Ask Brendan O'Connor your R18+ questions

Federal Minister of Home Affairs will answer questions from GameSpot AU readers in a special R18+ Q&A.

by

With Australia's censorship ministers about to meet to discuss (among other things) an adult classification for video games, the time has come to put your questions directly to the man who has taken charge of the R18+ issue in the federal government--Federal Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor.

Just last month, O'Connor revealed that despite an overwhelming response in favour of introducing an adult classification for video games in Australia in last year's public consultation, he continues to believe that more community views are needed before he and other censorship ministers can think about introducing R18+ for games.

O'Connor also announced that R18+ for games will be talked about at the upcoming Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) meeting in Canberra on December 10. While it is still unsure what will be discussed or decided upon in regards to the issue, GameSpot AU has asked O'Connor to field a few questions on R18+ from GameSpot community members.

Anyone who wants to submit a question to Brendan O'Connor has between now and Tuesday, November 30, to e-mail their questions to GameSpot AU. We will then pick the five best questions to send to the minister, whose answers will be published on GameSpot AU the week before the December 10 SCAG meeting.

Questions submitted must be clear, articulate, and free of profanity or insult. Remember: the only way to convince those in government that R18+ for games should be taken seriously is by engaging in intelligent, well-informed debate around the issue.

Questions may be about any aspect of R18+ for games or wider classification issues. As a guide, read GameSpot AU's Classification FAQ feature before writing your question, and make sure it has not already been answered there.

After you have written your question, please send it in to gamespotedit@gamespot.com.au, or post it directly in the comments below.

GameSpot AU will contact you if we decide to use your question. Good luck!

Discussion

45 comments
BDL91
BDL91

fizzer789 Pornography has nothing to do with it , it depends what context the violence , drugs or nudity is used in , for example : a game that makes it your mission to kill innocents or promotes killing inocents as rewarding would have a higher rating than killing a terrorist or somebody thats shooting back at you. Theres only really rare cases where the R18+ would be used , Manhunt... Strangling somebody with a plastic bag..lol , Fallout 3 using real drugs with real names to give the player better fighting capabillities...which was later changed , and just really things that go to the extreme... which usually make the game much funner to play

Fizzer789
Fizzer789

It is pointless. Theres only one reason why a game should have that rating. Is because of Pornography other than that it is a stupididea to use 18+ ratings on games. Ratings are rediculous. Why should Halo Reach havea M15+ rating on it just because there is animated violence. Why isnt Halo 3 MA 15+. The government or wat eva comes up wiv this garbage oughta think about ratings little bit more and think about what your about to do. Thank You :)

wenisman
wenisman

@jalfrezy, by your thinking should we remove all mature content from the market place including videos, books, religious artifacts, artwork etc? but reading your post you actually did the right thing and got involved with something in his childs life where alot of parents wouldnt have. What you didnt specify is what actions they took, did you remove the game from the childs hands or just let the child continue playing the game? but it does demonstrate the point, an R18 rating would have prevented their children from purchasing the game in question. however the argument of a game damaging a childs mental state is void, look at japan where they have the lowest rates of crime, violence, graffiti and theft. is this due the fact that they can live out fantasies vicariously or the quality of parenting? either way its nothing to do with the games they play or the cartoons they watch.

dalebridger
dalebridger

@jalfrezy - way to be a good parent. it's people like you that give parents a bad name. L2P as a father before commenting on how the world should be wrapped in cotton wool so you don't have to watch or care about any of your children bumping into anything sharp. God Forbid you actually do some real parenting. For the minister - How does an R18+ hinder the community? why is it allowed for movies and not games? how are games any different from the real life violence currently shown on TV? Go watch Rambo 4 to any of the new bloodsports out there UFC, Kick Boxing even Pro-Wrestling. How is it different from listening to Mal Waldon and watching the police pull a blanket up over and actual dead person? or perhaps seeing a beaten bloodied face all over the news? Why are we restricting R18+ rating when it would give retailers GREATER responsibilities and powers in who the can release these violent games to? They are already on the market lets classify them appropriately.

Heckla
Heckla

My question is: Wouldn't an R18+ rating on a game actually help delineate games in the minds of parents rather than the use of a fuzzy M15+ rating? To clarify, many people don't see much difference between a game or toy for a 13 year old and one for a fifteen year old. But if it were rated 18 and above, would that not suit the needs of both parents as well as adult gamers?

