Ongoing complaints about violence in computer games and the negative effects it has on youth has drawn fire from the Visual Software Distributors Association (AVSDA).
The association is at pains to point out that all games in Australia must meet the guidelines of the government-run Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC), claiming distributors work under one of the most stringent classifications systems around.
"In Ausralia, we have strict legislation prohibiting the sale of excessively violent games," said AVSDA chairman Michael Ephraim. "Unlike the US, the Australian industry is not self-regulatory."
According to the association, more than 75 per cent of games for sale in Australia have a G or G8 rating, and the highest classification rating is MA15+. No R-rated games are available.
Ephraim also cited research commissioned by the OFLC. The report, titled Computer Games and Australia Today, found that players without family support who were identified as "at risk" denied any link between destructive behaviour and violence in games.
"Subjects between five and 25 years of age find no difficulty in distinguishing between the surreal nature of violence in a game and agression in real life," he said.
AVSDA is currently putting together kits and posters for retailers explaining the classification ratings.