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South Australia AG Backs R18+ For Games, But Not MA15+

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the you-must-be-18-to-read-the-rest-of-this-post dept.

Australia 68

dotarray writes "The Australian classification debate has just gotten a little more interesting, with South Australian Attorney-General John Rau announcing that he wants to go one step further than merely introducing an R18+ rating for video games. His proposed plan would change the system to include G, PG, M and R18+ classifications (while still allowing for games to be Refused Classification or effectively banned), making a 'clear difference' between what adults can play and what is available to children."

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At last some sense. (2, Informative)

shplorb (24647) | more than 3 years ago | (#35960390)

It's about time the Labor party pulled its finger out.

Unfortunately, this announcement is nothing more than an attempt to distract the vapid media from the SA Labor party's woes of last week:

* The worst opinion poll in the party's history.
* A Labor MP was arrested for child pornography offences.
* A minister resigned without explanation less than three months into the job.

Re:At last some sense. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35961016)

Any rating that is done on a game will also be a rating in the eyes of the teens of the world of how much they wish to play said game.

G rated - meh...
PG rated - you will be embarrassed to play in front of your friends.
M rated - Only cool until your 15th birthday.
R18+ - Cool for most teens.

Unrated games will be played and considered cool on their own merits.

Re:At last some sense. (2)

bug1 (96678) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961030)

Its not any one party, its individual State Attorney.

Each state Attorney seems to have a personal agenda about the issue, and it doesn't take into consideration the views of the party or the state.

Federal government wont/cant do it without all states agreeing.

State governments need to stand up to their AG and tell them their position is not a license to dictate morality.

Re:At last some sense. (1)

johnsnails (1715452) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961314)

Well said! I'm a Christian so have my own views about game ratings, but I still think that it is way overdue for Australia to introduce R18+ games, no proven link to violence and reality is a large proportion of the country want the rules changed and a large proportion are indifferent. Parents should be responsible for what is consumed by their children, be it games, movies, music or otherwise.

Re:At last some sense. (2)

shplorb (24647) | more than 3 years ago | (#35962620)

I'm well aware of the situation as I've been following it for over half a decade since the former Attorney-General Michael Atkinson first put the kybosh on R18+.

Unfortunately in SA the Labor party that is the government is controlled by a "Catholic right" faction. The former AG held a lot of sway in that faction until he finally went so off the rails they tapped him on the shoulder and replaced him with the current guy, so you can probably deduce why the government never directed the former AG in how to handle the issue.

I do agree with what John Rau is proposing though as I've always wondered why we have M and MA ratings as they seem so similar.

Re:At last some sense. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35962128)

The last two are one and the same (aka the same MP). It's just the way its been reported in the media, they legally can't link the two events.

Re:At last some sense. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35962308)

It's about time the Labor party pulled its finger out.

Unfortunately, this announcement is nothing more than an attempt to distract the vapid media from the SA Labor party's woes of last week:

This one could be a bit Machiavellian:
At R18+, I suspect it's not just the customer that needs to be 18, but also the shop staff selling the game to the customer (and checking the ID). EBGames and other high street shops can't easily guarantee to have an 18-year old on duty at all times, so they might just not stock them. Bingo, everything that was MA15+ and can't get itself under an M is no longer on the shelves at your local Westfield shopping mall.

Thinking less Machiavellianly, there is a discrepancy in ratings between movies and games (whether or not we support them in the first place). For instance, Bioshock the game was MA15+ and sold heaps; Bioshock the movie was never made because Gore Verbinski didn't think he could make it come in under an (American) 18 rating and no movie studio thought they'd make a profit on a blockbuster with that rating.

Re:At last some sense. (1)

.tekrox (858002) | more than 3 years ago | (#35971206)

I still see plenty of 15/16 year-olds working at Video Sleazy/Blockblister
They rent out R18+ movies...

Renamed shit is still shit. (3, Informative)

Mountaineer1024 (1024367) | more than 3 years ago | (#35960402)

Just taking the existing MA15+ bracket and renaming it to R18 will not do anything meaningful.
We have a system in this country (Australia) that claims to be about classification, but is actually about censorship!

I (and many others) want a uniform system across all media, and unless something is illegal to make, it shouldn't be illegal to buy!

Re:Renamed shit is still shit. (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 3 years ago | (#35960416)

A uniform system would be censorship... as that's the traditional role of movie classifications.

I think you mean you want a voluntary rating system, like the rest of the world.

