Game censorship around the world

The People's Republic of China

What do you expect from a country which censors the internet? In 2004, the Chinese government created a board which judges imported games, and denies their sale if they can claim that a game is guilty of any of the following:

• Violating basic principles of the Constitution
• Threatening national unity, sovereignty, and territorial integrity
• Divulging state secrets
• Threatening state security
• Damaging the nation's glory
• Disturbing social order
• Infringing on others' legitimate rights
Violation of personal rights and threats to state security are legitimate objections – who would want a game that steals their bank account information and uses their funds get babies hooked on heroin? But “Damaging the nation’s glory” and “Disturbing the social order” can be interpreted to mean anything, and essentially prevent the sale of any game which presents an alternate history that involves China, or presents China in anything but a glorious light (I.G.I.-2: Covert Strike, for example).

Above: We would never allow such unregulated zip-lines in China! 

At least they’re honest about their censorship. If China’s regulations make us uneasy, it’s because we’re so used to the right to criticize our governments, but games are not actually the most harshly regulated medium in the country. Still, it’s Nineteen Eighty-Fu**ing-Four over there.


In 2002, with an impressively bold disregard for rationality, the Greek Parliament passed Laws 3037/2002, which banned all electronic gaming in public places. Supposedly they were cracking down on gambling, but mostly they were just responding to sensationalist media reporting, and being generally lazy with their lawmaking. The law was amended the next year (partially thanks to a big “WTF?” from the EU), though it still technically bans computer games in internet cafes (but is now unenforced).

As a result of this irresponsible legislation, every arcade in the country was shut down. What the hell gives, Greece?


Oh Australia, you couldn’t be more backwards if you were an isolated continent comprised almost entirely of Europeans, and restricted “non-white” immigration until 1973. Oh wait, you are.

In Australia, games are rated by the Office of Film and Literature Classification, but are apparently not important enough to make it into the name of the committee. Unlike films, games have no 18+ rating and must be deemed suitable for ages 15 and up.

Above: WiiWare game Sexy Poker, which is tragically un-sexy, didn’t make the cut in Australia 

Hey, so, that’s absurdly stupid, and leads to stupid crap like the effective banning of Left 4 Dead 2 because it contains “realistic, frenetic and unrelenting violence which is inflicted upon ‘the Infected’ who are living humans infected with a rabies-like virus that causes them to act violently."

THAT’S JUST A DESCRIPTION OF THE DAMN GAME! It’s not a good reason to disallow adults from playing it, you uncompromising nitwits. This ridiculous conclusion that videogames are for children and children alone has plagued the industry everywhere, but Australia still fails to understand that child-proofing everything only causes cultural stagnation… and better piracy techniques.

Above: Why would you not want to teach your children how to kill zombies? Look what they do! 

Sep 30, 2009

Nintendo: Banned in the USA
Nudity, Nazis and all the bloody good stuff Nintendo of America didn't want you to see

Top 10 banned videogames The games that incurred the wrath of the censors the world over

Banned in Europe
Manhunt 2, Nazis... and every videogame ever? Read the amazing story of our continental friends


  • reaperman22 - October 10, 2009 11:03 a.m.

    basicly every gamer in australia is pissed at the fact that left for dead 2 is banned, i personally have never played the first 1 and probably would of never played the second 1 either but the fact they banned it has pissed me off.
  • WaggleMyBoomstick - October 7, 2009 4:02 a.m.

    it's not the OFLC's fault since Michael Atkinson on the Board of Attorney's General won't allow them to use a 18+ for games, but other forms of media can use it. Usually the OFLC Refuse Classification, then after the game has had a tiny mod, it gets reclassified 15+: the unintended age group that game was made for (the irony being lost on M.A.). They had no problem with the violence in Fallout 3 and Gears Of War. The funny thing is, on the same day L4D2 got RC, the OFLC passed 2 porn flicks. And you can see tits and say fuck with the australian equivilant of the TV14 rating on free-to-air network TV.
  • Amatarasu - October 5, 2009 1:27 a.m.

    germanys the reason i can't go on a murdurus rampage through little lamp light in fallout 3 hmmm, and i better cross austrailia off my " possible countrys to live in" list new zeland the same way?
  • Trg564 - October 3, 2009 10:47 a.m.

