Update: State Of Decay Banned For Explicit Use Of Illicit Drugs

Update: State Of Decay Banned For Explicit Use Of Illicit Drugs

We’ve just received a copy of the Classification Board’s report for State of Decay, which confirms that the game was refused classification as a result of the game rewarding players for using illicit drugs in explicit ways.

The report reads…

The game contains the option of self-administering a variety of “medications” throughout gameplay which act to restore a player’s health or boost their stamina. These “medications” include both legal and illicit substances such as methadone, morphine, amphetamines, stimulants, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, codeine, aspirin, “trucker pills”, painkillers and tussin. Of these, methadone, morphine, and amphetamines are proscribed drugs and the term “stimulant” is commonly used to refer to a class of drugs of which several are proscribed. Players obtain drugs by scavenging for them in the environment or by manufacturing them in a “Medical Lab”. When players find drugs in the environment the name of the drug appears onscreen and the drug is also represented by a visual icon such as a pill bottle or syringe. Within the “Medical Lab” players are prompted to make substances such as “Potent Stims”, “Mild Stims” and “Painkillers”. The laboratory includes a “research library” and “chemical dictionary”. When administering drugs, the player is briefly depicted moving a pill bottle toward their mouth. The sound of pills rattling in the bottle accompanies the depiction. The name of the drug appears onscreen along with its representative icon. Consumption of the drug instantly increases a player’s in-game abilities allowing them to progress through gameplay more easily. The Applicant has stated that a “player can choose not to make any drugs or scavenge for them, but it would be very difficult to complete the game without some form of medication”. In the Board’s opinion, the game enables the player’s character to self-administer proscribed drugs which aid in gameplay progression. This game therefore contains drug use related to incentives or rewards and should be Refused Classification.

Other games have shown illicit drugs being used before, but it appears that the issue is that the game would “difficult to complete” without using them. The problem is the use of drugs actively aids game progression.


  • So when will our sports teams be sacked? Seeing as they cannot seem to progress without using illicit substances.

    • Your basing an entire sport on the actions of a small few? Yeah, your definitely not out of context and judgemental.

      • You mean he’s making a judgement based on a complete lack of context and broad and inaccurate generalisations?

        Sounds like he’ll be a perfect candidate for a position on the ACB.

      • If thats true then the classification board is guilty of the same thinking considering most of us know its only a game and know what the difference is between reality and fiction, save for the few gamers not smart enough to also realise this and force the classification board to punish us for their stupidity.

        • Im not so sure that there are the kinds of gamers that can’t differentiate reality from media. Maybe there are some mentally disturbed people that cant, but classifying them as gamers rather than straight mentally unstable would do the VAST majority of adult gamers an injustice.

  • So these are legal drugs that are not required to finish the game and the reason it’s being banned is because they require a prescription, which would be unobtainable due to it being an apocalyptic world?

    Well we now know what group of Darwin award winners will be the first to go when the world ends.

    • Last time I checked, crystal meth wasn’t a legal drug. Description for Amphetamines in game “Restores max stamina a fair bit. (Addictive?) Pure glass — the good stuff. Accept no substitute.”

    • If it were not using the names of real drugs, the board wouldn’t have a problem with it. The Fallout series ran into a similar problem with several of their drugs, things like MedX being one of them (they attempted to name it steroids). All they had to do was rename the drug and magically the board’s problem with it went away. Seriously, it’s a ridiculous point for them to stick on.

  • I imagine being able to manufacture the drugs in-game also isn’t a minor point 😛

  • The don’t aid progression at all. Pends on your play style, been playing for ages and no one used any drugs, I hand them in for influence and take the ammo instead. Progressed the store quite a while to where the armored SWAT appears and still don’t need any drugs.

  • If it went into detail on how to actually create them, it would break the rule of “instruction or promotion”, but as described, it sounds like this is well within context.

    • There’s no context required when it comes to illicit drugs apparently. “Drug use related to incentives or rewards” is all we need to have classification refused. What a useless, tokenistic pile of trash this R rating turned out to be.

  • R18+ is just the old MA15. Nothing has changed at all. Not that I care, country borders have long ceased to be an issue with my game purchases.

  • I hate my country sometimes, I really do.

    I can’t fathom the stupidity of this, fair enough if we only had the MA15+ rating and this was refused, but we’re supposed to have an R18+ rating not MA15+ V2.0, under the guidlines yes normal MA15+ would of been not reachable so it would be refused, but I would of though there would be a lot less restrictions on a R rated game, considering R is specifically meant for ADULTS ONLY, I swear they update like 2 -3 small things on the MA15+ one and just re-badged it as “R18+”, Australia/Australian Classification Board, GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER! I am an adult and I am pretty sure I know what I can handle, quit wrecking games for our country, farout.

