Australian Pol Explains Objection to R18+ Rating on TV News Program

In this segment from Australia’s Stateline program, South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson explains his objection to the introduction of an R18+ rating.

GP: Thanks to GP reader Ryan O’Meara for the link!

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72 comments

  1. BrandonL337 says:

    the bible teaches you that if your daughter is raped you should slaughter her and send her pieces off to the families of the rapists.

    I haven’t heard that one before.

    United we Stand, Divided we fall.

  2. DexX says:

    Atkinson only wields the power he does because of a fluke with the system of sharing responsibility between the federal and state governments.

    When the current classification system was put in place in the mid-nineties, there was some squabbling going about the federal government trampling over states’ rights.  In order to get the new classification regime passed, the commonwealth agreed to the requirement for unanimous agreement for any future changes.  Majority rule or quorum rule are more common, but in that climate the states wanted to make sure they couldn’t be bullied.

    Now he is a lone voice of dissent (and has been for nearly a decade – he had one other state AG agreeing with him in the late 90s, but since then he’s been alone in his opposition to the R18+ rating) and his position is becoming more and more of an insult to democratic process.

    We Aussies are sick of him, and even in his home state he is regarded as a joke.  He only clings to power because his electorate is one of the most right-wing and religious in the whole country.


    http://blogs.theage.com.au/screenplay/

  3. DarkRider says:

    YOU’VE GOT TO BE JOSHING ME!!!!!

    Isn’t a R18+ rating necessary?  They have one for films but not for video games because they’re "more interactive"?  Movies are more realistic than games are!  Why not ban those also?  Comic books have violence in them ban those too.  What about history books?  WILL YOU BAN THOSE?  Austrailian government is trying to parent its citizens instead of letting them make their own decisions.  Austrailia needs an R18+ rating.

     

    Who the hell is Steve Irwin?

  4. Father Time says:

    He doesn’t decide why things get refused classification, he’s just the road block on the way to an R18+ rating.

    —————————————————-

    "What for you bury me in the cold cold ground?" – Tasmanian devil

  5. sqlrob says:

    ".First of all Mr Atkinson does not attempt to harass Video Game companies with pointless lawsuits"

     

    One word: Morphine.

     

  6. Aliasalpha says:

    Barnaby Joyce is a moron, Custers Revenge is probably the most technologically advanced game he’s ever seen and in all fairness, that DOES contain rape.

    It does sort of sound like they’re afraid that an R rating would make people try to develop games specifically to get an R rating, sort of like using it as a qualification rather than classification.

    In order to qualify to be sold to adults, your game must contain strong violence, explicit sex, extreme gore, drug use & strong frequent swearing.

  7. Anthrax says:

    What a fucking caveman. All of his statements, all of them, are either made up completely or were proven false months ago. The fact that he’s using his (completely undeserved) power to opress everyone else is absolutely insane, I mean this guy’s restricting mature citizen’s personal freedom just because he’s and idiot. What a goddamn imbicile.

  8. TBoneTony says:

    When you put it in that way, that is exactly what I meant.

     

    Every claim that "Voilent Videogames affects Violence in real life" always has some sort of weak point. Until the person says that, we need to effectlvely launch our Smart Bomb and catch them off guard by showing their weak point.

     

    Also that is how I kinda worked out what debating was all about, it is not about truth or lies, it is about how you debate that determines who wins. Like a game except in this debate the stakes are really high for Australian Gamers so anyone who speaks on behalf of Australian Gamers, I hope that they know what they are doing.

    TBoneTony

  9. TBoneTony says:

    I think that not many people even mentioned that in America (where that is the baseline of the industry because of the money involved) that they only have their mature rating go as high as 17+. The console makers and publishers will never allow an AO18+ game because the commercial stores won’t sell it.

    I think in this debate in Australia we need someone to point that out, so therefore just because we are fighting for an R18+ rating for videogames does not mean that there is going to be a flood of Violent Videogames or even Porno games as a few politicians I know have tried to claim.

    (Did anyone remember how Barnaby Joyse said that comment about videogames that contain rape? (On that Q+A show?)That is just one clear example of what I am talking about)

    So in anyway. Just because if we do have an R18+ rating in Australia for Videogames it does not mean that they will have Adult Only content. Because instead we will have games containing high Mature content suitable for 16 and 17 year olds that can’t fit into an MA15+ category.

