Monthly Archives: December, 2009

Merry Xmas

In less than 24 hours children and adults alike will be unwrapping their Christmas gifts. Many will receive socks and strange knick-knacks. Some however will receive computer games and gaming consoles.

A couple of things have been revealed to us lately that will be relevant to parents whose children will be receiving gifts of the gaming variety.

1. A recent study commissioned by the iGEA revealed that many parents are unaware that the current generation of consoles has parental controls.

We recommend parents take the time to explore this function when helping set up their child’s new Xbox, PS3 or Wii. Parental Controls include the ability to limit the amount of time that can be spent playing and the ability to lock out games rated above a certain classification.

2. The lack of an R18+ rating in Australian means that a number of games have been shoehorned in to our highest available rating for computer games. The MA15+ rating.

Grow up Australia has created a table displaying all the games rated MA15+ this year with their PEGI (Europe) and ESRB (USA) classifications. You may find the ratings supplied by these organisations helpful in guiding you when making decisions on what your child should be allowed to play. The Australian Classification Board, PEGI and the ESRB all provide search facilities  on their websites that allow you to find a specific games rating. The ESRB also has an App for your iPhone that serves the same purpose.

Thank you to all the Facebook Group members, Steam Community Group members, Twitter followers and all the other people who have helped make us a success and helped spread the word about Australia’s lack of an R18+ rating for video games. All of us here at Grow up Australia wish you a safe and happy holiday season.

SEGA’s appeal has been successful and The Classification Review Board has now given Aliens Vs Predator an MA15+ rating.

When the game was Refused Classification earlier this year AVP’s developer Rebellion publicly announced that they would not edit the game in an attempt to achieve our highest rating for computer games, MA15+.

We will not be releasing a sanitised or cut down version for territories where adults are not considered by their governments to be able to make their own entertainment choices.

The games publisher SEGA decided however to appeal the classification and now that it has been successful Australia will see the release of the unaltered game in February 2010.

Aliens Vs Predator is expected to be rated Mature (17+) in the US. Rebellion has also declared the game is not appropriate for children.

…we agree strongly that our game is not suitable for game players who are not adults.

In the early days, there was Pong’s black and white tennis game, Space Invader’s alien shooting adventure and Pac-Man’s world-renowned yellow blob. Now, fast forward nearly 40 years and times have changed. Australians spend more money creating virtual cities and obliterating hidden zombies than at the movies. Interactive gaming is the new black – no matter your race, gender or culture.

And what’s more, the games itself have grown increasingly sophisticated. Two dimensional, black and white games are a thing of the past with the array of next-generation releases containing rich graphics, dynamic characters and compelling storylines. With the average Australian gamer 30 years old, it’s no surprise that more and more games carry mature themes.

But what does come as a shock to many is that Australia is the only developed country without an R18+ rating. Films, which fall under the same classification system, can be granted an R18+ or even X18+ rating but this is not the case for computer and video games. If a game exceeds the MA15+ rating, it is either refused classification or modified to fit within the rating guidelines.

If the deadly Mafia series The Godfather which is clearly not the romantic drama Gone With the Wind can be considered one of the greatest films in cinematic history why can’t the same thinking apply to games?

Our classification system needs to be changed so adults can play games as they were meant to be played. The Commonwealth Government has released a discussion paper to canvas public opinion on the possible introduction of an R18+ for Computer Games. You can participate in this public consultation by using our submission form . Don’t forget to spread the word!

This form will no longer be available after the 14th of February to allow adequate time for collating responses and submission prior to the final deadline of the 28th of February.

Be sure to show your support by joining our Facebook and Steam groups!

The Commonwealth Attorney‑General’s Department has finally released the Discussion Paper on the R18+ Classification for Computer Games. The public are invited to make submissions on the matter up until the 28th of February 2010.

The Discussion Paper outlines some of the arguments for and against the R18+ rating:

Some arguments against including an R 18+ classification for computer games

  • Computer games should be treated differently from films given the specific, negative effects of interactivity on players, particularly their participation in violent and aggressive content.
  • It would be difficult for parents to enforce age restrictions for computer games.
  • Minors would be more likely to be exposed to computer games that are unsuitable for them.
  • An R 18+ for computer games would exacerbate problems associated with access to high level material in Indigenous communities and by other non‑English speaking people.
  • There is no demonstrated need to change existing restrictions.

Some arguments for including an R 18+ category for computer games

  • The R 18+ classification category sends a clear, unambiguous message to parents that the game material is unsuitable for minors.
  • Consistent classification categories for films and computer games are easier to understand.
  • A new classification will supplement technological controls on minors’ access to age-inappropriate computer games.
  • Adults should not be prevented from playing R 18+ level computer games simply because they are unsuitable for minors.
  • Consumers access games which would be R 18+ illegally – it would be better if they were legally available with appropriate restrictions.
  • Comparable international classification systems have an adult rating for computer games – international parity is desirable.

You can download the entire discussion paper and a template for making a submission  from the Commonwealth Attorney‑General’s Department’s website.

http://www.ag.gov.au/gamesclassification

In an interview as part of an ABC news story SA Attorney-General Michael Atkinson has supported the Classification Board’s decision to refuse classification to Aliens vs Predator.

“You don’t need to be playing a game in which you impale, decapitate and dismember people.”

In discussing the movement for an R18+ rating for computer games in Australia he remarks:

“This is a question of a small number of very zealous gamers trying to impose their will on society. And I think harm society. It’s the public interest versus the small vested interest.”

The video also features Ron Curry CEO of iGEA who supports the introduction of the R18+.

Only days after Crimecraft was refused classification Alien vs Predator has received the same treatment.

Games.on.net has posted this statement from SEGA.

SEGA Australia can today confirm that the initial submission of Aliens vs Predator has been Refused Classification by the Classification Operations Board of Australia. We will continue to investigate all options available to us, including the possibility of appeal.

With Alien vs Predator bringing this year’s total to six, 2009 has now become the year that the most video games were Refused Classification in Australia. 2008 and 2004 previously held the record with five each.

Gamers 4 Croydon will be in Adelaide over the next few days attempting to sign up more people to reach the 150 required to officially register the party.

Dates and locations sourced from http://www.gamers4croydon.org/

Friday the 4th, between 5:30pm and 7pm, Gamers4Croydon will be signing people up to the party, again at the Rundle Mall’s balls.

Friday the 4th, sometime after 7pm and until at least 11pm, Gamers4Croydon will be at StreetGeek LAN at the Colonel Light Gardens Uniting Church to get more signatures of keen R18+ advocates.

Saturday the 5th, between 11:30am and 12:30pm, Gamers4Croydon will be signing people up to the party outside the Intencity arcade inside Marion Shopping Centre (right next to the cinemas on the top level).

Saturday the 5th, between 2pm and 5pm, Gamers4Croydon will be attending Valhalla LAN at the St Clair Recreation Centre to ensure that we are well and truly over the 150 electors target.

The Treat Us Like Adults Rally is also being held in Brisbane on the Saturday 5th of December at 11am, King George Square.