The worst countries in the world to be a gamer

Who has it worst for... censorship?

Censorship, frankly, is crap. In a civilised world in which games are predominantly played by adults, and age rating systems exist, and adult human beings have free choice and accountability for the kind of media they want to consume, there is very little excuse for any game being flat-out banned before the consumer gets to decide if they want to experience it.

But some countries still do it. And some countries do it on a grand scale. And some countries do it on a grand scale for ludicrous reasons. And the worst one? Possibly not the one you’d think. Given its reputation, you might expect Germany to be at the top of the list, but you’d be wrong. No, you see the most heavy-handed country blocker of adult content from adult eyes (and I’m deliberately leaving China out of this whole censorship debate because, you know, China) is actually…


The reason? Venezuala decreed in early 2010 to ban any and all video games in which the objective is to shoot people, effectively making an unfathomable number of this generation’s games completely and utterly illegal. The no-doubt thoroughly well thought out and totally reasonable explanation for this stark move? The idea that banning violent games would quell the country’s gun-crime problem.

If only we had banned Burger Time when we had the chance. Then we wouldn’t have this worldwide obesity problem.

Yet further nonsense comes via the reason the bill eventually got through. You see although the ruling was proposed by the nation’s opposition party, Venezuela’s President supported it on the grounds that apparently some Flash games existed on the internet in which the objective was to kill him. Which is a bit like ordering the nationwide killing of all cats because you once trod in some dog poo. A homemade browser game offends you, you’d better ban Wolfenstein. It’s the only way to make sure your children are safe. 

Aside from Venezuela? Yeah, Germany and Australia are pretty much the worst, as you probably suspected. Brazil has been a bit ban-happy in the past too, largely due to violence, but most of its release blockings seemed to happen during the ‘90s.

Germany gets the nod for its endlessly draconian attitude towards violence and its ongoing touchiness to Nazi references (it even banned The Darkness due to Nazi symbolism in the packaged bonus comic) , and Australia gets the ceremonial Nanny’s garb due to still utterly failing to have an 18 rating for video games, thus forcing itself to ban anything that falls beyond a 15 rating. An 18 certificate is now finally going through, although the originally pitched date of late 2011 has now slipped to early 2013. Publishers should be able to get previously banned games unbanned after that date, but they will have to pay a re-certification fee.

**UPDATE** Venezuelan reader GabeJediKnight has left a comment to inform us that the practical situation over there may not be as bad as it seems. Claims he:

"It's basically a non existent issue, as many who live here will tell you, this is truly a lawless nation, so while there is a ban in place, it is not truly applied or upheld by shops. Prices are stupid high though."

So that's okay then. True lawlessness FTW. **UPDATE END** 


Those are the worst examples I've come up with for each of the main factors that make gaming less fun than it should be. Which country officially has it worst though? Personally, and from a purely outside perspective, and purely because it appears quite high in two of these shit-list categories, I'd say Australia. 

Between a drastically cut-down selection of games due to years of ludicrous certification non-logic, and insanely inflated prices when games do arrive, I'd say that Australia has the worst time of it. Also, it has some bloody horrific creepy crawly creatures living there. So yeah, definitely Australia.

Feel their pain, brothers and sisters. Show them your support. Early 2013. Not long now.


  • Asilee - August 8, 2012 2:55 p.m.

  • darwin-cardenas - August 2, 2012 9:31 a.m.

