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State of Decay Barred in Australia
The Australian Classification Board has refused classification for indie zombie sensation State of Decay. Which means it’s never coming out in the AU.
Seriously, this is incredibly silly considering the recent lift and addition of R+18 ratings extending to Australian released video games. The same thing happened with Fallout 3 and it was for the same ridiculous reason.
That there is real life drugs in the game. In Fallout 3, originally, players could take real drugs such as Morphine or Codine. The Australian board for some reason doesn’t like this. Even though movies and books explicitly show drug use and real names for drugs all the time.
The board released this statement for State of Decay:
The game contains the option of self-administering a variety of “medications” throughout gameplay which act to restore a player’s health or boost their stamina. These “medications” include both legal and illicit substances such as methadone, morphine, amphetamines, stimulants, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, codeine, aspirin, “trucker pills”, painkillers and tussin. Of these, methadone, morphine, and amphetamines are proscribed drugs and the term “stimulant” is commonly used to refer to a class of drugs of which several are proscribed.
Players obtain drugs by scavenging for them in the environment or by manufacturing them in a “Medical Lab”. When players find drugs in the environment the name of the drug appears onscreen and the drug is also represented by a visual icon such as a pill bottle or syringe. Within the “Medical Lab” players are prompted to make substances such as “Potent Stims”, “Mild Stims” and “Painkillers”. The laboratory includes a “research library” and “chemical dictionary”.
When administering drugs, the player is briefly depicted moving a pill bottle toward their mouth. The sound of pills rattling in the bottle accompanies the depiction. The name of the drug appears onscreen along with its representative icon. Consumption of the drug instantly increases a player’s in-game abilities allowing them to progress through gameplay more easily. The Applicant has stated that a “player can choose not to make any drugs or scavenge for them, but it would be very difficult to complete the game without some form of medication”.
In the Board’s opinion, the game enables the player’s character to self-administer proscribed drugs which aid in gameplay progression. This game therefore contains drug use related to incentives or rewards and should be Refused Classification.
In essence, because there are real drugs in-game.
I believe this problem is still prevalent in that people disregard video games as an actual medium, where serious things like drug use and sex can actually take place.
The more big wigs on the boards believe that games don’t deserve the same status as movies or books, the more these types of inane decisions will happen.