Jaffe: No Choice But to Cave In to Government Ratings

Eat Sleep Play’s outspoken David Jaffe weighed in with his thoughts on Australia’s lack of an R18+ videogame rating.

IT Wire caught Jaffe’s comments, which came as part of a videoconference session at the Melbourne-based Game Connect Asia conference. Jaffe, from a developer’s viewpoint, doesn’t think there’s much that can be done when battling government bureaucracies like the Aussie Classification Board:

There’s a government board and if they say it’s too offensive, in that case there’s no fight to fight — it is what it is. There’s not much you can do if you’re making games aimed at a mature audience. We never like to cut it, but what are you going to do? You’re dealing with governments.

There’s absolutely an inconsistency in the consciousness about video games. The reality is people still see a lot of these things as kids’ toys. It’s utter BS.

Jaffe, who is taking a break from public social media and online activities such as blogging and using Twitter, doesn’t think his exile has or will have any impact on sales of his games, saying, “I’ve never seen anything that indicates to me that from a pure sales standpoint, it makes a lot of difference.”

Thanks Andrew

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  1. sqlrob says:

    There is a choice. Don’t publish in Australia.

    What needs to happen is that every.single.company. pulls out. No games published there, at all, regardless of rating. Publicize the heck out of them there, but don’t release them there. Force them to go to non-Australian sources for the games.

    That requires a solidarity that will never happen.

  2. GrimCW says:

    last i checked not fighting the fight and giving in without any will to stand up is cowardice.. the guys a coward, plain and simple.


    its that "give in because we have no chance anyways" attitude that allows dumb shits like those that oppose such a thing as the R18+ to win and continue to gain power.

    fight it in words, on paper, the net, or news, and then the fight will be made. you can’t expect a fight to exist without either joining one (as he goes on about there not being) or STARTING  one.

    so START the damned fight you wimp!

  3. TBoneTony says:

    The only change we will see is what will happen next year,

    By that point in time, I will have already made my plans to move out of Australia once when I have finished university.

    If things are still the way they are, at least I have options not to live there any longer and move out.

    If things change for the better and certain other things happen that help me to stay in Australia, then I would consider it.

    Sadly my two main issues, the R18+ rating for Computer Games and the Australian Internet Filter plan, are no where near the top priority of the current state and federal governments, where as Global Warming and the recovery from the financial crisis that hit hard last year are all that the rich politicians seem to focus about.

    I think the point he was getting at in this piece is that it is the Classification Board that is allot like the umpire of a football match, they have been given a set of rules and they have to enforce them. At the same time each decision is up to them from how they see the game and how it is reflecting by the rules.

    So all we can do is not to argue against the umpire and instead stay calm and get on with the game.

    Also it is not the Classification Board’s fault, they are trying to please two very different groups of people and by trying to please both, they are never able to please the two extreme elements of both parties.


    I have and always will be importing games for various reasons if I can’t get them into Australia because of both classification reasons as well as marketing reasons like with the Japanese games that stores chose not to market in Australia because of the lack of interest in them no matter how interested an individual like me is interested in them.


    I have as much luck with Japanese games as I do with Japanese Anime and Manga that comes into Australia, only the ones that sell well in America ever do get in like Mario, Zelda or any Final Fantasy game.


    Other games like Muramasa: The Demon Blade as well as many great Visual Novel games like Phantom of Inferno as well as Hourglass of Summer will never be released into Australia because those products never sold well in America no matter how good they were.


    So even if Australia did have an R18+ rating for Videogames, I will still chose to decide to move out of this country all because this country does not have what I am looking for in life.


    Australia is a good country, like we have allot of good holiday places and the weather is hot and sunny in christmas time, but we don’t have the same ability to buy what ever we want like those in America or Japan do.



  4. Atrayo says:

    What if instead of that fellow Mr. David Doe running for election. Besides creating a new Australian policital party called "Gamers 4 Croydon".

    That someone sues the South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson for an injunction. To bar the ban of these games that have the adult gamers in Australia up in arms. It would be a good stalling tactic and generate additional PR buzz about this thorny issue. If the case does ever make it to litigation it would be interesting to hear those arguements. (such as barring adult gamers from playing +18 rated game titles, no matter the content)

    If these banished games had some sort of internal "parental control" system. Than all this fuss would be a moot point, since the objectionable material would be toggled off.

  5. nightwng2000 says:

    Measurable only by the preceptions of the individual performing the test.  That preception, and therefore the formula, may change from individual to individual.

    The proof in in the fact that not all decisions to ban a particular product are unanimous.


    NW2K Software


    Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

  6. nightwng2000 says:

    Actually, the rest of my post has EVERY relevance to the discussion as it applies to intelligent consistancy to the design and enforcement of the laws.

