On Friday, the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) met to discuss the introduction of an R18+ rating. This has been a longstanding discussion in Australia and the discussion happens against the backdrop of a wider classification review of all forms of media. Only NSW declined to vote in favour of the rating – citing the recent formation of a new government in that state – but committed to consulting with them on the topic as soon as possible. These events pave the way for the introduction of an R18+ rating for videogames in Australia.
On Saturday, A Norwegian man let off a bomb in Oslo that killed seven people and shot and killed another 80 at an island retreat.
These events have nothing in common.
Other than the attempts of some media reports to connect them. I won’t link to them here, but Brendan O’Connor was asked about this on the ABC and The Age and Sydney Morning Herald both ran stories with this as their throughline.
This isn’t a question of him training using videogames, or of whether or not violent videogames create real-world violence, or whether or not media influences our behaviour, or whether or not the proposed classification reforms go too far or not far enough.
It’s a question of basic human decency.
People were killed. In terrible circumstances. That is the unwavering fact at the heart of what happened in Norway, and I’m appalled at any attempts to conflate that with some other story or prebaked narrative.
Sometimes it is useful to be part of a tribe, a group, something on the verge of being a monoculture, but other times it is important to stand up and say ‘those people over there. They do not speak for me’. As someone who plays games, who creates them, who agrees with classification reform, and who uses technology in their everyday life, I feel it’s important to say that those conflating the two, muddying the waters of both, sensationalising this tragedy, and creating stories where there is in actuality no story at all, do not speak for me.
And I hope do not speak for others as well.