Kai-Tiger
Kai-Tiger

Why is it that you wish to hear from a wider range of australians when only the gaming side of the country is going to be effected by this R18+ decision, the fact that most games have been bumped down to MA15 has only made it easier for younger ppl to play the games and just because its been dulled down it doesnt change whats happening on screen. please explain an d keep in mind that the last person to deny australia R18+ was haunted by players all over for his decision so we do require someone like urself to make honoust choices for us

evilkenshin1
evilkenshin1

jive-turkey ; we are the only real western country which doesn't have an R18+ rating so having an adult rating does not destroy game series like call of duty or cause less sales. it hasn't slowed down sales in new zealand which has R18+ , it hasn't slowed down game sales in america which has an adult rating etc.

jive-turkey
jive-turkey

Now I am a teenager (under 18 ), i can understand reasons for people wishing to have a +18 rating. Personally i think introducing +18 rating will bring pros and cons. I aint one of those pin kids who ruin games but i do think that might reduce the number of them anyway. The major con is that this will inflict major damage on to all gaming companies as games like call of duty which would be R have many followers whom are under 18. I do believe that if or if not i child should be playing a game is in the hands of the parents. So if there are R18 games the companies that make them will have less funding which means worse games, would you want that? I now i would :)

1337drawr
1337drawr

Now who are the parents that object to this? They wonder why their children are diabetic and overweight, when they have eaten 3 months supply of chips & chocolate two weeks. Not only that, they are probably dosed up on Ritalin. I agree with wbezuidenhout's comment in every way- If you, as a parent cannot involve yourself in your child's traits & lifestyle, don't blame a system that is not just catering for your children. I understand that looking after and raising a child is difficult, with working conditions & changing trends of the markets. But you need to make yourself available to know what your child is bringing home. That's just what parenting entails. By suffocating the gaming market to ensure children are not buying video games over their respective age, you are, in turn, destroying the entire adult gaming market (which is what technically financially fuels the gaming industry). But in the end, it's basic human instinct to want to do, play or experience something you are technically not allowed to do. Hell, isn't that half the reason people try drugs, cigarettes and alcohol? If you find your child playing a video game they are obviously to young for; take it off them. The effects of video games are not as 'traumatic' as you think! And for all those proclaiming that introducing an R18+ rating will cause problems beyond belief; have you noticed there are problems now? Whichever way the ballot swings, there will be problems.

burgo81
burgo81

prophizle this is part of the overhaul process of classification (which is a very long and drawn out process) this new classification will let these games go to the intended consumers and vanyelk the hold up is created from the base of prejudice, where a person makes a decision without immersing themselves into the culture a.k.a baby boomers that still use vcr's and still don't know how to program them

Prophizle
Prophizle

we don't need a R18+ rating, what we need is an overhaul of the classification system in Australia

Vanyelk
Vanyelk

Mr O'Connor I am considered part of the vast silent majority that apparently hasn't been consulted. I do not play violent games and never will. I casually play games (as most people do these days) and I am a 25 year old woman who plays 'cute/friendly games' for fun on the long train trip to work, when I'm bored or at a friend's parties. My brothers were the 'hardcore fans' so I grew up around gamers and their quirks all my life and yes I know its odd that I'm part of this website (long story that I won't go into). 1) The public has been consulted with the result that most don't care and those that do, support R18+ (with the usual few exceptions that are always going to be present) 2) Most objections previously seem to come only from a small minority of ministers in government and one of the largest objectors recently retired. Now knowing my bias and keeping in the mind the above and that there has been years of consultations from the community, so WITHOUT using that reason again in your answer, who or what EXACTLY is the hold up? Also as part of that vast majority, I support R18+ because I can not stand the sight of a 10 year old child getting a game that would give ME nightmares. Kind Rgds Vanyel

evilkenshin1
evilkenshin1

Re: TokyoBrando ; not really a good question as Australia does not have "freedom of speech"

Mars_Cleric
Mars_Cleric

My question: Why is it that the government has faith in it's ability to sufficiently rate other forms of media such as films and trust people to make informed decisions from that, but when it comes to video games the government seems to lose this faith in this system and no longer trust people to make their own informed decisions?

gameking5000
gameking5000

My Question: When do you think a final decision will be made on this?

