10 Games That Upset The World And Got Banned

Banned Games, Games Banned For Cultural Reasons, Games Banned For Political Reasons, Games banned for Sexual Explicitness
A number of popular games have been banned around the world for reasons ranging from cultural insensitivity to sexual content. Explore the article below to find out why Pokemon, of all games was banned in Saudi Arabia.

One Country Banned A Game For Using An Alien Anal Probe Weapon, Can You Guess Which One?

Throughout gaming history there have been a large number of games that have been banned for various reasons in countries around the world, and most of them would surprise you. This article covers 10 of the most interesting games that have been banned over the past 30 years of gaming history that we could find. For a more comprehensive list of banned games from around the world, take a look at this Game Wikia site.  

Games That Got Banned For Sexual Content

1 – The Guy Game:

During December 2004 a court case was brought against TopHeavy Studios and Gathering, being the developer and publisher of the game named “The Guy Game”, as well as Sony and Microsoft for their involvement in the game. The girl named as, Jane Doe for the court case and as Diane in the game, claimed that she was not informed that the footage would be used to promote the game, and further that she was 17 at the time of filming, meaning she was considered underage. The US courts ruled with a temporary restraining order prohibiting production of copies of the game that held the girl’s voice, image or name. After the lawsuit however TopHeavy games released a DVD containing the footage as well as other bonus content. The Guy Game Gameplay

2 – Dragon Age: Inquisition:

This popular action-rpg developed by Bioware and published by Electronic Arts came to creation to fill a gap left between the earlier 2 titles of the series Dragon Age II and Dragon Age: Origins. The game featured, for the first time in the series, a homosexual protagonist named Dorian. There were rumours before the launch that the game would be banned in India due to the protagonists sexuality. However, in reality, as revealed by EA executives before the release, the game was not banned, but instead was removed from the market in India. The executives claimed that it was not due to the main character’s sexuality but to a number of local content laws, or obscenity laws, that India impose, and not just the one. Their statement read “In order to avoid a breach of local content laws, EA has withdrawn Dragon Age: Inquisition from sale in India and the game is no longer available for pre-order. Customers who pre-ordered the game will be contacted directly and will be fully refunded. Game Link

Dragon Age Inquisition gets pulled from sales in India due to Obscenity Laws.

3 – Saints Row 4:

Developed by Volition and published by Deep Silver, the 4th instalment in the massively popular series of Saints Row games has hit controversy in Australia as the PS4 version of the game. The original release of the game in August 2013 saw the game go before the Australian Classification Board, where it failed to meet classification. The ACB stated that “use of the weapon named the Alien Anal Probe promotes sexual violence that was not justified by context.” As a result of this ruling Volition went back to the drawing board and removed the weapon from the game for re-submission to the ACB, which was then passed with an MA15+ rating attached. The PS4 version of the game was never re-worked, however, and it was this version that needed to be recalled due to failing Australian Classification Standards. Game Link.

The game that Australia banned due to it’s use of the weapon the Alien Anal Probe.

4 – Mass Effect:

Released in November 2007 the original Mass Effect game hit the headlines in Singapore where it was banned temporarily due to the use of a lesbian sex scene between a human and alien female. Singapore’s media watchdog, known as the Media Development Authority (MDA) released a statement about their decision to ban the title when the deputy director of the Board of Film Censors stated “a scene of lesbian intimacy” featured in the game and “as such the game has been disallowed.” He continued to say that video games sold in Singapore cannot “feature exploitative or gratuitous sex and violence, or denigrate any race or religion”, according to local guidelines. During mid-November of the same year the MDA reversed their previous decision having now implemented an appropriate M18+ rating on the game, and therefore allowed sale once again. Game Link.

This lesbian sex scene between an alien and human woman earned Mass Effect a ban in Singapore

This image of the Pipboy from Fallout 3 shows the ‘chems’ which Australia claim “bring ‘science fiction’ drugs in line with ‘real life’ drugs, resulting in a ban on the game.

Games Banned Due To Cultural Differences

5 – Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2

Developed by Ubisoft Paris in collaboration with Red Storm Entertainment and released between March 2007 and July 2008 over PC/Xbox and Playstation platforms, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon made headlines in Mexico having upset two officials of the country. The mayor of Ciudad Juarez, Hector Murguia Lardizabal, criticized the game for steering tourists away from his town, which provoked the Governor of Chihuahua to put a call out to all the authorities of Mexico to seize every copy of the game immediately if it turned up anywhere in Mexico. He further said that the game insulted Mexico and also the people of Mexico. Although the town is now known as a town deeply involved in Narcoterrorism and laying on the smuggling route for such, during the time of the games release it was more firmly under the control of the Juarez Cartel and hence appeared less like the game depicted. Game Link.

This modern warfare game earned itself a ban in Mexico when it upset the countries officials.