    • The R18+ rating as established in January only officially allowed for a higher level of violence in games. All other guidelines, including the depiction of/ and reward based use of illicit substances, along with content of a sexual nature all remained in place.

      It is a poor excuse for a piss-weak R18+ classification but the fact is that it was never going to be an open door policy. Illusions of any game getting passed as a rule under the R18+ rating have been quickly and ridiculously squashed.

      A revision to the guidelines can now be sought without the initial hurdle of creating the appropriate rating. It’s backward and it’s insulting but if this is how it has to happen then so be it.

  • I got this game by following the comments on this article: http://www.kotaku.com.au/2013/06/state-of-decay-in-australia-why-the-delay/

    It’s an awesome game and I’m really disappointed by this decision. These guidelines need to be revised, as most games will have some form of health (medications) that the player will have to use/craft. The way drugs used in this game make perfect sense in the setting and I wonder if they were to use fake drug names, would this make it ok? Say Methodine, Amphetadone?

    • Actually I’ll include the instructions here on how to get it:

      1) Create a new Microsoft profile (from live.com) with an American location as your address (can be anywhere in the US).
      2) Goto http://www.xbox.com/en-us and sign in with the new profile, this will set up a new Xbox Live Gamer ID.
      3) Buy the 1600 Xbox Live points from Play-asia. This is specifically for US purchases: http://www.play-asia.com/paOS-13-71-es-49-en-70-3wd8.html (may take some time to receive)
      4) Log onto your Xbox, sign out of your normal ID and into the new one.
      5) Redeem the Xbox Live points from Play-Asia and purchase & download “State of Decay”.
      6) Sign out of the US profile and back into your normal profile. You will be able to play State of Decay as intended from then on.

      Hope I don’t get in to trouble for this, but what better way to give the middle finger to the classifications board, then to just get the game and play it anyway.

      • I don’t know why people bother using Play-Asia et al for the points… you can buy Microsoft Points straight from MS using Paypal, right there on the console

        • ok, I just wanted to make sure it was US points I was buying. Also, I don’t think you can buy exactly 1600 points (the cost of the game) from the console.

      • Thanks dude, thanks to your instructions my housemate & I have been playing this awesome game from my couch in Adelaide for a couple weeks. More importantly, it means for future OFLC judgements and stuff that just plain not released on our xbla I’ll now have access to.

        For others looking at this, do NOT use a credit card with play-asia; their verification process involves scanning your license & credit card and emailing it to them. If you do this, you’re an idiot. I used paypal successfully though.

    • “The way drugs used in this game make perfect sense in the setting and I wonder if they were to use fake drug names, would this make it ok?”

      I was wondering the same thing. Much like how Fallout used names like Med-X, Jet, Psycho etc.

  • Does the ACB genuinely believe that allowing the use of illicit drugs in a video game will somehow lead to the promotion and use of illicit drugs in real life? I’d love to see any evidence linking the two.

    The thing that irks me about this is that by refusing classification on this game and the Saints Row game, the ACB are basically saying that the average Australian adult is unable to separate a fictional video game world from the real world, and what happens in one will inextricably influence what happens in the other.

    Last time I checked, illicit drug use pre-dates the video game industry by several centuries.

  • So what about The Last of Us, where you need to take pills you find lying around to upgrade your stats? I definitely thought it was being implied you were either taking illicit drugs or misusing prescription medication. Or Far Cry 3, where you have to take a hallucinogenic drug in order to play through the back story? These guidelines are ridiculous but it’s probably worse they don’t even seem to be applying them consistently.

  • Looks like anyone wanting to get their hands on this game will have to endure this State of Delay.

  • This is absurd and just plain wrong! What about the pills you take in max pain? Or any other game that requires you to heal by taking drugs!

      • Max Payne 3 sure as hell does. Repeatedly. In fact, you can pop pills in slow motion WHILE you’re jumping through the air shooting dudes in the face.

        • Really?

          Shit eh. I have to play this game again. Must of been stone cold sober during my playthrough…

    • They are brandless painkillers.

      The drugs in question here are identifiable as prescription medication. That’s the difference AFAIK.

  • Yea, I had a feeling it’d be the morphine and amphetamines… it always is. Why can’t they replace them with antibiotics? Or just replace them with bandages. Something that allows you to retain immersion. Anything but the med-x.