Re:Renamed shit is still shit. (4, Informative)

Mountaineer1024 (1024367) | more than 3 years ago | (#35960454)

I don't know if a voluntary system would give us anything different here, the problem is that the lack of a rating within the codified guidelines result in a title being illegal to buy locally or import.

According to the code [comlaw.gov.au] by which these classifications are made:
The Code
Under the Code, classification decisions are to give effect, as far as possible, to the following principles:
(a) adults should be able to read, hear and see what they want;
(b) minors should be protected from material likely to harm or disturb them;
(c) everyone should be protected from exposure to unsolicited material that they find offensive;
(d) the need to take account of community concerns about:
(i) depictions that condone or incite violence, particularly sexual violence; and
(ii) the portrayal of persons in a demeaning manner.

Look at A there and tell me how not allowing me (a 30 year old) to legally acquire something like Mortal Kombat or Left for Dead 2 [refused-cl...cation.com] is abiding by their own guidelines.

Re:Renamed shit is still shit. (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 3 years ago | (#35960630)

By definition a required rating is not voluntary.

Re:Renamed shit is still shit. (0)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#35960636)

Look at A there and tell me how not allowing me (a 30 year old) to legally acquire something like Mortal Kombat or Left for Dead 2 [refused-cl...cation.com] is abiding by their own guidelines.

Well, it's the government, so they say they won't do something, that means they'll continue to say they're not doing it as they do it. I vaguely recall some Australian government official arguing that adults don't want the games based on the fact that they're not buying them, so the censorship would be consistent with A. Not addressed was the issue of "How would they buy them since they're not sold legally?" I might be imaging that...

If it makes you feel any better, that's small potatoes as far as government hypocrisy goes. I mean, north Korea has "Democratic" in the name of the country. Dear leader must actually be superhuman if his pants don't catch on fire every time he says that.

Re:Renamed shit is still shit. (2)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#35960728)

Well, it's the government, so they say they won't do something, that means they'll continue to say they're not doing it as they do it. I vaguely recall some Australian government official arguing that adults don't want the games based on the fact that they're not buying them, so the censorship would be consistent with A.

Except it wasn't the government. The government has always been for reforming the system allowing adults to buy what they want. The problem was one man. One attorney general who under law unfortunately was allowed to force his unpopular opinion on 20million people. He's gone now. R18+ rating here we come.

Re:Renamed shit is still shit. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35960880)

Yeah, Michael Atkinson (the Attorney General for South Australia) has been replaced - and thank $DEITY for that. However, it seems that Robert Clark, the Attorney General for Victoria, is going down the same path [theage.com.au] .

It ain't over until everybody agrees that it's over. As long as one state disagrees, the status quo remains. One obstacle disappears, another pops up to take its place. Gah!

Re:Renamed shit is still shit. (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#35960892)

I see a serious conflict possible between (a) and (d). Here my interpretation.

Principle (a) basically allows any material to be rated R18 without further review - if lower classifications are deemed appropriate, then review should be done.

(b) is very reasonable: that's what ratings are for.

But also for a lot of material I'd like to know on which grounds (types of content) a rating is given. This is what principle (c) would prescribe. Some material may depict graphic violence, others explicit sex - it seems there are quite some people that depict anything sexual, but love to look at violent stuff. Or the other way around. A simple R18 rating would not tell enough.

And then (d). That is definitely more than answering the question of "what kind of content belongs under what rating" guidelines. It will definitely be applicable for certain contents that go against the moral of some people, maybe a majority even. And lead to material being "refused classification" as they call it over there, or simply forbidden. And with that it goes right against principle (a).

Re:Renamed shit is still shit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35962800)

As someone else said, if its not illegal under other laws (eg, rape porn, child porn, animal abuse etc) then it should be available to view by any adult over the age of 18.
As I see it, we (Australia) need a ratings overhaul.
A.) Any material which is not illegal to make under other laws (see above) is automatically rated (unrated)R18+
B.) To be rated C (Suitable for young children), PG/G (Parents should watch it to see if they believe it is suitable for their kids), MA15+ (contains violence/sex/nudity/mature themes/drug (ab)use, etc - ie, regarded as not being suitable for younger viewers), (rated)R18+ (realistic violence, gratuitous sex/nudity/violence - iow, stuff which society believes should not be seen by people under 18) , the material needs to be submitted to the relevant ratings authority for classification.
C.) For PG/MA15+/(rated)R18+, the classification label should contain the category for which the ratings authority believes it should be in that category. IE - MA15+ contains violence/frequent bad language, (rated)R18+ - frequent sex scenes.
D.) Classifications need to be enforced at the point of service. Eg, id checks for r18+/ma15+ materials with fines for breaches to encourage stores to enforce it.