6 – Football Manager 2005

Released on November 5 2004 this game developed by Sports Interactive, right after their recent acquisition of the brand name of the Football Manager series, Football Manager 2005 sparked controversy in in China over political issues concerning the governing of both Tibet and Taiwan. In the game each of these countries are referred to as independent nations. This quickly angered the Chinese who shot back with a decision to ban the game in the country and release of a statement saying 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.” Sports Interactive  released a statement in reply stating that they would release a properly amended game in China, but that they had not recently released the game for China, as can be see by no translation being made for Chinese language, and that the copies that offended must have been illegally produced copies of the game. Game Link

Football Manager 2005 banned for its recognition of Tibet and Taiwan as independent nations.

7 – Call of Duty: Black Ops:

Developed by Treyarch and published by Activision, Call of Duty: Black Ops was released November 9 2010 after an early announcement introducing the game in April 2010. The game is set in 1960 cold war era and follows the exploits of a CIA operative as he tries to find the location of a numbers station that will be used for a chemical weapons attack. The location is locked in his memories. The game hit the headlines when Cuba banned the game due to one of the missions involving the player having to kill a young Fidel Castro. In the end, it turns out to be a body double anyway, however, this did not stop the Cubans feeling deeply upset about the game. Other Cubans who spoke out proposed that the game inspired sociopathic attitudes in the players, and another spoke of a particular scene where a prisoner that was restrained was tortured. Game Link.

Cuba banned this game for its representation in a mission, of the assassination of Fidel Castro.

Games Which Were Banned For Other Reasons

8 – EA Sports MMA:

Released October 22 2010 worldwide, EA Sports’ MMA title, although hugely popular, has caused some drama around the world. The current UFC president Dana White found himself at ends with the developers EA Sports over expectations that they would buy the publishing rights from the UFC, however he also stated that they replied to this by saying “You’re not a real sport. We wouldn’t touch the thing. We want nothing to do with this.” After this the UFC decided to work with THQ to create UFC 2009: Undisputed, which led to huge success. EA Sports then came back to UFC and must have made them a lucrative deal as they went on to create more titles for the series. The game also met some dispute from Denmark due to a law which prohibits any form of marketing for energy drinks. EA countered this issue by choosing to not release the game in that region. Game Link.

EA Sports MMA was banned in Denmark due to its use of energy drink advertisements in the game.

9 – God of War:

Developed by Santa Monica Studios and published by Sony Computer Entertainment (SEC), God of War is a game based around Greek Mythology where the player controls the character of Kratos who must find Pandora’s Box to be able to stop the God of War, Aries from achieving his plans. Gameplay revolves around combo based combat and the levels include puzzles and platforming elements. The game was banned in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) because the use of the word God in the title, and worse, the image of killing Gods in the game, are both against Islamic beliefs. Despite the ban being imposed, the game is still supposedly very easy to get hold of in the region, as can be seen in a comment given by Khalid Bin Deemas stating “I knew that it was banned, but many of my friends were able to buy pirated copies from Dh5 to Dh10. I was shocked to see how much it contradicted Islamic values.” Game Link.

God of War saw banning from UAE for its use of the word God in the title and also the scenery of killing Gods.

10 – Fallout 3

The hugely popular Fallout 3, developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Zenimax Europe, this instalment of the Fallout series was released on October 2008. It follows the adventures of a character that spends the first 19 years of their life living in a nuclear safe vault named Vault 101, who then leaves and wanders through the war torn wastelands of the United States, searching for their father who left the vault earlier to follow his own plans, against the overseer’s wishes. The overseer is the controller of the vault and enforcer of the law saying that no one shall ever leave the vault. There is violence, sex, drug use and gang references, however, the game was banned in Australia for just one reason, the drug references. The Australian Office for Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) report about the game states “In the Board’s view these realistic visual representations of drugs and their delivery method bring the ‘science fiction’ drugs in line with ‘real life’ drugs.” Game Link.

Fallout 3 made the banned list from Australia due to its use of chems portraying and promoting drug use.

These are just 10 of the many video games that have upset the world for various reasons that may surprise you, amuse you, shock you or leave you shaking your head in wonder. To discover more interesting stories, check out the link to the more comprehensive list given in the first paragraph.

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Born of convict stock and living in rural Australia, Allan reports on gaming news from around the world, still proving that "gaming can get you everywhere in life", it's a matter of perspective!
Gamer Since: 1985
Favorite Genre: FPS
Currently Playing: Far Cry 3 - Just Cause 2 - Mass Effect 3
Top 3 Favorite Games:Fallout: New Vegas, Mass Effect 3, Fable: The Lost Chapters

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MaxwellDenton's picture

MaxwellDenton 4 years 7 months ago

Some of these are just hilarious. Banning for the use of drugs in a fictional setting? I understand why they would choose to ban for that reason, I just don't think it's a good enough reason to ban a game. No one is going to go out and start doing drugs after their character takes one that doesn't exist.