From offensive cultural toilet claims to sexual encounters between a feminine alien’s and female human’s, today we are going to take a look at some video games that were banned in countries for unexpected reasons!
Onwards with the list!
First off we will have a look at China. Quite a lot of games are banned in the People’s Republic of China, so it’s no surprise that a few games have made this list from that country. In fact from June 2000 until 2013, home gaming consoles were completely banned in the China. Usually it’s games that contain drugs, excessive sexual themes or just the stock standard too much gore. However there have also been a couple of other games that were banned for unexpected reasons.
You would think that a game of soccer would be pretty innocent, however bizarrely the game Football Manager 2005 was banned in China, because it recognized Taiwan and Tibet as independent countries. Later on there was an edited version of the game that was released globally.
In another similar incident Hearts of Iron was also banned. The game portrayed Tibet, Sinkiang and Manchuria as independent countries, as well as showing Taiwan as under Japanese control.
Iran isn’t typically known for its leniency when it comes to freedom of expression and speech, and this extends to video games too. Iran usually bans a video game if it depicts cruelty, contains excess violence, has a negative depiction of the Middle East or contains strong sexual content. Having said this, it should come as no surprise that Battlefield 3 was banned due to its fictional US invasion of Tehran.
It wasn’t only Battlefield 3 that was caught in a banning though!
Pokémon Go was banned due to security reasons. Apparently showing maps of places is a bit too dangerous when you live in Iran.
Another game was Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni which was banned for supposed excessive themes of glorifying homosexual and immoral values. If you still want to play it in Iran though, it does not extend to digital distribution so you can go ahead and download it.
Mexico surprisingly made this list too. Not usually a place we associate with anything being banned, actually has a game that is on a nationwide ban.
The opening mission in Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 (yes that’s a long game name) doesn’t show Mexico at it’s peak.
In fact, in this level you and your tactical team work with the authorities of Mexico to get rid of guerrillas from the Mexican streets. Well, the Juarez mayor didn’t like the idea of anything painting his city unsafe! So much so that he persuaded the governor of Chihuahua to stop any of the game itself from selling in the state.
New Zealand –
You wouldn’t have guessed it but even little old New Zealand makes this list too. That’s right, the home of the hobbit doesn’t enjoy all forms on fantasy. In particular the video game series known as Postal just leaves the country wanting a little more in the decorum department.
I guess there is something about having a key bound to urinating that just rubs the old sheep lovers the wrong way. In fact, the official ban on the game lists a number of things that are wrong with the game. Including Racial and Ethnic Stereotypes, Gross, abhorrent content: urination, Animal cruelty, High impact violence and even homophobia.
If you are caught owning a game from the postal series in NZ then you are up for a $1,400 fine! Better stay away from it and play some good old Mario Kart instead.
Did you know that the first ever commercialised video game developed in Pakistan was called Cricket Revolution? This was back in October 29, 2009 and was released by one of the only Pakistani video game companies, Mindstorm Studios. Pretty neat, hey…well I guess if you a cricket fan anyway. Whilst a game of cricket isn’t that controversial in itself, Pakistan is actually quite weary of its reputation, and this is also extended to the world of Video games.
The first two games banned by Pakistan were Medal of Honor: Warfighter and also Call of Duty: Black Ops II. Both of these games were banned for portraying Pakistanis Negatively. Another game that was banned for a somewhat unexpected reason was Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni, and just like Iran, it was blocked in the country due to sexual content and excessive themes of glorifying homosexuality.
Interestingly these bans do not extend to the digital versions of the games, so you can still get them online if you want to play them!
The Philippines is not usually associated with over regulation of videos games, however back in 1981 Ferdinand Marcos issued a presidential decree that outlawed the distribution and use of all video game consoles, pinball machines and even arcade games. He deemed them a “destructive social enemy” and also “to the detriment of the public interest”. Luckily for the Philippines this law has since been unenforced and disregarded.
There hasn’t actually been a nationwide ban of video games since 1986, however there has been at least one individual title that has been black listed since then. “Defense of the Ancients” was banned in barangay in Dasmariñas, Cavite, after there was some delinquency issues, where two murder incidents involving youths happened in the area, supposedly resulting from brawls in relation to the game Defense of the Ancients.
Better not give them a copy of Mario Party, that thing will cause a brawl amongst the best of friends!
Saudi Arabia –
The Middle Eastern states are kind of known for their restrictions on things, and Saudi Arabia is no different. For example Assassin’s Creed was banned for around two weeks because of it’s negative perception of Arabs.
What you might be surprised to hear is that the Pokemon Trading card game was also banned back in 2001. The strongly Muslim nation issued what’s called an edict which banned both the physical and electronic versions of the trading card game.
The reason behind all this hub-bub? The symbol used for energy in the game has a bit of a resemblance to the star of David. It sounds innocent enough, but it was considered to be promoting Zionism and the star is of course Israel’s national emblem. This is a big deal for Middle Eastern states, even though the resemblance wasn’t planned or intended.
South Korea –
With a rather hostile neighbour, South Korea is actually a pretty chilled country! With a population of around 51.25 million, South Korea is known for its nice green cherry tree dotted hillsides, centuries-old Buddhist temples and of course fishing!
What it’s not particularly known for is banning video games, but they have. For example Homefront was banned because of a negative portrayal of a unified Korea under a northern rule, which is fair enough considering their neighbours. In a more bizarre case, Danganronpa V3 was banned in September 2017 because there was a recent criminal case in the country where a 17 year old girl killed and even dismembered an 8 year old child! Intense stuff, so the game was banned to prevent futher controversies.
Ah Thailand, the home of beautiful beaches, exotic creatures and of course it’s debaucherous night life.
You wouldn’t think much is a no go in this country, unless you are insulting their royalty or something. But aside from that there is actually at least 1 video game title that is banned in the country. Tropico 5. This game was banned because the military junta claimed that it could affect peace and order within Thailand.
I guess the drunken farang are fine though!
United Arab Emirates –
The United Arab Emirates has a cool name. They also don’t like some video games. Quite a few actually! My half arsed research puts the count of banned games somewhere around 7, at least!
Mostly it’s the usual culprits causing the banning. You know, scantily clad characters, pictures of the Qur’an in the toilet, Conflicts of customs and traditions, homosexuality, that sort of thing. Whilst some bans may be reasonable it does make you question your freedom of speech, so that’s something.
Some of the games included good old Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni, COD 4, Dragon Age: Origins, and even Mass effect 3 and 4.
So there you have it, a bunch of Video games that were banned around the world for some unexpected reasons. Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel and check out some of our gaming related content videos. I recommend our game genie hijinx series or game facts personally! Make sure you don’t miss it, take a look now!
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