Australian Attorney General Calls For Violent Videogame Ban

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Australian Attorney General Calls For Violent Videogame Ban

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An Australian Attorney General has changed his tune on R18+ game ratings and now wants a ban on games like Grand Theft Auto and Saints Row.

The name Greg Smith may not be as instantly recognizable as, say, Michael Atkinson, but that might be about to change. Despite making hopeful noises about Australia's slow but seemingly inexorable march toward an R18+ videogame rating, Smith, the Attorney General for New South Wales, now says that games like Grand Theft Auto should be banned outright.

"I think they should be banned," Smith said in a televised report on Australia's 7 News. "It involves a prostitute giving sexual favors for money to a man in a car, and then when she gets out, he comes out with a semi-automatic rifle and shoots her dead. Now what good does that do anybody?"

Smith's comments aren't entirely surprising, as he was the AG who threatened to derail the R18+ process by abstaining from a vote on the matter during the summer meeting of the Standing Committee of Attorneys General. He said at the time that "more work needs to be done on the issue," although he also said after the fact that he was "delighted that an agreement had been reached" and that he didn't expect New South Wales to hold things up for long. He insisted that further consultations were still necessary but added, "I'm sure there will be a reasonable compromise established, so that the nation will move forward."

It remains to be seen how Smith's apparent intransigence on violent games will affect Australia's R18+ process. The legislative changes required to implement a new rating for videogames requires the unanimous consent of all AGs, which is how Atkinson was able to keep it happening for so many years, but Brendan O'Connor, Australia's Federal Home Affairs Minister, seems determined to make it happen one way or another. In fact, O'Connor released the final guidelines for an R18+ game classification in Australia today and made a point of addressing Smith's concerns.

The final guidelines are as follows:

MA15+:

  • THEMES:
  • The treatment of strong themes should be justified by the context.
  • VIOLENCE:
  • Violence should be justified by the context.
  • Strong and realistic violence should not be frequent or unduly repetitive.
  • Sexual violence may be implied, if non-interactive and justified by the content.
  • SEX:
  • Sexual activity may be implied.
  • Sexual activity must not be related to incentives or rewards.
  • LANGUAGE:
  • Strong coarse language may be used.
  • Aggressive or strong coarse language should be infrequent, and not exploitative or offensive.
  • DRUG USE:
  • Drug use should be justified by the context.
  • Drug use related to incentives or rewards is not permitted.
  • Interactive illicit or prescribed drug use is not permitted.
  • NUDITY:
  • Nudity should be justified by the context.
  • Nudity must not be related to incentives or rewards.

R18+:

  • THEMES:
  • There are virtually no restrictions on the treatment of themes.
  • VIOLENCE:
  • Violence is permitted. High impact violence that is, in context, frequently gratuitous, exploitative and offensive to a reasonable adult will not be permitted.
  • Sexual violence may be implied, if non-interactive and justified by context.
  • SEX:
  • Sexual activity may be realistically simulated. The general rule is "simulation, yes-the real thing, no".
  • LANGUAGE:
  • There are virtually no restrictions on language.
  • DRUG USE:
  • Drug use is permitted
  • Drug use related to incentives and rewards is not permitted.
  • NUDITY:
  • Nudity is permitted.

"Any game with sexual violence will be refused classification. [Smith] need not worry, sexual violence is refused classification now, and it will be refused classification once R18+ passes," O'Connor said. And while some concerns have been expressed that the new rating could still be years away, he said that he expected things to happen fairly quickly once the legislation is introduced in Parliament in early 2012.

"I am confident we'll have R18+ passed in the first few months of next year," he continued. "I know some people are concerned about the time but it's been going on for a decade, and we've made great progress. Everyone is working towards legislating for change."

In the meantime, ironically, hilariously, whatever you want to call it, Grand Theft Auto IV remains rated MA15+ in Australia.