    To have one law say that exposure to ideals and beliefs that directly teach one real individual to commit harmful acts, whether through verbal, mental, physical, and/or sexual abuse, and call it moral and protected speech that cannot be blocked from children being exposed to it, but another law say that fictional material that other individuals are exposed to may, according to theory, speculation, and opinion, cause harm, even indirectly or even peripherally, must then have that material subject to policies which censor it to "Protect the Children!" is clearly an inconsistant legal design.

    You also failed to point out whether the OFLC actually DOES exist, in whole or part, as the issue seems to be unclear.

    Moreover, the laws should NOT be designed around ANY aspect which enforces one segment of society’s views on another.  This is the disaster and truth of "Community Standards".  While it was initially designed in a reasonable manner, once implemented, individuals, organizations, and even politicians have used it in an ever increasing manner to violate the Rights of citizens based on the individual preception of "morality", even when those same individuals are less than "moral" themseleves and, therefore, actually push a more "immoral" standard way of life on others.

    Laws should be designed to protect the Rights of the individual, not dictate one individual’s personal, religious, and/or political beliefs on others.  The Rights of one individual end where the Rights of another individual begins.

    No rating system, of ANY product or service, should EVER be used in implementation or enforcement of law.  There will ALWAYS be differing opinions as to what is "good" or "bad" in regards to any product or service.  The rating systems, no matter what they are used on, should be for informational purposes only, as they were intended to be, for individuals to make their own decisions as to what is or is not appropriate for themselves or their families.


    NW2K Software


    Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

  7. ZippyDSMlee says:

    The problem is the government has a rule/law that bans stuff randomly because its a rule no one wants to change be it the government or the people at large..

    Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/

  8. Lichbane says:

    Your whole reply is predicated on the belief that the OFLC base their classification on opinions and personal belief systems. Board members base thier decisions on a set of measurable criteria and wieghed against a set of guidelines for which classification a game is rated under. If a game is found to be unable to be classified based on those measurable criteria, then it is refused classification. I’m not saying those guildelines and rules don’t need to be changed; I thought I was pretty clear on that (… You did read my post didn’t you?) The rest of your statement has no relevance to the discussion as to the efficacy of the laws. The laws exist. The laws need to be changed to bring them up to date with today’s society as well as the capabilities ans nature of modern video entertainment.

  9. sharpshooterbabe says:

    Yeah there is something someone can do about it, but don’t know if it’s worth it. Hire an ex-military personnel that is proficient is marksmanship & make it like nothing happened to Atkinson. It would be a cover-up & conspiracy.



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

  10. Roh02 says:

    theres gotta be a law against one man standing in the way of things like this? one man shouldnt have that ability its not right

    freedom of expression maybe? thats gotta be protected isnt it? … I still say we declare videogames a religion or something

  11. gellymatos says:

    Never cave in. The government is for the people, the people aren’t for the government. Always get involved in government, or the only one at fault for the government bulldozing you is youself.

  12. nightwng2000 says:

    Review the Ron Curry blog response to Atkinson’s letter and the Wikipedia article about the OFLC.

    Now, clarify the existance of the OFLC, as Curry states that the OFLC ceased to exist in 2007.  But the Wikipedia article states that only parts of it were merged with the AG’s office in 2006.

    Even so, what is and what is not "over the line" is based on individual preception.  Just as you offer your own view of what YOU feel is inappropriate or over the line, others do not necessarily have the same view.  Indeed, there are many things that are being used to directly educate children into world views of how to treat REAL people that I find inappropriate, even offensive and harmful to those being taught such ideals as well as harmful to their victims.  Frankly, I feel that such exposure is far more dangerous to individuals (no matter what age) and who they then expose themselves to, in the real world, than what any individual (no matter what age) is exposed to in a fictional world (whether that fictional world is books, movies, tv shows, etc) with fictional storylines.

    No one HAS to like what others like.  No one HAS to hate what others hate.  If you don’t like particular products, fine, dandy, couldn’t care less.  That’s your choice.  You are also free to express your opinion about things you don’t like.  But don’t expect others to accept being DICTATED to that they should not like something or should be EXPECTED to not like something simply because you, or anyone else, don’t.

    That is the major difference here.  Differing opinions versus being FORCED to adhere to someone else’s opinion.

    The existance of ANY virutal world, fictional in nature, does NOT violate any other individual’s Rights.  What happens to fictional characters should not be considered a crime.  Human and Civil Rights have not been extended to fictional characters.

