Melon Farmers Unrated

R18+ for Games in Australia

Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games


Update: Calling for a Re-ban...

Western Australian parliamentary sexualisation report recommends the re-banning of 18 rated computer games

Link Here28th June 2014
Full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games
The Western Australian Joint Standing Committee on the Commissioner for Children and Young People recommends in its Sexualisation of Children report that the Classification Enforcement Act should prohibit the sale, supply, demonstration, possession or advertisement of R18+ video games in the state.

Under Australia's current classification system, games sold at retail need to be classified by the Australian Classification Board. The country's Federal Parliament passed legislation to create an R18+ category for video game classification last February. The new classification system, which included the new R18+ rating, came into effect across on Jan 1, 2013.

The Sexualisation of Children report, which was presented to the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council on June 26, also suggests that using minors in sexually provocative advertising in the state to be made an offence, regulating child beauty pageants and that the state monitor the recommendations of a Victorian parliamentary inquiry into sexting. Additionally, the report recommends that Western Australia should create a code of conduct to address concerns about the impact of sexually explicit music videos on minors. The committee said:

While the impact of sexualisation on children is difficult to quantitatively measure, and to distinguish from other influences in their lives, this does not mean that the issue should not be addressed. The Committee is equally aware that what is seen as a priority issue that needs substantive action by some members of society may be seen by others as normal experimentation or fun.



Updated: Play Money for Personal Morality Game...

South Australian Attorney-General squanders tax payer's money on a mass review of MA15+ games that he feels should be more repressively censored

Link Here 17th December 2013
Full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games
Australia's Censorship Board will soon undertake a review of a number of MA15+ games after receiving an official request to do so from South Australia's nutter Attorney-General, John Rau.

Games to be reviewed include Killer is Dead, Alien Rage, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Blacklist, Deadly Premonition the Director's Cut, Company of Heroes 2, God Mode, Borderlands 2: Add-on Content Pack, Fuse, Deadpool, The Walking Dead, Gears of War: Judgment and The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct.

Rau feels that censorship rules for MA15+ games should be more restrictive.

Ron Curry, CEO of the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (iGEA), expressed his shock at the move.

Not only have these games already been examined against stringent guidelines, we also haven't heard of any formal complaints made by parents or adults who think the video games are wrongly classified, said Curry in a press statement. The review is an unwarranted and costly exercise to satisfy a vocal yet unrepresentative minority.

The iGEA point out that at $28,000 per review, such an exercise will cost the taxpayer $336,000.

Update: Political interference rebuffed

17th December 2013. See  article from

At the request of the South Australian Attorney-General, the Classification Review Board (the Review Board) recently reviewed the classifications of 12 computer games.

The Review Board upheld the MA 15+ (Mature Accompanied) classification for all of the 12 computer games. These titles are:

  • Killer is Dead,
  • Alien Rage,
  • Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Blacklist
  • Deadly Premonition the Director's Cut,
  • Company of Heroes 2,
  • God Mode,
  • Borderlands 2: Add-on Content Pack,
  • Fuse,
  • Deadpool,
  • The Walking Dead,
  • Gears of War: Judgment and
  • The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct.

The Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA) has welcomed the decision by the Review Board, while roundly slamming John Rau for wasting taxpayer money with a costly and unwarranted review. It's estimated that the whole process cost in excess of $330,000. Ron Curry, the head of the IGEA, said that it was a shame it had to happen.



Offsite Article: Australian 15/18 ratings vs US 17 rating vs PEGI make everything 18 rating...

Link Here14th November 2013
Full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games
Comparing Australian games censorship with ratings from ESRB and PEGI

See article from



Update: Still Living in a Pac-Man World...

South Australian Attorney-General has a whinge at MA15+ rated games

Link Here 20th September 2013
Full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games
Children are being exposed to sex and violence in video games which should carry adult classifications, outraging Attorney-General John Rau.

Rau said 13 video games released this year were rated MA15+ but carried a higher age rating in Europe and the US. [Perhaps he is referring to the equivalent 16 rating in Europe and 17 (M) rating in the US]

These particular games have been assessed as having intense violence, blood and gore, nudity and suggestive themes.

I am asking the new Commonwealth Attorney-General to have a look at the way the Australian Classification Board is assessing these games and assure the community that the rules are being applied appropriately.

Rau said he would prefer not to use the South Australian Classification Council to review the games and up their classification in the state even though he has the power:

The preferable position is to do it nationally because ... if other states had a completely different regime to ours not only would it be confusing for retailers but it would also mean there's an opportunity for people to buy online and interstate and have things posted to here.



Offsite Article: The classification divide between games and films...

Link Here11th July 2013
Full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games
Why does the Australian Censorship Board use different rules for games and movies?

See article from



Offsite Article: Game On...

Link Here15th February 2013
Full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games
The Australian state of Queensland eventually passes bill to allow sales of 18 rated games

See article from



Offsite Article: Playing Silly Games in Queensland...

Link Here 13th February 2013
Full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games
God Of War: Ascension Rated R18+, All Mention Of The Game Being Removed From Queensland Stores. State parliamentarians are dragging their heels in Australia's laggard state.

See article from



Offsite Article: Playing 20 Questions...

Link Here 1st January 2013
Full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games
R18+ is officially introduced in Australia today, but what does this mean for previously banned games? And what about the states that are yet to introduce the law?

See article from



Offsite Article: Playing Games with Classification...

Link Here 17th September 2012
Full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games
Australian gamers unimpressed by recently published R18+ guidelines that suggest that games should face more censorship restrictions than other media. By Mark Serrels, editor of Kokatu, Australia

See article from



Update: Arbitrary Impact...

Australia releases censorship rules for R18+ games

Link Here13th September 2012
Full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

Australia's Classification Board has released censorship rules that will be applied to the new adult R18+ category for computer games.

As Kotaku points out, the document disappointingly makes reference to the interactive nature of computer games necessitating tighter controls than other passive media formats, a notion that has been diluted by plenty of studies over the years, and never supported by any conclusive findings. The Censor Board document says:

Interactivity is an important consideration that the Board must take into account when classifying computer games. This is because there are differences in what some sections of the community condone in relation to passive viewing or the effects passive viewing may have on the viewer (as may occur in a film) compared to actively controlling outcomes by making choices to take or not take action.

Due to the interactive nature of computer games and the active repetitive involvement of the participant, as a general rule computer games may have a higher impact than similarly themed depictions of the classifiable elements in film, and therefore greater potential for harm or detriment, particularly to minors.

Interactivity may increase the impact of some content: for example, impact may be higher where interactivity enables action such as inflicting realistically depicted injuries or death or post-mortem damage, attacking civilians or engaging in sexual activity. Greater degrees of interactivity (such as first-person gameplay compared to third-person gameplay) may also increase the impact of some content.

The word 'impact' seems to be a fudge factor that means that its up to them. 'Impact' is an arbitrary scale with an arbitrary value of 'high impact' that will get games banned. The censors then justify the ban by a meaningless justification that the violence is 'high impact'. So Australian gamers will just have to wait and see how the censors arbitrarily interpret the arbitrary rules.



Update: Canberra Grows Up...

First Australian state adopts law to legalise games for adults

Link Here24th August 2012
Full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

A while ago, the R18+ legislation for video games passed through Australia's Federal government successfully, and now it is time for each state to pass the law.