     

     

  10. Andrew Eisen says:

    You know what’s really amazing?  When with the blink of an eye you finally see the light.

     

    Andrew Eisen

  11. Father Time says:

    Which is truly amazing.

    —————————————————-

    "What for you bury me in the cold cold ground?" – Tasmanian devil

  12. Michael Chandra says:

    The last GTA I played was 2 or 3 or something, back when they still were 2D. You mean that in 3D people don’t give you bonus-points anymore? Drat.

    Why on earth the guy is focussing on the GTA of ten years ago and not the current ones, I have no idea. Someone should point out the evolution of graphics to him, and how getting bonus points for moving pixels over pixels is different from actually watching a game-version of a person getting their brains blown out.

  13. Aliasalpha says:

    And also there is always that element of FEAR that is used in this debate, but we need to break our way past the FEAR and see if that FEAR is justified or exagerated by people who are doing just about anything to stop the R18+ rating in Australia.

    FEAR! Now there’s a game they should have been showing, that game is awesome and a good example of the kind of thing that probably should be rated R

     

    Remember just like a end of level boss, the more you defeat them, the more they will get angry and we have to weather this storm by Michael Atkinson and these Childhood Welfare people and show effectively how their claims of Violence in Videogames is verry different from their view of how Violence in Reality is performed.

    So what you’re saying is that we have to maneuver our spaceship around, dodging his attack patterns until he reveals his glowing weak spot so we can hit it with our smart bomb then? Gotcha

  14. Aliasalpha says:

    Also don’t forget that with consoles and vista come child accounts and the option to do things like… ooh I don’t know STOP CHILDREN PLAYING CERTAIN GAMES!

    I fully support an 18+ certification and believe many games are rated too lightly, shit I think Gears Of War 2 should have been 18+. Not many games feature chainsawing people in half and THAT’S fine for MA15+ but Manhunt isn’t? Then again I might be right on my conspiracy theory and the OFLC only used violence as a smokescreen to ban a completely shit game and punishing rockstar by saying "No, make GOOD games, ones where you do more than 3 different things a level"

    Hell I’d even support spending public money by printing a booklet to be given away free with any MA15 or R18 game detailing in simple language and pretty pictures exactly how to stop children playing it, you know, educating the parents.

    As for the swine comment, he said ‘swine going over a cliff’ which I believe is an expression for being out of control

  15. TBoneTony says:

    I can see that almost everything that Michael Atkinson says, it based on his opinion but not really a true reflection of what Videogames are about.

     

    I don’t even think he has even played Grand Theft Auto at all, because in GTA, and I believe that many of us gamers have said it time and time again, that there is NO SUCH THING as running down people for bonus points.

     

    Also calling other countries ‘swine’ for aknowlaging the Adult Gamers is really not in an balanced way of thinking.

     

    In a bedate, you respect others opinions but also you highlight your own view with evidence, Michael Atkinson NEVER did any of this in the video.

     

    Instead, he called verious School Shootings and also the Thiland Taxi murder as evidence of Videogame Violence that was turned into Real World Violence but the thing is there are police reports out there that make no real connection to those crimes.

     

    And also there is always that element of FEAR that is used in this debate, but we need to break our way past the FEAR and see if that FEAR is justified or exagerated by people who are doing just about anything to stop the R18+ rating in Australia.

     

    Remember just like a end of level boss, the more you defeat them, the more they will get angry and we have to weather this storm by Michael Atkinson and these Childhood Welfare people and show effectively how their claims of Violence in Videogames is verry different from their view of how Violence in Reality is performed.

     

     

     

     

  16. Aliasalpha says:

    The OFLC who review and classify games have extensive experience in the field. The AG is only a caltrop on a highway when it comes to changing the legislation about the rating expansion, he has no involvement in games at all (as the video clearly shows)

  17. madman says:

    To those who say Mr Atkinson is Australias Jack Thompson.

    1.First of all Mr Atkinson does not attempt to harass Video Game companies with pointless lawsuits.

    2.He does not show up on the news as a "video game violence expert" whenever a major tragedy like Columbine High or Virginia Tech happens. 

    That being been done and over with , Mr Atkinson should realise that:

    a. With an R rating, games that deserve an R (like GTA:SA, Fallout3 etc) will not be rerated to MA15+ and thus their sales would be restricted to those who are OR over the age of 18. 

    b. Most australian gamers could easily pirate games that are "Refused Classification", making the law absolutely useless in protecting minors.

