SA Attorney-General wants to dump
MA15+ games rating


blog We thought things were going to settle down in South Australia after the state rid itself (or did he resign? It’s such a fine line) of its crazy Attorney-General Michael Atkinson, who had for some years been a nasty thorn in the side of those who were campaigning for an R18+ classification for video games. And until now, his replacement John Rau has been fairly quiet on the issue.

But now comes this, from Adelaide newspaper The Advertiser. Quoth Rau, on last week’s meeting of State and Federal Attorneys-General:

“The proposition I put forward was that I would like the other ministers to think about putting in an R18 classification for games, but removing the MA classification altogether.”

Rau’s reasoning is that video games are a more interactive medium than other content such as movies or books, and therefore should be rated differently. But wait; haven’t we heard this before? From almost everyone who’s ever been opposed to an R18+ rating for games?

It’s almost like we’re taking one step forward, but then two steps back.

Image credit: Screenshot of Left 4 Dead 2 game


  1. As long as I still get to play the games I want to play, I don’t see the problem.

    Also how many of the current MA15+ games are actually R in other countries?

    Would there be any games left in the MA15+ category?

    • The “problem” is that if my kids want to be able to play Call of Duty when they’re 17 — which, I assume they will want to by virtue of the conditioning treatment I plan to put them through — they will be breaking the law if they choose to do so. It’s ridiculous to have a gap between PG and R18+.

      This is a bad joke.

  2. It’s an interesting argument.

    He probably does have a point in that it would clear up a lot of confusion in the market place. G, M15 (recommended, but not restricted), R18 marks a clear delineation between those games with slightly adult content (say, Call of Duty, Dragon Age, Borderlands) and those that feature explicit violence or sexual themes (Left for Dead, GTA).

    Maybe. Or maybe I’ve had a chilled beverage too many this evening.

  3. pretty sure there is an m rating. also call of duty modern warfare 2 is r else where and so your 17 year old could still not legally play it.

    • Looking at my games on my shelf. Battlefield 2142, Black Hawk Down, Mirrors Edge is rated M. All the other games that I have that involve shooting people are MA

      • And all of the Call of Duty games have been MA unless they’ve been on a hand held.

        Looking quickly at the wiki for Call of Duty 2
        Its pretty well much rated 15+ everywhere

        Where as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is rated 18+ everywhere else but Australia

        These two games have 4 years apart in release dates. Graphics in both of them have changed allot.
        I’m pretty sure if Call of Duty 2 was remade with same kinda graphics as MW2 we’d be seeing a 18+ rating on it everywhere as well.

        Grand Theft Auto IV, another game 18+ everywhere but here.

        Crysis has 18+ elsewhere (in some cases 17+) and only 15+ in Aus

        I’m really beginning to see our MA15+ classification band becoming very empty

      • Just thinking about it. Call of Duty games being PG and M on handheld gaming, your still killing people, but the graphics are allot poorer.

        It really does look like its coming down to how good games are looking these days plays a HUGE part in what the game is rated.

  4. Maybe Call of Duty would not be the best example. Half Life 2 would probably be MA15+ now, and not a R. And that would be definitely a game I would like my kids to play before hitting 18.

    • What about if it was, like other have pointed out, G, PG, M and R18+? I think that would actually be a reasonable idea, and would remove much of the confusion.

      However, taken in the context of some of Rau’s other comments, his “solution” appears to be just a matter of changing the name of “MA15+” to “R18+” and not actually changing what’s allowed in the category. For example, he thinks the average gamer is a “32-year-old single male who sits at home and plays games all day” ( and the fact that he wants to provide a “a crisper delineation between adults-only games and games that are for children” even though in reality, no such “delineation” exist.

      Personally, I think we should scrap the whole age-based classification system and just describe the actual CONTENT of the media. So you could have a rating for violence, one for sex, “adult themes”, horror, etc and maybe a “low-level”, “medium-level” and “high-level” ranking in each category. So GTA might be “high-level violence, medium-level adult themes and low-level sex” Left4Dead might be “high-level violence, medium horror” and so on… make it the same for games, movies, books and whatever.

      But that’s clearly too revolutionary for the Attorney’s General who seem to just want to do the minimum work required to make this issue “go away”…

  5. I’m actually not opposed to this, providing the M rating remains and only the MA rating be removed and replaced by an R rating. Many other countries get by just fine without a stupid MA rating. I’ve hated the thing since it was introduced to films, and it certainly has done little to help inform parents about what is suitable for children to watch or play.

    G, PG, M and R is all that is needed. Its too late to remove the MA rating from film, but perhaps getting rid of it in the video game industry is the right move? (given half the games that are badged MA should really be R anyway).

    Unless of course the SA Attorney General was referring to getting rid of M and going straight from PG to R, which obviously makes no sense whatsoever!

  6. Seriously?
    i think that it wont work out like they hope, its a big gap. What about games that aren’t violent enough for R but too violent for M? If this goes ahead there will surely be problems.

    • I understand where you are coming from, but using that argument you could also say “what about games that are too violent for MA but not violent enough for R? There’s always going to be gaps and grey areas.

      I don’t have a problem with the MA rating being retained, providing it sits alongside an R Rating. I also don’t mind if the MA category is scrapped, to be replaced by an R Rating.

      Most games that I play now that are MA should really be R anyway (currently playing Black Ops which is a good example) . In my opinion anything that involves graphic killing and simulates violent situations like war, should be for adults only.

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