduction of an R18+ classification.

      He's made it an election promise and unfortunately it's almost certain that he will be re-elected (The seat of croydon is overwhelming in it's support for labor).

      http://www.gamers4croydon.org/ [gamers4croydon.org] are a group starting a party specifically to campaign on this issue -

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It doesn't matter if Michael Atkinson wins his seat of Croydon. It has to be a Labor government in South Australia or he will no longer be Attorney General.

        It will be a Liberal party member who becomes Attorney General, so I'd be lobbying them.

        • by tg123 (1409503) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @02:16AM (#30440994)

          It doesn't matter if Michael Atkinson wins his seat of Croydon. It has to be a Labor government in South Australia or he will no longer be Attorney General.

          It will be a Liberal party member who becomes Attorney General, so I'd be lobbying them.

          Oh God , Buddha various Deities etc

          you think
          no gay marriage , lock up the boat people Liberal party
          (Australia's right wing version of the Torys , Republicans )

          is going to to be any better?

          Liberal party really means no to fun.

          • by novakreo (598689)

            Oh God , Buddha various Deities etc you think no gay marriage , lock up the boat people Liberal party (Australia's right wing version of the Torys , Republicans ) is going to to be any better? Liberal party really means no to fun.

            Pop quiz: Name the major Australian political party, also beginning with L, which started the mandatory detention of illegal immigrants, and is also opposed to gay marriage?

            They're both as bad as each other.

          • by SQL Error (16383)

            Here's the really sad thing: They can't be worse.

    • While he won't admit it, he's the main reason why this study - which was due to be released quite a while ago - has taken until now to reach this stage.

      I expect he'll just ignore the public and continue to veto any changes.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Apparently the authors of paper believe that "Given the very low numbers of games that are affected by the absence of the classification category, the introduction of an R 18+ category is only an argument of principle." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_banned_video_games#Australia [wikipedia.org] I'm think that its a little more than an argument of principle Also they are potentially ignoring the large number of games that have been forced to reevaluate their content ex: Left for Dead 2
    • by srjh (1316705)

      Don't forget the games that are shoehorned into the fairly tame MA15+ rating, which can legally be bought by 15-year-olds at all times and those under 15 with parental supervision.

      Case in point - Modern Warfare 2. The mission where you run through an airport, killing civilians and counter-terrorist forces received a fair bit of attention - rightly or wrongly it was an artistic decision and adults should be able to play the game if they want to. Pretty much everywhere else in the world it has received an 18+

  • This is encouraging (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Cimexus (1355033) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @01:15AM (#30440620)

    Well I'm in two minds about this:

    1. No amount of public support and public consultation is going to change Michael Atkinson's mind over this issue. Even very strong public support (91% of Australian adults support an R18+ rating for games, according to polling). Since Mr. Atkinson holds the power of veto for changing this law, even if the Federal Government STRONGLY URGES the introduction of an R18+ rating, he doesn't actually HAVE to give in to their demands (although there may be political consequences if he doesn't).

    On the other hand...

    2. It is great that this issue is finally being taken seriously by the general public, and is being given headlines in the major newspapers around the country today. This lends legitimacy to what gamers have been saying for ages - that game classification IS a serious issue and gamers are not kids. It's been pushed from a niche topic, to the mainstream, and that is how laws will get changed. So I'm quite encouraged by this. Michael Atkinson is unlikely to continue vetoing a change to the law if 90% of the public are behind it AND the Federal Government strongly recommends a R18+ rating in an official report ... like any other poltician, there is a point at which Mr. Atkinson will just have to bite the bullet and tow the party line. Woot :)

    Mind you, the existing 'ban' (more accurately a lack of a classification preventing the sale of certain games ... you can still purchase them online and legally own and play them), isn't really a huge deal anyway. Ebay/overseas retailers are your friend.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @01:31AM (#30440746)

      you can still purchase them online and legally own and play them

      Not true. From this post [slashdot.org] in the last discussion on the topic:

      From the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 [comlaw.gov.au]

      10.99:

      level 2 prohibited material means:
      (a) a publication, film or computer game classified RC; or
      (b) an unclassified publication, film or computer game that contains material that would be likely to cause it to be classified RC.

      10.102:

      A person commits an offence if:
      (a) the person has possession or control of material; and
      (b) the material is level 2 prohibited material; and
      (c) the material is in a prescribed area.
      Penalty: 100 penalty units.

      • by Cimexus (1355033)

        Ah OK. You're right.

