Wherein we discover the meaning of true love

Every so often we come to a crosssroads in any cultural movement. In this particular country, we are in an increasingly ideology between old world and new world philosophies on gaming. On the one hand, we have the old guard saying that games are for kids and a classification system geared toward that assumption should exclude an R18+ classification. While on the other, forward-thinking advocates see the future of a medium being based on more mature content with high-brow concepts and mature content. If a game is set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, then it should be apparent that all civilisation has ended with all of the absense of humanity that implies (i.e rape and all sorts of nasty things).

This, is the rather simplistic protrait that the gaming enthusiast press has pushed since this issue was raised by Michael Atkinson's staunch refusal to allow an R18+ classification. But what of the other side? Parents see their children being increasingly fascinated with videogames and yet have no concept of them as a medium themselves, It would be unrealistic to suggest that parents have time to sit down with their children and explain the context of what they're seeing and experiencing, especially with work habits in this country now taking more time away from parent/child interaction.

Is it therefore lazy parenting to object to an R18+ rating? The way they see it, in their limited knowledge of the subject, an introduction of an R18+ classification would introduce more mature content into the home market. Once it's in the home market, it's going to be easier for kids to find.

We have to, as gamers, do our best to educate rather than lambast innocent people whose only crime is a spot of ignorance on this complex issue. Yet some of the vitriole flung toward parents (i.e "Lazy stupid parents!) and in particular Michael Atkinson do little to open dialogue between two groups with opposing ideologies but instead polarize.

It is this rather nasty tone which threatens to derail a debate about censorship and constitutional powers into a mud-slinging contest with no winner. It is time to talk, not interpolate to the 'other' side.

 - James McGrath


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