The death of decent society comes ever closer with the news that the Australian Parliament is creating a category for those ultraviolent games you might have read about or envisaged in your bleakest nightmares. Now it falls to the individual States and Territories to pass their own complementary legislation for regulation and, if all goes well, by the first of January 2013 "adults [will be] able to choose what games they play within the bounds of the law". A terrifying notion, I'm sure you'll agree.
It's ridiculous to think that the statement above indirectly states that, at this moment, Australian adults can not choose what games they play because of failures to set "the bounds of law". Clearly something along these lines should have happened a long time ago, as games will now be classified in line with the categories already used for films, meaning that what's good for the goose should soon be good for the gander. In this instance the 'goose' is an adult watching a film and the 'gander' is an adult playing a game.
Jason Clare, Minister for Home Affairs, has this to say over on his website.
The introduction of an R18+ category for computer games has been the subject of extensive public consultation over recent years. The Attorney-General's Department released a discussion paper on the introduction of an R 18+ classification category for computer games in 2009. They received 58,437 submissions in response with 98 per cent of these supporting the introduction of an R 18+ category.
The draft guidelines call for permission for sale to be given to games that include strong realistic violence as long as it isn't "frequent" or "unduly repetitive", and for the implication of sexual violence to be permitted "if non-interactive and if justified by context". Justice Minister Brendan O'Connor says that the new classification will "protect children from violent and sexually exploitative content, while allowing adults to play adult-designed games."
It all sounds very sensible, although it may not simply be a method of making more games available. The Australian Christian Lobby have already greeted the measures with cautious optimism, mainly due to what they claim is a commitment to reclassify some MA15+ games into the higher category. Perhaps Australian readers could let us know which games that they are allowed to purchase would benefit from being more strictly classified and which games that are currently forbidden would fit neatly into the 18+ category?