Such a classification system is simple, does not make any materials which some people may find offensive illegal to gain for others and allows parents to see at a glance whether they can just pop it in for their kids or whether they should look into it further before letting them watch it.

Regarding stores not stocking items which are ma15+/r18+, if there is a demand for it then it will be stocked. Worse case scenario is that people would be required to purchase it online.

A bit off topic, the US needs to fix up their ratings system before they start criticising ours. Some of the PG13 films really should be rated ma15+ or even R18+ due to realistic violence/language/nudity.

Re:Ratings (1)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | more than 3 years ago | (#35964206)

A bit off topic, the US needs to fix up their ratings system before they start criticising ours. Some of the PG13 films really should be rated ma15+ or even R18+ due to realistic violence/language/nudity.

The thing about community standards is that they only apply within specific communities. Your attempt to apply Australian community standards to U.S. ratings is sadly misguided.

Re:Renamed shit is still shit. (1)

bennettp (1014215) | more than 3 years ago | (#35960500)

Actually, I think it's illegal to sell. IANAL.

Re:Renamed shit is still shit. (2)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#35962518)

Correct - it's illegal to sell RC games in Australia, but not technically illegal to buy them. Certainly an offence has occurred in such a scenario, but it's the seller who faces the music, not the buyer.

It is not against the law to merely possess or play an RC game (or any other material for that matter) in any State or Territory except for Western Australia. What this essentially means if you can get you hands on an RC game, you aren't breaking the law (but the person who provided it to you might be).

Personally I have a couple of RC games and I didn't even know they were RC! For instance I bought Fallout 3 (US version) while travelling to America a few years back. Returned to Australia, had fun playing it for months and only found out completely by accident that it was actually RC here. That's not an issue though, as in my State it's completely legal to own and play it. The only barrier is that Customs could technically have confiscated it at the border when I returned to Australia but in reality they don't really care about this kind of stuff. They have more important things to worry about (you know, pests, diseases and drugs etc).

Re:Renamed shit is still shit. (3, Interesting)

black3d (1648913) | more than 3 years ago | (#35960884)

Actually, it will make a difference. Almost every banned game would fall under the R18 classification if such a thing existed. As it doesn't, they're refused classification and banned. Bumping MA15+ games up to R18 means while those games fall under the adult category, games previously banned because they were refused classification could be revisited and almost all would fall under the R18 classification. The most recent Mortal Kombat, for instance, was just squeezed out of the MA15+ rating, which means it's banned outright. If an R18 classification existed, it would be allowed - with an R18 classification (Meaning, no children could buy it, etc).

You may be expressing that you believe that all games that have previously been refused classification would still be, but one of my professional acquaintances performs some of classifications. They have no hidden agenda whatsoever. They simply classify the content as they would any other content - to the best of their ability, of course. If they believe the media in a game exceeds the MA15+ classification, at present they're forced to simply refuse classification. With an R18 rating, they could slap R18 on it an be done with. As long as it's content which would get an R18 rating in any other medium, it will here. Sometimes they let games get through with the incorrect rating (they're only human, and don't play the entire games - publishers actually have to identify themselves which scenes they believe are the most violent, etc, and present those) and those get revisited and reclassified. The classifiers are not out to ban anything - they just use the classification tools available to them.

This doesn't mean X-rated content would be allowed, however. (In most of Aus, there's no X-rating, either). So no hardcore porn games would be allowed in. Excessive violence falls under R18, with the exception of snuff - except in games it's computer graphics and not considered snuff. Oh, also no beastiality or child porn, as they're illegal.

Re:Renamed shit is still shit. (1)

Mountaineer1024 (1024367) | more than 3 years ago | (#35960908)

You may be expressing that you believe that all games that have previously been refused classification would still be, but one of my professional acquaintances performs some of classifications. They have no hidden agenda whatsoever. They simply classify the content as they would any other content - to the best of their ability, of course. If they believe the media in a game exceeds the MA15+ classification, at present they're forced to simply refuse classification. With an R18 rating, they could slap R18 on it an be done with. As long as it's content which would get an R18 rating in any other medium, it will here. Sometimes they let games get through with the incorrect rating (they're only human, and don't play the entire games - publishers actually have to identify themselves which scenes they believe are the most violent, etc, and present those) and those get revisited and reclassified. The classifiers are not out to ban anything - they just use the classification tools available to them.