    Australia is so tough that Fallout 3 was almost banned for having Morphine
  • dakotak51 - October 3, 2009 9:16 a.m.

    there was an incident involving GTA IV in new zealand on which a guy protested on removing the "aussie" 15+ rating and asking for it to be reviewed by the new zealand authorities. Thankfully it worked and we know have the full, bloody R18 version!!!!
  • Cepzeu - October 3, 2009 8:44 a.m.

    Ha ha, shame on german people
  • FETALJUICE - October 3, 2009 4:09 a.m.

    Ah yes, the "Sexbox Scandal". Those reporters who came up with that sensationalist bullshit should have been fired. Hilarious though. And Greece? SHAME ON YOU!
  • GRwarrior - October 2, 2009 9:20 p.m.

    I live in Australia, and our rating system is fucked up. They banned Left for Dead 2 for christ's sake
  • bilstar - October 2, 2009 2:01 p.m.

    I remember the Mass Effect thing. Saw a lady on TV, Fox news possibly? And she was just saying stuff that wasn't accurate at all. It was just lies! It was pretty shocking really.
  • Hurricrane - October 2, 2009 12:26 p.m.

    I'm surpirsed you didn't mention how Saudi Arabia banned Pokemon
  • Arukami - October 2, 2009 6:57 a.m.

    Ahhh thgey must'nt cencor those awesome game like AI GAME 2...ahahahah!
  • TheWebSwinger - October 2, 2009 6:05 a.m.

    I love this article. It's a bit "Rah! Rah! U-S-A" for my taste, but it's so well written that I couldn't give two shits.
  • Defiance - October 2, 2009 5:55 a.m.

    Agree with Thoenik. Here in Greece we have lot's of arcades and even more cyber cafes devoted to video games nowadays. This law though was enough to send us into an era were no arcades nor any internet cafes existed.
  • dimomarg - October 2, 2009 5:22 a.m.

    I AM Greek. What is up with us? It's simple. The government is a crapload of crapful idiots...
  • TedDidlio - October 2, 2009 1:32 a.m.

    Extremely good article. All forms of state censorship, excluding censoring state secrets, inciting violence, and public displays of hardcore pornographic material in regards to young children, are abhorrent and should not be tolerated by rational human beings.
  • SHAD0WNINJA - October 2, 2009 12:44 a.m.

    I had never heard of those ones in China about "damaging the nations glory," and disturbing social order." Thank god Hong Kong isn't completely back to china then. Nice article btw.
  • And_ROOS - October 1, 2009 9 p.m.

    Its stupid here in Aus, 1 person from each state (total of 5) make the rules. They all must agree on something to pass. 4 of the 5 support 18+ rating for games. 1, from a backwards hick state full of "Christian morals" refuses to comply but never has good reason for doing so. The issue is, this wont stop online users. I STILL plan on getting L4D2 on PC via Steam, and other people i know are importing it via other sites. So in the end, nothing gets accomplished, this turd gets heat for being a backwards hick, and gamers will keep playing those "naughty games" etc etc
  • noobeater - October 1, 2009 6:33 p.m.

    @jackthemenace grz uv unveiled to the world that your a paedophile also i think the british are generally relaxed about films and games, im happy enough, besides manhunt never interested me. oh and i got gta when i was like 12, my parents didnt mind and they knew i knew i wernt gonna kill anyone
  • jackthemenace - October 1, 2009 4:50 p.m.

    sorry, just had to say that. also, australia should release the 18+ games as 15s. THAT would be fun... i miss australia... good article!
  • jackthemenace - October 1, 2009 4:43 p.m.

    bet no-one here new even though japanese porn has to have everything below the waist censored out, there is no child porn law. suck on THAT US!

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