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Video game ban in Australia...

 
 
Ashers
 
Reply Tue 23 Oct, 2007 07:57 pm
I was reading about the upcoming sequel to a FPS called Soldier of Fortune and I discovered that, due to excessive violence, it's been banned in Australia. Trying to figure out how this could be I then found that Australia lacks an R rating equivalent for it's games so titles such as Grand Theft Auto (GTA) have also been banned in the past. What does everyone think about this? Apparently GTA was eventually re-listed after content changes (i.e. watering it down I guess?) but why not just create a proper adult rating, enforce classification laws, actually make a genuine attempt to stop children playing games unsuitable for them and embrace the fact that games aren't just for kids, some in fact, specifically targeting at least late teens/20 somethings+ in reality.

From speaking to a couple of Aussies about this, I got the impression a fair few people are in favour of such a move but what I find interesting is the fact adult ratings exist in other forms of media within Australia? Why are games the odd one out, the interactive nature of them? I have to say, Soldier of Fortune, even by my standards, is excessive in it's realistic depiction of blood, gore, decapitation and the like. Few other FPS go to anywhere near the lengths that this game has in this respect so it's a bit of a strange one. In one of the Gamespot articles below it even notes how some of the developers for this title actually went to the trouble of watching real-life dismemberment footage which, suitably disturbed as it left them, apparently lead them to at least giving this games gore a more "stylised" feel. I remember the previous game though LOL!

So the larger question is how does everyone feel about this kind of development and expansion with realism and violence in games (interactive/highly participatory as they are)? Are there comparisons with other medium and the more extreme paths some titles have taken in those cases?

Gamespot Article on the ban

EDIT: Someone listed this article on the gamespot link above which talks in more detail about all of this, interesting.
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Builder
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Oct, 2007 08:39 pm
Interesting.

My neighbour's son (10 yrs old) got his hands on the GTA game, and within a week, his teacher came around for a visit with dad, showing him some gruesome sketches the son had made in art class.

The dad was going ballistic over the issue at my place, and I pointed out just how graphic GTA can be, and that may have influenced the boy's sketching.

I think the real issue with classifications is, the individual parents/adults are left with the personal decision of whether or not their children can have access to this form of "entertainment".

It's not like the govt putting a rating on a product immediately denies a certain age group from using the product.

That decision still rests with the parent/adult/carer.

In my opinion, simple hunt and seek games, like James Bond 007, are violent enough to leave a lasting impression on the young and impressionable.

It's up to the adult to explain that the game is based on a movie, which was based on a fictional book, and nowhere in real life are actions such as you find in the game acceptable or legal. You will be locked up for the rest of your life, should you emulate these fictional characters.

It's a tough one, I know. My own son had a death fixation at the age of 10, and it took a long time. like five years, before he cottoned on to the concept of death being a finality.

Strange days indeed. Most peculiar momma.

Shocked
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Ashers
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Oct, 2007 09:55 am
Builder wrote:
I think the real issue with classifications is, the individual parents/adults are left with the personal decision of whether or not their children can have access to this form of "entertainment".

It's not like the govt putting a rating on a product immediately denies a certain age group from using the product.

That decision still rests with the parent/adult/carer.


I think you're absolutely right really, in terms of parental responsiblity. What struck me about this was the complete lack of an adult rating for games. There's a separate but closely linked and interesting discussion about the outright banning of games, even for adults, as well of course. This lack of an R rating seems to be both founded under the opinion that games are, ultimately, just for kids (never technically true but truer in the past maybe?) and does it perpetuate this attitude? If so, these kinds of issues are going to keep cropping up.

I wonder how much your neighbour knew about GTA before and what kind of role does he play in buying games for his son now?

The simple idea in my eyes is of a parent/child going shopping together and of the child asking to get the 18 rated film? There seems to be too large a distance, in terms of perception, between a lot of adults and the gaming industry. This seems particularly interesting given how the gaming industry has grown over the last 10 years and how the increase in graphical capability (in particular) I think has pushed the gaming industry in a certain direction regarding some games, i.e. a deeper, more expansive and adult style requiring more emotional capacity & the common sense ability to place games in their proper context?

Builder wrote:

In my opinion, simple hunt and seek games, like James Bond 007, are violent enough to leave a lasting impression on the young and impressionable.

It's up to the adult to explain that the game is based on a movie, which was based on a fictional book, and nowhere in real life are actions such as you find in the game acceptable or legal. You will be locked up for the rest of your life, should you emulate these fictional characters.

It's a tough one, I know. My own son had a death fixation at the age of 10, and it took a long time. like five years, before he cottoned on to the concept of death being a finality.

Strange days indeed. Most peculiar momma.

Shocked


I'm not certain but I think I was playing the likes of Wolfenstein 3D, Blake Stone and Doom (old school shooters) a bit when I was ten. It's hard to say what is and isn't acceptable for me, I can only really go on my own experiences and observations. Like so many others, I never dreamt of emulating the characters in those games in real life. Of course those games all had quite a fantastical element to them. Wolfenstein was set back in WW2, Blake Stone in the future with strange guns, environments and monsters, Doom, well Doom takes the biscuit in that regard, venturing into Hell etc! They all had quite an arcadey feel to them as well. Do these things help in separating it all out. I don't remember playing those games specifically so I could get a gun and shoot people, it was always more about taking on a role, an environment, a challenge, much like a really good book and the rich worlds they offer. Just a bit of fun.

Wolfenstein 3D, circa early 90's:
http://gamasutra.com/features/20060425/wolfenstein3d.gif
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justcallmeblue
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Nov, 2007 06:46 am
I think that with all of the new media being pumped out into the world today, parents will just have to bite the bullet and get involved in dictating what is acceptable for their children and what is not. I personally don't see why parents will let children watch television with obvious sexual themes but they are so hypocrytical that they won't let children play video games. any video game, when imitated, hell, any tv show, is bound to piss people off. People at the movie theatre wouldn't let a 10 year old into a NC-17 movie, but why should that stop a 35 year old man from seeing the same movie? why should a game be banned outright just so the kiddies won't see it? It doesn't seem fair to those that are the appripriate age to play it and want to play it.
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