Aussie Politicians Out of Touch With Video Games; Game Violence, R Ratings, Rape in Games and Fallout 3

A panel of Aussie politicians put on a stunning display of their ignorance where video games are concerned on ABC’s Q&A last night.

As audience members raised the issue of the recent Fallout 3 ban, the panel exhibited a great deal of confusion over video game ratings systems: they were completely unaware that Austrailia has one. Sen. Barnaby Joyce brought up “rape in games” going so far as to equate adult video games with snuff films. Only Senator Mark Arbib (pictured at the right) maintained an unbiased equilibrium rather than condemn video games without having played them.

A transcript from the video footage follows the break.

Announcer: Okay, so here’s the question… Should there be censorship of these things, or should people over the age of 18 be able to buy these things with an R rating and play them, even though, as we’ve just heard, they’re obviously extremely violent?

Chief Executive of the Australian Industry Group, Heather Ridout: Look, I mean if they’re over 18, they’ll find one way or another to get hold of it, Tony, and they do. But, as a mother of three kids, two of whom spend an awful lot of time playing these sorts of games, I mean I just find the whole thing appalling, the minds that come up with this stuff. Now Grand Theft Auto is one of the more famous games that seemed to turn everyone into a car thief, you know?. My Jordan thankfully didn’t do that. But… I mean I’m not a censorship girl… But violent games, violence breeds violence. It’s not nice.

Senator Nick Xenophon: I think we need to listen to the psychologists who’ve looked into this. And this is different in the sense it’s interactive. People get immersed in these games and I think there’s a real risk. I think as a society we can live without it.

Announcer: But does the risk warrant censorship?

Sen. Xenophon: Look, I think it does, when you look at some of the concerns of what it can trigger in some minds, then I think we need to be just a bit cautious about it.

Sen Mark Arbib: To actually ban them they must be terrible games. So, personally, I’m probably thinking R rating over the age of 18 is fine because as you said, if you wanna play to game, you’re going to get it somehow. But I haven’t seen the games so I really can’t judge whether they should be banned or not.

Announcer: …these things are being banned because there isn’t a rating system on video games… that means anyone of any age can buy them…

Sen. Arbib: As I said, I think there’s a strong argument to actually have a rating system, for all games, no doubt about it. And not just an R rating, but ratings just the same as ratings for the movies… so yeah…

Sen. Barnaby Joyce: You can’t just say you can see it, therefore you should be allowed to see it, otherwise you legalize snuff movies and all sorts of profane things which I don’t think take our society ahead… we had the thing with avatars, is that the right term, where people can actually go out and rape people. Now, this is not acceptable. You have to draw a line… you must take into account… those who are vulnerable to influence, how they would be affected by that. And if you don’t, well you suffer what comes next. I, too have four kids… I want these kids to grow up in quiet, unaffected streets. And if there’s someone playing a video game where they’re raping someone, I’m not feeling good about the place, so, knock it out.

Christine Jackman, Journalist: I agree, we urgently need a rating system. I’m not a pro-censorship person, either… (to the audience member in the Fallout 3 t-shirt who asked the question) Can I throw it back on you… why would you want to play it…?

Audience member: I want to play the game because it’s a story-driven experience that you could experience in a movie… however the Australian government won’t let me.

Christine Jackman: And how many hours do you think you or your friends would be playing those games a day?

Audience member: It differs between everyone… the average gamer is anyone nowadays. The Queen has a Wii… it’s not a question of who’s playing them or how long they’re playing them, it’s a question of whether we’re allowed to as adults…

Other audience member: …I’m not a gamer, but in terms of restricting people’s right to choose… how can you make that distinction between pokies [slot machines] and games which might be socially unacceptable when gambling itself, in our society in particular, has so many social problems than what might be caused by violent games?

via GamePolitics

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7 Comments on Aussie Politicians Out of Touch With Video Games; Game Violence, R Ratings, Rape in Games and Fallout 3

Kimi

On July 28, 2008 at 12:38 am

My fellow Australians are so clueless about their leaders and blase about all this it scarees me. They voluntarily want to live in a baby-world sucking the teat of their government and never experiencing what freedom should be. It’s horriblly oppresive 1984 kind of stuff. Our politicians are criminals and our population are ignorant c**ts, as that “mother of three” indicates. “Violence breeds violence, ya know.” *BANG* Go shoot yourself lady you represent nothing but complete and utter ignorance.

Heru-Ur

On July 28, 2008 at 1:16 am

Banning the sale of a game outright is just retarded. What about the multitude of Digital download services out there now? Couldn’t someone from Australia or wherever the game is banned just go buy and download it?

Steve

On July 28, 2008 at 5:54 am

Any adult who wants to buy games that represent violence should be allowed to do so. Any adult who acts out any violent action from a game should be punished harshly.

Those who are unable to differentiate between gaming and reality shouldn’t play games. This goes back to the commentary about playing Grand Theft Auto and then getting behind the wheel of a car; the temptation being to speed – if you speed, “I had been playing GTA” should not be any kind of defense.

Gauldar

On July 28, 2008 at 2:23 pm

Gee, that wasn’t bias at all, is this Australia’s answer to FOX News?

Jabba

On August 1, 2008 at 3:22 am

No, it’s a panel of real Australian politicians who hold real positions of power. They’re answering questions. Do you expect politicians to somehow present an unbiased account of their own opinion?

But yeah, they’re morons.

Kevi Weki

On August 4, 2008 at 4:59 pm

I have lost respect for the shows host, usually he is very knowledgeable about almost every subject on the panel. But for this one he was just completely clueless.

What the hell games is Barnaby Joyce talking about?

MrKlorox

On August 4, 2008 at 6:03 pm

It was kinda lame that the audience member in the Fallout3 shirt agreed with the announcer’s gross misinterpretation of the game’s controversy (it’s mostly the journalists’ faults for not explaining the concept and value of the health and medical addiction system in the Fallout series to the uninitiated) setting the tone for the rest of the interview. The fallout fan was too polite IMHO; I would have objected verbally to the many incorrect statements provided by the panel.