        But let's face it ... enforcement of that in a non-commercial context is zero. :)

        • Some people claim they've been fined for attempting to buy (i.e. "import") Left 4 Dead 2 online via a UK retailer. A friend of mine (*cough cough*) is still waiting for his copy after more than a month after it was shipped from the UK. Hopefully it's not delayed because it's being held up by fucking customs.

          It's absolutely ridiculous.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by novakreo (598689)

        A person commits an offence if: (a) the person has possession or control of material; and (b) the material is level 2 prohibited material; and (c) the material is in a prescribed area. Penalty: 100 penalty units.

        Did you even read what you posted? A person commits an offence only if the material is in a prescribed area. From the same document:

        prescribed area has the same meaning as in the Northern Territory National Emergency Response Act 2007.

        And in the Northern Territory National Emergency Response Act 2007:

        4 Prescribed areas
        (1) The areas in the Northern Territory covered by subsection (2) are prescribed areas.
        (2) The areas are:
        (a) an area covered by paragraph (a) of the definition of Aboriginal land in s

        • There may be other legislation making the possession or purchase of RC materials an offence, but the above only applies to specific areas of the Northern Territory subject to the emergency intervention, not the vast majority of the Australian population.

          So they're basically saying that Aborigines can't have them? That's hardly fair.

    • When all the other state gov's and the Fedral gov are aligned against him and they open a public enquiry, it's a forgone conclusion he will be overruled in one way or another.
      • by deniable (76198)
        More likely he'll be 'reshuffled' into another job or the party will lose the next election.
  • by craznar (710808) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @01:15AM (#30440624) Homepage
    ... we get R18+ games.

    Not a good trade in my opinion.

    PS: If you don't know what I'm talking about, see the next Australia story coming soon on Slashdot (except maybe for Australian users).
    • by Cimexus (1355033)

      Wouldn't worry too much about this ... elements within the Government can keep suggesting the filter all they want, but it has 0 public support, 0 industry support and their own trials have shown it to be technically infeasible. Like the last attempt, I doubt this will pass the Senate in any form other than a very watered down form (maybe a simple DNS blacklist covering a few dozen sites ... which frankly isn't too bad because it doesn't slow down the net, doesn't prevent you getting around it, and you can

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TapeCutter (624760) *
      Yeah right, I have been hearing that for over a decade now, I will believe it when I see it. The filter is political theater to buy the votes of wacko independent senators. The Libs and Labor take turns at being good cop or bad cop.

      Even Mr. 2% has gone cold on the idea since the web sites of his anti-abortion financiers somehow made it on to the propsed blacklist. In other words Mr 2% has been nicely shot down by a classical ad-absurdium argument. However that won't stop some other idiot doing the same t
      • PS: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by TapeCutter (624760) *
        If you are about to point to Labor's pre-election policy paper you will note that the compulsory filter mentioned in it only applies to government computers (ie: schools, libraries, etc).
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Johnno74 (252399)

          If you doubt me then point to where Conroy has said a compulsory filter is a good idea.

          Ahem. [theage.com.au]

          "The Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, said today he would introduce legislation just before next year's elections to force ISPs to block a blacklist of "refused classification" (RC) websites for all Australian internet users."

          That conclusive enough for you? :(

          • If you doubt me then point to where Conroy has said a compulsory filter is a good idea.

            Ahem. [theage.com.au]

            "The Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, said today he would introduce legislation just before next year's elections to force ISPs to block a blacklist of "refused classification" (RC) websites for all Australian internet users."

            That conclusive enough for you? :(

            No, where does he say a mandatory filter is a good idea? He can introduce whatever he likes, he knows as well as everyone else it's not going to be passed by the senate.

            The reason he is leaving it until just before the election is that it has alresy been rejected once by the senate, if it were to be rejected again then it becomes a double dissolution trigger. I'm sure as hell they don't want that outcome.

      • No kid should be allowed to graduate without being able to quote every single episode word for word.

        Know this series and all of politics will make sense.

        Oh, and I think it is telling that some US citizens say that "the powers that be" is the US version of Yes Minister. Says it all for the Americans really. To bad. Ah well, what do you expect from colonists. We shipped them off for a reason. The criminals to Australia and the religious freaks to the US. Wonder which set of natives got screwed worse.

  • From the discussion paper [ag.gov.au]: "An R 18+ for computer games would exacerbate problems associated with access to high level material in Indigenous communities and by other non-English speaking people."

    Apparently classification is racially insensitive, but only for computer games.

    • by Cimexus (1355033)

      Yeah that one is bizarre. People from non-English speaking backgrounds can't understand the classification labels/stickers? That doesn't seem to be a problem for movies/videos/books/any other classified material...

