It's no great surprise but it's still good news of a sort for Australian gamers: An edited version of Fallout 3 will be released Down Under for gamers who don't want to fall afoul of the country's importation laws.
Gamerchip has a report saying representatives from GAME and EB Games have confirmed a modified version of the title has been added to their release schedules. Few details are available, although the site says the game has been edited to remove drug use, which caused the country's Office of Film and Literature Classification to refuse to issue the game a rating in the first place. Presumably, explosive, slow-motion headshots, thermonuclear immolation and other graphic forms of murderous carnage will remain intact.
The game was initially reported as banned in early July due to the presence of "chems," a variety of real and fictional drugs which can affect a player's stats and abilities. One of the OFLC's many guidelines states, "Material that contains drug use and sexual violence related to incentives and rewards is Refused Classification," a rule which, right or wrong, the Fallout games blatantly contradict. While some gamers have expressed their intention to import the game from overseas, after much debate it was determined that doing so would violate Australian Customs laws regarding the importation of material that has been refused classification. While the penalty is small - generally resulting in no more than the seizure of the game - unlucky gamers could find themselves out some bucks with nothing to show for it.
Whether or not this convinces die-hard Fallout fans to shop Australian is up in the air. More casual gamers will likely opt for the convenience of the domestic version, but long-time aficionados may not be happy playing a neutered release. And while the censored edition of the game has not yet been reviewed and passed by the OFLC, the changes are presumably targeted to address the censor's complaints, and it would appear that once again our Aussie fellows are going to suffer as a result of their government's inflexibility and willful ignorance toward videogames.