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Nov 17

South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson Speaks

Michael AtkinsonKotaku has a very interesting letter online. South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson was sent a letter by one of their readers (Robert) earlier this year asking about the R18+ rating for games in Australia. He was recently sent a reply from Mr. Atkinson and Kotaku has it.

If you follow the link above you can read highlights from Mr. Atkinson’s letter, however I suggest you read the whole letter for full impact. You can download the scan of the letter here in PDF format.

Some of the juicier highlights include:

“What the present law does is keep the most extreme material off the shelves. It is true that this restricts adult liberty to a small degree, however, I am prepared to accept this infringement in the circumstances.”

I don’t know about you but I am not prepared to accept this infringement. Another highlight is:

“Classification of electronic games is very different from the classification of film. In cinemas, the age of movie-goers can be regulated… Rising game and console sales make it clear that this is a growing area that needs careful regulation, even more so than cinemas and private D.V.D. hire and purchase. Access to electronic games, once in the home, cannot be policed and therefore the games are easily accesible to children.”

Do you think anyone has told the OFLC this? Games carry the same classification system as movies and if you download the guidelines from the OFLC, games and movies are referred to side by side. His argument is flawed because what stops a child from watching the R18+ DVD once it is in the home? Once again I come back to the same argument that I always stand by, hold the parents accountable! Once it is in the home it is the parent’s responsibility to protect their children, not the government’s.

We will discuss this letter in the Geek Actually Podcast this week (ep 61 21st Nov 2009). I’d love to hear what you think about it, comment below.

  • fox4649

    The ignorance of the coming technological future of the mid-21st Century is astounding. This sounds like the “crab in a bucket” reaction to a hot topic that will gather other technologically passive voters to a cause during election time. It also speaks of enforcing a moral imperative that creates a divide between adults who want to be entertained by the latest gaming release and “normal” adults who still assume gaming is for children. Something seems uncomfortably wrong with the thought that elected decision makers either don't understand or don't care about the issues at hand. How is taking something away from a population going to show the world how progressive the society is?

    I grew up in 80s surrounded by comics, post-Star Wars Sci-Fi, and the birth of videogames (from Arcade to Console). I never understood the rationalization that when I “grow-up” I'm supposed to shake off all the childish entertainment I had and “enjoy” the Wall Street Journal and CNN for entertainment. As a consumer, I want companies making things that appeal to me as I grow up. I am a product of Transforms, G.I. Joe, Voltron, X-Men, Star Wars, Star Trek, Nintendo, SEGA, etc. The minds behind these companies spent billions to keep my attention, so why should they stop after I turn 21. But some strange divide occurred that politicians jumped on as an easy place to create rhetoric and influence the blind masses.

    The decision of your Attorney General hurts people far more than just helping the children. It doesn't teach children how to make a decision. It doesn't help adults take responsibility for their children. It does teach companies its not worth making mature entertainment and loose a source of revenue. It does teach consumers, like you and me, that there must be something wrong with “you” because you want to play Grand Theft Auto. I don't mind a rating system, it just doesn't mean anything to me. If it's a good game I'll play anything from Smurfs to Metal Gear Solid. I do mind someone telling me I shouldn't enjoy something, just in case little Billy becomes a serial killer, maybe, if he isn't on his ADD meds.

    To sum up: his ideas are wack and he's gotta go. He's hurting more than he's helping.

  • Fox, I couldn't have said it better. I'd love to read some of this on the show this week.

  • fox4649

    Please do, I'd like to get the raw impressions from the streets of Australia on this. This is also how I feel every time this happens in America, too. I've bottled this up too long, and had to get it out. I agree 186% with you on parenting issues. Too frequently have the authorities or politicians found external sources to blame instead of a lack of parental responsibility. I remember the heady days of the 80's when kids were turned evil by D&D and MTV.

  • ljraggy

    If Michael Atkinson had any Idea he would realise Parents would NOT buy games that are R18+, as they do now with MA15+. Michael Atkinson needs to get with the times. People are just going to IMPORT / DOWNLOAD the UNCUT OS Games, making it harder for Retail Sales within Australia.

  • It would seem to me that this all points to Atkinson not being able to moderate or control his own family so he wants to take it out on the rest of us. :-)

  • Hay you can't say that Michael Atkinson was all bad he did give all Geeks a good Halloween costume.