Could Australia Finally be Getting an R18+ Rating for Games?

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Maybe. If you take away the fear-mongering headline from this morning's Sydney Morning Herald news story, the new federal government is planning on addressing the country's need for an R18+ restricted rating for videogames.

Before you celebrate, it hasn't been approved yet. The Attorney Generals from every state and the Commonwealth need to agree that the classification is in the country's best interest before mature adults can get the freedom to play games designed for adults. But at least it's on the discussion table again, something the previous government seemed very reticent to do.

The move will mean that some of the games that have been banned in Australia to date, like Mark Ecko's Getting Up and BMX XXX could potentially see a local release.

The introduction of an R18+ rating in Australia is essential. At the moment, if a game is refused classification, quite often the publishers simply tweak the gameplay to remove some of the worst bits so that they can receive an MA15+, and therefore be made available to kids 15 and over. And when you consider reports that the average age of gamers in this country is 28, most gamers are old enough and mature enough to be able to tell the difference between reality and fantasy.

On a side note, I have to say that the headline the SMH opted for with this story is a bit offensive: "It's Getting Ugly – Violence and Sex may get the thumbs up". Not only are sex and violence already in videogames, but the negative connotations are purely an attempt to try and sensationalise an issue that has long been ignored by the government. It's the kind of thing you might expect from the Telegraph, not the SMH...

In any case - the meeting is scheduled for March 28. We'll keep you posted of any updates in the meantime.

[SMH]

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