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NARC banned in Australia

Officials fear computer game could turn entire population into bonged-out hippy crackmunchers.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

Australia's Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) has refused to grant classification for Midway's NARC, effectively banning the game from sale.

NARC is a third-person shooter that lets players take on the role of a police operative battling to end the war on drugs. Or just sniffing gak, smoking pot and injecting their eyeballs with crack, depending on the route the player decides to go down.

A panel of seven OFLC officers voted on the game. One member argued that it did meet guidelines stating that drug use in games is acceptable if "justified by context".

The remaining six panel members, however, denied classification on the grounds that the game fell into the category of titles "unsuitable for a minor to see or play."

This has caused some Australian gamers to call for an overhaul of the ratings system - at present the highest classification that can be awarded to games in Australia is 15+, and many feel an 18 certificate should be introduced.

NARC also recently came under fire in Victoria's House of Assembly, according to Australian website refused-classification. Labor Party politician Jude Perera is quoted as saying:

"A video game supposedly coming into the USA market shortly will involve the taking of drugs, showing how drugs can create blackouts, drug addiction, job loss and, finally, overdose and death.

"These types of games glamorise drug addiction and could be triggers for psychotic behaviour." Perera did not go on to say whether the game should show how drugs can also cause amusingly frantic dancing, fits of giggles about nothing and 4am trips to the garage to buy 28 packs of Revels instead.

According to refused-classification, John Fitzgerald of Melbourne University's School of Population Health believes the politicians are overreacting.

"Gamers are more interested in fantasy, not usually into drug-taking, and they deal with drug-taking in fantasy differently than in reality," he said.

"They would see drug-taking as a fantasy behaviour rather than one that affected real life behaviour."

The OFLC also recently banned Vivendi's Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude from sale on the grounds that it is completely rubbish. Possibly.

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