Find Out Why These 15 Controversial Games Have Been Banned
By Matthew Walden on
1. Mortal Kombat
You knew this one would be on here. Mortal Kombat tops our list with official bans in Brazil, Germany, South Korea, and Australia. With this year's new release easily earning the distinction of the most violent game in the series, we wouldn't be surprised if even more bans followed.
2. Red Dead Redemption
John Marston's gritty adventure through the Wild West was banned in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for scenes containing nudity. The UAE ultimately repealed the ban two months later, presumably because officials actually played the game and realized how great it was.
3. Left 4 Dead 2
A German court outlawed the original version of L4D2, saying it "trivializes violence due to its high killing rate and explicit graphical representation of mutilation." Australia also refused to classify the game for commercial sale, citing "copious amounts of blood spray and splatter."
4. Sonic Blast Man
America has a strong tradition of free speech, but it doesn't tolerate safety hazards. The unique arcade game Sonic Blast Man was recalled because of injuries and safety concerns about its punching pad. It was never redistributed. (Image via Arcade Flyer Archive)
5. South Park: The Stick of Truth
South Park is known for pushing buttons, and The Stick of Truth is no exception. Ubisoft censored the European, Russian, and Australian releases of the game, while Lebanon and Saudi Arabia banned the game outright. Turns out the world's just not ready for that level of alien probing.
6. Injustice: Gods Among Us
Injustice itself is pretty tame for a fighting game, considering it was designed by the creators of Mortal Kombat. However, it still received a ban in Kuwait for including the word "gods" in the title.
7. Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2
GRAW 2 was banned in the Mexican state of Chihuahua after Juarez Mayor Héctor Murguía Lardizábal labeled the game "a crime against the intellectual capacity of Juarez residents." The problem originated with a mission in the game depicting a battle with Mexican rebels.
Pokémon seems like the least controversial game, but that didn't stop Saudi Arabia from banning it for promoting gambling and for featuring religious iconography and Freemasonry symbols. This may be a case of looking for something that was never there.
9. Call of Duty: Black Ops II
Call of Duty: Black Ops II sold more than 24 million copies worldwide, but very few of those purchases were made in Pakistan, where the game was banned. A local manufacturers association recommended the injunction for showing "the country in a very poor light."
10. EA Sports MMA
Denmark has a law restricting the use of energy drink product placements in games. Rather than sacrifice the game's "authentic recreation" of MMA corporate sponsorship, EA refused to alter the game and did not ship it to that region.
11. Mass Effect
BioWare's space opera epic was initially banned in Singapore for featuring a cross-species alien love scene. Who knows what the government would do if they watched an episode of Farscape?
12. Battlefield 3
Iranians were upset with a plotline involving an invasion of Tehran, leading the deputy police chief to prohibit stores them from selling the game. The Global Islamic Media Front later reskinned an anti-US version of the game titled "Night of Bush Capturing."
Anti-video-game attorney Jack Thompson isn't the only one with a grudge against Bully. The country of Brazil banned the game because its violence takes place within a school setting. A Brazilian state prosecutor called the milieu "unacceptable."
14. BlazBlue: Continuum Shift
BlazBlue is a victim of the United Arab Emirates' restrictive National Media Council, which proclaimed the fighting game's sexy costumes too raunchy. The artsy relationship puzzle game Catherine was also banned in the UAE because of its sexual themes.
15. Football Manager 2005
FM05 was prohibited in China because "Taipei of Taiwan, the Hong Kong-Macao region, and China's Tibet are represented as independent countries," instead of Chinese territories, according to China Daily.