    And Finally

    c. Most video game platforms (pc included) have an easy to use parental control system which allows parents to put a password on games with ratings that classify them as inappropriate for children 

     

  18. Michael Chandra says:

    Oh my god, EZK and black manta were right, Mark is going to try to ‘eliminate’ the guy. o_O

    (Sorry but after all the seriousness recently I need to make some bad jokes to get back into the groove.)

  19. black manta says:

    The video seems fairly balanced, it’s just the parts where Atkinson talks that makes you want to do horrible things.

    Kind of like when I watched Moral Kombat and had to fight the urge to throw things at the screen whenever JT came on!

  20. Father Time says:

    The video seems fairly balanced, it’s just the parts where Atkinson talks that makes you want to do horrible things.

    Oh and I wish someone had brought up that it should be the parent’s job to monitor the games and the coop de grace:

    These games are meant for adults, so it’s totally illogical to ban them from adults just because they aren’t appropriate for children.

    —————————————————-

     "What for you bury me in the cold cold ground?" – Tasmanian devil

  21. Michael Chandra says:

    I just read the comments and clearly it’s better if I don’t watch the movie, because I’m allergic to bullshit.

    Oh man, the old GTA… Brings back memories, MAN it was hard to mow down all seven orange buggers. I’m not really helping our case here, am I? Doesn’t help that probably was when I was like 14? Most likely got it from a Twilight cd, so that would imply when I was 13.
    But yeah, it was so annoying to get a Gouranga, but really rewarding to score one. Of course I mostly liked the missions, like the guy screaming "For Babylon!" or whatever it was just before he blew himself up, and then there was "This car is the property of Crazy Bob. Say goodbye, (fill in the dots yourself)" and a bomb would count down and explode. Loved it.

  22. Father Time says:

    Extra points for having Yahtzee in the video.

    Micheal Atkinson is really a freaking joke, kids can’t handle these games? Well they’re not meant for kids and so it would be stupid to ban them from everyone.

    I’ve said this quote many times but hell if it isn’t right.

    "Censorship is like saying a man can’t have steak because a baby can’t chew it." (widely attributed to Mark Twain).

    —————————————————-

    "What for you bury me in the cold cold ground?" – Tasmanian devil

  23. gamegod25 says:

    A link to videogames and violent behavior? Every single one of those studies have been shown to be flawed.

    Higher impact than movies? Again no real scientific proof of that either.

    Difficult to prvent children from playing? Yes it must be hard to be a parent, standing there helpless to stop their child from playing violent games.

    It’s for the small number who can’t tell fantasy from reality? Yeah those people are called INSANE!!!

  24. Shadow D. Darkman says:

    I second #1.

    ——————————————————————————

    "Game on, brothers and sisters." -Leet Gamer Jargon

  25. axiomatic says:

    Wow that was a bunch of FUD.

    This guy should be removed from his position for bringing personal opinion in to his highly subjective work.

    What a loony.

  26. Andrew Eisen says:

    It truly amazes me that there are people out there who can, with a completely straight face, offer an opinion based on facts that they completely made up!

     

    Andrew Eisen

  27. black manta says:

    I also like how he implies that he has been threatened by gamers. "There are many gamers who say I should be eliminated, whatever that means."

    That was another thing I took exception to.  Why is it that so many anti-gamers think that just because we as adults play violent games that we’re all a bunch of maladjusted sociopaths who mean them bodily harm?  Just because someone says "eliminated" doesn’t necessarily mean "kill."  It could just as easily mean "voted out" or "removed from office," which I would like to think is what is actually meant.    He’s displaying almost the same level of paranoia that JT is, thinking gamers are somehow "out to get him."  One wonders if JT was actually sending Atkinson emails warning him about how all gamers are violent thugs or something and warning him that he should fear for his life.

  28. NateDogg says:

    "He’s like a guy driving against traffic on the highway and complaining that everyone else is going the wrong way."

    Well said!

  29. Neeneko says:

    True, the groups are the real problem, but the Bible, being a piece of media, is a more dirrect comparision.

    Within this context it could be described a pandering media designed to inflame hatred and incite violence.

    I mean, sure, GTA lets you run over hookers, but the bible teaches you that if your daughter is raped you should slaughter her and send her pieces off to the families of the rapists.

