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Australia Censorship Games Politics

Bill Introduced To Ban Sale of MA15+ Games To Anyone Under 18 in SA 161

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the did-i-say-fifteen-i-meant-eighteen dept.
dotarray writes "The introduction of an R18+ rating for video games into Australia has been designed to bring game classification in line with the current system in place for films and other media. One state, however, would like to widen that gap." This is being billed (by John Rau's office) as a saner approach than eliminating the MA15+ rating entirely.
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Bill Introduced To Ban Sale of MA15+ Games To Anyone Under 18 in SA

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  • by bonch (38532) * on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @12:06AM (#39556583)

    Why is there still political uproar over games after all these years? It may have been understandable in the mid-1990s when Doom and Mortal Kombat were portraying a level of violence people hadn't seen in games before in such detail, but that time has passed without effect, and the attention given to games today feels disproportionate. It's just an easy, uncontroversial issue for politicians to pick up in order to appeal to family-first voters.

    • by stms (1132653)

      I'm not saying I believe this, correlation is not causation. But, you could argue that spikes in school shootings are caused by violent video games. Columbine the first highly publicized school shooting happend in 1999 shortly after violent video games became main stream. That could easily be cited as the effect you claim non-existant.

    • by mwvdlee (775178)

      An average politician is still of an age where they have no first-hand experience with games.
      Art, music, film and now games; it has always been this way and, regretably, will probably continue to be so in the future.
      The unenlightened masses of our generation will blame future media for whatever bad happens to the youth then.
      A society rarely learns from it's mistakes. As they say; individuals are smart, people are stupid.
      Thanks $deity I'm not cynical ;)

    • Why shouldn't games have this uproar? Movies, music, books and comics/strips/manga have had and often continue to have the same response. Rap anyone? Strips (European comics) were considered to rot the minds of youths (only the good ones) before they became accepted as an art in their own right (only the boring ones).

      Doom and Mortal combat had their opposition but that doesn't mean that was done and over with. By that logic, after people stopped having a heart attack of Elvis Presley's hip movements, all ot

      • I disagree. Opposing ratings doesn't impact the behavior of the "raters".

        Ratings are a means to an end, (in this case controlling access to a game) not an end itself.

        Now, if you want to make the case that opposing ratings keeps meddlesome busybodies from minding other people's business, then I can see your point :)

      • by Qzukk (229616)

        Why shouldn't games have this uproar

        Games had the uproar. Last century.

        The problem is that unlike comics, rock and roll and talkies, nothing else has come along to distract the ragers from video games.

    • Human nature. We tend to overlook what is common to us and villainize what is different. Politics, religion, what drugs get outlawed, etc. The same too for mediums such as this.

      Socrates, allegedly since we only have Plato's writings to go on about him here, felt writing was dangerous thing. Then you had books, people who thought plays were immoral, television, the Internet, so forth.

      As XKCD made a comic about, there are now kids who were blowing their NES cartridges (the memories...) who are now doctors

    • by mug funky (910186)

      it's a welcome distraction from the woeful state of Australian politics.

      basically, things are very good and they need SOMETHING to argue about.

      better this than climate change - maybe they can get on with things now that they have games and boat people and other inconsequential things to argue about.

      don't get me wrong - this is bullshit, but it's easy enough to obtain the gaming content you desire without verifying your age (seriously, is anyone going to ID you at EB?).

      when politics infects any issue at all,

    • It does not matter how much violence is in these games because the people fighting against them never play them in the first place.

    • When ever they talk about school shootings they always seem to go back to screen shots of doom and Mortal Kombat to point out the problem.

      However MA15+ Make good business sense.
      Kids at the age where they can start working at least part time and still living with their parents. = Kids with money who wants to spend it on recreation
  • by Mattygfunk1 (596840) * on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @12:08AM (#39556595)
    So most of us realize prohibition doesn't work, so as a non-gamer, I'm curious as top how the l33t get around the ban.

    Is there a black market for R18+ games? Can you just torrent them?

    Surely Aussies don't just accept that the games are censored.

    • by UgLyPuNk (1166251) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @12:12AM (#39556609)
      you hop on the Internet and order them from another State, South Australia is like, California or Colorado. That or we order them from another Asian nation, where we pay half the price for them. as In Australia game prices are stupid high.
      • If you want to, say, play left 4 dead 2 online on xbox, can you just buy a copy from one of those asian nations and go online with them? Australia having it's own region codes, you couldn't play it on an australian xbox, and couldn't play an asian version on an asian console in australia?
        • by bloodhawk (813939)
          Most xbox games aren't actually region locked. For instance I buy many of my games from the US/Asia and sometimes the UK and I play them all happily on my Xbox in Australia. Some of the online content for games though is locked to specific regions (well at least they don't publish the content into regions where the game is supposedly not available).
        • Afaict consoles have traditionally used a three region system based on TV standards (NTSC/PAL/NTSC-J) which put australia in the same regoin as europe and most of asia. Afaict the xbox 360 still uses this system. The PS3 has it's own region system with more regions (not sure of the full list).

          Reports i've seen online say that most xbox 360 and PS3 games are not actually region locked but there may be issues arround online play that vary by game and you are likely to have trouble purchasing DLC.

          Note: all thi

        • Germany banned Wolfenstein 3D. I went on an exchange to Germany when I was a teenager and asked the people I was saying with if they'd played it. All of them had - the difference was that none of them had paid for it. And that was before the Internet was widespread...
      • Wouldn't that mean you're illegally importing classified material? I'm not sure exactly how it works in Aussie, it may just be illegal to sell it...
        • Importing classified material? What games are you playing?!?

