Australian R18+ Classification Passes Final Hurdle

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:

  • 50 Cent: Bulletproof
  • Blitz: The League
  • BMX XXX
  • Left 4 Dead 2
  • Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude
  • Mortal Kombat
  • Syndicate
  • The Witcher 2

The full list, including details on each title, is available here.

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



 

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Comments Comments (9)

 
Posted by strawpeople
On Tuesday 19 Jun 2012 10:36 AM
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This is good to hear, I always thought Australia's harsh stance on game classification was pretty weird/nonsensical. If there's R18 classified movies, why not have R18 games?
 
 
 
Posted by Scuba_Steve
On Tuesday 19 Jun 2012 10:44 AM
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bout time ay, stupid Australians Y U TAKE SO LONG TO GET R18???
& now we won't get stuck with dumbed down versions due to Ozzys retardedness Yay!
 
 
 
phantom
Posted by phantom
On Tuesday 19 Jun 2012 10:54 AM
3
19 June 2012, 10:36 AM Reply to strawpeople
This is good to hear, I always thought Australia's harsh stance on game classification was pretty weird/nonsensical. If there's R18 classified movies, why not have R18 games?
Agreed; my assumption is that this is a symptom of people in power having little understanding of the fact that gaming is now a type of media, rather than simplistic distraction for children. As such, it has experiences targeted at all sorts of people, including - specifically - adults.

It's entirely appropriate, in my opinion, to create games that are intended to present adult situations to an adult audience, and these should be labelled in such a way as to enable sensible parents to restrict the access their children have to them.

There will always be ignorant people that provide restricted material to minors; if anything, only having MA15 increased the chance of that, as it meant that games that should be R18 would sneak through with a lower rating, misinforming adults and lessening their ability to make smart decisions on behalf of their dependants.
 
 
 
Posted by strawpeople
On Tuesday 19 Jun 2012 11:28 AM
1
I guess video games are often used as scapegoats because (previously) they were way more "underground" (for lack of a better word) and there still remains the stereotypical "gamer" who is antisocial etc due to all that horrible graphic violence contained in every game!! Think of Columbine - that school shooting would never have happened if it wasn't for moral-destroying video games, according to some critics/those who have never played a game proper in their lives (think of debates around every time a new GTA comes out - you'd think that all the game is about is beating up sex workers).

The moral panic that sparks up every so often when something bad goes down and there are "gamers" involved should theoretically be set to go away due to the amount of casual gamers on the rise which is giving a kind of legitimacy to video games. A lot of my friends aren't too into gaming, but they spend hours playing things like Temple Run etc on their phones or other Facebook games. Would this be seen as a negative if they were brought to trial in regards to something?

Legislation like this does help lift the notoriety associated with "hardcore" gaming, as does the burgeoning mainstream presence of video games because more people are beginning to realise there's a lot of $$$ in the industry.

(also - "good" things about games are NEVER mentioned! Controversies/bannings are always in the paper but then there's games like Journey, and they don't get time of day EVER or so it seems)

/end rant
 
 
 
Posted by ALK3MiST
On Tuesday 19 Jun 2012 11:37 AM
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people aren't giving video games enough credit untill shizz hits the fan then they push the blame. i'm glad this is finally gonna happen cause then maybe we can stop getting censored copies of awsome games, but at the end of the day until they are adults parents have a responsibility
 
 
 
Posted by Byskyre
On Tuesday 19 Jun 2012 2:44 PM
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About time! It's been annoying not being able to get games here in Aus that I would be able to play back home. I've missed out on a few titles because of the current system.
 
 
 
fauzman
Posted by fauzman
On Tuesday 19 Jun 2012 5:12 PM
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19 June 2012, 02:44 PM Reply to Byskyre
About time! It's been annoying not being able to get games here in Aus that I would be able to play back home. I've missed out on a few titles because of the current system.
Is importing not a possibility?
 
 
 
Posted by Byskyre
On Tuesday 19 Jun 2012 10:42 PM
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19 June 2012, 05:12 PM Reply to fauzman
Is importing not a possibility?
There are some pretty hefty fines if you get caught.

Also, I'm too lazy.
 
 
 
Leachy1983
Posted by Leachy1983
On Wednesday 20 Jun 2012 6:03 PM
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"As a recent example Grand Theft Auto IV"? Hmmm, not that recent i feel