As the attorney general of South Australia, Michael Atkinson has been one of the most rabid critics against the introduction of an R18 classification in Australia. This has made him a frequent target for Aussie gamers.
GameSpot recently had a chance to ask Mr. Atkinson why he's so against the R18 rating. Here's what he said:
I don't support the introduction of an R18 rating for electronic games, chiefly because it will greatly increase the risk of children and vulnerable adults being exposed to damaging images and messages.
In case you're puzzled about the definition of a "vulnerable adult", here's a handy dandy link. Atkinson also took the chance to differentiate the effects of video games and movies. Simply put, video games = greater evil:
The interactive nature of electronic games means that they have a much greater influence than viewing a movie does. People are participating and 'acting-out' violence and criminal behaviour when they are playing a video game. They are essentially rehearsing harmful behaviour.
The repeated act of killing a computer-generated person or creature desensitises children to violence. It makes violence part of their everyday lives and what is especially concerning is that it is their re-creation. A child being able to watch sex and violence in a movie is damaging to the child, but the child participating in sex and violence in a computer game is worse.
The attorney general also said that he realizes that he's stepping on quite a few civil liberties in his quest to keep Australia's children pure and pristine, but "the small sacrifice is worth it."
He ended by saying that he supports the issuing of a public discussion paper on the subject of an R18 classification. Said paper will supposedly be released shortly. He's already withdrawn his support for such a discussion paper in the past, though, so you Aussie gamers might want to keep that in mind.
While Mr. Atkinson's goals are arguably noble, I can't help but think that he just doesn't have any faith in his countrymen. Kinda reminds me of how Gerald Broflovski acted in that South Park episode where Kenny became addicted to cheesing. Yeah, a bit of a tortured analogy, but there you go.
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