The ACT (Canberra) is the first territory to pass the R18+ law, which the ABC reports was done so with tri-partisan support, though the Canberra Liberals failed in a bid to boost the penalty for inappropriate display or distribution of material rated R18+.

Attorney General Simon Corbell has said, this is about making sure that adults are able to view and play and read what they wish as long as it does not do harm to others.



Update: Unbanned in New Zealand...

New Zealand is set to benefit from Australia's introduction of an adult games rating

Link Here 26th June 2012
Full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

Australia has just passed a law allowing an R18 rating for its video games and according to Tom Pullar-Strecker's story on Stuff, the introduction of the new classification could mean games with strong violent or sexual content are likely to be more readily available in New Zealand from next year too.

While New Zealand has had an R18 rating for years, most of the disc-based games we get are distributed through Australia, and the Australian-based Interactive Games and Entertainment Association says often games with adult content bound for New Zealand have been censored so they can meet Australia's current MA15+ rating.

The article quotes IGEA's chief executive, Ron Curry saying:

What we have seen is New Zealand getting modified product that was going on sale in Australia as opposed to the full versions of games. The advantage for New Zealanders now is they will more than likely get products as they were released, he said.



Update: End Game...

Australian parliament finally passes an adult classification for video games

Link Here19th June 2012
Full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

The Australian Federal Parliament has approved a rating of R18+ for gaming, which will allow games that have long been banned in the country to be sold at retail. The new rating will come into effect at the start of 2013.

These are important reforms over 10 years in the making, said Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare to

The R18+ category will inform consumers, parents and retailers about which games are not suitable for minors to play and will prevent minors from purchasing unsuitable material. The reforms also mean that adults are able to choose what games they play within the bounds of the law.

The shadow attorney-general George Brandis got in on the act too:

The passage of this bill will no doubt be welcomed by adult gamers all across Australia. The industry has been waiting for this change for some time.


3rd April

Update: Playing Censorship Whist: Nutters Trump Experts...

South Australian law maker wants to make 15 rated games adults only

The introduction of an R18+ rating for video games into Australia has been designed to bring game classification in line with the current system in place for films and other media.

However South Australian Attorney General John Rau has revealed plans to ban anyone under the age of 18 from purchasing Mature Adult video games - titles the Australian Classification Board has deemed appropriate for audiences 15 and older.

A spokesperson for Minister Rau claims the decision is a more practical measure than the previous plan of completely removing MA15+ ratings for video games.

Under Rau's proposed scheme, games classified at a national level at the MA15+ level would be labelled R18+ in South Australia, and could only be sold to legal adults.

South Australian legislation regarding video games is likely to be introduced in State Parliament in May, says Rau in a public statement:

The South Australian legislation will allow the introduction of R18+ games.

However, my long stated position has been to protect children by creating a clearer distinction between games that may be suitable for children and those that are suitable only for adults.

Therefore, my intention is that the South Australian legislation will prevent the sale of MA15+ games to minors. This move will give parents greater certainty about the appropriateness of games for their children.


28th March

Update: Canberra Leads the Game...

ACT to adopt the new R18+ adult games rating next week

Canberra, Australia's capital, will start using the new R18+ rating next week.

ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell said:

This is part of a national reform that will allow adult gamers to view R18+ material in the same way that can already be done for film and printed material, said  But at the same time it will also provide protection to parents and children by giving parents better guidance about what material is and is not appropriate for people under the age of 18.


20th March

Update: Games Rating Bill Goes Up a Level...

Australian lower house passes legislation to introduce an adult rating for games

Computer game ratings for adults-only are a step closer after Australia's lower house passed legislation on Monday.

The new laws will bring computer games in line with the classification system for films and make Australia more consistent with international standards.

The Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Amendment (R18+ Computer Games) Bill 2012 passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support.

It now proceeds to the Senate.


15th February

Update: Level 1...

Australian bill to introduce an adult ratings for games clears the first step
Australia's Federal Minister for Home Affairs Jason Clare has started the ball rolling for an adult rating for video. For the first step the bill has been cleared by the Federal Parliamentary Caucus of the Australian Labor Party. The bill is now ready to be introduced in parliament.

The R18+ bill needs the support of at least two crossbench members of parliament to be passed through the Lower House. To pass through the Senate, the Bill needs the support of either the coalition or the Greens, both of which have indicated some level of support for the R18+ issue.

If all goes to plan, Clare is proposing that a R18+ for games will be available from 1st January 2013.

Update: Inquiry

17th February 2012.  See  article from

The opposition Coalition has asked that the R18+ bill be sent for an inquiry.

As part of the legislation process, if one MP calls for an inquiry on a proposed bill, that bill must undergo extra scrutiny and further examination by a Standing Committee. This inquiry process is usually utilised for bills that are deemed complex or controversial.

The good news, however, is that these inquiries are usually fast tracked, and made up of people with responsibilities in that portfolio area, so to not delay the passage of the proposed legislation. It's probably worth noting that, since 1990, approximately 30% of bills have been sent to Standing Committees.


24th January

Update: Starting the Parliamentary Game...

Bill to introduce and adult rating for games will be introduced to the Australian Parliament in February

In July last year, Australian state, and territory censorship ministers reached an in-principle agreement to introduce an R18+ classification for video games in Australia.

At the time, the measure was championed by the former Federal Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor.

he has since moved to a new job during the federal government's ministerial reshuffle late last year, with former Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare named the new Federal Minister for Home Affairs.

Clare so far been silent on his intentions for the adult classification for games. Now, speaking to GameSpot AU, Clare's office has revealed that the minister will stick to the previously announced timeline for R18+ and will introduce the R18+ for games bill in the first session of this year's parliamentary sittings, due to commence on February 7.

A spokeswoman for Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare indicated the Government expected the legislation to be passed by the end of the year.

However the Government lives on a parliamentary knife edge needing support from cross bench MPs. It is not yet clear whether the bill will get the necessary consensus.

Update: Victoria Too

4th February 2012. From

The Victorian Attorney-General's office confirmed it intended to allow R18+ games to be sold there. The Victorian Government also intends to legislate to provide for an R18+ computer game classification, a spokesman said.

(This is) in accordance with the agreement reached between state and territory attorneys-general in July last year to introduce the new classification together with agreed guidelines to protect against excessive levels of graphic, frequent and gratuitous violence.


13th December

Update: Playing Shuffleboard...

Australia appoints a new minister of censorship

Former Federal Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor, a staunch supporter of R18+ for games in Australia has been replaced by Jason Clare.

Australia's adoption of computer gaming for adults is very much still in play and open to new directions.

Last month, O'Connor released the final guidelines on R18+ for games, and said that he planned to introduce the R18+ legislation in the February 2012 parliament session.

So no doubt Australian gamers will be keen to find out of Clare will continue O'Connor's good work.

But gaming is not the only censorship issue debated at this level of government. O'Connor had put his name to the request for censorship reviews that led to the banning of A Serbian Film and Human Centipede 2 .


9th September

 Offsite: A Guessing Game...

Speculating if current MA15+ games will be reclassified as the new R18+ and whether currently banned games can be unbanned

See article from


10th August

Update: Unabstained...

