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.