    I represent a Venezuelan NGO called Philantropy (Filantropia) since two years ago we are trying to develop a National Content Guide called : Entertainment Software Content Board- as an initiative to avoid authorities misunderstandings about which games could be considered as warlike or good to play for kids and teenagers. We have been struggling for two years with the Venezuelan authorities AND WITH SONY, NINTENDO AND MICROSOFT to get involved in the discussion NEVERTHELESS NO ONE have shown or given any incentive or support to our cause we have been alone agaisnt all this issue ( which is pretty unfair given the surreal amount of money this industry sucks out of our pockets not only world wide but in venezuela) . they just want to keep selling without getting into too much trouble or without spending any aditional penny. Most National developers have fled the country looking for better options abroad. Some teachers (programmers and informatic Ingeneers) from The SImon Bolivar University,have supported us. We have to say that this crazy thing about censorship is being supported by a Law which IS NOT IN USE- No one respect it !-- nowdays you can find any type game in the malls stores ( Arkham City-Call of Duty- ( all series)- Grand thef auto- Modern ware fare etc etc. there is no law enforcement or force back up to this law-- just because they dont know how to rate games- a content they dont even understand- The dont have a police department with cops playin mortal kombat trying to guess the most gruesome fatality input. Our investigations has pointed two games responsible for all this bad mojo from the government authorities: Mercenaries 2 and Grand Theft Auto Vice city--- Authorities often focus their complains about how these games have a very high level of violence and that they are played mainly by kids no older than 8 years old. So they decided all these types of games should be totally prohibited since the venezuelan state is a Peacefull one ( yeah right)-- we have more killings and shootings during a weekend than in the Afganistan war- (46 people is the death toll every weekend) So the government needed someone to place the blame on- But there is something that we dont forget- nevertheless it could not be understood by North-americans- There are games That Should not be played By children !- The UK and Europe have realased that ! PEGI is taking this into account.....but North americans with their Freedom cliché dont pay attention to what content their children are playing --sincerely, what the big companies want to sell as candies to Kids. no one cares because they are earning lots of money-I think that many people around videogames are starting to think the same thing-- "hey I think this game ( silent hill, grand theft auto, gore etc) - is not good for my 5 years old son--and its not about censorship or freedom is about how we want to rise our children. We would want to contact someone from Gamesradar to let you know more info about this subject- So you could be more informed in such a way that you can offer a wider and deeper point of view.
  • UnMAnU - August 2, 2012 7:25 a.m.

    Well, I'm from Venezuela as well and, while that thing GabeJediKnight said about poor law enforcement is true, he doesn't mentioned that the law regarding violent games single-handedly eradicated most arcade theaters remaining in the country, that the cops can enforce the law any time they want if they are short of money (even with posters or no-gaming related stuff, like anime), and toy guns of any kind disappeared from all toy stores, while real guns are pretty much legal stuff. Our situation is more complex than just saying "don't worry, laws don't apply to us". It's more like "Venezuela is a Darwinian Hellhole that reduces Nolan's Batmanverse to a kindergarten."
  • Twiitch - July 30, 2012 12:16 a.m.

    I live in AUS, and I won't lie. It sucks ass when it comes to playing the Gaimz. But we're getting a better rating system so we don't miss out and our gaimz don't get censored. But we still get dicked with massive prices... Not to mention we don't have access to half the shit Americans have like netflix, the indie market place and a lot of other benefits. But at the end of the day, there's nothing we can do about it, so what ever cunt.
  • Forsvaine - July 26, 2012 12:46 p.m.

    Any thoughts on censorship in the United Arab Emirates? They seem to ban anything before it's even released if it has more than two tablespoons of blood, or has something to do with Arabs that isn't undying praise for them. I'd say it's worth an honorable mention, but it might not be as bad as I think it is. Still, they ban games incredibly quickly because it "contradicts" their beliefs and culture.
  • PS3_fukk_XBox - July 21, 2012 8:11 p.m.

  • alejandro-arranz - July 26, 2012 10:29 a.m.

    how very intelligent. thank you for your inane, useless input. that being said, I do agree. in terms of game pricing, USA all the way (happily brought to you by an irritated aussie-I'm sick of our games prices :( )
  • joan-ardon - July 21, 2012 4:26 p.m.

    The problem in Venezuela with censorship is that violent videogames became a blackmarket.. we pay $140 for new games and about 90 for used and older ones... consoles cost about $500 to $600... and download speed here is an average of 1 Mb/s (125 KB/s), the best u can get is 1MB/s (8Mb/s)... and the delay is about 80ms... but from what i know.. i've never heard of anyone getting jail time for selling violent games.. maybe just got their catalog destroyed..
  • simplethunder - July 21, 2012 3:24 a.m.

