Friday, December 10, 2010
46. when game ratings make sense
take a trip down under and you'll find that in australia the rules are a little bit different. they established their ratings system back in the 80's, with the most restrictive rating being MA15+, which seemed fairly logical. back then they didn't really need anything higher, because no reasonable person would make a case that the mario brothers would drive children to violent killing sprees and still be taken seriously for every word that came out of their mouth. except michael atkinson, south australian attorney general, who was the only australian AG holding out for the addition of a higher rating in their system. every game that came out after that that were found too harsh for an MA15+ rating were refused a rating outright. and a game refused a rating is a game banned for sale. he led this charge for banning games instead of coming up with some sort of 18+ rating for them, and caught a lot of flak from many angles for doing so. even their movie ratings have R18+ and X18+ ratings. providing, lets say, questionable reasoning for banning certain games, he even at one point said that "i feel that my family and i are more at risk from gamers than we are from the outlaw motorcycle gangs who also hate me and are running a candidate against me." no joke. gamepolitics has that story from just this past february. granted, he claims a gamer slipped a threating note under his door at 2AM one morning, but other stuff he's said, like seeing fake people does make me file him on more of the paranoid side, so who really knows.
but now he's gone. atkinson stepped down as attorney general in march of this year (he's still in parliament though), at which point gamers rejoiced, and looked forward to the day where they wouldn't be restricted to games the rest of the world is enjoying, and that their wishes would be fulfilled at todays meeting of the standing committee of attorneys-general. but alas, no luck. the AG for western australia said he needed to consult his cabinet, and another AG had just started his job and didn't think he was in a position to make a decision. so they wait for a verdict until the next meeting, in 2011.