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        I think they're just trying to push racial sensitivity buttons, in their crazy clumsy way. Sad that it's working.

        As a gamer, I really can't stand being beaten by Helen Lovejoy.

    • by deek (22697)

      Read the discussion paper.

      Apparently, a study found that many indigenous families in the Northern Territory left high level media easily accessible to children. Most often because the parents didn't understand the classification level, and the responsibilities entailed by law. This argument is saying that having R18+ games would aggravate problems due to this.

      I don't think that argument works when concerning games though. You need a decent level of education to be able to use computer games, and even con

  • by sr180 (700526) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @01:28AM (#30440714) Journal

    The Federal Government plans to implement mandatory ISP filtering for "refused classification" websites, it was . [dbcde.gov.au]

    The government also released the report on the ISP filtering pilot, which was provided to the government by Enex Testlab in October, detailing the results of the blocking accuracy and performance of the filters.

    Senator Conroy announced the new initiatives in a curiously scheduled press conference, with journalists only being notified 90 minutes prior to the start of proceedings.

    "The Government will introduce legislative amendments to the Broadcasting Services Act to require all ISPs to block RC-rated material hosted on overseas servers", said the announcement.

    "RC-rated material includes child sex abuse content, bestiality, sexual violence including rape, and the detailed instruction of crime or drug use.

    "The report into the pilot trial of ISP-level filtering demonstrates that blocking RC-rated material can be done with 100% accuracy and negligible impact on internet speed", said Conroy.

    Conroy acknowledged that the filter would only block "inadvertent" exposure to R/C content, and the pilot report bluntly states that any technically competent user could circumvent the filtering.

    The report also found that the filters on average "over-blocked" 3.4% of sites that were not intended to be filtered, and that high volume sites would likely cause the filters to fail.

    Initial reactions to the pilot report have been mixed, with participating ISPs praising the results (in prepared press releases), while others such as Electronic Frontiers Australia stating that it "brings more questions than answers".

    The DBCDE website is unavailable due to demand for the report, which we have mirrored here [whirlpool.net.au].

    • by Barny (103770)

      "RC-rated material includes child sex abuse content, bestiality, sexual violence including rape, and the detailed instruction of crime or drug use.

      Holy fuck are they going to be busy, the job market for geeks with experience surfing 4chan is looking up at last :)

    • by deniable (76198)

      The DBCDE website is unavailable due to demand for the report, which we have mirrored here [whirlpool.net.au].

      We've slashdotted a federal department. From what I've seen of their emails, they need some people who know about computers and the Internet.

    • RC-rated material includes child sex abuse content

      Think of the children, but not like that you pervert, so OK

      bestiality

      Think of the animals, but not like that you pervert, so OK

      sexual violence including rape

      Only sexual violence? Is it worse than all the other kinds, or are the other kinds good for us? Should polite society pretend that violence is all guns and fistfights?

      and the detailed instruction of crime or drug use

      This is were it goes from protecting people from freaks with questionable sexual issues (why is always about the sex?!) to restricting access to information. Too far, Australia. Too far.

  • by definate (876684) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @01:30AM (#30440736)

    Hooray, we go forward in one direction and backwards in another direction.

    Today it was announced that the report on mandatory web filtering was a success, and so the government will be going ahead with the implementation of the Great Firewall of China.

    http://whirlpool.net.au/news/?id=1852 [whirlpool.net.au]

    • I don't think it's going to make it through the senate since the Liberal and National parties are set to block everything they can. I think it will be used as a grubby political tool to make the opposition look as if they are standing up for child molesters in an election year and dispel the credibility they have been trying to build with religeous lobby groups. Either way it's bad in the long run.
      • by definate (876684)

        Yeah, I hope it's something like that, is that would definitely be the lesser of two evils.

      • Not related TFA, but most insightful comment I've read about the net filtering all day.

      • by xixax (44677)

        OTOH, why would the opposition bother opposing this?

        • by dbIII (701233)
          They just opposed their own ETS policy thrown back at them as a wedge tactic. They'll oppose it simply becuase the government is proposing it and they'll do it badly instead of bringing up the reasons as to why it should be opposed (doesn't work, better to go after criminals instead of hiding evidence, etc, etc). It will create furthur fragmentation among a rabble which is not the big deal - the problem is the debate will be escalated so that anyone that opposes this draconian rubbish is going to be made
  • That fuckwit Michael Atkinson has made it very clear that as long as he holds office he will not allow such a sane thing to come to pass.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      We need to encourage gamers to move en masse into his electorate, so we can vote him out. Then they can all move to Conroy's electorate and vote him out. Given enough gamers and a couple of election cycles, we could play Whack-A-Mole until we clear out all the deadweight Christian nutters from all levels of government!