TokyoBrando
TokyoBrando

NOT allowing R18+ is kinda like violating our "freedom of speech" to play whatever we want..be fair guys! ever since i started playing games back when i was 3 or so, i've always played M/MA games or anything violent..and i've never grabbed a gun or knife and killed someone lol..it's ridiculous

minimme
minimme

My question is... Why not?

muzza93
muzza93

To All the parents out there & a message to the government On the playstation 3, there is a feature that is a parental code that u can set with a password to not let the system play games with high ratings. I dont know if its on the xbox 360 but its definitely on playstation 3. You go to settings, parental control level. If u set it to level 9 every game can be played, level 1 only lets G rated games in, its that simple. Theres even a password so ur kids cant change it. There problem solved. Maybe the R18+ and MA15+ games should come with instructions on how to set the parental control level too so the parents can play but their children cannot. FOOLPROOF ok, bring in R18+ plus now i reckon, all this fuss over nothing, responsibility is on the parents, adults shouldn't simply miss out

Whosasking99
Whosasking99

@jalfrezy. Everyone's entitled to their opinion, (I do agree with your thoughts on GTA). However, I had a quick look at your profile and noticed that you have a GTA game in your owned game list, which I guess you would categorise under your list of (in your own words) "all about killing innocent people just going about their daily lives" games. That is all.

gawthy
gawthy

We need to bring this in now. But a good question would be how to punish gaming oulets that do sell to minors. It would have to be a $5000 fine or more and 3 breaches and your store loses or its licence or something. Just because its R18+ it still needs to be enforced like the hospitality industry does. Also parents should be fined if they buy it for there child.

burgo81
burgo81

i work for the government and i know that with each decision that is made it is the one with the least amount of back lash that could come back and bite us in the arse, but i think that greatest pitt fall is that as a society we have been too eager for the government to make a decision for us and the responsibility of what children see should be of the parents, it always has been and always will be. the average cost of a game is about $90-$100, a child will not be able to afford that on pocket money unless it is one very spoilt child and for a game that is r81+ they themselves would not be able to purchase the game only an adult would. with the parent or legal guardian being told and being shown clearly the classification of the game the responsibility falls on them. you will always have people jump up and down and say that they did not know the classification even if the cover of the game was just r18+ in capitals and bold letter font, these people are frightened of there own decisions and instead of accepting responsibility they blow a lot of hot air and point fingers at anyone in range, so sir if you read this, my point is simple, it is not a fad it is an industry, it is a topic that is gathering support and momentum and you can not please everyone

raptor1906
raptor1906

Im sick of these discussions which ultimately lead back to SQUARE ONE. I can guarentee that by the time i complete my final year of school this time next year, i'll expect to find another blog just like this....... except from another moron politician.

JokerFoxx
JokerFoxx

@jalfrezy it is because of people like you that games are recieved in such a bad light. You who allow your child to play a game thats of a mature rating would never consider the possibility that YOU ARE A BAD PARENT! And if your cantor is that he purchased the game on his own then please know that there are content restrictions on whatever consol he owns. Don't spoil it for the rest of us!

SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

It is just lame to attack video games all together in my view no matter how violent. Black ops to me is not violent. Kids act out and say things they see in a movie more than video games.

alienmlbyrne0
alienmlbyrne0

What's the point in asking anything, this jerk will just make up some lame excuse! Australia is moving backwards not forward.

Kensei_Muguruma
Kensei_Muguruma

well after seeing a 7 year old kid with his mum buy black ops at GAME its just getting ridiculous his mum even allowed him to get the game in the first place.....im 22 ive been playing games since i the snes days and when i was his age my parents wouldnt even allow me to play games mainly because the content is violent, has stong themes and too mature for my age, i think the younger generation coming up are getting away with things way too easily and getting access to content which isnt even for their age because their parents just dont pay attention or care much bout it but complain when their kid gets affected and put the blame on video games instead of blaming themselves for letting their own child getting their hands on the game......introducing an R+18 would stop all this nonsense from happening in the first place should of been done years ago......

SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

No-oneSpecial
No-oneSpecial

I only just recently turned 19 and have worked at the store since I was 17. I don't say this because I'm over the age limit and it doesn't effect me, I say it because parents are not properly concerned about their childrens upbringing and I'm tired of seeing it happen. Regards.

No-oneSpecial
No-oneSpecial

Every game that gets bought up to me with an MA15+, I always go through with the parents 'Are you ok with your son playing this? It is an MA15+ game for strong amount of swearing, drugs, violence, prostitution.' In those circumstances, parents will usually say no. However, in the case of 'High Violence' most parents comment back is 'He sees worse on tv' or 'He's played worse in the past'. Ultimatly, I can only do so much with the current classification system. I do everything I can to enforce it, but an R18+ rating would do wonders on so many games. For example, Call of Duty: Black Ops is widly recognised, and is, the fastest selling game on the market to date. At our stores midnight launch, we had around 150-160 people show up, and of them, around 30-40 were under the age of 15. That was just the midnight launch which lasted 2 hours. If it had been an R18+ rated game, I would have been able to refuse service to the parents on the grounds that they are supplying R18+ rated content to a minor and can face legal action from doing so. Also, we get a lot of cases where the parents come up and do not speak English, but the child translate to them. We've only ever caught out one child telling their parent the game was fine, because we're game store employees and not don't hold a masters in world languages. I again, in situtions like these, I would be able to refuse the sale of high impact content to a minor on grounds of supplying inappropriate content to a minor.

