Australia bans Fallout 3

UPDATE: Upcoming Bethesda game refused classification Down Under by ratings body; OFLC report confirms banning is due to showing positive effects of in-game drug use.

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Rumours were swirling late last week that Australia's strict games classification regime had struck its highest-profile victim for 2008, with Fallout 3 apparently being refused a rating. It seems the rumours were true, with confirmation coming tonight that Bethesda's upcoming postapocalyptic action RPG has indeed been banned for sale in Australia.

The most recent update for the Web site of Australia's Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) shows that Fallout 3 has been refused classification. Unlike films or DVDs, the highest rating allowable for a game in Australia is MA 15+, which means any title that has content deemed unsuitable for a 15-year-old is illegal to sell or promote in this country.

While the OFLC website has no details on why Fallout 3 was banned, a user in GameSpot's PC forum last week suggested it could be due to the use of the drug morphine within the game. Australia's game classification rules state that titles that "depict, express or otherwise deal with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults" will be refused classification.

Fallout 3 is the third game in 2008 to be banned in Australia. Dark Sector was originally refused classification, although an edited version has recently been resubmitted and passed with an MA 15+ rating. Last week, Shellshock 2 was banned due to graphic violent content.

UPDATE: Australia's OFLC has provided GameSpot AU with a copy of its Board's ruling on Fallout 3, which states that the game was indeed refused classification because it contains "material promoting or encouraging proscribed drug use".

In its ruling, the OFLC states that "the game contains the option to take a variety of drugs known as chems using a device which is connected to the character's arm."

"These chems have postive and some negative effects (lowering of intelligence, or the character may become addicted to the chem). The positive effects include increase in strength, stamina, resistance to damage, agility, and hit points. Corresponding with the list of various chems are small visual representations of the drugs; these include syringes, tablets, pill bottles, a crack-type pipe, and blister packs. In the Board's view, these realistic visual representation of drugs and their delivery method bring the 'science-fiction' drugs in line with 'real-world' drugs.

"The player can also select and use Morphine (a proscribed drug) which has the positive effect of enabling the character to ignore limb pain when the character's extremities are targeted by the enemy." In Fallout 1 and 2, players could take a wide range of drugs both to boost health and character attributes. Both games were freely available for sale in Australia and were rated M.

And despite the violence in the game, the OFLC's ruling is solely concerned with drug use in Fallout 3. In the ruling, the OFLC states that "the violence throughout the game could be accommodated at an MA 15+ level of classification".

A Bethesda spokesperson declined to comment when contacted by GameSpot AU. Fallout 3's Australian distributors Red Ant also refused to comment. The company suffered a similar setback with another game it was distributing in Australia last year, when Blitz: The League was refused classification due to similar in-game drug issues. For more information on Australia's game classification system, check out our special Censory Overload feature.

Discussion

659 comments
l33tmomiji
l33tmomiji

grr, all cos of the stupid governor general. if someone else was in her position we'd be able to have r-rated games!

vaultboy_ninja
vaultboy_ninja

Im happy they finally bought it out here. it would really suck if i never played it. you here about drugs on tv all the time. are they gonna ban that too? oh and giants 161, you dont use any of that crap. dont say anything at all if your gonna lie.

AssassinElf
AssassinElf

I am really starting to get pissed off :) isnt it enough u cant kill kids in the game ? did they have to bann it too ? and further more i dont want to kill kids but the kids in litllelam town or something like that really deserved to get shot for talking smack to the player :)

woods0419
woods0419

Wow, it's a shame that a lot of Australian gamers are going to miss out on such an (hopefully) amazing game.

bulldog49
bulldog49

Ok wait giants, you're saying that you are fine with violence, but drug use tips you over the edge? Do you not get how seriously wrong that sounds?

giants161
giants161

In bioshock they are more sic fi "enhancers" This game is actually using pot, herione, and crack. That to me is disgusting and repulsive. This game now repulsises me more than bioschock. Nudity and violence are one thing. But drug use is a whole other thing.

Tharizden
Tharizden

Oopps...forgot to ask...how did Bioshock get thru....surely it's easy to see that the drugs are necessary??!!

