News

Saints Row 4 refused classification by Australian Ratings Board thanks to drugs
Posted: 29.07.2013 18:05 by Comments: 48
Saints Row 4 has been refused classification by the Australian Ratings Board again. Before, the board had objected to the violence in the game, resulting in a "low violence" version.

Now, the board is concerned with drugs being tied to positive achievements, incentives and rewards.

The board announced, “A three-member panel of the Classification Review Board has unanimously determined that the computer game Saints Row IV is classified Refused Classification. In the Review Board’s opinion, Saints Row IV could not be accommodated within the R 18+ classification as drug use related to incentives and rewards is not permitted.” Being refused classification means the game can't even be demonstrated in Australia.

Obviously, adults aren't allowed to make their own judgments in Australia.
Source: PC Games SN
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Comments

By nocutius (SI Elite) on Jul 29, 2013
nocutius
What's the point of having the R18+ classification then?
Stupid glue sniffing office monkeys :(.
By SirRoderick (SI Elite) on Jul 29, 2013
SirRoderick
Well clearly Australia doesn't believe that it's adult population is capable of deciding for themselves whether or not they can handle drugs in media.

Oh wait, no I meant games. Cause you know if it's music or a movie then it's fine.
By herodotus (SI Herodotus) on Jul 30, 2013
herodotus
Yeah, keep that yank drug culture crap out of Oz.
Wait, our 'Underworld crimeworld'is bigger here than even in America. Heads in sand time again, OFLC.
By Hammerjinx (SI Core) on Jul 30, 2013
Hammerjinx
Personally, I find it baffling they didn't fix that too. I mean, it's right there in the rules and earlier stories specifically mentioned that as a concern.

I would not be the least bit surprised to find that they deliberately left that in, knowing that it would be denied again, as a publicity stunt.


A R18+ rating is not carte blanche for whatever you want to put into a game. I cannot, and should not be allowed to, release a game called SimPedo where you strategically stalk school kids and abduct them to your sex dungeon. SRIV is obviously not as bad as that, but arse-rape for lulz was never going to happen and, like it or don't, incentivised or required use of narcotics is also out. You can have illicit drugs, you just can't promote their use.
By JonahFalcon (SI Elite) on Jul 30, 2013
JonahFalcon
But this isn't SimPedo. And one country's illegal drugs is another's legal drugs. If Australia is pissy over marijuana use, well, the Netherlands doesn't - it's legal there.

All the years I've played games with drug use in them, I never used drugs. Didn't even drink til age 38. Just like playing first person shooters never made me take a machine gun and kill people - or stab them with a knife.
By Smithy9999 (SI Veteran Newbie) on Jul 30, 2013
Smithy9999
But SR and SR2 both had drugs which you could freely use and that was before R18+. But then again here in Australia the government and its subsidiary groups do like to play nanny.

Also I have never heard of people getting hooked on drugs from a video game or try drugs because they were in a game?
By LukeDion1987 (SI Core Member) on Jul 30, 2013
LukeDion1987
This is so so stupid :-/
By HenoKutus (SI Elite) on Jul 30, 2013
HenoKutus
Too bad for the Aussies,maybe green blood will pull them over!
By Hammerjinx (SI Core) on Jul 30, 2013
Hammerjinx
You can have drugs in games. It doesn't even have to be R18+ to feature a character snorting coke. What you cannot do is to encourage or require drug use, or misrepresent the effect of certain medications.

I personally think that applying that to pot or, in this case, "alien narcotics" that you smoke is getting a bit prissy, but the rules are the rules and cannabis is illegal in Aus, and indeed most of the world.

