The world today is one giant political correctness machine gone mad, with most us just trying to make it through the day without offending anybody or getting into any headache-inducing debates that end in car park fist fights.
Right now, though, there’s arguably no subject quite so controversial – within the realms of popular culture, at least – than that of video game violence and its alleged relation to real-life crime. Video game violence polarizes opinion, of course, and banning excessively bloody games is just one way of dealing with the issues at hand (and for most governments, is considered a last resort).
Sometimes, though, video games get banned for the most bizarre reasons imaginable. Here’s 10 games that found themselves taken off the shelves and shipped back to the devils who programmed them for barmy reasons you might never have expected…
10. Pokemon Was Banned In Saudi Arabia For “Being Like Gambling”
Pokemon is one of the most popular franchises the world over. It’s big in both America and Europe, and it’s like some kind of crazed drug in Japan, though you’d be pressed to find anything related to its cutesy creatures over in Saudi Arabia: Pokemon in its entirety was banned there back in 2001 for “being like gambling.” Seriously.
Granted, the slogan “Gotta catch ‘em all” (surely a marketing man’s wet dream) might as well say “Keep buying things from us forever,” but we’re not exactly sure why the government in Saudi thought Pokemon was quite the same as gambling, given that there’s no way to profit from playing the video game version and – if you’re playing by the rules – trading pieces of cardboard with friends.
The Pokemon world is secretly hellish, yes, but that’s because everybody living there is bizarrely obsessed with Pokemon and nothing else. If the game was banned for animal cruelty (how small is it inside a Pokeball, really?), maybe Saudi would have a leg to stand on, but Pokemon is hardly a mini Vegas, is it?
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This article was first posted on February 26, 2013