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Does Australia Need An R18 Rating?

Braden Powell By Braden Powell on
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Aliens vs. Predator, Left 4 Dead 2 and Fallout 3. What do all of these games have in common? They were all submitted to the ACB, or Australian Classification Board, and all three were initially banned or censored. Fallout 3 was banned because of the drug use, forcing Bethesda to rename the drugs to Jet and Stim-packs. Alien vs. Predator was banned due to graphic violence such as dismemberment and decapitation, and Left 4 Dead 2, the game that "started the revolution", was censored for violence such as being able to grab a cricket bat and hit a zombie's head for 6. Why, if Left 4 Dead wasn't banned or censored, was Left 4 Dead 2? Because according to the ACB, the enemies in the original game were zombies, whereas the enemies in the sequel were "infected humans". The ACB claims they need to classify each game as an individual, standalone item, which is understandable, but the fact of the matter is that they cannot ignore previous titles in a series, and if they want to have an effective ratings system, they have to make some major changes.

If there was an R18+ category, then these games would not have been banned or censored. However, there are also arguments against the R18+ category, which many recognize as valid arguments. Here we have a dilemma. On one hand, we could dramatically alter gaming for the worse. On the other hand, we could greatly improve it.

If the government were to allow an R18+ category to be implemented, then we would most likely start to see games becoming more violent. Games like the godfather could become more sexually perverse. Some people have no issue with nudity, sex end unrealistically excessive violence. Others, however, would be inclined, Christian or not, to act on their morals and stop playing these games. GTA 6 would never be. The Godfather games would stop. Game developers would not be bringing in as much money. In the future, people will be desensitized to violence. Don't believe me? When the Godfather movie was released, it was given an R18+ rating. Nowadays, It is only rated MA15+. This is proof that our perception of excessive violence has changed. Imagine what will happen down the line if game developers are given free license to make monstrosities. When will they learn that games don't have to be extremely violent to be good?

The other side of the argument is that people over the age of 18 should be able to play what they want to play, the way in which it was intended by the developers. The fact that a game is unsuitable for a 15-year-old child doesn't mean that the rest of the country has to miss out. Games are an art, and we don't see the Venus de Milo covered up. Why, then, do we see games covered up?

The Australian government states that the reason for the lack of an R18+ classification is that playing a violent video game has a higher impact than seeing the same level of violence in a movie.

An R18+ classification for video games could be a brilliant thing, but could also spell the downfall of gaming. I say, "give us an R18+ classification, but game developers, don’t try to make R18 games. Don't abuse this gift."