*Nobody* is going to say "Oh yeah, I was totally against pot, but then this one time this game made it seem pretty cool so I smoked, like, twenty bongs." It's not the way that works. Encouraging or incentivising an activity creates an air of permissiveness. It's already too easy for people to think "What does it hurt to try ?" You're not hurting anyone else, it looks like fun, why not? Nobody is going to try drugs from seeing it be cool in a game, but if someone is on the fence, or under peer pressure, then the game may, subconsciously, inform their ultimate decision. Like it or don't, some drugs are a serious problem in modern society. The law has to be black and white to be effective so, if it's an illegal drug then you cannot incentivise it. Generally people aren't going to get too riled up if 10% of people take up smoking pot, but you'd better believe people would take notice if 1% of the population suddenly took up heroin, or crack. Obviously these numbers are outrageously high - I'm just illustrating the point. Another factor is recovering addicts. I've seen how hard it can be for people to resist lapsing. Any excuse will do a lot of the time. Any of you tried giving up smoking even? You'd know the kinds of BS excuses you tell yourself. You'd better believe those guys would suffer a higher percentage relapse even seeing that shit, let alone doing that shit in a game.

At then end of the day, left to our own devices we'd all make up rather different laws. I'd probably class pot the same way as I'd class booze, for example. Either way though, part of living in a civilised society is having rules and obeying those rules.

So, yes, you or I, or any number of other reasonable adults should be able to undertake these activities in games and view these materials without it effecting our behaviour at all. That doesn't apply to everyone though. Some things are problems in our society and especially when these are hidden and secretive problems like drug abuse, or rape, I think that a zero tolerance policy is warranted.

It would be nice if everyone could make a sensible decision about what is not ok for themselves to watch, but the very people most at risk from ratings advice abuse are the ones least likely to heed it. There has to be limits and the limits have to be universal and that means occasionally you'll be "protected" from things that you didn't need to be prtoected from. Guess what though? Someone else *did* need that.
By SirRoderick (SI Elite) on Jul 30, 2013
SirRoderick
No, this is still objectively ridiculous.

Sorry.
By JonahFalcon (SI Elite) on Jul 30, 2013
JonahFalcon
@Hammerjinkx No. That's the same idiotic reasoning behind the Hays Code. Ever wonder why married couples slept in twin beds in the 30's thru 50's?

Bad guys could never win in movies. God forbid, because it would make people go bad.

Besides, are you saying adults 18+ can't handle the use of drugs? There's a reason the game is rated MATURE. Who's fault is it if a parent buys a mature rated game for their kid?

As a developer friend says, "It's not MY job to parent your kids. It's YOUR FUCKING JOB to parent your kids."
By Hammerjinx (SI Core) on Jul 31, 2013
Hammerjinx
It's similar reasoning. Over time I'd expect to see the guidelines get looser over time also. There's R18 movies from the 80s that would get a M rating if they bothered to reclassify it today.

Most adults could handle seeing and participating in virtual drug use without batting an eyelid. Some could not. I'd not be inclined to say that there's any such thing as someone who can handle actual irl heroin in a responsible way.

We're not talking about what happens if we hand over R18 materials to children. Honestly, most teens would cope just fine, and as you say, it's the partent's responsibility to ensure their kids are not exposed to anything they could not handle.

The limits on R18+ materials are there to protect those adults that cannot handle things beyond those limits. There has to be a limit, otherwise we're back to SimPedo and nobody in their right mind wants that. Even then, you or I could play SimPedo without ill effect, other than a grim feeling in the tummy. For those that would enjoy it a bit too much it would serve as normalisation, encouragement, and possibly even incitement.

Given that there has to be a line, they have to set that line at a medium height across all society. Some of those are moral concerns, other are about law and safety. You could, for example, agrue that hard-core porn should be allowable, so long as it's two consenting adults. Most people could handle that. Some would be offended or disturbed by erections and explorative nudity.

Ultimately, as soon as you draw that line beyond which there are no further lines, there's going to be stuff on the far side of that which isn't going to be a problem for people. There's going to be people who find some of the allowable stuff a bit ikky, or even argue that it should be refused classifcation.

So yeah. Most people, almost all people, would not have a problem, as an adult, playing a sequence where you smoke pot and get super powers. Hell, most could handle it if it was iconographically smoking crack. While a lot of people would debate about the legality of pot, fact is that, currently, it's illegal. I think a lot more people would make the argument *against* legalising crack. To make a clear and concise ruling, in terms of ratings, pot = crack = heroin, etc.

