Australian National Classification Scheme for computer games to include an R18+ category

December 16, 2009

This was something I wrote and sent to help turn the tides and bring home an R18+ category so that disasters like L4D2 will never happen again on our shores.

Should the Australian National Classification Scheme include an R 18+ classification category for computer games?

I believe that there should be an R18+ classification for computer games in Australia. The introduction of this classification will make more games available to the Australian market and benefit responsible members of the public by allowing more mature entertainment to be enjoyed as it should be.

Firstly, I believe that video games are not all made for children, and that the argument against introducing an R18+ classification due to their negative influence on children is moot. Much like a violent movie, games which deserve a R18+ were clearly not made for children and should not be sold to minors.

Continuing from that point, it is my belief that the ratings system was created to help enforce sale of inappropriate material to minors. It was not created to reject quality entertainment from retail shelves. If a title is rejected on the basis that it does not fit our classification criteria then I believe that the classification criteria is lacking. When compared to the rest of the world ie America and Europe , it seems that our classification criteria is behind many other countries which have some sort of restricted classification.

Video games today can be viewed as an artistic method of storytelling where the player is interacting with the virtual world the game presents. Some video games require an R18+ rating in order to express the creators intent. Even if it is not artistic it was created to entertain and the entertainment is only tasteful to an adult market. If the classification system does not introduce an R18+ classification many users will miss out on potentially artistic entertainment available to the rest of the world.

I notice that the paper mentions an argument that “It would be difficult for parents to enforce age restrictions for computer games”. I find that hard to believe, since it is a parent’s responsibility to guide their children through society. There should be no excuse for parents allowing children access to inappropriate material. This is not a relevant argument against adding a R18+ classification category. As a matter of fact many arguments against adding an R18+ classification are built on this fallacy.

“An R 18+ for computer games would exacerbate problems associated with access to high level material in Indigenous communities and by other non-English speaking people”. As with above, this point is a societal issue and has nothing to do with amending a faulty classification system. Societal problems such as this are being used as an argument against video games since it is a very controversial and misunderstood scapegoat. I will not delve into this since it is outside the scope of argument. Issues in society are not relevant for a debate on including a R18+ classification into a draconian classification board.

There is no proof that violent video games causes violent behaviour. There have been studies done to link violent behaviour and violent video games, but this is purely on a correlative basis. I don’t think I need to explain the difference between causality and correlation in scientific studies. Either way, video games are only a tool or device used for entertainment and consumption; much like alcohol and cigarettes, there should exist an amended age restriction to mature content.

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One Response to “Australian National Classification Scheme for computer games to include an R18+ category”

  1. My brother would love this website. We were just speaking about this. lol

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