Which games do you think the banning was justified?

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Number 15. Grand Theft Auto series, banned in Kuwait, Brazil, Australia. Rockstar Game's poster child, the Grand Theft Auto series has players take on a variety of different characters in fictional locations based on real world American cities, notably New York, Los Angeles and Miami. The goal of each game is to complete a series of tasks, many of which are crime related, in order to make their way to the top. While using offensive, sometimes obscene humour, the games also have their share of political and social satire, as well as its share of gritty realism and intelligent character development. Unsurprisingly, the extreme violence in the series has contributed to a fair share of controversy. The original titular game in the series was banned in Brazil due to the high impact violence, as well as Episodes from Liberty City; however, the latter was banned due to the usage of music by a Brazilian composer without permission. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was removed from shelves and threatened with an Adults Only rating in North America after a mod was discovered in the files allowing players to interactively have sex with female NPCs, known as the Hot Coffee Mod; after this was discovered, the game was briefly banned from Australia, though a modified version was later released.

Number 14. Harvester, banned in Germany. This game has garnered a cult following due to the absurdity of the amount of violence in the game, the poor quality graphics and the bad voice acting. Harvester puts you in the role of Steve, an amnesiac who awakes in the mysterious town of Harvest. Steve must perform various deeds in order to gain entrance to the Temple of the Harvest Moon, and solve the mystery of the town. The game includes high impact violence, and graphic gore, including a scene depicting a mother being devoured by her children. Writer and director Gilbert P. Austin made the game as a protest against censorship, and to show violence is not a result of video games, but a result of societal issues. This explanation did not deter any controversy, with many groups citing the blasphemous and violent content. Due to the graphic violence and extreme gore, Germany banned the game from distribution, and so far has not been put up for review to attempt sales. Despite its extreme content, most players of the game cite its confusing gameplay and outright poor writing as the game's true downfall, even labelling it as “the stupidest horror game of all time.”

Number 13. South Park: The Stick of Truth, banned in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, censored in Europe. Fans of the show will know South Park is the king of pushing the boundaries of what is appropriate for television and film. Stick of Truth broke said boundaries. Players are thrown into a South Park themed RPG with fighting mechanics similar to Final Fantasy, while still keeping the crude humour we all love in the process. Several scenes within the game make it quite clear how it is barely able to make a Mature rating, and not ending up with an Adults Only label, or worse. The game features strong language, gore, and strong sexual themes, including a boss battle underneath a couple having sex. Saudi Arabia and the UAE banned the game due to sexual themes and overall offensive content. Countries in Europe also took action to have the more extreme content removed from the game before release. However, in typical Trey Parker and Matt Stone fashion, South Park creators took this opportunity to add their protest, with instead of the scenes completely moved out, a message appears mocking players and censors, stating things like “You lose again, Europe,” followed by an explanation of what's occurring in the scene.
Number 12. Postal 2, banned in Australia and New Zealand. A game created with to be purposefully over the top, Postal 2 follows the Postal Dude as he conducts day to day errands around his hometown of Paradise, Arizona. The game houses every stereotype imaginable, including depictions of Muslims as terrorists who resemble Osama Bin Ladin, homosexuals as prancing girly-men, and police as violence-loving and corrupt. On top of the rampant, if tongue-in-cheek, offensive humour, violence and gore is likely what the game is most famous for. Players can murder, dismember, and set NCPs ablaze; most disturbingly is the ability to taser NPCs into a shuddering person on the ground, which the Postal Dude can urinate on before killing. The New Zealand ratings board immediately banned the game from being sold and possessed, which Australia also did for the same reasons. However, Postal 2 was made available on Steam internationally in 2012 even on accounts in Australia, with the government yet to remove the game from Steam's Aussie servers.

Number 11. Bully, banned in Brazil. Rockstar Games' adolescent take on their famous Grand Theft Auto Series, Bully takes place in the prestigious Bullworth Academy, a private boarding school in a fictitious New England state. Protagonist Jimmy Hopkins goes about his day to day business, taking on jobs in a similar fashion to GTA, though at a much more tame level in terms of violence and other obscenities the series has. Brazilian judge Flavo Mendes Rabelo issued a ban on the game based on a report from a state psychology society, which indicated the game could have potentially harmful impacts on youth in the country. The main issue Brazilian officials saw about the game was how it took place in a school setting, and could lead teens to mimic the actions of the characters portrayed in Bully, leading to an increase of fights and mischievous behaviour in Brazilian schools. Politicians in the UK also attempted to have the game banned or reclassified with a higher rating, and two retailers declined to sell the game off their shelves, citing it did not fit their family-friendly image. However, all attempts to ban or change the rating of the game failed, and it was made available with a 15+, equivalent to a T rating in the United States.

