Australian Attorneys-General to discuss introduction of R18+ rating games; formal decision could still be "years" away.
Game classification remains a thorny issue in Australia, with the lack of an R18+ rating for games resulting in titles such as Dark Sector and Blitz: The League being banned in Australia for extreme violence or inappropriate themes. And while various Australian media outlets are reporting today that a change is soon to come, a decision to introduce an R18+ rating down under still looks like it is months to years away from actually happening.
Some mainstream media in Australia are reporting today that the R18+ rating could soon be introduced for games following the announcement that the R18+ issue would be discussed at the next Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) meeting to be held on March 28. For an R18+ rating to be introduced, all of Australia's State Attorneys-General and the Federal Minister for Home Affairs would have to agree on the change before it can be passed into law. But a spokesperson for the Home Affairs Minister, Bob Debus, said no decision should be expected to come from the March 28 meeting.
According to the Minister's spokesperson, in a 2005 SCAG meeting it was agreed that the Victorian Government would research the issue of an R18+ rating in Australia further. The SCAG meeting on the March 28, 2008 is simply a chance for that research to be tabled, the spokesperson said.
"Usually those things move pretty slowly at those meetings. It can take years for things to get through. I would imagine Victoria would just present these materials and the states would go away and have another think about it until the next meeting," the spokesperson said.
The lack of an R18+ rating for games in Australia means the highest rating available for a game is MA15+. This essentially restricts any games considered inappropriate for anyone under the age of 15 and makes them illegal to sell in this country. In GameSpot AU's Australian Election feature late last year, then-incoming Labor Government Shadow Attorney-General Joe Ludwig said he did not believe an R18+ rating was necessary for Australian consumers.
"While I understand that many in the community desire the addition of an R18+ rating for video games, the Federal Labor Party does not believe that there are any fundamental problems with the functioning of the classification system in Australia and, as such, we do not currently have any proposals to work with state governments to introduce such additional ratings for video games," he said.
Despite the issue being introduced at the next SCAG meeting, the Home Affairs Minister spokesperson refused to be drawn on whether Labor's position on the R18+ rating had changed. "We'll be examining the decision presented to SCAG," she said.
"Months to years.." Well while they sit and twiddle their thumbs on the subject banning games and censoring key materials, the economy is losing big time in terms of local game distributors. I wish they'd just use their bloody heads on the matter. We want games, we're adults.. so give us the ******* games!
@freek33 - Amen to that. How can people turn such a simple descision into something that takes years. What allot of BS
While Australia is a fine place it shows yet again that in some respects it can be quite backward! This is not a 'number of years decision' It is simple common sense!
@Maersyndel "Many in the community want it, but Labour won't fix it. Isn't the point of the government to listen to what the people want?" - True, but my thoughts is that the point of government is for them to make the people THINK they're listening to what they want, and then just to screw them over and play at running the world. things like games, movies, entertainment, it all works in the governments favor of keeping people busy and distracted from the fact that we're being taxed into the ground, and then the money gets spent on a whole bunch of crap no one wants or needs. With the ammount of money governments rake in, the quality of life all over the world could be something spectacular, but noooo, we're all still so devided as to be spending billions and trillions on killing eachother in real life, and then slapping restrictions and bans on virtual humorous killing in entertainment.
What's next huh? Next thing you know, GTA 4 will be censored so that you are a cop, not a crook. And instead of running people over with your car, you help little old ladies cross the street. It amazes me how trashy and violent films like the SAW series get away with an MA rating in this country. How about we all start a riot at the OCCC? They will assume violent games are influencing us, but in reality it is CENSORSHIP that is driving us mad.
This is how Australian legislation works. It take years to get freaking anything worthwhile done. Think about it for all of five seconds and these classification laws don't make a lick of sense. Adding to the problem is that there is an erroneous and ignorant frame of mind of non-gamers that video games are purely toys for children.
@Stryker521 "Ok...so basicly you're saying we've voted 15 year olds into Parliament huh?" You pretty much have... Haven't you seen that Labor always has (and always will) act like children? Either way we're stuck with them for the term now. On topic though - Denying games as much classification as film is garbage. I'd think a movie like Hostel would have more of an impact on someone than any violent game would - having control or not over it is just a superfluous argument to justify a bad stance on the issue.
