Video game makers who choose to be a bit more creative with their games can find themselves in a bit of trouble when their product gets pulled from store shelves because of violent, sexual or unsavory content. Here are some popular video games that got banned in certain countries, and the reasons behind it.
Manhunt 2 – The original Manhunt game got banned in countries like South Korea and New Zealand, but the second got hammered in even more places around the globe, and for a good reason — it’s extremely brutal. Because of this, UK refused to give it classification (it is that screwed up), while other countries including Germany, Ireland, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait completely banned the game.
RapeLay – A lot of games on this list were banned because of cultural misunderstandings, but not this one. This crazy Japanese game puts you in the shoes of a sexual predators. Your mission is to stalk a mother, and have sex with her and two of her daughters by force. Many countries banned it including New Zealand, Argentina, and Indonesia. It is sold in the U.S., but only online.
Wolfenstein 3D – If this legendary first-person shooting game didn’t exist, chances are that games like Counter Strike and Call of Duty probably wouldn’t exist either. Although it was extremely popular back in the day, Wolfenstein 3D was actually banned in Germany because it contained Nazi symbols and had many references to the Nazis.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 – Mexico never banned a video game, that is until Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 got released. The game’s opening mission is set in Ciudad Juarez, and it doesn’t paint it in a very good light, which is why the Mexican government decided to seize all copies of the game and stop it from being sold.
Counter-Strike – Can you believe that even one of the most popular games in the world was banned somewhere? Yup, Brazil banned Counter-Strike in 2008 because of a user-made map of a Brazilian slum. Crazy! Thankfully, the ban didn’t last very long.
The Guy Game – United States rarely bans video games, but they made an exception when it came to The Guy Game. In case you’re familiar with it, the gameplay is pretty basic — you answer multiple choice trivia questions and if you answer correctly, you’re rewarded with footage of young women taking their shirts off and showing breasts. Unfortunately for the makers of this game, it was discovered that one pair of breasts belong to a 17-year-old girl, which is why the company got sued for child pornography and the game quickly got banned from stores.
Carmageddon – The entire point of this popular game was to mindlessly run over pedestrians in a car of your choosing, which is the reason why UK and Germany decided to ban it. They did allow it later on, but people had to be replaced with zombies in the United Kingdom, while German got weird-looking robots.
Fallout 3 – One of the biggest games of 2008 got banned in Australia because of the “realistic visual representations of drugs and their delivery method,” as well as the fact that it helps “bring the ‘science-fiction’ drugs in line with ‘real-world’ drugs.” Thankfully for Aussies, the ban was lifted later on and they could enjoy this amazing game.
Mortal Kombat – Australia, Brazil and South Korea banned this extremely popular fighting game because of extreme gore. Although the game was very violent during the combat, it were violent finishing moves known as fatalities that made governments of several countries decide that it is best if they remove the game from stores.
Football Manager 2005 – Believe it or not, even sports video games get banned, just for different reasons. China decided to protest Football Manager 2005 because the game allowed players to play with Taiwan, Hong Kong and Tibet, and according to Chinese government this makes the game harmful “to the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Postal 2 – If you have a weak stomach, than this game is definitely not for you. New Zealand banned Postal 2 because of its “gross, abhorrent content: Urination, High Impact Violence, Animal Cruelty, Homophobia, Racial, and Ethnic Stereotypes.” Not only did the government ban the game, but if they find out you own a copy, you’ll be fined with $1,400.
Bully – Like its name suggests, this game puts you in the shoes of an English schoolboy who discovers his school is filled with bullies and does what he can to rise through the ranks of the school system. The game actually received a lot of praise, but the government of Rio Grande do Sul, a province in Brazil, thought Bully was “potentially harmful” to teenagers, which is why they banned it and introduced a fine to anybody who owns or tries to sell the game.
EA Sports MMA – Can you guess why this game was banned in Denmark? Perhaps it was because of the brutal kicks and chokes? Not really – EA Sports MMA was banned because it featured in-game ads for energy drinks, which is against the law in this country. EA was offered an option to create a different build of the game that would exclude these ads, but they opted not to sell it in Denmark instead.
Command & Conquer: Generals – This popular game franchise lets you take command of either the United States, China, or terrorists and the idea, of course, is to conquer the world. However, the Chinese government was really unhappy with the fact that Generals’ story more starts off with a nuclear explosion in Beijing, and has decided to ban the entire game franchise because of it.
