7th March 2010 - The information has been out for a while, but last week D-Day arrived for Australian Gamers as submissions closed for papers on the R 18+ discussion. Has Australian awoken to a brand new day in video game classification or is it business as usual for Atkinson down in the southern state?
No doubt over the next few weeks, all eyes will be on the discussion and just how seriously our members of parliaments are taking it. So far things look positive. While most of the information resides over here, here’s a brief run down:
Former deputy director of the Classification board Paul J Hunt has made his own submission and at 17 pages speaks out against the restrictions imposed on limiting the options for classifications;
“Not being able to restrict computer games to adults was an impediment to my ability to reflect Australian community standards.”
“A recent research report by Bond University, Interactive Australia 2009 (IA9)1, found that the average age of Australian gamers is 30 years old and that 68% of all Australians play video and computer games. The IA9 report also showed 88% of households contain a device for playing video and computer games, and in 80% of households with children parents and children play computer games together.”
Hunt continues to outline a large number of aspects in his submission, both as a parent, a consumer and recent trends in converging media. He notes that:
“There are still too few studies on the influence of computer and video games to draw any safe conclusions about their effects. Some studies indicate that playing computer and video games can lead to aggressive behavior. Other studies do not support that conclusion. Whilst research is inconclusive, as noted above, Australian Government commissioned research has stated that “there is no known psychological peculiarity of the computer and video game experience which indicates that a differential classification system should be applied to this medium”
The full 17 pages can be found here
Over on the other side a website not getting so recognized is the opposing no! R18 for Australia party, as in they oppose the change to an R 18 classification.
Without taking sides, one look at the site would perhaps strengthen the decision to ensure only adults are able to access certain content… …
Although the technical closure of submission means that any further entries will not be considered, there is no reason not to keep writing to both our elected officials and parliament in general. The last time the government asked for the people’s opinion on video games was in a review of the classification back in 2000/2002, where the answer was an emphatic “YES!”
If you are considering writing on the issue here are a list of certified questions that can be answered (Agree/disagree):
- Should the Australian National Classification Scheme include an R18+ classification category for computer games?
- Adults should not be prevented from playing R 18+ level computer games simply because they are unsuitable for minors
- The R 18+ classification category sends a clear, unambiguous message to parents that the game material is unsuitable for minors
Consistent classification categories for films and computer games are easier to understand
- A new classification will supplement technological controls on minors’ access to age-inappropriate computer games
- Comparable classification systems internationally have an adult rating for computer games - international parity is desirable
- Consumer’s access games which would be R 18+ illegally – it would be better if they were legally available with appropriate restrictions
- Computer games should be treated differently from films given the specific, negative effects of interactivity on players, particularly their participation in violent and aggressive content.
- It would be difficult for parents to enforce age restrictions for computer games.
- Minors would be more likely to be exposed to computer games that are unsuitable for them.
- There is no demonstrated need to change existing restrictions.
Hopefully some closure on this tricky topic for the Australian consumer can be formally rectified this year as we head through 2010 and into the next decade of good games.
Article By Ian Crane