MSA mission to halt R18+ game sales

26 Mar 2008

By The Record

By Sylvia Defendi
Perth-based Media Standards Australia (MSA) is on a mission to halt the sale of R18+ rated video games in Australia, following recent news of the Federal Government’s intention to update the classification system for games.

So far there is no adult classification for games in Australia, which
means titles that exceed the MA15+ standards – such as those with
excessive violence or sexual content – are banned from sale by the
Classification Board.
However, that could soon change at the next Standing Committee of
Attorneys-General meeting on March 28, where the controversial proposal
will be discussed.
President of MSA Paul Hotchkin said he was deeply disturbed by the
computer game industry’s push for an R rating and appealed to the
censorship ministers not to bow down to their demands.
“Many other countries have banned a particularly violent game, Manhunt
II, because of its unacceptable gratuitous violence, yet the makers
called it ‘a fine piece of art.’
“Another banned game, Grand Theft Auto III, allows players to solicit
the services of prostitutes, then kill the prostitute and take the
money from the character as a reward,” he said.
Adding that it was already enough that the rest of the game’s
activities, such as drug-running, murdering innocent civilians, killing
police officers, running down pedestrians, drive-by gangland shootings
and causing massively destructive automobile accidents were all
accepted within the guidelines of an MA15+ rating.
“Yet the computer games industry is adamant to push for the R rating
almost every year,” Mr Hotchkin said. MSA was formed 18 years ago in
Perth under the name The National Viewers and Listeners Association of
It represents many family groups Australia-wide and tackles many issues
from the tightening of the classification rating system to the
exploitation of children or women in advertising.
“We try to make the media accountable and recognise the need to provide
pathways for the community to voice concerns about the quality and
content of the media we are exposed to,” Mr Hotchkin said.
MSA is therefore urging those concerned to voice their opinions to local censorship ministers.
“It is not just the violence we at MSA are concerned about.
“The computer game industry will soon want to include hard-core sex,
make it interactive and then on sell to the adult market,” he said.