"...does not believe that there are any fundamental problems with the functioning of the classification system in Australia." Ok...so basicly you're saying we've voted 15 year olds into Parliament huh? Well bring on the High School Federal politics revolution then, lets start voting for teens instead of oldies. Lame fools >.
I love lack of basic freedoms. Remember to never think or make decisions for yourself, after all the government knows what you should be able to do better then yourself
yeah this sucks big time. as some you have mentioned, we can watch all the abusive pron we want and smoke till out lungs are so decayed we can barely breathe. but nooooooooo we can't play violent video games. damn it, some1 start a website where we can sign a petition or something. ppffft and to think, i actually was on bord the kevin 07 bandwagon (whom by the way is set for the next election with the "kevin 11" juggernaut lol)
The main issue for me is to get Ninja Gaiden 2 in all its glory in Aus. No way in hell this will happen. They couldnt even get NG1/Black through until all the good stuff was removed, and this one is ten times bloodier. Staff members should be checking ages if they are not sure of your age. I have no problem with this, as this is the law anyway. It a kid's parents buy their child a game that is MA15+ and he/she is only 12, then that's their mum's choice for buying it for them, and that would be the same with an R18. Its no different from a child's parents buying them alcohol, which pretty much happens for the majority of teens out there. Thinking games are only for children is ancient thinking. Get with the times. The 25-35 year olds out there now were introduced to games back in the day with the NES or Sega Master System their parents bought them; today's kids are introduced to games because their older brother's/sister's/parents have a game machine and give them a go. The key demographic is 25+ year olds. Check the stats. Its the fact.
This whole issue didn't really annoy me until very recently when i found out that a game i've been waiting for FOR YEARS(dark sector) is banned because of our backwards thinking government. They should have NO RIGHT AT ALL to do this to us. We have R ratings for dvds, films, hell we get to drink, smoke and watch porn at 18. How this makes sense at all to them I have no idea. It is statistically PROVEN that the average aussie gamer is not only over 18 but that the VAST majority of us who this entire rating issue concerns want the damn rating. Why does it take these idiots so long to understand all this?
When will the Government realise that the average age of gamers is 20+ and that people over 25 are the biggest spenders on gaming! The problem is that our 'out of touch politicians' still associate video games with children!
jusmurph : You know ... i like that idea .. i would happily see all violent games rated as R18+ rather than have a long list of banned games
I think we need an R18/21+ for games and i think then a few games that got through as MA+15 can be bumped up a tier.
Just change the law already so i can get games like Postal 3 and Dark Sector, also we won't have to worry about any censorship problems with GTA 4 if theres an R18+ Rating
"olthof Why don't some REAL aussies get in government? seems like lame asses are running this great country. Be it they run the economy well, but on issues like this they're useless" Since when did they run the economy well..? Ha ha ha. This particular issue has no effect on what games are available to us in the long run - I'm sure it just means that suppliers of games are unable to stock it in Australia, if you really wanted the game you could probably import it depending if its NTSC or PAL. I think what they are really concerned about is the fact that kids under the age of 15 can already get 15+ games easily, due to the fact that some staff in some stores couldn't be bothered asking questions about age or just forget. So with the ability to have such games that deserve an 18+ rating will surely have an impact that goes straight to the laws around selling games and they will have to make the laws much stricter so that kids cant get adult games. Australia card anyone...? :(
who are these people to think that they should choose what you see and what you don't? censorship is such a slap in the face
Won't really make much difference anyway. Only the occasional average title gets banned, but most of the good titles (GTA) always find their way on to the shelves. We really aren't missing out on much here IMO, but closure to this issue would be nice.
the sooner the better really , it's about time Oz accepted that the age demographic of games players has changed over the years
Many in the community want it, but Labour won't fix it. Isn't the point of the government to listen to what the people want?