  • alterd beast globes POWER UP stars, med kits, syringes in bioshock, extra time bonuses, coins, rings, extra life, super speed, carmageddon, far cry plant medicinals, quad power, invulnerability, augmented bodys, cryostasis, what else umm beans yeah beans and morphine i can survive off that and coke cans, but anyone that walks up to me im gonna have to kill and loot coz they might have some drugs on them that i need for my broken leg…. sonic speed boots….. buffs blessing of wisdom arcane intelligence heroism/bloodlust any tonic or potion made by a witch or alchemst,,, ban harry potter coz it leeds kids to witchcraft….. basically anything that leeds to addiction or surviving in the game has to be taken out because your gonna do it in real life and thats how you were braught up by games….. fuck it its why i took drugs as a teenager I thaught they were powerups! man i have sooo much power now all these spare lives in the bank and a load of morphine in case i break my foot…. they really should make it in games if you take too many powerups you get fatigued… coz its not like that in reality… really i never thaught it was reality! its a fucking fantasy made up virtual world not REAL SIMULATION IM NOT FUCKING PLAYING A REAL LIFE SIMULATOR HERE

      • why is the american pharmaceutical industry producing TONNES of amphetamines to give to kids as ADHD adderal…………. hmm wonder what master plan has already been hatched fuck knows why the government wants us all on perscription drugs in this polluted chemical world…. you cant stop it now OFLC…… agh my fight is pointless

  • “contains drug use related to incentives or rewards”

    yes because trying to survive in a zombie apocalypse with any form of drug/medication is wrong! simply renaming the drugs is pathetic, why bother? does it make it less of a virtual depiction of drug use? If I were to play this game, it would be as entertainment – to imagine what reality would be like in the world crafted by the game developers.

    will playing this game make me want to go out and kill zombies and scavenge for drugs and supplies tomorrow? no. (unless there’s a real zombie apocalypse – then i see no real other choice)

    will playing saints row 4 make me want to become president of the united states and go rampaging with super powers against aliens and humans or anal probe them? no.

    I really think they should re-evaluate what it is they should be doing.

    • I would go further and say that a classification should be viewed as a recommendation, not a flat out you-may-or-may-not-have-this. Their power should be taken away. Time to grow up Australia…

      • I still think MA/R rating should stand, some games aren’t really appropriate for kids. The whole argument of ‘seperating a fictional game from reality’ is fine when talking about n adult but kids have more trouble with it so giving them games like Saints Row 4 might not be a great idea (do you really want kids running around sticking dildos up people butts? lol).

        I don’t see the need to flat-out ban these games though. If there is something stupid like a game purely about walking around beating/raping people then sure, ban it. A zombie game that involves using drugs to survive though?….come on….seriously? Make it R18+ and be done with it.

        • Obviously ma and r should be restricted from children. But I dont want anyone else deciding for me what I can and cant play as an adult. They shouldn’t be allowed to refuse anything as long as its clearly labeled.

  • Methadon is legal…What’s wrong with that.It helps 1000’s of people stay of heroin

  • More disappointed than anything else, but i guess I’ll do what I saw a lot of other people are doing; make an American live account and get it there.

  • So games with extreme violence rape mega gore etc are fine but a game about junkies banned

    It’s also funny how there fine with all the gore and violence in games yet nudity is frowned upon

  • Can we get some sort of op-ed or interview with someone on how to combat this bullshit?

  • Ahahahahaha this is just pathetic.
    I honestly cant tell the difference.

    When I was growing up, my brother and I would copy WWE and fight on the trampoline, but WWE doesnt get banned.
    What about drug use in Pineapple Express, Rock N Rolla and Breaking Bad.
    What about Rape Scenes that are in alot of movies these days.
    Its just a joke.

    Get rid of the R18+ rating, it seems to be getting more games banned then actually letting us have access to more.

    • Yup, two games banned in a single year, it’s pretty much the same banned games quota as before, but really who isn’t surprised a R18+ Rating in Games is essentially a MA15+ in movies.

      Maybe some of these Board members should go to MIFF this year so they actually get an idea of some of the limits that are actually pushed by traditional media vs. the tame stuff in video games.

      Then again, maybe not they’d probably RC the whole event

  • OH GET FUCKED! So fucking sick of this fucking country, and im Aussie, but seriously this countries overall Government is a fucking joke.

    Fucking buying this off the US live store now.

    • Australia has got to have the most lame and pathetic bunch of loosers and dumb asses running this country. Makes me hate living here sometimes.

  • They have no right to refuse or ban this game, let alone SR4.

    this is quoted straight from there site

    “R 18+ material is restricted to adults. Such material may contain classifiable elements such as sex scenes and drug use that are high in impact.”

    Both those games fall directly into the R18+ Classification, they literally have no grounds to ban or refuse the games.

    • But we can’t do poopies. The Australian Goverment have been treating us like Little Dumb Children for Years now and it will continue to get worse.

      • yea i know what you mean, it just really pisses me off. especially for us Mature adults who are of age.

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