By now, we all know that the South Australian Attorney General doesn't much like gamers, but news has come to light that he doesn't much like the Classification Board, either.
In a recent interview with ABC Radio National's National Interest
, Michael Atkinson explained that his most recent unhappiness is directed squarely at Infinity Ward's Modern Warfare 2, which was released last week.
While gamers around the world pushed the title into the record books
, giving it one of the biggest debuts in entertainment history (overtaking Harry Potter and GTA4), Mr. Atkinson says he doesn't think it's appropriate for Australian gamers.
"I'll be appealing against that classification, I think it's wrong..."
The game is restricted to adult gamers in other territories including New Zealand, but available to anyone over 15 in Australia - and this is where the finger-pointing began. Conflicting directly with an opinion shared by many gamers
, Atkinson explained that, from where he was standing, "The Classification Board in Australia does everything to try to get games in under the radar."
The perceived "problems" with the Classification Board don't stop there, with Atkinson advising people to (effectively) think of the children. If an R18+ rating was introduced, the virtual floodgates holding back sex, drugs and violence would open - and this time, it's all the Board's fault.
"I have no trust in the Classification Board to apply the guidelines sincerely or correctly," he continues, explaining that "to draw up such guidelines would be to draw them up in sure and certain knowledge that they would be stretched and then broken."
He'd also like you to stop quoting the recent Bond University study
at him, as the survey (which shows that the average Australian gamer is 30 years old and 46% of us are female), was "paid for by the industry", and therefore is not valid data.
The same survey shows that 91% of Australian gamers support an R18+ rating for video games, something which Atkinson scoffs at. His claim is that newly-formed political party Gamers4Croydon
will get "less than 1%" of the vote, illustrating his point. "They haven't managed to find anyone eligible to stand yet! That's how popular the proposition is," he laughs.
To provide a well-spoken counterpoint, Gamers4Croydon
party founder David Doe is also interviewed in the segment.
He discusses the fact that there are
various games that have been released in Australia that should have been given an R18+ rating if it existed - including Fallout 3 and Modern Warfare 2, which he describes as "very confronting", and "just not suitable for 15 year olds".
The second half of the 20minute interview also touches on the effective parental locks on modern consoles, the importance of giving adult gamers the choice
to play (or not play) what they want, and how the party will behave in the leadup to (and after) the March 2010 South Australian election, where they are running a candidate directly against the current Attorney-General.
If you'd like to know more, the interview is definitely worth a listen, and is currently available for download at the National Interest
website, where they're also calling for feedback on the topic.