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Australian gamers can get high and naked

New R18+ classification allows nudity, drug use, but no sex or dealing

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Australian gamers will soon be able to legally indulge in violent, nude and drug fuelled games, thanks to the publication of new, long-anticipated Guidelines for the Classification of Computer Games that for the first time include an R18+ classification for games that can only be sold to adults.

From January 2013, Australia will catch up with most of the rest of the global gaming community with the new R18+ category, which Minister for Home Affairs and Justice Jason Clare dubbed "important reforms over 10 years in the making."

Under the new laws games will be “Refused Classification” if they contain illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards or interactive drug use which is detailed and realistic.

The new, fun R 18+ category gives carte blanche to themes, allows violence but not if it is sexual or “frequently gratuitous, exploitative and offensive to a reasonable adult.”

The use of flagrant expletives is fine as is nudity and drug use, subject to the restrictions detailed above. Interactive illicit or proscribed drug use that is detailed and realistic is not permitted.

Sex is an 18+ deal breaker with depictions of actual sexual activity and simulated sexual activity that are “explicit and realistic” outlawed. However the new classifications allow for “depictions of simulated sexual activity.”

The introduction of an R18+ category for computer games has been the subject of much demand, debate and extensive public consultation. The Attorney-General's Department released a discussion paper on the introduction of an R 18+ classification category for computer games in 2009.

It received 58,437 submissions in response with 98 per cent of these supporting the introduction of an R 18+ category. States and Territories are in the process of passing their own complementary legislation to ensure that R 18+ computer games are appropriately regulated.

The proposed laws bring game ratings into line with schemes applied to other media. ®

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