Sources: Delimiter, Gamespot

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poor poor Australian, they have idiots for leaders.......

still if this somehow passes, Yanthzee will likely have a video in which he rages about it, should be fun to watch.

Though I bet it has like a 00.00000000000000001% of passing.

Does Australia even have Freedom of speech?

I bet this guy also beats up his kids for playing undesirable games like that one Judge bastard.

Weren't we past this? I could've sworn we were past this already. What happened? Why are we in the past?!

Man, Australia just can't catch a break.

*sighs* Gamers of Australia, why does your country hate you so much?

Oh Australia, keep reminding me why I moved out of you...

To all my Aussie gamer friends, if you'd like to move to the US we can make room (of course our country is just as bad on other things, but our idiot government finally figured out games).

The day first-world governments realize that it is not their job to legislate morality will be a good day indeed.

Is the Australian clown-in-chief telling the adult men and women of Australia the things that they are mature enough of enjoy in the privacy of their homes?

Didn't know that the GOP had opened up an office across the Pacific Ocean.

When you consider all the truly harmful and evil things that are perfectly LEGAL to do, it's quite amazing that this douchenozzle has any reason to object to adults purchasing games that contain material in them that is targeted at adults.

What I don't understand is don't these people know that if games caused violence and the like then they would already be dead dozens of times over by legions of rabid Aussie gamers?

Again? This never ends up working. Why? Because the internet exists.

What? Politicians against video games? I've never heard of such a ridiculous thing!

Seriously though, politicians should stop caring about video games and confront real issues.

Again, "eh".

It's irritating to be sure, but not my the first choice of things to condemn the government over.

Frostbite3789:
Weren't we past this? I could've sworn we were past this already. What happened? Why are we in the past?!

Someone altered a fixed point in time. As such, time is collapsing on itself.

Dense_Electric:
To all my Aussie gamer friends, if you'd like to move to the US we can make room (of course our country is just as bad on other things, but our idiot government finally figured out games).

Just what we need. More ferners for the Republicans to blame for a lack of jobs.

To this, I say LOL. Oldfags like him are growing more and more irrelevant with each passing day they run their mouths off at shit they don't understand. I honestly can't wait for the day the Australian government decides to grow a pair, throw these guys out, and proceed to make large strides in this issue without the interference of such douchenozzles.

You'd think a country settled by convicts would have less draconian law makers.

To everyone freaking out the fact that these rules have "justified by the context" everywhere and you still don't like them only shows your own immaturity. Everything in a game should be justified by the context, anything that isn't should not be a part of it regardless of what it is. If you really want context-less violence that badly you are as deranged as people like him think you are.

You couldn't really expect video game content to remain so unregulated forever did you? Nothing on that list is unreasonable, it may be sub optimal but its not worthy of such strong reactions. The Video Game industry is one of the least regulated industries, while I feel in needs more regulation in other areas (mandatory improvements to working conditions for starters) this is going to keep happening. Besides by the time it does most of you will be over 18 anyway.

Patrick_and_the_ricks:
Does Australia even have Freedom of speech?

I'm pretty sure that's the reason why Michael Atkinson kept wiping his dick all over the R18+ rating debate. If I'm not mistaken (correct me if I'm wrong), if one disagrees, the whole thing is basically vetoed.

Who cares anymore...Australia gonna Austra-y...

I love his picture, it could be a good replacement for our old troll face :D

Could someone explain how requiring a unanimous vote on things like this makes any goddamn sense?

You have my deepest sympathies, Australian gamers.

/sigh

kitetsu:
I bet this guy also beats up his kids for playing undesirable games like that one Judge bastard.

She had illegally downloaded games and music. Nothing to do with the games themselves. Just saying.

OT: Meh, it likely won't matter if just this one guy wants it.

SomeLameStuff:
Oh Australia, keep reminding me why I moved out of you...

lol, this makes 2 of us.
retards for leaders, and now it sounds like they want to imitate the german laws by banning and cutting things out.
makes oyu wonder how idiots can get a job in politics.

