Cosplayers in Australia are gearing up for a rally in Adelaide to call for the establishment of an R18+ rating for videogames in the country.
Cosplay For A Cause begins at 1 pm on March 4 on the steps of the Parliament House in Adelaide, the capital city of South Australia, home state of notorious videogame opponent (and State Attorney General) Michael Atkinson. Australia, as we all know by now, is the only Western country in the world without an R18-style rating for videogames; implementing an adult rating for games requires the unanimous consent of Australian Attorneys General, and Atkinson has been adamant in his refusal to even consider such a proposal.
"Cosplayers, we want you! Join us in the fight for an R18+ rating for gamers. We want to storm Parliament with a petition demanding fairness to the classification system," an ad for the rally says. "Help us fight for the rights of adult gamers and bring in a responsible ratings system."
Unfortunately (or not, as the case may be) the cosplay angle may be tossed out: Many visitors to the R18+ Games Australia site have expressed concern that the legitimate grievances of adult gamers may not be best expressed by a bunch of guys running around dressed like Link. Gametraders, the organizers of the rally (and yes, that's the one with the famous Gametraders Robina) is apparently reconsidering the matter and has said it will issue a statement "shortly."
Cosplay, for those who don't know, is short for "costume play" and in simplest terms is just a matter of dressing up like your favorite fictional character. Ever been to a costume party? You've cosplayed. But "real" cosplay is generally regarded as far more complex, with very elaborate costumes (often based on characters taken from Japanese media), role-playing, convention attendance and a much deeper commitment to the subculture.
A rally is a great idea; cosplaying it, not so much. The idea here is to convince the powers that be that gamers are adults, not adults with a desperate and rather weird desire to be children, and sometimes you have to play by other people's rules if you want to actually get things accomplished.
To learn more about the rally and the ongoing struggle to get an R18 videogame rating in Australia, go to r18games.com.au.