GAME: The Politics of Play Live Blog

News GAME On! Festival 2011

Good evening, Capsule Computer readers. Joshua Spudic here with fellow Sydney editor Kyle Moore at the first day of GAME, a new festival of gaming hosted by Macquarie University. The first day will tackle various issues in video game classification and culture in Australia. The event starts at 6:30pm. Want a recap? Read here.

Today’s panel includes Terry Flew (Australian Law Reform Commission), David Emery (Classification Branch), Zahid Glameldien (Classification Board), Paul Hunt (MLCS Management & Former Deputy Director of the OFLC), Associate Professor Jeffery Brand (Bond University), Dr John Martino (Victoria University), Dr Peter Chen (University of Sydney) and Dr Rowan Tulloch (Macquarie University and my tutor for my video game unit).

To make this more interesting, follow me on Twitter @JS_CC, where I will keep track. Also, head over to our Facebook and ask any question you might have about the event.

For fresh updates, hit the refresh button or head on over to my Twitter.

6:26 – The theatre is filling up as we near the starting time of 6:30pm. Should be an interesting debate.

6:30 – We have started, ladies and gentlemen. Head of MMCS introducing the debate.

6:30 – Some encouragement as we are told to make this a debate.

6:34 – We are hearing a speech on the important of games from a man who will open the Interactive Media Institute. Now he is tackling Theorycraft, which will be held tomorrow.

6:36 – IMI will be in collaboration with MMCS department and help academia and emerging technologies collide.

6.37: IMI is now officially open, as well as the debate and Theorycraft.

6:38 – Panel being introduced. The members are listed above.

6:39 – Terry Flew introduces himself, explains ALRC (est 1975), who will play a very important role in the R18+ rating for video games.

6:42 – 2,452 for a classification review, only 80 were about games but exploded through social media.

6:45 – R18+ the popular topic for those game submissions for the ARLC.

6:49 – Does RC reflect the current content? 33% of submissions said no. Only 2% said yes.

6:50 – David Emery of the Classification Branch answers the question on how the R18+ rating will function.

6:53 – R18+ not that important, according to Emery. Changes will also need to pass government.

6:53 – RC games MUST be re-submitted if an R18+ rating is introduced.

6:54 – Breaking News: Don’t expect an R18+ game in the next year or so as the first one won’t be around in a couple of years.

6:56 – Jeffery Brand talks about individual submissions, admits that the some submissions related to adults playing games.

6:58 – 88% of Australians do support an R18+ rating video game.

7:00 – Brand: More robust classification system. He is right as media, including video games, evolves substantially.

7:00 – Oz Christian Lobby might have been here. Would have been interesting.

7:01 – Emery is asked whether games that have been RC’d will be re-classified with an R18+ rating. He pretty much says that games that have been RC’d will need to be re-submitted.

7:03 – New draft guidelines might take 2 years to implement, tightening of MA15+, RC games may fit into R18+ rating, according to Zahid Glameldien. He represents the OFLC/ACB.

7:05 – Board proposal: Only games MA15+ or higher should go through the ACB/OFLC. Below might be industry regulated or not classified at all. Online content (DLC, user generated content) will NOT be classified. App store content is classified, though.

7:07 – App Store criticism on their own classification scheme. Differences between US and Oz culture one reason of this criticism.

Question: Can Oz have its own regulated system of classification for video games? Answer below or on our Facebook.

7:15 – Interactivity “may” equal higher impact, but does not mean automatically higher impact.

7:16 – Brand: Early classification did weigh interactivity highly and was the reason of classification.

7:18 – Chen: groundwork is changing since early years, mass media model changing and broadened, becomes over-exposed. Looks at FPS and US militarisation of the youth.

7:20 – Hunt: RC is necessary, only meets RC because it exceeds the MA15+ logo, RC guidelines should be reflective of offense to everyone. In fact, the RC guidelines do reflect that. Hunt talks about ACMA’s blacklist, which does have a room of its own. Hunt also wants guidelines to be across the board.

7:22 – Rowan: R18+ debate distracting other issues which should be discussed, such as violence and sexual content in video games.

