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13 Games Banned for Weird (And Not So Weird) Reasons

It's not that big of a secret that some video games can be a little controversial. Whether it contains violence, mature subject matter or even cute animals, games have been blamed as the cause of some social issue or crime. But while in the US there hasn’t been any real big pushes to outright ban a particular game, other countries are much less tolerant of what’s allowed in the digital playground.

Here's a list of 13 games that have been banned in various parts of the world, either for reasons that make some sense - and other that just don't.

  1. Spec Ops: The Line

    Banned in: United Arab Emirates

    Created by Yager Development, this grim and gritty third person shooter received positive reviews of its dark narrative and themes. However, its depiction of a devastated Dubai earned it the ire of the UAE’s National Media Council, and it is unavailable for sale there. The NMC even went so far as to block Yager.

  2. Command and Conquer: Generals

    Banned in: China

    While you can play as the Chinese military in this early 2000s RTS, the game earned a ban in the real-life China due to how many Chinese landmarks are destroyed in the game’s single player campaign; including Tianmen Square and Three Gorges Dam.

  3. Mass Effect

    Banned in: Singapore

    BioWare’s sci-fi epic featured epic storytelling, intense adventure and interstellar romance. Unfortunately, the game ended getting banned in Singapore due to how players could create a female Commander Shepard and then have an intimate relationship with other women in the game. The ban was short-lived, though, and Mass Effect ended up being given an 18+ rating.

  4. Football Manager 2005

    Banned in: China

    You wouldn’t think that a sports simulator would end up getting the boot anywhere, especially given how popular football (Soccer to those in the US) is around the globe. But Football Manager 2005 managed to earn one in China, after early leaked versions of the game depicted Tibet and Taiwan as separate countries rather than part of the large Asian nation. China deemed this move to be “harmful to China's sovereignty and territorial integrity,” and imposed strict fines  on any internet provider or store that sold the game.

  5. God of War

    Banned in: Saudi Arabia

    God of War features extreme violence, partial nudity and sex scenes, but those reasons weren’t enough to earn the boot in Saudi Arabia - it also featured the word “god” in the title.

  6. Homefront

    Banned in: South Korea

    As a country that is home to one of the most heavily fortified borders on the planet, South Korea has a tendency to restrict any games that portray an armed conflict between itself and its neighbor, North Korea. And since Homefront depicts a dystopian future where North Korea has become a global superpower having conquered much of the Pacific, it’s pretty much no surprise that South Korea decided to prevent the game from launching in its markets.

  7. Grand Theft Auto 4

    Banned in: Thailand

    Although initially available for sale in Thailand, GTA 4 ended up getting pulled off of store shelves after a horrible incident where a teenager killed a taxi driver during a hijacking. Police reported that the teenager wanted to see if robbing a taxi in real life was as easy as it was in GTA.

  8. Battlefield 3

    Banned in: Iran

    EA’s massively multiplayer first person shooter may have received high marks from reviewers and fans, but didn’t get much love from Iran. This was due to a mission in Battlefield 3's single player campaign taking place in Tehran, Iran’s capital, and featured firefights in various parts of the city.

  9. EA Sports MMA

    Banned in: Denmark

    So this is an odd one, but apparently in Denmark, there’s a law restricting the product placement and marketing of energy drinks. Because of the law, EA Sports MMA, which features energy drinks as part of the “authentic MMA experience,” ended up having its release in that country axed.

  10. Medal of Honor: Warfighter

    Banned in: Pakistan

    Not only did this mediocre first person shooter receive mixed reviews, it also saw poor reception in Pakistan - at least by the All Pakistan CD, DVD, Audio Cassette Traders and Manufacturers Association. The organization called for a country wide boycott and ban of Warfighter (Along with Call of Duty: Black Ops II) due to portions of the game’s narrative that, according to APCDACTM, portrayed Pakistan in a poor light.

  11. Pokémon

    Banned in: Saudi Arabia

    Why would a game that’s primarily about exploring a colorful world, capturing hundreds of exotic animals and training them to battle other wildlife be banned? Well, at least in Saudi Arabia, Pokémon is forbidden from being sold as it's believed to corrupt the minds of the youth through the promotion of gambling and zionism.

  12. Fallout 3

    Banned in: Austrailia

    Surprisingly, Bethesda’s popular post-apocalyptic RPG wasn’t banned in Australia for its violent gameplay. Instead, Fallout 3 was refused classification by the Austrailian’s rating board due to its references and portrayal of drugs and drug use. The ban has since been lifted.

  13. Manhunt 2

    Banned in: Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, New Zealand, Australia, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom

    Since Manhunt 2 features some incredibly graphic scenes of violence, and the primary mechanic of the game is sneaking up to human enemies and executing them in as horrific a fashion as possible, it’s really not hard to wonder why this game has been restricted in a multitude of countries across the globe.


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