Home > Something Wicked > A Letter to Michael Atkinson

A Letter to Michael Atkinson

For those of you who do not know, Michael Atkinson is the South Australian Attorney-General. He is also responsible for Australia not supporting an adult rating for video games, and it is thanks to his efforts that we received edited Fallout 3, a hideously censored Left 4 Dead 2, and the banning of the next Alien versus Predator title. This needless, senseless censorship has become an impediment to myself and others, and is a violation of our civil rights.

It is more than censorship; it is hypocrisy, a hypocrisy that has damaged Australia’s reputation worldwide. This man is one of the reasons I believe that there should be age limits on politicians, but I’ll save that for another entry. I present to you, my few readers, my letter to this overzealous, small-minded fool who clings to his ignorance. I am saddened that I couldn’t unleash my usual brand of abuse, but I must be civil, I suppose. After all, politicians tend to take offence when you call them ignorant vultures.

Dear Hon. Michael Atkinson

I have recently read your letters regarding censorship on games, and would like to pose a question to you; what is the difference between having an R18+ film in a home, than an electronic game of the same rating? Both are at risk of being found by those who cannot legally view them, but at the same time, game consoles, computers and even DVD players have parental-lock features that can prevent children from accessing them.

One cannot simply pick or choose the media he or she wishes to censor, I believe. Films can have a far more drastic psychological effect on people, in my own experience. When I was at school, the more violent students were those who listened to music, or watched movies, that desensitised them to the concept and practice of violence, but the groups of game-players tended to be passive and generally decent people.

The censorship and outright banning of games is damaging local retailers, as some of the latest new-release games have had a major lack of interest due to gratuitous editing, one example being the Valve release Left 4 Dead 2. Many consumers have been importing copies of it from overseas, where the needless censorship was not applied. Many more just chose to pirate the game itself, depriving both the game’s developer and retailers the income they would have gained if not for the censoring.

Australia is becoming a laughing stock worldwide, being the only Western nation that does not support the R18 rating for a visual medium that is turning into a modern art form. It is a deprivation of civil liberties within a democratic society, and that is just wrong. This censorship is little more than a hypocrisy that is having nothing but negative effects on society and our international image.

Yours sincerely, <name withheld>.

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  1. Cry Freedom
    January 20, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    Did you get a reply from him?

    • January 20, 2010 at 8:48 pm

      No I didn’t. Not even a cookie cutter piece of shit template “we value your opinion” e-mail.

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