This doesn't mean X-rated content would be allowed, however. (In most of Aus, there's no X-rating, either). So no hardcore porn games would be allowed in. Excessive violence falls under R18, with the exception of snuff - except in games it's computer graphics and not considered snuff. Oh, also no beastiality or child porn, as they're illegal.

That is exactly my fear, that the new legislation will simply move the existing MA15+ content to R18.
There's been zero transparency from the government on their intentions and to my cynical mind Mr Rau's pronouncement on the subject looks designed to deliberately fail - and then afterwards he can spread his hands and say "It's not my fault none of the other AG's wanted R18".
The liberal government did basically the same thing to stop us getting out from underneath the monarchy about a decade ago. Rather than make it a straight debate about republic vs monarchy, they clouded the issue with arguments about the specific type of government that would replace the current system.

As much as I respect the honesty and integrity of your unnamed friend at the ARB, I don't trust the politicians as far as I can throw them.

Re:Renamed shit is still shit. (2)

black3d (1648913) | more than 3 years ago | (#35960952)

Well, that's a very real possibility. While most "shooters" would be reclassified down to M, those which glorify the violence (such as, Borderlands), and many "fighting" games would most likely be bumped up to R18 - as the distinctions would be even easier for them to make than it currently is. "If a headshot produces a blood spray, it's M. If it produces gore/brains/gibs, it's R18". Realism and glorification thereof taken into account. Maybe I'm not concerned because I'm over a decade over 18, but consider - these games are already meant to be under parental supervision at the very least.

I don't know what (reasonable) parent out there can complain "Hey, when my kid shoots peoples heads off in computer games, they should be allowed to see the brain splatter across the wall!" What's wrong with such titles falling under R18 besides the inconvenience to minors who try to buy them?

I've heard (and read below) the debate about how kids need to be introduced gradually to these concepts rather than having them shoved on them at 18. Well, under the M classification they can see naked couples writhing together (with boobies!) and see folks being shot (simulated) in the head! How many intermediate steps are there between that and the ability to see actual genitalia, and brain matter splatters? :) It seems like this still allows for a fairly gradual acclimation, and the arguments crying about how children are coddled is somewhat a red herring.

Re:Renamed shit is still shit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35961954)

I think you're misunderstanding the concerns.

As I see it:

* Everything currently MA15 becomes R18
* Everything currently denied a rating remains banned.

Re:Renamed shit is still shit. (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961360)

Of course it would do something meaningful. Things are refused classification because they don't fit into any of the buckets. Clearly there are things that will fit into R18 but do nt fit into MA15+. Hence less things will be redused classification.

Now while some things will still be refused classification, you can't call that doing nothing meaningful. Every single mainstream game that has been refused classfiication in Australia would instead be classified R18+ (if it was resubmitted, etc).

Things don't have to be made perfect in order to be meaningfully improved.

Re:Renamed shit is still shit. (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961980)

We have a system in this country (Australia) that claims to be about classification, but is actually about censorship!

All classification systems are about censorship.

Re:Renamed shit is still shit. (1)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 3 years ago | (#35980406)

All classification systems are about censorship.

Classification systems are about organizational and information purposes. They can be *mis-used* for censorship, of course. I don't think it's a bad thing that videogames have a coherent classification system that informs parents as to their general conduct and age-appropriateness. Where I tend to have a problem is with government-enforced classification (along with related laws), which is indeed censorship.

Should one oppose a loosening of censorship laws on the grounds that all censorship is obscene? Or does that legitimize it? I'm tempted to say that you'll likely alienate those who you'd want as allies by rigorously opposing a pragmatic middle-ground on principle, which may let you claim a moral victory while costing you the war.

Very bad for children (5, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 3 years ago | (#35960422)

We keep insisting in this society that children must be protected at all costs until some magic age, when we suddenly rip away all that protection. It's clearly easier to pretend children go from 8 to 18 in one giant step than to actually teach them responsibility slowly and gradually. And then we wonder why 8 to 18 year olds go stupid and make choices that have devastating consequences, or are selfish. They've not been taught responsibility in a calm and gradual fashion. They've been treated like infants for a decade instead. What do you expect!? It's like teaching someone primary school math for a decade then expecting them to jump to vector calculus literally overnight.