"Simulation, yes - the real thing, no."

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't all videogame sex simulated? Maybe if a Kinect game demanded you and your partner get it on to beat the level, it would make sense...but I can't see what's going on here....

Also. One thing that's getting increasingly annoying. Rockstar's games have some of the best and most tragic stories of any medium, ever. I felt more for Niko Bellic and John Marston than I've ever felt for any other character, from films, literature, whatever. And yet...all people seem to take away from these games are "You can hire a prostitute and then kill her." A minuscule, optional part of the game, only in existence because you're free to do what you want...and yet the media treats it as though the series was called Red Light District: Shootin' Hos.
I'm not whining that people are mistreating gaming - I just think it's pretty damn tragic that such fantastic storytelling is being overlooked because Rockstar put freedom in its games.

I feel so bad that Aussies have to endure complete fuckwads for attorneys general.

Why, precisely, do they need a unanimous vote if everyone is pulling in different directions?

Greg Smith:
"I think they should be banned," Smith said in a televised report on Australia's 7 News. "It involves a prostitute giving sexual favors for money to a man in a car, and then when she gets out, he comes out with a semi-automatic rifle and shoots her dead. Now what good does that do anybody?"

Again with the prostitute slaying... what is it with people these people that their obsession with killing prostitutes? They're like a dog with a bone.

Anyone who's played a game like Grand Theft Auto or Saints Row would know that while you can kill prostitutes, it's not a gameplay feature and there's very little incentive for doing so, plus there are far more despicable acts of violence to be performed on far more innocent (of the danger) people if you so wished.

It used to be amusing, but now it's become tiresome that every time Grand Theft Auto is mentioned by any non-gamer, from a politician or news commentator to a stand up comedian or light entertainer, 9 times of 10 killing prostitutes is mentioned in the same breath.

Some people need to drop their obsession with killing sex workers, or at least stop projecting it so much. Furthermore, isn't it funny that you hear about politicians or celebrities using sex workers a lot more than video game developers... so like I said, some people need to shut up and be less obvious with their projection.

Thyunda:
"Simulation, yes - the real thing, no."

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't all videogame sex simulated? Maybe if a Kinect game demanded you and your partner get it on to beat the level, it would make sense...but I can't see what's going on here....

Presumably that means that cut scenes for which they film real people don't include actual sex. Same as with TV, you can't show real sex.

I hear that you can use MS Paint to draw pictures of bad things. We should ban MS Paint.

thaluikhain:

Thyunda:
"Simulation, yes - the real thing, no."

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't all videogame sex simulated? Maybe if a Kinect game demanded you and your partner get it on to beat the level, it would make sense...but I can't see what's going on here....

Presumably that means that cut scenes for which they film real people don't include actual sex. Same as with TV, you can't show real sex.

I don't know of any games where this is likely to happen...

OK, so checking the Australian government's classification website, Season 3 of The Sopranos, where Ralphie actually kills a stripper, is rated MA15+. So why the double standard?

Thyunda:

thaluikhain:

Thyunda:
"Simulation, yes - the real thing, no."

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't all videogame sex simulated? Maybe if a Kinect game demanded you and your partner get it on to beat the level, it would make sense...but I can't see what's going on here....

Presumably that means that cut scenes for which they film real people don't include actual sex. Same as with TV, you can't show real sex.

I don't know of any games where this is likely to happen...

The guidelines are there for judge new games as well as current ones.

Most likely, they simply copied and pasted much of it from the guidelines for TV which have been round for ages.

MA15+
Interactive illicit or prescribed drug use is not permitted.

So Character A can not use Lovan if he has depression or Lithium if he has bipolar (and his doctor is an idiot) or it'll be Rated R - sounds counter-productive to the story.

This is my only problem...

Man, how the hell have I played Haze, Fahrenheit or games similar?

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