Canberra, Australia's capital, will start using the new R18+ rating next week.
ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell said:
This is part of a national reform that will allow adult gamers to view R18+ material in the same way that can already be done for film and printed material, said But at the same time it will also provide protection to parents and children by giving
parents better guidance about what material is and is not appropriate for people under the age of 18.
The head of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers is whingeing that parents ignore age restrictions and allow their children to play violent computer games.
The Association of Teachers and Lecturers will raise their concerns about children spending hours a day playing inappropriate computer games at debate during their annual conference in Manchester next week.
ATL head Dr Mary Bousted said some of these games were very violent and could have an effect on tender young minds of children and young people . And she was sure her conference would hear how parents are ignoring age restrictions of
computer games. She told reporters:
Of course, they're extremely difficult to enforce, just like films, like TV.
It's about reminding parents and carers that they have a very real responsibility for their children and that schools can't do it alone.
If they're up to 12 or one o'clock playing computer games, and coming to school exhausted, not interacting with other children, that's not good preparation for school, and not good preparation for life.
The fact that children spend hours locked in their rooms playing computer games, which means they're not interacting, they're not playing and not taking exercise.
The motion being debated calls for the union's executive to commission research which will allow it to lobby government for the introduction of more stringent legislation on computer games.
US lawmakers have proposed a bill that would label most video games with the warning:
Exposure to violent video games has been linked to aggressive behavior.
Joe Baca and Frank Wolf have introduced the Violence in Video Games Labeling Act citing the supposed negative effects that video games have on people's health, despite increased findings that suggests otherwise.
The video game industry has a responsibility to parents, families and to consumers, to inform them of the potentially damaging content that is often found in their products, They have repeatedly failed to live up to this responsibility.
If the bill passes, the only games that would be exempt would be those with an ESRB rating of Early Childhood (EC). All others would require the warning on the game box, regardless of whether the game actually featured violent content.
Previous attempts to pass the bill occurred in 2009 and 2011. The Entertainment Software Association, which represents video game publishers in the US, called the bill unconstitutional. In a statement made to Game Informer, the trade group said:
We would commend Representatives Baca and Wolf to the reams of bourgeoning academic research demonstrating that video games can be innovative learning and assessment tools in engaging and educating America's youth, especially in core subjects such as
science, technology, engineering and math.
The Sony PlayStation Vita version of the Warner Brothers classic fighting game reboot Mortal Kombat has been banned by the Censorship Board.
The game was submitted to the misleadingly named Classification Board of Australia by Warner Brothers despite previous console versions of the game being similarly banned for explicit violence. The publisher felt that the impact of the violence in
the Vita version of Mortal Kombat would be lessened by the portable console's smaller screen size.
Obviously, the censors didn't agree.
Warner Bros. clarified that the version submitted was the same, unedited version of Mortal Kombat for the Vita that will be released globally, except Australia, on April 19.
Recent video games have begun depicting religion as a violent, problematic force, according to research from a new University of Missouri study.
Greg Perreault, a doctoral student at University of Missouri's School of Journalism, studied five extremely popular games from the last few years that incorporate religion heavily into their storylines: Mass Effect 2, Final Fantasy XIII, Assassin's
Creed, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow , and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.
In each case, Perreault found that religion became equated with violence within the video games' narratives. Perreault said in a press release:
In most of these games there was a heavy emphasis on a 'Knights Templar' and crusader motifs. Not only was the violent side of religion emphasized, but in each of these games religion created a problem that the main character must overcome, whether it is
a direct confrontation with religious zealots or being haunted by religious guilt.
Just because religion was associated with violence, however, does not mean it was always depicted as evil. For example, Perreault noted that in Mass Effect 2 , the character of Thane is an extremely spiritual assassin who assists the player.
Of those five games, Mass Effect 2, Final Fantasy XIII, and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion all deal with religions created specifically for the game. The remaining two titles, Assassin's Creed and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow ,
both center around Catholicism.
Still, Perreault emphasized that he did not believe game developers were attacking religion with these themes:
It doesn't appear that game developers are trying to purposefully bash organized religion in these games. I believe they are only using religion to create stimulating plot points in their story lines. If you look at video games across the board, most of
them involve violence in some fashion because violence is conflict and conflict is exciting. Religion appears to get tied in with violence because that makes for a compelling narrative.
While Perreault's study of just five games is far from an exhaustive survey of all of modern video games, he does believe game writers should be aware of how they use religion in their plots.
A bill that would have imposed a 1% tax on the sale of violent video games in the state of Oklahoma has been rejected, Eurogamer
The bill lost a subcommittee vote by a narrow margin of 5-6, largely due to concerns over a founding premise that linked video games to bullying and obesity among children.
The tax would have applied to any game rated Teen, Mature or Adult Only by the ESRB, whether violent or not.
Half of all the money recouped from the tax would have been donated to the Childhood Outdoor Education Revolving Fund - a charity dedicated to outdoor education initiatives. The other half would have been donated to the Bullying Prevention
Edward McMillen, game developer from Team Meat, has said the firm's looking into bringing The Binding of Isaac to Sony platforms after it was rejected by Nintendo for 3DS due to what the platform holder deemed to be questionable religious
Speaking to Joystiq, McMillen said he thinks it's a bit primitive to 'censor' something due to religion, but it's [Nintendo's] platform and their choice on what they want to support .
