So today we woke on the first day of a new dawn. Yesterday the first video game with an adult rating went on sale in Australia, marking the end of a ten year campaign with its fair share of rigorous discussion, moral panic, teeth gnashing, head banging, hand wringing and a healthy dose of histrionics.
Yet today we wake, still relatively safe and secure; the world hasn’t descended into a moral vacuum. Australians were warned by those opposing the classification that the granting of an R18+ for video games would open the ‘floodgates of depraved sex and violence’. Nope, no floodgates, just a weary sigh of relief from those involved in securing the adult rating for whom it’s been a long and frustrating road.
The reality is that while R18+ as an issue has had extensive coverage across the media and fuelled the chatter on countless forums for many years, in itself it’s a pretty pedestrian argument.
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Overnight, the Federal Government issued a review of existing research into whether people who play violent computer games are at greater risk of aggression. Their conclusion? The same as mine. There is no link.
I’m not violent at all. Though I guess I am a murderer.
I’ve ruthlessly ended roughly 500 lives this week. Tall. Short. Loud. Quiet. Hairy. Fast. Slow. I’ve knocked ’em all off. It was mostly in self defence. A few were just for kicks, though. But seriously - you should have seen them. They were asking for it.
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This Friday the Attorneys General of all our states and territories will decide whether to create an R18+ category for computer and video games.
We’re often told it is indisputable that a child watching the very occasional 30-second McDonalds’ advertisement will have their eating habits irrevocably changed. They are headed for a life of junk food. The games industry has of course lobbied hard, but if the attorneys decide in favour of R18+ games they will owe Ronald McDonald a huge apology.
Because amazingly the attorneys might decide this week that hours and hours of playing computer games with highly simulated and even interactive violence and sex won’t affect children in any way.
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A woman in her late thirties leaps out of her seat in a muggy Sydney Entertainment Centre, screaming as if she were a teenager again as a larger-than-life Lady Gaga, wearing skin-tight black leather, gyrates her genital region over the upper thigh of one of her female dancers.
Good for her. She’s just letting her hair down, getting away from it all for a night, the house, the husband, the kids.
Oh, my mistake, the kids are right next to her, cheering along to the hyper-sexualised live spectacle, and even doing a little gyrating of their own.
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