Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Australia Censorship Games

Legislation For 18+ Games Hits Australian Parliament 45

Posted by Soulskill
from the australian-for-fun dept.
angry tapir writes "Legislation to pave the way for an R18+ (adults only) classification of video games has just been introduced into the Australian parliament by the minister for home affairs. The state and territories will still have to pass complementary legislation, however. Currently the highest rating for a game in Australia is MA15+, with games that didn't meet the criteria being refused classification, leading to content being gutted prior to release or games just not being released. The legislation marks a victory for a long campaign by gamers (notably lobby group Grow Up Australia). The current legislation, which will take effect on January 1 next year providing it makes it through the lower and upper houses, merely introduces an R18+ classification, falling short of the complete classification overhaul proposed by the Australian Law Reform Commission."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Legislation For 18+ Games Hits Australian Parliament

Comments Filter:
  • by crutchy (1949900) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @03:27AM (#39042053)
    the tabletop dancers in duke nukem can finally be naked
  • Free marketing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by muttoj (572791) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @03:29AM (#39042057)
    I do not know how it works in Australia, but I always think that making something illegal is the best way to promote it as something fun. A R18+ rating only places a game in the cool sector.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @03:40AM (#39042101)

      As a student in neighboring New Zealand we used to routinely seek out material in the coveted "banned in Australia" category.

    • Re:Free marketing (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Electricity Likes Me (1098643) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @03:42AM (#39042105)

      Any game which has to be R18+ is presently completely illegal in Australia.

      Ones which don't have to be are shoehorned inappropriately into the M15+ classification.

      This is a whole section of obviously good legal reform which has been held up by special interest groups for over a decade because the general public just doesn't care (changing now since the average gamer age is approaching 30, to bad those in power tend to be 50-60).

      Of course if I had my way, it would be illegal to "ban" anything that didn't take actual illegal activity to produce, and replaced with guidelines on distribution and public display.

      • Re:Free marketing (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mjwx (966435) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @04:03AM (#39042151)

        This is a whole section of obviously good legal reform which has been held up by special interest groups for over a decade because the general public just doesn't care (changing now since the average gamer age is approaching 30, to bad those in power tend to be 50-60).

        This,

        The majority of Australians support R18+ for games, it's a tiny minority who oppose it (most notably Christian lobby groups). Unfortunately it's a tiny minority that was owed political favours. Since then the roadblock, Michael Atkinson was removed, punished first by voters, then by his own party as he resigned from the front bench. The Attorney Generals have approved it and it's going before parliament.

      • by Talderas (1212466)

        Of course if I had my way, it would be illegal to "ban" anything that didn't take actual illegal activity to produce, and replaced with guidelines on distribution and public display.

        Isn't making something illegal, regardless of if it is an item or activity, in essence banning it?

    • Re:Free marketing (Score:5, Informative)

      by Cimexus (1355033) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @04:32AM (#39042241)

      True, but it should be understood that it was not actually ~illegal~ to own or play a 'refused classification' game previously in Australia in most States (WA being the notable exception). It was merely illegal for a store to SELL the game. Or more accurately, the law says that all media sold to the public in Australia must have a classification, so obviously if something doesn't have one/is refused classification, they can't sell it. And due to some stupidness arising from the early 90s when the classification scheme for computer games was first developed, the ratings only topped out at MA15+ (whereas they go up to R or X for other media). After all, only kids play these new-fangled computer game things right?

      I live in Australia, but own and play, perfectly legally, several games that are were refused classification in Australia. I bought these in person while travelling overseas in the past, or ordered them from an overseas website. And in my jurisdiction at least (the ACT) I'm not doing anything wrong. The only thing I couldn't do is set up a retail company and sell them.

      Getting a proper R18+ rating for games is the culmination of a pretty long fight by gamers and retailers. Assuming it gets passed by Parliament (it should), this is great news. (Mind you, even if R18+ games start appearing on shelves here, I'll still buy them from overseas anyway since it is much cheaper!)

      • by vodevil (856500)
        I'm wondering if there's a loophole to get around it by not selling the actual game, but maybe bundling it with a guide book or audio cd from the game and get the game for free.
        • by mab (17941)
          Material which are refused classification are put on the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service list of prohibited items. Any copies of these games found at the border will be seized, and its recipient, depending on the number of copies being imported may receive up to A$110,000 in fines
      • by mab (17941)
        But it's illegal to import refused classification games in to Australia
  • by Rik Rohl (1399705) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @04:42AM (#39042281)

    Now watch the freak conservative 'family' organisations mount a media blitz that results in this getting killed.

  • by gweihir (88907) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @05:29AM (#39042449)

    Lets face it, in a modern society there are things that are dangerous for kids but should be allowed for adults. Some video games qualify. The old regulation was basically an invitation for censorship. With the 18+ rating, censorship becomes quite difficult.

  • Change anything? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wisnoskij (1206448) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @09:38AM (#39043551) Homepage

    Will this law change anything though?
    Right now, they have to have 18+ games shipped to them or order online. In countries where 18+ is completely legal, we do the same.

    In Canada and the US, for example, 18+ games are completely legal (no special restrictions as far as I know). But that does not mean that a single brick and mortar store has anything to do with them. While we were able to convince the government that games are the same as movies, parents continue to think otherwise.

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." -- Albert Einstein

Working...