Is An R18 Video Game Rating Needed?

I went on the Today Show and spoke to Lisa about the classification of video games, which is now a hot topic after the South Australian Attorney General, Michael Atkinson, has indicated will quit the post soon.

Gamers who want an R18 rating introduced to sit above the current top-end R15+ rating, point to Atkinson as the bottleneck in getting such Federal legislation passed. This is because all the States’ Attorney Generals have to agree on a piece of legislation to the bill and Atkinson has always said no.

Currently Australia is one of the few western countries that doesn’t have an R18 rating for video games, and there are seemingly reasonable arguments from both corners.

On the pro side, those of us who are 18 or older tend to see ourselves as mature and free enough to choose what games we would like to play – whether the game is too violent or has sexual content is irrelevant because we should be the masters of our own destiny. Retailers also feel they are missing out because a lot of people get copies of R18 games from overseas online sellers.

On the other side of the coin, critics want to know why people would want to play games that have explicit violence and sexual themes, such as the recent Modern Warfare 2 game that had one level where a player acts as a terrorist that kills innocent people at a Russian airport.

Where the government crowd might have it wrong is that almost all other media has an R18 rating already, so why not games? There was also a recent survey out of Bond University that showed 91 percent of adults want the rating.

It will be interesting to see if Atkinson’s replacement in South Australia will be the stumbling block that he was accused of being, and whether this thorn in gamers’ side will be put to rest.