Injustice: Gods Among Us – The popular DC Comics fighting game was banned by the United Arab Emirates because its title has the word “God” in it. The company behind it tried to get around it by changing the title to Injustice: The Mighty Among Us, but since content remained the same, the ban wasn’t lifted.
Call of Duty: Black Ops II – This Call of Duty release was banned in Pakistan because it negatively portrayed Pakistanis. However, this isn’t the surprising part of this story. What’s interesting is that a retailer who is caught selling Black Ops II will not only get fined, but also faces a jail sentence. Yikes!
Homefront – As you probably know, South Korea and North Korea have a very tumultuous relationship. Homefront is set in the near future and tells the story of a resistance movement fighting against the occupation of the Western United States, which were occupied by a unified forces of South and North Korea. Because of its content, South Korean government was quick to ban the game from its stores.
Grand Theft Auto – GTA games are extremely popular around the world. They are known for the glorification of violence and mayhem, but for some reason almost all countries are OK with it. All except Thailand, which is a bit of a surprise as the country is not really censorious of violence. However, the decision to ban GTA was made in 2008, after a young Thailand man pulled out a knife and killed his taxi driver. When he was arrested, the killer blamed Grand Theft Auto for his violent actions, claiming that “killing seemed easy in the game.”
Doom – Just like Wolfenstein 3D, Doom is another legendary FPS that kickstarted the genre. Doom was only banned in one country, Brazil, and the reason was simple — their government found it too violent.
The Pokemon Trading Card Game – You may be wondering what kind of a country would decide to ban this game? Saudi Arabia, apparently. This Muslim country banned The Pokemon Trading Card Game in 2001, because Pokemons were apparently considered a threat to national security! Why? Because certain symbols in the game “resemble the Star of David (Israel’s national emblem).”
Custer’s Revenge – This is one of the first video games ever that sparkled a moral panic, mainly because it put you in the shoes of a horny General Custer who walked around the screen and had sex with Native American women. The game was released in 1982 and it was so pixelated that you essentially couldn’t see anything, but it made a lot of people mad. The game wasn’t banned across all states, but Oklahoma made it illegal to sell this game within its borders.
Mass Effect – For a short period of time, this highly-praised game was banned in Singapore because it depicted homosexual acts between female characters Liara T’soni and Commander Shepard. Thankfully, the decision was overturned and citizens of Singapore can now enjoy this amazing game.
Marc Ecko’s Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure – If you’re planning to release a game in Australia, you better make sure it doesn’t feature a lot of street art. Australian officials believed that this game glorified graffiti and they refused to give it rating, which means it couldn’t be sold in the land down under.
Saints Row 4 – It appears that games in Australia get banned for weirdest reasons. For example, Saints Row 4 was banned in this country because it features a weapon called “alien anal probe.” Apparently, the officials thought that it promotes sexual violence.
Heavy Rain – This is one of those games that doesn’t let you control every little element of the gameplay, and instead feels like an interactive movie. It contains some nudity and suggested sex scenes, which is the reason why Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates decided to ban it.
Red Dead Redemption – This game lets you play as a cowboy living in the Wild West. Since makers of this game were aiming at an authentic experience, you can partake in many violent activities including dueling other cowboys, killing people, and gambling. On top of that, the game contains nudity. With this in mind, it’s no wonder this game also got banned in Saudi Arabia and UAE.
Witcher 2 – Similarly to Marc Ecko’s Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure, Witcher 2 was also refused a rating in Australia, because there’s a scene where sex is used as a reward for completing a quest. The game was eventually released in the land down under, after makers decided to alter the scene so that the main character rejects the sex offer by default.
Spec-Ops: The Line – As you may have noticed by now, if a country appears in the video game as obliterated wasteland, chances are it’s not going to get sold in the said country. Since Spec-Ops: The Line takes place in a destroyed Dubai, the United Arab Emirates were quick to ban this game.
Medal of Honor – Since this game lets you play as the Taliban it doesn’t really come as a surprise that it is banned on US military bases worldwide. Of course, military personnel can still buy the game and play outside of their bases.
God of War 2 – Unfortunately for citizens of Saudi Arabia, if there’s even a smallest amount of sexual content in a game (which is the case here), chances are that you won’t be able to purchase it. Some people say that there’s another reason for the ban — the game has the word God in the title.