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This unfortunate paradox is centred on the horrifically outdated view that games are just for kids...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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