Responding to an inquiry from a gamer about the lack of an R18+ rating for videogames in Australia, Attorney General Michael Atkinson put down his feelings in a long letter.
The Attorney General apparently has little or no plan to change his stance anytime soon.
Among his choicest replies:
I have considered the statistics. I am well aware that many game players are adults. Indeed, a whole generation has now grown-up with computer games. It is not surprising that those who enjoyed gaming as children go on playing into adult life and, indeed, play electronic games with their own children. Added to this, games grow ever more sophisticated, challenging and entertaining, and, accordingly, more attractive to adult players. My three sons are always playing computer games at home and one of them is now 22.
I understand the Wii console has been phenomenally successful for Nintendo and that system provides many games to challenge and develop skill, physically and intellectually, without depraved sex, gore and cruelty.
I am baffled and worried about why proponents of R.18+ games are putting up their hands and saying 'Give us more cruel sex and extreme violence!'
I cannot fathom what State-enforced safeguards could exist to prevent R.18+ games being bought by households with children and how children can be stopped from using these games once the games are in the home. If adult gamers are so keen to have R.18+ games, I expect children would be just as keen.
Atkinson ends the letter with a bit of a diss at those who think this is an important issue:
I think you will find this issue has little traction with my constituents who are more concerned with real-life issues than home entertainment in imaginary worlds.
The full letter can be read on the GrowUpAustralia.com website, a relatively new website designed to champion the introduction of an R18+ rating category.
Gamers4Croydon, the fledgling political party that hopes to run a candidate against Atkinson has posted a rebuttal to the letter from one its founding members, Chris Prior. Among his responses:
Mr Atkinson suggests that if you ask "an adult" how they feel about playing video games, they will "give you ... opinion only." Putting aside that the asked question was in fact about opinion, the implied meaning is that gamers are incapable of examining how games affect them. I, as "an adult" have a range of experiences with games of varied genres. The violent games Mr Atkinson so reviles help me reduce stress and express frustration, just as some people hit a boxing bag or go for a run.
Thanks Michael, Matthew and Ryan