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Top 10 Video Games Banned Somewhere In The World

By Dave Parrack2013-05-01

video games bannedVideo games have the capacity to fire off all kinds of emotion in the minds of those who play them. Gamers are very used to having their buttons pressed in order to elicit some kind of emotional response. Unfortunately some games also elicit an emotional response in those who haven’t ever played them.

Although video gaming is a relatively young hobby the industry has already seen its fair share of censorship. Over the last 25 years there have been scores of video games banned around the world, some in individual countries, some in multiple territories, some for common sense reasons, some for nonsensical political points-scoring.

What follows is a list of 10 of the best video games banned somewhere in the world for one reason or another. It’s an eclectic mix of games that covers more genres than you’d imagine, though violent video games are, unsurprisingly, the main culprit/victim.

The videos embedded within the list don’t necessarily show the scenes which led to the video games in question being banned. Instead they are there merely to give you a taste of the game and what it was about. Some were clearly developed with controversy in mind, while others were merely caught up in the tangled web that is censorship.

Wolfenstein 3D


Released In: 1992
Banned In: Germany
Reason For Ban: References to the Nazis

Wolfenstein 3D is a legendary game, mainly because it (alongside Doom) popularized the first-person shooter genre that now dominates mainstream gaming. Many of the basic tenets of the FPS genre can be seen in Wolfenstein 3D, so Call Of Duty probably wouldn’t exist without it.

The gameplay was simple, with you playing an allied spy trying to escape Castle Wolfenstein during World War II. The game was banned in Germany thanks to the Nazi references, as the Fuhrer discovers in the Hitler reaction video embedded above.

Mortal Kombat


Released In: 1992
Banned In: Australia, Brazil, South Korea
Reason For Ban: Violence

The original Mortal Kombat was a decent game that exceeded the levels of success it should have achieved thanks to the ramped-up levels of gore. Finishing moves, which saw your character killing his or her opponent off in a grisly manner, shocked politicians, owing to a ban in various countries.



Released In: 1993
Banned In: Brazil
Reason For Ban: Violence

Doom is, like Wolfenstein 3D, another legendary first-person shooter that set the template for all of the future titles in the genre. The gameplay was simple and to-the-point, with a gun bobbing about on screen taking demons from Hell down left, right, and center.

It was only banned in Brazil, probably because other countries realized the poor graphics and non-human combatants meant the chances of influencing young people was slight.



Released In: 1997
Banned In: Brazil, Germany, United Kingdom
Reason For Ban: Violence

Carmageddon is a game that had violence at its very heart. You took part in a race with other drivers, but the ultimate goal is to kill as many pedestrians as possible, with extra points awarded for style.

The big issue with Carmageddon was the portrayal of humans as the victims, so an edited version of the game was released in some countries. This saw the humans turned into zombies, with the blood and gore able to be switched on or off in the options.

Football Manager 2005


Released In: 2004
Banned In: China
Reason For Ban: Tibet recognized as independent country

This has to count as the oddity on the list, because Football Manager 2005 isn’t violent or controversial in any possible way. Except in China, which took exception to Tibet being recognized as an independent country. The rest of the world just wanted to watch little stick figures play soccer.

Mercenaries: Playground Of Destruction


Released In: 2005
Banned In: South Korea
Reason For Ban: North Korea being invaded

Mercenaries: Playground Of Destruction is a third-person, open-world shooter which favors mayhem over precision. You play a mercenary entering North Korea to carry out contracts in order to make money. And it’s this fictional plot in a real-world setting that led to South Korea banning the game.



Released In: 2006
Banned In: Brazil
Reason For Ban: Violence in school setting

Rockstar has always used controversy as a way of ramping up interest in its games. Which is why three of their games make this list (the others being Red Dead Redemption and L.A. Noire). Grand Theft Auto didn’t make the cut even though several of the GTA titles have been banned for various reasons.

Bully details the activities of a troubled kid in a new school. Although there are lessons to be sat through, the main order of the day is to bully your way through the game, and that didn’t go down too well. In the U.K. it was renamed Canis Canem Edit to avoid negative connotations.

Heavy Rain


Released In: 2010
Banned In: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates
Reason For Ban: Nudity, sex scene

Heavy Rain isn’t a particularly controversial game, though it is a rather unique one that sees you essentially playing through an interactive movie rather than controlling every element of the gameplay. There is some nudity and a suggested sex scene though, which led to its ban in at least two countries.

Red Dead Redemption


Released In: 2010
Banned In: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates
Reason For Ban: Nudity, violence

In Red Dead Redemption you play a cowboy living out the Wild West experience as he hunts for the former members of his gang. As with most open-world games, and particularly those made by Rockstar, the range of activities you can get up to is mind-boggling.

Some of these activities aren’t exactly wholesome or family-friendly. You can duel with other cowboys, kill wanted men, gamble, and engage in bawdy bedroom behavior. None of which went down particularly well in a couple of countries.

L.A. Noire


Released In: 2011
Banned In: Saudi Arabia
Reason For Ban: Nudity

L.A. Noire is a fascinating game that ramps up the acting and visual side of things using a new technique to capture the facial expressions on the cast of actors. This means the whole thing looks and feels more real than most games, which didn’t help its appeal in some countries when there is some nudity involved (at least on corpses).


These games were (at the time of release) all worth playing, some because of the controversy attached to them, and some because they were actually good games. Several nailed the perfect combination of being a decent game and possessing a subject matter or gameplay element that attracted (valuable) press attention.

Have you played any of the games on this list? If so were you aware it was banned somewhere in the world? Are there any other games you think should have made the list? What is your opinion on the reasons given for some of these bans? As always we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.

Image Credit: RadishTM

Topics: Games

Tags: video game


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