Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence, Fallout 3, Rape in Games

July 25, 2008 -

A panel of Australian politicians and pundits made a sorry show of themselves on ABC's Q&A program last night.

The rampant cluelessness begins when an audience member (sporting a Fallout 3 t-shirt) raises the issue of banned video games due to Australia's lack of an R18+ rating. The announcer mentions the recent Fallout 3 ban, which was based on in-game drug use.

The panel's answers are astounding. Aside from their immediate willingness to censor games, they seem not to even be aware that Australia has a system for rating games. One member of the panel even raises the spurious "rape in games" issue - and almost seems to compare banned games to snuff films. Only Sen. Mark Arbib comes across as unbiased:

Announcer: Okay, so here's the question... Should there be censorship of these things, or should people over the age of 18 be able to buy these things with an R rating and play them, even though, as we've just heard, they're obviously extremely violent?

Chief Executive of the Australian Industry Group, Heather Ridout: Look, I mean if they're over 18, they'll find one way or another to get hold of it, Tony, and they do. But, as a mother of three kids, two of whom spend an awful lot of time playing these sorts of games, I mean I just find the whole thing appalling, the minds that come up with this stuff. Now Grand Theft Auto is one of the more famous games that seemed to turn everyone into a car thief, you know?. My Jordan thankfully didn't do that. But... I mean I'm not a censorship girl... But violent games, violence breeds violence. It's not nice.

Senator Nick Xenophon: I think we need to listen to the psychologists who've looked into this. And this is different in the sense it's interactive. People get immersed in these games and I think there's a real risk. I think as a society we can live without it.

Announcer: But does the risk warrant censorship?

Sen. Xenophon: Look, I think it does, when you look at some of the concerns of what it can trigger in some minds, then I think we need to be just a bit cautious about it.

Sen Mark Arbib: To actually ban them they must be terrible games. So, personally, I'm probably thinking R rating over the age of 18 is fine because as you said, if you wanna play to game, you're going to get it somehow. But I haven't seen the games so I really can't judge whether they should be banned or not.

Announcer: ...these things are being banned because there isn't a rating system on video games... that means anyone of any age can buy them...

Sen. Arbib: As I said, I think there's a strong argument to actually have a rating system, for all games, no doubt about it. And not just an R rating, but ratings just the same as ratings for the movies... so yeah...

Sen. Barnaby Joyce: You can't just say you can see it, therefore you should be allowed to see it, otherwise you legalize snuff movies and all sorts of profane things which I don't think take our society ahead... we had the thing with avatars, is that the right term, where people can actually go out and rape people. Now, this is not acceptable. You have to draw a line... you must take into account... those who are vulnerable to influence, how they would be affected by that. And if you don't, well you suffer what comes next. I, too have four kids... I want these kids to grow up in quiet, unaffected streets. And if there's someone playing a video game where they're raping someone, I'm not feeling good about the place, so, knock it out.

Christine Jackman, Journalist: I agree, we urgently need a rating system. I'm not a pro-censorship person, either... (to the audience member in the Fallout 3 t-shirt who asked the question) Can I throw it back on you... why would you want to play it...?

Audience member: I want to play the game because it's a story-driven experience that you could experience in a movie... however the Australian government won't let me.

Christine Jackman: And how many hours do you think you or your friends would be playing those games a day?

Audience member: It differs between everyone... the average gamer is anyone nowadays. The Queen has a Wii... it's not a question of who's playing them or how long they're playing them, it's a question of whether we're allowed to as adults...

Other audience member: ...I'm not a gamer, but in terms of restricting people's right to choose... how can you make that distinction between pokies [slot machines] and games which might be socially unacceptable when gambling itself, in our society in particular, has so many social problems than what might be caused by violent games? 

GP: Thanks to reader Michael 'sod' Pearse for the heads-up!

Comments

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

Yeah, it's the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Government funded and ultra left wing, but you wouldn't know it from this spot.

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

Only conservatives call the ABC "ultra left-wing". It is not ultra left-wing at all.

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

Ah, that clears things up a bit, thank you.

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

For more context: Arbib is Labour party; the left wing major party.

