Australia: Atkinson may change his stance should gamers start behaving

By Stephany Nunneley, Tuesday, 19 January 2010 21:09 GMT

Michael Atkinson

South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson has said that despite the possibility of an 18+ rating becoming a reality thanks to a recent discussion paper, he does not plan on changing his stance on the matter anytime soon.

At least, not until gamers start to “behave in a civil fashion”.

The discussion paper on the ratings matter will receive loads of positive response he says, only because it will be gamers weighing in on the contents, not the public.

Apparently, he feels the omission of images from mature games doesn’t level the playing field for his cause, as the public cannot see the filth these products are selling.

“I don’t think the discussion paper presents a fair and balanced view of the issue without pictures of the games that would be rated R18+,” he told Gamespot (via GamePolitics). “I think the majority of the population are unfamiliar with these games and without images, they won’t be able to imagine them in their mind’s eye.

“They’ll have no idea how violent or sexually depraved they are, and what kind of torture, drug use, and blood spatter they include”.

Because this stance on mature games, according to Atkinson, he has received a number of death threats.

“It’s unlikely I’ll change my stance anytime soon, considering the last death threat I received was pushed under my door at 2.00am, presumably by someone who doesn’t like my stance on R18+,” he revealed. “It was like something out of a Hollywood film–letters cut from magazine headlines arranged together on a page.

“I receive abusive emails from anonymous senders on a daily basis.

“I’ll consider changing my mind about all this when the gaming community decide to behave in a civil fashion and apologize for the threats to me and my family. But I don’t plan to back down from the fight.

“I started my mission and I plan to finish it”.

However, not all Australian politicians agree with Atkinson’s idea of censoring or the banning of content.

Australia’s Interactive Games and Entertainment Association CEO Ron Curry, for one, does not believe that it’s the government’s place to “dictate what the population can and cannot interact with”.

Responses to the discussion paper are due by February 28.

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Michael Atkinson

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South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson