Author Topic: Australia's Video Game Classification System  (Read 3516 times)

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Offline lanky

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Australia's Video Game Classification System
« on: February 25, 2010, 13:58:00 PM »
Quote from: Slashdot
"According to Australia's Office of Film and Literature Classification, Left 4 Dead 2's content exceeds that allowable for an MA15+ rating. Any such game is rated as Refused Classification, effectively banning it. From the report: 'The game contains realistic, frenetic, and unrelenting violence which is inflicted upon "the Infected" who are living humans infected with a rabies-like virus that causes them to act violently. The player can choose from a variety of weapons including pistols, shotguns, machine guns, and sniper rifles. However, it is the use of the "melee" weapons such as the crowbar, axe, chainsaw and Samurai sword which inflict the most damage. These close-in attacks cause copious amounts of blood spray and splatter, decapitations and limb dismemberment as well as locational damage where contact is made to the enemy which may reveal skeletal bits and gore.'"

What does this mean to the average Australian? Not much really. This is because the Government does not alert the public to these decisions except via a convoluted list buried deep in the Australian Classifications Board. So this means that the average Australian doesn't even know that a game has been Refused Classification.

There are two sides to the Classification debate. Side one says it is good that we aren't letting in the ultra-violent, sex-filled games cause if we did then the children could get their hands on them. The other side says that with the correct classification structure children would not have access to these games and it would be up to the individual to decide what is okay.

The downside to this is when you include the new Internet Filter. It is probable that any site that would normally be allowed will find parts of the site, if not the whole thing, blocked by the filter for including data from a Refused Classification game.

Source: http://www.kotaku.com.au/2010/02/how-australias-proposed-internet-censorship-will-and-wont-affect-video-games/
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Offline Poopyhead pianoman ♫

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Re: Draconian Game Laws
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2010, 14:07:00 PM »
Damn it, I hadn't considered that. It's very likely to happen, too. How do we win?
LOL @ Pam... if I had $20 for every time someone used that word with me... well....

I'd probably have like $60

Offline daddy

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Re: Draconian Game Laws
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2010, 14:16:07 PM »
Yeah, the work-around has been to order these games from overseas.  The question is whether sites where this is possible will be blacklisted or not.
Feeling obnoxious, might delete later.

Offline Poopyhead pianoman ♫

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Re: Draconian Game Laws
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2010, 14:17:54 PM »
The Interblags is funny. It's brought us all together before the governments were ready.
LOL @ Pam... if I had $20 for every time someone used that word with me... well....

I'd probably have like $60

Offline lanky

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Australia's Classification System
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2010, 14:25:29 PM »
There are multiple categories that media can be classified into, this list is pulled from [wiki]Censorship in Australia[/wiki].

Feature Films range from an 'E' rating all the way up to an 'X' rating. This means that very little is Refused Classification.
Television range from 'P' to 'MA or AV'. This means that the 'R' and 'X' rated Feature Films can't be shown on Television. Given that Television is such an easily accessible medium this makes sense as you don't want small children watching porn.
Video Games range from 'E' to 'MA'. This means that anything that does not fit into the 'MA' rating is Refused Classification and is banned.

We do have other censorship laws but these are the ones most noticed by the general population.
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Offline lanky

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Re: Draconian Game Laws
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2010, 14:26:37 PM »
Yeah, the work-around has been to order these games from overseas.  The question is whether sites where this is possible will be blacklisted or not.
That will cause issues won't it, the average user won't be able to access the sites to even find out about the Games so no one will protest about their restricted access cause they won't even know they are being restricted.
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Offline Poopyhead pianoman ♫

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Re: Australia's Classification System
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2010, 20:15:23 PM »
We are a joke.
LOL @ Pam... if I had $20 for every time someone used that word with me... well....

I'd probably have like $60

Offline Poopyhead pianoman ♫

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Re: Draconian Game Laws
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2010, 20:18:26 PM »
...the average user won't be able to access the sites to even find out about the Games so no one will protest about their restricted access cause they won't even know they are being restricted.
And THAT is what sticks in my craw. I feel very strongly about information being suppressed.
LOL @ Pam... if I had $20 for every time someone used that word with me... well....