Now all Australian states and territories back an adult rating for games

The New South Wales Attorney General, Greg Smith, has changed his stance and decided back an R18 rating category for games. Previously he abstained from the vote.

This means that all Australian Attorneys General now back the move.

Cabinet has now given its in-principle support for the introduction of the R18+ rating.

Smith said:

Few people would dispute the value of a classification system that helps keep adult material beyond the reach of children. With strong classification guidelines in place, an R18+ rating should result in violent games currently rated MA15+ in Australia being reclassified as adults-only, as they already are in many other countries.


22nd July

Update: Australia Grows Up...

Law makers finally decide to introduce an adult rating for games

Australia's federal government has announced Australia will introduce the long-awaited R18+ classification for video games, saying the process will only take a couple of months.

Australia's federal, state, and territory ministers met at their Standing Committee of Attorneys-General meeting (SCAG) to discuss the fate of the adult rating. Despite NSW being the only state to abstain from the vote on R18+, all other eight jurisdictions agreed to its introduction once the proposed guidelines are approved by the respective cabinets.

Federal Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor said that he would go ahead and introduce the R18+ classification for games at a federal level, and it would then be up to each state and territory to decide whether or not it adopts it.

O'Connor says it may now only be a matter of months before the adult rating is introduced. The proposed R18+ draft guidelines were once again amended at the meeting, changes that require some jurisdictions to seek approval from their respective cabinets. Once this is done, the federal government will begin drafting the legislation necessary to introduce the R18+ classification for games.


21st July

Update: Capital!...

ACT will go it alone if necessary to provide an adult rating for computer games

The ACT (Canberra) will lead a push for an adult rating for computer games at a meeting of state and territory Attorney Generals.

But ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell says the territory will go it alone on an R-18+ rating if a national agreement cannot be reached when the Attorneys gather in Adelaide.

Corbell said this morning that a number of states and territories have indicated support for the new classification but if agreement cannot be reached, he will begin work on territory-specific legislation: But that's not a desirable outcome, a sensible outcome is to get a uniform scheme covering all Australians and that's what the ACT will be supporting. We have been consistent for many years now in our support for an R 18 plus classification for computer games.


20th July

Update: Playing a Waiting Game...

Christian nutters pounce on chance to delay an adult rating for games

The Australian Christian Lobby has asked classification ministers meeting in Adelaide later this week that they should wait until the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) completes its review of the National Classification Scheme before voting on video game classification reform that would add a new R18+ rating.

ACL spokesman Rob Ward said:

You can't equate an R18+ game with an R18+ film because games are interactive and repetitively engage the gamer in acts of violence and sex, Ward said. Allow the Australian Law Reform Commission to complete its comprehensive review and detail how games should be classified and whether they should be introduced into the Australian market.

However ACL were not so impressed by South Australian Attorney-General John Rau's desire to reclassify existing MA15+ games as R18+:

Mr. Rau's suggestion wouldn't address or fix the problems inherent in the existing classification system, such as subjective and ill-defined guidelines. The system also requires proper enforcement mechanisms and consequences for publishers and retailers who breach the guidelines.


18th July

Update: Playing Silly Games...

Australian censorship ministers looking to derail gaming for adults

Aussie adult gamers are looking upon this Friday's Standing Committee of Attorneys-General meeting (SCAG) as D-day for gaming classification in Australia, with all nine federal, state and territory censorship ministers voting on the introduction of an R18+ classification for games.

It now appears that the decision will be delayed again, with at least one attorney-general planning to abstain from taking part in the R18+ vote. The New South Wales Attorney-General's department is declaring that the NSW Attorney-General Greg Smith will not be voting on the R18+ for games issue: We're not going down a definitive route, a spokesperson for Smith told GameSpot AU. More work needs to be done on this issue. We want to wait to see the results of the ALRC [Australian Law Reform Commission] classification review.

If Smith takes this position at the SCAG meeting on Friday, it will mean the R18+ for games decision will once again be delayed. For an adult classification for games to be introduced, all of Australia's state, territory, and federal governments must unanimously agree on its implementation.

The ALRC review is currently underway, and is not set for completion until at least early 2012.

Meanwhile South Australia Attorney-General John Rau has said that the state will drop the country's MA15+ rating for videogames in favour of an R18 rating, irrespective of any rulings at the Australian commonwealth level.

In this inane scheme there will be no classification option between PG and 18.

Spokesperson for the opposition Liberal party, Stephen Wade, called the move bizarre and unfair to local retailers, reports newspaper The Australian: The Attorney-General has indicated that he appreciates that people will continue to access games, through downloading them and through mail order. So it would be clearly an unfair impost on South Australian retailers at a time we are very aware of the competition between the online retail marker and the shopfront retail market.


31st May

Updated: End Game...

Australian government reveals proposed classification rules to finally allow adults only games

Draft changes to Australia's censorship rules have now been made public, outlining the type of content that could make it as an adults only R18+ game.

Under the proposed guidelines, an R18+ rating would allow:

  • Virtually no restrictions on themes
  • Violence except where it offends against the standards of morality, decency, and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults
  • Implied sexual violence, if justified by context
  • Realistically simulated sexual activity
  • Virtually no restrictions on language
  • Drug use and nudity are permitted.

The R18+ guides are similar to those that currently exist for film in Australia, except for the caveat that game violence must not offend community standards.

The MA15+ rating for games, too, has been tweaked in the proposal. While most of the guidelines for the rating have been retained, several have been added, including:

  • Strong and realistic violence should not be very frequent
  • Sexual activity must not be tied to rewards or incentives
  • Interactive drug use that is detailed and realistic is not permitted
  • Nudity must not be related to incentives and rewards.

The proposals have already been sighted by Australia's state and territory attorneys-general, who will review the guidelines before making a decision on the introduction of an R18+ rating for games at the next SCAG meeting in early July.

Update: State Support

30th May 2011. See  article from

The previous pro R18+ Attorney-General for Tasmania, David Bartlett, resigned earlier this month, which sent alarm bells ringing for some. Thankfully, we've just gotten word that his successor, Brian Wightman, is following Bartlett by supporting the introduction of an adult rating for video games.

Journalism student, and Kotaku reader, James Sheppard interviewed him for an assigment, and asked him about his stance. During the interview Wightman claimed that he fully intended to push for an R18+ rating at the next SCAG meeting: It's not going to completely stop children getting this material, he said, it will reduce those that do and it definitely won't make things worse.

Comment: Why treat games more strictly than films?

31st May 2011.  From

Why should our classification system continue to uphold games to a higher standard than film?

The proposed draft guidelines for the classification of computer games released last week still have added clauses that give Australia's Classification Board assessors room to judge games to a higher standard than film.

For example, the guidelines for an R18+ film simply state that violence is permitted . But in the draft guidelines for R18+ video games, violence is permitted except where it offends against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that it should not be classified .

For M and MA15+ films, the only directive about drug use is that drug use should be justified by context .

But the proposed guidelines for M and MA15+ games make the job of assessors much more difficult, adding that interactive drug use that is detailed and realistic is not permitted and drug use must not be related to incentives or rewards .

A similar caveat is added to the MA15+ guidelines for sex in games when compared to nookie on the big screen. Sexual activity must not be related to incentives or rewards according to the proposed guidelines, a guideline not directed at film assessors.

