X18+?

17 11 2009

Over 90% of adults in Australia are in favour of an R18 rating implemented for video games. So, what’s this X18+ business that I’ve got up at the top of the page?

I’m firmly of the belief that if we are to bring the video game classification in line with the film classification system that we should do the job properly first time. An X18+ rating exists for movies, and subsequently an X18+ rating should exist for games.

How many of you have played pornographic games in your lifetime? It’s certainly not a new thing. There have been countless incarnations of strip poker over the years for example. The older amongst you would remember games such as Stroker and Girls They Want To Have Fun on the Commodore 64. There are certainly earlier examples out there. A quick Google search will bring up many sites offering adult games that you can play in your web browser.

While creating X rated games does not interest me professionally, there is no denying that there is a market for them. As long as there are humans, and as long as we feel the need to engage in the act of coitus, there will always be demand for pornographic material.

I am also among those who find it deeply ironic that while the act of death can be portrayed in G rated material, the act of creating life will fetch an M rating or higher depending on how explicit the act is.

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5 responses

24 11 2009
Mush Man

“I’m sorry, but I strongly disagree there when you say sex cannot be portrayed artistically.”

This is something we will not see eye-to-eye on, but I accept that you’ve given it some thought. To me, anyone who tries this is taking a let’s-do-something-shocking-for-the-sake-of-it-and-call-it-art approach.

I understand that introducing an R18+ rating for video games doesn’t hurt your cause, it will hurt the video game world in the long run, which was what I was arguing.

As an off-topic thought on free speech: child pornography is often a theme that is brought up as something we all would deny free speech to, and those who encourage censorship use it as an example of why we must have censorship. What people often forget is that free speech also entitles us to criticise and condemn it.

24 11 2009
treatuslikeadults

“What people often forget is that free speech also entitles us to criticise and condemn it.”

Correct. I believe it’s absolutely vital that people are free to discuss both the pros and cons of any given subject. The same people that want censorship and want to limit your rights will no doubt be shocked when they win and find out that they aren’t as free to put their viewpoints forward as they were before.

Child pornography is a Catch-22 situation though.

23 11 2009
New Event – Treat Us Like Adults Rally! | Grow up Australia

[…] engage with the online gaming community.Interestingly Ethan also supports the introduction of an X18+ rating for games to deal with games that only contain sexually explicit content. Films rated X18+ in Australia are […]

20 11 2009
Mush Man

While, on an equality point of view, I agree with you that video games should be treated equally to other media, but on a broader and artistic point of view, I resent the idea.

Video games already have enough stereotypes. There’s a view that they’re only for children. There’s another that they’re only for nerds. I certainly don’t want a new stereotype to form about video games catering for perverts.

In truth, yes, granting the right for pornographic video games to be sold and distributed legally in Australia won’t suddenly urge developers to release gargantuan amounts of such games in the short term, but I still resent the idea that, one day, there might be a market large enough market for them to start to damage the image of video games in a new way.

I think it goes without saying that said “games” will certainly not contribute anything positive to the artistic landscape.

You mentioned browser games in your article. I am sure you already know this, but for anyone who mightn’t: the OFLC does not classify browser games. Still, I understand that this wasn’t your point.

Regarding your last point, again, I agree that it is ironic, however, the presence of irony does not, by any means, make the point valid.
Death is a theme that is always introduced to a child long before anything sexual. Also, death can be portrayed artistically while sex cannot.

Introducing an X18+ rating for video games will never do anything positive for the gaming industry as a whole.

21 11 2009
treatuslikeadults

I’m sorry, but I strongly disagree there when you say sex cannot be portrayed artistically. What is art if it is not the exploration of the human condition? Certainly, artists over the millenia have not shied away from depections of nudity and sex.

Modern cinema is also full of artistic explorations of sex. Bernardo Bertolucci has made a career out of shattering sexual taboos. David Lynch’s works tend to explore sex in fascinating ways and are usually borderline explicit. Several film makers, including Michael Haneke and Michael Winterbottom, have experimented with depictions of unsimulated sex this decade.

I don’t think highlighting the lack of an X18+ rating for games hurts the cause at all as it also highlights the lack of protected free speech in Australia. The current classification system is symptomatic of much deeper underlying problems in our legal system.

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