Tharizden
Tharizden

WTF?? How the hell did Vice City, San Andreas & a raft of other drug taking, kill innocent bystanders & cops, gratuitous violence, sex & "psuedo-drug taking" games make it through the Australian system???? And I thought the NZ system sucked & was behind the time! Man...the Aussies OFLC really need to get a grip on reality & get a life. But then...this isn't the only one that has a few problems getting past the OFLC, or so I have heard. (Just can't quite recall what the other BIG sellers are/were) There...that's off my chest now & I feel a lot better now : )

HotOC
HotOC

Ok I have to write on this thread...... So the OFLC pooches it again. It's only one of the most highly anticapated games in recent times, set to make millions of dollars in this country and entertain thousands, yet postponed by a figure head and 'his board' supported by an outdated set of codes and regulations that were made before computer games even existed. Hmm whats wrong with this picture? If one bright spark in the OFLC board ( The government clasifacation regulator ) realised how much money they are going to lose from madatory taxation from distribution of the game, they would realise that it's decisons like this, based on political swaggering , that drives gaming piracy. These are the same repressed people subscirbing to the worst smut you can find on the internet ( which fits nicely into their clasifaction system by the way ) then basing their decisions at work as 'moral' Heres a thought, why not just put another letter into the cleary modern and up to date code of regulations that perfectly fit every bit of content thats ever been considered. You could even call it, hmm I don't ' R' 'You can't have it' -why not? 'Because I said so'

Acid_rain82
Acid_rain82

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

ddt88
ddt88

"OFLC report confirms banning is due to showing positive effects of in-game drug use." So if I take drugs & get myself shot, this is supposed to be a positive thing?

The_Weekend
The_Weekend

I'll know what to bring over and sell when i go there for vacation! :^D

Acid_rain82
Acid_rain82

Australia needs to move into the 21st century. 18+ games should be allowed. It is ridicules that they don't allow theses games yet they allow movies like saw and hostel. Then in bio shock you inject drugs in into your arm. People will just get them off ebay anyway.

EXODYS
EXODYS

The Australian censor-rules suck, they are actually saying: "Our entire nation is full of stupid brainless people, that will imitate everything they see in horror/thriller movies and 18+ games, thus we cannot allow such media in our country". What is wrong with these censor-guys!? They must obviously be living in the 19th century where they just learned about Darwin and some monkeys, and something about people being smart depending on the size of their skull... Hello? Wake up and smell the 21st century thank you ^^ Someone should censor the Australian censor-guys ;)

WardCleaver02
WardCleaver02

"depict, express or otherwise deal with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults" As a "reasonable adult", I find this whole statement offensive. A reasonable adult would conclude that even if this game is released in AU, they do not have to buy it, nor do they have to allow their children to play it.

rockatanski
rockatanski

Jaidingo, if the game is banned then we wont be able to get it coz it will be stopped at customs. The only way we'll get it is to download it through a pay online system or the .. (hiccup) .. other way..

TalonPhoenix
TalonPhoenix

This is a load of s***! These OFLC guys need to grow up and give Australia an R18 games rating already. It's completely unfair that we can get movies more than ten times worse than computer games, yet this is banned because of drug use.

ddt88
ddt88

The people @ the OFLC are a lot brighter than they look... This makes it official that Australia is a nanny state when it comes to adult video game entertainment.

JaiDingo
JaiDingo

Will a copy of Fallout 3 from the States work in a AUS xob 360 system?? Or will we need to get the pc version??? I have been hanging out sooooo bad for this to come out

jtdragon21
jtdragon21

i have some information about fallout 3 i have sent emails to Bethesda softworks and eb games and some other game store sites based in Australia and they have all said fallout 3 has not being banned in Australia they have said some parts of the game are going to be edited to meet Australian requirements what they mean is change the names of some of the items you use in the game and other stuff thanks to you for reading hope it helps i do live in Australia

Nameci
Nameci

I didn't see his reasons, but i can bet they are something along the lines of; 'save children's minds this filth doesn't comply with my family values and Christian government" Freedom of Speech is great if your the people who control it....

rockatanski
rockatanski

My god there are soo many inconsistencies with this attorney generals reasons.. I so hope that he loses his job for this major screw up. Nameci's right, we all have to write letters to them in any way you wish and then sign the Save Fallout 3 petition. If this doesn't work then we will lose and Mr Michael Atkinson (dishonourable dickhead) Attorney General prick will win again.