When there is little evidence to support the suggestion that interactivity heightens impact, it seems as though these caveats have been added simply to appease vocal minorities rather than in the interests of a robust classification system.


27th May

Update: Bishops See...

Australian Bishops begrudgingly support an adults only game rating

Australian Catholic Bishops have begrudgingly welcomed proposed guidelines for adult rating for video games.

In a press statement, the Conference--which represents the official views of the Catholic church in Australia said:

In an ideal world, the sort of material that is included in R18+ or higher classification films and computer games would never be seen in a civilized democracy. However, it is not an ideal world and, in the real world in which we live, such material unfortunately is produced and is available, sometimes legally and often illegally, within our society.

The preferred position of the Catholic Church is that R18+ material should not be available. But if such an outcome is not achievable then the Australian National Classification Scheme should include an R18+ classification category for computer games.

Not all Christian groups are on this side, however. Vocal minority group, the Australian Christian Lobby, has lambasted the proposed guidelines, describing them as contrary to the interests of parents and children. ACL's chief of staff Lyle Shelton said in a press statement:

Not only is this proposal contrary to the claim that the introduction of an R18+ category for computer games would protect children by merely relocating existing MA15+ games to a new R18+ category, it would inevitably open the Australian hire and sale markets to a higher level of graphically violent and sexually explicit interactive games,


3rd April

Update: Playing the Nutter Game...

Victoria's Attorney General looks likely to echo christian lobby nonsense and oppose an adult rating for games

long awaited reforms of Australia's censorship of computer games look set to fail after Victoria state declared its 'strong concern' that the move will legalise games with high levels of graphic, frequent and gratuitous violence .

Backed by a groundswell of support from the gaming community, the Gillard government is determined to fix the classification system for computer games, which allows unsuitable games to be rated for 15-year-olds, yet bans popular games for adults.

But the Ted Baillieu government's Attorney-General, Robert Clark, has echoed the concerns of the Australian Christian Lobby, putting him on a collision course with the federal government, which requires the backing of all states and territories to change classification laws.

Clark told Fairfax that he welcomed one impact of the reform, that some games classified MA15+ would move to the higher rating of R18+. But the move, he said, would also mean allowing games to be sold in Australia that are banned because of their high levels of violence:

[This] needs careful scrutiny and public debate. The Coalition government is very concerned that the draft guidelines currently being proposed by the Commonwealth would legalise games with high levels of graphic, frequent and gratuitous violence, including violence against civilians and police.

Clark said the community should have a chance to discuss the draft guidelines, which have not been made public, and see what sort of games would be legalised. The Victorian government will decide our position based on our assessment of whether the final proposal will adequately protect the community, he said.

But Home Affairs Minister, Brendan O'Connor, told Fairfax:

The public has been consulted extensively on this matter and overwhelmingly support the introduction of an adult classification for games/

About 60,000 submissions were received in the last consultation round, showing huge community support for the introduction of an adult computer game classification. I await state and territory governments' views on the draft guidelines and remain open to sensible suggestions consistent with community expectations and good public policy.


17th February

Update: Australia Just Can't Bear to Grow Up...

Censorship ministers avoid making adult games decision for another 3 months

Last December Australian attorney generals unanimously agreed to draft a set of preliminary guidelines for the introduction of an R18+ classification for video games in Australia.

Now, it appears the decision to introduce R18+ for games once and for all will once again be delayed. This time, the culprit is the upcoming New South Wales state elections, which will be held on Saturday, March 26. The NSW attorney general's department has confirmed to GameSpot AU that NSW Attorney General John Hatzistergos will not be attending the next meeting on March 4 because of the proximity of the election and will therefore be unable to partake in any voting process. Because any decision regarding R18+ requires all state, territory, and federal attorneys general to vote and reach a unanimous decision, it will be impossible for any voting to take place.


19th January

 Offsite: Australian Censorship Rated F for Fucked...

Sex Party comments on religious barriers to adult games and vanilla porn

See article from


6th January

 Offsite: Classifying The Unclassifiable...

Australian government ponders how to censor the enormous amount of games content

See article from


16th December

Updated: Playing Dumb...

South Australian politician dreams up another crackpot censorship idea

The South Australian politician responsible for censorship matters has come up with a truely crackpot suggestion.

Now the call has been made to introduce an adults only rating for video games, Attorney-General John Rau has suggested that the MA15 rating should then be dropped.

Rau told The Advertiser video games were a far more interactive medium than films and attempts to use the same classification structure for both were flawed:

All of the ministers agreed that there will have to be some games that are refused classification all together, regardless of whether there is an R18 (rating) or not, because they're so bad, he said yesterday.

There's also general agreement that some other treatment needs to occur for games than what occurs for film, because of the interactive nature of games.

The proposition I put forward was that I would like the other ministers to think about putting in an R18 classification for games, but removing the MA classification altogether.

Rau said the new regime would grant parents greater certainty that non-R18 games were appropriate for children.

The current MA15 rating was a grey area that included both family-friendly games and material very, very close to being declared adults only, he said.

Removing the MA15 rating would force distributors to either clean up their games to the point where they could be classified PG or force them to accept an adults-only rating.

But of course the MA15 games would then be edited down to just getting a PG whilst again being in the wrong natural category.

Meanwhile...the nutters are happy with the delay to R18+

13th December 2010. Based on article from

The Australian Christian Lobby has welcomed the decision of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General not to provide an R18+ Classification for games.

The ACL's managing director Jim Wallace was one of the panellists at the Standing Committee of Attorney Generals. The meeting included seeing a series of clips of examples of both film and game classifications.

Wallace said:

It was very clear to me that the great majority of AGs were in a state of bemusement that anyone could want to make or play many of these games and particularly those proposed for an R18+ rating

It is clear that the meeting failed to get support for the R18 classification as a result.

The claims that the MA15+ rating for games contains a number of games that should be classified higher is simply admission of a failed system.

The Australian Christian Lobby has called for a comprehensive review across all technologies and mediums including advertising and entertainment, for some time and particularly of the political parties during the last election.

Update: The Official Minutes

16th December 2010. Based on article from

Following the recent SCAG meeting on whether the R18+ rating for games was going to go ahead or not, Australian Gamer has got hold of the decision summary from the December 10 meeting:

Ministers considered further work done to analyse community and expert views, including:

(a) a national telephone poll conducted during November which provided Ministers with additional community feedback from a random sample of Australians from all States and Territories

(b) a literature review of research exploring links between computer games and violent behaviour

(c) a study of parity between computer game classifications internationally

(d) a panel discussion between representatives in the fields of computer games, psychology and classification, and

(e) advice from the Classification Board on the operation of the current MA 15+ classification and options for an R 18+ classification.


(a) will consider draft guidelines to be developed for classification of games at their next meeting, including a possible R18+ classification, taking into account concerns raised by Ministers relating to the difference in nature of film and games; and the interactivity of games; and that there will continue to be a refused classification category, and

(b) do not support the dilution of the refused classification category.


10th December

Update: Playing a Waiting Game...

Australia decides to draw up guidelines for adult computer games before approving an R18+ rating

The Australian federal and state governments are to draw up guidelines for a possible new R18+ computer game classification.

A meeting of federal and state attorneys-general in Canberra failed to endorse the federal government's proposal for the new R18+ rating but Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor said what was achieved was still a step forward.

