17 Video Games That are Banned Around the World

17 Video Games That are Banned Around the World

Censorship has always played a major part in restricting art forms such as music, films, and the like. Although the video game industry is still relatively new, it too has had its share of bans and restrictions. In this article, we provide you with a list of the top 17 banned video games in the world.

Did You Know?
In early 2014, China lifted a 14-year old ban on all video game consoles, including all PlayStations, Xboxes, Gamecubes, etc. Apparently, the ban was put in place as the government did not want children to waste their minds on video games. However, this ban was not really very effective, as it led to the rise of a thriving game black market.

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Video games have the ability to ignite all kinds of emotions in a player, depending on their themes. However, sometimes, some games also irk those who have never played them due to controversies rising from their violent content, sexual overtones, or just being politically improper, ruining the experience for gamers across the globe.

Over the last two decades, a large number of computer/video games have been banned, some in particular countries, and others in multiple nations. Although a few deserved their fate, others were simply banned for silly political point scoring. Most of the games mentioned below are worth playing, despite the controversies, as they managed to combine decent gameplay with a subject matter, which garnered valuable attention from the press.

Grand Theft Auto (Various Entries)
Published By Rockstar Games
Countries it is Banned In Brazil, Kuwait, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Thailand, United Arab Emirates
Release Date October 1997 to September 2013

Known for its promotion of mindless violence, racial and ethnic slurs, drug use, sex, organized crime, and virtually breaking every law known to man, it is no surprise that the Grand Theft Auto games are amongst the top banned video games in the world. While South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE banned the games due to their violence and profanity, Brazil banned the Episodes from Liberty City, as the game used the music of a Brazilian composer without proper authorization. Thailand has banned the entire GTA series because an 18-year old murdered a taxi driver in a way inspired by the game. In Indonesia, the San Andreas entry was not banned due to the depiction of violence or drugs. Instead, authorities took objection to the protagonist dancing with his girlfriend without any pants on.

EA Sports MMA
Published By Electronic Arts, Inc.
Countries it is Banned In Denmark
Release Date October 2010

EA Sports MMA, a competitive fighting game, saw a successful release all across the world, with the exception of Denmark. The reason for the ban is pretty strange. Apparently, Denmark has a law which prohibits the marketing of energy drinks, and EA Sports MMA is filled with these in-game adverts, which the company chose not to edit out.

Manhunt 1 and 2
Published By Rockstar Games
Countries it is Banned In Germany, Ireland, Malaysia, New Zealand, Russia, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom
Release Date November 2003 and October 2007

The goal of the Manhunt games is to control a prisoner/amnesiac, helping him escape from an asylum, all the while gruesomely murdering any living being in sight. Each kill made by the player is highly graphic and violent. Due to its disturbing nature, a multitude of counties, such as Germany, Malaysia, the United Kingdom, etc., banned these horror survival games. Manhunt 2 also has the dubious distinction of being the only game to have been banned in Ireland. However, with the amount of violence and high-quality imagery one finds in modern horror movies, banning the Manhunt games does not make much sense.

Pokémon Trading Card Game
Published By Nintendo
Countries it is Banned In Saudi Arabia
Release Date December 1998

Probably one of the most surprising entries on the list, the Pokemon Trading Card Game is popular across the world, even giving birth to a very successful merchandise and anime cartoon business. However, despite its non-offensive nature, Saudi Arabia banned the video game across the nation. Why? Because apparently, the authorities felt that certain cards in the game featured symbols of Zionism, and the game as a whole involved gambling.

Postal 1 and 2
Published By Running With Scissors
Countries it is Banned In Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, and many more.
Release Date September 1997 and April 2013

Postal 1 and 2 were banned in Australia, New Zealand, and Brazil for showing extreme violence and gross behavior, such as animal cruelty, public urination, racism, homophobia, and much more. The developers of the game commented that a player can complete the game without resorting to any of the horrible behavior, but the intention of the game is quite clear, making their argument a moot point.

Football Manager 2005
Published By Sports Interactive
Countries it is Banned In China
Release Date November 2004

Football games, in general, are designed to be as inoffensive as possible. After all, how can characters running around kicking a ball hurt anyone? Which is why, it was extremely surprising that the Football Manager 2005 game was banned in China. Investigations revealed that the game had separate Tibetan and Taiwanese teams, which was tantamount to recognizing Tibet and Taiwan as independent nations, irking Chinese authorities and leading to the ban. Eventually though, an edited version without the Tibet and Taiwan teams was released, and the ban was lifted.

Battlefield 4
Published By Electronic Arts
Countries it is Banned In Pakistan, China
Release Date October 2013

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Battlefield 4 chose both the Pakistani and Chinese armed forces as the bad guys in different stages of the game, and as expected, it was banned in both countries for discrediting their national image, and somehow being labeled as a threat to national security. In fact, selling or playing this game in Pakistan has can lead to jail or community service, which is a bit too much, considering it is only a game.

