Australian Attorneys-General almost agree to R18+ games

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Australian Attorneys-General almost agree to R18+ games

Postby ConMan » Wed Jul 27, 2011 5:55 am UTC

Most of the relevant info is here, but I've been reading about it in a few places.
http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/game ... 1hs4b.html

Spoiler:
'Historic agreement' to introduce R18+ games July 22, 2011

Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor is confident Australia will soon introduce an R18+ classification for video games after an “historic agreement” today.

Eight out of nine classification ministers made an “in principle agreement” today at the Standing Committee of Attorneys General meeting in Adelaide to introduce an R18+ rating.

However, the Federal Government did not get the unanimous support from all states and territories today that it needs to change the classification system.

Advertisement: Story continues below The New South Wales Attorney-General Greg Smith abstained from the vote and is going to consider it out of session.

Mr O'Connor says an R18+ classification for games had been on the agenda for more than a decade and was a “very important reform” and “an important step forward for our classification scheme”.

He says the Federal Government want sufficient protection in place to protect children and allow for adult themed games to be suitable classified.

“We have today struck a historic agreement,” Mr O’Connor says. “I am confident that with the in principle agreement we will be able to move forward and implement a R18+ rating in Australia.

“I don’t want this matter returning to another Attorney-General forum. I believe it’s a matter of months before we have the capacity to introduce this classification.”

Mr O’Connor indicated some games might be re-classified into a higher rating after R18+ is introduced.

Guidelines for a revised games classification system in Australia were drafted following the Standing Committee of Attorneys General meeting in December last year.

Some amendments to the draft guidelines were discussed by classification ministers today prior to the in-principle agreement.

In a media statement, NSW Attorney-General Greg Smith welcomed amendments to the draft guidelines but said he wished to consult with community groups prior to seeking cabinet approval.

Brendan O'Connor says the Federal Government would over-ride NSW and implement the R18+ rating regardless of its decision. However, O'Connor was confident that NSW would get over the line.

The video games industry has welcomed today’s announcement.

Ron Curry, CEO of the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (iGEA), says today’s outcome is a positive step for the video games industry which has been awaiting an R18+ classification for almost a decade.

“An in-principle agreement for an R18+ classification is a big step towards a robust ratings system that best equips parents to manage their children’s access to appropriate content, as well as enables adults the ability to play games of their choice within the confines of the law,” says Mr Curry.

“This is the first step in the legislative process and until we can review the final guidelines, we can’t fully assess the impact of an adult rating for games in Australia. We can be confident however that all content will be subjected to stringent classification guidelines and games which exceed an R18+ classification rating will still be refused classification and banned in Australia

“With an adult rating finally on the horizon, we can now better focus our energy on more relevant discussions around content classification as entertainment formats and content continue to blur.”


Frankly, I'm still a little confused about what's going on, and it seems to me as though some of the major players are, too. But it looks like a generally positive move.

It looks like the state of play is that the AGs agree enough that legislation can start moving to change things even though they haven't officially voted unanimously in favour. I think that this means the federal guidelines can be put in place that then let the states choose what the details of the ratings are, which seems odd and more than a little open to manipulation. It also seems that South Australia plans to just shift its MA15+ category up to R18+, thus defeating the purpose of having the new rating in the first place; the Australian Christian Lobby's statement on the matter makes me think they believe this is what's going to happen across the board which is just wrong. And while the ACL wanted to wait for a review of all classifications, it makes sense to me that the in-principle stuff can be in place now and the states can use the review to make a more informed decision about the details.
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Re: Australian Attorneys-General almost agree to R18+ games

Postby Triangle_Man » Wed Jul 27, 2011 5:59 am UTC

To the best of my knowledge, Australia is a country that tends to be crazy crazy big on the censorship of entertainment.

I take it this story has to do with that.
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Re: Australian Attorneys-General almost agree to R18+ games

Postby ConMan » Wed Jul 27, 2011 6:17 am UTC

Triangle_Man wrote:To the best of my knowledge, Australia is a country that tends to be crazy crazy big on the censorship of entertainment.

I take it this story has to do with that.

