Read The New R18+ Guidelines, And Prepare For Disappointment

The new guidelines for the R18+ rating have just been released, giving us a concrete idea of what the new adult rating for video games will look like. It's difficult to tell precisely how these will be implemented by the Classification Board when the rating comes into being in 2013, but at first glance, it does not look promising.

More: R18+: This Is What You Get

To begin with, the issue of interactivity increasing the impact of violence -- yep, that old chestnut -- rears its ugly head.

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.

And it looks as though some games that were banned previously in Australia, without an R18+ rating, would most likely be banned under the new R18+ rating. Particularly with relation to in-game drug use.

Computer games will be Refused Classification if they contain: (i) illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards; (ii) interactive drug use which is detailed and realistic.

It's too early to make judgements -- we'll have to wait and see precisely how the Classification Board applies these guidelines -- but the R18+ rating, at this stage seems to share similarities to the previous MA15+ rating.

You can read the new guidelines in their entirety here.

Originally published on Kotaku Australia</small?

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    drugs are worse than killing people? i can see how this makes sense.

      great display of double standards by boards like these really, they acknowledge that "glamourising" both is bad for the young mind but they say that we are smart enough to know not to go out and cap a bunch of people (by allowing games with killing) but we are all too stupid to know drugs are bad and we will surely go out and shoot up after playing max payne, therefore they ban drugs completely basically, urgh

    I knew this would happen. As soon as the debate switched from "Adults should be able to play whatever they want" to "Games that are rated 18+ elsewhere are rated 15+ in Australia", the result was always going to be this. Using our opponents' "think of the children!!" attitude against them may have seemed like a good idea at the time, but now it looks like honesty would have been a better policy.

    So I'll continue to impot my R18+ games from the UK then? Cool, good job keeping any control over that...

      New Zealand is closer and cheaper, try Mightyape.

    urgh so typical of over reacting, out of touch boards like the classification one, the R18 rating wasn't wanted and lobbied for so much just so we can have a shiny new sticker, it was so that games with too "high impact" for the M15 rating could still be sold to adults who understand the impact, literally any game that would have been banned before just needs to get a R18 slapped on it and your set, not just shuffle the definitions up and keep banning games.

    this is pretty much the final straw for non mobile australian gaming if we continue to ban every game from the country no one will bother anymore and they certainly wont look here for devs, if this turns out as bad as it looks, the amount of games sole here and made here will plummet

    Laws like this are a big incentive to people pirating games. The classification board is encouraging piracy here, as far as i'm concerned.

    Adults like to go out and view what they want, without the pesky government telling them they can't have it.

    Don't get me wrong - i've bought lots of games and will continue to do so - but it really annoys me when the online store says i can't have it because I live in Australia - and they won't let you use VPNs to still buy it either. It's like i need a virtual prescence in the US to go and play some games.

    America is far more censored than Australia is in regards to Television.

    Yet Australia is far more prudent and censored in video games? Something is not right here.

      You can justify your piracy however you like mate.

    Oh well, software companies will lose out because I'll continue to obtain it elsewhere. Classification board perpetuating the cycle of piracy

    You honestly cant' expect our nanny government to relax a law that's essentially already in place now can you?? Next you will be asking for them to legalise dope.

      well yes we can the whole point of the lobbying and pushes for classification changes were to get changes not just shuffle the rating along one and change the age needed for "impact-full" games to be purchased by 3 years,.

      we want the laws/classifications changed so that games previously banned because it was too "bad" for 15 year olds, the old rating limit, to be available for adults, that is the point of the lobbied rating changes we aren't trying to legalise games so minors can get them and think drugs are cool so they grow up wanting legal dope, we want the possibility for adults to buy games with some drugs in them (for instance) cause we know better and can handle it rather then the government saying no to everyone because the rating system stops at 15

    And why should minors even be mentioned in an R18+ rating considering it relates to stuff that is illegal for minors to view!?

      Haha That's what i was thinking!

      "Because mummy and daddies little angel would never pretend there was nothing wrong with it and anyway he's mature for his age, and all his friends have it, and we want to be good parents. etc etc etc "

      You get the picture

        If they want to be shit parents let them. I shouldn't be penalised for their shortcomings.

    Just make the game violence for the sake of an ethical cause and suddenly - no problem.
    Just like real life.

    So, the ethical standards for making a classification aren't based on evidence or facts, but on some egghead policy-maker's idea of what " some sections of the community condone"? I'm sure the groups advocating the legalisation of certain drugs would be happy to hear that a government-controlled body is taking that line. Which is a double-irony, considering the classification double-standard extends to being anti-drug, apparently.

    Nice job, guideline writers. Wonder what "some sections of the community condone" in terms of mind-numbing stupidity?

    So all those years of petitioning for an R rating, just to get all MA15+ games bumped up to R, and all games that should be R stay banned.


    So tell me again, what sort of person is it that gets their thrills from this stuff?

      In many games, e.g. Fallout 3, Max Pane series, etc. you treat your injuries by consuming analgesic drugs. Fallout 3 got banned and had to be modified. Ref.: These games would be banned under strict application of these rules. I "got my thrills" playing these games.

      Community standards are not well represented by regulatory agencies in Australia. This does not just affect games ratings but some quite distinct areas too, e.g. many (non-recreational) products sold as over-the-counter supplements in pretty much every other country are classified as illegal drugs here, despite having zero potential for abuse. And it can be very hard to tell if that camping or garden tool you want to order off Amazon is actually an illegal weapon. I find it particularly amusing that all aphrodisiacs are illegal here (meaning that crap you bought at the chemist can only be sold 'cos it does not work). I don't know what is going on with all this, but it is very strange by international standards. If you looked into it I suspect you would find that one or two of your own "thrills" are actually illegal here too.

    Meanwhile, the Kardashian's are turning our little girls into skanks with no brains....

    Still haven't seen anyone use a car to run people down on a main street yet, nor have I seen a child kill 15 people like bad teddy either.

    Like someone else said, NZ and UK will continue to get our gaming dollars, no fuss, no muss.

    "particularly to minors".. yes.. but this is a R18+ classification.. so why are we even discussing that point?

    Yup.. same old lying and cheating government.

    Back to the torrents, my friends.

    We'd like to legally act like adults but when they treat us like ignorant children, they will only get reactions like this. This isn't China.. this isn't America.. nor the UK or EU.. this is Australia.

      err, it is China mate, our Gillard Government obviously gets all it hi-tech policy ideas from their comrades in China, like internet censorship, monitoring and recording of the entire population's email and browsing etc etc. Why would you expect the totalitarians in Labor to do any different?

    Thanks to globalisation, I no longer give a shit what our government does. I'd rather pay less for a Grey import that hasn't been modified for sale than help Australian retailers rip everyone off with products which have been idiot proofed.

      Not retailers mate, the clasification board.

    I couldn't care less. I'll get any neutered game from other sources if I have to.

    No drug use in games.... Wonder if that will cover health/mana pots lol

    So we get R18+, but all it really means is that every current MA game will be an R game, and the overall impact is nothing- we still have games getting censored and banned on the same grievances as before. Great.

    Does DayZ get banned, I inject myself with morphine and an epi pen.

    What about GTA4, I can go to the bar and get drunk.

    I can't be F'ed commenting...
    The out come is just too ridiculous and bordering on idiotic.

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