Joyce is a National, the farmer's party, and he seems intent on disagreeing with all their policies.

Xenaphon (not his birth name) is an indepandant who ran in South Australia on a single policy platform: No Pokies (gambling machines). His second act was to convince a woman whose daughter died of an overdose that she could be in parliament with him, and then his eyes got big and he ran off to Canberra. We're left with this mad woman who believes her insane rehabilitation clinic works (it doesn't). Xenaphon is also always on the lookout for a quick press stunt, such as his protest about high prices for cinema foods in the form of trying to walk into the movie with bags of lollies pinned all over his suit.

 

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

It's spelt 'Labor' and they are Centre-Left not left wing.

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

I find their lack of intelligence disturbing.

 

(my brain hurts now)

"I'm not responcabel fer my comuter's spleling errnors." -- Xlorep DarkHelm

"I'm stel not responcabel fer my comuter's spleling errnors." -- Xlorep DarkHelm

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

They say extremely violent games, but they are not. Most games are not more violent then the Matrix, and that movie is rather tame in today's standards. I like someone prove me that there are games that is more violent then Saw or The Hills Have Eyes.

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

Gods yes I'd love to see those video games because they sound like that'd be really fun to play, a movie gorey Horror game ^_^ That'd be extremely entertaining O_O;;

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

And to think these horribly uninformed people run a country...

I liked Jackman's comment that she makes after the audience member responds, where she talks about ethics not catching up to technology yet, though I'm not sure if it was a decent comment about old people being dumb or her being unaware of all the research that's been done into violent games already.

Also, the announcer makes mention that the average gamer is 30 years old, so kudos to him.

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

You know, I'm fairly certain that video games are no more harmful or violence-inducing than going through your average middle school.  It could be argued that the latter is MORE harmful.

Did I want to go out and shoot people after playing Resident Evil 2?  No.  Did I want to go out and shoot people after three years of the same jackholes stealing my homework and vandalizing my books, and NEVER getting punished?  Again, no, but there were times when I came close.

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

Yeah you'd think after getting sexually Harrassed by a teacher, and my head beat against a metal pipe and walls and stuff in High school and no one helping me with any of it, that I'd be more inclinded to remove them from society through violence and yet I didn't go figure...heaven forbid I play a video game that'll get me running for the gun *rolls eyes*

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

You'd think that after years of wasting time and money to go out into the hot sun, to get yelled and humiliated by teamates and coaches alike for a sport that is so looked down at our school that they don't even fund it anymore that I'd want to go kill some people for all the time.  But I didn't.

 

High school football at my school biggest waste of time that I have ever been a part of.

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

Face, well, the first one that comes to mind is a Japanese only game called "Rape-lay". The name says it all, to be honest, and is geared toward the class of social shut in pervert that could only be bred in Japan.

After that I the only one that even remotely comes to mind is the brief scene from Phantasmagoria, but that wasn't interactive, and the game was particularly gruesome.

 

"The Good, the Bad, and Videogame"
Reviews on the best, worst, and controversial issues of Videogames.
gryphonosiris.blogspot.com/

"The Good, the Bad, and the Videogame" Reviews on the best, worst, and controversial issues of Videogames. gryphonosiris.blogspot.com/

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

They didn't know what the Wii was... Nothing more needs to be said.

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

The fact that they laughed whenit was mentioned puts them at the average maturity level of the internet. No wonder they don't want an R rating. Restricted to MATURE audiences of 18 years or over.


 

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

actually, the journalist wasn't that bad either. she gave the gamer another chance to defend the game, she says that our societies have not yet caught up with technology, and that we should proceed cautiously. the only reason that that sounded at all bad in the clip was because the other person had earlier used the word cautiously to mean "not at all". it sounded to me like the journalist was pushing for a greater societal awareness of video games as a medium, and not just as a problem.

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

They should just ask them outright to NAME these rape games they keep waffling on about.  Ask for a name and whether it can be bought in game stores. Then watch their head implode as they stumble trying to prove themselves without any evidence.

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

I find it funny that the woman said she thinks GTA turns people into car thieves... yet lets her son play it.

