OMFG how long did this take? Australia’s government has finally realised that the people who voted them into office are actually adults and as such can safely play games that are meant for adults. As such the country will be getting a R18+ rating for games.
Since about forever, Australian gamers have missed out on numerous games (or have been forced to play toned-down versions of games) because there was no rating higher than 15+ in the land down-under. The reason for this is because when gaming originally started, Australians were under the misconception that games were distractions meant for kids and as such no rating higher than a 15+ would be necessary; after all, no self-respecting adult would ever play videogames.
Once gaming took off and became a mainstream hobby for young and old, the lack of an adult rating became a convenient way for the Australian nanny state to impose a censorship on its civilians. In order for any changes to be made to the country’s policies, all of the Attorney-Generals from each state have to agree to those changes. If just one of them disagrees (or abstains as has been the situation most recently) then the change is shelved. This is what has kept Australian gamers from benefiting from a R18+ rating for years. That is all about to change as all of the Attorney-Generals have finally agreed to the new ratings policy in principle.
It’s good news for the rest of the gaming world as well. In the past, a number of games have undergone a form of self-censorship in order to be given a rating so that they can be sold in Australia. This sometimes resulted in the game being permanently altered for all territories, including those with a rating level higher than 15+. One such example of this was Fallout 3, which had its drug chem names and depictions altered to meet Australia’s classification rules. This meant that the rest of the world played the Aussie-friendly version of Fallout 3, which was still a totally awesome game but still! Boo!