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Finally An Australian Senator Stands Up For Gamers

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With the recent news that Outlast 2 has joined the list of games to be refused classification in Australia, a Government Senator has gone into bat for gamers delivering a speech to Parliament criticising the Australian Classification Board (ACB).

Australian Liberal Democratic Party Senator David Leyonhjelm, spoke out against the ACB using the recent case of Outlast 2 as an example of how out of touch with society they are.

“This video game takes place in a fantasy world involving all kinds of creatures both human and non-human,” said Leyonhjelm.
 
“The mere suggestion of an out-of-screen encounter between a creature and a human character was enough to get it banned altogether by the Australian Classification Board.”

Outlast 2 was recently refused classification due a perceived rape sequence during one of the games cut scenes.


“All of this operates on the false assumption that people who play video games are impressionable children who would play out anything they saw.

“Yet the internet is now awash with all manner of unpleasant images involving real people – not computer generated images – and violent crime around the world is in decline.”

Leyonhjelm’s description of the problematic event in Outlast II differs with that of the Classification Board, which explained in a report provided to IGN that, while “much of the contact between the creature and [the player character] is obscured, by it taking place below screen, the sexualised surroundings and aggressive behaviour of the creature suggest that it is an assault which is sexual in nature.” When combined with the player's character's objections the Board found the sequence constituted “a depiction of implied sexual violence.
Leyonhjelm referred to figures from Australia’s Interactive Games and Entertainment Association Digital 16 report, which notes that the average age of gamers in Australia is 33. Finally I’m above average.
Claiming that very few gamers are in a position to make or enforce the laws thanks to an “unfortunate quirk of demographics” Leyonhjelm also explained that politicians and public servants are “blocked” from accessing gaming websites as well as social media and entertainment sites.

 “Prime Minister Turnbull claims to have an innovation agenda, but every signal we send to the gaming community in this country is of censorship, disapproval and discouragement,” concluded Leyonhjelm.
“Video games do not hurt anybody, and the Government and Classification Board should leave video gamers alone.”

According to the AGCCG ( Australian Guidelines for Classification of Computer Games) the current R18+ rating prohibits visually depicted sexual violence, as well as the association of incentives or rewards for controlled drug use. Changes to classification laws in Australia require the approval of all state attorneys-general. For its part, the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association is still looking at reform regarding video game classification and believes an industry-led, self-regulated rating system is the answer.
Leyonhjelm was elected to the Senate at the 2013 federal election and became the Liberal Democratic Party’s first senator on July 1, 2014. This is after the 2013 classification hurdles faced by South Park Stick of Truth, State of Decay and also Saiints Row 4 but before the 2015 banning of Hotline Miami 2 for visually depicted sexual violence. Hotline Miami 2 remains banned in Australia today.
It is anyone's guess why Leyonhjelm decided to speak up after Outlast 2 and not Hotline Miami, but it is finally refreshing to see a political voice in the Australian Parliament stand up for us gamers.

RoyBoy
Aussie Gamers Express
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