Residents of the Australian capital of Canberra will be the country’s first citizens able to legally purchase R18-rated videogames thanks to legislation being introduced this week.

The days of the name “Australia” being synonymous with peals of derisive laughter are drawing to a close and it’s the Legislative Assembly of the Australian Capital Territory that’s pulling the string. The ACT, a self-governing enclave within New South Wales that encompasses the Australian capital city of Canberra, is introducing legislation this week that will implement R18+ ratings for videogames. It will be the first Australian territory to make the move following federal legislation creating the classification, which will come into effect at the beginning of 2013.

“This is part of a national reform that will allow adult gamers to view R18+ material in the same way that can already be done for film and printed material,” said ACT Attorney General Simon Corbell. “But at the same time it will also provide protection to parents and children by giving parents better guidance about what material is and is not appropriate for people under the age of 18.”

The new rating will mean some big changes for the Australian videogame market. Some games that were once censored or banned outright may now be brought to market in their original form, while others that were previously squeezed into the MA15+ category will be re-rated at the higher classification, putting them out of reach of younger gamers. And although the new rating will no doubt have its share of detractors, Ron Curry of the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association says it’s a big improvement over the current situation.

“We can look down and go, ‘Hey, what’s that big black sticker, that’s telling me that this content isn’t appropriate’,” he said. “Even though they may not be able to have that online, at least there’s that recognition, at least there’s a way of going out and finding out if this product is acceptable for your child or not.”

Source: ABC News

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