Michael Atkinson is a name most gamers have come to hate over the past couple of years due to his stance on this issue of an Australian R18+ Game Rating. Reports are that Atkinson has resigned from his position as Attorney General of South Australia but will stay on in the back bench until 2014.
Atkinson was intensely opposed to the idea of adding a R18+ classification for games, sighting their engaging nature blurs the line between the virtual and real world so much that gamers may then enact their violent gaming actions in real life.
Understandably gamers feel very strongly about this issue, dislike turned to hate as title after a number of video games requiring modification to be allowed into Australia under the 15+ category. Left4Dead being a prime example.
After the Government released a whitepaper on the issue earlier in the year, more than 55,000 signatures were submitted in favour of the introduction of an R18+ classification in Australia. This negative feeling was strong enough to cause a 14.3 % election swing away from Atkinson. Whilst it was Atkinson’s decision to retire, rather than being voted out, gamers are rejoicing none the less.
Whilst this doesn’t green light the R18+ game classification in Australia, it’s certainly one large stumbling block out of the way. Hopefully someone who actually plays games will replace him.