        • Wouldn't that mean you're illegally importing classified material? I'm not sure exactly how it works in Aussie, it may just be illegal to sell it...

          It is only illegal to sell, or carry for sale, unclassified media.
          Importing for personal use is completely ok.
          There are other laws dealing with certain materials (i.e. goat porn, incest, sex involving minors).
          A game that has been refused classification (not suitable for persons under 18) would be perfectly fine to import as long as it did not contain any of the aforementioned.

    • by tbird81 (946205)

      Bill Introduced To Ban Sale of MA15+ Games To Anyone Under 18 in SA

      "15 plus" games can't be used by 15, 16 and 17 year olds? Fuck Aussie, most of you (who aren't on slashdot) lose your virginity age 14. What's with the think of the children brigade?

    • If there is no legal avenue to buy something, people will end up obtaining it without buying it. The industry tends to refer to it as pirating.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @12:38AM (#39556741)

      It's harder than that. It depends on where you are and what risks you want to take.

      For example here in WA since we don't have and R18 rating for games, the games are refused classification. Simple possession of RC material is a criminal offense with maximum penalties including jail time, yes even for something like the last mortal kombat game.

      It's thornier for movies such pornography though, for example anything with actual penetration is X18, but that classification only exists in Canberra. So its legal to walk into an adult shop and purchase a video there, you are allowed to own in in most states, but drive across the border to WA or NT and you can end up in jail.

    • by Cimexus (1355033)

      You don't even need to be l33t, you just buy from another jurisdiction (whether interstate or overseas) that doesn't 'ban' them.

      I put the word 'ban' in quotes because, in all Australian States except WA and NT, it is NOT illegal to own/watch/play RC (refused classification) material. It is merely illegal to be a business ~selling~ that material. It is the act of "selling unclassified material" that is illegal rather than anything about the content per se. For instance, even if it's an episode of a completel

    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      Is there a black market for R18+ games?

      There's no black market because the ruling only applies to games sold in Australia and really only affect brick and mortar stores. Where do I get my banned / uncensored versions of games?

      Well aside from torrenting as the obvious place there's no reason you can't get them from ebay, or any online store which doesn't follow censorship rulings. Steam is a classically weird case. They're not an Australian company and they have no presence here so theoretically there's no reason for them to ban / censor games. H

      • While steam themselves may not have a presense in australia they almost certainly have partners who do. In particular some games are sold retail and activated on steam (i'm pretty sure L4D2 comes into this category). So it probablly pays them to pay lip service to australian regulations (while making it fairly easy to bypass them for those in the know) .

    • by AbRASiON (589899) *

      South Australias capital is Adelaide, it's slogan is "city of churches" (or was)
      It's a nasty backwards place mostly filled with savages, few of the civilised Aussies live there at all.

      Furthermore, as an Aussie myself, I must ask - what self respecting Aussie would buy Australian? Do you really want to pay 110$ (115$ US) for a game we can import for 40$ US? including shipping?

      So the South Australians (which haven't been eaten by the savages) will continue to import like the rest of us.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Actual South Australian here - This is actually A Good Thing.

    For about 15-20 years our ratings have been E - Exempt, G - for general exhibition, PG - Parental guidance, M15+, MA15+ and R18+ and X18+.

    This removes the bullshit rating of ma15 plus, basically it's an M with 'a bit more but not quite an R'.

    There hasn't been an R18 for games, so this is where they were all shoehorned, into this ma15+ category.

    More info - see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Classification_Board#Film_and_video_game_cl

  • by Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @12:42AM (#39556757)

    ...that thinks we shouldn't be asking the state with the City of Churches how to protect children.

    It's a bit like putting Hunter S. Thompson in charge of the uppers.

    • by Evil Pete (73279)

      But surely everyone in SA likes a bit of mayhem ... isn't serial murder a state sport?

  • What exactly are the rights of a minor? Both relative to their parent/guardian, and to what the state can authorize/restrict?

    This whole issue is completely retarded.

  • Just politicians demonstrating how irrelevant and out-of-touch with they are with society in general...

    Imagine if they where trying to ban sales of a board game, or books? Talk about inappropriate usage of public funds!

    Also, how ironic that they would target an age group of people who are just about to make the first political decision/vote in there life; Which way do you think they'll vote. First impression count much for you?

    And who is this supposed to be scoring points for? Could it be that the
  • kids should not be able to buy content that is violent, graphic, has sex (not often) and mature themes. Theaters have been doing it for years. the target market for video games is kids, I am sure that had nothing to do with a lax rating system.
  • Let's rate sociopoltical issues by IQ/Intellectual Age, thereby preventing politicians at large from voicing any opinions/legislation about topics for which they are ignorant, ill informed or simply pandering for votes.

  • This might look like a good thing, but they're basically trying to undo the R18+ reforms, by making MA15+ the same as R18+. As many have pointed out, it will achieve nothing and add complication for retailers and buyers. Why can't we just accept the classifications boards definitions, like the rest of the states.

    Under the legislation, movies like the Saw franchise can be seen by minors, but games like GTA and Mortal combat can't be played.

    This is just typical Adelaide politics. We endured the idiot Michael

  • by janimal (172428) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @06:49AM (#39558165)

    A rating of 15+ or 18+ is not prohibition, kids. It just means you should take your parents to the shop to buy you that 15+ or 18+ game. If they buy it for you, no government is going to stop you from blowing some virtual guy's head off.

    IOW. Move along.

Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.

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