I'd probably have like $60

Offline lanky

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Re: Australia's Classification System
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2010, 22:18:17 PM »
Agreed
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Offline lanky

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Re: Draconian Game Laws
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2010, 22:20:50 PM »
We need to spread the word, tell your parents, your siblings, your friends. DO IT.
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Offline Poopyhead pianoman ♫

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Re: Australia's Classification System
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2010, 09:56:42 AM »
It's not so much that I think gaming is hugely important (although it is a significant part of today's society). It's that so many opposed to this are being ignored.

Are they actually being ignored? Or is it just that they're bitching to media instead of their representatives?
LOL @ Pam... if I had $20 for every time someone used that word with me... well....

I'd probably have like $60

Offline Poopyhead pianoman ♫

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Re: Draconian Game Laws
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2010, 14:51:40 PM »
The attorney-general of the state of South Australia, Michael Atkinson, who is solely responsible for our country's inability to create useful mature gaming classifications, has been donating tens of thousands of dollars to the group that said gaming is worse than smoking.

In a Channel Ten [color=red]news report[/color] that attempted to link youth violence and videogames, Dr Wayne Warburton from the Australian Council on Children and the Media described the alleged link as “much greater than the effect of smoking on lung cancer.”
LOL @ Pam... if I had $20 for every time someone used that word with me... well....

I'd probably have like $60

Offline daddy

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Re: Draconian Game Laws
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2010, 15:13:09 PM »
Feeling obnoxious, might delete later.

Offline Poopyhead pianoman ♫

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Re: Draconian Game Laws
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2010, 19:09:23 PM »
...concludes that exposure to violent video games leads to an increase in aggressive thoughts and behavior, as well as decreased empathy and favorable social behavior in children.
Now that's a load of steaming manure. I played Doom and I reckon I'm more empathetic than many people around me. Call me emo without the sad.
LOL @ Pam... if I had $20 for every time someone used that word with me... well....

I'd probably have like $60

Offline daddy

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Re: Draconian Game Laws
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2010, 19:36:41 PM »
...concludes that exposure to violent video games leads to an increase in aggressive thoughts and behavior, as well as decreased empathy and favorable social behavior in children.
Now that's a load of steaming manure. I played Doom and I reckon I'm more empathetic than many people around me. Call me emo without the sad.
Your personal anecdotal evidence will surely persuade experts that the results of their carefully designed peer reviewed experimental technique is completely wrong, I'm sure.   

There are questions about the study's methodology so for now I'd say it's inconclusive.  But we can't just dismiss every study that concludes something we don't like, can we now?   Maybe it does encourage children to model undesirable behaviours.  Does that mean we have to ban it?  Or should we use research to understand what content to restrict to which age groups?   Sounds like the foundations of a good argument for an adult game rating to me. 
Feeling obnoxious, might delete later.

Offline Poopyhead pianoman ♫

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Re: Draconian Game Laws
« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2010, 07:24:09 AM »
Sure, you had to go and throw logic in my face. The method used if only useful is the studies that it analysed were also useful. However, the fact that so many were included in the research should help to negate unhelpful reports.

Is it that violent games make us more aggressive and detached than non-violent games? Or is it just that disengaging from social interaction is just as bad, however you it happens? Does it only start to become apparent after a certain age? Do we have to be exposed from 5-years of age for it to take effect? He likens it to a child's diet, so I'm guessing the later one starts playing video games, the better.
LOL @ Pam... if I had $20 for every time someone used that word with me... well....

I'd probably have like $60

Offline daddy

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Re: Draconian Game Laws
« Reply #16 on: March 08, 2010, 09:28:18 AM »
There's nothing wrong with children playing games at an early age.  Schools use educational games to engage kids and have them learn interactively.  But the content is key.

