Sydney Bishop weighs into furore over decapitation video games

12 Mar 2008

By The Record

Censorship ministers may bring in “adult” computer games
By Paul Gray
State and federal censorship ministers will meet on March 28 as debate intensifies on the impact of violent computer games.

Bishop Julian Porteous

The ministers will discuss whether or not to allow an “R18+ classification,” which might mean that some extremely violent games currently banned would become legal for sale in Australia.
The Classification Board refused classification to one game in February because it contained graphic violence including “decapitation, dismemberment of limbs accompanied by large blood spurts, neck-breaking spurts, neck-breaking twists and exploded bodies with post-action twitching body parts.”
Sydney Auxiliary Bishop Julian Porteous recently warned that psychological research shows that exposure to violent video games “can desensitize people to real-life violence.”
The bishop said there is a risk that exposure to media violence including video games with explicit sexual content will “increase the likelihood of subsequent aggressive behaviour” by viewers and players.
Bishop Porteous said this concern is confirmed by a recent University of California study by Dr Sonya Brady. Unlike other publications, there is no adult classification for computer games.
The Media Standards Australia lobby group is urging the censorship ministers not to give in to the computer game industry by agreeing to an R18+ rating.
The Classification Board has banned 18 games since 2001, with eight of the bans lifted after they were subsequently modified.