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Australia Censorship Government Games

Australia Reveals R18+ Video Game Guidelines 67

Posted by timothy
from the john-rau-has-julian-assange-hair dept.
RagingMaxx writes "Is Australia finally ready to implement a video game rating system that allows for classification of adult games? Draft guidelines have been released by the federal government which allow 'virtually no restrictions on the treatment of themes,' and violence in games 'except where it offends against the standards of morality, decency and propriety.' Last month, South Australian Attorney General John Rau said that the state was finally ready to adopt the long-proposed R18+ adult rating for games, but only if the lower MA15+ rating is eliminated and all games in the category pushed into the new, higher rating. However, this new draft has both the R18+ and MA15+ ratings available together."
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Australia Reveals R18+ Video Game Guidelines

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  • I have to admit, I'm a little bit excited to see our country move forward with this. However, I will maintain a healthy level of trepidation until it actually passes.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Same.
      Even though I live in NZ and we already have an R18 rating, distributors are lazy and just send us the edited version they send to Australia.
      They did with GTA4 and Witcher 2 (that I know of).

    • Re:Finally! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Freaky Spook (811861) on Thursday May 26, 2011 @07:31PM (#36258306)
      The Australian Bishops Conference have supported the draft which is a good thing.
      http://www.kotaku.com.au/2011/05/australian-catholic-bishops-welcomes-the-draft-r18-guidelines/ [kotaku.com.au]

      The ACL on the other hand are opposing it and going to fight it.
      http://australianchristianlobby.org.au/2011/05/mr-draft-r18-computer-game-guidelines-fail-families/ [australian...bby.org.au]

      I hope more Christian groups and associations speak up with their views on the R18 classification to illustrate that Jim Wallace & his followers are not the moderate Christian voice in Australia. It's so painful to see them constantly given media attention for trying to push the government to enforce their moral agenda on the country.
    • by donaldm (919619)

      I have to admit, I'm a little bit excited to see our country move forward with this. However, I will maintain a healthy level of trepidation until it actually passes.

      I agree, I am not holding my breath on this until the classification passes.

      I found it rather stupid that video game classifications did not have the similar Video classifications, those being, G for "General Exhibition", PG "Parental Guidance", M, for "Mature Audiences"; and R18+ "Restricted to 18 and above". The highest Game classification is MA15+ which IMHO is stupid. For more details see here [wikipedia.org]. The X18+ classification for film is interesting especially since kids can view pornography on-line.

      Basic

      • The X18+ classification for film is interesting especially since kids can view pornography on-line.

        Have you so quickly forgotten the Great Filter of Australia this very same government was planning, not that long ago? Don't tempt them.

        Basically all these classifications still don't absolve parents from policing what their child can and cannot watch although reasonable ratings do help parents make informed decisions but unfortunately many parents appear to distance themselves from parenting preferring to let Government and so called moral groups dictate that.

        Indeed, and it would be interesting to see what impact this has on the retailers. You won't find the big retailers stocking R18+ movies, so will they take the R18+ games off their shelves? How about downloadable games, which would be legally accessible but practically unenforceable?

        I'm not saying an R rating for games shouldn't happen, but you can imagine just what kind of

      • by Raenex (947668)

        Basically all these classifications still don't absolve parents from policing what their child can and cannot watch although reasonable ratings do help parents make informed decisions but unfortunately many parents appear to distance themselves from parenting preferring to let Government and so called moral groups dictate that.

        I'm not a parent, but I was a kid, and there's only so much you can do to prevent your kid from seeing things you don't want them to see.

        I say this not to endorse censorship (I'm completely against it), but to say I understand they parents concerns. However, tough luck. I value freedom more than some naive notion that you can shield your child from the realities of the world. Best just to teach them how to deal with it.

  • What will the US and European game exporting juggernauts of industry and the source of our last remaining exports do now!? War with Australia is the only way forward! Why couldn't you guys just let it be? ... oh well just gotta find my flak jacket now brb.
  • by BatGnat (1568391) on Thursday May 26, 2011 @06:44PM (#36257944)

    About Time....

    it has been ridiculous not having one...

  • Really, why should we get rid of MA15+? The end result would be that we get a few extra games and other than that the system is the same - just that what was formerly restricted (at least in theory) to 15 year olds would be restricted to 18 year olds instead.

    I can't really say it surprises me though. This was covered in the news a while ago, and they were pushing it on the "think of the children" front - boosting everything with violence up into R18+ to supposedly keep it out of the hands of minors
    • by sincewhen (640526)

      But this will turn out to be another example of unintended consequences.

      16 year old who has been playing Call of Battle 1 & 2, rated 15+ will now have to beg parents to buy Call of Battle 3 which is rated R18+ even though the content is the same.
      Parents will realise 18+ rating is to be ignored, and when Gory Psycho Killer comes out 18+ will also buy it for him, even though the warning of "strong adult themes" should be heeded in this case.

      So I would argue that, not having a MA15+ category will actually

      • Parents will realise 18+ rating is to be ignored, and when Gory Psycho Killer comes out 18+ will also buy it for him, even

        However the draft poposal states

        Computer games will be refused classification if they include or contain any of the following:

        CRIME OR VIOLENCE
        Detailed instruction or promotion in matters of crime or violence.

        The promotion or provision of instruction in paedophile activity.

        Descriptions or depictions of child sexual abuse or any other exploitative or offensive
        descriptions or depictions involving a person who is, or appears to be, a child under 18 years.

