Fallout 3 falls foul of the OLFC as well as TV Opinion Panel
Not a happy day for Australians – Even the Queen has a Wii . .
©2008 Grant Smythe:
Fallout 3 is ‘still’ listed as “Refused Classification” here in Australia, while previously banned Dark Sector has just been ‘edited’ for Australia, much like the recent GTAIV was. We have an R18+ rating for movies and these movies are not only about horrific violence, but often porn or sex. They may include some strong scenes, but they may also be about topics that some people simply do not want in the hands of minors, so are marketed accordingly.
The video in here highlights the ignorance of some on the panel and is a bad reflection of attitudes on even our freedom of choice as an adult. While the panel host does make some very solid points in support of the use of an R18+ rating for games, he does however shoot himself in the foot on a few occasions and fails to discuss the issue beyond the censorship. The interactive nature of gaming seems to blind everyone to our ratings system’s shortcomings and make ‘banned’ the only solution. Have a look:
“Let’s not make this only about censorship and our rights as individuals, but about society’s need to properly represent the games to the public in a clear properly defined way so there is no room for error about the content and clearer choices can be made.”
Vodpod videos no longer available.
There are two members of the panel that would support the introduction of the R18+ however, but do so not really knowing the full reasons why. They use Fallout 3 as an example. In that example they fail to even mention that the game is what the player makes of it. Right from birth, choosing ones parents, their gene pool, what takes place during childhood will form their adult lives including childhood fights.
These are many of the things that parents try to teach their children right now. Letting them know that making choices in life do have consequences attached to them, and if you make the wrong ones, then you must live by with what occurs because of your choices.
So really, they didn’t even look at the game at all, just the fact it uses drugs to kill pain and that you shoot people in the game – great one guys. Which is where the gamer in the audience also shoots himself in the foot. When the panel host asked him if that “was a correct assumption of what the game was about, using drugs so you can kill more people”, I could hit that gamer on the head for the way he simply responded ‘yes’ !
And let’s not forget the terrible misconception brought up Barnaby Joyce’s example of a game where you ‘rape’ someone. Is there such a game? I didn’t hear the title he said properly. If you don’t ‘rape’ someone in any game, then that should be pointed out: that the panel are ignorant of games and gaming….
The very same happened with the lesbian X-rated debacle in the U.S. over Mass Effect to illustrate how foolish fearful non-gamers have become of games and its more ‘mature’ content. It was after the panelist and author in question playe dthe game that she realized she’d made a huge error in her judgment. However, that did not stop the press from yusing her first comments over her retractions. Retractions don’t sell news.
What is the REAL reason we need it.
This is actually the crux of the whole situation, not whether or not they should not include it to stop nasty games coming in that are full of sex and violence, but to help prevent their children from having access to unsuitable material which is NOT the case as it stands now. All of them claim to be doing this on behalf “of the children”.
What they seem to forget, or are simply not aware of, is that young Johnny can get games that are classified overseas for adult audience, made by developers with adults as their sole target. And many a young Johnny or Joanne that is around 12-13 looks and seems like a 15-16 or even a 17 yrs old at times, with body types normally associated with an adult. So a 12 yr old can pass themselves off easily as a 15yr old to a shop keeper.
Young Johnny can walk into any major store here and walk out with a game that would normally wear a 17 – 18 or 18+ rating from either BBFC, PEGI or ERSB. But are awarded the MA15+ rating here. So technically it is actually legal for young Johnny to buy an adult game, even though the bleeding hearts don’t want him to, they are currently letting him.
If on the other hand, Australia allowed the use of an R18+ rating to be used also on games as well as movies, then Mum, Dad, shop keepers and the like will have a clear and indisputable visual guide as to whether or not a particular game is suitable for young Johnny, or his dad. What they do with it once it’s home is their responsibility. But if a sale of a product that bears the R18+ label is made to a minor the store could face hefty charges, which is totally acceptable; they should be charged.
