South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson and Gamers4Croydon political party creator David Doe were both interviewed on Australian radio about that country’s lack of an adult ratings category for videogames.
The two appeared on ABC Radio National’s show National Interest, but unfortunately were not in a position to joust on the subject, as Atkinson’s bit was pre-recorded. Doe appeared in the studio with host Peter Mares.
Atkinson, again, on why he opposes an R18+ rating:
I’m opposed to extreme and cruel violence being dissipated in interactive games. The decision on this game [Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2], to give it an MA15+ classification is a matter for the Commonwealth Classification Board. I‘ll be appealing against that classification. It doesn’t surprise me because the Classification Board in Australia does everything to try to get games in under the radar, and films generally. Just because the system is not being applied properly, does not mean that the principles of the system are wrong.
The host then asked Atkinson, in light of the apparent failings of the Classification Board; wouldn’t it be better to have an R18+ rating? Atkinson’s answer:
No, no… What I want the Classification Board to do is to apply the guidelines properly. I don’t want the extremely violent, sexually depraved and drug use games in Australia at all. We can’t stop these interactive games getting into the home and getting into the hands of children. Interactive games are, I think, a greater risk than films because they are interactive.
Atkinson then referenced Rapelay, saying, “I wouldn’t put it past the Classification Board to make that an R rated game frankly. “
Atkinson accused the host of being a bond company stooge/game industry apologist in favor of an R18+ rating, before claiming that Australians just don’t care about the lack of an adult videogame rating category:
The vast majority of Australians have not turned their mind to the question of an R18+ classification for interactive games. It’s just not an issue out there in the electorate. Most Australians don’t think about it. Like me, many of them enjoy playing games such as the Wii.
Atkinson again indicated he was aware of the Gamers4Croydon party that plans to run a candidate against him in the coming election, though he’s doesn’t give them much of a chance, “I rather doubt that they will get even 1% of the vote, so much for the claim of 90% of Australians favoring what the games industry wants (an R18+ rating).”
David Doe, the Aussie game developer and man behind Gamers4Croydon also appeared on the show. Doe used Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 as a lynchpin in his argument for an adult videogame classification, calling the game “just not suitable for 15 year olds.”
Does this indicate that Atkinson is right and the Classification Board is not doing its job the host queried?
I think the Classification Board is doing the best it can. There’s obviously a huge commercial interest in the videogame industry, and even though Australia is a small market, they are going to try and provide Australians with the type of content they would like to engage with. I think if we gave them the option of having an R18+ rating, they would classify more games as R18+ because they have that ability and then that way people would be more informed as to the type of content that’s readily available in those types of games.
If you’re over 18 years old, you should be able to decide for yourself what you think is appropriate.
Doe said of Atkinson, “He has made it clear that he is immune to popular public support, scientific research and reasoned argument.”
The whole show can be downloaded in MP3 format from the National Interest website.