Increased Media Exposure
There has been a huge push from gamers to raise awareness about the lack of an R18+ rating for video games in Australia since Left 4 Dead 2 was Refused Classification by the Classification Board and subsequently censored to qualify for the MA15+ rating. Because of their efforts advocates for an R18+ rating for video games are currently enjoying increased media exposure for their issue.
The Censorship of Left 4 Dead 2 motivated thousands of people to write letters to their Attorneys-General to urge them to introduce the R18+ rating into the current system. A number of protests were organised and even Gamers 4 Croydon a political party was formed to run against the Honourable Michael Atkinson, the Attorny-General most vocally opposed to the R18+.
The six page letter sent by Atkinson in response to those who wrote to him sparked further outrage as he disclosed his belief that the restriction of liberty is justified.
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.
All this, in addition to the recent controversy surrounding the hugely popular game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, has helped gain the attention of the media. Last week Michael Atkinson and David Doe appeared on ABC Radio to talk about the issue with Peter Mares the host of the show National Interest. On the show both parties agreed that Modern Warfare 2 should never have qualified for an MA15+ rating in Australia and it was pointed out that the game was rated R18+ equivalent in most other countries. Atkinson repeatedly expressed a lack of faith in the Australian Classification Board and claimed that he intended to appeal their decision. If the appeal is successful then Modern Warfare 2 would be Refused Classification and further sales would be prohibited.
Besides the usual gamer news websites the issue has also been raised on the sites of The ABC, Sydney Morning Herald and Good Game. Gamers are also beginning to raise concerns that the game God of War III due to be released next year may experience the same problems as Left 4 Dead 2.