      (Plus, the constant moving and buying of properties will do wonders for the local economies. People will start trying to put fake Christians in power just to get gamers moving to their areas t

  • Probably the most shocking revelation about Australia for your average international Media Studies student is the deep reach censorship has in this country. I had heard news of an overregulated Australia before travelling to Melbourne, but those reports seemed like exaggeration. Having lived for a few months down under, overwhelming evidence defeats disbelief and sheer astonishment settles in. Why does a society that praises itself so highly for its openness, progressive achievements and multiculturalism al

    • There is also an underlying problem with his argument: the way he presents the problem, in function of the ‘risk’, cleverly plants the assumption that video games are ‘damaging’ in a way that makes it seem beyond debate.

      Yes, video games are damaging.

      One of the problems with studies of the matter is that people often confuse the issue. They compare violent video games against non-violent ones, or they compare violent video games against a lack of video games, and then they try to make some conclusion related to game content.

      It's not the content!

      When you spend every free moment of your teen years on a video game addiction, you're messing up your mind. You're missing out on real face-to-face human interaction, from which you

      • by vadim_t (324782)

        You can screw up your life with pretty much anything if you try.

        You could destroy your life with astronomy for instance by buying too much expensive equipment and staying up until 4 AM to look at pretty stuff in the sky, then getting fired for falling asleep at work. Really everything can be done to excess.

        Back when I was younger it happened quite often that I would be a complete zombie at school and not understand anything, because I decided LOTR was just too interesting and spent until 5 AM with the book

      • When you spend every free moment of your teen years on a video game addiction, you're messing up your mind.

        It's the highlighted part that is damaging, not games in and of themselves. You can also spend every free moment watching TV. Or reading books. Or pumping iron.

        • by r00t (33219)

          You can also spend every free moment watching TV. Or reading books. Or pumping iron.

          Of those, only TV is purposely calculated to keep you there forever.

          Yep, TV is pretty bad. It doesn't seem to be as effective as video games though. It's like the difference between pot and meth. Games are a more serious problem than TV, but either can mess you up.

          FWIW, my home has no TV for this reason.

  • "Due to the cooperative nature of the Scheme, any major changes to classification policy, such as the introduction of an R 18+ classification for computer games, must be unanimously agreed by Commonwealth, State and Territory Censorship Ministers."

    Atkinson will stop it, don't bother getting your hopes up, it's pointless.

  • by shadowbearer (554144) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @01:56AM (#30440894) Homepage Journal

        When does this shit stop?

        Most human beings reach sexual maturity - that is, the age where their hormones are in full swing - somewhere between the ages of 8 and 14 as measured by earth's orbit around the sun.

      At that point they are capable of producing offspring. At that point, their bodies have entered into the physical stages where producing offspring is a *physical imperative* - ie, the hormones that produce the desire to mate are in full swing.

      Now this seems to have worked for hundreds of thousands, if not millions of years. After all, we are still around as a species. This is all very well established scientific biological, and realistic, fact.

      So... this whole concept of offspring not being able to view other members of their species sans clothing, or in sexual congress, or to engage in said sexual congress themselves, surely must be a societal influence. Am I correct so far?

      If so, then if one takes the view of many of those who feel that those members of society younger than a certain age (it differs in various societies, but let's take 18 orbits of the earth about it's star as the number here, because it's what's being bandied about) aren't "ready" to procreate, aren't "ready" to raise those offspring to be productive members of said society, where does the fault lie? Does it lie with the offspring having offspring, or a failure of the society to teach those humans how to raise their own offspring before and during the time when they become physically capable, indeed even when their bodies demand, that they produce offspring?

      Put more simply, maybe instead of telling kids they can't have sex, maybe we as a society should be teaching them *before* puberty what it all means, that they will experience it, and when they do, to guide them thru the process, rather than telling them "Sorry, no, you can't do that. Because we say so."

      Now, wait a minute. One of the driving beliefs amongst many of those in many societies which restrict the ages at which young human beings can procreate is a belief in a supernatural deity who, in the words of their own creed, once said "be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the earth". Yet the same holders of that belief also tend to be in the forefront of those who tell young human beings that they cannot procreate, until they have reached some arbitrarily decided "age of reason"; which with some of them seems to be any age younger than they are, regardless of the age they have reached.

        Not only that, but many members of that society seem to have reached the conclusion that viewing an unclothed member of their own species seems to fall within some concept called "evil" - which is apparently bad - and which makes one wonder how those members of the species seem to reproduce themselves in such great numbers. Perhaps they do it in the dark. ...

