If you missed the news a little while ago, upcoming dystopian game, We Happy Few, was refused classification in Australia for the way players use drugs throughout it. As Kotaku Australia reports, the classification board has received an appeal and will be reviewing the ban next month.
The title was originally banned because of its use of the fictional drug, “Joy“, which, when taken by the player, can make the game easier. The Board sees this as a benefit and as such, a bad message to convey to those playing.
“A player that takes Joy can reduce gameplay difficulty, therefore receiving an incentive by progressing though the game quickly,” the report said, going on to give examples.
“In another sequence, the player is seen in first-person view, entering a telephone box that contains three large pill dispensers, each holding a different flavoured Joy pill. The player consumes a Joy pill and a swarm of brightly-coloured butterflies appear as well as rainbows and coloured pathways on the ground, improving speed and visibility for the player.”
The big argument folks are making here is that the context in which these drugs are consumed isn’t given enough weight. We Happy Few is set in a dystopian world where its citizens are forced to consume the drug to keep them in a constant state of, well, joy. You’ll play 3 different characters, all of whom are trying to get the fuck outta there, but in order to stay hidden from guards, Joy needs to be taken. It’s a central mechanic of the game and can’t really be changed in any small way.
Today’s press release from the Board invites anyone who wants to be counted as an “interested party” in the review to write to the Convenor of the Review Board via the email or address in the full statement below. It’s all going down on July 3, but public submissions close this Friday the 29th of June.
The Classification Review Board has received an application to review the classification of the computer game We Happy Few. We Happy Few was refused classification by the Classification Board on 21 May 2018. The Classification Review Board will meet on 3 July 2018 to consider the application. The decision and reasons will later be published on www.classification.gov.au.
If an individual or organisation wishes to apply for standing as an interested party to this review, please write to the Convenor of the Review Board. The names of interested parties will be disclosed in the Review Board’s final decision report, unless requested otherwise. The closing date to lodge your application for standing as an interested party and any submissions is 29 June 2018. Please note that the Review Board can only consider submissions about We Happy Few itself and not any other matters relating to computer game classification policy or issues generally.
Submissions should be emailed to email@example.com or sent to:
Classification Review Board
Locked Bag 3
HAYMARKET NSW 1240
The Classification Review Board is an independent merits review body. It makes a fresh classification decision upon receipt of an application for review. The Classification Review Board decision takes the place of the original decision made by the Classification Board.
Fingers crossed we get a positive outcome.
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Image: We Happy Few