Hipocricy at it's finest.

The Crusade shouldn't be about video game violence, it should be against parental stupidity.

"The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" gaming reviews
gryphonosiris.blogspot.com/

"The Good, the Bad, and the Videogame" Reviews on the best, worst, and controversial issues of Videogames. gryphonosiris.blogspot.com/

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

Yeah, I swear there is no brain in that woman's head -_-; I mean what common sense do you need to look around and go "Lookit that...no one is stealing cars cuz they could in a video game..." I mean yeah there will be some...but hey...even movies inspire it in weirdos -_-;

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

THat guy in the audience must have been silently laughing like crazy.  Of course there's no video game rating system in Australia.  Of course Fallout 3 is just killing people.  What a bunch of clueless politicians. 

They should perhaps have asked the guy for some help if they didn't know about the subject, but they were too egoistic too believe they could be wrong.  Even if politicians don't know much about a subject there's no excuse for being a bunch of randomly flailing noise emittors just because they can't ask one of the "ignorant proles" for help.

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

your right what good is a rating system if it leaves out games that people more then old enough to play can't. thats like saying your 21 well we decided that you can't drink because it leads to violence. come on.

 

"Whats the differince between a politician and a bucket of shit?"

 

"The bucket."

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

Here's the flaw with pundits and politics- we EXPECT them to know all the issues under the sun. But they are politicians, not gamers, economists, or urban planners- whatever role would be best to talk about the given issue at hand. So I have to wonder what sources of "expertise" these guys get their information from. Probably just groups that specifically lobby/fund for them. A biased sample. The audience doesn't rely on that, and they end up getting more facts right.

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

yeah, but see, here's the problem - the producers contacted australiangamer.com to ask that someone ask about the R-rating, so some of us may have been forgiven for thinking that maybe someone on the panel that night would've had half a clue about what they were talking about.

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

that's why they are supposed to have advisors and staff to at least brief them on a situation before commenting on it. and when they don't know something, they should do what the senator did, say that they don't know. "I haven't seen them, so I don't know...". part of the reason that we expect them to always know something is because they breed that attitude themselves, they always pretend to know something, particularly when they don't, and the majority of people who also don't know it trust the politicians.

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

"I'm not pro-censorship..."

"I'm not for censorship..."

That's rapidly rising to the top of the "famous last words" list.

M. Carusi

Capitol Gaming

augamers.blogspot.com

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

I like how she said that she was a big supporter of Bill Henson's work (Google it if you want, I'm not going to put up a link, but it's pictures of underage girls naked passed off as 'art') as evidence that she was 'against censorship.

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

"Other Audience Member" guy raises a valid point, what do games do that may harm people mentally or socially thats worse than gambling and other shit :(

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

The Aussie government is cracking down on the pokies as well.

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

No they're not. Pokies, like booze and smokes, bring in far more money than they cost society, so aside from "awareness campaigns" and reducing the number of pokies allowed in a specific area (when was the last time you saw all the pokies filled anyway?) they aren't doing anything, and won't until the number of users drops dramatically.

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

I've realized that anyone that ever uses the word "appalling" to describe something is always overreacting to the situation.

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

I find your opinion on that appalling. 

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

I find that opinion shallow and pedantic...

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

"Are you going to act all high and mighty just because you won a game of Trivial Pursuit?"

"Perhaps..."

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

That first audience member dropped the ball, badly.  He let the host characterize Fallout 3 as nothing but killing people and shooting up drugs.  He was even given the chance to correct him.  That's why stuff like this is such an uphill battle sometimes, people who are just willing to sit back and let the content be misrepresented.

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

On the other hand, if I may play devil's advocate here, even if Fallout 3 -were- as mindlessly violent as it was characterized here, should it still be subject to government censorship?  Should it matter whether it's perceived as so-called "respectable" art or not?

I realize it's easier to convince people games are protected speech when they sound noble and artistic, but I'd like to see it made explicitly clear that my favorite outrageous violence-orgy entertainments are also no more worthy of censorship.

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

Agreed, cpp -- I wanted to reach through the monitor, grab a mic, and correct all the horrifying misconceptions flying around.

