With R18+ computer games set to be legal around Australia, the federal government is now under more pressure than ever to respond to the recommendations of the Australian Law Reform Commission’s (ALRC) enquiry into Australia’s classification scheme. Sex Party President, Fiona Patten, said that she welcomed the legalising of an R18+ classification for games but that it made a complete mockery of bans on X18+ material in all states.
She said that the Senate’s acceptance of the draft guidelines for the R18+ games rating while the X18+ film classification remained illegal in all states, represented a show of support by Australian Senators for the notion that consenting sexual depictions were more offensive than high levels of violence including murder, rape and serious assault – all of which could and would be realistically simulated in R18+ games.
“The ALRC has recommended that the Commonwealth assumes enforcement powers for classification issues around the nation so that Australian moral standards are seen as equal in the different jurisdictions”, she said. “This needs to be expedited or come next January we will see computer games legally available in Queensland that are four and five times more explicit than Restricted soft core magazines (Category 1) which are banned in that state”.
She said that with the rapid convergence of media, there should be one set of guidelines to cover all media regardless of the platform that it was displayed on.
Under the new draft guidelines for R18+ games, high-level depictions of sexual activity will be allowed as long as they are simulated and not real. Ms Patten said that the vast majority of computer games were simulated and did not use ‘real’ or ‘actual’ images but the levels of fantasy and explicitness around the ‘simulated depictions’ were often way above what would normally be in an X rated film.
The Apple dictionary definitions of ‘simulated’ are ‘reproduced by simulation’ and ‘not genuine’. Synonyms include ‘replicated’, ‘pretend’, ‘virtual’, ‘cyber-‘ and ‘computer-generated’. These definitions all clearly define the new R18+ computer games guidelines.
“If ‘simulated’ depictions of high level sexual activity could soon be legal in computer games, the government should consider amalgamating the two upper adult categories of R and X”, she said. “Simulated sexual depictions of penetrative intercourse are extremely real these days and with the use of enhanced CGI, Fractal Geometry and other simulated design programs, the differences between R and X will be merely academic and of little consequence to the majority of users of the two categories.”
She said that in the online environment, the difference between R and X ratings meant nothing as both of them required adult verification for access.
“Already adult actors are making their own erotic computer games to go alongside their films. It is completely insane to require that the simulated depiction be rated differently from the real one when they will look almost identical”.