Head of Aussie Game Developer Group Slams Govt. over Ratings Issue

August 4, 2008 -

Australia's lack of a rating beyond 15+ continues to be a political issue. Adult gamers want to be able to enjoy games with complex themes and Australian game developers want to make them. However, as we've reported on GamePolitics, the government hasn't gotten on board.

Tom Crago, president of the Game Developers Association of Australia has penned an op-ed for the ABC News site, criticizing the continuing official resistance to an R18 rating:

...when it comes to video games, we have one of the toughest regimes in the world in terms of dictating exactly what is available to our adult population. On one hand Australia is an oasis of game development... On the other hand Australia's lack of an R18+ classification means that some of the world's most important video games are effectively banned from appearing down under at all.

 

This unfortunate paradox is centred on the horrifically outdated view that games are just for kids... The most recent game to be refused classification in Australia illustrates just how absurd the situation has become. Fallout 3 is a highly anticipated instalment in a series that began 10 years ago. Many adult gamers were eagerly awaiting the title's release, only to be thwarted by our archaic classification system...

 

If the publishers of Fallout 3 want to release their game in Australia, it will need to be reworked just for the Australian market. Because of the small size of our market, this is usually not worth the expense. So not only are Australian gamers being deprived of several titles per year, they are literally being pushed towards piracy, which hurts every part of our industry.

 


Comments

Re: Head of Aussie Game Developer Group Slams Govt. over

/rant

Re: Head of Aussie Game Developer Group Slams Govt. over

Quick question to the Aussia readers here:

Do they confiscate games unrated, and thus illegal in Australia, ordered from outside the country?

[rant]
In my limited experience with censorship, if one supplier is giving me just parts of the product I'm paying for (a censored version) I'll shift my business to one that does not try to scam me like that. I learned it the hard way not to take stuff coming out of the U.K. since they have at it with massive censorship scissors (very common to see over 30 min of material cut, if not more).
What I don't get though is why censor something? Anything at all, music, movies, TV, print media. No really...why? Are we worried about children being affected by this somehow? Are we worried we'll offend someone?

If someone makes a very racist movie, and it gets censored and then released I'll never know about it. I'll not get a chance to BE offended at this movie, to dislike it. I'll not get a chance to decide for myself what I think is appropriate or not.

Certainly some controls should be in place so we don't end up with toddlers clapping along to hardcore donkey porn. But seriously now, how are you going to stop a teenager from finding porn or violence or inappropriate materials? You won't do it by censorship or bans or whatnot. You do it by teaching him sane and proper values (appropriate to wherever you are, believe etc).

You can't just gloss over the bad stuff and pretend everything is fine. If they truly think that violence, porn and whatnot is a problem then go to the source of it. No, not the makers of it, not the developers, but the customer. You can't just hamstring creativity and expect it to die quietly. Teach people to not want violence and your problem goes away. Take it away when they still want it, and you create desire.
And these stupid double standards...it's harmful to my children to see a woman jiggling her breasts but nobody minds if I would, say, tell them they'll burn forever in the lakes of doom if they don't praise the Overgod? What messes up a kid more, to see a naked human being or having their world vision twisted and warped. Can't I just take off my clothes and take a long hard look, is that illegal? All this time and effort put into censorship, control, manipulating what is publically acceptable and still people and children are being abused, do drugs, engage in unsafe/unhealthy activities and so on with no influence from games or TV. Sometimes, that's just how things are. Telling someone who's been sexually active since the age of 13 that you can't see some tits on TV is stupid. (Not referring to myself here ^^)

I'm spoiled though, in terms of censorship. I live in Iceland. Low population with pretty liberal views on stuff like nudity, language and such (so far atleast, some disturbing murmurs give me concern). I can always find another supplier, torrent or whatnot and I've never had to just take it if something I wanted was censored.
And neither should anyone else in my opinion.

p.s.
Another arguement would be that movies and games are art, so censoring them is akin to censoring a painting that depicts something you find offensive. It's not right when it comes to paintings, and it's not right when it comes to Fallout 3 so stop it. Limit it to those who are underage, allow it for those of us old enough to decide for ourselves.

Re: Head of Aussie Game Developer Group Slams Govt. over

Father Time - I love that idea, thanks for passing it along!

Yeah, they are only hurting their own economy, and maybe preventing half of the sales they would have had otherwise?  Either way, just make it illegal for people outside of the age range to buy them, and parents that complain about their kids playing adult games when they baught the game for them, like some stupid American house wives (I live next to a herd of them, I know), then they should get in trouble for buying their kids adult games that even they are not okay with. (And have it so they can get their money back for returning the game within 3-6 months excluding taxes.)

I just hate hearing parents complain about violent games after they were the ones that bought them for their kids.  Living right next door to the "nicest place to live in the US" or whatever it is...  The town is filled with rich kids that are over spoiled (drive $100,000 cars then they turn 16, get whatever they ask for...) and house wives that are 10+ years younger then their husband and never had to work a day in their lives, and STILL cant manage to parent their kids.

Anyways, other than the stupidity of the world.  I highly respect these people standing up for the consumers.  Between Howard, Tom, and many others out there, keep up the good fight, and give them hell.