Right now the focus is not at what kids currently get, or the fact that it wouldn’t change the games coming in, as all games must still meet the stringent rules of the OLFC for that catergory. It simply means that they will be awarded the classification they deserve, not one that appeases parents to stop said young Johnny from nagging them up the proverbial wall with “I want I want I want . . my mates have it – so I should be able to”.
Parents astounded that their child could buy such games now.
I did a little survey of my own once about this topic. I armed myself with 3 games. Each with a Australian labeled shell and the same game but from the UK (they are PAL remember). When shown the game in its Australian sleeve and asked if they would buy it for their child, most said yeah, probably, it’s only MA15+ after all, it’s really for kids anyway. Might be a bit violent, but if it was bad, they would ban it.
Then when shown the same game sleeve from the UK, most denied it was the same until shown the disc with the same content on it, same packaging, same instruction booklet etc, except with a clear, big red 18+ marked on the cover, spine, and on the game disc.
Same game under BBFC Ratings system SOLD as-is here in Australia
Same game under ESRB Ratings system SOLD as-is here in Australia
Same game under PEGI Ratings system SOLD as-is here in Australia
They soon changed their tune and wanted to know WHY these game were being sold under the MA15+ classification and not some “adult” classification.
I told them quite simply, well, we don’t have an adult classification for adult game which are sold overseas and even in NZ under age specific rating systems. And until then, your child can legally buy the games which have been designed, built and aimed at adults. Where games are rated in “Age Appropriate Systems” where there is no question as to who the game is being marketed to.
Click the icons to see the ratings for each age.
Most of these are not filled with sex rampages, or porn, or blind violence, but are built with a storyline, that usually involves some of the unpleasant things in life we “adults” do look at on TV, movies and read in books.
A significant number of the parents posed with the questions then wanted a change so that THEY could clearly see a game was for an adult, not thier kids. There were also those that basically didn’t care, they simply bought whatever their children wanted to keep the peace basically.
Can you see the irony in the comments then of Mr Atkinson “But we only want to protect the children” – when they can currently buy these games under the MA15+ ratings without so much as a bat of the eyelid here in Australia, yet overseas these same games carry an “Adult Rating”. If the same games had our current R18+ label, many parents would think twice about allowing their child open access to them as they do know. But that in and of its self also raises the issue of, would publishers want this here . It would mean an even smaller market share in an area where smallnumbers of sales are the norm in comparison to the rest of the world.
What we’d like to do, and you can help
We’re certainly not going to let it rest here of course. We will be approaching the two supportive members of the panel, as well as the host about the subject, and doing a few things around it. Let’s not make this only about censorship and our rights as individuals, but about society’s need to properly represent the games to the public in a clear properly defined way so there is no room for error about the content and clearer choices can be made.
1) Sending a basic storyline of the game and how it plays out, outlining that choice has an ongoing effect within the game world.
2) Ask that a dedicated forum be held and filmed about the subject, with both people knowledgeable about games and gaming, as well as lay-people so they may be educated about what they currently allow their children to buy from their local everyday stores like K-Mart, Big W, and gaming stores.
3) Ask for a panel of 50% game industry and 50% political and civilian representatives so that a balanced perspective can be given and answered from the panel.
We feel this would give a much better standpoint of what really is the issue here, not the issue many ill-informed or fearful conservatives would want the general public to think.
We would love to know your thoughts on the matter, especially if you are from Australia, as this does affect you. Sitting at home waiting for someone else to do it for you will not cut it any more. If YOU want your games, the YOU need to stand up and be heard, or suffer the continuance of games such as Fallout 3, GTA and most likely several others being banned in the future.
If you want the R18+ classification, then get off your butts and make it happen. Otherwise, don’t complain when games end up overseas, but not here. Or are you yet another “typical” Aussie who leaves it to someone else – “she’ll be right mate . . . no worries . . I’m too busy at the moment mate – heading to the pub – catchya later”.
Instead, call or write to your local member of parlament, let them know your concerns outlining not that YOU want it, but WHY you believe we should have it and that kids under 15 already have access to games that ARE made for an adult audience.