R18+ ratings for computer games is in the news today. To repeat verbatim the ABC News article
: Brian Harradine say an R18+ category will result in games with more porn and violence being sold, and the Justice Minister goes off on a 'save the children' rant:
"This is a serious matter because one might think that by imposing an R 18+, that is regulating more interactive computer games, but then of course that could then allow into the market, and it would be difficult to police these games, if they were allowed into the market, as to how they might fall into the hands of young people, those aged under 18,"
It appears this is in the news once again because ten days ago the OFLC released a paper titled 'Assessment of Public Submissions on the Discussion Paper and Draft Review
' in regards to the review of computer games classification that commenced late last year.
The review received 372 submissions from a 'wide cross section of the Australian Population' including the online petition that was carried out representing 600+ adult gaming Australians. The report said most views could be broken down in to one of two arguments:
1) 'minors should be protected from material likely to harm or disturb them; everyone should be protected from exposure to unsolicited material that they find offensive'
2) 'adults should be able to read, hear and see what they want'
It seems gamers made a good impression, though we need to be able to come up with an age breakdown of game playing Australians to be taken more seriously, at least we are being recognised:
The singularlity of its focus, the clarity of its arguments and its attempt to present the views of its membership suggests that the adult computer game playing constituency is emerging with sophistication. Their views suggest that the Draft Revised Guideliens in relation to the "R" Classification for computer games need to ensure that they are faithful to the first principle of the Code
The first principle is that adults should be able to watch what they want.
Unfortunately it seems that slightly more individual submissions were received against the R18+ category for computer games than for it, but I believe certain politicians are starting to talk down an R18+ category for games as they realise that many Australian gamers do want R18+ category for games and they are fearful that we will get it.
The report concludes with the following:
"It is recommended that the review process proceed in developing a consistent set of classification sysmbols and categories, incorporating adequate and informative age-related categories; certainly including the "G8" classification for film and the "R" classification for computer games..."