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Australian Modern Warfare 2 rating under fire

Attorney-General appeals "wrong" ruling on 15+ age rating for Activision title

South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson is to appeal the 15+ age rating given to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 by the Australian OFLC (Office of Film and Literature Classification).

One of the most outspoken critics of video games in Australia, Atkinson has consistently blocked moves to institute an 18+ mature age rating. This has meant that 15+ is the highest rating that can be given, with games that exceed its guidelines either being banned or censored.

Although Modern Warfare 2 was given a 15+ rating Atkinson commented on radio show National Interest (reported by newspaper The Age), that, "The Classification Board in Australia does everything to try to get games in under the radar, and film, generally.”

Replying to consumer website GameSpot AU's reporting of the story, Atkinson commented: "I worry about any game that encourages gamers to perpetrate extreme violence and cruelty on screen, but this game allows players to be virtual terrorists and gain points by massacring civilians. Expecting game designers to be responsible by not glorifying terrorism will always lead to disappointment."

If Atkinson's appeal is successful Modern Warfare 2 could effectively be banned from sale in Australia, until Activision can submit a censored version of the game - something the publisher has already done for the title's release in Russia.

Appeals can be mounted for the opposite effect, but only last month the unedited version of Left 4 Dead 2 was refused a 15+ certificate and EA were forced to release a specially edited version of the game in Australia.

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David Jenkins