Who's fault is that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35960490)

The parents, that's who.

Admittedly, I don't know how it is in Australia, but here in the good old US of A, a parent can walk in, plop down $50 or whatever exorbitant rate games are going for these days, and treat little Johnny to all the blood, gore and sex he can handle.

And that's how it should be. Railing against video game ratings is stupid - it allows parents to actually make informed decisions about what media their children consume. That parents often make poor decisions based on such information is an entirely separate problem.

Re:Very bad for children (4, Insightful)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 3 years ago | (#35960514)

What a time for me not to have mod points. This is absolutely, positively, 100% correct.

People always underestimate what children are capable of understanding. Children are naive and do not have fully developed decision making skills, but they do understand their limitations if you are honest with them. By attempting to hide everything from a child that you deem inappropriate, you lose valuable education opportunities for them.

For example, with sex you can say that their bodies will grow faster than their ability to handle the dangers of sexual relationships. If you tell them this too late (when they are teenagers) they will take offense at it - nobody teen likes to be told that they are not ready for some things. If you want to know how to deal with a rebellious teenager, just teach them how to be a teenager before it happens. Preparation is the key.

Re:Very bad for children (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35960596)

Same idea but better illustrating the point than the parent: +1 to this one.

Re:Very bad for children (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | more than 3 years ago | (#35960560)

Ummmm I think this is actually very good for children, It allows PARENTS to introduce the material to them as appropriate rather than kids running down to the local store and getting whatever they want. Parents should be responsible for raising their children not a government censorship system. R18+ would at least allow adult games to be sold to adults (something we have lacked in Aus) and where parents think appropriate given to their children. The government should not be responsible for how children are introduced to such content.

Re:Very bad for children (0)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#35960610)

False! What you are describing is a system that involves an MA15+ rating. MA15+ requires parental supervision for someone under 15 to legally purchase the content. The M rating is a recommendation and anyone can go and legally buy an M rated game without any parental supervision at all.

Re:Very bad for children (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | more than 3 years ago | (#35960646)

NO, what I am describing is bloody parents doing their job for a change, instead of relying on incompetent governments to do it for them. Australia's current problem is not even adults can buy games that would receive a rating higher than MA15+, if it means abolishing MA15+ and having a R18+ I am all for it, even if that means 15-18 year olds have a harder time getting stuff (unlikely as they will get it anyway or get controlled access from parents).

Re:Very bad for children (0)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#35960668)

Except it can't happen without an MA15+ rating. I'm all for parents doing their jobs. They should be able to police content for kids and introduce it to them at the rate they want.

But not now. The only content parents can introduce to kids is R18+ content. Is your kid 9? Awesome he can go out and buy any M rated game he wants without any parental supervision at all, including all the games that publishers will try to squeeze in right under the R18+ system which would previously have been restricted to parental supervision.

You're advocating that parents actually be parents, but at the same time making it harder to do their job? Why? Actually why chose one or the other when there's an answer that pleases everyone at once, and that is introduce the same fucking system movies have to games. It's really not that difficult and it works well.

Re:Very bad for children (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | more than 3 years ago | (#35960802)

Actually it would be the reverse, more titles will be forced into the R18+ with less available to 9 year olds. If 9 year olds have the unsupervised cash to go into a shop and buy 60-100 dollar games (the price in Australia) then parents have already failed. incidently I am all for both MA15+ AND R18+ being available. The problem is without the SA AG's support we cannot have any changes, a change to at least having R18+ while not perfect is at least a step forward.

Re:Very bad for children (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 3 years ago | (#35960660)

Uhh, so does the R rating. Not having an MA just shifts the boundaries, it doesn't change the fundamental system. Without an MA rating, that material will probably just get bumped into the R18 class, relegating it to "parental decision". MA15+ is always problematic, because validating age is harder. At 18, people will often have at least their learners permit, or else age cards for them to get into bars/clubs which also have the same 18-year limit. At 15, kids generally don't have any reliable ID, and aren't likely to go get one specifically to buy a game.

Re:Very bad for children (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#35960694)

The problem is not shifting the boundaries it is one of removing the boundaries and squeezing the remainder into the now broken system. What you're effectively saying is that someone who is 9 is mature enough to go out and buy the same content as someone who is 17 as all ratings below M15+ are only guidances.

The ID issue is separate and not helped by inconsistent and often easily forgeable student ID cards which every student should have. Yet I never once had a problem providing proof of age to get concession passes to anything.

