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Atkinson: My family is at risk from angry gamers

Attorney-General says he has received more threats from gamers than from bikers

South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson, an outspoken opponent of violent videogames, has said that his family have been threatened more frequently by angry gamers than by disgruntled bikers - another group of people he has riled with his political views.

"I feel that my family and I are more at risk from gamers than we are from the outlaw motorcycle gangs who also hate me and are running a candidate against me," Atkinson told ABC TV's Good Game, as reported by news.com.au.

"The outlaw motorcycle gangs haven't been hanging around my doorstop at 2am. A gamer has," he added.

According to Atkinson, a "threatening note from a gamer" was placed under his door one morning.

The debate over whether an 18+ age rating should be introduced for videogames has picked up pace in recent months as the Australian industry lobbies for such a law to be passed.

Currently, Australia is the only Western country to disallow the release of games that do not adhere to the requirements of a 15 certificate. Even though there is an 18 rating for films.

According to recent polls carried out in the country, between 91 and 97 per cent of people think that 18 rated games should be made available.

However, Atkinson has been clear in the past on his own personal views on violent games, although he has also said that his opinion on them is unimportant.

Talking about his constituents in a letter to The Advertiser last year, Atkinson wrote:

"Their vote is hardly likely to hinge on the 'right' to score gamer points on the computer screen by running down and killing pedestrians on the pavement, raping a mother and her two daughters, blowing oneself up in a market, cutting people in half with large calibre shells, injecting drugs to win an athletics event or killing a prostitute to recover the fee one just paid her. (Welcome to the world of R18+ computer games)."

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Latest comments (15)

Mick Crane Technical Support 9 years ago
"Their vote is hardly likely to hinge on the 'right' to score gamer points on the computer screen by running down and killing pedestrians on the pavement, raping a mother and her two daughters, blowing oneself up in a market, cutting people in half with large calibre shells, injecting drugs to win an athletics event or killing a prostitute to recover the fee one just paid her. (Welcome to the world of R18+ computer games)."

Sounds more like a GTA V wish list to me.
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Aidan Fitzpatrick Artist 9 years ago
"running down and killing pedestrians on the pavement, raping a mother and her two daughters, blowing oneself up in a market, cutting people in half with large calibre shells, injecting drugs to win an athletics event or killing a prostitute to recover the fee one just paid her."

just, wow.
Has Atkinson just invented the Rape-em-up? I've never heard of any sports games that include a 'inject drugs and cheat on piss test' mini-game either.
I'm pretty sure that the vehicular homicide and Prostitute killing he mentioned weren't included as features in GTA, but rather they are possible due to the sandbox-like freedom the game provides its players. Am I wrong? is there an xbox live achievement for a specific number of hookers whacked?

Nice to see he takes the time to actively research the subjects he makes policy decisions about.
:/
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David Doe Secretary, Gamers4Croydon9 years ago
Sadly, this is the kind of disinformation Australian gamers have been trying to fight for years.

This statement has really only come about because of political pressure being placed on him by Gamers4Croydon, a political party formed because Mr Atkinson challenged gamers to run against him in the election. As they're now receiving traction, and as Atkinson has apparently been given a media gag order by the Labor higher-ups for a series of embarrassing gaffes, he's resorted to the fear card.

The basic statement about the R18+ rating is that it will allow parents and consumers more information about the type of content found in modern videogames. It will also have the happy side-effect of legally restricting their sale to people over the age of 18, conveniently protecting minors from inappropriate content.

All he has to counter this stunningly obvious piece of good policy is that gamers were mean to him. Once. Maybe.
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Show all comments (15)
I can proudly confirm that "running down and killing pedestrians on the pavement" *was* included as a feature in Carmageddon.

Just a bit.
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Darren Adams Managing Director, ChaosTrend9 years ago
I think Mr. Atkinson is confusing ‘reality’ with ‘virtual reality’.

Quote (with edits) "score gamer points on the computer screen by ... raping a mother and her two daughters, blowing oneself up in a market, injecting drugs to win an athletics event"

These are things that human beings do to themselves or each other in 'reality' and not in virtual worlds (I have never seen any of the quoted examples in games, though I wouldn't like to say for sure) so I think Mr. Atkinson is having a little perception issue.