No-oneSpecial
No-oneSpecial

As an employee at a games store, I'm right there when I see the kids get their hands on games that aren't their for their age group.

KaddyShack
KaddyShack

Mr. O'Conner when was the last time you went to LAN session/party where there were hundreds of people playing games? Did you notice anyone running around with drugs,pill or anything else. No Probably not, but lets go to a nightclub and see what's going on there. Maybe you should put a ban on music, as I personally think that it has a much more profound effect on our children. They can download, purchase online any music that they like, have you had a chance to listen to some of the latest, apparently called music that is out there. If we then take these same kids that listen to some of the artists and we have a look at there lifestyle compared to those of gamers, I think you will find where the problem lies. I've been playing games since the Atari 2600 came out, but I sure as hell don't go around shooting and killing people. I had a stable upbringing, my parents made sure I did not spend all my time in front of the computer/console and I've turned out just fine. Parents need to take a little responsibility for there children and not expect the government to there work for them, while they're out enjoying themselves and not worrying about what the kids are doing.

wbezuidenhout
wbezuidenhout

@jalfrezy, the R18 rating would actually HELP someone in your position. Prototype was released in Australia as MA15, even though it wholeheartedly should receive an R18+ rating, which just ends up defeating the purpose of a rating system - to prevent inappropriate material from reaching minors. Thanks to Australia lacking an R18 classification, your son can legally buy Prototype at the age of 15, where it SHOULD require him to be 18. As another example I'd like to offer "Aliens vs Predator", another game that should be R18+, but due to Australia lacking that classification, has been released as MA15. And besides, it is not the government's job nor its responsibility to raise your child. Your lack of interest in your son's life and hobbies is what brought that situation about, now you are blaming the games instead of having a hard look at your own priorities. Get involved in your son's life, show some interest, go shopping WITH him instead of shoving money in his hand and dropping him off at the mall. Ironic that you're calling those who support the R18+ classification "war loving Nazi hypocrites" when you are the one trying to ban the R18 rating, for games, while you're perfectly happy with the R18 rating on movies, magazines and television - and what's the classification for pornography in Oz?

TurambarGS
TurambarGS

@jalfrezy That game is classified MA15+ meaning that it is only suitable for people 15 years and older - it was never refused classification. Therefore even if we never get an R18+ rating, that game and games of the same level of restriction will still be available in Australia. Perhaps if it had been rated R18+ he never would have ended up with it in his hands as somewhere along the line someone would have seen the restriction and not given it to their child (if I assume that he got it from a friend of his). But I think you're actually proving the point of view that many of us are espousing: parenting is what's needed to restrict access to mature video games, not an outdated system. You managed to intercept your son before he'd made it very far. I'm 25, I can drive, own property and vote. If I'm apparently capable of contributing to the process of electing governments, then I think I should be able to choose to play video games designed for people my age, don't you think?

Yippee_Ki_YayMF
Yippee_Ki_YayMF

@ Jalfrezy You actually made a really weak argument. Maybe you should adequately monitor what games your child is playing, just like I do mine. As a parent, I welcome the introduction so games can appropriately be classified. Games that would normally be borderline R18+ can then be rated R18 instead of being squeezed into the MA15+ banner. It is about allowing people to make an informed decision on a purchase and/or decision on allowing our children to play a game. It also allows the sale of perceived violent games to be properly regulated. Perhaps you are not aware, but the average age of a gamer is over 28 years old. Are you so selfish and close minded to believe that because you did not monitor your childs activities effectively, that the majority of Australian gamers should suffer the effects of your lack of parenting skill and understanding? This is a form of harmless entertainment that many adults enjoy. How many R18 or MA15 movies have you watched in your life? Why not put a ban on knitting because it uses sharp needles? It is people like you, who attempt to sanitise this world into the boring mess that it is now. It is time you stopped blaming others and started respecting the interests of people who are older than your child. Prude!