Children until a certain age are sponging off the people around them for behaviour models.  If most of the behaviour they observe is in video games, then yes there is an element of social withdrawal, but I think the result would be a different sort of social withdrawal if they were spending 6 hours a night locked in their room playing Dora the Explorer Read-Along Adventure as opposed to Manhunt.

This can't be used as an argument against R18+ gaming classifications.  Well it can, but it's red herring used to get people to argue about whether violent games make kids violent (not yet proven conclusively), distracting them from the fact that R18+ games aren't meant to be played by children.

So yeah, I think children shouldn't play violent games or any game that models undesirable behaviour.  Adults, however, are responsible for their own choices and should already know what's okay in real life and what's just to be left to the realm of fantasy. 
Feeling obnoxious, might delete later.

Offline lanky

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Re: Draconian Game Laws
« Reply #17 on: March 08, 2010, 09:51:23 AM »
Did anyone else notice that the Politician that is against the R18+ game rating also made a rather large donation to the science guys behind this "damning" report...?
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Offline Poopyhead pianoman ♫

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Re: Draconian Game Laws
« Reply #18 on: March 08, 2010, 12:21:50 PM »
Did anyone else notice that the Politician that is against the R18+ game rating also made a rather large donation to the science guys behind this "damning" report...?
I said that when I posted the story.

You know what, that's bloody right, spider. The idea is that by classifying the games deemed as only suitable for 18+, children, we'll be helping to LIMIT the exposure of younger, more impressionable people. If we have R18+ DVDs, why not video games?
LOL @ Pam... if I had $20 for every time someone used that word with me... well....

I'd probably have like $60

Offline greensteam

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Australian Goverment Rolls Out R18+ Game Rating Guidelines
« Reply #19 on: May 26, 2011, 08:04:18 AM »
I suspect this is of interest to some of you.

"The Australian federal government has released draft guidelines for an R18+ videogame rating that would strengthen the MA15+ rating but impose "virtually no restrictions on the treatment of themes" for adults."

There's a pdf document of the guidelines you can get here.

Is this a good step in the right direction? I ask because I don't know where things are at with the ratings system.

Offline Poopyhead pianoman ♫

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Re: Australian Goverment Rolls Out R18+ Game Rating Guidelines
« Reply #20 on: May 26, 2011, 13:49:44 PM »
It is absolutely a good step. The current maximum gaming rating is MA15+, which means that games have a choice:

(a) lose blood, gore, sex, drugs or whatever the objectionable material is;
(b) change nothing and get banned, or worse yet;
(c) change nothing and get shoehorned into the MA15+ rating, meaning that 15-year olds are exposed to material that might otherwise be restricted to mature adults such as a Cleveland Steamer or a Rusty Trombone.

One of the federal ministers told the Attorneys-General to start agreeing or he'd take the matter into his own hands. It makes sense: mature gamers have been lobbying for a ratings system that isn't retarded.
LOL @ Pam... if I had $20 for every time someone used that word with me... well....

I'd probably have like $60

Offline Kash

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Re: Australian Goverment Rolls Out R18+ Game Rating Guidelines
« Reply #21 on: July 01, 2011, 11:32:48 AM »
Jesus fuck it's about time.

Now this just needs to go through the government so I get all those crazy games my American friends are always on about.

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Offline Superman

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Re: Australian Goverment Rolls Out R18+ Game Rating Guidelines
« Reply #23 on: July 23, 2011, 02:14:46 AM »
Nice. Does anyone know how the ERSB works here? I assume it's independent like the MPAA, but I don't know.

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Offline greensteam

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Re: Australia's Video Game Classification System
« Reply #25 on: June 19, 2012, 08:02:07 AM »
Even more progress! R18+ computer games legislation passes the Parliament.

http://www.ministerhomeaffairs.gov.au/Mediareleases/Pages/2012/Second%20Quarter/18-June-2012-R18-computer-games-legislation-passes-the-Parliament.aspx

I don't remember how to hyperlink, I tried it and it didn't do anything, huzzah!