Ah, Australia. Just when I think no one could possibly top disbarred attorney Jack Thompson in the field of amusing/sad attitudes towards violent video games, you come along and do just that. As you’ve probably heard a few weeks back, the Australian Office of Film and Literature Classification Board denied Valve’s Left 4 Dead 2 classification citing “frequent and intense depictions of violence” and “graphic depictions of blood and gore.” Because Australia doesn’t have a Mature rating for video games--even though there is a M rating for movies and other forms of entertainment--any game that would normally just be restricted to adults is instead straight up banned.
As a result of all this recent L4D2 business, the violent video game debate has once again heated up down under, with some calling for a 18+ rating to finally be introduced for video games. Of course, the only way such a thing will happen is if all attorneys-general in the country sign off on it. Naturally, there is one person standing firmly against the prospect of a new game rating. To be fair though, judging from what South Australian attorney-general Michael Atkinson told News.com.au about his objection to the new rating proposal, he does seem to be kind of out of his mind.
“It certainly does restrict choice to a small degree, but that is the price for keeping this material from children and vulnerable adults. In my view, the small sacrifice is worth it,” said Atkinson.
I'll let that sink in for a minute…Wow. “Restrict choice to a small degree” is classic; “small sacrifice” is priceless; but justifying an across the board banning of violent video games because you want to protect “vulnerable adults” might just be one of the most hilarious/idiotic bits of logic I have ever heard in the context of this debate. What does “vulnerable” even mean? Not that it really matters, because we’re talking about ADULTS here, but it would be interesting to see how Atkinson would go about classifying who was “vulnerable” and who wasn’t.
Clearly, Australia has some serious issues to work through on the violent video game front, and here’s hoping it can resolve them sometime soon. Then again, if influential wackos continue trumpeting absurd and illogical arguments and prevent this issue from finally being resolved, it could be a while.