Game Industry Head Debates Atkinson Form Letter

The CEO of an Australian and New Zealand videogame industry group has taken to his blog for a lengthy part-by-part answer to a form letter received from South Australia Attorney General Michael Atkinson (pictured left) in response to an inquiry calling for the addition of an R18+ rating category.

Ron Curry is CEO of the Interactive Games & Electronic Association (IGEA) and received the same form letter others have when attempting to contact the notorious anti-game advocate. Curry begins by noting that he believes Atkinson’s stance is full of “moral panic, misinformation and factual inaccuracies.”

Curry’s response to an Atkinson paragraph that claims that videogames in the home “cannot be policied:”

This is just a ridiculous comment regarding games being somehow magically different from films in the home.

And where is the conversation about console devices to lock out children.  Industry has parental control systems to assist parents, but at the end of the day it is a matter of real parental control in the home.  The systems can help parents, and no one would be so naive to think they would replace supervision.

Curry on Atkinson acknowledging “that others have different opinions” from his and that he will continue to campaign against an R18+ rating:

I think most people are willing to accept that Atkinson has an opinion that differs from the majority of people in our community.  It is unfortunate, however, that an individual with such a narrow and misinformed view can shape national policy from such an incredible position of power.

Atkinson: "I am baffled and worried about why proponents of R.18+ games are putting up their hands and saying ‘Give us more cruel sex and extreme violence!’"

Curry responds:

I’m not really clear who (apart from Atkinson’s own personal preference) has claimed that games are more interesting to an adult simply because they contain extreme violence, explicit sexual material or highly offensive language. More so, who is calling for more cruel sex?

This assertion is patronising in the extreme, deciding what is good for all adults and is dripping with moral panic.

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  1. jedidethfreak says:

    Umm…Muramasa isn’t a "Japanese niche" game.  That is one of the best Wii titles ever made.  I think it’s horrible that you can’t get that retail, because here in America I can get it at Walmart.

    He was dead when I got here.

  2. chadachada321 says:

    That was one of the most beautiful and inspirational things that I have read in my lifetime. *sheds a tear*

    -Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis-It is best to endure what you cannot change-

  3. mdo7 says:

    I applaud you, Nightwing.  I couldn’t have said it better myself.  good rant and good way to attack Atkinson.


    Oh, Atkinson is going to rip you a new one if he was reading this.


  4. Kincyr says:

    Atkinson: "I am baffled and worried about why proponents of R.18+ games are putting up their hands and saying ‘Give us more cruel sex and extreme violence!’"

    and there you have it: Atkinson thinks non-cruel sex is suitable for children

    岩「…Where do masochists go when they die?」

  5. Alex says:

    All Bethesda did was change "morphine" to "Med-X" and remove an animation of you injecting it into yourself. That’s all it took to make it past censors. I don’t really call that "all over the stinking place."

    I’m not under the affluence of incohol as some thinkle peep I am. I’m not half as thunk as you might drink. I fool so feelish I don’t know who is me, and the drunker I stand here, the longer I get.

  6. EvilTikiMan says:

    Well said, Sir! *Gentlemens applause*

    Responsibility: Its time that the next generation takes up the reigns of power in our government, before the old fools who hold them steer this country of ours closer to capsizing. We must act before its to late to repair the damage.

  7. EvilTikiMan says:

    Is it just me or does it seem that people like Atkinson seem to think that the rating system is the only thing standing between the children and the supposed flood of "cruel sex and extreme violence" that games possess? Does he even know the history behind videogames and their tie to a ratings system? If Atkinson does than he is in effect insulting every single parent in the country. Last time I checked the point of a rating system was to act as a Recommendation from a board of individuals to Aid parents in coming to a decission, Not making it for them. 

    Also if Australian Polititions like Atkinson can and do lie, and warp the truth about things, why doesnt anyone hold that against him durring debates, interviews, and so on? Not just on videogames, that can simply be an example. G4C and others should be pointing this out, even if it is supposedly common sense (sometimes it takes pointing out the "obvious", before it really becomes obvious and people react).

