Updated · Mar 23, 2023
Most Popular Games That Got Banned & How to Play Them!
Updated · Feb 07, 2023
Playing video games is arguably the most popular activity for kids (and some adults) nowadays, and for the most part, they come with a slew of benefits and fun-filled hours.
But did you know that certain titles are so obscene, immoral, and brimming with violence that some countries outright banned them for everyone?
Keep on reading as we list the most popular games that got banned!
List of the Top Banned Video Games
Below, you’ll see everything from banned horror games to light-hearted titles that may cause havoc and put people in danger. Let’s see why that is so!
1. Manhunt 2
Described as brutal, sadistic, and riddled with unrelenting visceral murder, Manhunt 2 is perhaps the most banned game worldwide. Some countries like Germany, New Zealand, and South Korea also ban its prequel (Manhunt) for blood, gore, and intense violence.
While many games contain strong language, sexual content, use of drugs, and violence, Manhunt’s gameplay also encourages players to do it to progress further.
2. Grand Theft Auto
Next up on our list is GTA—a series of action-adventure games that everyone has heard of and most of us have even played through. However, its gratuitous violence and free use of strong language and sexual content have deemed GTA unfit for young gamers.
Because of that, some countries have outright banned some or all GTA entries for their depictions of cruelty, including South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, and Thailand, which has banned all GTA titles in perpetuity since August 2008.
3. Animal Crossing
You wouldn’t think an innocent game like Animal Crossing would get banned by anyone, but here we are! Since early 2020, Animal Crossing: New Horizons has been banned in mainland China and pulled from Taobao because activists were creating anti-government messages with the in-game pattern tools to react to the Hong Kong protests.
Bully is another Rockstar game that came under fire from some critics for promoting the use of strong language and physical violence in a school setting.
Despite not containing the gore of Manhunt and GTA, Bully was still banned in 2008 on the grounds of being too violent for schoolchildren after a local youth support center expressed concerns that the game promotes violence against teachers and students.
5. Pokémon GO
Pokémon GO has garnered its fair share of controversy after becoming a global gaming phenomenon, mostly because it required people to move and drive around in the real world to find and catch the rarest Pokémon out there.
When focusing on playing the game, gamers can easily lose track of their surroundings, which may even be dangerous in some cases, especially when moving through traffic. However, under the guise of public safety, some countries such as Iran, China, and Thailand have banned or restricted the game due to security concerns.
Other reasons for banning Pokémon GO include preventing players from straying onto religious sites and hiding young players from sex offenders.
Wolfenstein is the type of game that proves particularly troublesome in Germany as it depicts Nazi iconography, which is banned under the German Criminal Code section 86a. On top of that, the game violates section 131 of the same code: depicting violence.
Because of that, games using these and other unconstitutional symbols are edited and censored before being released to the German public. Unfortunately, Wolfenstein was published with an overlooked swastika, which led to its initial ban.
However, in recent years, German censorship laws have started allowing the usage of some of these symbols, and the games have been coming out in their original form.
7. The Sims
As another surprising entry on our list, The Sims video games are surely not worth a ban from any country out there. After all, they only provide a real-life simulation in which you build a house, raise your family, and form connections with other NPCs.
That’s why the public was left confounded when Uzbekistan included The Sims in their list of 34 games deemed to distort the country’s values and threaten its stability. After all, The Sims stands out on any list that includes Silent Hill, Doom, and Mortal Kombat.
8. Fallout 3
No more violent or bloody than similar games on the market, Fallout 3 was still absent from India’s retail shelves as it violates the country’s religious beliefs and cultural sensitivities with its two-headed cows that share the name of honored Hindu scholars.
Conversely, the Japanese version of Fallout 3 had to be edited due to a single game quest called “The Power of the Atom”, which alludes to an atomic detonation in urban areas similar to what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the end of the World War II.
9. Postal 2
The Postal game series would not be on this list if gamers restrained themselves from unleashing mayhem as they progress through the game. But, RWS (the devs) have enabled players to revel in all kinds of disgusting activities, from public urination and homophobic and racial discrimination to animal cruelty and murder.
But, because of the game’s potential to bring out our worst nature, the game was banned in several countries, including New Zealand, Australia, Germany, Malaysia, and Sweden.