O'Connor said the meeting concluded there needed to be better protection for children and better guidance for parents so they knew what they were buying for their children.

He said the proposed guidelines would take into account differences between film and video games and consider the possibility of redefining the MA15 rating in the event of introducing the R18+ classification.

The system would maintain the refused classification rating, he said: There is some material that is in the view of the attorneys and I that is offensive and should not be accessed by anybody as is the case with film .

So this in my view is a step forward to ensuring we properly consider the classification scheme.


5th December

Update: Playing Catch-Up...

Australia finally looks set to approve an adults only rating for computer games

The Gillard Government has approved the R18+ classification for games.

The federal Cabinet approved the adult rating for computer games after finding that many classified as suitable for 15-year-olds in Australia had been ruled suitable for adults only overseas.

As many as 50 games are now available to children as young as 15 but should rightly be played by over-18s only.

Some of the world's top-selling titles, including Grand Theft Auto and Call Of Duty , will fall under the new rating.

Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor will take the Government's new position to a meeting of state and territory attorneys-general this week to seek their approval in changing the games classification system.


4th December

Update: Politically Aggressive Research...

Australian review into computer games and aggression fails to find conclusive evidence of a link

Supposed links between violent video games and increased aggressive behaviour in players have long been used by anti-R18+ proponents as a major reason an adult rating for games should not be introduced in Australia. But now it seems the Federal Government has officially denied that supposition.

The Australian Minister for Home Affairs, Brendan O'Connor, released a review into an R18+ classification for video games that looks at existing research in order to try to answer the question of whether those who play violent video games are at greater risk of becoming aggressive. According to the review findings, there is no conclusive evidence that violent games have a greater impact than other media.

The review found that evidence about the effect of violent computer games on the aggression displayed by those who play them is inconclusive, O'Connor said: From time to time people claim that there is a strong link between violent crime or aggressive behaviour and the popularity of violent computer games. The literature does not bear out that assertion.

According to O'Connor, Australia's censorship ministers requested this review be carried out in order to assist them in making an informed decision about R18+ for games leading into the next Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) meeting on December 10. The review also found that there is stronger evidence of short-term effects from violent games than long-term effects and that some research points to the fact that games are a small risk factor in aggressive behaviour over the short term. However, according to the review, these studies do not thoroughly explore other factors such as aggressive personality, family and peer influence, and socio-economic status.

According to O'Connor, censorship ministers will look carefully at the review findings during next week's SCAG meeting: Australia needs a consistent classification system that protects young minds from any possible adverse affect, while also ensuring that adults are free to make their own decisions about what they play, within the bounds of the law .


26th November

Update: Playing the Game...

Australian Senator argues in Parliament for an R18+ for games

Kate Lundy, the Labor Senator from the Australian Capital Territory (Canberra) has argues in Parliament for the introduction of an R18+ videogame rating.

Senator Lundy tabled, or proposed for consideration, a pro-R18+ petition sponsored by retailer GAME and the organization Everyone Plays which featured 89,210 signatures backing the adult videogame rating.

Stating that R18+ is not a decision to be made by the Government, but that it is a decision that requires agreement among the Federal and State Attorneys General around the nation, Lundy cited three key factors for the introduction of R18+.

The Senator stated that the lack of an R18+ rating creates a grey area for parents and that the new rating tier would allow Australia to catch up with the rest of the world, which she called a significant issue for game developers and publishers:

With many games originally developed for an adult audience, this represents an additional burden for our Australian games sector. As a result, many of these games are simply banned for sale or distribution in Australia as a result giving rise to the temptation of overseas purchase, or worse, illicit distribution in Australia.

Lastly, Lundy argued that the government should listen to the people, citing the petition, a research paper indicating that 91% of the entire Australian population supports R18+ and the backing of ACT Attorney General Simon Corbell, who believes that the R18+ classification would ensure that games with adult content are sold only to adults and that the purchasers are fully aware of the content of the games.


1st July

Update: An End to Political Games...

Gamers4Croydon disband

Gamers4Croydon, the fledgling Australian political party that was created to challenge former South Australia Attorney General and notorious gaming critic Michael Atkinson, has disbanded.

Gamers4Croydon was formed last year with the intent of running game-friendly candidates in the Australian election held in March. It didn't win any seats but it did help to highlight the messy videogame situation in Australia, which doesn't have an R18 rating for games and therefore either crams games into the MA15+ category that really shouldn't be there, or simply bans them outright.

Now, in a post on the Gamers4Croydon website, founder David Doe has announced that the party is shutting down less than a year after it was formed. Doe suggested that gamers and other supporters check out political alternatives like the Greens and the Australian Sex Party, which is opposed to Australia's planned internet filter. They're the closet aligned to use ideologically and we all share many common policies, he explained.

Atkinson stepped down from his post as Attorney General soon after the March election, but Australia still has no R18 rating for videogames, and there's no sign it'll be getting on anytime soon either.


22nd May

Update: Rated as Censorial...

Sony boss adds his voice for changes to Australia's games rating censorship

Michael Ephraim, boss of Sony Computer Entertainment Australia, has spoken out against Australia's video game censorship system, citing double standards for leniency shown to other forms of media.

He said: Gaming has moved on, the choice of content has moved on and I think it is time Australia gets in step with the rest of the world and has an R rating classification.

I think it is just giving people choice. You give people choice for movies, books, whatever. Why aren't you giving them choice for gaming?

The Government needs to move on, to stop thinking that gaming is for kids, gaming has grown up. Eight to 88 (year olds) play games now ... the average age of a gamer is something like 24 years old.


12th May

Update: Australian 'Democracy' in Action...

The wrong kind of 98% majority support games for adults

The strong response from Australia's gaming community to the R18+ issue may have backfired a bit, as the government is now delaying discussion of the issue in order to get feedback from more of the community.

GameSpot notes that Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor indicated that, …further work needs to be done before a decision can be made. When pressed, O'Connor told the publication that ministers had agreed that a broader consultation of the public's views was needed following the dominant response from 'interest groups.'

Perhaps the Australian government doesn't understand that gamers now permeate just about every corner of culture, a point made by Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (iGEA) President Ron Curry, who stated, I'm not sure how the [Home Affairs] minister pigeon-holes them as an 'interest group', because gamers cover all facets of society.


7th May

Update: Overwhelming Response, Underwhelming Action...

98% of consultation responses support R18+ for games

The Australian government has published a status report regarding the public consultation on the possible introduction of R18+ classification within Australia.

Over the 2 month period 60,000 submissions flooded the Attorney-Generals Department with 98.2% of people supporting an R18+ for video games in Australia.

The majority of submissions received in a non-template hardcopy were from the games retailer EB Games (34,938 total: 4202 of these included individual comments while 30,736 provided no additional comments). This was followed by submissions that followed the template collated by the organisation Grow Up Australia (16,056), with many of these providing additional comments.

The remaining submissions were sent directly to the Commonwealth Attorney-General's Department. The majority were received via email (7347), followed by post (745) and fax (592). Many of these also contained individual comments. The Department received 33 submissions from community, church and industry groups.

On 7th May Australia's Attorneys General met and discussed the R18+ situation. Federal Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor confirmed that no decisions were made over the issue. Censorship Ministers have requested further analysis of community and expert views. It is not just the weight of numbers that need to be considered. It is also the strength of the arguments on each side.

