CrimeCraft rubbed out in Australia

In-game drug use that gives players rewards sees gang-based MMOG banned down under.

Classification continues to be a hot topic for Australian gamers. Recently, the country's lack of an R18+ rating for video games resulted in the censoring of local versions of Left 4 Dead 2, while antigame proponents have also moved to get Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 taken off shelves due to its controversial "No Russian" terrorist scene. But outright bans--where the Australian Classification Board refuses classification for a game making it illegal to sell in Australia--have been relatively few this year, with Necrovision, Sexy Poker, and the unedited version of Left 4 Dead 2 being the only victims (Necrovision was eventually reclassified after content changes).

But the bans aren't over yet for 2009, with yet-to-be locally released massively multiplayer online game CrimeCraft being refused classification late last week. According to the Australian Classification Board, the felony-focused game was banned due to "drug use related to incentives or rewards." CrimeCraft--which received average reviews when it was released in North America earlier this year--is a third-person persistent world shooter that tasks players with challenging and besting rival gangs in a lawless city.

According to the official CrimeCraft ruling, the board's main issue with the game relates to the use of "boosts," fictional drugs that players can use in battle to improve their performance. "In the board's opinion, there is insufficient delineation between the 'fictional drugs' available in game and real-world proscribed drugs," the report stated.

"Boost parallels the names, chemical elements, administration, treatment, and addictive elements of real-world proscribed drugs, and when used provide quantifiable benefits to a player's character. The game therefore contains drug use related to incentives or rewards and should be refused classification."

"In addition, the names of boosts mimic the chemicals and colloquial names of proscribed drugs. Examples include K-Dust, Birth, Chimera, Majoun, Betadyne ResistX and Zymek Stim-Ex, as well as the anabolics Raze and Frenzy.

While violence seems to be the main trigger for most game bans in Australia, the Classification Board does have a history of striking out games where drug use is shown to have positive effects. Last year, Fallout 3 was initially banned for sale because it showed positive effects from in-game drug use--specifically, morphine.

For more information on CrimeCraft, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.

Written By

Randolph is the managing editor of GameSpot, and needs more time to play games.

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Discussion

50 comments
Blazex21
Blazex21

@Sillygostly December Boys and Calender girls are both PG-13 and Lost in Translation is rated R...Not sure about the Monty Python one.

Azated
Azated

Don't you people get it? They don't care about the people that are going to play the game, and they clearly haven't studied economics. If they keep doing this, people will just forget Australian game stores and head straight to Amazon.

9thedevilmaycry
9thedevilmaycry

DOSENT THE RATING BOARD ALLREADY KNOW THAT 15+ TEENAGERS ALL READY KNOW ABOUT DRUGS???????????????????????????????????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

9thedevilmaycry
9thedevilmaycry

DOSENT THE RATING BOARD ALLREADY KNOW THAT 15+ TEENAGERS ALL READY KNOW ABOUT DRUGS???????????????????????????????????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

9thedevilmaycry
9thedevilmaycry

DOSENT THE RATING BOARD ALLREADY KNOW THAT 15+ TEENAGERS ALL READY KNOW ABOUT DRUGS???????????????????????????????????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ferretshob
ferretshob

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

sequekhan
sequekhan

While they may have done us a favour in this instance, no one can forgive them L4D2. ACB assumes too much. "Oh, I see drug use in a game! Let's go try it in the real world." Yeah right. If they were this strict with movies then there would be nothing on shelves in stores except Carebears and home improvement shows. They have to face up to the facts that not all gamers fall in a one-digit age group, games are no different to movies no matter how they try to reason it, and how many people do you see running down the street with a sword? Nuff said.

Australians
Australians

wouldn't be suprised if people torrented the game because of this

alkaline_DnB
alkaline_DnB

they did aussies a favor banning this game lol.

rockatanski
rockatanski

It's getting boring. OFLC should make this entire media fiasco a little bit more exciting by accidentally letting these badboy games through under the radar so Atkinson can crap himself in a different way.

OwnageGuy
OwnageGuy

If we can't get it here, we can still get the games overseas unedited. nice work destroying the australian gaming industry u idiots.