Yes it does. The discussion about whether Australia should have an R18+ rating for video games similar to that for films has been going on for at least 7 years. In the last 2 years or so, it's been discussed quite heavily in certain arenas, including these very forums (two threads about the subject: 1, 2; three threads that discuss the subject: 1, 2, 3). Unfortunately, for some reason changing the classification scheme requires the unanimous approval of all 8 state and territory attorneys general along with the federal AG, and for a long time the SA AG was a guy who was pretty much guaranteed to never even let the idea of allowing it enter his head. When he stepped down and an allegedly more liberal AG took his place, the discussion started up afresh and finally led to this. I recommend skimming through some of those threads I linked as well as the articles to get an idea of the arguments for an R18+ rating (since most of the against ones seemed to boil down to "won't somebody think of the children?").
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Re: Australian Attorneys-General almost agree to R18+ games

Postby Triangle_Man » Wed Jul 27, 2011 6:54 am UTC

Thanks for all of that, Conman.

Also, what if I don't care about the children?
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Re: Australian Attorneys-General almost agree to R18+ games

Postby Jahoclave » Wed Jul 27, 2011 7:04 am UTC

Triangle_Man wrote:Thanks for all of that, Conman.

Also, what if I don't care about the children?

Then move to America where caring about the children is just a platitude that nobody actually means.

Edit: Unless by caring about Children they mean, letting them enjoy IRL Thunderdome.

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Re: Australian Attorneys-General almost agree to R18+ games

Postby sourmìlk » Wed Jul 27, 2011 7:10 am UTC

triangle_man wrote:Also, what if I don't care about the children?

Yeah, what have those bastards ever done for us?

Seriously though, I often here a game reviewer I enjoy listening to (yes, Yahtzee of Zero Punctuation) rant about how video games are censored in Australia and how they're always released late there, so this piques my interest a bit more than it otherwise would.
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Re: Australian Attorneys-General almost agree to R18+ games

Postby Jahoclave » Wed Jul 27, 2011 7:30 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
triangle_man wrote:Also, what if I don't care about the children?

Yeah, what have those bastards ever done for us?

Seriously though, I often here a game reviewer I enjoy listening to (yes, Yahtzee of Zero Punctuation) rant about how video games are censored in Australia and how they're always released late there, so this piques my interest a bit more than it otherwise would.

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Re: Australian Attorneys-General almost agree to R18+ games

Postby sourmìlk » Wed Jul 27, 2011 7:42 am UTC

Jahoclave wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:
triangle_man wrote:Also, what if I don't care about the children?

Yeah, what have those bastards ever done for us?

Seriously though, I often here a game reviewer I enjoy listening to (yes, Yahtzee of Zero Punctuation) rant about how video games are censored in Australia and how they're always released late there, so this piques my interest a bit more than it otherwise would.

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Just to make sure, because people often take me too seriously when I'm joking, the "seriously though" was meant to indicate that I was kidding.

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Re: Australian Attorneys-General almost agree to R18+ games

Postby adho » Wed Jul 27, 2011 1:27 pm UTC

Australia's conservatism can be so tiring.
I have not seen a single cohesive argument against this rating.
Also, it could be argued that such a rating would be GOOD for the children.

Edit: I wish my childhood was more like the Thunderdome.

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Re: Australian Attorneys-General almost agree to R18+ games

Postby Larry » Sat Jul 30, 2011 2:27 pm UTC

Spoilered for possible trigger.

Spoiler:
All of the "concerns" that I've read in the newspapers involve kids getting access to R18 games with "violent sexual content". Where are these rape simulators that the rest of the civilized world is enjoying?

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Re: Australian Attorneys-General almost agree to R18+ games

Postby Kulantan » Sat Jul 30, 2011 2:41 pm UTC

Larry wrote:Spoilered for possible trigger.

Spoiler:
Where are these rape simulators that the rest of the civilized world is enjoying?


Spoiler:
Note, that while it is a ridiculous reason for not creating an 18+ classification, these do exist. The one that I am aware of is called (huge and nasty trigger warning on the following link) Rapelay.
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Re: Australian Attorneys-General almost agree to R18+ games

Postby Hawknc » Sat Jul 30, 2011 2:56 pm UTC

Games with extreme violence or sexual violence will continue to be banned anyway. My bigger concern is that we won't see any functional change from this - games that would currently be banned will still be banned, and games that fell under the MA15+ rating will simply be R18+ now. The sort of games you're talking about will probably never be legally available on Australian shores (and I'm not too sad about that).

