It’s been a strange couple of weeks in the world of Australian video games. The tangled web of confusion all started when the physical release of Bohemia Interactive’s DayZ – an incredibly popular survival game – was refused classification in Australia by none other than The Australian Classification Board. Such a move effectively makes the sale of the game illegal in this country – despite the fact that it has already been out in digital form for a number of years.
The reason for the ban, according to the ACB is that it was seen to “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 to the extent that they should not be classified”.
See the game in question:
While that’s an incredibly broad statement, Kotaku later unveiled the real cause of the issue was simple: cannabis. “Through general gameplay, the player is able to collect and use a variety of equipment, supplies, and weaponry,” the board told the website. “One of the options to restore the player’s health is a marijuana joint, labelled ‘cannabis’, which is denoted by a cannabis bud in the player’s inventory.”
Confused? Well, the basic gist is that no games are allowed in Australia that feature drugs as some kind of benefit to the player. That meant DayZ was a big no-no… again, despite the fact that it had already received an MA15+ rating for its digital version (which follows a different process).