7:24: Glameldien: That’s how RC actually works.

7:26 – Hunt talks about the gender roles and influences that may be thought about when a game is classified.

7:27 – The board actually as a more female influence. Interesting.

7:29 – “Society” seems to be making the choices. “Society” equates to those who conform to mainstream ideals.

7:30 – SCAG has been mentioned. SCAG is the meeting of all of the state attorney generals who decide whether to introduce an R18+ rating.

7:32 – Chen: Classification normalises society, which seems to be the middle class educated man.

7:34 – Here’s an interesting question: How good of a gamer does one need to be to classify a game?

7:36 – Now we are getting a detailed method of how games are classified. Apparantely they have a very big screen to play their games on.

7:38 – Norway shooting this year is now on Hunt’s agenda. He talks about how the shooter proudly proclaimed his use of Call of Duty.

7:40 – Questions raised on industry regulation, could be seen as corporate interests.

7:41 – Brand: Not FPS, but family games are more popular.

7:42 – Martino: Military FPS are more simulators than games.

7:43 – Rowan talks about a group of students on a CS mod based on the uni quadrangle. It changes a person’s sense of space.

7:45 – How will indie games be classified under the new model?

7:48 – Martino goes back into the militarisation of video games. Ho does talk about it quite a bit. There is also mention of glorification of violence and as a means of solving a problem. Also anti-feminism.

7:52 – Another question: Is there confidence within the games industry to self-regulate classification?

7:54 – Censorship a big fear in games industry, according to Flew. He calls for co-regulation, so a mix of government and industry regulation. It happens to television. Does it work? Meh.

7:56 – Emery explains that the current system is well-established and the market is there to accept what comes to them.

7:58 – Chen: TV model is the wrong way to go. Financial risk, channels are brands, TV focuses on central deomgraphics. Games are nothing like that. Chen shows his witty side to debunk the TV model. Good show.

8:00 – We have a 52 year old lebisan, feminist pacifist who plays WoW in the audience. We are a diverse bunch.

8:02 – It seems we are running short in time, meaning this may be wrapped up soon.

8:05 – A Ubisoft rep is here. He expresses that games are a form of entertainment and consumers will determine success of a game.

8:08 – Hunt: People don’t care about half of this stuff.

8:10 – Brand: Plenty of pressure to keep the bastards honest. His words, ladies and gentlemen.

8:11 – Flew has the final words: Media is less collectively consumed. Asks Chen to submit a piece of paper as to why co-regulation won’t work.

8:13 – Digital citizenship through social media, there is a heavy engagement with the classification scheme, according to Flew.

8:15 – Mark, head of MMCS, ends the debate. Yes, that is it. The CC Live Blog will be updated in a little while. Good night from Josh and Kyle.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE COVERAGE OF GAME ON FESTIVAL 2011!

Josh is the name, writing is my game... well my degree will say that. But, when uni gets me down (and it does), there is no better way that to grab a chair, sit back and slicing up some Darkspawn I started my gaming interest back in the good old 16 bit era with the Sega Mega Drive and Sonic The Hedgehog 2. I was roughly five years old. To this day I still try to fire up the dusty companion and speed through the wacky and bright levels, jumping on some Badniks, collecting those damn Chaos Emeralds. Then I moved onto Sony's disk based console the Playstation (thanks to my uncle). Since then I have picked up each of Sony's consoles from the 5th to current generation that has been released in Australia (with more to come). In terms of writing about games, I am quite new to the field. I started out late last year with my own blog before deciding to move to greener pastures. I have written a few reviews for the Playstation 3 and Playstation Portable. Features as well. I hope I can flex my muscles while writing with Capsule Computers. If I'm not gaming, however, I'm writing narratives. I am currently trying to kickstart a high fantasy novel (which, hopefully, turns into a complex RPG) that I want done in five years or so. My passion of writing has been there for a long time and has flourished as I grew. I'm into the fantasy genre, both games and novels, and thoroughly enjoy a deep and complex RPG, whether it comes from the East or West. Oh and anime is awesome!

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