At a glance: Sex, drugs and R18+ video games

The new draft guidelines for video game classification

The Federal Government has released new draft guidelines for the classification of video games that include an R18+ rating.

The draft guidelines (PDF) have been released to the public for feedback.

The guidelines cover six classifiable elements: Themes, violence, sex, language, drug use and nudity. Under the proposed classification guidelines, R18+ games will have "virtually no restrictions" when it comes to the treatment of themes.

Violence

Violence is permitted in R18+ "except where it offends against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that it should not be classified". Sexual violence may be implied, as long as the context justifies it.

Sex

The guidelines state that "Sexual activity may be realistically simulated. The general rule is 'simulation, yes — the real thing, no". Nudity is permitted.

Swearing

There are "virtually no" restrictions on what language can be used in an R18+ game.

Drugs

Depiction of drug use is permitted under the guidelines; however the document states:

"As a general rule, computer games will be Refused Classification if they contain:
(i) drug use related to incentives or rewards;
(ii) interactive drug use which is detailed and realistic."

RC titles

Grounds for refusing classification include detailed "instruction or promotion" of crime or violence; promotion of paedophilia; child sexual abuse "or any other exploitative or offensive descriptions or depictions involving a person who is, or appears to be, a child under 18 years"; violence or cruelty with a high degree of impact or realism; depictions of bestiality and offensive depictions of "activity accompanied by fetishes or practices which are offensive or abhorrent".

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