    Then again what do I know, I am just another Idealist American. *sigh* I hate being an Idealist… =(


    Responsibility: Its time that the next generation takes up the reigns of power in our government, before the old fools who hold them steer this country of ours closer to capsizing. We must act before its to late to repair the damage.

  8. Zerodash says:

    What is going on with the internet censorship in Austrailia?  All the outrage seems to have died down…

  9. Ashkihyena says:

    That is true, but I must give props to AvP’s devloper I think it is, unlike say Bethesda Softworks who edited Fallout 3, all over the stinking place, they’re not giving in.

  10. TBoneTony says:

    Even if we buy all the games online, the government can twist the facts around and say that we are all criminals for trying to buy things that are meant to be banned in Australia.

    They can do that, and if it is used to vote in for an internet filter then some politicians will do just that.

    For me, it will mean that I won’t be able to buy the rare Japanese games that are hard to market in Australia, it is not for classification reasons, it is also for market reason like how many Japanese games are of a niche market and can’t be purchased via retail, like Muramasa the Demon Blade for example.


    I have to buy that game on EBay now since all the retailers refuse to stock it because it is not a 1st party game/sequel or a game with big publisher backing behind it.


    So even if Australia stays without an R18+ rating for videogames, it means it will be open to the Internet Filter to limit all the other games online from Australian Gamers.


  11. TBoneTony says:

    I am a Aussie gamer in victoria, so as far as I know, my state is already trying their best and we can’t do anything more, same to for the ACT and Queensland.

    Say, if Atkinson is still in power by this time next year, lets hope that Victoria, ACT and Queensland have their own R18+ rating for videogames while Atkinson can just suck some our gamers balls all he wants.


  12. TBoneTony says:

    Well said nightwing.

    Yet for many of us Aussie gamers who have been trying to raise this issue of freedom of speech and how this is relevent to videogames, many of our voices have fallen on death ears because real people who matter don’t want to listen to us.

    As far as Michael Atkinson being criminaly charged for all the false claims he has done, well we know he has made allot of huff and puff on the issue and so have other politicians around the world.

    But in Australia, as well as other countries as far as i gather, a politician can’t be sued for anything he or she says no matter how false it is or how much they use that lie to win an election.

    So in any case, a politician can say racist things, sexist things, homophobic things and even anti-gamer things as much as they want, they will never be sued or even being brought to trial all because they are politicians and in Australia it is the politicians who make the rules and they can change them to who they see fit.


    That is the sad reality us Aussie Gamers face and we know that us Aussie gamers are not the only ones, Germany and even other gamers around the world face a similar senario.


  13. nightwng2000 says:

    The following is a comment, which is awaiting moderation, I left on the blog:

    Nevertheless, Ron, you end the article with "It seems the only hope for rational national policy on media classification rests not in whether Atkinson loses an election, but in whether his State colleagues think he remains suitable to serve as Censorship Minister."

    Ok, so send a copy of this counterargument to those state collegues as well as to the local press and CHALLENGE his arguments publically.  Let his constituants see his lies and deceit and intentional misinformation.

    He claims the issue is unimportant, especially to his constituants.  This specific issue is just one aspect of the overall issue of Freedom of Speech.  If ANY part of Freedom of Speech is denied, then ANY OTHER aspect of Freedom of Speech may be denied.  Freedom of Speech IS, and SHOULD BE, important to all individuals.

    It’s clear that Atkinson feels that his constituants, as well as others, should be of the attitude "Don’t think for yourself, don’t worry about other’s opinions, I’LL do the thinking FOR you, and make the decisions FOR you as to what is or is not appropriate for you or your children.  -I- know better than you.  And you should ALL think like me.  If you don’t, you are irrelevant and unimportant."  These are, of course, the thoughts of a tin-pot-dictator-wannabe. 

    Atkinson has said that "virtual worlds" are of no importance.  Yet, while necessity is the mother of invention, imagination is the father of invention.  The ability to imagine, to be creative, allows one to actually invent what has not been created before.  Inspiration, through fiction, whether in books, movies, TV, games, and more, give spark to that imagination.  But Atkinson thinks such is unimportant.  He also feels that exposure to the darker side of imagination is without value.  But it serves a greater purpose. 