Re: Head of Aussie Game Developer Group Slams Govt. over

In another thread someone suggested that whenever they altar a game the game companies should put a message at the start of the game.

A message that basically tells the player who's fault it is that they have been stuck with a censored game, lists names etc.

---------------------------------------------------- Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

Re: Head of Aussie Game Developer Group Slams Govt. over

That is a really nice idea. Kind of like the classic 'Name and Shame' system that police and other media do

Do it!

Re: Head of Aussie Game Developer Group Slams Govt. over

I say find a way to possibly get Atkinson(is thath is name?) removed from power. As far as I know he's the only one standing in the way of it.

Re: Head of Aussie Game Developer Group Slams Govt. over

The only way, short of getting the Governor General to remove Atkinson, would be for the South Australian public to elect a new person.

Re: Head of Aussie Game Developer Group Slams Govt. over

He makes a very good point about the economic issues that come up do the the lack of a 18+ rating.  Most Aussie gamers inport their games so that they can play an unedited version which only hurts local gaming businesses or they pirate games in which case developers don't see any money at all.

Re: Head of Aussie Game Developer Group Slams Govt. over

Didn't he hear?

People will find a way.

I don't know what that really means, but some people on a talkshow said it so it must be true.

 
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Mattsworknameargue that it's wrong, but then please admit it's wrong on ALL Fronts07/29/2015 - 2:06am
MattsworknameTechnoGeek: It's actually NOT, but it is a method used all across the specturm. See Rush limbaugh, MSNBC, Shawn hannity, etc etc, how many compagns have been brought up to try and shut them down by going after there advertisers. It's fine if you wanna07/29/2015 - 2:05am
Mattsworknamediscussed, while not what I liked and not the methods I wanted to see used, were , in a sense, the effort of thsoe game consuming masses to hold what they felt was supposed to be there press accountable for what many of them felt was Betrayal07/29/2015 - 2:03am
MattsworknameAs we say, the gamers are dead article set of a firestorm among the game consuming populace, who, ideally, were the intended audiance for sites like Kotaku, Polygon, Et all. As such, the turn about on them and the attacking of them, via the metods07/29/2015 - 2:03am
MattsworknameAndrew: Thats kind fo the issue at hand, Accountable is a matter of context. For a media group, it means accountable to its reader. to a goverment, to it's voters and tax payer, to a company, to it's share holders.07/29/2015 - 2:02am
Andrew EisenAnd again, you keep saying "accountable." What exactly does that mean? How is Gamasutra not accounting for the editorial it published?07/28/2015 - 11:47pm
Andrew EisenMatt - I disagree with your 9:12 and 9:16 comment. There are myriad ways to address content you don't like. And they're far easier to execute in the online space.07/28/2015 - 11:47pm
Andrew EisenMatt - Banning in the legal sense? Not that I'm aware but there have certainly been groups of gamers who have worked towards getting content they don't like removed.07/28/2015 - 11:45pm
DanJAlexander's editorial was and continues to be grossly misrepresented by her opponents. And if you don't like a site, you stop reading it - same as not watching a tv show. They get your first click, but not your second.07/28/2015 - 11:40pm
TechnogeekYes, because actively trying to convince advertisers to influence the editorial content of media is a perfectly acceptable thing to do, especially for a movement that's ostensibly about journalistic ethics.07/28/2015 - 11:02pm
Mattsworknameanother07/28/2015 - 9:16pm
Mattsworknameyou HAVE TO click on it. So they get the click revenue weather you like what it says or not. as such, the targeting of advertisers most likely seemed like a good course of action to those who wanted to hold those media groups accountable for one reason07/28/2015 - 9:16pm
MattsworknameBut, when you look at online media, it's completely different, with far more options, but far few ways to address issues that the consumers may have. In tv, you don't like what they show, you don't watch. But in order to see if you like something online07/28/2015 - 9:12pm
MattsworknameIn tv, and radio, ratings are how it works. your ratings determine how well you do and how much money you an charge.07/28/2015 - 9:02pm
Mattsworknameexpect to do so without someone wanting to hold you to task for it07/28/2015 - 9:00pm
MattsworknameMecha: I don't think anyone was asking for Editoral changes, what they wanted was to show those media groups that if they were gonna bash there own audiance, the audiance was not gonna take it sitting down. you can write what you want, but you can't07/28/2015 - 8:56pm
MattsworknameAndrew, Im asking as a practical question, Have gamers, as a group, ever asked for a game, or other item, to be banned. Im trying to see if theres any cases anyone else remembers cause I cant find or remember any.07/28/2015 - 8:55pm
Andrew EisenAs mentioned, Gamasutra isn't a gaming site, it's a game industry site. I don't feel it's changed its focus at all. Also, I don't get the sense that the majority of the people who took issue with that one opinion piece were regular readers anyway.07/28/2015 - 8:43pm
MattsworknameDitto kotaku, Gawker, VOX, Polygon, ETC07/28/2015 - 8:41pm
MechaTama31So, between pulling a game from one chain of stores, and forcing editorial changes to a media source, only one of them strikes you as being on the edge of censorship, and it's the game one?07/28/2015 - 8:41pm
 

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