What? Why does NZ have it and we don't! Freakin' bring it in. I hate seeing **** censored (irony!)... So movies are allowed to be R but games aren't... cause games are violent. You know, it's OK to see people getting brutalised in Saw but not OK to play GTA. Makes complete sense.
lol Australia is so backward. i can go right now and buy as much violent porn as a want and drink myself to death, but violent videogames dont even think about it.
C'mon australia! Get yourselves together, grow up and have a little responsibility here! I think that we're grown adults here and we can make up our minds what we can handle and what we can't. If we can make it illegal to sell cigarettes to under 18's, why can't we do the same for video games. I think its about time our government stopped playing big brother, and let us have OUR say on the matter at hand. Someone start a website where we can sign a protest or something coz at this rate, we'll be forced to play Spyro the Dragon for the rest of our lives.....
The aussie rating sistyme realy dosent bug me that mutch.i meen games like devil may cry 4 and halo 3 are only M (no ristictions) in aus but u have to be 17 in America ect. sure maybie soldier of fortune get banned but hay the latest game wasent very good. and nothing says we cant import em any way. but a R18+ would stop Americans laughing at us
Even with a R18+ classification for games in Australia, we will still have banned games that have been deemed to have 'inappropriate themes'. Basically if the game steps outside of what is accepted as normal human descency then the game will be refused classification. The fundamental system will remain unchanged.
"glad i live in the USA. good old first ammendment. =)" but you have to wait till your 21 to get into bars and clubs... and till your 17 to play games like Dead Rising, Halo.etc without your parents there to buy it... so enjoy =] and.. DAMMIT.. GOD FREAKING DAMMIT!!!.. I WAS LOOKING FORWARD TO DARK SECTOR... theres waaayyy too many old people in this country.. in 2015, 30% of our citizens will be a senior citizen (over 65) alot of games actually have their violence toned down compared to the overseas versions to meet the MA15+ rating.. eg. Ninja Gaiden and Soldier of Fortune 3, dismemberment on human character models is removed for the australian releases
Life sucks!! I dont get it, Australia rates most things that are R18 in other countries, MA... its just stupid, just make it real..
Why don't some REAL aussies get in government? seems like lame asses are running this great country. Be it they run the economy well, but on issues like this they're useless
MA15+.. So does this mean that the Australian Gov't believes games to be mere childhood play-things when the average gamer is over 18?
If and when there is an R18+ rating, games seen as in 'bad taste' will still be banned however. It will likely allow high impact violence, and will also push alot of games into the higher rating that would of recieved a MA15+ rating under the current system. By high impact violence Im not sure what that means exactly but I have heard it described 'Frequent depictions of dismemberment and blood spurts with victims screaming in pain'. Thats not a quote. Seems to me like its exploitive violence, and rather potentially depicts cruelty and torture. I haven't actually played a game like this, but I imagine the people that classify games have to assess the impact of the violence. Games with this kind of violence need to be R18+ not banned, but will still face censorship
I wondered about the fact that AO rated games in America (18 and over) are not allowed by console manufacturers. However, they also have a Mature rating, which is 17 and over (why there is a rating difference of only one year boggles my mind though). Any of our currently banned games are being released in America as Mature, so I don't think those games would be be boycotted here by the manufacturers if they earned an R rating. The above assumes I am correct about American ratings; please correct me if I am wrong.
if we in australia want to catch up with other more progressed countries then this is a good place to start. By the time we get an R18 tolerance the rest of the world will be moving onto X.
just because we get an R18+ game rating doesnt meen we will get the games, it may cause companies like nintendo and sony do what they did in the states and say games rated that highly wont be aloud on there consoles. In the states AO rated games aren't aloud to be put on there consoles so it may end up being that way in australia. It sucks to say it but it is a possibility.
Meetings to discuss meetings to discuss meetings. If this comes down to being a decision made by a couple of old politicians we are pretty much screwed. We dont have a couple of years. Prototype comes out THIS year. Hopefully there is a ban for GTA4, that should spark enough public outcry to get them to finally change this. The target audience for games has changed. The triple A titles of today are pretty much all targeted at adults.
Why can't they just ******* accept the R rating? What is the issue here, exactly...other then them still being one of those deluded that think games are only for snotty kids
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