Number 10. Homefront, banned in South Korea. An alternative history first-person shooter, Homefront takes place in the Occupied United States after North Korean forces cripple the country with an EMP. Players take the role of a resistance fighter as he fights alongside both fellow resistance and American military. Players praised the game for its frighteningly disturbing portrayal of the dystopian regime of North Korea, with one scene of a child witnessing his parents be murdered by North Korean soldiers, and his heartbreaking cries of despair echoing in the players ears hours after the scene occurs. South Korea banned the game due to the half-century long tension with North Korea, with the latter being provoked into threats of military action over the most minor reasons. During development, South Korean ship Chenon was sunk by a torpedo, which a join South Korean-American investigation concluded was fired from a North Korean submarine; then Secretary of State Hilary Clinton's announcement of the findings was used in the opening cutscene of the game, and officials in South Korea felt the subject matter of the game would be insensitive to those affected by the ongoing tensions, and out of respect for those who have lost their lives during the conflict.

Number 9. Carmageddon, banned in Brazil, briefly banned in the UK. Inspired by the 1975 movie Death Race 2000, Carmageddon has players race NPC or each other on various race tracks, with players gaining points based on how many civilians they can run over. While not shocking for today, the graphic violence portraying mutilated body parts showering blood on the screen was shocking to audiences. Brazil outright banned the game for its high impact violence and refused any further attempts to release the game there, even after censored versions were presented. The UK ratings board refused to give the game a rating, de facto banning sales in the country. However, they later accepted a version where players instead run over zombies in place of innocent people. Germany also included this patch, and there are even some versions replacing the NPCs with robots, that spray oil on the screen in place of blood and green zombie goo.

Number 8: Football Manager 2005, banned in China. A rather innocent to be on this list, the game simply allows players to simulate the behind the scenes management of a football, or soccer, team of their choice, with 50 national teams available to take control of. Controversy stirred in China after it was discovered Taiwan and Tibet would be included as separate countries. Both regions are subject to a sovereignty dispute with China, with Tibet being forcibly annexed in the 1950s, and Taiwan claiming to be the true representative of China, under the name the Republic of China. While Tibet is under full control of China, Taiwan is a fully autonomous state with its own government and military, with the island and the mainland clashing through political rhetoric and military intimidation. Developers later released a new version which had Taiwan and Tibet now included as part of China, but the damage had already been done, and Chinese officials refused to lift the ban, with all sales of the game continues to be a criminal offense.

Number 7: The Guy Game, banned in the United States. Simply put, the aim of this game is to answer trivia questions, with the reward of live action videos of women exposing their breasts. Controversy was immediate and people were outraged as it was said to be exploitative of women, which developers Top Heavy Studios couldn't exactly deny considering the content within the game itself. Furthermore, a lawsuit was brought up against the developers and distributors when a woman claimed she was not informed footage of her would be used to promote the game, in which a judge granted a restraining order from the studios using her image within the game. It is so far the only game officially banned in the United States due to a 17 year old model being featured in the game, thus breaking pornography laws for using someone underage in a mature production. This is unique for the list, since the game didn't break any laws set exclusively towards video gaming, and instead breaking a broad law which encompasses various forms of media.

Number 6: Wolfenstien 3D, banned in Germany. Considered a classic of the First Person Shooter genre, Wolfenstien 3D has players in the role of an allied special agent sent deep behind enemy lines to destroy the Nazi regime, particularly its chemical testing departments. The player encounters various enemies, including Nazi soldiers, SS officers, biologically engineered super soldiers and an assortment of boss figures, including Hitler himself. Since the fall of the Nazis at the end of the Second World War, and Germany's reformation, the government has passed many laws banning the use of Nazi symbols and gestures, with people being arrested and imprisoned for giving the Nazi salute in public. Due to the existing laws in Germany, officials denied the request for distribution and sales of the game in the country, effectively banning it. Versions of the game that managed to reach Germany were confiscated by the government following a court verdict, and it Germans remain unable to obtain the game on their home soil. German law does allowed developers to appeal bans after a ten year period, though Id studios have so far made no attempt to appeal the process, thus the ban remains enforced.

