Liberal Democrat Senator, David Leyonhjelm has spoken out against the Australian Classification Board’s classification refusal of Outlast 2. This speech was made in the Australian Senate.
You can find the video below as well as his full speech. We’ve highlighted some of the more interesting bits.
According to a recent survey, at least 68 per cent of Australians regularly enjoy playing video games. Their average age is 33, and nearly as many women as men enjoy the hobby.
But by an unfortunate quirk of demographics, very few gamers are the kinds of people who make or enforce the laws. For example, not many Senators or senior public servants would know the difference between a Ghoul and an Alghoul – and so would find it hard to advance in the video game known as The Witcher.
In fact, politicians and public servants are blocked from accessing several gamer websites. If we want to access Polygon, IGN, PC Gamer or Gameplanet, the computer says no. This is presumably because we might stumble across an image of something somebody disapproves of on a medium we don’t understand.
However, we have no such trouble accessing neo-Nazi forums like Stormfront, and video sharing sites like LiveLeak, where you can watch videos of real people being killed. That’s not something I recommend or would choose to watch myself, but I defend the right of adults to access all kinds of internet sites, because adults should be free to choose.
But it tells us something about the illogical, censorious attitude bureaucrats have about video games.
Take for example the ban on the sale of the latest instalment of a popular video game called Outlast 2.
This video game takes place in a fantasy world involving all kinds of creatures both human and non-human. 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.
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.
It makes me wonder: how is it that adults are not trusted to make choices about video games, and yet they are allowed to vote?
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.
Compare this attitude and that of the former Prime Minister of Poland, Donald Tusk who famously presented a copy of The Witcher to President Barack Obama – who presumably now has time to learn the difference between a Ghoul and an Alghoul.
Video games do not hurt anybody, and the Government and Classification Board should leave video gamers alone.