Censorship and suppression of public speech and expression has been a big problem for many decades now. From films to magazines, music lyrics to TV shows and video games, there have been many cases where the authorities have gone to great lengths to ban or control into whose hands these products have ended up. Here is a list of 25 video games that got banned for insanely absurd reasons.
Far Cry 3
Far Cry 3 is by far the best game of the series (I am only being fair here), but if you live in Indonesia, please don’t go looking for it because you won’t find it. According to the authorities the game portrays life in Indonesia as similar to living in hell and, yes, it can be viewed as such since things like disease, starvation, and plague are some of the game’s main themes.
Postal 2 was banned in both Brazil and New Zealand for gross, abhorrent content such as urination, animal cruelty, homophobia, racism, and ethnic stereotyping among other little things. However, the game’s developers took the whole thing lightheartedly and assured that a “careful” gamer (whatever that means) could play the game without conforming to any of its sick content. Who’s kidding whom here? We will probably never know.
KZ Manager was banned in Germany and won the award for the “Most Unnecessary Game of the Year” at the 2001 IGN Awards. To be honest, we can understand the reasoning behind the ban; see, to play this game you have to become a Nazi concentration camp manager where the “resources” to be managed include prisoners who are either Jews or Gypsies. What the hell was the developer thinking?
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow
This game was banned in Indonesia because it includes a fictional terrorist group named Darah dan Doa, which translates to “Blood and Prayer” in English. Oddly enough, the country’s president considered the whole thing a direct threat to him and his people so the game was banned immediately.
In Homefront the gamer has to fight against a fictional North Korean military occupation of the US. The reason this game was banned in South Korea might sound crazy to most of us in the West, but we all have to admit that living below North Korea is no joke and allowing such a game on the market might upset Kim Jong-un who loves his nuclear weapons a little too much.
Saints Row 4
What we’ve learned with Saints Row 4 is how incredibly conservative Australia can be, at least when it comes to video games. Apparently, the game features a weapon with the bizarre name “alien anal probe” and this is the reason the game was banned, because it “obviously” promotes sexual violence.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Ironically, the fact that this game is filled with graphic violence, drugs, and guns didn’t bother the Indonesian authorities at all, but the protagonist CJ’s “no pants” dance with his girlfriend did and is why the game was banned there, while in the “progressive” United States the game received an “Adults Only” rating. Funny people!
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Well this game wasn’t technically banned, but it was edited to the point that the original doesn’t look much like the Russian version. See, the Russian mission that one could play in the original was removed and everyone’s happy now in Russia. Putin doesn’t want Russian gamers shooting other Russians, even in a fictional, digital “reality.”
Football Manager 2005
You’re probably wondering how football (soccer), in videogame form no less, could ever be banned in somewhere and for what reason. Well, in China recognizing Tibet as an independent nation, even in a sporting event, is a very bad thing so the game was banned as soon as the Chinese authorities found out about it. An edited version was later released worldwide where Tibet wasn’t included as an independent nation and China reconsidered in good faith.
Both IGN and UGO Entertainment included this game in their top 10 lists of “The Most Controversial Video Games Ever,” while it was ranked first in Gameranx’s list of the “Top 25 Goriest Games of all Time.” However, the uncut version became the first and only game to be refused classification by the British Board of Film Classification (therefore banned), due to excessive violence, a decision that shocked and disappointed the vast majority of British gamers.
The Xbox 360 version of this game was originally banned in Singapore because it was thought to be excessively violent and truthfully, there’s nothing wrong with that. Where things get a little cheeky is that shortly after, the ban was lifted for the PlayStation 3 version for some mysterious reason. Let’s be honest here—Sony just paid better, didn’t they?
Command & Conquer: Generals
This is one of the weirdest cases and we still can’t understand why China banned this game. The official excuse was that Command & Conquer: Generals portrayed the country in a “negative light” which, to be honest, confused us even more since anyone who has played the game knows that China is portrayed as the good guys and one of the world’s superpowers. Maybe the Chinese interpreter sucked at the game and lied to the Chinese government on purpose? We can’t think of any other logical explanation.
Battlefield 4 picked the Pakistani army as the bad guys at some stage of the game and as expected under such circumstances, the game was banned there. However, the surprise here wasn’t that the game was banned, but that the consequences for selling or playing the game include jail time and community service. Relax guys… it’s only a game!
