Australia is well-known for its unforgiving censorship of violent games. The country's government-controlled rating system lacks an 18+ category for videogames, meaning that every game must fit the criteria of the legally-restricted MA15+ category. But those days may soon be over.
The introduction of an 18+ rating for games has been discussed for years in Australia, and recently the proposal has become the focus of government inquiry. The outlook soured last year due to opposition from South Australian attorney-general Michael Atkinson, but the contents of a new report suggest that the Aussies are making progress.
Federal Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor summed up the review of existing research, saying, "The review found that evidence about the effect of violent computer games on the aggression displayed by those who play them is inconclusive." Breaking news. He continued, "From time to time people claim that there is a strong link between violent crime or aggressive behavior and the popularity of violent computer games. The literature does not bear out that assertion."
O'Connor stressed that Australia needs to continue to "protect young minds from any possible adverse affect," but that adults should be "free to make their own decisions about what they play."
The R18+ game rating is currently being mulled over by Australia's "classification ministers," who we imagine have big mustaches and dusty mahogany desks. Yeah... and they've alienated their spouses and families in recent years, as the burden of this decision has erased all expression from their faces, leaving behind quietly severe husks of sun-worn skin and eyes enfolded by rings of tired flesh. Each day, as setting sun dims the walls of their disorderly offices, they seek advice from stinging swigs of liquor and sit motionless while the future of Australia's game classification system loops and spirals through their exhausted psyches like nagging horse flies.
We hope these noble men and women make the right decision.
Dec 1, 2010