GetafixOz
GetafixOz

Oh and by the way... Im enjoying my imported copy of L4D2 immensely. Nice work on denying Australian retailers my money, you should be very proud of yourselves idiotic so called classification board.

GetafixOz
GetafixOz

Sure makes you wonder how Scarface got released in Oz dont it ? The amount of coke I ran in thta game would by 3 months holidays at a resort where you could abuse children. Perfect for the peadophiles on the classification board.

Sillygostly
Sillygostly

@Blazex21: I'm referring to the Australian classification system which allows bare breasts under the PG rating (and full frontal nudity in an educational context). Lost in Translation, Calendar Girls and Monty Python's Flying Circus spring to mind. The hypocrisy though, is that the very same level of nudity in a video game seems to be given an automatic MA15+ rating (using "sexual references" as a blanket).

Sillygostly
Sillygostly

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

gameking5000
gameking5000

I doubt anybody would play the game anyway if it was released

alienmlbyrne0
alienmlbyrne0

SuprSaiyanRockr, I have to agree with you there.

Blazex21
Blazex21

Wow name me one movie that has a PG or G rating and had bare breasts. Not sure if you're talking Australian ratings or something, but in America that's an easy R.

Sillygostly
Sillygostly

I can't understand for the life of me why Sexy Poker was banned in Australia. Bare breasts in films are given a PG rating (even sexualised breast nudity), and even some G rated films have been allowed to get away with such content over the years; yet, the very same level of nudity in a video game is deemed R18+ worthy based on the ridiculous "incentives and rewards" guideline. If the game contained full frontal nudity, I can (begrudingly) understand the reasoning for the banning, but surely a pair of breasts doesn't justify such a ridiculously strong rating. :-/ Hell, the review board had passed a very similar game (with full frontal nudity, mind you) that was previously banned with only an M rating (which is legally unrestricted, meaning that children can play the game unsupervised). I appreciate the OFLC guidelines when they're applied *properly*, but this blatant disparity in standards from one film/game to another is maddening and frankly, idiotic. Banning these sorts of games where there is a clear distinction between fantasy and reality doesn't benefit anybody. >:(

SuprSaiyanRockr
SuprSaiyanRockr

@ alienmlbyrne0 Don't look at me. I'm still trying to figure out why they banned L4D2 but not GOW2 for X360 and Madworld for Wii (not that I'm complaining about a lack of a GOW2 and Madworld banning :)) Seriously though, if they ban GOW3, I'll migrate. Or the next ninja gaiden game, for that matter.

alienmlbyrne0
alienmlbyrne0

Ok let me get this straight, This game(Crimecraft) was banned for drug use, Fallout 3 was modified in Aus for naming particular drugs for use. Yet you can freely play GTA China town wars where you sell and buy drugs that are real and named, Anyone else make sense of that?

Scorchgame
Scorchgame

Of course this will happen, Australia's Crime Rate for drugs is actually VERY HIGH, only the police makes it seem low, because the police suck over here, they are stupid police who take more than a day to come after reporting an assault. And its always the Australians who are always involved in crimes, the Asian population always gets all the bad things because of them. But overall, its like Games will affect people, why not ban every Movie out there? Also try living in Australia to see for yourself.

alienmlbyrne0
alienmlbyrne0

And so the list grows, what's next... Dead Rising 2?

thibbledorfP
thibbledorfP

Australians who don't live in South Australia don't have any vote on whether Michael Atkinson retains his post. The majority of Australians can't vote him out. And the people who vote for him in SA are probably more interested in his views on other areas besides video gaming. So you cannot insult all Australians because of this situation. The majority of us want the R18 classification, and we are the ones who suffer the most due to censorship. Even in a democracy it can be difficult for people to get rid of a politician they don't like.

penguinofire
penguinofire

Now that Tony Abbot is the Liberal leader party, the creepy apocalypse is coming anyway, so you may as well give up on video games and start learning how to fight off zombies and ghosts. Jeez, peoples! Get your priorities straight!!!