Nameci
Nameci

Ok, i just sent a letter to the SA Attorney General, seeing as he is the one standing in the way. While i, like many, many others, will just say, meh, ill just buy it from overseas, the fact is we shouldn't have to. This is ridiculous and outdated. I encourage everyone affected by this, to sign any petitions you come across, post links up on gamespot, and send emails voicing your concern to both the OFLC and to the SA Attorney General. They can only ignore us for so long...

rockatanski
rockatanski

It's South Australia guys. The attorney general is based there and he refuses to introduce the R18 rating into the computer games industry because he is a religious turd for brains fundamentalist MF. The vote has to be unanimous. All other states have agreed on R18, like what the_mitch says is what needs to happen. If this attorney general dickhead was voted out, then we would have the R18 from the younger candidate.. Question is, is there enough gamers in SA to get him out?.. Geez I hope so coz over 200 000 of us OZgamers are NEVER going to experience this awesome game just because of 1 old man.

damaster101
damaster101

Why can't these OFLC people just man the f*ck up and make an R18+ rating? Pretty much everyone that runs this country are clueless, paranoid morons.I say they go watch freetv and see what comes up.These bastards should have no right to ban something they didn't create, its a game clearly for adults so it should be made it that way. I can watch R18+ movies like Rambo but i can't play a game worth the same rating?You know what the people want so don't blame us blame the people who can't take proper care of themselves and children.And honestly i doubt a kid is going to see the game,tell his friends and start looking for morphene.

bubbalooga
bubbalooga

wat is this s***, every freaken game that comes out gets banned because OFLC are wusses, jeez. if you dont like the ideas in the game, changed the rating not ban the game. make it that if you buy the game you must be over 18 ffs!

knight83
knight83

It has to be made public. Not just the banning of this game but rather the need for an R18+ rating for computer games. GTA4 has already suffered as it has been modified into a gimped version for Australian release. Time to bring this story to media such as today tonight or the current affair.

imprezawrx500
imprezawrx500

lol again, when is aussie going to catch up to the rest of the world? here in nz we get all their banned games. maybe one day the will get an r18 rating.

Scullyy
Scullyy

you could kill kids in the first 2 games, and they weren't banned...

uberjannie
uberjannie

haha, im so pleased that I dont live in AU :D

the_mitch28
the_mitch28

We can thank the South Australian government for this, because if it wasn't for them we would have an R18+ rating. All other states in Australia have given their support for an R18+ game rating.

average_joe70
average_joe70

Did my part for the complaints to the OFLC "I am on occasional gamer who enjoys to play games that are of a more mature nature such as half life 2, bioshock, crysis and those types of games as they don't contain the simple formula of a good guy bad guy happy ending rainbows and butterflies type of thing. They are more like a suspenseful thriller in which you are taking part in and it is done like a movie would be done... like an interactive movie. Now i have seen many movies which i have watched parts of which i have turned off simply because they are vulgar and depict acts of animal cruelty, really socially unacceptable material that is plain and simply horrible. For example "Bad Boy Bubby". It depicts a man killing a cat in glad wrap, living with his incestuous grandma amongst other things. Ive seen many TV shows where drugs and sex is all you see in it and a lot of very bad language too. These are freely available on TV for ANYONE to watch, including children. My main point here is concerning the banning of fallout 3. Reading your comments on how it promotes drug use is acceptable on your front as i dont see why kids under the age of 18 should be subjected to that, but why hold us mature gamers away from an experience that alot of people are looking forward to. To purchase a video game you have to go to the shop and buy it, you cant just simply watch it on TV on free to air. SBS has shows that depict sex, drug addiction, drug abuse and many acts of violence. Kids can want. The difference here is that games HAVE to be bought from a shop, same as alcohol and other 18+ only items. So why not just have a behind the counter sale of Fallout 3 that requires ID same as alcohol? Easy as that. Anyone who is dumb enough (18+) to be influenced by the taking of drugs in this game to actually go out into real life and do it is a complete idiot. Separation of fact and fiction is not hard at all. So please pass fallout 3 through to our retailers with a behind the counter buying policy and an R18+ rating. I fully support the ban of the manhunt games because they really are vulgar, they deserved to be banned but fallout 3 is something that is completely harmless in comparison. Thankyou for your time and may you make the right decision! " Took the diplomatic approach!

