An Australian politician, supporting continued censorship of adults-only computer games, has said he feels more threatened by gamers than by outlawed motorcycle gangs.
There is now a move to lift the national ban on violent computer games, but South Australia's Attorney-General Michael Atkinson is vigorously opposing the idea, and he has the right to veto the legislation. He says he has received a threatening note from a gamer.
"I feel that my family and I are more at risk from gamers than we are from the outlaw motorcycle gangs who also hate me," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation late Monday.
"The outlaw motorcycle gangs haven't been hanging around my doorstep at 2:00 am, a gamer has."
Australia currently has a ban on adults-only, or R18+, computer games although films with the same rating in terms of violence, strong language, nudity, drug use and adult themes are allowed.
The government has called for public submissions on whether to introduce the R18+ category for computer games but any change would require the unanimous agreement of national, state and territory ministers, including Atkinson.
Gamers4croydon, a newly-formed political party running a candidate against Atkinson in next month's South Australian state election, is arguing for the introduction of the R18+ rating for games to bring them in line with films.
"Australia is the only western democracy that doesn't have an adults-only rating for games," president Chris Prior told AFP.
Prior said that relaxing the ban on R-rated games would not see the market flooded with ultra-violent games but would provide a more precise method for categorising games.
Current laws did not prevent adult material from finding its way into the country because games given R ratings overseas were often marketed here under the lower rating of MA, he said.
"Some games are modified and some games are not modified at all and are just given a MA classification even if they should be rated R," he told AFP.
Atkinson, who could not be reached for comment, has introduced anti-motorcycle gang laws in South Australia, under which police can apply to declare a gang as a criminal organisation or effectively ban members from associating.
Gamers today represent a large slab of the Australian population and more people bought games last year than they did movies and that includes cinema visits.
A commentator hit back at Mr Atkinson, saying, "What Atkinson has done is take a cheap shot at gamers because one guy has been an idiot and threatened him. In his eyes all gamers are a threat. He is also on an ego publicity trip and by holding out on new gaming software regulation he believes he will win points.....
"What Atkinson needs to recognise is that more family orientated games for platforms like the Nintendo Wii platform have been sold in Australia than the "Violent" games he is trying to regulate."