Oz censor, gamers fall out over Fallout 3 ban
Medicinal morphine drug reward controversy
Australia's censor has effectively banned Fallout 3 from sale by refusing to grant it a certificate. The reason: it believes the game rewards drug-taking.
The chemical in question is morphine, which the player can inject during the game to reduce the impact of damage taken during the violent post-apocalypse shoot-'em-up.
And that's the problem, say the censors.
Fallout 3: enraging censors
"The [Classification Board] is of the opinion that the use of morphine in the game has the positive effect of enabling the character to ignore limb pain. This ability to progress through the game more easily is the incentive to take the drug while the reward is in the character's abilities."
The Board might have granted Fallout 3 a higher rating, but Australia's game certification system tops out at MA15+ - 'MA' stands for Mature Adult. According to a Sydney Morning Herald report, any title that contains more violence, sex or drug use than that category permits doesn't receive a certificate and so can't be sold in Australia.
Take that, you post-nuclear fiend
This is essentially the same move made by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) last year to prevent controversial game Manhunt 2 from going on sale over here.
Fallout 3 has yet to be certified in the UK. It's due to be released here in October. It runs on the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.
Back Down Under, the Classification Board's action has already prompted protest from gamers who claim it has passed other games that, they say, feature stronger drug use, including Grand Theft Auto IV.
More to the point, since morphine is a first-aid drug, they believe it's laughable that its use is being compared with the taking of hard drugs.
Re:Hold on a moment...
AC works for the Oz government? Either that or he sounds like a fanatical supporter.
All they need to do is change it for the Oz market so that instead of shooting up he downs a couple of tinnies and grits his teeth.
It'll probably get reversed at some point, after someone at the classification place gets a lovely envelope full of cash.
@ "Yeah, cuz if GWB finds out they have WMD he might have to invade OZ"
nah - that will never happen - GWB will still be clicking his heels together for years before he realises! :)
Cheers Oz sensor
Bethesda thanks you. If it wasnt for you being a pratt with knotted knickers I would not have bought the game from overseas for no other reason than sticking my middle finger up at some retard who thinks he can tell me what is good for me. So censors, feck you very much! :P
And off to the torrents we go... again!
As someone previously noted, the only effect the censors have on Australians is to drive piracy through the roof. The more so because of the "Streisand Effect" - a game gets banned, and everyone goes and downloads it off Demonoid or Pirate Bay to find out why. (@bunch of southern pansies: there's our free spirit for you; feck the government, we'll just get it another way!) Ironically, if the game wasn't banned, few would then be that interested or even hear about it to buy it...
Interestingly, Australia has more piracy per capita than just about any other nation, with the possible exception of China. Our constitution and legal framework prevent the kind of fishing expeditions carried out by the MAFIAA in US and EU, and copyright law here is so rarely enforced that when someone does get done it's national news. I believe that the main reasons for this is 1) legal complexity and 2) population/market size: we have less people living in a country the size of the US than live in London. With such a small market, and our mess of conflicting State and Federal laws, there's simply no financial mileage for the MAFIAAs of the world to spend the millions required to pursue a few filesharers through the labyrinth of our convoluted legal system. (And the government probably doesn't mind that Australians aren't spending millions of our dollars overseas into the coffers of the US entertainment industry either!)
Wot everyone else has been saying
"More to the point, since morphine is a first-aid drug, they believe it's laughable that its use is being compared with the taking of hard drugs."
Um, yeah, morphine is an opiate. It's very *addictive*, is on the drug schedule, which means it can only be administered by an authorised practitioner (ie. a doctor or paramedic with the appropriate certification). I've yet to see it turn up in a first-aid kit.
Yes, the game restriction is stupid, but let's not bullshit about the fact that morphine is an illegal addictive drug, and is the precursor of heroin, but packs plenty of wallop by itself - it's used for palliative care for terminal cancer patients, FFS.
And yes, about Max Paine - it's not banned in Oz either, from what I know. Of course, the magic pills are called "painkillers", not OMG-ILLEGAL-DRUG, so they could be aspirin or paracetamol for all we know. As if.