Banned Games Across the World

If you enjoy your games then there's definitely some places you're better off living. For instance for fans of shoot em up games, Venezuela is a very bad place for you to be. Earlier this year the Venezuelan Government made good on their intention of banning all games where the objective was to shoot people. Whether this is really the cause of their huge violence and crime problem I myself am rather skeptical, but I guess we'll have to watch the crime figures and see.  In any case they have become the first country in the world where all violent video games are now illegal.

It's actually quite surprising if you see which games are banned in different countries,  Germany for instance is fairly lenient as long as you don't use any Nazi symbolism anywhere - the rather old Wolfenstein 3D for instance is banned simply for that reason.  Most countries tend to focus on violence but there's still plenty of other agendas being played through the censors.  There are of course some fairly surprising ones in China - they are usually not that concerned with the violence in video games but politics is another thing -  you would have thought that  Football Manager 2005 was a fairly inoffensive title.

But no,  Sega made the mistake of listing Tibet as an independent country in the International section and was duly banned from release in China.

Command and Conquer - Generals apparently was banned for smearing the image of China and the Chinese army.  Although I seem to remember they were portrayed as the baddies in all the other versions of Command and Conquer as well but they seem to be ok with those.

It's inevitably the problem with censorship, even if it starts off as very mild and done with the best of intentions - it doesn't take long before people with different motivations start manipulating what you can or can't do.   This is of course the primary concern with the Australian plans to censor the internet, sure it started off as just a few illegal sites but it's already developing into much more as people use it to impose their particular moral, religious or political agendas.  We've already covered the Australian Internet filter plans on this site a few times, but it the boundaries of this plan are already creeping forward.        

The latest news is that they are also planning to block the purchase of  video games which don't reach Australia's MA15+ rating, this is the classification applied to all games that are sold in Australia, they don't actually have an adult classification so the 15 year old limit is all they have to work with. (In practice this is actually means you can own these games but just cannot sell them,  except West Australia where it's all illegal)

So let me just highlight this point -

The Australian Government plan to block any website which allows the purchase of any game on the internet which is not deemed suitable for a 15 year old.   This also includes playing online games and web based flash games.

So if you're an 18+ games player it's tough, you have the same restrictions as a 15 year old.  The fact that this will be even more unworkable than the original censorship plan will eventually dawn on the Australian Government but until then they will be attempting to implement this.   The blocking of any site that stocks such software is of course going to be rather difficult - International sites such as Amazon, Ebay, HMV for a start all stock software titles that don't have this age classification.   But I'm sure the Australian public will be grateful to their government from saving them from the risk of corruption of violent or rude video games.

If you want to see how incredibly stupid this could all get in Australia, have a look at another game which has been banned there - that evil, work of Satan - Marc EckĊ's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure.   Now this game is a few years old but I have actually played it for about ten minutes once, you basically run around a city having a few fights and spraying graffiti on the walls - I thought it was pretty dull but no Australian is allowed to play it.

The idea behind the game is that graffiti is the only way of free expression left in the Orwelian, Big Brother type state featured in the game.  The huge irony here was obviously lost on Federal Attorney-General Phil Ruddock who got the MA15 Classification removed and the game effectively made illegal in Australia.

The reason - ahem it glorified graffiti ...........can you believe this !!!

Make no mistake, if Australia carry down on this road, they will have one of the most heavily censored and filtered internet connections in the world.  Also due to the technology they use for this filtering it will also be one of the slowest !   Unfortunately  this is why so many people are turning to the technology that allows anonymous surfing,  programs like the on I use - Identity Cloaker simply bypass all these filters.  Of course many people just use them to bypass country restrictions and to watch UK and US media sites but they are rapidly becoming an essential online tool due to many other reasons.   These programs shouldn't be needed but without them we simply could not use the internet freely without people monitoring us or deciding what we can or can't do online !