Re:Very bad for children (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 3 years ago | (#35960712)

No, what its saying is that if the content is sufficiently tame, anyone can buy it, and if it's over a certain threshold, under 18s need parental permission. Sounds fine to me. Kids can vary greatly in maturity in the 13 - 17 bracket, and the people in the best position to judge are their parents. This puts the responsibility for those cases onto the parents, which is where it should always have been in the first place

Re:Very bad for children (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#35960736)

False. Go read up on the R18+ definitions and how they apply. A parent is not allowed to authorize someone under 18 to acquire legally content with an R18+ rating. Come back once you have learnt how our rating system works and how the laws apply.

Re:Very bad for children (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961104)

Yeah, parents aren't allowed to "authorize" someone to buy it. But they can buy it themselves, and screen it for their children. Whether or not that's technically against the law is dubious - the law's framed around cinemas and stores. But to my knowledge, there has never been even an attempt to interpret it that way in a court case, nor any prosecution of a parent for screening a film for their child under that law.

Re:Very bad for children (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35960796)

Kids can vary greatly in maturity in the 13 - 17 bracket

So can people in general. But, really, what does "maturity" have to do with it? Whether they're mature or not, they likely won't go 'insane' from playing a video game.

and the people in the best position to judge are their parents.

It's probably better than the government or someone similar doing it, but it is by no means a good solution.

Re:Very bad for children (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35962922)

Kids can vary greatly in maturity in the 13 - 17 bracket

So can people in general. But, really, what does "maturity" have to do with it? Whether they're mature or not, they likely won't go 'insane' from playing a video game.

Some people are susceptible to "insanity" from violent games/movies/etc.

I hate to stereotype or to make broad statements but such people are usually badly raised (spoilt rotten, lack of close adult contact/supervision/guidence (generally lack of interest from parents) in their younger years preventing them from learning what a mature person should be like) and/or having psychological/physiological conditions which prevent or pervert their proper mental functions.

Re:Very bad for children (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35963566)

Some people are susceptible to "insanity" from violent games/movies/etc.

Some people, yes. But I suspect that that's not many, or we'd be seeing a lot more violence, would we not? I certainly don't worry about it.

spoilt rotten, lack of close adult contact/supervision/guidence (generally lack of interest from parents

Wouldn't it take far more than this to make someone go 'insane' merely by playing/viewing a fictional piece of entertainment? These can be 'bad', but I wouldn't say that they're that bad.

and/or having psychological/physiological conditions which prevent or pervert their proper mental functions.

I'd say this is the actual cause.

Re:Very bad for children (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#35962770)

Ummmm I think this is actually very good for children, It allows PARENTS to introduce the material to them as appropriate rather than kids running down to the local store and getting whatever they want.

How exactly is that a good thing for children? What evidence do you have that one produces more desirable outcomes than the other?

I know it's a good thing for control freak parents, but that's not the same thing.

Re:Very bad for children (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 3 years ago | (#35968356)

Ummmm I think this is actually very good for children, It allows PARENTS to introduce the material to them as appropriate rather than kids running down to the local store and getting whatever they want. Parents should be responsible for raising their children not a government censorship system. R18+ would at least allow adult games to be sold to adults (something we have lacked in Aus) and where parents think appropriate given to their children. The government should not be responsible for how children are introduced to such content.

How the fuck does making a game R18+ instead of MA15+ give the parent control? It criminalises their choice if that choice is to introduce material earlier!

Re:Very bad for children (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | more than 3 years ago | (#35969532)

You seem confused, the current situation in Australia is THEIR IS NO CHOICE. games are banned if they are of a violent, sexual or drug use related. for instance Mortal Kombat is banned as is Left for Dead 2. R18+ would at least allow the majority of games onto the market here instead of completely cock blocking them.

Re:Very bad for children (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 3 years ago | (#35970198)

You seem confused, the current situation in Australia is THEIR IS NO CHOICE. games are banned if they are of a violent, sexual or drug use related. for instance Mortal Kombat is banned as is Left for Dead 2. R18+ would at least allow the majority of games onto the market here instead of completely cock blocking them.

I'm not confused at all, you are. The current situation in Australia (where I live by the way) is an international joke, and I am well aware there is no R18+ category, and that this has resulted in game bans. We're not discussing that specifically. We're discussing plans to finally add an R18+ rating but coupled with removing MA15+ supposedly so that there is a "clear distinction" between adult games and those targeted at children.. That is also a bad joke that means if a parent disagrees they are breaking the law by exposing their child to R18+ material AND we have a situation where a young adult is only allowed to play childish games then suddenly one day they turn 18 and all the blood, sex and gore is unleashed on them in one hit.