The Binding of Isaac game follows Isaac, a young boy who is in possibly the worst situation imaginable. After his mother heard commands from God that she followed without question, she is commanded to kill her son in sacrifice to prove her
devotion. Isaac manages to escape into the basement, and is on the run as he fights off demons both physical and mental, discovers secrets about his mother's past, and ultimately confronts her in an effort to survive.
The censor free PC platform sees a UK release of The Binding of Isaac on 16th March 2012.
Keith Vaz has been casting doubt on PEGI ratings suggesting that these require further government scrutiny
As usual Vaz has voiced his concerns via an Early Day Motion 2761 in Parliament saying:
That this House notes that:
Tiga, the trade body representing independent UK video games developers, has come out in support of targeted tax relief for the games industry;
encourages tax relief for small and medium-sized enterprises for its role in generating and safeguarding jobs, especially in these current difficult times;
remains concerned that regulation of the video games industry is lacking in comparison to other industries; is anxious that the Pan European Game Information (PEGI) classification of video games is taken as seriously as the British Board of Film
Classification by both retailers and shoppers;
wishes the public was more aware of the risks to children and young adults;
and calls on the Government to place more scrutiny on the PEGI classification system.
The only signature supporting the motion so far is sponsor Mike Hancock.
Australia's Federal Minister for Home Affairs Jason Clare has started the ball rolling for an adult rating for video. For the first step the
bill has been cleared by the Federal Parliamentary Caucus of the Australian Labor Party. The bill is now ready to be introduced in parliament.
The R18+ bill needs the support of at least two crossbench members of parliament to be passed through the Lower House. To pass through the Senate, the Bill needs the support of either the coalition or the Greens, both of which have indicated some
level of support for the R18+ issue.
If all goes to plan, Clare is proposing that a R18+ for games will be available from 1st January 2013.
The opposition Coalition has asked that the R18+ bill be sent for an inquiry.
As part of the legislation process, if one MP calls for an inquiry on a proposed bill, that bill must undergo extra scrutiny and further examination by a Standing Committee. This inquiry process is usually utilised for bills that are deemed
complex or controversial.
The good news, however, is that these inquiries are usually fast tracked, and made up of people with responsibilities in that portfolio area, so to not delay the passage of the proposed legislation. It's probably worth noting that, since 1990,
approximately 30% of bills have been sent to Standing Committees.
Britain's game censors at the BBFC have awarded Twisted Metal an uncut 18 rating for strong bloody violence.
They kindly explain their decision:
Twisted Meta l is a racing game in which drivers uses various weapons to destroy opponents. The game was classified 18 for strong bloody violence.
The game includes a series of cutscenes which use a mixture of live action and CGI to tell the back-story of each character. These include an attack on a family, a defensive attack on a character with a pair of scissors, and a dead woman lying on
the road. Although the BBFC's Guidelines permit strong violence at 15 , the dark tone of the stories and the involvement of a sadistic and predatory serial killer mean the game is more appropriately classified at 18 .
The game also includes infrequent use of strong language.
The game in its original format is rated Mature in the US, which is basically a 17 age rating.
However the game seems to be causing problems in Europe, presumably with the German censors who don't care for violence in video games. The European version of the game has therefore been delayed in order to tone down the violent content. Whilst
the US will be receiving the game on February 14, the European version has been delayed until March 7th.
Explaining the changes on NeoGAF
, series creator David Jaffe posted that:
To be fair, there have not been that many cuts.
For example, in the scene we've released on the net from the intro- where the girl stabs Tooth in the eye- the SCEE version has this but we cut away right before the scissors make contact with Tooth's face. It's CLEAR what she's doing and I think
we even keep the sound effects in and such- but the last few frames are gone. The story itself tho totally works and- for some folks even who tend to think this kinda stuff plays better left to your imagination anyway- perhaps it even works
Only a few content cuts for the game- for example, I think the guy on the gurney from Meat Wagon is dead so you are exploding a corpse covered with TNT vs. a screaming man trapped to the gurney. Sucks on my end but at the same time, I get it and
the game play isn't different and the intent is still there, as is the humor. In some ways, it's actually much more macabre when you think about it. Shooting a dude screaming out the back of an ambulance is pretty stupid and fun and cartoony in a
dark, twisted way. Turning a stolen from the morgue CORPSE a missile? A bit more disturbing in some ways...not trying to sell you on it, just thinking out loud.
The game has been passed MA 15+ in Australia without cuts, but it is speculated that cut European Version was submitted. Of course it is also unsure which version was submitted to the UK's BBFC.
An Oklahoma lawmaker has introduced a bill in the state legislature that would impose a tax on violent video games .
Oklahoma State Representative William Fourkiller introduced bill HB 2696, which would add a 1% tax on games rated Teen, Mature, and Adults Only by the ESRB.
Half of the revenue would be put towards a Childhood Outdoor Education Revolving Fund with the rest going to a Bullying Prevention Revolving Fund. Both of these things would be created as part of the law.
That this House is deeply concerned by recent research which suggests that frequently using the internet or videogames can have a physical effect on the brain, similar to that of drugs or alcohol; notes that both neuronal connections between brain
areas and brain functions including emotions, decision-making and self-control are affected; calls for further research to be conducted into these serious findings; and further calls for the NHS to provide effective support to those who suffer
from internet or gaming addictions.