Tell me what you think of the letter, please if have nay suggestions, tell me.
G' Day Mr Atkinson.
My name is Curt, and I want to express my opinions and knowledge to you about Video Games and their ****fication.
I will first state that I respect your opinion, and your position in Government. I have faith that the Australian public votes people in to office who know what they are doing. Although I must say that I do believe that regarding this issue, you are behind the 8 Ball.
I Am 17 Years Old, and have been playing games since the age of 5. My First Gaming Memories are from Nintendo and Sega consoles, and some PC games,
which were typically G rated, family friendly games.
These days, I am 12 years older and wiser now, and while I still find entertainment from my older (and prominently "tamer") games on a regular basis, I now play newer games, which appeal to me, my maturity level and gender. These games are hosted on Consoles such as Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii (As I watched your interview on Good Game, I know you are familiar with this console). Many of these games are rated MA 15+ and contain strong Violence. These games that I play are often of the Shooter, Racing, Role Play and Sandbox genres.
Most of these games that I play are ones which are rated R in other nations.
Due to the current ****fication laws for video games in Australia, there are many games which are aimed at adults and Teenagers, are either banned or censored to fit the Australian ****fication as you are well aware. There are some exceptions that actually are just pushed down to the MA rating, effectively meaning that we virtually get R rated games here. An example of this is the Gears Of War Series (GOW for short). Under the PEGI and BBFC rating systems, these games are rated "18+ Restricted". Neither the original or the sequel have been censored in Australia, yet have been released under the OFLC system as "MA 15+". I am a fan of this series, and I can assure you that both of these games are plentiful in violence and coarse language (Eg. One of the signature abilities of this series is to utilise a chainsaw bayonet to kill the opposing enemies).
Despite this, some games which are on an equal level of violence to Gears Of War are denied ****fication (F.E.A.R 2 and Dark Sector are some examples from this year). As these games are aimed at Adults, I and 92% Of People Surveyed believe it would only be fair to allow for an R rating ****fication, therefore Adults will be able to purchase a version of the game which is not only uncensored, but 100% compatible with their Australian PAL format consoles. It is simply unfair and un-democratic that books, music and films which are aimed at Adults are allowed to enter Australia while Video Games, as a valid and growing form of entertainment and an industry in it's own right, is left out.
The Australian ****fication Code, in a brief summarised form, basically states that Adults should be allowed to read, watch and listen to what they wish, without censorship. I could understand if the OFLC banned a film that gave explicit directions to create explosives to harm civilians; although I've never heard of a video game that does this. The OFLC is not following the rules when it comes to banning video games. I know that I am 17, but once I am of age, I don't want to be censored and blocked in this manner. I, as everyone, should have the right to play whatever they want. Every other developed nation in the world has an R rating for video and computer games. While I don't encourage folding to "Peer Pressure" as you may call it, I can tell you they are laughing at us. I spend a considerable amount of time on international gaming forums on the Internet. Many gamers from other nations describe our Government (due to banning games) as "Communist Wannabes", "Primitive" and "Behind The Times". This needs to be fixed. While I praise Australia's Government for providing us with a safe nation and applying initiatives such as Medicare; this one issue shames me to agree with these comments.
On a very serious note, what sense does it make to allow pornography into Australia, yet not allow R rated games into Australia because of the idea that Kids will get their hands on it? Kids can illegally download R rated games off the internet (from sites and P2P programs) and play them on illegal gaming emulation programs just as easily as they can get their hands on to pornographic media. People will argue that violent games create violent people. Well, couldn't we also say that Pornography creates perverts? Either way, adults should be access both!
Ultimately whether a child can access R rated games has nothing to do with availability. It's all down to parenting. And concerning this, nothing can be done.
I have been playing the Grand Theft Auto Series since the age of 10. The very same Grand Theft Auto that Jack Thompson fought so hard against (in vain might I add). These games have all been rated R in other countries, and have either been banned, censored to fit, or pushed down to MA 15+ in Australia. I started playing these games well under the age that is recommended, and I still play them, and I have had no side effects or violent outbursts. I am a mentally healthy human being. I don't kill random people in the street. This is coming from somebody who (If I lived in the UK) has been playing under age for 7 years. For anyone to suggest (particularly these "Experts") that we may actually imitate what we see in a video game is an insult to our intelligence and common sense. Anyone who imitates something similar to behaviour depicted in a video game obviously has underlying problems. Video Games are simply a scapegoat.
I know that you feel strongly against Children having access to Adult games, and I agree. Young Children should be protected from unsuitable content. Unfortunately, not allowing an R rating does completely the opposite.
If a game is pushed down or censored to an MA level, it makes it a hell of a lot easier for kids to get their hands on it. They can simply walk into a retailer, and get their parents to buy it for them. Yes they are "Restricted" to people over 15, but realistically, many parents don't care, or believe their children mature enough to play these games. If there was an R rating things would improve for two reasons. 1. It would make it harder for kids to get their hands on it, as these games would be MORE restricted. 2. Parents would think twice before giving their kids something that has a big fat "R" slapped on the cover (On that point, as a Graphic Design / Visual Communication student, I praise OFLC for using colour coding on the rating system. This has improved vastly over the old rating images).
Adult and Teenage gamers such as myself will go out of their way to get the game if it is banned in Australia. Seriously, gamers like myself will just buy it off eBay from other countries such as the United Kingdom. The longer we don't have an R rating for games, the more gaming money leaves our economy. Not only that, but the Government receives no GST from these purchases. As you must be aware, if anything needs to be done at this point in time, it is to boost our economy.
The thing that concerns me about this situation the most is the fact that to introduce an R rating, there has to be a unanimous decision. While I respect your opinion, it must be said that it is very unfair that one opinion denies an entire country. While I could just say "Why not just leave South Australia out, and allow all other states an R rating", I would feel very sorry for South Australian Gamers. The vote should be down to majority.
Mr. Atkinson, I in behalf of the gaming community of Australia beg you to take these points into account. Don't let adult gamers (More than half of us) suffer.