South Australia’s Rather Odd Gaming Classification Proposal

South Australia’s Rather Odd Gaming Classification Proposal

South Australia to introduce R18+ for games

“South Australian Attorney-General John Rau has taken the R18+ for games issue into his own hands today, declaring that his state will introduce the adult rating regardless of the decision made by other states and territories at the upcoming Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) meeting in July.”

“This is exactly what South Australia has now done. According to Rau, the South Australian cabinet endorsed his proposal to introduce the R18+ classification for video games in the state, and at the same time, phase out the MA15+ category.”

From an excellent article on Gamespot.au by Laura Parker

Australia NEEDS a better classification system for video games. Both gamers and parents are screaming out for a better system (see my previous post on ABC Tech). I’m personally in favor of an R18+ classification rating added to the existing game classifications. I absolutely stand by Australian adults rights to have the ability to play R18+ games if they so desire. I also believe having an R18+ classification will signpost very, very clearly to concerned parents how suitable those games classified as such, are for their offspring.

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As Laura Parker’s article and other reports suggest, the South Australian A.G John Rau, is determined to go ahead with the R18+ classification, with, or without the other Australian states following suit. However Mr Rau is also proposing that, the well understood and known MA15+ category (not for sale to under 15yrs) will be eliminated, replaced instead by ratings of G, PG, M, and R18+ . His reasoning for this I think is very unclear and not founded in evidence. Mr Rau feels that video games should not be and cannot be classified as movies are, because asking parents to supervise gaming is not feasible, and its a different medium due to the interactivity, but I beg to differ.

Most parents in Australia understand what the current ratings for movies represents right now, they do understand there is a difference between M and MA15+ rated media. As a parent of a teen and a tween, I certainly understand what the difference means. It means I know my 14 year old can probably handle an MA15+ film but my 11 year old definitively cannot! Also I understand that each child’s ability to “handle” different types of content will differ greatly, you cannot ONLY rely on ratings. Some kids freak out at clowns, but can handle a werewolf…some can handle blood but NOT zombies…meaning I have to know what the media contains beyond the ratings of course. I generally trust that M, is OK for a mature type 11yr old who has an older brother who has, by proximity, introduced his younger brother to more mature movies and games earlier than say a child who IS the older brother, or an only child at 11yrs old.

If Mr Rau’s proposal does come to fruition, My 14yr old is NOT going to be happy in the future when he is 16yrs to be told he cannot access newly classified R18+ games that are MA15+ today.

And THAT is the crux of this whole issue! lets NOT get too carried away folks with excitement over this classification proposal in South Australia. It’s all good for adults, but I will be reserving my judgement about what it means for teens until I’m told what exactly what will be classified as R18+ and what is to be classified as M? As it stands now there is a huge jump between the two ratings, so I don’t see how it can work.

Whilst for adults this proposal will NOT be an issue, unfortunately for the kids over 15 and under 18yrs and their parents it will be a big one, and I suspect the gaming manufacturers and stores will NOT be happy to lose massive sales of games, to a very large segment of the market.

I would really suggest we stick to keeping the MA15+ category, It’s what parents already understand, If parents have to re-gig their thinking again to take in a different video game classification I believe its just making it harder, which is what I thought we were trying to fix!

The MA15+ classification is not broke! The fact that there was no R18+ classification was! Please leave it alone Mr Rau! a lot of parents try very hard to supervise games and movies, please don’t make it even more confusing for them.

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