Well, we have another step back on the censorship front for our great nation of Australia. The Attorney General of South Australia Michael Atkinson, is working hard to make sure there is no R-18 rating for video games in Australia! HURRAY!
His reason for this is, of course, to protect “our children from harmful material!”. Oh, perfect. Not only is this an blatant appeal to emotion it’s an obvious ploy to get parents on his side. I mean, who doesn’t want to protect our children from harmful material! A child’s parent will see this statement and, possibly out of ignorance of the gaming world, agree with the Attorney General.
Of course the Hon. Michael Atkinson is a devout christian who’s main interests were stated as “christian values”. Sigh. Here we go with the theists trying to impart their prudish beliefs on the masses yet again. Not only is this man obviously spouting an agenda he also doesn’t bother to do any research! He is quoted as saying,
“Games may pose a far greater problem than other media – particularly films – because their interactive nature could exacerbate their impact,”
“The risk of interactivity on players of computer games with highly violent content is increased aggressive behaviour.”
I would love to see the studies that come to this conclusion. So far to my knowledge, and Ron Curry’s, CEO of the games industry body, there has been no studies with definitive results pointing to this. Even if a study were to arise with a definite result indicating violent tendencies developing from violent games (there has been some studies that point to it) , video games still shouldn’t be censored! Throughout the ages media has instilled violence, even books have done that. Take the Bible and the Koran for example, lets ban those instead.
This being said, I’m all for keeping young or unstable children away from hard core violent or topically extreme games, but isn’t this a job for the parents? Just like with film, video and the internet, the censorship is up to the parent! It isn’t up to our government (or the religious) to protect children, it’s up to the parents to police what their kids are looking at. There is a reason for having these damn ratings in the first place!
In my opinion, keeping up with the rest of the world is something we should definitely be trying to do. So far Australia is the only developed country without an adults only rating. Sometimes it’s important to portray a topic in a certain way, and it’s not always daisies and bunny rabbits. Sometimes we have to show the shittiness of something. Video games are an art form (well, some of them are.) and censoring a whole art form and industry is not on.
(Update: It also seems that the majority of gamers are above the age of minors anyway…Well above! See here or here for a pdf. To me this seems to point towards the Attorney General not actually wanting to protect our children, but to stop older people from playing violent games. An R-18 rating would protect our children more so than not having one, but by banning an adults only rating it will stop mature age video game players from accessing extreme content video games.)