The best part is that around 90 percent of Australians want an 18+ certificate and his arrogance is unbelievable as he is basically saying "Even though over 90% of Australians want an 18 certificate, I disagree so they must all be wrong"

Someone give the guy a lollipop, plug him into Wii sports and cheer him up, he really needs some love from you gamers!! Go and give him a hug. :)

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Darren Adams on 17th February 2010 3:04pm

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Andrew Clayton QA Weapons Tester, Electronic Arts9 years ago
Would it be possible to dig up the old copies of ET and send them to him? I'm kidding (somewhat).

There are games out there that I'm not sure I should have played (The Punisher, 25 to Life, GTA:SA, etc.) but the fact that I had the choice to begin with is what truly matters to me. I remember walking into my local EB Games (back when they existed) and trying to buy the Punisher game when I was 17. They said that I couldn't, so I waited the 4 months until I turned 18 and bought the game then.

It was annoying, but so what? I was eventually able to make the choice to buy the game. It was my choice. On the other hand, I returned 25 to Life because I saw no purpose in killing cops (I tend to take my actions in games seriously). I vote for / against through my purchases.

Why should any other legal adult be denied the same right? We consider the same thing with alcohol, tobacco, pornography, and other "controlled substances", why should games be any different?
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Dean Scott Producer, Codemasters9 years ago
Sorry everyone, the note was from me.

It said "If you don't give me my copy of God of War back, I'm telling your mum".
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Alex Wright-Manning Senior Recruitment Manager, Splash Damage Ltd9 years ago
Some truly classic responses here gents.

Patrick, we all know it's your fault. It's too late to take credit for it now.

Andrew, the worst thing about this whole sorry issue is that you waited four months to buy a copy of The Punisher. You'll never get that time back you know?

Dean, classic, just classic.

Mmmm. Free speech.
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Phil O'Connor Lead Game Designer, Ubisoft9 years ago
More threats from Gamers than bikers? Maybe because everyone plays games and only a tiny fraction of the population call themselves "bikers"? Does this man think before he opens his mouth?
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.9 years ago
I suppose he gets his information from the Iraqi Information Minister. Or maybe it was from Kevin McCullough; the infamous Mass Effect sex simulator blogger. Maybe he watches Fox's Martha MacCallum a lot.
I know, Joesph Lieberman (said Sonic a violent game series) is his golfing buddy.
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Alex Yuen9 years ago
I am surprised that no one has mentioned Postal, when Lieberman has been mentioned.

His idiotic statements are typical of a fear-mongering politicians. It appears he is more 'anti-game' than anything else.

Giving games rating like ESRB seems the rational choice but fear-mongering? Hope his kids have already been through high school or else i am sure they will be getting bullied.
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Tony Johns9 years ago
I feel sorry for his kids who love games, they don't deserve a father like that.

Also I feel sorry myself to be an Australian, to be told as a kid that we live in a free country only to grow up and have my fav games being taken away from me locally all because of this guy. Same thing could be happening to the internet in the future in Australia if Steven Conroy has his way, and therefore I won't be able to buy games online like on Amazon.com or EBay anymore after the internet becomes censored.

But in any way, I will be moving to either Canada or Japan just to get away from this sort of stuff. Being free to buy any game I want is more important to me than to be told you are in a free country, free for everyone else except for what you like.

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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.9 years ago
Tony, Australia is kinda like America. You're free. Free to elect people to a position where they will tell you what they think is best for you. It's the freedom to elect your mini-oppressor.
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Yiannis Koumoutzelis Founder & Creative Director, Neriad Games9 years ago
:) actually there is a "Rape'em Up" game if i am not mistaken released only in Japan.
You are supposed to rape unsuspected girls picked up from the train.

I understand this guy's concern, but he is clearly over-reacting and that is an understatement!
And please stop harassing him :)

But, banning mature games is not the answer.
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Richard DeBarry9 years ago
There's RapeLay, but it's a terrible game.

He wouldn't feel this way for his family's safety if he didn't have such bad views. Maybe he should get out of politics.
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