The next SCAG meeting will most likely be around September.

The Art of Criticism

Based on article from

Games producer Electronic Arts boss Frank Gibeau wrote an editorial piece for Games Industry where he said that government policies that don't allow for the rating of mature content in videogames effectively censor entertainment choices for adults.

He goes on to say that the policies show a poor understanding of today's videogaming audience.

Existing legislation in Australia that limits age ratings of games to 16 demonstrates a distance between those policies and the reality of the videogame industry and the people that play interactive games in Australia today.

The spectrum of gamers is as wide as the viewership of television, movies, theatre, and the readers of books. Governments don't insist that all books be written for children, or that all television shows be cartoons. Adult gamers want their governments to treat them with the same respect they get as movie goers and book readers.

Adult Australians should be allowed to choose the games they play, including those with mature themes.


16th April

Update: Signing up for an R18+ for Games...

Retailer signs up 72,000 to its petition

A pro R18+ petition sponsored by retailer GAME has gathered the signatures of over 72,000 Australians.

The company plans to present some of it findings to a Standing Committee of Attorneys-General meeting on May 7 reports GameSpot, though it's unclear if the issue of R18+ will even be on the agenda of that gathering. GAME also plans to present the petition to Federal Home Affairs Minister Brendon O'Connor.

The petition, also sponsored by Everyone Plays, achieved the large number of supporters in only six weeks, and is on track to become the largest petition in Australian history, surpassing a 2005 petition for Work Choices that received 85,189 signatures.

A similar petition sponsored by EB Games and Grow Up Australia totaled over 46,000 signatures.


13th April

Update: Playing a Cautious Game...

John Rau and upcoming discussions about R18+ for games in Australia

After John Rau took over the job in South Australia following Atkinson's resignation earlier this year, political party Gamers4Croydon was popping champagne corks, claiming Rau supported the adults-only classification.

The Australian Christian Lobby hit back in a report in The Advertiser, claiming SA Labor had given it a written promise to oppose the changes.

However, Rau said through a spokeswoman that the response to the Christian lobby was given before the election and before Rau took over. He had yet to come to a final decision on the matter.

The response to the Australian Christian Lobby was a clarification of the Government's position, he said: I have no preconceptions about this issue and intend to listen to the arguments. I can neither support nor wisely argue against a position if I am not aware of all the facts.

A spokeswoman from the Federal Attorney-General's Department confirmed the matter of an R18+ classification for computer games was on the agenda for discussion at the next Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) meeting on May 7.

But the spokeswoman noted that the censorship ministers may decide not to vote on the changes at the May meeting, instead electing to defer the decision to a later meeting to allow them to properly analyse all public submissions to the recent consultation.


31st March

Update: Dawn of the Gamers...

Hundreds of zombies protest a lack of Australian adult rating for games

A public demonstration against the lack of an R18+ rating in Australia, which featured marchers dressed as zombies, went off without a hitch—but with plenty of lurching—in Sydney over the weekend.

Rhys Wilson, head of the group Aus Gamers Limited which organized the protest, wrote on Facebook, I want to thank each and every one of you guys for making yesterday easily one of the best days of my life. I haven't heard any complaints from anyone, and I'm more than happy to do this again later in the year, assuming I'm not killed in a freak manure truck accident.

IT Wire estimated the crowd of gathered ghouls at between 500 and 600 strong, easily surpassing a November 2009 similarly-themed march, which drew around 175 participants.


25th March

Updated: Game On...

Michael Atkinson quits as South Australia's Attorney General

The long running refusenik for an adult ratings for games has resigned from his post of South Australia's Attorney General. He will continue to represent his constituency of Croydon though.


Despite winning his election (Gamers 4 Croydon only gained about 1% of the vote), Michael Atkinson has decided that amount of trouble his position has brought him isn't worth the effort anymore - and it's not just the R18+ debacle that has brought him down. He's also had trouble trying to bring in a law that would censor people from using Fake names online. That one backfired when his example of a Liberal sock puppet turned out to be a real person living in his constituency.

So while G4C may not have won their seat, they still seemed to have managed to achieve one of their aims. Let's hope the new Attorney General sees reason and the R18 debate can be put to rest.

Update: Election Games

23rd March 2010. Based on article from

Pre-election, Atkinson claimed that no one cared about the lack of an R18+ rating in Australia other than gamers and also predicted that the Gamer4Croydon party would struggle to receive one percent of the votes.

Well, in Croydon, according to election data, Gamers4Croydon's candidate against Atkinson, Kat Nicholson, managed to achieve 3.7% of the vote, assisting in eating away at 14.4% of Atkinson's vote from the previous election. Despite that erosion, Atkinson still won rather easily however, garnering 52.7% of the vote. Nicholson came in fifth out of seven candidates in the Croydon suburb, besting candidates from the Family First Party and Australian Democratic Party.

In a post on the G4C website entitled Here's Your 1%, President Chris Prior expressed pride at what the upstart party accomplished:

With so very little to work with, we have contributed to two other incumbents losing their seats, and all of our lower house candidates polled higher than the 1% we apparently wouldn't get. In the upper house, we outpolled the majority of groups, including a significant number with more resources, more experience, and much more time.

Update: New Attorney-General said to be pro R18+

25th March 2010. Based on article from

The South Australian premier has announced that former backbencher John Rau will replace Michael Atkinson as Attorney-General of the state.

Chris Pryor of the Games4Croydon party said last night via Twitter that the long-serving Rau is a supporter of the R18+ classification for games (and a nice guy to boot) .

Pryor blogged on Monday that seeing the role of Attorney-General filled by someone other than Mr Atkinson was a primary founding goal of Gamers4Croydon . With less than 6 months to prepare, no political experience, and only a few thousand dollars funding, we have achieved that goal. Unfortunately there are never any guarantees in politics, but we have removed the largest impediment to classification reform.

The next meeting of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General is held in Melbourne on April 29. It is not yet known whether the introduction of an R18+ games rating will be discussed.


7th March

Update: High Score...

Australian games for adult consultation receives 55,000 responses

Australians, it seems, are more than a little interested in the issue of video game classification. Figures released by the Federal Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor show that more than 55,000 submissions were received into the recently completed public submission process on whether Australia should introduce an R18+ rating for games, with the Minister stating that the large response rate indicated a high level of interest in this issue in the Australian community.

O'Connor said the Federal Attorney General's Department would now prepare a report on the consultation for the Standing Committee of Attorneys General (SCAG), a group made up of all of Australia's various Federal, State, and Territory AGs. The introduction of an R18+ rating needs the unanimous approval of all SCAG members, with the next SCAG meeting due in April this year.

The high number of responses follows a concerted campaign by video game activists around the nation to drum up interest in the debate. Independent advocacy group Grow Up Australia's partnership with retailer EB Games netted more than 16,000 responses, with an EB Games spokesperson saying the company solicited a further 30,000 submissions.


2nd March

Update: Opposing a Censorial Government...

Australian opposition parties speak favourably of R18+ for games

Greens Senator Scott Ludlam said the Greens plan to stay ahead of the R18+ debate in 2010.

The Greens don't have a formal position on the absence of an R18+ classification for video games just yet, Ludlam said. We plan on being informed by the material that comes through in the public consultation, and we'll be forming an official stance soon.