Re:Very bad for children (2)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#35960642)

Indeed! Why do the people not get this. This will push a lot of games from the MA15+ category which can be purchased by under 15 year olds only with adult supervision into the R18+ category essentially banning content from some people who the rest of the world deem of suitable maturity to consume.

This will teach kids 2 things:

1. They are kids until they are 18. Suck it up 2nd class citizens. While we're at it remove their driving rights (this was actually proposed along with raising the drinking age to 21).
2. How to steal, copy, pirate, or otherwise procure content that some faceless adult regime has banned from them simply because of their current location on the world map.

Re:Very bad for children (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#35960906)

First of all, it's a guideline. It has some consequences (makes it harder to buy stuff directly) but doesn't block access.

As a parent I think ratings are great as it gives you a very quick idea on the content of material. Whether you want to introduce it to your child, is a separate decision, and depends on the child. Of course waiting until some magical age and then open the floodgates all at once is a bad idea, but presenting a violent R18 movie to a 6-year-old is also not a good idea. And that's what ratings do too: it helps me as a parent to make a reasonable pre-selection.

Re:Very bad for children (1)

Bookbuster (2084416) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961464)

The G, PG and M15+ are guidelines. The MA15+, however, is not: it is a category explicitly intended to block access by certain portions of the population. The difference is that if I get caught selling an M15+ game to a 10 year old, the most I'll get is a dirty look or two; if I sell the MA15+ game to that same 10 year old and get busted, I cop a fine, and potentially jail time. That the category hasn't actually managed to block access effectively does not change the fact that it's intended to do so.

Classifications/ratings are great, or would be if all we had were ratings. What we have in Australia instead is a classification system that pulls double-duty as a censorship regime. Material suitable for young children is classified. Everything else is subject to censorship. This is an approach that's not only insulting to the adult population, but unsustainable in the long run as the amount of content being introduced increases, and the various, previously separate forms of media converge. Moving to true classification system, administered by industry, with strong governmental oversight, is the only practical way forward.

Finally, removing the MA15+ category has other repercussions beyond stopping teens from playing age-appropriate content: it actually has the potential to hobble the effectiveness of the R18+ rating itself. Currently the R18+ rating is the one rating parents understand as being Not For Kids At All (they constantly conflate the M15+ and MA15+ ratings, and often by MA15+ games when they should, at most, buy M15+). However, once you start adding content for older teens to the rating, you're providing those same teens with a fully justified argument in favour of access to the R18+ rating, be it content that's actually R18+ or just MA15+ with the wrong label on it.

Re:Very bad for children (1)

Interoperable (1651953) | more than 3 years ago | (#35960918)

The magic age is when they can vote. People who are under 18 don't get their hands counted at election time so politicians don't need to keep them happy. The parents, on the other hand, do vote and many are persuaded by "think of the children".

Re:Very bad for children (1)

black3d (1648913) | more than 3 years ago | (#35960972)

As it's possible to watch naked people having sex (simulated) and excessive violence (simulated) under the M rating, what planet are you living on that youths aren't gradually introduced to these concepts? You seem to believe that they're coddled from a young age and suddenly the world of sex and violence is thrust on them at 18. This simply isn't the case. Please elaborate on the intermediate steps between:

M: Naked bodies, with breasts visible, in simulated copulation
???
R18: The ability to view reproductive genitalia.

M: Violence, with blood and death.
???
R18: Violence, with blood and death, and gore.

If anything, youth today have access to even more explicit and violent material from a younger age than they ever have before in modern society.

Re:Very bad for children (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961414)

There's still an M rating in his proposal. So how does it not increase gradually?

Was Australian society really so bad in 1992 when we didn't have a MA15+ rating at all? Were we protecting the children until a magical age just by having a slightly less fine-grained rating system?

will do the opposite (2)

Brain Damaged Bogan (1006835) | more than 3 years ago | (#35960440)

his suggestion of removing MA15+ will do exactly the opposite of what he wants to do.
all MA15+ games won't automatically be rated at R18+
some will be recategorised as M (suggested for 15+ but not enforced) and from that point on game studios will try to bring their games in under the R18+ radar and get them categorised as M because R18+ games will require photo id (drivers licence or passport) to purchase*
in theory MA15+ games require a student card or some form of valid ID to show the purchasers age, doesn't always happen in practice, but that's for the parent to notice and rip into the staff at the store who sold their child the game* (anecdotal reference: I remember requiring my student id to see MA movies at the theatres when I was 15, sometimes I was asked, sometimes I wasn't)

*this is (naturally) assuming brick and mortar stores are the only way to purchase goods... and that kids don't lie about their age when signing up for a steam account...

video game classification in Aus is a sick joke.