Mr_Manikin52
Mr_Manikin52

Fill in the blank: Australia bans _____. Is the Australian goverment against Individual Liberty?

Darkfall_05
Darkfall_05

"ROB SHILKIN APPOINTED 6 November 2003 APPOINTMENT EXPIRES November 2010 Rob Shilkin, 32, is the head of corporate communications and public affairs for Australia and New Zealand at an international technology company. He was formally a senior associate and solicitor, specialising in trade practices law, at a large Australian law firm, and Adjunct Faculty at the University of Sydney. Rob completed degrees in economics and law (with Honours) at the University of Western Australia in 1997. He has written for a variety of Australian and overseas magazines, newspapers and legal journals and has been an office holder of a number of community associations. He lives in Sydney." I would like to know what this Classification Review Board Member voted on. He has a degree in economics, but let this happen. What a dickhead.

Darkfall_05
Darkfall_05

Thanks rockatanski , I second that motion. I agree with the context of your letter and it is not abusive. I will send the same letter with my name on it. . R18+ for Australian games now OFLC B!TCHES!

rockatanski
rockatanski

Hey guys, here's my frigen letter to the OFLC.. "To all board members. I wish to pass on a message to you regarding a decision on banning the computer game Fallout 3 for reasons of "drug use". You have heard this before, yes I know but I must repeat that you have no right to tell Australian games enthusiasts what to experience or enjoy. Your decision is forever meaningless and a waste of time. The only thing that you people do is ruin the industry by creating piracy due to the fact that you make these games unavailable because of your own personal interpretations of the subject at hand. I wonder when you will truly do your jobs properly, like perhaps look into bringing in an R18+ rating for games like you have for movies? But this won't work either will it. There will allways be another way to ban something. You have failed the rights of citizens in experiencing art and humanity be it tragic or extravagant that they choose to explore and you distrust the people you are supposed to inform. Fallout 3 is not about taking drugs at all. It's a game about survival. But I guess that's something you government people will never need to worry about. I really hope that you reconsider your decision on Fallout 3 but if you are satisfied with your current decision, then I say the hell with you." I just sent it to them. Bastards.

croogix
croogix

I say to heck with those censored people. For gosh sakes! Just put in an 18+ rating already! Adults need their fun too. If parents don't care what their kids get into and the kids complain about the game, it's the parents' fault, not the developers! I really feel sorry for Aussies, they have to suck this up and import just about every game that doesn't have anything besides fairies and bunnies with rainbows over their heads in it. Their description of what isn't a suitable game means that The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess should have been banned because you could go out and kill people with all sorts of things, and there was a bar in the game. Adults need their own content, because not every adult is a kid at heart who wants to play Mario all day. No, we want other games that have other bits of content. Do these guys just want their whole country to act like little babies and make them sensitive to mature content? Unacceptable!

croogix
croogix

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Darkfall_05
Darkfall_05

The best thing game developers could do to help our situation is to not modify their game if it fails the almighty MA15+ rating here. Sure gamers will be pissed, but I think it would be for the best. Piss us off more and force the change. R18+ for Australia now OFLC B!TCHES!

-Thirn-
-Thirn-

Reading this and looking at Australian GTA4 rating I can only guess that someone down there haven't received their bribes...

thibbledorfP
thibbledorfP

Goddamn puritan element in Australian society. We have to get rid of it.

Gifted_One
Gifted_One

That is so ridiculously whack! I say let them come to the melting pot.

EAisMyInitials
EAisMyInitials

This will give Australia a bad name. And for all of you who think we drink Fosters all the time, YOURE WRONG!