10. Mortal Kombat
Unlike some of the entries on our list, Mortal Kombat being banned in a large number of countries comes as no surprise as the series is well known for its excessive and sadistic cruelty that is presented with showmanship and pride as you execute your opponents.
Ultimately, MK’s graphic violence proved too much and too realistic for countries such as Australia, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
11. God of War
The God of War games are arguably the most popular and fastest-selling PlayStation exclusive ever published. With each subsequent entry in the series, Sony has pushed the envelope of what is possible in terms of graphics, story, sound, and level design.
Despite all its deserved praise, God of War is still unavailable to gamers in the UAE, where it was banned because of the series’ religious and sexual content.
Thankfully, the 2018 God of War sequel was finally approved by the country’s National Media Council, which hopefully means that the other titles will follow suit.
12. Crash Bandicoot
Certain games in the Crash Bandicoot franchise—a fun and harmless PS exclusive platformer—were also subjected to censorship due to aggressive imagery.
For example, the Japanese version of Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back was altered as it included a beheading animation reminiscent of the real-life Kobe child murders. Moreover, the character was redesigned to appear gentler and less aggressive.
Doom is a fast-paced shooting game full to the brim with blood, guts, gore, and demons. On top of that, it also includes sacrilegious imagery that mocks historical religious figures and plenty of horror elements unsuitable for most gamers.
That said, it is no surprise to learn that certain entries in the Doom series have been banned or restricted in countries such as Germany, Japan, and Brazil.
14. Sex Vixens from Space
As one of the first games to be banned anywhere, Sex Vixens from Space challenged British legislators back in the day as it contained explicit and implicit sexual imagery, which was very uncommon for a game released in the 1980s.
That said, the social climate was rather conservative during those times, and government officials seized the game’s official shipments and subsequently destroyed them, intending to protect the country’s youth.
15. Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony
Some games have also gotten banned due to their release date and subject matter coinciding with a real-life horrific event in specific countries around the globe.
For instance, the unfortunate timing of Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony resulted in the game being banned by the South Korean video game rating agency as it was released a few months after a teenage girl dismembered an 8-year-old. They reasoned that the game’s content of crime, sex, and violence might incite similar real-life crimes.
Unlike the other titles on our list, Roblox is not a video game but rather an online platform used to create games in multiple genres via the Lua programming language.
Released in 2006, Roblox and its game creation potential exploded in the second half of the 2010s. But, such an expansion also brought forth all kinds of creators, some of which developed titles full of offensive content and imagery. On top of that, Roblox is one of the most popular game platforms among young children.
Considering the possibility of such content reaching this vulnerable group, several countries have banned Roblox, notably Belgium, Guatemala, Oman, and the UAE.
You might be interested in: What Was the First Game on Roblox
How Can You Still Play These Banned Video Games?
Every title included on the above list of banned games can still be accessed and played regardless of where you are in the world.
How you may ask?
It’s simple: you just need to install a VPN service as it has many useful features and no drawbacks worth mentioning, except that you pay a nominal monthly rate.
For instance, a good VPN hides your identity and online activities, does not record what you do, helps you evade censorship and access all the content out there, and does not slow down your speeds. In fact, it may even help you avoid bandwidth throttling.
If you are sold on the idea of having a VPN, read our articles on the top 5 VPN countries to connect to and how to set up a VPN on your Android device.
At the end of the day, most of the games listed above are heaps of fun and will not morally corrupt you as they were banned by countries with excessive internet laws. That said, you should still exercise caution when downloading them via a VPN service, as such action may lead to certain unforeseen consequences if you are found out to have done so.
Is GTA getting banned in the US?
No, the U.S. laws about video game banning are rather lax. That said, some GTA titles received the ESRB AO rating, indicating it’s only suitable for adults.
Which games are banned in Japan?
Titles like Resident Evil 4, Call of Duty: Black Ops, and GTA V were edited for the Japanese market as they contain excessive violence. Some were even outright banned, such as Mortal Kombat and The Callisto Protocol.
Which country bans the most games?
In general, conservative and religious countries like the UAE have the strictest censorship laws and ban the widest range of games. The most popular games that got banned there all included some form of gambling, violence, homosexuality, or sexual content.
A qualified journalist and longtime web content writer, Keelan has a passion for exploring information and learning new things. If he's not writing or pushing his own brands, you'll find him watching pro wrestling or trying not to rant about politics online.
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