        Gratuitous, exploitative or offensive depictions of:

        (i) violence with a very high degree of impact or which are excessively frequent,
        prolonged or detailed;
        (ii) cruelty or real violence which are very detailed or which have a high impact;
        (iii) sexual violence.

        Sexual violence related to incentives and rewards.

        SEX
        Depictions of practices such as bestiality.

        Gratuitous, exploitative or offensive depictions of:

        (i) activity accompanied by fetishes or practices which are offensive or abhorrent;
        (ii) incest fantasies or other fantasies which are offensive or abhorrent.

        DRUG USE
        Detailed instruction in the use of proscribed drugs.

        Material promoting or encouraging proscribed drug use.
        As a general rule, computer games will also be Refused Classification if they contain:
        (i) drug use related to incentives or rewards;
        (ii) interactive drug use which is detailed and realistic.

        Mafia games, drugg runner games, and rape games might not get a RC status, which will be be the ultimate "must have" label for those people searching the limits,

        If i read this, SAW 3D, the movie might be allowed, but SAW 3d the game might be RC (and RC means normal stores will not carry this. ). (disclaimer, i did not see saw, but i suppose it scores very high on the violence with high impact )

        =====================

        Does this reflect austrlian morality as in normal socialty? (c

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This guideline offends my morality, decency and propriety.

    With vauge crap like that why even have a rule...

    • by snookums (48954) on Thursday May 26, 2011 @08:15PM (#36258616)

      This guideline offends my morality, decency and propriety.

      With vauge crap like that why even have a rule...

      Basically it's worded like this to bring it in line with the laws applying to other media. Bear in mind that government censorship of non-political speech is constitutionally legal in Australia, and applied to all commercially distributed media and some personal imports.

      Wording the law like this is actually a good idea (if we have to have censorship at all), because it allows for the fluctuating standards of society. For example, the film Last Tango in Paris was originally "banned" (refused classification) in Australia because depicting two strangers having a sexual relationship without knowing each other's names or having any other social connection was considered morally reprehensible (this despite the fact that the film doesn't condone or glorify this in any way). In the 90s, the film was finally classified and distributed for public screening because the original arguments no longer represented the majority view of morality in Australian society.

    • by black3d (1648913)

      "Vauge [sic] crap" like that is how almost every country words their determination. Laws don't go through and explicitely list every act that is prohibited, in detail, so as to make an ultimate, initial determination. They instead list broad categories that are excluded (eg, bestiality) and always leave a clause for morally objectionable material - a determination of which can be made on a case by case basis.

  • by bronney (638318) on Thursday May 26, 2011 @08:38PM (#36258752) Homepage

    Huh? Yay? Nay?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Bout freakin' time too. Why should consenting intelligent adults have descisions about what games are banned from release in Australia and what they can and can't play made for them by a nanny government. Obviously the rest of the world can make that descision for themselves. Not having the rating and banning the games instead is like hiding your head in the sand. Even kids can still download or buy the banned games from overseas. at least parents can now be made aware of the titles that are rated unsuitab

  • DNF (Score:5, Funny)

    by sapphire wyvern (1153271) on Thursday May 26, 2011 @09:13PM (#36258934)

    Ah, it all becomes clear. The Duke Nukem Forever release has just been waiting until Australia gets an R18+ rating!

  • by HalAtWork (926717) on Thursday May 26, 2011 @09:28PM (#36259052)
    It sounds like MA15+ and R18+ are pretty much the same, they're just trying to raise the age bracket under the guise of being more permissive. The language used makes it seem like they can actually be more restrictive.
    • If you read/compare the guidelines they're completely different.

      No restriction on themes
      Things that are completely permitted: Language, Drug Use, Nudity
      Sex can now be simulated.

      What I am interested in is that RC doesn't seem to have changed and would allow the classification board to block content on the same merits they used to.
  • by taucross (1330311)
    I for one welcome this. If there was anything missing from video games, it was violence. Whatever sucks about gaming now can be fixed with more violence. Sometimes when I look at the news I think that there's not enough violence, so I'm glad that video games in Australia can now fill that gap. For violence, I mean.
    • In all seriousness yes, we need some more violent games here. Letting off steam by playing some Mortal Kombat would be great.

      Unfortunately we can't do that here in Australia as that game, along with many others has been banned by censors who have played the game and determined that anyone who plays it will become insane (I guess they might have a point in a way).

  • John Rau, however, is not.

  • by timbo234 (833667) on Friday May 27, 2011 @01:57AM (#36260124) Journal

    The real solution to this is to simply abolish the classification board on it's current form. Instead replace it with a voluntary games classification system run by industry, with regular audits by a government body to ensure industry is complying by it's own rules.

    Oh and keep it at the federal level, I'm sick of some dickhead ex-lawyer hicks at the state level blocking everything that doesn't agree with their mates in the Christian lobby.

  • So... murder is accepted by the general populace to be moral and decent now? Really, how much worse can you get than murder and destruction? I don't understand the point of that little exception (especially since they're just games anyway).

    • by Kjella (173770)

      Obviously there's a big gap between reality and fantasy. And even in fantasy there's a good gap between the "I'm seeing a drama about a person being killed" as opposed to "I'm playing an FPS and just shot two guys".To murder is not the same as watching a murder which is not the same as pretending to murder someone.

    • What I don't understand is why murder is generally fine for American/Australian/Canadian audiences, but rape is somehow not.

      Even consensual sex is considered much, much worse than murder. Suggesting polygamy or drugs? That's even worse! I find that very disturbing.

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