    No matter what the form of media, no matter whether it is fiction or non-fiction, there are always three results of exposure, at varying degrees:  Entertainment, Education, Expression.  Not only does the creator have an intent to produce a product (intentionally or otherwise) with varying degrees in each (or nothing in any one or more), but the recipient also may have a different preception of any one or more of those exposures.

    Atkinson would have us believe that Expression plays NO part in games.  Yet, the truth is, that, depending on the individual, one can find Expression in a number of games, even in a small way.

    GTA IV is one of the games that exposes the player to a "darker side".  While Atkinson attempts to focus solely on the sex and violence as stand alone and without value, I could easily argue that, actually having listened to and wacthed the story of Miko, I get a great deal of Expressive views of Miko’s life and what led him to where he is in the game.  Even a bit of Education as to the effects of war such as the war Miko had gone through before coming to the US and then being led to come to America through false claims of fame, glory, and wealth by his cousin shows how so many have been led to believe that coming to America will lead one to a greater lifestyle.  Only to find out once they arrive, that they may be worse off than what they were, or many just barely a little better off.

    And when Atkinson argues about doing the horrible things on the "darker side", does he point out to his contituants how playing the "bad" side in various games the past thousand years has NOT led the person playing that "bad" side to be "bad"?  Examples include children playing Cops and Robbers in the park (someone HAS to be the Robber, having done something bad, and the Robber HAS to win from time to time, else why bother playing the Robber), or Cowboys and Indians.  Or even fashioning wooden swords a thousand or more years ago playing soldiers of two nations where one side is "good" and the other "bad".  Again, the "bad" has to win from time to time, lest why play?  How many children have picked up sticks or branches, pretending they were clubs, swords, pistols, rifles, etc? 

    Atkinson is of the limited comprehension that fiction directs reality.  But, in fact, fiction builds from reality and proceeds from there.  If there is no foundation to build from, then the experience is entirely unique.  And there is very little that is left to be wholly unique.  Stories, no matter what medium is used to tell the story, would not contain as much sex and violence if sex and violence was not prevelant in real society.  And so long as we have people promoting violence through bigotry and hate, or justifying acts of violence, or sexual crimes being justified, fiction will always have a platform from which to copy from.

    Atkinson doesn’t care about "Protecting the children!".  He cares about dictating to others what is or is not appropriate for others or their children based on HIS, and HIS ALONE, beliefs, whether those beliefs are personal, religious, and/or political in nature.

    He wasn’t voted in because others agree with his beliefs.  He was continually voted in because he knowingly and intentionally lied to and deceived those he sought votes from and misled them with false and fraudulent information and they were ignorant enough to believe him.

    For years, he’s blocked opposing views or few have truly stood up to him.  If you want change, you’ll have actually DO something, not sit back, mumble, and complain.

    In the US, at the least, there is an oath that is taken when an individual takes the stand in a trial.  It should also be an oath that politicians, as well as journalists, should also be required to take and be held accountable for if they violate it:

    I swear to tell the Truth, The WHOLE Truth, and Nothing But The Truth.

    Atkinson would have long since been criminally charged for multiple violations of such an oath if he had been required to take it upon taking office.



    NW2K Software

    Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as

  14. chadachada321 says:

    That’s what I’d say. Make Atkinson realize just how much money is made through video game sales once they’re all gone.

    -Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis-It is best to endure what you cannot change-

  15. madman says:


    Whilest it would seem more ideal to let the developers give up on Australia to help fight for the new rating system. In the end, however, that role is left to us, the gamers. After all we are the ones who purchase the product. 

    Seeing as Atkinson is an unlikely position to be taken down. I think we should boycott purchase of video games in Australia altogether and start importing. That way we can say to the industry, the videogame stores and the government that we refuse to put up with such an out of date rating system.

  16. Krono says:

    The amusing thing about that line of Atkinson is that Fallout 3 was banned for reasons not related to "cruel sex and extreme violence" but rather for the name of a drug and an animation of admistering it.


