I try to laugh about it, hiding the tears in my eyes… gaming nerds do cry

There’s a lot of huff and puff about classification laws in Australia.

On Kotaku.com.au, Mark Serrels had a rather impotent whine about the classification laws.  For those of you with lives and who enjoy fresh air, the new Mortal Kombat game was refused classification in Australia.  I think I’ve written about the legislation in the past but, in a nutshell, where movies are able to be classified R18+ if they contain extremely adult content, there’s no corresponding classification for video games.  Effectively, this bans any game which is unable to obtain a MA15+ rating.

To Australian adolescents (and people who failed to mature past adolescence), this is a travesty of outrageous proportions.  How dare the government stop me from playing games in which I can brutally murder prostitutes or rip the heads off opponents?  This is a violation of my human rights.  This is why we need a Bill of Rights.  Forget the Libyans; will nobody think of Australian gamers?!

Nobody makes an argument in favour of these games.  They just cry about how unfair it is.  From Serrels’ article:

We can spit the dummy, we can throw our toys directly out of the pram – we can run the cliche gamut, but ultimately Mortal Kombat being refused classification in Australia changes absolutelynothing. It serves as reminder of what we knew already: our classification system is broken and in immediate need of repair. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less.  [Source: Mark Serrels, ‘Why The Mortal Kombat Decision Changes Nothing’, Kotaku Australia]

Because a bunch of basement dwellers can’t play a violent video game, the laws need to change.  Why Serrels isn’t a prominent Australian jurist escapes me.  The comments are even more loltastic.

The Australian Law Reform Commission Twitter feed provides an interesting insight into the organisation.   In theory, it should act like a focal point of the debate.  Instead, it’s pushing a strong libertarian line.

There needs to be a stronger case for why these games ought to be permitted in Australia.  The case against them is easy: the majority of people would prefer to live in a less violent society.  Games which portray and promote violence ought not get a green light by default.


Author: Mark Fletcher

Mark Fletcher is a Canberra-based blogger and policy wonk who writes about conservatism, atheism, and popular culture. Read his blog at OnlyTheSangfroid. He tweets at @ClothedVillainy

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