      Does anyone else ever wonder whether or not human society is becoming more and more irrational? Nevermind, redundant question ;)

    SB

     

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by shadowbearer (554144)

      In case anyone wonders when it was I last made love, it was about half an hour ago, and the above was posted mostly from her comments about the silly hypocrisy of society's, particularly religious society's, ideas about kids looking at naked bodies, whether directly or thru pictures. As she says "we aren't test tube babies, let's drop the stupid bullshit and get on with the business of making kids who think for themselves." She is much more eloquent than I.

      Middle age does sometimes confer s

    • But you can't hold a whole belief system responsible for the behavior of a few, sick twisted individuals. For if you do, then shouldn't we blame the whole system of religion? And if the whole religion system is guilty, then isn't this an indictment of our educational institutions in general? I put it to you, Shadowbearer - isn't this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do whatever you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America.
    • I don't know about you guys, but I plan to talk about sex with my kids when they reach puberty. Instead of forbidding them it makes much more sense to let them know what it is and that they aren't in a hurry. Porn is also quite OK as far as I'm concerned, as long as the consumer realizes it's a fantasy.

      But there are very good reasons why society has settled at the 18/20 mark for "adulthood". There are heavy neurological changes occurring in your brain from around 12 to around 25. Even if we can physically p

    • ... you're addressing the wrong thing. Human beings are able to procreate early, but their actually mental maturity isn't reached until sometime between the ages of 18 and 21, when the brain finally matures. The brain takes longest to develop. The concept is that humans need to be guided responsibly through most of this process. Left to their own devices, we basically end up with lord of the flies or beavis and butthead or something even worse.

      This is not a pro "save the children, shield them from nudit

      •   Hmm. Perhaps the brain matures somewhere in that time - I still have my doubts about that - but "mental maturity"? I know people my age who still haven't matured mentally... ;)

        SB

    • by brkello (642429)
      I get what you are saying. But when you really look at how our society is set up, we can't provide for ourselves and a child at that age. It isn't until after high school that we are truly able to enter the work force. I don't know many 8-14 year olds that could handle having a child without the help from their parents.

      As far as nudity goes, in the U.S., our puritanical roots make sure that we are a bit prude in that sense. It is silly by all rational thought, but no one said religions was ever rationa
  • by Xaduurv (1685700) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @02:12AM (#30440974)
    The state of Queensland has a Parliamentary E-Petition [qld.gov.au] going that will hopefully result in an R18+ rating for the state. State law in classification can overrule federal law. WIN!
    • by deniable (76198)
      That'll screw with people. It used to be that 'Banned in Queensland' was a sure fire winner. Bad Taste, Peter Jackson's first film, even has it on the DVD cover.
  • And just as the federal govt has announced the 'success' of its internet filter trial and has plans to put it before senate to enact it into law. Fail much?
    • That's no coincidence. They intentionally got the tech news sites churning with reports of the R18+ classification to momentarily distract them from the big internet censorship bomb.
  • Come on teenagers are having sex, drinking and smoking tobaco/pot dispite any regulations to the contrary. Set age boundary more realistically and you may see some respect for this and other laws.

    • Eheh (Score:3, Insightful)

      Because people in Holland stopped speeding when the speed limit was raised to 120. Or people never speed in Germany where is parts where is makes sense, there is no speed limit.

      Pot is legal in Holland, so people don't do hard-drugs.

      People will break whatever laws there are, even the law of no-laws (which would be a law therefor against its own law).

      I see many arguments against this idiotic ban, but respect for the law ain't one of them.

      • by nedlohs (1335013)

        Does "some" really mean "complete" where you are from?

      • by Ash-Fox (726320)

        Pot is legal in Holland, so people don't do hard-drugs.

        No, it isn't legal. Just because it isn't enforced doesn't make it legal.

      • by iamacat (583406)

        Do you have any evidence that these laws didn't work as intended? Some people will create problems no matter what, but public policy shouldn't be based on anecdotes.

  • If there are mature people in Aus, it make sense to able productions intended for mature people (>18). Also, what is the logic of banning somethin unclassified by default? fans production, personal texts and games.. the world don't revolve around Aus, so there are more games that will never ask for unclassification, than games classified. All these flash games, indie games, and open source games will pretty much ignore a classification board. Maybe the board sould work the other way, ban things that ar

  • by Hatta (162192)

    Is Australia just now getting the Atari Jaguar?

If a thing's worth having, it's worth cheating for. -- W.C. Fields

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