Australians are set to get an R18+ rating for videogames after legislation in support of the classification passed through federal parliament in that country yesterday.
"These are important reforms over 10 years in the making," Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare said in a statement yesterday.
"The R18+ category will inform consumers, parents and retailers about which games are not suitable for minors to play and will prevent minors from purchasing unsuitable material. "The reforms also mean that adults are able to choose what games they play within the bounds of the law."
Currently, Australia has the dubious distinction of having one of the longest lists of banned games of any country in the world, thanks to the fact that the highest rating a game can receive in that country is MA15+.
Games that were refused classification in their original version include:
In comparison, just four games (Manhunt, Manhunt 2, Postal 2, and Reservoir Dogs) are banned in New Zealand.
Ultimately, classification problems in Australia frequently had flow-on effects in New Zealand, as Australian-based distribution chains would release censored versions of games (including, as a recent example, Grand Theft Auto IV) in New Zealand, even though our classification system supports an R18 rating.
The change, called The Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Amendment (R18+ Computer Games) Bill 2012, will come into effect on January 1st, 2013.
Source: Sydney Morning Herald