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Re: Australian Attorneys-General almost agree to R18+ games

Postby Manial » Sat Jul 30, 2011 3:09 pm UTC

I'd say that the reason nothing happened for so long was due to a combination of apathy of the general populace (sure most people were in favour of an R18+ rating, but very few people were actually bothered to do anything or change the way they vote), and a very vocal minority in opposition (the ACL pretty much). This led to the AG's delaying the process by claiming to be gauging popular opinion again and again for years.

But the ACL's response to the decision really makes me concerned that the AG's have decided to just change the more extreme parts of the current MA15+ rating to R18+.
“Although ACL awaits the final detail from the meeting, it appears that the existing ceiling for games has been maintained with a commitment to move the more extreme MA15+ games into a newly-created R18+ rating.

“With some tightening of the MA15+ category, the retention of the existing RC category and no liberalisation of the existing games market, the outcome today is a significant improvement from what had been previously put to ministers for their approval,” Mr Ward said.


Which is basically pointless in terms of the actual goals of the R18+ movement, which was to allow adults to buy more adult-orientated games.

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Re: Australian Attorneys-General almost agree to R18+ games

Postby Whimsical Eloquence » Sat Jul 30, 2011 5:43 pm UTC

Hawknc wrote:(and I'm not too sad about that).


Why not?
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Re: Australian Attorneys-General almost agree to R18+ games

Postby aldonius » Sat Jul 30, 2011 9:21 pm UTC

Manial wrote:Which is basically pointless in terms of the actual goals of the R18+ movement, which was to allow adults to buy more adult-orientated games.


Yeah, but it's a surely a lot easier to expand the upper limit of tolerance when the ratings category actually exists.
From my perspective, stuff which came out a long time ago would probably be reclassified down a notch if released today, so on a similar token I'm confident that with time R18+ will expand.

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Re: Australian Attorneys-General almost agree to R18+ games

Postby Hawknc » Sun Jul 31, 2011 2:10 am UTC

Whimsical Eloquence wrote:
Hawknc wrote:(and I'm not too sad about that).


Why not?

Jumping back into the spoilered conversation so nobody gets an unpleasant surprise:
Spoiler:
Typically I wouldn't say that we should ban any form of media, but I have a hard time getting behind a game that describes itself as a rape simulator. There's no artistic merit to it. It's banned and there's no likelihood of a system under which it would be unbanned; I can think of better things to spend my time being concerned with.

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Re: Australian Attorneys-General almost agree to R18+ games

Postby Greyarcher » Sun Jul 31, 2011 4:47 am UTC

Hawknc wrote:
Whimsical Eloquence wrote:
Hawknc wrote:(and I'm not too sad about that).


Why not?

Jumping back into the spoilered conversation so nobody gets an unpleasant surprise:
Spoiler:
Typically I wouldn't say that we should ban any form of media, but I have a hard time getting behind a game that describes itself as a rape simulator. There's no artistic merit to it. It's banned and there's no likelihood of a system under which it would be unbanned; I can think of better things to spend my time being concerned with.
Psh, it's porn. People have all sorts of fetishes that I consider bizarre. As long as the stuff that would be harmful to others stays in fantasy-land, I can't say I care.

As for the "simulator" part, I doubt I'd be concerned about that. I haven't bothered looking into it, but it's probably like the so-called "dating sims" which are--as far as I know--a lot less like meaningful "simulators" and a lot more like Choose Your Own Adventure games that focus on romancin' rather than dungeon crawlin'. In other words: harmless fantasy stuff as much as any video games are.
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Re: Australian Attorneys-General almost agree to R18+ games

Postby Carlington » Sun Jul 31, 2011 7:04 am UTC

The only counter-argument I've heard is that people don't want children playing overly violent games. That argument, quite frankly, is a load of total, utter bullshit. If a game were to be rated R18+, then it would be restricted such that only people who could prove that they were 18 years or older would be able to purchase these games. The only way your child is ever going to lay one of these games is if you, as a parent, put them in a situation where they're able to.

The phenomenon of lazy parenting, parents expecting everybody else, be they teachers, babysitters, sporting coaches, or the Classification Board, is endemic in Australia and something needs to be done about it. The sooner, the better. If we enact an R18+ rating for games and somehow manage to actually get it right (knowing our Government, not bloody likely...) then parents will have to start stepping up and actually taking responsibility for the actions of their children.
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Re: Australian Attorneys-General almost agree to R18+ games

Postby the_mean_marine » Sun Jul 31, 2011 11:57 am UTC

Carlington (The Aussie) wrote:The phenomenon of lazy parenting, parents expecting everybody else, be they teachers, babysitters, sporting coaches, or the Classification Board, is endemic in Australia and something needs to be done about it. The sooner, the better. If we enact an R18+ rating for games and somehow manage to actually get it right (knowing our Government, not bloody likely...) then parents will have to start stepping up and actually taking responsibility for the actions of their children.

