news: Australia Bans Aliens Versus Predator For the Saftey of… Adults?

One of the more interesting days in my Video Game Theory and Design class is when we chat about censorship. Not only are many students shocked to find there is no legal banning of games in the U.S., but that countries they assumed were more liberal, namely Germany, the U.K, Italy, and Australia (list of banned games).
So while it’s no shock that Australia banned Aliens Vs. Predator (and can we get a subtitle on this game to avoid confusion with the other AVP games and films?), the fact that the decision was publicly defended is quite interesting.

Michael Atkinson, Australia’s Attorney General, defended the ruling to not classify Sega’s AVP game (thereby banning it) by saying, “You don’t need to be playing a game in which you impale, decapitate and dismember people.” Of course one does not need to surf, drink beer, or swim with sting rays, yet these are all things Australian adults, and their visitors are allowed to do.
He added, “This is a question of a small number of very zealous gamers trying to impose their will on society. And I think harm society. It’s the public interest versus the small vested interest. I accept that 98 per cent, 99 per cent of gamers will tell the difference between fantasy and reality, but the 1 per cent to 2 per cent could go on to be motivated by these games to commit horrible acts of violence.”
Of course the same argument could be applied to any media, any intoxicating ingestible substance, many foods, and some pets.
The differences in legal theory here could not be more pronounced. Do you ban books or simply make publishers responsible for harm they do?
Personally, I find Australia’s stance both saddening and hypocritical. The burden to prove that games cause harm is completely ignored and paranoia is allowed to rule this situation.
It’s not that AVP looks to be a must have game, only that it is absurd that governments dictate what their citizens read, watch, and play.
[Source: GI]
Australia Bans Aliens Versus Predator For the Saftey of… Adults? originally appeared on About.com PlayStation Games on Friday, December 11th, 2009 at 21:43:48.

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