It’s December 5, 2014 and, (for all you history nerds out there), that means it’s officially been 81 years since Prohibition ended in the United States. To ring in such a special occasion, we decided to take a look at 5 famous video games that were (and in some cases still are) banned by other countries.
These range from the understandable to the completely absurd and we here at the 8CN (proudly based in the U.S. of A) can only shake our collective heads in disbelief and mockingly appreciate the fact that America basically doesn’t ban anything in video games (outside of straight-up rape/incest/creepy Japanese dating sims).
Seriously, here in the States, we not only allow gratuitous sex and violence in our video games, we encourage it. As such, the first (frequently) banned entry on the list shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.
5. Grand Theft Auto (Various Entries)
Rockstar’s baby (and cash cow) both promotes and celebrates the use of senseless violence, racial and ethnic slurs, the breaking of every law known to man, drug use, sexual promiscuity, and even organized crime for one’s own personal gain. Grand Theft Auto, as a series, generally doesn’t have much in the way of rules. Players are free to run down, gun down, or ho-down (get it?) at their leisure and each new game in the franchise seems to be on a mission to break the profanity-standard set by the previous game.
So, it’s not hard to imagine why the game franchise was banned in Brazil, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, just to name a few.
Interestingly though, the ban on Episodes from Liberty City in Brazil came as a result of music in the game, belonging to Brazilian composer Hamilton da Silva Lourenço, that was used without the proper permissions. Gotta handle those copyright issues (I’m looking at YOU, Piratebay).
In a less humorous bit of equally interesting information, the entire Grand Theft Auto franchise is currently banned in Thailand due to an 18-year-old player who murdered a taxi driver in 2008 in a fashion that was apparently inspired by a GTA game.
4. EA Sports MMA
This ban was limited to a single country, but it’s worth including given the absurdity surrounding it. EA Sports MMA, a fighting game developed by EA and released in 2010 for PS3 and Xbox 360, never saw a release in Denmark.What could Denmark possible have against an MMA game that they’d go out of their way to ban it?
Turns out, Denmark has a law on the books that prohibits the marketing of energy drinks, which EA chose to not edit out of the game.
3. Manhunt 2
The goal of Manhunt 2 is to control an amnesiac and escape from an insane asylum in search of answers to his missing past…while murdering every breathing soul in sight.
While the graphics in the game leave a lot to be desired, the murders are explicit and violent as all hell, especially if players elect to use “Level 3” executions. It’s senseless violence at its finest and manages to go further than a lot of more modern games.
Due to the disturbing nature of the killing in this game (at one point you can actually bore someone’s eyes out with a power drill), Manhunt 2 has been banned (at various points) in Ireland, Germany, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Korea and the United Kingdom, and was nearly banned in Italy as well.
Ironically, Manhunt 2 also holds the distinction of being the only banned game in Ireland, though the ban was later lifted. This is because the Irish Film Classification Office basically never rates games. Manhunt 2 just happened to be the only game to ever exceed their acceptable rating of 18.
As disturbing as the violent sequences in Manhunt 2 are, I never did see what the big deal was. Modern horror movies casually depict violence that is regularly on the level, if not exceeding, what can be done in the game, in a far more realistic manner. It was a PS2-era game, people. Get over it.
2. Call of Duty (Various Entries)
The yearly bullet-ridden corpse that is the Call of Duty franchise has a habit of being banned (the status of said bans seems to depend on who’s in charge of the government at the time) by the countries that are often depicted as the bad guys. In particular, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan don’t have much love for these games.
The general reason for banning seems to be negative portrayals of one ethnic group or another (depending on which game you’re playing) and the game is actually available (in extremely rare cases) in Saudi Arabia, due to the government not devoting much time to enforcing bans on video games.
While Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was (incorrectly) reported as being banned in Russia, the game is available there though the controversial “No Russian” level that gives players the option of mass murdering a bunch of Russian civilians in an airport was edited out of the game.
In all honesty, I’m more offended by Call of Duty’s lack of any substance than I am by its penchant for shooting man after man after man after man after man after man after man after-
1. Pokémon Trading Card Game
What? Pokémon? What could possibly be ban-worthy about cute little pocket monsters fighting to the PG version of death in contests of skill, glory and nerditude?
In all seriousness, Pokémon is as addicting and fun to play as it was when I was a little kid playing on a monochrome non-backlit Gameboy screen. Aside from the monstrously successful video game franchise and anime series, folks worldwide enjoy the trading and competitions involving the Pokémon Trading Cards.
The trading card game is fun to play and easy to learn and collecting the cards is a long-valued tradition for Pokémon fans. Still, Saudi Arabia chose to ban the video game adaptation of the Pokémon Trading Card Game.
Because apparently, it promotes Zionism and involves gambling. I wonder if any of the people in Saudi Arabia have ever read the content on Smogon…