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Australia's Atkinson defends Aliens Vs Predator decision

Gamers "trying to impose their will on society" says Attorney General

Michael Atkinson, Australia's controversial Attorney General, has defended the decision to refuse classification to Sega and Rebellion's Aliens vs. Predator, claiming that: "You don’t need to be playing a game in which you impale, decapitate and dismember people."

Speaking on an ABC News piece, Atkinson again defended the fact that Australia has no 18+ or mature rated classification for videogames.

"This is a question of a small number of very zealous gamers trying to impose their will on society. And I think harm society. It’s the public interest versus the small vested interest," he said.

"I accept that 98 per cent, 99 per cent of gamers will tell the difference between fantasy and reality, but the 1 per cent to 2 per cent could go on to be motivated by these games to commit horrible acts of violence," he added.

Because of the lack of an 18+ rating many games either have to be censored in order to be legally released in Australia, as happened with Left 4 Dead 2, or become effectively banned. The latter is currently the situation with Aliens vs. Predator, after Rebellion insisted they would not edit the game to gain a 15+ age rating.

The ABC News feature also includes comments from Australia's IGEA (Interactive Games and Entertainment Association) CEO Ron Curry, who stated that: "It doesn’t seem democratic that a single Attorney General should be able to dictate what the vast Australian population can interact with."

"The government trusts us to be adults with films, but they only want us to be children with games," he added.

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Latest comments (4)

Absolutely backwards. Almost embarrsing. Shall we ban driving because someone might crash?
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jim ellis 2D/3D artist, design, illustration, concept artist, video editor 11 years ago
Australia is government centric and the "restrictive" anti competitive atitude is typical of Polticians generally here. Censorship is conservative at best.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.11 years ago
"...gamers trying to impose their will on society"

This whole decision reads as "Attorney General trying to impose their will on society"
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Mat Bettinson Business Development Manager, Tantalus Media11 years ago
One state attorney general. It looks like the government has stood up and noticed the wider debate since the earlier promised discussion paper has actually materialized.

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Hopefully those in the industry in Australia will take the time to craft a professional response and send it through. I think the key aspect to focus on is the assertion that there are lesser means to control access by minors to 18+ videogames than exist for video.

I'll make my argument about the point that it might be the case that minors have easier access to inappropriate computer game content but that's because there's an understanding that adult theme materials don't exist in computer games. Once they are allowed, that will change and retailers will need to obey the same restrictions that they do with films and magazines.

It would be extremely useful to have the Australian retail industry make some submissions about how they're going to tackle this in practice since it really is the only pillar of support in the anti 18-rating viewpoint.
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