The Guy Game
The Guy Game made history when it became one of the very few games in American history to get banned. The reason? Much of the game involves watching live-action video footage of sexy women in bikinis, and as the player succeeds in the game the women eventually expose their breasts, which is strangely against the existing pornography laws in the US, where ironically you can get very easy access to boobies in pretty much every hip-hop video and blockbuster film.
BlazBlue: Continuum Shift
Let’s get things straight here, BlazBlue: Continuum Shift is just another fighting game a la Street Fighter and Mortal Combat but its copies were violently pulled off store shelves in the United Arab Emirates and several other countries in the Middle East because the local authorities felt that the game’s characters were too raunchy and that their costumes revealed too much flesh. Oh yes!
Every Shooting Video Game In Venezuela
In November 2009, the government of Venezuela announced that it would ban all video games in which the objective was to shoot people, and they made sure to keep their promise a few months later. The ban was due to widespread violence in the country. That made Venezuela the first country to ban all violent video games thus making their manufacturing, distribution, selling, rental, exhibition, and use illegal there. Hugo Chávez didn’t play around!
Pokémon Trading Card Game
The Pokémon Trading Card Game was banned in Saudi Arabia because the cards supposedly promoted and supported Zionism. According to the mufti, the highest religious authority in the state, the cards have symbols that include the Star of David, which according to the mufti, is connected to international Zionism and is Israel’s national emblem. Nothing can shock us much more after this.
Three Sisters’ Story
This Japanese visual novel for your PC, which looks more like digital manga art than a traditional video game, was banned in New Zealand because it supposedly promoted and supported the use of violence to compel a person to submit to sexual conduct, and the exploitation of young persons for sexual purposes. An incomprehensibly harsh decision, not to say comical, especially when you take into account the kind of sexual content you can be exposed watching a blockbuster film in the theater or on TV.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2
It seems like this Tom Clancy series know how to get attention and Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 got in hot water and eventually banned in Mexico for the offensive, stereotypical portrayal of Mexican rebels who are depicted as the antagonists. Furthermore, the game negatively stereotyped the city of Chihuahua, which was what led to the ban in the first place.
However, the game can be found in the stores of other Mexican states, which means that the ban was only local.
In 2008 the Brazilian federal court ordered the prohibition of all sales of the game because, in their opinion, the game “brings imminent stimulus to the subversion of the social order, attempting against the democratic and rightful state and against the public safety.” To sum it up, the local Brazilian authorities reacted to a character in the game who uses a map that simulates a favela, aka a Brazilian ghetto.
First off, let’s make it clear that RapeLay was appropriately banned in several countries worldwide since it’s one of the sickest video games in history. To get an idea how disturbing this game is, the gamer’s mission is to stalk and rape a mother and her two daughters.
However, what shocked us even more is the reason it was banned for good in Argentina: apparently the main issue according to the Argentinian authorities was that one of the two daughters appeared to be underage. So the question is: If all the women in the game were over eighteen then it would be legit to sell it on the open market?
Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City
This game was banned in Brazil because it apparently uses music by a Brazilian composer, Hamilton da Silva Lourenço, without permission. Not sure if that benefited Lourenço’s album sales in any way, but we are pretty sure that the man gained many haters in Brazil who are diehard video gamers.
When you first hear that a blatantly disturbing scene of a lesbian encounter between an alien and a human is included in this game, you fully realize why this game was banned in Singapore. Oddly, the fact that an alien was having sex with a human wasn’t the reason for the ban but rather the lesbian action. Homophobic much in Singapore?
God of War
Saudi Arabian theocracy is above everything and anything of lesser substance in life, such as video games that include the name “God” in the title, which is considered an extreme blasphemy in the country, and thus an excellent reason for any game with the word in it to be banned there. Additionally, the game’s developers are permanently prohibited from ever entering the country or there will be blood. You get the point, right?
EA Sports MMA
Scandinavian countries are known for being really progressive and socially open-minded but they showed no tolerance for this game and banned it for the most ridiculous reason you could imagine. And no, the game wasn’t banned for excessive bloody violence as one might suspect but for marketing specific energy drinks, which is surprisingly against Danish law.