Ever wondered where some games went? Maybe they were your favorite? or perhaps they were just porn games?
It may be weird or just clear that most games are removed by politicians with their censorship of porn games or intense violence, graphic sex, or unsavory themes. But surprise, surprise, there are other reasons that games get prohibited from sale, and they’re pretty weird.
Many games were banned simply because of cultural misunderstandings. Can’t say that for RapeLay. The insanely controversial game developed by Japanese studio Illusion was released in 2006 and almost immediately kicked off a firestorm of destructive emotions. If you haven’t heard of it, RapeLay puts you in the shoes of a sexual predator and tasks you with stalking and having sex with a mother and her two daughters by force. Needless to say, this is incredibly screwed up and not cool.
RapeLay was banned in multiple countries after release. Selling it in Argentina, Indonesia, and New Zealand is illegal. In the US, it received an AO rating, which meant that most retailers would not stock it, but you can still get it online.
Rockstar Games studio has courted controversy with the Grand Theft Auto games to great success, but when it dipped a toe into the brutal world of snuff porn with the Manhunt games, the company got a little more than expected. The first game in the series saw government pushback in New Zealand and other nations, but the second—which amped up the gore and brutality to previously unseen levels—really got hammered. Through the eye.
Manhunt 2 was “refused classification” in the UK, meaning it was too screwed up even to get a rating. Rockstar went back in and added some graphical filters to obscure the gore, and the edited version was initially released there. It was banned from sale in Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, and South Korea (which also banned the original).
Many games push the envelope of bad taste, but none push quite as hard as the Postal series. The long-running sandbox titles put you in the shoes of an ordinary Joe trying to run errands only to be driven into a violent, homicidal rage (often by Gary Coleman), and their anarchic sense of humor is definitely an acquired taste. The country of New Zealand, safe to say, never acquired it.
New Zealand’s ban on the game cites “Gross, abhorrent content: Urination, High Impact Violence, Animal Cruelty, Homophobia, Racial, and Ethnic Stereotypes” as the reasoning. Let’s be fair: all of those things are in the game. Hell, there’s even a key bound to take a piss. The penalty for owning a copy is a $1,400 fine, which could buy you many better games.
For nearly as long as video games have been, people have been trying to make them into porn. One of the most notorious smutty games of all time is Custer’s Revenge, which hit the Atari 2600 in 1982. Produced by Canoga Park developer Mystique (a subsidiary of an adult movie company), the game cast the player as a horny General Custer with a pixelated boner who had to walk across the screen through a hail of arrows to pork a Native American woman tied to a pole. Classy stuff, right?
When the game was released, it sparked a moral panic, with anti-sex feminist Andrea Dworkin claiming it had “generated many gang rapes of Native American women.” No empirical data backed this up, but several cities floated laws to prohibit the game’s sale. Only one did: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, passed a measure making sales of Custer’s Revenge illegal within city limits.