Top 10 Video Games That Were Unbanned

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Top 10 Video Games That Were Unbanned

VOICE OVER: Tom Aglio WRITTEN BY: Ty Richardson
We hear about banned games all the time, but sometimes countries will reverse their decisions. For this list, we're looking at games that got themselves banned from various governments only to be overturned sometime later. Our countdown includes “PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds” (2017), the “Wolfenstein” series (1981-), “Bully” (2006), and more!
Transcript
Script written by Ty Richardson

We hear about banned games all the time, but sometimes countries will reverse their decisions. For this list, we’re looking at games that got themselves banned from various governments only to be overturned sometime later. Our countdown includes “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” (2017), the “Wolfenstein” series (1981-), “Bully” (2006), and more! Were you surprised by these games escaping the ban hammer? Which bans are you still waiting to see get lifted? Let us know in the comments below.

#10: “Carmageddon” (1997)


“Carmageddon” has long been one of the earliest and most famous cases of banned video games, especially when looking at banned games in the UK. For those unfamiliar, “Carmageddon” was under fire by the UK government as the game allows players to run over pedestrians for personal gain. While the original game was banned, British players were allowed to purchase a censored version of the game, replacing the pedestrians with robots and zombies. The ban has since been lifted, however, and UK players can now play “Carmageddon” in its original form.

#9: “Roblox”(2006)


As online games become more focused with the “free-to-play” model, the easier it is for kids to jump into these games regardless of rating. This has led to some governments claiming certain games are “corrupting the youth”. That was the case with “Roblox” and the United Arab Emirates. The UAE banned the online service in May 2018, possibly under the belief that “Roblox” is harmful to children. Funny enough, “Roblox” was not banned for as long as some of the other games on our list have, and kids in the UAE can play on the website with no problems.

#8: “God of War” series (2005-)


Kratos is in a bit of a weird spot with the Saudi Arabian government. Back in his angrier, more youthful days, all of the “God of War” games were banned in Saudi Arabia due to violence, nudity, and the use of the word “God” in the title. While these games are still banned today, there is one game in the franchise that somehow got approved for sale - the 2018 “God of War”. Despite the game not featuring any nudity or sexual activity, it does boast a ton of violence and still references mythology that goes against the Saudi Arabian government’s beliefs. Yeah, we’re totally confused, too.

#7: “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” (2017)


As we mentioned earlier, many online games get attacked for “being a danger to the children”. We could certainly understand the concern for a game like “Roblox” which has players of all ages and backgrounds. The case with “PUBG” is more confusing, though. As the UAE did with “Roblox”, Nepal banned PUBG in 2019, claiming the game was “addictive to children and teenagers”. Considering the downward spiral in playerbase that PUBG was going through at this time, we’re honestly surprised Nepal didn’t go after “Fortnite” instead. Nepal’s ban did not last long either, having been lifted a few months later.

#6: “Bully” (2006)


At the time of its launch, “Bully” proved to be just as controversial as Rockstar’s flagship franchise. Several governments took issue with the game giving players the ability to beat up their fellow students and wreak havoc around the in-game world. Roughly two years after release, Brazil would ban the game from sale in the country, citing a study that claimed the game could cause potential harm among teenagers and kids. It wasn’t until 2016 when the ban was lifted, just a couple of months after the game re-released on PlayStation 4.

#5: “Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon 2” (2004), “Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory” (2005), & “Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction” (2005)


Yes, we have ourselves a triple whammy of bans as these games were all banned for the same reasons. Each of the games’ storylines took place in or touched upon a war between North Korea and South Korea, two countries that have long lived in tension with each other. In fear of the possible repercussions, South Korea would ban all three games from sale at the time of their respective launches. However, the bans would only last roughly two years, each one being lifted in 2007. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why modern game companies try not to commentate or stray too close to political subject matter.

#4: “Half-Life” (1998)


We know what you’re wondering - “how could anyone possibly ban one of the greatest FPS games to ever exist?” Well, the government of Singapore tried to, and it was one of the most controversial topics in the country. Sometime in 2000, Singapore’s government announced they were banning “Half-Life” for the most heinous crime imaginable - being violent. Retailers were ordered to pull the game from their shelves while other shops were straight-up raided. The outcry became so tumultuous that the government was eventually pressured into lifting the ban a week later.

#3: “Manhunt 2” (2007)


Yes, another Rockstar title that has seen its fair share of controversy has - unsurprisingly - been banned. The Republic of Ireland joined the UK in prohibiting sale of the game due to “gross, unrelenting, and gratuitous violence”, citing the then-realistic kill animations and graphic nature. Of course, “Manhunt 2” launched, got some mediocre review scores, and everyone turned out fine. It wasn’t long until Ireland revoked its ban and simply gave the game a PEGI 18 rating, which, you know, tells people that this game should only be played by folks who are age eighteen or older.

#2: “Wolfenstein” series (1981-)


It is worth mentioning that “Wolfenstein” hasn’t been completely banned in Germany. For decades, the franchise was refused a rating and denied sale in the country, and even when 2014’s “The New Order” was allowed to be sold in the country (a first for the franchise), it still went under serious changes, removing all Nazi imagery. This is because the German government does not view video games as a work of art, only a toy, a means to entertain and nothing more. Therefore, they don’t want toys to feature images like the Nazi flag or Adolf Hitler. Meanwhile, most other countries where the “Wolfenstein” games are sold have made it clear in their ratings that the games are not suitable for younger audiences.

#1: “Grand Theft Auto III” (2003)


When looking at banned video games, no country has a list quite as extensive as Australia. (Well, maybe some countries.) The Australian government has long been a minefield for video games with many games being banned for reasons some would consider minute or unreasonable. Shockingly, one of few games that have had their bans lifted was “Grand Theft Auto III”, which was prohibited from sale due to the possibility of interacting with prostitutes within the game. GTA III would see a release in Australia, but it was only after Rockstar removed all possible interactions. It wasn’t until 2019 when Aussie players would finally get to experience Rockstar’s acclaimed title in its intended state.
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