Again, I think the actual drug situation in SRIV is a bit silly, but I understand the ruling. Also, at the end of the day, would I enjoy the game any less if they changed it to wearing alien batteries that gave you superpowers? Nope. That'd still be fun. Obviously a big theme with SR is the generally wrong nature of it, but if the occasional thing makes a slight concession to the rules I wouldn't care at all.

I can understand the furour. Someone out there is telling you you can't be trusted with something. It's natural to think, "Balls to that! I'm an adult!!" It's important to take a step back from that. It's not targeted at you, but there are adults that need that. If they were tailoring an experience to you then fine, whatever. When they're putting it out into the world and it's available for any adult with a fistfull of dollars then they need a line.
By JonahFalcon (SI Elite) on Jul 31, 2013
JonahFalcon
Oh, Lord. Our morals had been too loose in the 1920's, 1930's, 1940's, 1950's, 1960's, 1970's, 1980's, etc etc.

Don't enforce your morals on others.

Using drugs exists. ADULTS UNDERSTAND THAT. THAT'S WHY IT'S R18+.

You fail to answer why illegal drugs are worse than legal pharmaceutical drugs.

What happened to parents answering questions their kids ask?
By Smithy9999 (SI Veteran Newbie) on Jul 31, 2013
Smithy9999
Ratings systems are put in place to advise people of the content of the media. If something is rated R18+ or any variation thereof it is typically restricted and can only be by purchased by 18 yr olds and over. It is not the concern of ratings boards or developer/publishers whether this may harm children. It is the responsibility of the parents to educated their children and/or prevent them from obtaining restricted materials.

If you are an adult and see media portraying something like illicit substances positively and that helps you decide that maybe trying them won't matter, you have something wrong with you. The majority of adults are reasonable and aren't going to look at a game showing drugs giving superhero-esque abilities and go maybe one try won't hurt.

A line must be made, but it shouldn't be made for the benefit of those who are not aimed for by the media. A game or movie for kids which you can use drugs for a boost is wrong, but if the media is aimed at adults who for the most part are responsible and reasonable then its different. You can't go 'no-one should see this because it may fall into the wrong hands.'

Nothing is worse than "Think of the children" being thrown around when the stuff shouldn't be near the kids in the first place.
By nocutius (SI Elite) on Jul 31, 2013
nocutius
"The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation"

That famous quote says it all, it applies perfectly well to people trying to impose their morals on others as well. It's a brilliant trick that's probably gonna work forever :(.
By herodotus (SI Herodotus) on Jul 31, 2013
herodotus
Perhaps, Australians are all too aware that many, MANY under 18's are playing [18+] games, and makes up the bulk of the party drug scene that the crimeworld so depends on. Why promote it further?
By nocutius (SI Elite) on Jul 31, 2013
nocutius
Many Australians under 18 are also drinking alcohol and having sex before marriage :).
By herodotus (SI Herodotus) on Jul 31, 2013
herodotus
Most are, you're right. That's why we get censored versions of games like "The Witcher".
By Smithy9999 (SI Veteran Newbie) on Jul 31, 2013
Smithy9999
But the under 18's shouldn't be playing these things. If rated R18+, you need to be 18 or above to purchase. The parents are responsible not the developers, stores or publishers if these kids play the game. You don't stop adults from enjoying media aimed at them in case the kids get a hold of it. Also helps that not all under 18's are irresponsible drunkards who think drugs are fun toy's.
By nocutius (SI Elite) on Jul 31, 2013
nocutius
Hero, does Game of Thrones make it across uncensored or does it have to go trough the same process as games?
By SirRoderick (SI Elite) on Jul 31, 2013
SirRoderick
Let's block all the porn while we're at it!

...oh right x3
By nocutius (SI Elite) on Jul 31, 2013
nocutius
Oh right, you live right in the neighborhood, you guys better put a fence up or something.
Save us Belgium, you're our only hope :).
By SirRoderick (SI Elite) on Jul 31, 2013
SirRoderick
We'll work something out you poor lads.
By Hammerjinx (SI Core) on Jul 31, 2013
Hammerjinx
It's not about kids. Kids should not be accessing R18+ material. Even if you could 100% foolproof block kids out of R18+ there still has to be a limit. I think that the current R18 rating allows for plenty of content kids should not be seeing, and plenty were it prolly wouldn't matter if they did. It's about protecting adults and creating the kind of society you actually want to live in.

