Update: This story is apparently ancient history from March 2010. While it's fun to refresh your memory, it's not news. We apologize for presenting it as such.
The Australian Christian Lobby is doing its best to slow down the momentum of an R18+ ratings classification in Australia by using a new tactic: comparing mature video games to cigarettes. The group used the public consultation period for the R18+ classification to assail the games industry.
The ACL recently claimed that Australian game industry is ignoring the research that shows a link between violent computer games and aggressive behavior. They claim it is "reminiscent of the tactics of tobacco companies in questioning the link between smoking and lung cancer."
The ACL is using a 2009 paper titled ‘Video game effects confirmed, suspected and speculative: A review of the evidence’, authored by Barlett, C.P., Anderson, C.A. & Swing, E.L.. That paper claims that "multiple studies have found overwhelming evidence to suggest that exposure to violent video games is causally related to … aggressive feelings, aggressive thoughts, and physiological arousal … aggressive behaviour, and other variables."
You can't blame them for trying, and as a political organization, vilifying an industry is as good a tactic as any to impede the progress of something you don't like. Their biggest problem is that – beyond the political rhetoric – the research is inconclusive because of so many conflicting studies claim games have both beneficial and negative effects on those who play them. You can read the whole story here. It also offers some interesting quotes from some self-described Christian game developers.
Thanks to Uncharted NES for the tip.