The Guy Game
Published By Top Heavy Studios
Countries it is Banned In United States of America
Release Date August 2004

The Guy Game is one of the few games to have been banned in the US, despite the country’s relaxed censorship standards. This game mostly involves watching video footage of sexy women in bikinis, and as the player progresses through the levels, the women eventually expose their breasts. However, after its release, it was revealed that, one of the models of the game was apparently 17 years of age while the shooting took place. This was against the anti-pornography laws protecting minors, and hence, the game was banned.

Published By Illusion
Countries it is Banned In New Zealand, Indonesia, Argentina, and many more.
Release Date April 2006

This game absolutely deserves to get banned all across the globe, as it is one of the most mentally sick video games in history. The objective of the game is to have the player stalk and rape a family consisting of a mother and her two daughters. While it is not surprising that the game was banned in many countries, what is surprising is Argentina’s reason for banning the game. Apparently, the main problem that the Argentinian authorities had with the game is that, one of the daughters appears to be underage, which makes me wonder how such a game would be alright if all the women in the game were over 18?

God of War (Series)
Published By SCE Santa Monica Studio
Countries it is Banned In Saudi Arabia
Release Date 2005 to 2013

The theocracy in Saudi Arabia considers all video games having ‘God’ as a part of the title to be blasphemy, which is why, all games in the God of War series is unconditionally banned across the nation. Sexual themes and partial nudity of the characters were other nails in the coffin. In addition, the developers of the game are completely prohibited from ever setting foot in this country.

Mass Effect (Series)
Published By BioWare
Countries it is Banned In Singapore, United Arab Emirates
Release Date 2007 to 2013

The first Mass Effect game was banned in Singapore due to a ‘lesbian’ sex scene between a woman character and an androgynous alien which looked feminine. Following this, all the sequels have been banned in the United Arab Emirates, because the player can have homosexual relations with in-game characters as a part of the gameplay.

Medal of Honor: Warfighter
Published By Electronic Arts
Countries it is Banned In Pakistan
Release Date October 2012

The game has many missions where you are tasked with destroying a number of terrorist hideouts located on Pakistani soil. Obviously, Pakistan took objection to the game showing their country as a hotbed for Al Qaeda and other jihadist groups, leading to a countrywide ban there.

Command and Conquer: Generals
Published By Electronic Arts
Countries it is Banned In China
Release Date February 2003

Although the Chinese forces were shown to be the supporting good guys in Command and Conquer: Generals, the Chinese authorities did not like the fact that the game showed the destruction of China’s landmarks, such as the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Center and the Three Gorges Dam. They felt it showed the Chinese army and government in poor light, which is why the game was banned over there.

Published By Sierra Entertainment
Countries it is Banned In Australia
Release Date October 1995

The plot of Phantasmagoria revolves around a couple who move into a home previously owned by a black magic practitioner. Now, the house is possessed by a demon, which takes control of the husband, making him commit violent acts towards his wife. The violence in the game includes a rape scene and a pendulum slicing the wife’s head in half. This prompted Aussie authorities to ban this scary game.

Wolfenstein 3D
Published By Apogee Software
Countries it is Banned In Germany
Release Date May 1992

Germany, as a rule, is very strict on computer and video games which have references to Nazis or Hitler. Which is why Wolfenstein 3D, a game revolving around an Allied spy who is escaping Castle Wolfenstein, killing Nazi soldiers, and even killing Adolf Hitler, caused the game to be banned here.

Published By Stainless Games
Countries it is Banned In United Kingdom
Release Date October 1997

Carmageddon is a graphically violent vehicle combat game, which encourages the player into running over virtual people while racing in a car. The British Board of Film Classification objected to the game and had it banned, saying that, it could encourage road rage in the real world. This made the company change the blood of the dying people into green ooze or oil, signifying that the players were either killing zombies or robots, rather than living people. The change eventually led to a relaxation of the ban.

Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction
Published By Pandemic Studios
Countries it is Banned In South Korea
Release Date January 2005

Mercenaries was banned in South Korea upon release, citing the reason that, the game could lead to a rise in tension between North and South Korea. Since the video game depicts North Korea as villains, and considering how touchy North Korea is, the decision to ban the game might have been a wise one.

While countries such as France and South Africa are not known for bans on any game, a few countries have implemented blanket bans on computer and video games. For example, in the pursuit of stopping online gambling, Greece banned all electronic video games in 2002, and the sale of any electronic media games could lead to huge fines and imprisonment. The rule was relaxed in 2005 following protests from the European Union. Now, only games with financial transactions are banned. On the other hand, Venezuela has banned all games which have shooting any weapon as a part of play, in a bid to stem rising violence across the country.

So, have you played any of the games mentioned above, and were you aware that they were banned somewhere in the world? What is your opinion on these bans? Are there any games that we missed, which you think deserve a mention? Please let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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