It's not about enforcing morals onto people. It's about respecting peoples morals. Again, there has to be a line.

It does not make any difference where the line gets drawn, there will be people who think it's too high, and people who think it's too low.

I have not addressed pharmaceutical drugs because that's not the issue in SRIV. With the current guidelines you can have real world names for medicines so long as the effect is somewhat consistent with the actual drug. Having morphine top up your health and you're g2g isn't realistic and could set dangerous expectations.

Again, with all of this, what does it hurt to err on the side of caution? I could not give a rats arse if they call it morphine, or med-x, or happy-go-go-juice-time-pills. It does not effect the gameplay, but it *might* effect someone who is addicted to morphine, or make someone not treat a legit prescription with the gravity and respect they should. I could not give a flying fuck if they call it crack, or pot, or alien narcotics, or alien tech-nanos. Someone else might.

Arguments for a more permissive standard are valid, but keep in mind that you could just as easily apply those arguments to other areas of legality.

I'm an adult. I should be allowed to watch what I want.
I'm an adult. I should be allowed to smoke what I want.
I'm an adult. I should be allowed to shoot up what I want.
I should be allowed to end arguments with violence.
I should be allowed to rape someone.
I should be allowed to take my point way to far for the purposes of hyperbole.

The line drawn on ratings is equivalent to the line drawn on the rule of law. If adults were 100% trustworthy we wouldn't need laws and police. If adults were 100% trustworthy we wouldn't need limits on an adult rating. Sadly almost nobody is 100% trustworthy. So we have lines. There has to be a line.

Frankly, that the OFLC got threats of violence and rape because of their decision to refuse classification to SRIV shows there's a lot of adults that can't be trusted, and fully justifies measures to prevent normalising that kind of fucked up behaviour. Not trying to stamp it out, not trying to change the world. Just trying to *not* stand up and say that that kind of shit is ok.

So, yeah. The line is a bit higher than I'd like, and there are some seemingly odd consequences of the guidelines in place, but there has to be a line.
By SirRoderick (SI Elite) on Jul 31, 2013
SirRoderick
YOU DONT NEED T PROTECT ADULTS! Not from entertainment media! They are adults and can make their own decisions. If an ADULT wants to buy saints Row, you have no reasonable grounds to prevent him from doing so! You're presenting rightwing authoritarian arguments that would fit right into the absolute monarchies of the 19th century.

Completely outdated and frankly MORE dangerous.

And your ad absurdum style of dismissing civil liberties is as ridiculous as your stretchings of reality.
By herodotus (SI Herodotus) on Jul 31, 2013
herodotus
The point, though is clear...at least for me. Yes, I am an adult. Yes, I am over 18 (way over).. However, and I do not have the time these days to wax lyrical as Hammer can, a game that has the player taking part, willingly or unwillingly, in any criminal activity is a dangerous one. Yes, it appeals to the darker side of all of our human natures that will always be with us (unless gene-spliced out) but drug pushing/using is not one of them.
I for one do not agree with the inclusion of it in games, and wish to God someone would just get serious and stomp it out altogether. It's ruining far too many lives, even virtually. If I were on the OFLC I might think something along the lines of:
"Now by trying out drugs an/or selling them in a game appeals to me, as a youth or an adult, might I be tempted to try the real thing? How abut we just don't go down that road just to be sure".
By Hammerjinx (SI Core) on Jul 31, 2013
Hammerjinx
Adults do need protection. It is the very reason we have laws at all. Some adults can't make reasonable adult decisions. That's why we have law enforcement.

Saying that an adult should be allowed to play (unedited) SRIV is akin to saying that an adult should be allowed to play anything at all without limit or discretion. Again, I'd refer back to my SimPedo example. It is absolutely reducto ad absurdum. It is ridiculous - that's the whole point. It's an extreme example deliberately chosen such that you cannot viably defend its endorsement, and that almost nobody would want to. The point it illustrates is that there HAS TO BE A LINE. It might not be the line that's currently been set, but we can surely agree that it has to be before we reach SimPedo.