    Oops, sorry I meant $30 in America and $90 here.
  • simplethunder - July 21, 2012 3:23 a.m.

    Hey! Sorry, this isn't actually an account I own or made, but I wanted to say something about Australia, where I live. Yes, horribly, we do have insanely high prices (I've seen some games that cost $30 in America, but $60 here), but as for the censorship, amazingly, it isn't as bad as you might think (but still bad). Most games that would be R18+ in America, are brought down to MA15+ by some kind souls who rate it. Some games are censored before they get released here (L4D2 being a prime example, and I also read something about The Witcher 2), but then there a games that are indeed refused classification. Usually it's because of drugs, sex, gambling, or a combination of them. Also, any game that offers these as rewards, are INSTA-BANNED, one of which I know of because it was a Community Choice in the Steam sale (RISEN).
  • Technodude - July 19, 2012 1:21 p.m.

    WHAT?! £25 for the average game in the USA? I'd have four times as many games for my PS3 if I lived over there! What a joke. See, this is why I wait a couple of months to buy new release games - they're way too expensive in the UK.
  • brickman409 - July 19, 2012 3:36 p.m.

    well new releases are $60 here but they drop insanely low not much longer after the release date. almost all ps3 games that came out over a year ago cost less than $20 here.
  • Rambo 11 - July 19, 2012 10:01 p.m.

    Here in the far land of Australia new releases are often between 100$-120$ for standard (not collectors edition) releases, with usually 10$ off for PC hard copies. And HD rereleased bundles are usually around 60$
  • iamthe-scullionator - July 24, 2012 12:27 p.m.

    Think about the Australians. It costs ludicrously higher for them.
  • Chesterojk - July 19, 2012 4:25 a.m.

    just as Robin implied I'm stunned that a stay at home mom able to get paid $7874 in four weeks on the internet. have you seen this site link (Click on menu Home more information)
  • EwoksTasteLikeChicken - July 18, 2012 4:05 p.m.

    David, you are by far the best editor at GR.
  • GameManiac - July 18, 2012 9:07 a.m.

    Fun Fact: Pokemon is banned in Saudi Arabia. They say because it promotes Zionism or something ridiculous like that.
  • jaytee1 - July 18, 2012 6:01 a.m.

    Hi guys , well being a gamer from Melbourne , Australia I have to say that some of the prices are not to bad but considering that our dollar has been over the dollar amount for qite some time now the prices should have come down dramatically. But being things the way they are at the moment we have bigger things to worry about at the moment like this carbon tax that has just come in and the fact that we are classed as one of the most expensive cities to live in in the world the price of just living is our main problem. As I simpathize with all the American people at the moment I think we are getting to a point we're we will not be far off being in a similar situation TOO MUCH DEBT
  • alejandro-arranz - July 26, 2012 10:27 a.m.

    too much debt? where are you getting this information mate? Australia, for the moment, are relatively safe and sound monetarily- China and Japan are buying all our precious rocks and any other valuable shit we can dig up from our destroyed countryside. The carbon tax has NO effect on civilians, and Sydney (my home town :p) is more expensive than melbourne. That being said, its still bloody ridiculous that in australia, be it melb. or syd, brisbane etc we get SO badly overcharged for the same thing Americans get. I don't think there's even regional formatting anymore on console (at least not my ps3 games yay!)- so there is no reason a country with higher dollar value, and no extra work required (shipping is not a reasonable excuse) should pay such absurd margins on the same games.
  • Shinn - July 18, 2012 5:53 a.m.

    Where did they get their pricing information from? All games cost more NZD in New Zealand than AUD in Australia, and our dollar is much weaker than the Aussie currency. I think the NZ results and Aussie results are backwards. And let's not forget the fact that everyone in New Zealand is poor.

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