The Fallout series we all know and love was banned in Australia because the Australian government thought one very specific aspect of Fallout 3 was far too similar to real life and would be a bad influence.
Why? Chems. Chems are consumables that change the status of your character. Taking Mentats, for example, increase your character’s intelligence and Buffout increases strength. Back in 2008 Fallout 3 was refused classification in Australia by the Office of Film & Literature Classification. The Australian government decided that Chems too closely resembled actual drugs. If you’re not familiar with the drug gameplay, here controversial YouTuber Willy Mammoth experiments with chems in Fallout 4 and gives a pretty good rundown:
To be fair, they do look quite similar- Chems are modeled in game after syringes, pipes, and even pills. Med-X was even worse, the Chem was originally called morphine. Straight up. No creative renaming of the drug. The Australian government didn’t take kindly to this and refused to rate the game, effectively banning it from sale. Even after Bethesda changed the name of morphine to Med-X, the Australian government still wasn’t happy. They eventually figured things out, because all the Fallout games are now available for purchase in Australia.
Here was the Australian government’s explanation, taken from the fallout Wikia:
“The game contains the option to take a variety of “chems” using a device which is connected to the character’s arm. Upon selection of the device a menu selection screen is displayed. Upon this screen is a list of “chems” that the player can take, by means of selection. These “chems” have positive effects and some negative effects (lowering of Intelligence, or the character may become addicted to the “chem”). The positive effects include increase in Strength, stamina, resistance to damage, Agility and hit points.
Corresponding with the list of various “chems” are small visual representation of the drugs, these include syringes, tablets, pill bottles, a crack-type pipe and blister packs. In the Board’s view these realistic visual representations of drugs and their delivery method bring the “science-fiction” drugs in line with “real-world” drugs.”
One of the reasons for the ban was of the opiate painkiller, morphine being one of the chems that would have been available to use by players. As a result of the ban Bethesda decided to have morphine renamed to Med-X. Evidence of this last minute change is the fact Med-X’s editor ID is “Morphine” and Med-X addiction’s editor ID is “WithdrawalMorphine”.
Personally, I think the ban was quite extreme. Even though I understand the reason why Fallout was banned, I think the reaction was quite extreme. The games are already M-rated and anyone playing them should know better than to take a copious amount of drugs like the characters of Fallout can and do. In addition, it’s not like the Chems only give positive effects; taking too many Chems too often will give your character addiction and withdrawal status problems (unless of course you have a perk that lets you take as many as you want without any negative side effects, but that’s beside the point).