Apocalyptic Censorship: Fallout 3

St Michael slaying the dragon
Creative Commons License photo credit: Lawrence OP

For those who missed my earlier explosion of rage, I will quickly sum up the state of play as it stands before moving on. Yesterday it was announced by the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) that Fallout 3 would be refused classification in Australia. The lack of an R18+ rating for games in Australia has cost us several titles over the last couple of years. Everyone remembers the outcry when it was found out that GTA IV, a game with an equally rabid fanbase, was refused classification. Now I’m no fan of pointless repetition, and if you want to hear a rant about the inconsistancies in the rating boards idea of what exactly constitutes an R18+ verus an MA15+ game, then Kotaku has a couple of posts with the basic facts laid out for easy consumption. If you want to read poorly worded articles on how this will push users to torrenting games, Shamus may be your man. I will however give you the original leaked paper from the OFLC that states exactly why the game was too heinous for human consumption.

OFLC Fallout 3 Refused Classification OFLC Fallout 3 Refused Classification

What I havn’t seen anyone talk about, however, is just how this effects us as a consumer. I have no doubt that many will simply wait for the revised copy, the censorsed copy, that no longer portrays the gritty feeling the developers set out to convey. Honestly, it is like watching Snatch with a bleep track. The whole ordeal becomes light hearted and fivelous because there is no longer any depth. Yes, I am one of those self professed twats who stands resolute behind the notion of “Games are Art” but I at least like to think I’m one of the more rational breeds. The other half will no doubt torrent the uncensored (International) version, and probably would have regardless for myriad reasons.

However, there are enough of us who actually want to buy this game, be it for moral reasons (not me), or maybe they have an insatiable lust for limited edition boxsets of things (yes, that one is me). Either way, the only avenue here is to import the game from an overseas supplier. The only thing about this, and it is almost always overlooked; Importing an RC rated product of any form is a breach of Federal Law. We are not talking “I download my mp3’s” illegal, either. This is a physical product that must go through a customs check before it reaches you. What is more, breaking this law can result in anything from a $110000 (yes four zeros) fine, to 5 (five) years in Ye Olde Gaol. When you look at it under this light, you suddenly realise the implications of what is happening here. It makes you wonder just how far you are willing to go for a game.

*Edit* I just wrote a letter, and Kotaku is right. The only way this changes is if someone actually says “We are not OK with this”.