seeking better classification of computer games

Sometimes I think I should just blog my emails …

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Ben Boyle 
Date: Aug 2, 2005 9:25 PM
Subject: seeking better classification of computer games

Howdy OFLC,

You need to classify computer games better. It is extremely poor of
your organisation to stop at an MA15+ rating when it is now obvious —
with the revoking of the MA classification for Grand Theft Auto: San
Andreas — such ratings are insufficient in these times. All content,
irrespective of media, needs to be classified appropriately, and
therefore appropriate categories need to exist for classification.

Better efforts towards raising consumer awareness are also warranted.
There are too many reports of games being bad for children, where the
games in question have been classified as being unsuitable for
children. There is far more awareness of film and television
classification, but a bit of a culture that “games are for kids.”
Perhaps that was true once, but it as wrong as “cartoons are for kids”
where anime is concerned.

I enjoy many forms of entertainment — movies, novels, TV shows,
playing in the backyard with my kids and yes, computer games. I feel
OFLC is handling the classification of computer games poorly and needs
to reassess as a priority the place computer games hold in modern
society, and the initiatives that can be taken to both classify
content correctly and improve public awareness. Do not relegate
computer games to the “kids/teens” demographic. There are games with
adult content. There is an adult gaming market. There are adults who
enjoy computer games. Handle this appropriately.

That said, I’m sure it is a difficult job but we very much appreciate
the time and effort taken to provide the service. Classifications do
help us look after our kids. I do remember one time being surprised
that our son (now three) learned to say “Shut up” from watching The
Incredibles. A Disney movie of all things. We were outraged initially,
but PG was right there on the classfication and we’ve learned to pay
closer attention. Those classifications really do help, so thank you

I like the new colour coding too, that will be a nice touch. I find
yellow for PG and blue for M odd choices: yellow is quite frequently
used as a warning/alert (road signs, computer icons) and blue is
usually a calming, pleasant colour. Seems they should be reversed.
Though perhaps this is to highlight the difference between G and PG,
which can be important (as evidenced by my own example above). The red
octogon for MA is definitely spot on, and that’s where it really



Don’t get me wrong here — I’m not after sex scenes in video games.
But GTA has so many other fun things to do: steal cars, drive really fast, get stunt points, ride bikes, do wheelies, dance in clubs, eat chicken, steal a harrier, take a punt on the ponies, swim the river, take a walk around virtual San Francisco, photograph the golden gate bridge, discover the truth about aliens in Area 51 — er, I mean Area 69. It’s full of satire and tounge-in-cheek comments on our oh-so civilised modern western culture.

Ah, banning it is a crime. If crap like Big Brother aired on public television in family hours, then I dunno what we expect …

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