Here in the United States we fight against censorship all of the time. Visitors to this site are more than likely aware of those battles against puritanical thought, but what we face here in the states is nothing compared to what others go through. A good example of that would be when a small group of outraged non-gamers successfully petitioned to get Grand Theft Auto 5 removed from Target’s shelves.
Rating systems such as the ESRB and PEGI attempt to prevent this by educating consumers about game content and preventing anyone from being surprised about seeing something that offends them, though the effectiveness of such a safeguard is dubious at best. (Ask any 3rd grader if they’ve played Grand Theft Auto and you’ll see)
This brings us to recent news coming out of Saudi Arabia where an official video game rating system has just recently been established by the government.
While rating systems are by no means uncommon, it’s not necessarily the guidelines themselves that are causing concern. This particular rating system seems rather typical. It has warning symbols for violence, alcohol use and online play…nothing out of the ordinary. Instead, what has people concerned is that this rating system follows on the heels of recent legislation that will see certain games outright banned. The list, which you can see in the picture below, includes some games you might suspect, and a few you probably wouldn’t.
This isn’t the first time Saudi Arabia has attempted to control gaming. A glance at a previous banned game list shows quite a few games, most amusing of which is Pokemon, a game that apparently promotes Zionism.
It’s also important to note that while these games are banned by the government, some stores do in fact ignore the ban and sell them regardless. Though they risk fines (Or losing their license, perhaps), retailers can elect not to abide by the rules.