Support for R rating - gaming survey

It's nice to see progress being made, but now we need some action.
[url]http://australianit.news.com.au/articles/0,7204,17115891%5E15306%5E%5Enb...

souri's picture

Ah, you beat me by 40 minutes [;)] Just posted this on the main page.

I think it's about time a survey like this was conducted, and it's all the more fuel to throw at politicians to get some changes happening.

TheBigJ's picture

Similar polls have been conducted for X Rated films, and not surprisingly, yielded similar results. Funny thing is, they're still banned in all states in Australia.

If we ever really want this to change, we need a large shift in politicial attidues in Australia. Unfortunately, our country seems to be moving to the right, which is generally pro-censorship.

There is one good thing this survey does though; next time someone tries to tell me that only gamers support an R rating for games, they're getting slapped with this link. Seriously, the number of times I've said something like "Dude, I bet you if they held a poll...".

I do believe that the average person supports an R rating. It is after all, common sense. The problem is, the ultra-right christian fundamentalist groups (I've recently decided to stop calling them "family groups") are the ones being the most vocal, putting pressure on politicians, who apparently seem to want to listen. On that note, has everyone been paying attention to the Intelligent Design in Schools debate recently? Fuck me.

LiveWire's picture

The problem is Australia still sees games as a kids activity. The wider puiblic dosnt take it seriously as a major form of entertainment. And calling them 'games' dosnt help.

TheBigJ's picture

The thing is though, "game" is a perfectly valid term. In its purest sense, a game is just a formal system of interaction between two or more agents (think John Nash and Game Theory). Unfortunately, such definitions don't travel easily beyond the ivory towers, leaving the general public to liken "game" to "toy".

LiveWire's picture

exactly my point.

mcdrewski's picture

What's in a name? No seriously though, we call casino play "gaming", and nobody has any problem with that being a restricted adult-only form of entertainment entirely off-limits to minors...

I don't think the name has much to do with the problem - it's just a legal anomaly that we need to find a politician to take up and change. It'll only take a simple amendment and we've jsut seen with the anti-terror law amendment being rushed through today how quickly things CAN change if they need to.

TheBigJ's picture

quote:Originally posted by LiveWire
exactly my point.

Sorry, I didn't mean to sound like I was disagreeing with you [:)]

quote:Originally posted by mcdrewski
we call casino play "gaming", and nobody has any problem with that being a restricted adult-only form of entertainment entirely off-limits to minors...

That is an excellent point.

The anti-terror laws were rushed in because that's what the office of Attorneys General wanted. If the office of Attorneys General wants a change made, it gets made. If it doesn't want it changed, no-one else has the authority to change it. The office of Attorneys General has decreed that adult games are unfit for society and so, they are banned. In order for a politician to change this, they would have to convince the Attorney General that he is wrong. For such a task, I wish them luck.

LiveWire's picture

quote:we call casino play "gaming", and nobody has any problem with that being a restricted adult-only form of entertainment entirely off-limits to minors...

Of course, casino play is properly referred to as gambling - a name that has become degradative and associated with, dare i say it, sinful activity. The gambling industry's practice of calling themselves 'gaming' is an attempt to associate the activity with innocent, playful activity. (I'm not attacking gambling, I'm just stating an opinion).
Calling interactive entertainment 'games' also conjures innocent, child-like play. whether or not games feature this is not what this post is about though - the fact that the name 'games' associates them with children's activities does not help it's reception with the wider non-gamer public.

No, it's not a major issue, in fact is pretty much irrelevant. It's just a point I was bringing up for interests sake.

souri's picture

If anyone's interested in the pdf of the survey (Gameplay - Australia 2005, prepared by Bond University for the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia), [url="http://www.sumea.com.au/simagesmisc/gameplay.pdf"]you can grab it off Sumea here[/url]...

Djenx's picture

November 2, 2005

"According to a report on the ABC News website, the Australian provincial government of Victoria is taking the opportunity of a meeting of censorship ministers later this week to ask that national laws be changed, thus changing the rating system to include an 18+ rating."

[url]http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=7048[/url]

The system works [:D]

CynicalFan's picture

Thanks for hosting that Souri, I spent a long while trying to find the PDF of results to no avail.

I think the main issue is not so much public ignorance ? beyond parents perhaps that are 35 and older ? but more so to their apathy to do anything about it. Which is not to say that they would not support an R 18+ rating, but rather they don?t do anything about it ? like they don?t do anything about anything.

Then comes ignorance, as people these days are quite often readily accepting to believe anything, especially with scaremongering ? which is why it works well with parents: ?games will turn your children into psychotic killers!? You can see a similar trend with the ?fear? of terrorism, and how that was used to limit and undermine our freedoms ? so as to keep our nation ?safe.? People also have short-attention spans, many forgetting the lessons of the past ? something about fascism comes to mind.

The problem with politicians is that they will only listen to those that make the most noise and make the most pain for them in their day to day political lives. For the politicians that are affected by the issue - the attorney generals for the most part ? their main pressure in the matter comes from right-wing, Christian-fundamentalists (?family first?) extreme conservatives.

They are mobilized and vocal, the christen / evangelical movement indoctrinates and conditions its members to be vocal, and to be willing to protect their ?traditional? way of life ? from whatever the church declares to be eroding it.

This is confounded further in that they are heavily interwoven into politics and the government: The Liberals and Nationals. How many of you have heard of the Lyon?s forum? I first came across the group when looking into censorship in Australia, and recently I have come across a book called: God under Howard ? the Rise of the Religious Right in Australian Politics ? by Marion Maddox.

Basically, the Lyons forum is comprised of Liberal party members ? ministers. They meet on a regular basis to discuss ways of influencing federal and state laws so as to reach their goals of creating a ?family-first? Australia. They are very much conservative, right-wing, fundamentalist, Christians ? anyone really interested should get a copy of the book, it is a quite recent release and good read.

The Liberal party seems to think that because the Australian people have voted them into government based on their economic track-record, that they also want them to not only manage the economy but also to impose their non-secular beliefs upon us as well. In fact they have made secular Australia, and most importantly politics, into a non-secular Australia and government.

This academic survey, is one more piece of ammunition to use in changing game censorship and classification for the better. But, and it is a big but, it is all worth naught if people do not make use of it, and I mean make use of it in a large and organized movement. You have to be a larger pain in their arses than the ?family-first? groups, you have to get your point-of-view across and combat it with the facts so far, to counter their unfounded scaremongering within the wider community ? not just gaming community. You have to drown out this small yet vocal minority that claims to be speaking for a majority when they are clearly not. You have to become that unspoken majority?s voice, you have to expose them for the right-wing fundamentalists that they are. You have to show that it is this minority that is dictating your way of life and pose a question to the majority of the Australian people, which many sources shows to be secular in beliefs and way of life, and ask whether they want to have the fundamentalist Christian way of life imposed upon them.

The best way to think of it, and perhaps many will disagree, but is to think of it as a war, a war of ideologies and beliefs. They are ready to do whatever it takes to win, are you?

I think this is a war that needs to be fought, it is not just about game censorship and classification, it is far more than that, as it pervades all aspects of our daily lives. If you really want to make a difference, write letters to the OFLC, to the attorney generals, and any other politician that is affected ? hell, even write letters to the family first groups, and show them that you are starting to make your voice heard.

Most importantly, get mobilized and organized, as that is the only way to win this war, to apply pressure and keep on applying it and building the pressure up. It is a hard fight but one I think can and ultimately will be won, if people are willing to do something about it other than to show complete apathy about it, and to give in to hopelessness ? which is what you have been conditioned to do and is what they want ? then progress will be made, slowly at first, but then it will gain in force and speed, exponentially.

BTW: don?t expect that meeting to do anything much. At best it is a small step and a political stunt, it is not the major step and sweeping changes of reform that we all want it to be. That will only come with far more community involvement.

TheBigJ's picture

A fantastic post, CynicalFan. I'm with you all the way.

Leto's picture

Wow...with all this mobilisation type talk, one could almost accuse you of being militant! [;)]

quote:Originally posted by CynicalFan
If you really want to make a difference, write letters to the OFLC, to the attorney generals, and any other politician that is affected ? hell, even write letters to the family first groups, and show them that you are starting to make your voice heard.

As has already been pointed out, the simple fact is that the non-gaming public don't have a clue when it comes to computer games. It's not just the politicians you need to lobby, you need to get your "facts" (and I use that term reservedly) in front of every Joe and Jane Non-Gamer out there and block the hyperbole that is constantly spewing forth from the print and broadcast media - and complete crackpots like Jack Thompson. The key is to present your arguments in a very clear and concise and (dare I say it) well-educated manner, with supporting data when available. Simply spraying "sTupId n00bs all suXzoR!!!11eleven" everywhere is only going to alienate people.

CynicalFan's picture

Yeah? I resent being referred to as militant. Mobilised is an appropriate term, in that is what they are, ?mobilised? as in a movement. I suppose you don?t know that much about the nature of politics, so I will let your ignorant remark slide for the most part.

If you ever read one political science text, try: The Prince ? by Niccolo Machiavelli. It is probably one of the most famous works on politics ever, and much of it revolves around war and military issues ? as war is nothing more than ?forceful? diplomacy. Politics and business have a lot in common as well, but where as in politics they would probably refrain from describing things in a war like context, in business they are not. They describe it exactly as being a war, and many business strategy texts site military works like: The Art of War ? by Sun Tzu.

quote: As has already been pointed out, the simple fact is that the non-gaming public don't have a clue when it comes to computer games. It's not just the politicians you need to lobby, you need to get your "facts" (and I use that term reservedly) in front of every Joe and Jane Non-Gamer out there and block the hyperbole that is constantly spewing forth from the print and broadcast media - and complete crackpots like Jack Thompson. The key is to present your arguments in a very clear and concise and (dare I say it) well-educated manner, with supporting data when available. Simply spraying "sTupId n00bs all suXzoR!!!11eleven" everywhere is only going to alienate people.