Personally, I've formed a view, and I suspect my colleagues have as well. We want to stay ahead of the debate this year, and we're already talking to the industry and to people with a range of different views.

My personal stance is that [the absence of an R18+ for games] is a real anomaly. I think it's making the situation worse. We know that in some instances material that should otherwise be classified R18+ is instead diverted into the MA15+ category. That's a sign that there needs to be some kind of reform. I think we do need R18+ for games, but only on the condition that there is a good look at the way that we classify video games in this country to make sure that some of the very real concerns that have been raised by parents and child protection groups are acknowledged as well.

Ludlam believes the public consultation will result in a solid base of reasonably well-researched support for a change to the system. His views on South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson are not so positive.

I think the position he took to block the rest of the country from moving forward was really unhelpful, and I don't think he necessarily provided the arguments to back up the position he took.

These thoughts are echoed by marginal parties Australian Sex Party (ASP) and the Pirate Party Australia, who both support the introduction of R18+ for games.

ASP founder Fiona Patten says, quite frankly, that Australia's classification system is fucked. Having worked as a lobbyist and an activist for the adult industry for nearly 20 years, I became demoralised by the fact that in 2008 we had more censorship than when I started, Patten said. There is simply no consistency across mediums in our classification system--what is legal in a book is not legal in a magazine, what is legal in a magazine is not legal in a film, and what is legal in a film is not legal in a video game. Personally, I think we should throw out the existing system and start again.

In a similar vein, the Pirate Party Australia also supports R18+ for games, releasing a press statement earlier this month expressing disgust at Michael Atkinson's stance on censorship. Matt Redmond, a Pirate Party spokesperson, said: Every citizen in a democracy has the right to question the government, and in doing so has the right to protect himself from censure.


2nd March

 Offsite: An Adult Approach to Censorship...

Ban on games for adults fails to reflect Australian community standards

See report [pdf] from


19th February

Update: Censor Cuts Mean Income Cuts...

Australian video games trade organisation, iGEA, criticises lack of R18+

The lack of an R18+ classification for electronic games has been linked to an increase in piracy and poor sales of titles that were toned-down to meet Australia's top M15+ rating.

Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (iGEA) CEO Ron Curry said while Australia is pondering introducing an R18+ rating for games, Australian retailers were losing money to piracy and overseas imports.

Sales are significantly less for modified games, Curry said. People will import the full unmodified game over the Internet or get a pirate version.

Local Sega game developer Dan Toose said the classification laws did not have a big impact on Australian game development, but said it could cost developer studios millions to redesign titles to be passed under the M15+ rating.

What really takes the time is quality assurance testing, which can take more than two weeks... it can cost modern game development studios half a million dollars a month to [modify] games, Toose said. It is bad to put that on the shoulders of developers.

Toose said the opposition to the law makes no sense whatever because the R18+ classification was recognised as distinctly adult content. He said the new rating would stop children being exposed to more graphic content that is squeezed into the M15+ rating under the current scheme.


13th February

Update: High Score...

R18+ for games consultation off to a very positive start

Only 1% of processed responses to government survey against an adult rating for games; more than 6,000 responses received in total so far.

A Senate Estimates Committee Hearing last week unveiled that out of 1,084 processed responses thus far, only 11 had been anti-R18+.

The government's public consultation process is aiming to find out the Australian public's view on the introduction of an adult classification for games in Australia and was launched by the Federal Attorney-General's Department in December last year. Submissions for the process will close on February 28, 2010.

 A spokesperson for the Federal Attorney-General's Department told GameSpot AU last week that the results of the public consultation would be distributed to all of Australia's Attorneys-General to inform their decision whether Australia should have an R18+ classification for computer games. From there, all of the Attorneys-General will need to unanimously agree on its introduction before it can be passed as law in Australia.

Consultation Responses to be Published at Kotaku

Based on article from

Submissions for the R18+ national classification consultation close 28 February. To promote good thinking, we want to see what you've got to say. The guidelines request a 250-word comment at the end of each submission. Send us yours and we'll publish some of the best.

In case you're yet to state your case, here's how to do it.

The call for public consultation (
The Bond University Interactive Australia report (for helpful research insights)

When you have sent in your submission, send Kotaku an email with your 250-word comment from the end of your document. We'll choose some of the best we receive and publish them for everybody's benefit. We can only get better at dealing with the ill-informed by enhancing our own best arguments.


1st February

Update: Christian Games Baddies...

Australian Christian Lobby come out against the R18+ rating for games

The campaign to add an R18+ videogame rating category in Australia has gained an additional but predictable enemy, the Australian Christian Lobby.

The group's policy website features a section on the game ratings debate, in which the idea that an adult videogame rating category is needed Down Under is sharply rebuked:

The potential for violent and sexually explicit interactive games to cause harm has only increased in recent years as these games have become even more sophisticated, graphic and interactive. It is also naive to think that R18+ games could be restricted to adult users. If these games are allowed to go on sale in Australia they will inevitably find their way into the hands of younger players through older siblings or friends.

If any changes are to be made to the classification system it should only be to resolve to tighten up the MA15+ rating to ensure that games aren't wrongly getting through in this category.

The group encourages website visitors to attempt to stop the introduction of an R18+ category by writing a submission to the government in advance of the February 28th deadline for responses to the Discussion Paper.


20th January

Offsite: Losing the Consultation Game...

Michael Atkinson resigned to consultation favouring R18+

Australians are right now being asked to voice their opinion on whether an R18+ rating for video games should be introduced, with the Australian Federal Attorney General seeking public submissions into the issue. But while the consultation process won't conclude until February 28, 2010, one high-profile figure in the games debate has already decided that the majority of respondents will be in favour of an R18+: vocal anti-R18+ campaigner Michael Atkinson.

He said: I don't think the discussion paper presents a fair and balanced view of the issue without pictures of the games that would be rated R18+, Atkinson said. I think the majority of the population are unfamiliar with these games and without images, they won't be able to imagine them in their mind's eye. They'll have no idea how violent or sexually depraved they are, and what kind of torture, drug use, and blood spatter they include.

I also believe that very few people outside the gaming community will have a say in this public consultation, which will mean an overwhelming response in support of R18+ .

...Read full article


14th December

Update: Consultation Games...

Australian government launches consultation on adult rated games

The long-heralded public consultation process on whether Australia should introduce an adult rating for games commences; Federal Government releases discussion paper discussing pros and cons of the debate.

Aussie gamers will finally be able to voice their opinion directly to government, with a long-awaited public consultation launched by the Federal Attorney-General's Department.

The public consultation is asking for Australian's opinions on whether the country should introduce an adult R18+ rating for games. Currently, any game deemed by the Classification Board to contain content which is unsuitable for anyone aged over 15-years-old is refused classification, effectively banning it for sale down under. Australians are being asked to download a form from the Federal Attorney-General's website, and fill out a questionnaire outlining their views on the R18+ issue.

The Federal Attorney-General's Department has also released a discussion paper outlining the key arguments for and against an adult game rating for Australia.

Submissions will close on 28 February 2010. From there, all of Australia's State and Federal Attorney Generals must agree to introduce an R18+ rating before it can be introduced, which may continue to be a major stumbling block given the vocal opposition of South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson in the past.


