Video Games. Human interaction with a user interface through a display device of 2 or 3 dimensions. Video games have come a long way since Pong captivated neighborhood kids back in the 1970’s. The games being produced today can sometimes cost hundreds of millions of dollars to create and take years to put together. But the returns are rewarding. A good video game can out gross a great film and a big video game release has the ability to draw large crowds lining up outside stores for days awaiting stock of a new release.
The multi-billion dollar industry transcends all countries and cultures. But that doesn’t mean that you can procure the same big name titles in Brazil as you can in say Australia. Video games are subject to rating systems and some countries are not as open to violence, sex or just plain thrills that are on display upon game start. We looked at a list of video games that are banned around the world and some of our findings might surprise you.
In Australia, video games cannot be rated R18+, only up to MA15+. And if a title is put on the Australian Customs and Border Protection list, being found with a copy of a banned title at the border can result in imprisonment and a $110,000 fine. Yikes! There are over 20 titles banned in Australia including Left 4 Dead 2, Postal 2, Reservoir Dogs and Voyeur. Most are banned due to what Australia lists as ‘high impact violence’ but the most curious title on their banishment list is Marc Ecko’s Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure. The game released by The Collective Inc. in 2006 is banned for its “glorification of graffiti”.
Australia is likely home to the most censored titles of video games in the world. Grand Theft Auto III, Fallout 4, Aliens vs. Predator and others have all been modified by their respective software companies to fit under the MA15+ classification of the country.
Thanks to movies such as City of God, I consider Brazil to be a very violent place to live. But when it comes to video games, they don’t seem to have much tolerance for any gaming violent behavior. Banned in Brazil are Postal, Mortal Kombat, Doom, Duke Nukem 3D and EverQuest. Two titles, Carmageddon and Carmageddon II: Carpocalypse Now are both banned “because of high impact violence against pedestrians.”
The country that tried to ban book reading back in WWII continues the tradition of banning media when it comes to video games. Banned in Germany are titles such as Manhunt and Manhunt II, Soldier of Fortune: Payback and Dead Rising. Most interesting of the bunch are Mortyr which was banned for Nazi references and The Darkness which was banned because of the Nazi symbols in the bonus comic.
Ireland and Italy
These two countries have little in common. Except that both banned Manhunt 2 for a short period of time before lifting the ban and allowing distribution.
The country that bans Pokemon cards (they promote Zionism and gambling) has seven titles on their list of banned video games. So if you plan a trip to Saudi Arabia, don’t expect to play God of War, Call of Duty 4, Assassin’s Creed, Grand Theft Auto (any of them), Dante’s Inferno, L.A. Noire or Heavy Rain which was banned due to the interactive sex scenes.
Yet another country that doesn’t seem to enjoy letting its citizens play Grand Theft Auto or Manhunt. Also on their banned list is Homefront, a first-person shooter video game developed by Kaos Studios. Seems Homefront is banned for its negative portrayal of Korean culture.
United Arab Emirates
Adding to their growing list of banned movies, the UAE doesn’t take kindly to the video game industry either. The Grand Theft series is impossible to find there as is Heavy Rain, The Godfather II and Call of Duty 4. But more interesting is the banning of titles Mass Effect 2, Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II which are banned for their homosexual or lesbian relationship portrayals.
This might come as a surprise, but the UK has surprisingly little in the form of banned video games. Three titles, Carmageddon, Manhunt 2 and The Punisher were initially scrutinized but small edits to the games have allowed for all three titles to now be found on the rental shelves.
Other notables: Japan – one of the leaders in the video game industry – does not have any titles that are officially banned, but they did make adjustments to Fallout 3 because of a weapon in the game knows as the “Fat Man”. China banned Football Manager 2005 because it recognized Tibet as an independent country and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 was banned in the state of Chihuahua Mexico due to Mexican Rebels being antagonistic and the stereotyping of the city of Chihuahua and Ciudad Juarez.