    Or if you have a conflict with another group it is ok to invade their land it god gives you explicit orders to enslave the sons, kill the mothers, and rape the daughters.

    And they let children read this ulta-violent genocide simulator?

  30. JustChris says:

    He’s like a guy driving against traffic on the highway and complaining that everyone else is going the wrong way.

    Furthermore, I still think it’s ridiculous that people with no substantial video game playing experience are in total control of the regulation of video game content. If everyone followed this logic in hiring people, we could just hire Atkinson to review video games for a magazine, construction foremen who don’t know how to operate construction machinery, database analysts that don’t know what SQL stands for, chefs that can’t boil an egg, you get the picture.

  31. black manta says:

    To borrow an epithet from our UK and Aussie readers here, this guy’s a real tosser.

    Although not quite as arrogant and old JT is, to go as far as calling other western industrialized countries "swine" shows just how much of a superiority complex he has.  Um, Mr. Atkinson, if your own kids and practically everyone else disgarees with your stance on video games, wouldn’t it ever occur to you that it might be even a little bit…oh, I don’t know…WRONG?

    You know, I used to know someone – someone whom I’m not friends with anymore, really – who left the US for AU to get married to some dude she met on WoW.  Considering all the stuff that’s gone on since, epecially with regards to Fallout 3 (as the Fallout games were also one of her favorites), I can only gloat now and say to her, "So, as a gamer I’ll bet moving to Australia doesn’t seem like a very good idea in hindsight, now does it?"

    At least if the previous article is any indication, it looks like Mr. Atkinson is starting to see the light and realize that just maybe an R18+ rating is needed after all.  Which goes to show that enough pressure will eventually pay off.

  32. E. Zachary Knight says:

    What a moron. First he calls every country with an R18 rating swine and then proceeds to say that his opinion on R18 rating is Australia’s opinion.

    I also like how he implies that he has been threatened by gamers. "There are many gamers who say I should be eliminated, whatever that means."

    What a deceptive and self righteous moron.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
    MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/okceca
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    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
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  33. King of Fiji says:

    The only two 3 things that came from Australia that I care about.

    1)  Steve Irwin

    2)  The following joke:  A dingo ate meh baby!

    3)  AC/DC:  I’m not a big fan but they have some good songs.

     

    Besides that do we really need a continent/country like Australia?

     

    Also I had to only watch 5 seconds of the middle of the video to realize its total BS.

    If it makes violence more accepted then I’m sorry.  Shouldn’t that mean I was supposed to become a psychopathic killer after watching Robocop when I was eight?  I mean really.  A cop gets turned into a swiss cheese like corpse in that film and I am a happy go lucky duckie. 

  34. Zerodash says:

    Ban the Bible?  No way.  However, I think more religious organizations need to be classified as hate groups and monitored more closely.

  35. Shadow D. Darkman says:

    *FACEPALM*

    ——————————————————————————

    "Game on, brothers and sisters." -Leet Gamer Jargon

  36. Neeneko says:

    I’m just waiting for someone to take these arguments and use them as a justification to ban the bible.   I mean think about all the religious-nutjob based killings we have had in America over the last two decades….

    Gamers like to flame and talk big about ‘elimination’ on forums and such, but when you read though the papers it is far more often that unhinged people use the Bible as an exuse to go ‘kill some gays’ or shoot doctors, or bomb lesbian clubs….

    (and no, I do not beleive in banning the Bible.. I would just like to see how someone who uses these kinds of arguments would react to having the exact same reasoning, with better numbers, used against something that THEY care about….)

  37. MrKlorox says:

    He could have said Lemmings and made an awesome circular pun of irony. David Jones, the original creator of GTA also created the classic game Lemmings.

  38. GRIZZAM PRIME says:

    Huh? Were you adding to my comment, or did you misread and think I was agreeing with Atkinson and subsequently counter my assumed arguement?

    Just in case there is confusion, when I said "He’s right you know" I was sarcastically agreeing with Atkinson. Then, when I said that people who properly represent their citizens suck, I was sarcastically condemning the people who allow 18+ ratings, whom he reffered to as "swine".

     

  39. Aliasalpha says:

    He said swine going over a cliff which I think is a biblical expression for basically being out of control. I could be wrong though what with not having seen a bible in 20 years

  40. Cecil475 says:

    And the people who game and are over 18 want to play the games that are for that age group  and dispite what the majority says…yeah, thats doing his job.

