The first computer game I played was Donkey Kong thirty years ago.
A lot has changed since then.
For a start, the games are better and more exciting.
This week another big change happened – legislation to introduce an R18+ category for computer games passed the Australian Parliament.
This will bring the classification categories for computer games into line with existing categories used to classify films. It also makes the Australian classification regime more consistent with international standards.
Currently, the highest legally available classification category for computer games is MA15+. Games which are not suitable for a minor to play are Refused Classification.
This reform is a big win for gamers across Australia – 10 years in the making.
The States and Territories will now pass their own complementary legislation to ensure that R 18+ computer games are appropriately regulated.
Subject to this occurring the national scheme will commence on 1 January next year.
This isn’t the end of our plans. Our classification system is based on media delivery that dominated the 1990s – films in cinemas, videos rented from the shop down the road, and computer games sold in cardboard boxes.
That’s all changed. Media is now delivered to the handset, via social media, or it stays up in the cloud.
We have asked the Australian Law Reform Commission to look at our classification system and suggest changes.
They handed down their report a few months ago. They have made 57 recommendations – and the Government is now considering these.
The R18+ legislation for gaming is an important first step. I’d like to congratulate everyone who have argued for this for such a long time. It’s an overdue reform, and the start of bringing our classification system into the 21st century.