The OFLC and other such Torch n’ Pitchfork wavery

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It has recently come to my attention, and the attention of Australia’s gamers that OFLC has imposed “refusal of classification” (a loosely veiled ban) upon Left 4 Dead 2, the highly anticipated sequel of the 2008 zombie shootemup. Now we’ve all been over this situation before, the country doesn’t believe that adults are old enough to cross the road, and one conservative South Australian Attorney General rules with an iron fist from his impervious ivory tower on this particular front, but the issue of morality surrounding this isn’t really want I want to discuss since we all know how much that dead horse has been beaten. What I think should really be addressed is the up rise in piracy and underserved label of petty criminal that would be slapped on these people who are only participating in content designed for their age.

One thing is for certain in this situation, Left 4 Dead was immensely popular and people will get their hands on the sequel, whether this involves importing the game or piracy; and to be forced into this situation is morally wrong since the majority of these people would be more than happy to purchase the game in a store or over a digital distribution program like Steam. Two things arise out of this debacle, decent people are being driven to piracy, and the result of this piracy not only labels them as thieves, but as criminal offenders against a classification which is ludicrous since the target audience is old enough to view a movie with an R18+ rating but has been denied access to a different style of media.

The whole reason why a rating of R18+ was designated to film was to protect younger audiences from inappropriate content that the board of classification believes is of a too high impact nature. By banning a game, you are essentially welcoming its free distribution since there are no longer the restrictions of having to go to a storefront and provide identification of age, meaning that someone half the age of the legal purchaser may acquire the game for themselves then subsequently expose themselves to content that may unsettle them without any prior restrictions or warnings.

But I’m not here to preach that people under 18 aren’t “ready” for the content in these games, namely Left 4 Dead 2, I’m here to advocate the primary thoughts and issues of those passionately for an R18+ rating for games in Australia, and it is nothing less than a sensible decision. By imposing an R18+ rating, the country will significantly reduce piracy since individuals of a legal age to purchase the game can do so without feeling as if they need to go to the extremes of digital theft to play something that was originally intended for them, removing the stigma surrounding such morally objectionable acts as stealing and being unfairly labeled as an offender against the classification code. Secondly it would be protecting people who aren’t of an appropriate age, not taking this into consideration because “they could get their hands on it anyway” is ridiculous because MA15+ is in exactly the same position, and by imposing restrictions that could hopefully be evaluated by a parent or sensible guardian, these games would be kept away from people they could have a negative impact on.

Australian gamers aren’t immature or amoral, give them their liberty.

Miles Newton – The Machination, Creative Director

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