1) There's a lot more to Fallout3 than drugs and killing people.

2) Completely NON-violent games with sexual themes are also getting refused classification, while something like Ninja Gaiden 2's beheadings goes right on through as M15.

3) Most of the panelists seemed to think it was a question of having a rating system or not... they didn't even know Australia DOES have one! The question was the lack of an 18+ rating within that system, not the presence/absence/necessity of a system at all.

Sorry to all you Aussie gamers... good luck.

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

I have seen more violent behavior on kids cartoons.  Are those being banned?  Videogames always get the short end of the stick.  I guess its an easy scape goat and easy to point a finger at.  These politicians are insanely misinformed.  But unless as a whole we stand up against them and fight back, the soccer moms will continue to pick your leaders.  The ones who cry "Its for the children!"

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

Wait.  Ninja Gaiden II was approved but Fallout 3 is not?  W...T...F...

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

While I agree with you I must point out that Fallout 3 is, from what i've seen very close to NGII when using bloody mess

 

Also Ninja Gaiden II FTW!

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

 I'm not sure what is funnier: the word 'pokies' or what the politicians said.

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

Dave Barry (humor writer) said once that, in his opinion, if anyone wanted to get their nose pierced, they should be legally required to take an IQ test. This test would consist of one question "Do you want to get your nose pierced". If they answered wrong, that is to say, "Yes", they would be legally barred from getting the piercing.

I'm assuming he got the idea from politics, where apparently there is one question asked of all prospective politicians "Do you feel you should understand issues before legislating them?" And if they answer wrong (again, by saying "yes") - no party nomination for them, too bad.

 

 

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

That sounds more like he got it from "Catch-22."

In the book, Yossarian no longer wants to fly (he's a bombardier and people are "trying to kill him" by shooting back at his plane), but the only way he can stop flying missions is to have the doctor ground him.  The only way the doctor can ground someone is if they're crazy, and therefor can't be flying missions.  The catch is you must ask to be grounded, but as soon as you ask that means you don't wish to be placed in danger, which is the action of a sane mind.  Therefor, you can't be grounded.

(It's a great book...higly recommended.)

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

I think i've just dropped about 10 IQ points.

~You Could Be Mine, But You're Way Out Of Line..~

~You Could Be Mine, But You're Way Out Of Line..~

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

Amen to that buddy.  Those are the dumbest politicians I think I've ever seen.  I feel bad for Australians.

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

You guys only have one Jack Thompson, we have a whole Govt of Jack Thompsons, be happy with what little you have.

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

We've got a whole lot more than them. A dozen state legislatures with enough of them to pass bills doomed to be overturned and waste taxpayer money, enough of them in both houses of Congress to make video games a common campaign issue, and of the three biggest contenders for nominations in the primary season, two of them were Jack Thompsons and one hinted at it enough to be worrying. Drop one Jack Thompson and you have our presidential hopefuls.

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

I'm not so sure our politicians are any smarter when it comes to this subject...

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

Bit sad for the panel that the audience came across as the most knowledgeable people there. Perhaps understandable as video games are a fairly niche subject but my view on such things is that: if you do not understand, it is best to not offer an opinion lest you be thought of as an idiot.

I guess politicians don't have that luxery though, always got to have some stance and it's usually the safe one.

 

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

I understand what you're getting at, however the gaming industry is only niche if one chooses to ignore it. Videogames aren't part of the fringe anymore, this isn't a back-alley industry run out of garages, it's a multi-billion dollar industry that dominates the entertainment field on a global level. The pannel really doesn't have an excuse to rely soully on second-hand information about a medium and industry that operates on such a high level, moreso when that information is so easy to access directly. Especially for politicians who are supposed to keep up to date on social issues so that they can claim to protect the people whom they represent. 

It's like trying to explain the concept of movies and movie theaters to a person who's only read books their entire life, I suppose.

Re: Clueless Aussie Politicians on R Ratings, Game Violence,

except the second audience member wasn't a video gamer, and that person still came up with a point of view that didn't involve outright censorship and lies. the senator Arbib wasn't bad either. yes, rating systems are good.


 

 
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