There are always releases in media that strive to push what is generally acceptable; to bump up against the boundaries of good taste and ask, “What happens if I step across this line?”
Often, the first reaction is controversy, typically followed by censorship and outright banning and there have been plenty of examples of this throughout gaming history. Grand Theft Auto has always been a heat magnet, but it’s also helped to expand the medium in so many ways, then finding itself banned in various countries.
But it’s not always the obvious games that get this treatment, sometimes titles can surprise you by being censored across the globe for all manner of different reasons.
Violence and sex are one thing, and every country around the world has different views on what is and isn’t acceptable, but some games that aren’t even looking to cause a stir winding creating controversy.
This list explores some of the strangest cases of video games that were given the big red stop sign at the border and told to turn back around and go back to where they came from.
As with everywhere else in the world it was released, Half-Life was a smash hit in Singapore. And why wouldn’t it be? Half Life is awesome.
Gamers were able to get fully nestled into the title for a full year before suddenly the Singapore Government decided that it was too violent. This referred to the original base game but also all the mods and variations that had become available in that time, including the highly popular CounterStrike.
What makes this particularly strange is that, whilst the country was no stranger to banning games for their violence, it had been perfectly fine with it for twelve months.
Why it took so long we’ll never know but when Half-Life did get the ban hammer, someone in the country’s ruling powers took it very seriously as they approved of numerous raids. Police stormed retailers as well as anywhere that might host in-person events and LAN parties to retrieve copies and stop the spread of its in-game contents.
However, Singapore gamers didn’t take this lying down and online petitions gained traction pretty quickly. They argued that pulling sales of the genre-defining shooter would actually hurt the financial state of Singapore’s electronic entertainment market.
Thousands of signatures in one week caused the Government to back down and lift the ban.