New South Australian Attorney General Supports Adult Game Ratings

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Australia is one step closer to a mature rating for video games, as resigning ratings-blocker Michael Atkinson is replaced as South Australian Attorney General by John Rau, a man who reportedly says an R18+ video game rating is common sense.

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Australian gamers and publishers alike have long lamented the lack of an R18+ rating for video games. The highest rating a game can receive in the country is MA15+, a decision made back during the early days of gaming. As games started to mature, publishers started finding it harder and harder to get more mature rated in the country, for if a game didn't fall under the MA15+ rating or lower, it had to be modified or it wouldn't see the light of day.

As our embedded Australian correspondent Luke Plunkett explains it, the reason why this hasn't changed after all these years was South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson, the single holdout against the change, which requires all six attorneys general to approve.

Atkinson made the decision to step down from his attorney general post this past weekend, raising hopes that the approval of the R18+ rating for games could be close at hand.

Now those hopes rise a bit higher.

South Australian Premier Mike Rann yesterday said that MP John Rau would be filling Atkinson's vacated position, and according to Gamers4Croydon party president Chris Prior, who spoke with Rau prior to his appointment, the newcomer is fully open to the concept of mature rated games.

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"He indicated to me that the lack of an R18+ for games seemed absurd, and that it was really just common sense to introduce it, considering the vast majority of adult content is already available under the MA15+ classification."

So now we wait, but we shouldn't have to wait long. The R18+ rating is on the agenda for the next meeting of the attorneys general in late April. Hopefully this will signal an end to stories about Australia "banning" games.

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John Rau open to R18+ rating, says campaigner [News.Com.AU]

DISCUSSION

By
Simmo44

Having been in games retail for the past 3 years down here, I can’t tell you how much easier this would make our jobs. The amount of times I have to explain to parents to not "underestimate" the MA15+ rating is crazy. Even though it says in big red lettering "RESTRICTED FOR PERSONS 15 YEARS OR OLDER" I always get the parent thinking it’s not "that" bad. I then have to educate them saying that due to our lack of an R18+ rating (for video games only, we have an R18+ rating for everything else), this game got "auto-downscaled" to an MA15+ rating (Meaning this game is probably rated 17/18+ in other countries , but it gets an MA15+ down here with no content cut whatsoever). Imo the worst thing about not having an adult rating is this reason.

I’d say 95% of games rated 17/18 + in Europe and America are automatically given this rating with no cuts. It’s only the apparently "extreme" graphic games that get RC’d (Refused Classification) and the consistency of that system is why Australia is always in the lime light. For instance, take Left 4 Dead 2. This game was given the RC rating and we got the well publicised cut version for seriously poor reasons. I can tell you that both Gears of War titles made it to Aus with no cuts whatsoever, how is L4D2 worse than Gears? Someone please tell me? Example 2, let’s take God of War III. GoW 3 is probably one of the most brutal games I’ve ever played. I bet a lot of my fellow Kotaku readers thought this game would have been cut for down under audiences... am I right? Well you’re wrong my friends. GoW III got rated (like most other games rated 17/18+ overseas) an MA15+ with everything intact....sex mini games, brutal finishers and all.

Now when this bloody rating finally arrives on the front cover of the latest games (hopefully soon), I won’t have to explain to parents buying GTA IV for their 6 year old kid is probably a bad idea. I have no clue why, but as soon as I say this game should have been R rated, the parents look at me with a shocked look and put the game back on the shelf immediately. I’m seriously thinking to myself, you would have bought your 6 year old kid an MA15+ game but a would-be R18+ game is too much? From this observation of mine, apparently Mum & Dads down here know that an R18+ is a no-no for little Tommy.... and thus why the incredible need for this adult rating to finally hit video games needs to happen quickly. Parents un-educated on classifications. That is our major downfall.

Also....... Atkinson’s a prick. Good fucking riddance.