    As such, fiction/fantasy should NOT have limitations.  Fiction/fantasy does not equal reality.  Fiction can never truly become reality because reality itself has limitations and consequences.  Fiction/fantasy does not.  It does not matter what the fiction consists of.  You are not forced to participate, like, or accept ANY fiction.  Therefore, its existance does not, in any way, harm you if it exists.  To argue otherwise is to open the door to the argument that if an act occurs in reality, I can link broad sweeping claims against similar situations, even if those similar situations are not directly harmful, simply because the argument is that some HAVE proven harmful, therefore, ALL are harmful and we, as a society, must be protected from POTENTIAL harm.


    NW2K Software


    Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

  13. Lichbane says:

    People seem to lay the blame for the refusal of classification as "the Australian Goverment banning games".  As an Australian, statements like this are blatently incorrect and they really begin to shit me. And these are my reasons.

    1) No one in "the government" is actively against adults making their own entertainment choices. Sure there is Atkinson, but I’ll get to that point in a sec. We are not Germany where they have an active government movement to ban violent video games.

    2) The OFLC are doing their best to work with the guidelines that they are given. In fact, they have been more than lenient on occasions; you just need to look at games like "Fallout 3" and "Modern Warfare 2" which were given an 18+ rating in all other countries, with the exception of the US (which has it’s own de-facto censorship based on whether Walmart will carry the game). Even "The Witcher" was released in Australia in uncensored form … something that can’t be said for the US.  However if a game completely and blatently breaks the guidelines, their hands are tied … and all the bitching and moaning will not change a thing.

    3) The guidelines regarding classification are bound in laws developed over 30 years old. They were developed at a time when video games were almost incapable of crossing the line. Nowadays the capabilities of consoles and computers make it much easier to depict sex and violence that does cross … nay … GLEEFULLY DANCE over that line. The point is that these laws, as archaic as they are, are currently in place and have been for quite some time. I’m sure if you dug into the US law you’d find more than enough archaic laws … just not ones that have this kind or wide-ranging impact.  Now … to change those laws needs unanimous agreement of all State Attorney Generals. Which leads into my final point …

    4) There is only one individual in this country who has the power to block changes to these existing and archaic laws. He firmly believes his stance is right and he is not going to change; he has proven himself to be intractable on this issue. He is in one of the safest labor seats in South Australia, so getting rid of him is nigh on impossible … except if Labor itself loses power. There is nothing that the other State Attorney Generals can do to change his mind. They have no power over him. It’s an unfortunate situation, but there isn’t a goddamn thing that can be done about it.

    Australia is for all intents and purposes a free and democratic society. The unfortunate situation we find ourselves in right now is an anomaly where laws were set up many years ago, that more than likely had quite innocent intentions are, quite frankly screwing us over. It’s not "the government" that is stopping us from making our own entertainment choices. It is a set of archaic laws and one man that is blocking the change to those laws.

    Finally (and this is a purely personal viewpoint), I think it’s important to realise that just because a game has shock value or gore, that’s not going to make it a good game.  In fact it’s been my experience as a gamer of over 45 years that games relying on that mechanism are usually lower quality.  Rebellions standpoint is yet to be proved valid; if the game is a quality game, then I’m sure plenty of Australians will import it.  If it’s a steaming pile, the OFLC have probably done us a favor in saving us from an impulse purchase.

  14. Roh02 says:

    I just had a thought (yes steams coming out of my ears) why not skip the R18? you could easily argue a 17 year old (or a little younger) could pass for 18 and then go all PROTECT THE CHILDREN but there arent many 17 year olds that can pass for 21 (if any without ID?) so ask for an R21 rating retailers will have no excuse for selling to children and I dare parents to claim it was misleading

    good idea? not perfect idealy you want an R18 but this is a step in the right direction plus the games get a release

  15. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Ok don;t sell it to that market….sell it to the one right next to them that has the same lanague ^_~

    Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/

  16. Zerodash says:

    Jaffe is correct only when you consider places like Iran, Venezuaela, or China where the government has absolute power (legit or not).  However, countries like Austrailia and Germany are supposedly free nations with democratic means of representing the opinions of the citizens.  Just giving up and letting the government get away with censorship isn’t how it works- the people change these things with votes.

  17. Monte says:

     He statement is full of BS if you ask me. The main reason they have to cave in so deeply to government ratings is the simple fact that there is no R18+ rating. That alone would greatly increase how far developers could take their games. and at this point the main thing blocking such a rating is ONE man. After getting an R18+ rating, THEN he could probably get away with saying something like that with it mostly being true; sad but true.

  18. Cheater87 says:

    I see what he says but I still say that Rebellian is doing a pretty good thing for standing up to free speech. If i was a developer I would stand by my product all the way the way we want it to be.

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