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China bans boobs and bombs in videogame ads

Did you think that the swarms of boob-based ads for games like Evony were a plight on only English-language websites? Of course not! Sexual advertising is common in many countries across the globe, including China.

Chinese role playing game Journey to the West became infamous when it hired Zhai Ling, a model who had just been involved in a sex tape scandal, to represent the game. An advertising boob-race followed as Chinese game companies sprinted to find the most beautiful – and most scandalous – models to hire. The issue came to a head when famous porn star Sola Aoiwas hired to appear in ads for Warrior OL.

Above: She makes the Evony ads appear tame, no?

The government generally frowns on this sort of tomfoolery, and as of August 1st all sexually suggestive images will be banned from game advertisements in China. Sexual content is also not allowed in games that are accessible by people under the age of 18. Oh, and if you’re wondering how China is going to enforce that, the answer is something that Blizzard critics should be familiar with: China requires that players register for games using their real name.

Above: Get your mind out of the gutter, comrade

It isn’t just porn stars that will be hurt by the new regulations, however. The rules against sex in game ads are part ofa broader set of rulesthat bans the use of “unwholesome” content. This includes the usual suspects of sex and violence as well as their common sidekick, gambling. But the rules also ban depictions of superstitions and cults; two no-nos that Western observers may be surprised to hear are considered taboo.

And yes, the law really does ban “unwholesome” content. China obviously wants to leave a little room for interpretation when it comes to enforcing these regulations. In any case, it is a sad day for lovers of sex and violence in China.

Jul 9, 2010