Number 5: Soldier of Fortune: Payback, banned in Australia and Germany. The third entry in the franchise, Payback tells the story of Thomas Mason, a freelance mercenary who is betrayed during a job, so he sets out on a mission of vengeance against those who stabbed him in the back. The game features extreme gore, allowing players to dismember and decapitate enemies; it is also possible to continuously riddle dead NPCs with bullets, sending broken chunks of flesh and organs flying across the map. Australia refused classification of the game due to the excess violence and gore. However, developers Activision modified the game in order to tone down the gore and violence, and this version was released the following year. Germany also banned the game due to the high impact violence and for using humans as enemies. Officials feared this would inspire some people to commit murder since the game glorifies the deed, therefore Payback will never be available on their shelves.

Number 4: Three Sisters' Story, banned in New Zealand. A Japanese visual novel game, Three Sisters' Story is the tale of two brothers who were separated for ten years, only to be reunited after they vow to end the person they feel is responsible for their misfortune. However, one of the brothers discovers the other is completely obsessed with money, and has forced women into prostitution. Like many other visual novels, the game is heavily text based, and the player makes decisions based on the conversation he or she has with the other characters encountered throughout the game, with even the possibility of sexual intercourse with one or more of said characters. New Zealand refused classification because it was said the game promotes the exportation of women and the use of violence as an acceptable way to force someone to consent to sexual interactions. This reasoning was based on a framework in which no game containing offensive or abhorrent behaviour – such as incest, rape or bestiality – will be permitted for sale in New Zealand, thus setting the fate of Three Sisters' Story in stone.

Number 3: Doom, banned in Brazil. There's really no need for an explanation here, Doom is a gaming classic. While nothing entirely special today, it was very innovative for the time it came out in terms of graphics and gameplay. In Doom, players take the role of an unnamed space marine stationed on Mars, where an experiment causes a catastrophic accident, unleashing demons from the depth of hell into the research facility. During the height of its popularity, Doom proved to be quite controversial due to its depiction of satanic symbolism, gore and violence. The perpetrators of the Columbine High School massacre were known fans of the game, and there were even rumours spread stating the shooters designed a level in the game to resemble the floor plan of the school. However, this was quickly proven false as the shooters initially had no intentions of entering, and only did so after their homemade bombs failed to detonate. Brazil banned the game due to its gore and violence, as well as scenes officials deemed cruel. Nintendo also requested Id Software to tone down the violence in the game, which was done before Doom's release on the Super Nintendo.

Number 2: RapeLay, banned in Indonesia, Argentina, New Zealand and Australia. Certainly one of the most bizarre and controversial games on this list, RapeLay was made by Japanese developer Illusion Soft. It requires players to perform inappropriate sexual deeds on three young woman, including groping and rape. Eventually, the protagonist kidnaps the three girls in order to turn them into sex slaves. The first ending involves the protagonist committing suicide after accidentally impregnating one of the girls, and the second has the protagonist die by the hands of one of the kidnap victims. Needless to say, the game proved to be extremely controversial over the subject matter, and placing the players in the shoes of a sexual predator. After an extensive campaign by the Women's Forum, distribution of RapeLay was banned in Australia, and there was even an attempt to have Google censor search results for the game, though this was unsuccessful. The game is also currently the only game to be banned in Argentina for its extreme content, and distribution and possession of the game is a criminal offence in New Zealand. When the US Supreme Court struck down ban on selling mature games to children without parental distribution, Justice Samuel Alto referenced the game, stating “It…appears that there is no antisocial theme too base for some in the video-game industry.”

Number 1: Manhunt series, banned in Australia, New Zealand and South Korea, censored in the UK. Undoubtedly Rockstar's most graphic and violent game, the Manhunt series involves players performing brutal stealth executions on gang members of various different gangs scattered throughout Carcer City, as part of a new reality tv show produced by an insane director. The player has three choices of executions, mild, medium and brutal, with the latter usually resulting in decapitation, dismemberment and gore. The first installment was the focus of the 2004 murder of 14 year old Stefan Pakeera by 17 year old Warren Leblanc in Leicestershire, UK. Initial reports stated a copy of Manhunt was found in Leblanc's room, which caused people to speculate the game inspired the murder. However, police denied such claim and corrected the game was actually discovered in the victim's bedroom, not the killer's. Both Manhunt games were also subject to a smear campaign by attorney Jack Thompson, who attempted to sue both Sony and Rockstar for wrongful death charges, and later to have Manhunt 2 banned from store shelves; he was unsuccessful. Rockstar took the initial controversy seriously, and when Manhunt 2 was initially refused classification in the UK, the developers made edits to the game to remove more graphic content and added distortion filters over the execution scenes. Sale and distribution of the game is a criminal offense in New Zealand, and the game was refused classification in Australia, for its violent content and portrayal of killing as fun.