In the world of gaming, there are several titles that could be called ‘Video Game Nasties’. These are games which feature very strong content – for example – mind boggling violence and gore or unwholesome sexual activity within the game. These games have run into problems with the censors in many countries around the world and they have been cut or banned due to their content.

Usually, this trend seems to amplify the popularity of the game, just as it does with a film that runs into problems with the censor. Banning a video game only makes the sleazehounds among us more eager to get our hands on it. Of course, some of the titles on this list are morally deplorable in what they depict. But others just fall victim to a senseless moral panic. I have picked the 10 most contentious video games of all time based on how much censor-bothering they incurred and attempts to ban them.


10. Mortal Kombat Franchise (1992-present)

Mortal Kombat

Mortal Kombat is a fighting game which was made to rival the success of Street Fighter. It was initially made for arcades and then released on consoles. It has spawned a movie and a whole heap of sequels. It is notable for its gory killing sequences known as ‘fatalities’ in which the player has to push a specific sequence of buttons to enact.

The series created a lot of controversy and there has been many court cases about the level of violence in the film. The original game led to the establishment of the ESRB – (Entertainment Software Rating Board) in the US – where it was the first game to be rated Mature – and also the development of the Australian Classification Board. Various titles in the franchise have been banned in various countries and CNN ranked it as the second biggest controversy in video games – citing the game’s gore as a major popularity factor.

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This article was first posted on June 26, 2013