  17. hellfire7885 says:

    "I am baffled and worried about why proponents of R.18+ games are putting up their hands and saying ‘Give us more cruel sex and extreme violence!’"

    To answer the author’s question, this was likely to paint gamers as amoral monsters

  18. DarkSaber says:

    Australia is not the United States. Nothing much really sinks into that brain of yours does it?


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  19. fetidchimp says:

    There is no M17+ rating here, it’s M15+, the problem is not waiting a year to get it, the problem is for someone such as myself who is 35, having all games based on the theory that they must be suitable for 15 year olds, and consequently having them banned if they do not.

  20. sharpshooterbabe says:

    Besides why would he want to call for an R.18+ ESRB when there is already M.17+ rating?!?!?! That is again ridiculous! Oh no, let the teens wait one more year before they can get a game that they can’t get or get their parents to buy it for them! OMG!!!!!!!! This makes me steaming mad! It is misinformation & is insanely narrow-minded. Hell if I want to get a game that has some nudity in it, I will go to a XXX store or go on the web and watch adult "cruel sex". Sounds like Atkinson has been watching way too much BDSM or hardcore movies………. 🙂

    To say the least that the kids in the home need to be watched or policied over…….that is stupid too. It’s the parent’s decision whether they want their kids to play/watch the games…….again that goe to the parents fault if the parents aren’t up to date. Get over it atkison!



    "It’s better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." – Montgomery Gentry

  21. fetidchimp says:

    No i don’t think there is a legal duty as such for parents, only for the retailer selling the product initially. 


  22. Mr. Blond says:

    Could someone from Australia please enlighten me on something, specifically that country’s laws with regard to privacy and parental rights? Do parents have an active legal duty to ensure that kids do not view inappropriate material that they buy? Or, conversely, does the government reserve the right there to enforce age restrictions within the home and punish parents who do show their kids mature games or films?

  23. Zero Beat says:

    What do you call two groups of people that can’t agree on anything, except that they deserve a raise?



    "That’s not ironic. That’s justice."

  24. Roh02 says:

    lets ban politicians all they’re good at is saying alot without saying anything lying to each other wasting tax payers money generally shafting the public

    surely we can come up with a way to maintain roads police hospitals etc etc aswell as whatever we need to defend against the nutters of the world without politicians by now?

  25. Roh02 says:

    and whats worse is the idiot thinks kids wont get access to this stuff anyway they test their boundries sooner or later I mean what person here didnt look up dirty words in the dictionary or turn to the underwear section of a catalogue? (be honest with yourselves)

    please get real its natural and healthy you end up more fu**ed up if you dont do that stuff

  26. sharpshooterbabe says:

    Thats just it, he has no common sense at all & doesnt like the games, any of them & therefore wants to ruin it for all people!



    "It’s better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." – Montgomery Gentry

  27. Ratros says:

    Common sense that shall fall onto deaf ears.

    I once had a dream about God. In it, he was looking down upon the planet and the havoc we recked and he said unto us, "Damn Kids get off my lawn!"

  28. fetidchimp says:

    nah the new game from rebellion and sega was refused classification…….they don’t want to offend predators

  29. ZippyDSMlee says:


    “This assertion is patronizing in the extreme, deciding what is good for all adults and is dripping with moral panic.”     


    So thats want anal probes are lubed with…..

    Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!!

  30. Roh02 says:

    I wonder what his 18+ kid thinks about not having access to 18+ media (atleast in games if he plays them)

  31. TBoneTony says:

    Now if only he or she was living in South Australia and if they were living in Croydon, they would be perfect to run as a Gamers4Croydon member, or maybe a member of the Liberal Party in Croydon.

    In any case, nothing is going to change unless if the South Australian people vote that prick out of power.

    I personally feel that Atkinson’s stance against the R18+ rating for videogames is more to do about his lack of parenting skills and being too busy to parent his own children who the oldest is already well over the age of 18.

    Plus there is allot of moral panic and allot of outdated misinformation that really could use a bit of evidence to make him see that if we are talking about protecting the children, then the ESRB and the PEGI do it more better than the OFLC because they ‘HAVE’ a higher rating for adults.


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