madSomnambulist
madSomnambulist

Thanks Austrailia, for having even more ridiculous age policies than we do in the US. ...No, I do know that governmental structure is different there. ...And in the US we did totally 100% deserve all the bs toward us. Not even close to a comparison to the same shame. I've got to love the widly-shared European ratings system. Things marked as "nudity" or "strong sexual themes" in North America are oft met by a sticker with a "12" on it. Comedy, though I think it's as it should be. The only games that ever seem to trigger their highest (18+) marks are GTAs. Can't say I disagree, since GTA4 had to be really borderline to AO in North America... Quite wish we could invental a global scale... likely of the 10 12 15 18 variety, since tween to "legal adult" is really the only time that different levels of content might even start to matter.WIth the scale normalized larger companies that focus on global sales for better profit could be a lot more exact in their vision and presentation of content level, instead of just figuring their global average.

Draconous79
Draconous79

@Antherian_being, for sure dude, I just wish there was one for NSW (.. and the rest of the states in AU for that matter). cheers :)

Antherian_being
Antherian_being

@Wopenka_11 wtf Christians, what is ur freaking problem. Im christian and im still alowed some of this stuff u need 2 get a grip and realise that religion shouldn't change anything. The pope is deluded with his visions anyway thats y im Baptist.

Antherian_being
Antherian_being

@Draconous79 yeh im queenslander, and ive signed it now. Although it is a federal matter, the 4600+ signatures from the sunshine state so something, dont they?

Megawizard
Megawizard

"Don't call Australia stupid. The reason why we don't have a R18 for video games, is due to the South Australia's Governor General Michael Atkinson. You can't call a country stupid due to one man." People did that all the time when Bush was in charge over here. :p

il0x0li
il0x0li

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Vulpis
Vulpis

@ jsutton0010: Ah, so it's just South Australia that's stupid, then, for putting that yoyo in power and keeping him there (keep in mind, I'm from the country that spawned George Bush--and I'm the first to admit the nation is full of stupidity. :-/ )

sonic0491
sonic0491

Phacet they already did: Left 4 Dead 2. The only logical thing would be to ban a real high profile game like Mario to get REAL action, but of course that cant happen unless the OFLC 120% *COMPLETELY* loose it.

Phacet
Phacet

bah still rubbish games being banned, not helpful at all. All we need is one high profile game to be banned and an R category will be introduced swiftly.

robfield
robfield

If this keeps up I wouldn't be surprised if a large exodus of Australian gamers. China is less strict than this.

biggest_loser
biggest_loser

We are officially the laughing stock of the entertainment world. First Hanson and now this!! Another one bites the dusssst!!

jsutton0010
jsutton0010

ImOldGreg Don't call Australia stupid. The reason why we don't have a R18 for video games, is due to the South Australia's Governor General Michael Atkinson. You can't call a country stupid due to one man.

pearcinator
pearcinator

Games these days are becoming more and more mature. This country really should push for R18+ rating to keep up. Makes no sense really...if it were a movie this game would probably only get an M or MA rating, defintely not R...however, in game form, all the old slags who make up the classificatioin board deem it "too mature to be granted an MA rating". Goddam it! It would be easier to slap an R rating on the game than to bother talking to the devs about why they cant sell their game down here....forcing them either to shrug it off or spend time doing edits which overall make the game a lot worse (see: Left 4 Dead 2). If Mass Effect 2 gets refused classification here (it shouldn't but who knows?) then I am gonna spit the dummy at this country!

Poodger
Poodger

Australia really loves "rubbing em out" don't they ;)

Wopenka_11
Wopenka_11

I bet there are a lot of irresponsible parents and Christians in the censorship board.....

ThatsSimtastic
ThatsSimtastic

I remember watching the trailer for this ahwhile ago and thinking how cool it looked. :(

ednamod15
ednamod15

they're starting to be banned faster & faster

Bedizen
Bedizen

I wonder if I can withhold my taxes because the government is not responsible enough to have them?

H0rr0rG4m3r
H0rr0rG4m3r

It's pissing me off that so many games are getting banned here in Australia, whats a game without entertainment??