8th December

Update: Utter Bullshit...

Game developer comments on Australian games censorship

Recently, God of War Creator David Jaffe commented on the Australian classification board, labeling its methods as utter BS . Jeffe was expressing his views on the possibility of cutting content from his own games.

There's a government board and if they say it's too offensive, in that case there's no fight to fight — it is what it is, he said. There's not much you can do if you're making games aimed at a mature audience. We never like to cut it, but what are you going to do? You're dealing with

Jaffe then further commented on the attitude towards games as a form of entertainment. There's absolutely an inconsistency in the consciousness about video games. The reality is people still see a lot of these things as kids' toys. It's utter BS.

God of War III is set for a March 2010 release date in Australia and is yet to be classified. However, previous entries in the God of War series gained a MA15+ rating for violence and sexual references by the Australian Classifications Board. Hopefully mature content in God of War III doesn't stir any controversy.


7th December

Update: Treat Us Like Adults...

Brisbane rally for R18+ video games

The rally planned to show the support of gamers for an R18+ rating in Australia drew about 50 people.

The event, promoted by the website Treat Us Like Adults, took place on Saturday, December 5 in Brisbane. Speeches were given by Ethan Watson from Treat Us Like Adults and Nicolas Suzor, CEO of Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA).

Suzor documented the proceedings on the EFA website, and four YouTube.

The next step in pressuring the government, according to Suzor, is to pressure the Commonwealth Minister for Home Affairs, Brendan O'Connor, to release the long-awaited R18+ discussion paper.


7th December

Update: Good Start...

Australian Sex Party secures 3.3% of the vote

It's a party that stands for equality and social justice, for civil liberties and for freedom of choice.

In the leafy electorate of Bradfield on Sydney's north shore, where more than 20 candidates vied for what is a very safe Liberal Party seat, it attracted the third-highest primary vote of the field.

We're talking about the Australian Sex Party; a political grouping with a policy platform not nearly as racy as its name might suggest. Think of it as libertarian rather than libertine.

In both Bradfield and Higgins it received just shy of 3.3% of the primary vote.

This may not sound like a lot, but these by-elections were dominated by two big federal issues; that of the federal Liberal Party leadership, and the national angst over what to do (if anything) about the fact that summers seem to be getting hotter.

The ASP, which was born out of adult industry lobby group the Eros Foundation, is headed by Fiona Patten, the charismatic and articulate chief executive of Eros, and a veteran campaigner on issues such as censorship, gender equality and discrimination.

But the last word to Fiona Patten: We don't want to restrict what adults do as long as they don't hurt others.


2nd December

Update: Electoral Games...

Australian Sex Party campaigns for R18 video games

The Australian Sex Party have produced a YouTube video to get some of their ideas across to the public

Fiona Patten, Sex Party Convenor, said:

The Australian Sex Party is the newest registered political party in Australia and the only party with a policy to legalise R rated games. We are also the only party actively opposing mandatory internet filtering. We are standing candidates in this weekend's by elections of Higgins in Victoria and Bradfield in Sydney. Unbelievably, the Greens are standing the architect of the government's internet filtering scheme, Clive Hamilton, as their candidate in Higgins.

Our ideological base is predicated on the fact that Australian parliaments are becoming more stacked with overtly religious MPs. Kevin Rudd is a well known committed Christian who goes to church every week and openly admits that his parliamentary life is strongly influenced by his religious one. The new leader of the Liberal Party, Tony Abbott, is a former Jesuit priest in training and close friend of Archbishop George Pell. His religious zeal is legendary.

R (and X) rated computer games are currently illegal because a religious Attorney General from South Australia, has the power to veto all the other Attorneys General on this issue. This is unlikely to change in the near future.

A vote for the Sex Party in the two by elections this weekend will send a strong message to the major parties about support for R rated games. We need to activate gamer networks in Australia to contact friends and colleagues who live in these electorates to vote for the Sex Party. We also need help on polling day in handing out How To Vote cards at polling booths. It's a fun day and the smartest way to support legalising R rated games and getting rid of internet filtering.


28th January

 Offsite: Treated Like Children...

Nutter politician opposes adults rating for computer games

See article from


30th December

 Offsite: Playing the Censor...

An interview with a games playing Australian censor



7th November

Update: Political Games...

Consultation for R18+ games rating back on track

Australian censorship ministers have finally agreed to release a discussion paper on the proposed introduction of an R18+ rating for video games.

There were fears last week that the introduction of an adults-only games rating had been delayed indefinitely after South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson withdrew his support for the discussion paper and public consultation process.

However, at yesterday's Standing Committee of Attorneys-General meeting in Brisbane, Victorian Attorney-General Rob Hulls, who has long supported the push for an R18+ games rating and took the lead in drafting the discussion paper, achieved consensus with fellow censorship ministers.

Spokesperson for Hulls, Meaghan Shaw, said censorship ministers at SCAG agreed that the discussion paper will be finalised by the end of the year, with the view to Australia-wide distribution.

Ministers originally agreed back in March to canvas public opinion on the proposed introduction of a R18+ classification for games following the release of a discussion paper on the issue.

A draft of the paper, simply titled R18+ for computer games was sent to ministers in September and details the pros and cons of introducing an adults-only rating for games.

When finalised, the paper will be available to the public on the internet and provided to interested parties such as games industry groups and family associations to seek their views.

The South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson would not specify last week why he was unable to support the release of the discussion paper, and it has not been revealed why he changed his stance yesterday at SCAG.


30th October

Update: Australians Still Treated Like Children...

Nutter Atkinson shelved consideration of R18+ for games

The introduction of an R18+ rating for computer games has been delayed indefinitely after South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson withdrew his support for a discussion paper and public consultation process.

Censorship ministers in March agreed in principle to canvas public opinion on the proposed introduction of a R18+ classification for games and release a discussion paper on the issue, but Atkinson has refused to agree to make the report public, effectively shelving it.

The draft discussion paper, simply titled R18+ for computer games was sent to ministers last month and details the pros and cons of introducing an adults-only rating for games.

The paper would have been available to the public on the internet and provided to interested parties such as games industry groups and family associations to seek their views.

Victorian Attorney-General Rob Hulls, who has long supported the push for an R18+ games rating and took the lead in drafting the discussion paper, appears resigned that no changes to the classification system for games will be made anytime soon.

Spokesperson for Hulls, Meaghan Shaw, said whilst the issue is still formally on the SCAG (Standing Committee of Attorneys-General) agenda, it now appears unlikely that there will be unanimity from all jurisdictions to proceed further at this stage with introducing an R18+ category for computer games.

At the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs last week, deputy chair Senator Guy Barnett said some of us are dumbfounded as to why we do not have an R rating for video games.

We have a real problem, and this is something the Senate and the parliament is going to have to address. If we have one state opposing this, South Australia, then clearly we are not going to have any R rating of video games. That simply cannot occur as a matter of course legally.

The issue is again on the agenda for discussion at the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General meeting next month.


melonfarmers icon











Film Cuts

Cutting Edge


Sex News


Adult Store Reviews

Adult DVD & VoD

Adult Online Stores

New Releases/Offers

Latest Reviews

FAQ: Porn Legality

Sex Shops List

Lap Dancing List

Satellite X List

Sex Machines List

John Thomas Toys