After hearing that Manhunt 2 is to be banned in the UK and Ireland, I decided to revisit some of the infamous classics which the powers that be decided wouldn’t be suitable for us to play. Take, for instance, Mortal Kombat, a game that was banned by many countries and censored in others due to its glorification of violence and the sheer amount of blood that flew off those guys. After playing this faithful freeware recreation of the game, it occurred to me just how tame the action is compared to many of today’s beat-em-ups.
Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto is another gaming series that has courted controversy (some would argue, to its own advantage) for years. GTA III and San Andreas were banned in Australia and the fist two versions nearly didn’t make the shelves in many countries over fears they would insight youths everywhere to go out and steal cars. However, after going back to the mightily addictive GTA Volume I and Volume II, I instantly remembered that I didn’t even want to walk away from the TV of an evening let alone go outside and hotwire the next-door neighbour’s BMW.
Then there are the titles that are banned because they don’t fit in with a particular country’s political or social agenda. For example, Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory was outlawed in South Korea as it referenced a fictional war between the country and North Korea, while the German government banned Commandos as it contained images of swastikas, which are considered “symbols of unconstitutional organisations” over there. However, nothing compares with the hard-line taken by Saudi Arabia, where you would never be allowed to play Pikaball Volleyball, as it features a character from Pokemon – a gaming series banned for allegedly promoting Zionism and encouraging gambling.