If you do not accept there has to be a line then you are, by proxy, endorsing SimPedo. If you do accept there has to be a line then the argument becomes entirely about where to set the line. If you do accept that there has to be a line, you have to accept that the reason for that line is that some adults will not make good decisions and don't need normalisation, endorsement, or encouragement for their bad behaviour.

After that, I think we can have a much more reasonable chat about where that line goes. I think, at that point, it becomes a matter of what is an acceptable percentage of the population to scandalise, marginalise, and/or jeopardise by setting the line at a more permissive level. It's a matter of risk vs reward.

If it actually added something to the experience to keep these things in then I think a lot of people would be willing to stretch the boundary a little. Even with the current system sexual violence and rape is permissable if it is *justified in the context*. For giggles isn't going to cut it. As is, nothing that's been raised as reasons for denying classification under the R18+ rating would detract from the game by it's removal.

When the reward is nil the acceptable risk is nil.
By SirRoderick (SI Elite) on Jul 31, 2013
SirRoderick
Well at least now I know why Australia is like this, the peope there actually think like that.

You have fun in your nanny state, I'll be playing Saint's Row IV
By herodotus (SI Herodotus) on Jul 31, 2013
herodotus
The fact, dear Roddy, is that we THINK!
You go play....:)
By SirRoderick (SI Elite) on Jul 31, 2013
SirRoderick
Whatever you say mate
By herodotus (SI Herodotus) on Jul 31, 2013
herodotus
Couldn't resist buddy. Been too long without a joust:)
By danfreeman (SI Elite) on Jul 31, 2013
danfreeman
Hero just because you think does not make you smart,thinking about tits does not require high brain activity now does it? :)
By herodotus (SI Herodotus) on Jul 31, 2013
herodotus
Shows just where your mind is Dan. By "think", I didn't mean "day dream".:)
By Hammerjinx (SI Core) on Aug 01, 2013
Hammerjinx
Also, intelligence can help one fully comprehend the awesome enormity of just how wonderful tits are.

Think like what, Rod? That perhaps making allowances for other people is a good thing? That maybe we don't really gain from being able to virtually arse rape people with a giant dildo purely because violent anal penetration is funny? That maybe we don't want a culture where people think that rape and threats of rape is a jolly good time?

Civilsation is built on community, and that means defending our weak, and that means compromise.

If you mean to say that the way we think is with care, compassion, and forethough of consequences then my question becomes; why do you *not* want people to think like that?

I mean really, I'm not saying that I think the current level is correct. Just that there has to be a level and that, once set, we should show a modicum of respect for that rather than, for example, threatening to rape people because they uphold that guideline.

Do you accept the premise that an adult rating needs limits?
I'd really like to know.
By JonahFalcon (SI Elite) on Aug 01, 2013
JonahFalcon
Mark Twain had a better quote: “Censorship is telling a man he can't have a steak just because a baby can't chew it.”

Incidentally, the offending drug is an alien narcotic. AN ALIEN NARCOTIC THAT GIVES THE PRESIDENT SUPERPOWERS.
By JonahFalcon (SI Elite) on Aug 01, 2013
JonahFalcon
PS. When will Australia ban alcohol, a DRUG that has killed more people than every single illicit substance COMBINED.
By SirRoderick (SI Elite) on Aug 01, 2013
SirRoderick
They can't do that, that would be consistent.

And as for you Hammerjinx, you know full well that EVERYONE would agree with that, it's the absolute absurdity of this line of yours that's the problem. And all you're doing is blowing it completely out of proportion to justify it. I can't even believe you're having a serious discussion about this, THE GAME IS ABOUT ALIENS! THIS IS NOT A SNUFF FILM
By Hammerjinx (SI Core) on Aug 01, 2013
Hammerjinx
An alien narcotic that is a thinly veiled pot reference that gives your in-game persona super powers. The could call it something else and modify the iconography and it'd be fine. They could allow its use without providing bonuses and it'd be fine. They may not have an illicit drug tied to any kind of reward system, even if they veil it behind a wink and a nudge. The absurdity of the surrounding situation does not alter the facts.

Again, objectively, I think it's a bit silly. Even if that content made *every* player light up a celebratory joint afterwards (which, blatantly, it would not) I wouldn't be bothered much. But pot is currently illegal and they must draw the line clearly, and that means treating it with the same gravity as if it was mimicking a more serious drug.

I do think the "alien probe" was a good call. When I first read about it I objected to the OFLC decision, but when I found out the precise nature of the implement I agreed with the decision to refuse classification. Yes, it's absurd and only for giggles, but it *is* rape, violently so, and the increasing rape culture is a real problem that needs to be curbed, not endorsed as a good joke.

The absurdity of the game's premise makes no difference to the level of acceptability. To take another absurd overstep to illustrate my point, if you got super powers from shoving naked alien babies down the front of your pants then that's equally wacky and crazy but is patently crossing the line for the majority of people. I'm not saying the two are equal in any way, they're not - I'm just pointing out that the argument that none of it matters because it's for lulz is invalid.

Upon agreeing that there needs to be a limit to what an adult rating allows for, how do you think the position of that line should be decided?

@Jonah:
I do actually think that better control around booze would be good. Most people don't need it, but wouldn't suffer from it, and as you point out, lots of people have died from alcohol related issues and those people clearly needed more help. Prohibition is taking it way too far, but help and education and moderation would all clearly be beneficial. It's also true however that the high level of mortallity is primarily due to its prevalence rather than its lethality. I don't know the figures, but I'd suggest that a much higher percent of users abuse "hard" drugs, and likewise a greater percentage of users would die from their drug or complications cause by such.

There are also areas of our laws where I think we could afford to take a step back and not take it so seriously.

All that's a separate debate though.
By SirRoderick (SI Elite) on Aug 01, 2013
SirRoderick
I will be eternally grateful to be born in a country that doesn't harbour such antiquated and ridiculous points of view. You do whatever you want to do over there, but you can never convince me that it's based on anything but a thorough devaluation of freedom and downright paranoia.
By Hammerjinx (SI Core) on Aug 01, 2013
Hammerjinx
Freedom is an illusion. You are not free in the truest sense. You, your life, and everything you do is beholden to what society permits. You are not free to steal money, for example. You are barely free to *earn* a large amount of money.

There are laws that curtail your freedom in almost every possible aspect of your life. It doesn't matter which country you live in. There are limits on what you are allowed.

Faced between absolute freedom in anarchy and being free in all the ways that matter under the rule of law everyone in their right mind chooses law.

Paranoia? This is reality. People get effed up on drugs. People steal, and rape, and kill. We, as a society, owe it to ourselves to help those people. To protect them and to be protected from them.

**I** am glad to live in a country that has socialised medicine.
I'm glad to live in a country where you don't even consider asking your kids' friends' parents what kind of guns they own and how they are stored.
I'm glad to live in a country that isn't willing to let its people suffer just so we can scrape up a little more illusion of freedom.
I'm glad to live in a country that isn't a world leader in imprisoning their own population.

I'd argue that I am more free than most. My eyes are open, and more importantly so is my heart.
By SirRoderick (SI Elite) on Aug 01, 2013
SirRoderick
I fundamentally disagree with your sad perspective and nothing you say can sway me, nor can anything I say sway you.

Now are you going to write another chapter to your rant or accept that?

AS FOR your last point, I think you'll find that ALL of those things are true as well in Belgium, a country where the state is perfectly happy to allow it's citizens to buy a bloody game. Which is still what this argument is about. You are defending making disagreeable game content illegal using arguments based on gun control, drug abuse, rape, anarchy and downright fascist policies. YOU ARE INSANE if you think that is a proportionate response.
By JonahFalcon (SI Elite) on Aug 01, 2013
JonahFalcon
Might I remind everyone the average age of a videogamer is now 37. By then, they will have taken drugs based on peer pressure, not video games.
By Mindrax (SI Core) on Aug 01, 2013
Mindrax
Sad.
By herodotus (SI Herodotus) on Aug 01, 2013
herodotus
Bullscookies Jonah. That may be true in your country, but not here. That's all I'm going to say about that, as I work in the Drug & Alcohol Abuse/Recovery sector and know the stats, real and official. Once you've worked the streets in Outreach programs, then come preach to me about drug use and it's problems...and the average age.