Re:will do the opposite (2)

Noodlenoggin (1295699) | more than 3 years ago | (#35960504)

To be honest, I'm kind of fine with them removing MA15 and adding R18. That being said, I still think the system should mimic exactly that which the tv/movie/music industry adheres to. The system shouldn't need to be created from scratch again, so they really have the choice of using the same system that other media uses, or just slapping the R18 on the end to cover the gap that is missing at present. Heh, maybe the labour party has been waiting for a globalised agenda on classification rulings to appear so they can just sign that and then tell the country they've done what needed to be done. Seems to have worked so far for them.

Re:will do the opposite (2)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#35960650)

The problem with the lack of MA15+ rating is that the M rating is a recommendation not an enforceable rule. Effectively you won't introduce kids into content at an appropriate rate. They'll go right from jumping on turtle shells to ripping people's heart out in Mortal Kombat without any middle ground. They are effectively removing a rating that sits right in the middle of the bell curve of popular game titles which ends up polarizing games.

So the end result is copying, piracy, or otherwise acquiring games that the rest of the world thinks any normal 16 year old should be able to play, but now can't because it doesn't deserve an M rating.

The movie rating system works. Why is it so fucking hard for politicians to be consistent on policy.

Re:will do the opposite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35960830)

In Australia the MA15+ is rarely ever enforced anyway, the only place I ever see it enforced is the large department stores. most gaming outlets and shops will happily sell a kid MA15+ stuff or let them into an MA15+ movie without blinking an eye.

Re:will do the opposite (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961442)

How is that the opposite of what he wants?

Out of touch (2)

Wolfling1 (1808594) | more than 3 years ago | (#35960486)

This is another clear example of how our politicians are out of touch with technology.

They only ever needed to do one simple thing... make the ratings system the same for all kinds of media - movies, games, books, etc.

Was that so hard? Apparently, the answer is yes.

Re:Out of touch (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35960510)

after all (cue rolling eyeballs for the Jeremy Clarkson quote) "How hard can it be ?"

Posting as AC because the new slash dot system of only allowing the viewing of 5 posts at a time is p!$$!ng me off so much that i dont sign in any more

Re:Out of touch (0)

Volguus Zildrohar (1618657) | more than 3 years ago | (#35960634)

the new slash dot system of only allowing the viewing of 5 posts at a time

It's possible to not have to put up with that shite. Log in, dig around in the options for a while, and you'll eventually turn off most of the annoying stuff. There are a few low-bandwidth options that make it less 'Web 1.9'.

Ratings systems need consistency (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35960618)

Digital content delivery needs to be rated consistently across all deliveries mediums and until this is addressed, the politicians are always going to be trailing behind market developments.

He has a point (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35960680)

I disapprove of strippers but approve of prostitutes all the way

Correct me if I'm wrong (2)

AbRASiON (589899) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961038)

but we're fucked, South Australia might now be fixed but the Victorian one is now an imbecile.

FWIW I'm a Victorian and I was under the impression this is one of the more progressive states in the country. Can I just be frank and say,.. when will these fucking religious people die out? I'm 33 - 95% of the people I know aren't religious, we don't care about religion. It's dead, it's finished. Go away and stop putting your idiot values on others.

Sigh.

Re:Correct me if I'm wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35963116)

when will these fucking religious people die out?

Sigh.

Swap "religious" and "non-religious" in your argument and you will see exactly how religious people, 'specially extremists, see people like you. Use reason, argue against their stance, but don't become them or you undermine any argument you put forth.
Nobody listens to foam-at-the-mouth extremists going against them with anything other than contempt.

One other thing: Quoting a statistic comprised solely of the people you know isn't vaild in anything other than a case study of the people you know

Mortal Kombat banned in australia (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#35961508)

It's like the 90's all over, with people blaming MK for all the woes in the world! I feel young again!!!

Re:Mortal Kombat banned in australia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35966682)

LOL. I wish i didn't waste all my mod points on insightful comment. Your shit is funny!
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