I believe that I made the point of making your point known to the wider community, not just gaming community, and the key point in not making it a ?gaming? issue but a ?censorship? issue across the board, with a minority imposing their beliefs and values upon the majority ? with that one would assume a level of political savvy in how you would approach doing this and making your point.

So you kind of stated the obvious [;)].

LiveWire's picture

I went through most of that pdf yesterday, some interesting (and often surprising) results in there.

some highlights:
> 9 out of 10 people support an R18+ rating!
> a great deal of parents use the rating system and are aware of the games their kids play (seems the parents know it's their responsibilty afterall)
> the average age of a gamer is - if i remeber correctly - about 30 (not surprising, i figured it would be simular to the US, but it's good to have a diffinative Australian figure)
> about 40% of gamers are female (again, not very syrprising)
> M and MA rated games are a minority

perhaps i was wrong about games being persieved as kids toys? but then again, perhaps not, as it's mostly the non-gaming public that seems to take this view, perhaps the view is simply not as wide spread as i thought - and the non-gamers are all in possitions where they can make a fuss.
The survey also debunks the idea that the rating system is useless and parents are incabable of raising their kids without government help, since most parents use them (which makes me wonder why the needed to change the old, unitrusive "black outline" rating icons to the new "super-bight" icons that screem "look! i'm over here! i'm M rated!" and draws your attention away from the box, breaking the asthetics like someone flashing a torch in your eyes. why they have to stand out i dont know. if someone wants to check the rating they know where to find it, why they feel the need to shove it in your face is beyond me).

CynicalFan's picture

Oh one more thing, in order to do that and achieve an R rating for games, you will have to become organised and mobilised, as in a movement.

MoonUnit's picture

the first rule about the R movement is you do not talk about the R movement

CynicalFan's picture

Ha, ha, ha? very funny. It is probably people like you and your attitude that will result in there never being an R rating in the Land-of-Oz. [:p]

Leto's picture

quote:Originally posted by CynicalFan
Yeah? I resent being referred to as militant. Mobilised is an appropriate term, in that is what they are, ?mobilised? as in a movement. I suppose you don?t know that much about the nature of politics, so I will let your ignorant remark slide for the most part.

My remark was in jest, hence the [;)]. It's true I may not pay much attention to politics, but no need to get testy.

quote:I believe that I made the point of making your point known to the wider community, not just gaming community, and the key point in not making it a ?gaming? issue but a ?censorship? issue across the board, with a minority imposing their beliefs and values upon the majority ? with that one would assume a level of political savvy in how you would approach doing this and making your point.

See, political savvy is not something we are all so blessed with and all too often people go off half-cocked and end up doing more harm than good. Case in point: the recent bout of insanity from Jack Thompson. As the [url=http://www.penny-arcade.com/news.php?date=2005-10-19#2841]Penny Arcade[/url] guys point out, imagine if he actually had half a brain?

So, hey, I might be stating the obvious, but the heat of the moment sometimes clouds reason.

CynicalFan's picture

Fair enough, just don?t like being referred to as militant. Brings up a picture of a bearded smelly-guy in camo-gear with a rifle, fighting a guerrilla war in the jungle somewhere. Sounds a bit too much like terrorist as well, and with these new anti-terror laws, who the hell knows where you might end up with a label like militant [:D].

souri's picture

Everyone should check out the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia website. There's some interesting stuff there, especially some local research on [url="http://www.ieaa.com.au/factsAndResearch/gamesAndViolence.do"]games & violence[/url].

Anyway, does anyone think the IEAA may be a competing association to the GDAA? I remember the local PC/console games industry wasn't their focus a few years a go, but it seems they've changed direction.

CynicalFan's picture

In regards to developers, no they don?t appear to be a local competitor, though perhaps the IGDA is in a more ?grassroots? way. If I understand the stuff on the website, in order to be a member of the IEAA, you pretty much have to be a distributor, manufacturer or publisher of gaming titles ? not a developer. It?s kind of a shame, as the IEAA I think has far more political muscle than the GDAA does ? being made up of major / large international publishers. The GDAA to me are all about short-term and superficial goals, for instance I think that they have no real plans nor interest in pursuing the game rating issue, as they believe that to be successful you should focus on making E for Everyone games ? reasoning that these are more ?massmarket.? Where as the IEAA is really trying in regards to long-term goals like game rating and censorship, the GDAA is more about increasing developer welfare to keep the dinosaurs afloat, and weather the next-gen storm. It would be interesting to see whether the IEAA are trying to do anything for game investment here as well, by encourage the government to put in place initiatives and broaden the coverage of film concessions to games ? in regards to tax-breaks and investors. I think they would be far more successful than the GDAA, but seeing as their members are large publishers, I do not seeing this being an interest of the IEAA.

If you really want a rivalry to the GDAA, then I suggest expanding the scope and aim of the local IGDA chapter/s, to being something more than a social group for friendless and social-life lacking developers. If that doesn?t appeal to you, then you could always make plans of establishing another association altogether ? perhaps a local union for the industry?