It seems to be a general trend that people are taking less and less responsibility for their own actions and expecting organisations and governments to dictate everything to them. People tripping on footpaths and suing, workers who do something phenomenally stupid expecting compensation because it wasn't explicitly forbidden. There seems to be a great reluctance for individuals now days to accept any responsibility for their actions or lack thereof.

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Re: Australian Attorneys-General almost agree to R18+ games

Postby Larry » Sun Jul 31, 2011 1:39 pm UTC

Kulantan wrote:
Larry wrote:Spoilered for possible trigger.

Spoiler:
Where are these rape simulators that the rest of the civilized world is enjoying?


Spoiler:
Note, that while it is a ridiculous reason for not creating an 18+ classification, these do exist. The one that I am aware of is called (huge and nasty trigger warning on the following link) Rapelay.



oh god, I was just being facetious about how this has been reported in the media. I didn't think that there'd seriously be, uhh, no. Y'know what, I'm gonna go have a hot shower then pretend this never happened. There's no such thing. Lalalala I can't hear you...

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Re: Australian Attorneys-General almost agree to R18+ games

Postby Carlington » Sun Jul 31, 2011 2:15 pm UTC

the_mean_marine wrote:
Carlington (The Aussie) wrote:The phenomenon of lazy parenting, parents expecting everybody else, be they teachers, babysitters, sporting coaches, or the Classification Board, is endemic in Australia and something needs to be done about it. The sooner, the better. If we enact an R18+ rating for games and somehow manage to actually get it right (knowing our Government, not bloody likely...) then parents will have to start stepping up and actually taking responsibility for the actions of their children.

It seems to be a general trend that people are taking less and less responsibility for their own actions and expecting organisations and governments to dictate everything to them. People tripping on footpaths and suing, workers who do something phenomenally stupid expecting compensation because it wasn't explicitly forbidden. There seems to be a great reluctance for individuals now days to accept any responsibility for their actions or lack thereof.

It's really, really frustrating to watch. Particularly here in the land down under, the rise of the "Lad" culture, and the phenomenon of the "dole bludger". It's quite frustrating to watch people stagnate and contribute nothing to society, yet expect a good lifestyle in return. The sense of entitlement that most people seem to have these days is ridiculous.
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Re: Australian Attorneys-General almost agree to R18+ games

Postby cjmcjmcjmcjm » Mon Aug 01, 2011 6:07 am UTC

All I have to say is that I'm glad I don't live there. Not only do they have crazy censorship issues and (so I've heard) substandard internet, but even their Steam games are still stupidly expensive.
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Re: Australian Attorneys-General almost agree to R18+ games

Postby yurell » Mon Aug 01, 2011 7:09 am UTC

cjmcjmcjmcjm wrote: Not only do they have crazy censorship issues and (so I've heard) substandard internet, but even their Steam games are still stupidly expensive.


Steam games are amazingly cheap compared to store prices here - $110 is not so uncommon for a new game in a brick&mortar store.
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Re: Australian Attorneys-General almost agree to R18+ games

Postby Kulantan » Mon Aug 01, 2011 7:20 am UTC

Yeah, I saw Planescape: Torment in a store the other day for $25. This was at the same time as a sale on GOG :|
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Re: Australian Attorneys-General almost agree to R18+ games

Postby Greyarcher » Mon Aug 01, 2011 7:27 am UTC

Kulantan wrote:Yeah, I saw Planescape: Torment in a store the other day for $25. This was at the same time as a sale on GOG :|
Updated my journal.

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Re: Australian Attorneys-General almost agree to R18+ games

Postby the_mean_marine » Mon Aug 01, 2011 11:21 am UTC

The irony is that when our economy is relatively weak, we pay through the nose. When our economy is relatively strong guess what? We still pay through the nose. Oh the irony it BURNS! it BURNS! :twisted:

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Re: Australian Attorneys-General almost agree to R18+ games

Postby adho » Mon Aug 01, 2011 12:02 pm UTC

We do, on a daily basis, pay hugely inflated prices for imported goods. It's almost always cheaper to buy overseas and ship it myself, especially with the high dollar.


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