The 10 Weirdest Video Games Banned By Governments

Video games are art, and art usually has people in power clutching their pearls and trying to blast said art out of sight lest thought invade the inner sanctum of comfortable status quo. Ah, censorship, no matter how many times we patiently explain to our overlords that the surest way to spread an idea virally is to try and cover it up (And it goes double with things like video games), they just keep on keeping on with that iron fist.

The list of games that various administrations have waged war against is massive, and it's usually because of objectionable levels of sex or violence. Then there are stranger reasons, and today we salute them.

See also: 5 Ways the Government is Getting Involved With Your Video Games

10. Marc Eckō's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure: Fashion designer Marc Eckō lent his clout to a 2006 video game about a young graffiti artist using tagging to fight against a tyrannical dystopian government. Ironically, that's a fight the designer lost in real life. Until recently, Australia didn't allow the sale of any games deemed too mature for anyone under the age of 15, and the sale of such games carried a fine of a whopping quarter of a million dollars and a decade in jail.

This mostly applied to titles like Postal and Leisure Suit Larry, but Eckō's work was specifically targeted by Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock to refuse the game's appeal for a MA15+ rating and denied the right to distribute because the game promoted and gave instructions on illegal street tagging. Apparently illegal street racing is just fine, though, as Need for Speed: Most Wanted got a G rating three months earlier. Funny how the one that gets shut down happens to be the one dealing with sticking it to uptight government bullies.

9. EverQuest: Brazil is to sensible video game policy what Miley Cyrus is to respectable use of foam fingers policy...never the twain shall meet. Despite being one of the fastest-growing markets for games in the world, they've cracked down real hard on allowing any sort of subversive titles to be sold. This includes the usual suspects like Mortal Kombat, but also targets EverQuest, which is a fairly tame MMOPRG, all things considered.

Passed in 2007, and then enforced in 2009 (A decade after the game's original release), the reason for the ban was that the game can "bring immanent stimulus to the subversion of social order, [and] attack on the democratic state and law and against public security," according to the judge who passed it.

8. Football Manager 2005: I don't understand sports games, but I do understand something about China; never, ever, EVER insinuate in any way that Tibet and Taiwan are separate countries in their hearing. Seriously, it makes them lose it worse than a Houstonian overhearing someone from New England besmirch Whataburger.

Well, Sega forgot, and even though it was making a special China-only version of Football Manager 2005 that included the two countries as part of China, in other international versions, the countries were independent nations. China then banned the game because it "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." This sort of thing is par for the course for China, which threatened to break off all international trade with Denmark after that country unthinkably allowed the Tibetan national football team to come play a match against Greenland...which they lost 4-1 because life is not a Disney movie.

Speaking of Denmark...

7. EA Sports MMA: In 2007 three countries in the European Union stood firm against allowing the marketing of energy drinks because of the health risks associated with the sugar-filled and highly caffeinated beverages, France, Norway and Denmark. Denmark was particularly hardcore against the drinks, only recently allowing their sale.

Well, EA Sports MMA has almost as much energy drink advertising in it as it does fighting, and thus violated Denmark's law against the marketing of the drinks. Rather than create a special version of the game replacing the advertisements on the ring and in other areas with generics or other sponsors (something that seems like it would have taken five minutes to do), EA decided that such censorship would impair the integrity of the, really. A spokesman said, "Our game authentically re-creates the sport of MMA in every facet, including energy drink in-game sponsorships on fighter shorts, gear and in fight venues." The Danish release was canceled.

6. KZ Manager: You probably haven't heard of KZ Manager, and if you haven't, congratulations on being a good person. It's a resource-manager game, except instead of building a city or something similar, you run a concentration camp. Really. Voted IGN's Most Unnecessary Game of the Year in 2001, it has you drive Turks, Jews and Gypsies as slave labor to pay for the Zyklon B you use to gas them in public executions that build public opinion.

Germany won't even let Wolfenstein be sold within its borders because of Nazi imagery, and you're actually blowing the bastards away in that game. What chance did this horrific joke of a title stand? Surprisingly, this is not the worst game on this list.

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Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner