Sunday 11 August 2013

5 videogames that were banned for ridiculous reasons

Videogames are no stranger to controversy. It seems like every time a new Grand Theft Auto hits the shelves there's always some misguided moral activist gnashing their teeth about the prostitution (always the sex but never the violence with GTA). Sure, you may understand why infamous games like Manhunt were flagged as inappropriate, what with all the hilarious bag suffocation, but really nobody takes games seriously.

However, some countries have taken things way too far with some games for all the wrong reasons. Here are five of them.

5. Pokemon Banned In Saudi Arabia For Promoting Zionism

Pokemon took the world by storm back in the early 2000s with its cute characters and cartoon violence. The games are still going strong today, with Pokemon X and Y shortly due for release. Although it's difficult to think of any reason why these games could be banned, Saudi Arabia have more than one.

Back in 2001, Saudi's mufti, the highest religious authority in the country, decided that Pokemon should be banned - all of it, including the games, TV show and trading cards. They cited the promotion of Zionism as the main reason, with the promotion of gambling coming a close second. The religious edict stated that the games and cards not only depicted the star of David, Israel's national emblem, but they also sported Christian crosses and, bizarrely, triangles which were apparently related to the Freemasons.

Sheikh Abdul Aziz went on further to say, "It resembles a game of gambling because of the competition which at times involves sums of money being exchanged between collectors of the cards". So, you're not too keen on the whole buying of goods then, Sheikhy?

4. Mass Effect Banned In Singapore For Girl On Girl Action

The Mass Effect trilogy is one of the most successful RPG franchises of all time but it's definitely no stranger to the C-word (controversy, you massive perv). In particular when the first game was released back in 2007 it caused quite a stir with dunderheads in the media because of a possible lesbian 'sex scene' that could be accessed if you played as a female and seduced a lady alien. While the scene in question was tamer than a bowl of cornflakes, the Singapore authorities wanted to Ban This Sick Filth and refused to stock it. It was only when there was a mass fan outcry did they decide that, actually, they were being really dickish.

3. Fallout 3 Banned By Australia For Showing The Effects Of Drugs

Oh Australia, I wondered when we might get onto you. Australia's censorship board, the ACB, is notoriously stuck up when it comes to videogames. You can barely get a new Spyro game through without them commenting on there being 'too much fire' and 'can you make the edges less sharp?'. 

Of course, like any delusional moral guardian, the ACB is anything but consistent in their rulings. The ability to slow-mo butcher every living thing in gloriously visceral detail didn't make them bat an eyelid. No, they were disgruntled by the player's ability to use drugs such as morphine, or as I like to call it 'my floaty pal'. 

Despite being obviously aimed at a mature audience anyway, the ACB told Bethesda that they needed to change the names of the drugs, so morphine became Med-X. Because that's going to make all the difference, right?

2. Australia Banned Marc Ecko's Getting Up For Crimes Against Virtual Street Walls

Oh hello again, Australia. It's been, what, all of 2 seconds? At least this time give us something that's a little less insane. Oh, you've decided to be even more insane? Well shit me. 

Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Content's Under Pressure was a game for the PS2, XBox and PC where you played as a dude in a dystopic city who used graffiti to rally against the freedom of expression the Orwellian government sought to quash. 

The game was actually pretty good and had quite an intelligent theme to it, which is more than can be said for the ACB, who have a zero-tolerance policy towards graffiti, even if it's virtual. They weren't having any of it, despite appeals from the publisher, but the ACB just cited that graffiti was illegal - which could be the dumbest argument for banning a game in all of human history. 

So remember, in Australia you can dismember, shoot and generally murder people, as long as you're not doing graffiti. Oh wait, no that's bullshit.

1. China Banned Football Manager 2005 Because It Harmed Its Sovereignty 

Can there be anything more innocuous than a football game? Not really, except a game where you manage a football team. Try telling that to China, who banned Football Manager 2005 for featuring Tibet and Taiwan as two separate countries. 

China was pretty pissed off at the publishers and said that the game, "threatened its content harmful to China's sovereignty and territorial integrity ... [that] seriously violates Chinese law and has been strongly protested by our nation's gamers." 

The publisher did eventually release a Chinese version of the game complete with Taiwan as part of China but told the Chinese government that the original game was never meant to have been released to Chinese gamers and that they must have got their hands on it through illegal downloads.

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