AUSTRALIA: Attorney General defends lack of R18+ certificate

South Australian attorney general Michael Atkinson has defended the Classification Board’s refusal to introduce an 18 age rating for video games released in the territory, claiming that games are potentially more harmful than movies.

I don’t support the introduction of an R18+ rating for electronic games, chiefly because it will greatly increase the risk of children and vulnerable adults being exposed to damaging images and messages,” Atkinson told GameSpot.

The interactive nature of electronic games means that they have a much greater influence than viewing a movie does. Retaining the present classification scheme for electronic games is necessary because it keeps the most extreme material off the shelves”

Atkinson also questioned claims that the Board’s strict viewpoint is harming the profitability of the games industry, stating: There are very few computer games that are refused classification each year.

In 2007/8 just three computer games were refused classification – Soldier of Fortune: Payback, Dark Sector, and Shellshock 2: Blood Trails. This represents a very small proportion of the 961 decisions made last financial year.

Last year the makers of Grand Theft Auto IV altered the game before submitting it for an MA15+ classification and Silent Hill: Homecoming is under revision by its makers after being knocked back by the Classification Board. The lack of an R18+ classification is not preventing very many adult-themed video games reaching the shop shelves – but it is ensuring that scenes that don’t comply with a MA15+ rating are removed.”

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