Timewarlord
Timewarlord

I hope this pulls trough, eventually. Because simply put, within reason of extreemly questionable content (which I believe the authorities should still be able to ban or order modified) I believe that an R18+ rating seperates impressionable children from innapropriate content and allows adults to enjoy that for what ever reason they do. Its democratic, plain and simple, and it protects kids. I also whole heartedly support much tougher point of sale restrictions for children buying games. Being an avid gamer since the days of the NES with my dear old Dad in the late 80's and now as a 25 year old, I buy alot of games from many different retailers, I've personally witnessed almost everystore from dedicated game stores like EB and Game, to department stores like Big W, Myer and Kmart and even electronic stores like JB and Harvey Norman sell games to minors with a M15 rating or above without asking a single question and with no parent present. The latest cases being a boy easily 10 or younger buying New Vegas right infront of me, the shop assistant didnt ask anything. Also yesterday while buying black ops, a kid did the same thing, this time yet another store and again no questions asked. Ive seen it happen in excess of 20 different times over the years. This is a serious issue that needs to be addressed as well as a R18+ Rating.

jalfrezy
jalfrezy

I say, No Way Hosay! The games industry in Australia has lasted long and strong without the inclusion of pornographic, violent, foul mouthed games like your GTA's, your San Andreas's, your Call of duty war loving Nazi hypocrites! I have asked the good federal minister to help put an end to this debate and put another offer on the table: Introduce an even more strict rating system for video games in Australia; abolish the possibility of ever introducing an R18+ rating system; and propose the idea that anything above the traditional MA+ rating in the case of video games be banned. I will be waiting gamespot's reply eagerly on this one as I have a personal reason for the question, my youngest, Simon, recently came home with a new copy of Prototype. I was busy in the kitchen, until I heard these loud bangs and crashes coming from his room, which was when I remembered he'd walked in with a video game. As you would imagine I began to worry, this didn't subside as I made my way up to his bedroom in fact it grew louder, and louder. I think we all know what I found in there, another game all about killing innocent people just going about their daily lives. I have proved my point, told my mind and hopefully, have changed a few of yours.

TurambarGS
TurambarGS

The simplest question is probably a very good one to ask: how many video games have you personally played (for a reasonable amount of time) in the last 10 years?

JokerFoxx
JokerFoxx

Dear Mr O'Connor, I have been a player of video games all my life, I'm one of those gamers that will get his blood and bodies that don't fade away even if i have to buy the games from overseas. The reason I do this is because i believe that video games are a growing form of art, this opinion becomes re-enforced as time goes on. Also i believe in artistic integrity above all else. My questions to you are, How many video games have you played? If so what are your favourite ones ?

johnnyauau
johnnyauau

Brendan O'Connor (if that is his name and I doubt I know how to email him!), I'm very curious what is the reason behind such an extreme delay after Michael Atkinson resignation and when Julia Gillard is elected? Did the ministers really read ALL the submissions through various forms? What do you really mean by getting it right than getting it rushed? Do you honestly support R18+ and what's the point of getting a silent majority or people who don't care about R18+ to get involved with the majority of gamers? Please give an honest and straightforward answer since I don't speak politics. Thanks. Johnny Nguyen.

Wrathesoul
Wrathesoul

I am from the usa been here in Australia the last 9 years all I want to know is why is it so hard to give your free people a rating parents can see on a box and show kids so they understand they cant play certain games? I get the feeling the goverment likes to control mature adults in many ways this being one. To me the goverment dont sound like it trust its own people very much to look after their kids.

chalky_2000
chalky_2000

Why the hell not? Seriously. Half the games that are MA15+ in Australia are R18 over seas. So much so that some of the games, despite having an Australian MA15+ rating on the front cover, have overseas ratings of Adult 18+ on the disc. Why let in some and not all. Why Baby People by saying what they can or can't view. We monitor Pornographic and R18+ movie sales at the counter, why not games. Its not that big of a step forward. All up Australia has a really backwards stance on this. Working in the games industry personally, I see this on almost a daily basis. Why should we be censored and have all the other countries laugh at our backwards ways. Why no R18?

Philbrush
Philbrush

Don't know what i'd ask, but I do feel we really need R18+....a lot of people seem to want it to allow us to get "uncut" forms of games. I think there are a lot of games currently rated MA15+ that need to be R18+. If I remember right, one of the big reasons against R18+ was because games are interactive...my nephew, who was able to watch the "Saw" movies at the cinema, was stopped watching the latest because it was given an R18+ rating, the cinema said this was because the 3D made the movie more interactive! If it works for movies, why not games?

TDragonn
TDragonn

I hope we get a lot of good questions. The Government needs to stop messing around with issues like this and Gay Marriage. Australia is starting to look like some sort of country stuck in the middle ages while everywhere else advances.