     

     – Warren Lewis


    R.i.P GamePolitics 2005-2016

  41. GRIZZAM PRIME says:

    He’s right you know. Representatives who listen to the people they represent and then do what they were elected to do totally suck ass.

     

    -Remember kids, personal responsibility is for losers! -The Buck Stops Here.

  42. Father Time says:

    No he said all industrialized countries that allow R18 games are swine.

    And then this arrogant idiot claims he has principles.

    —————————————————-

    "What for you bury me in the cold cold ground?" – Tasmanian devil

  43. Cecil475 says:

    Isn’t Austrailia an industrialized country too? If so didn’t he just call his own country ‘swine?’

     – Warren Lewis


    R.i.P GamePolitics 2005-2016

  44. Warbaine says:

    Every media goes through this from the time og started drawing stick figures killing a mammoth

    ————————————————–

    I didn’t post on this subject. Freaky huh?

  45. Joker says:

    After listening to the thing, I’ve still not heard him say why he’s against adults playing the games other then a quick comment about them being too easy to access in the household.

    Still irritates me to no end why games are treated differently than other media.

     

     

  46. CyberSkull says:

    Watched the video. The AG’s reasoning is complete bunk. He’s just flogging the "protect the children" horse that was killed ages ago by other politicians.

  47. Haggard says:

    I see what you did there.

    But yeah, he starts listing high school shootings and the Thailand taxi driver murder as gamers acting out their game fantasies. No, these are mentally insecure people taking extreme action after society has been cruel to them. Perhaps instead we should ban free thought and action because it has the potential to lead to murder. At least that one’s been proved by qualified professionals.

  48. LujanD says:

    No, you’re right. And he even went so far as calling all industrialized countries swine, right before going on about having principles…

  49. Sigvatr says:

    Everything he is saying is complete garbage.

    Actually I haven’t even watched the video yet.

    Correct me if I am wrong.

  50. Solipsis says:

    The irony there is that I’m trying to get into law school! 😛 Sometimes I question my profession of choice…

  51. Killj0y says:

    "how much of a god complex do you have to have to believe that you’re the only one in the whole country with the moral backbone to "do what’s right" and make decisions for everyone else."

     

    It’s the Aussie Jack Thompson!  He’s a lawyer (and you’re not) and everything!

  52. Cecil475 says:

    ten or eleven years. The original Grand Theft Auto was released in 1997 or 1998?

     – Warren Lewis


    R.i.P GamePolitics 2005-2016

  53. Cecil475 says:

    In other words he just repeated all these events word for word as he heard them? As we have heard them? Is his speech one big copy pasta?

    I havent seen the video yet as the Student center computers have no sound, but will be watching it when I get back to my computer and giving my own $0.02 about it then. I’m just questioning others by what theyve seen so far.

     – Warren Lewis


    R.i.P GamePolitics 2005-2016

  54. Wraith108 says:

    Actually the whole line includes mention of Hare Krishna’s so he’s shockingly correct. However that was in the original GTA which is… how old now?

  55. Krit says:

    GTA and running down people for points… Geez… How long will this misconception carry on? It just annoys me how they know nothing about the situations when they say that…

  56. Frommonday says:

    Well, here’s why my friend in AUS imports. This right here.

    That, and y’know, the fact it’s bloody well cheaper for him to wire money to me for games and have me mail them to him. And that the stay he’s enduring over there is only going to be a year and a half, and he doesn’t want to deal with regional lockout BS when he gets back.

  57. Nocturne says:

    I thought Mark Limburghs reasonings for the R18+ rating were far more well thought out and fact checked.

    I chuckled when he mentioned the first GTA, my Dad picked up a cheap PS1 for something to do when its too cold in winter, one of the first games he bought to go with it, Grand Theft Auto… I love my dad!

  58. Solipsis says:

    how much of a god complex do you have to have to believe that you’re the only one in the whole country with the moral backbone to "do what’s right" and make decisions for everyone else.

    Ugh.

  59. Sigvatr says:

    Basically my beef with the entire issue is that Atkinson basically accuses Australian parents of being incompetant.

    Also he calls other countries swine.

  60. KayleL says:

    He may strongly think that there shouldn’t be a R18 for video games, but you represent the people, not you, and people want R18.

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