Now, that's my rant. As for the rest of you...cool it. Ultimately I believe we all agree on the same principles. As far as Australia is concerned, and this is true of any country, without a Bill of Rights (sadly abused and misused in the name of power and corruption in the U.S.) the people have no real say in what happens in their country. We don't have one, and the Government will never allow us to have one - it would be too dangerous for them. Every read our Constitution Hammer? It would bring sleep to an insomniac it's that rubbish and useless. Without a Bill of Rights, we have NO say in what happens in our own country. Don't be fooled.

We here in Oz are taking a hard line on ALL drugs, except illicit ones strangely enough (and I'll let you know why in a bit). Cigarettes are now set to rise by 12.5% annually over the next four years, and the tax on alcohol is rising steadily on an annual basis. What happens? The cost of living goes up for those still using or abusing these substances...or the numbers taking them drop. Guess what...we get both. In Singapore, two decades ago or more, they raised the price of a pack of cigarettes to astronomical prices and now barely anyone smokes.

As for illicit drugs - they'll never be legal here, at least not in my lifetime...unless there is a massive shift in thinking.
Why? Because it is good for business, government business. If drugs were legalised here (and they aren't truly legal ANYWHERE guys), the crime would drop and there would be no need for such an expanded police force nor prison system. In other words, it all comes down to jobs and funding. Try to take money from the Police and see what happens.

As for what's happening with this game, well I still say it is a good conscience vote by the OFLC, flying as it is in the face of public gaming pressure. Someone needs to keep an eye on our flagging morals, and parents sure as Hell aren't doing it.
By JonahFalcon (SI Elite) on Aug 01, 2013
JonahFalcon
It's not good for business. Pharmaceutical companies want you to buy THEIR drugs, not natural drugs. They're trying to find ways to MIMIC natural drugs.
By Mindrax (SI Core) on Aug 01, 2013
Mindrax
In the name of Mammon, in profit we trust.
Scary frankly.
By Hammerjinx (SI Core) on Aug 02, 2013
Hammerjinx
We do not have the same level of pharmacorp dominance you guys do. Most medicinces we can get at much lower prices, and if that's too much then most of the ones people really need are available as a generic brand for a few dollars per packet, or even free if you're on a government benefit. It's also worth noting that retaining the ban on illicit drugs *is* good for the pharmaceutical companies also. While there's not a lot of legit medical uses for, say, ketamine, or heroin, there are some. Frankly I think the risks of heroin far outweighs the benefits, but some wouldn't care about that and would totally use heroin over spending a wad on a pharmacorp's latest walletectomy pill.

I don't think there's any good reason to legalise some of those drugs. Some could probably be of benefit medically, but would need very strict control. There's probably even some that could be used recreationally without too much drama. Whether that means they *should* be legal... well I don't think we're even close to having a real debate about that in Australia. With pot, for example, compared to the US we have fewer public advocates, and it's illegal status isn't causing anything like the social problems it has over there. People who want it can get it, users don't go to gaol, or even get fined generally, and so it's really only large scale farmers and distributors that are particularly effected by the laws on that matter.

I'd like to see tobacco weeded out and alcohol abuse curtailed. I have doubts that the reasoning behind not legalising recreational narcotics is because we want to spend more money on law enforcement. I'd agree that trying to remove police funding would be... difficult.

While we do not have a bill of rights we do still have a say. We are a democracy and if things start going sour we can change the way we vote or even exercise our ability to protest.
By Hammerjinx (SI Core) on Aug 04, 2013
Hammerjinx
lol - I heard that SRIV has now been granted a rating... of MA15+.

The rest of the game mustn't be as bad as all that. What little public discourse I've read indicates the public's feeling is that this is *further* justification for allowing the original content in an R18+ game.

This is actually good for the devs. I know at PAX Aus there were a lot of disappointed 15-17 year olds denied entry to the R18+ SRIV booth. It'll give them more sales.

Interesting times.