7 Video Games That Were Banned in the USA

The gaming industry operates an open system that affords programmers and software providers the freedom to develop games across different genres and audiences. Sometimes even the games are free! Fairly so, since gaming is a creativity and innovation-centric industry, it is normal that freedom of expression is allowed to thrive.

Nonetheless, in America and several other countries, creative outputs like movies, music and games are subjected to screening by a censors board or committee. This committee also doubles as an agency of government saddled with the responsibility to scrutinize and access the quality of materials produced for public consumption. The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) was established in 1994 and was saddled with the responsibility of performing this role.

Games that are deemed unhealthy for the public will be banned from further distribution within the ambits of the country, and the already distributed ones will be withdrawn from further circulation. There are several reasons why a video game can be banned, and they are as follows:

    • Intense Violence
    • Graphic Sex
    • Unsavoury themes
    • Racial slur
    • Legal issues

ESRB Ratings

Video games are divided according to the following categorizations:

    1. EC (Early Childhood): This refers to video games suitable for children aged 3 and above.
    2. E10+: This is a video game with content suitable for children aged 10 and above.
    3. E: This is a video game that is suitable for everyone.
    4. T: This is a video game suitable for teenagers, i.e. players aged 13 and above.
    5. M: This is a video game with the content acceptable to be played only by mature players. The implication is that only players aged 17 and above are recommended to play this game.
    6. AO: This implies ‘Adults Only’. This category of games usually comes with violent and graphic displays of nudity and sex and should only be played by a mature individual.
    7. RP: This is abbreviated as rating pending. It implies that the video game has been submitted for evaluation to the ESRB, but the verdict of the panel is yet to be delivered.

Top Video Games Banned in America: What Are the Reasons?

Thrill Kill

Thrill Kill is a violent fighting game with gory scenes where the characters are sent to hell to compete against one another in a fight to the death format. As the contestants battle against each other, their motivation is an opportunity for a return to earth. This serves as an impetus for the fighters to employ unsavoury tactics, which can include ripping off body parts of their opponents or dashing through their throat with a cattle prod.

The violent nature of the game initially earned it an “AO” rating from the ESRB, but it was later pulled off by Electronic Arts. Prior to the release of this game, most of the adult-rated games were pornographic, but the extreme violence depicted in thrill kill led to it being pulled off by its manufacturers.

Custer’s Revenge

This is a pixelated game where players get to control a character known as General George Custer. The character is naked with erected manhood, and he tries to rape some women during the gameplay. In spite of the pixelated format of the game, glaring deficiencies as to the inappropriate nature of the game were still obvious.

The issue with this game is twofold; it spots too gratuitous nudity and then pushes the rape culture. It is also culturally insensitive as the women that are attacked by the general are Native American women. Hence it was perceived as an attack against the native American culture, which explains why it drew the ire of multiple Native American associations.

The Guy Game

The Guy Game is a game released by Top Heavy Studios as a console and PC game. As may be inferred from the name, the gameplay consists of male characters whose job is to preempt the answer to questions posed to some scantily clad women. They are asked in the form of trivia questions. If the players can correctly predict the answer, the reward is a disrobing of the girls.

Since the age range of video game players is 10-18, the game was deemed as child pornography due to the sexually suggestive nature of the game. Considering that teenagers are impressionable, it was important to prevent early exposure to offensive content like the one glorified in the game. It garnered public outcry, and a Texas judge ordered the game to be removed from stores.

Baby Shaker

This is one of the games with a fairly predictable theme and approach. It is a smartphone game that involves shaking the phone to evoke a reaction from a baby. The game features a crying baby who can be affected by the movement of the phone. Players are required to shake the phone until the baby stops crying. If the cessation of the cry is followed by the appearance of two red coloured “X” symbols on the baby’s eyes, the baby is dead.

The contention with such an offensive topic is that it glorifies child abuse. It renders the prospect of infanticide as a joke to be played with or laughed over. The game was the subject of protests to the Apple platform, where the game was released in 2009. Babies are fragile and need tender care, and as such, games depicting or endorsing violence against them were inappropriate for public consumption.

Death Race

Death Race is an arcade game released in 1976. It involves small white gremlins prowling around a dark contrasting background. There is also a steering wheel placed on a cabinet, which gives the impression of a car controlled by the player. The aim of the gamer is to direct the steering of the imaginary vehicle towards tramping upon the gremlin, who will produce a shrieking sound and then a tombstone would appear. Clearly, the game concept runs amok of public safety as it implicitly glorifies hits and runs. It courted controversy and was the subject of several complaints by members of the public.

X-Men: Destiny

While most games were removed from public circulation due to their violent or sexually gratuitous content, this video game was yanked for a more curious reason. Copyright issues occasioned by a legal dispute between Epic Games and Silicon Knights brought about the recall and destruction of all unsold copies of this video game. The lawsuit couldn’t be settled amicably, and this brought an end to the circulation of the game for public consumption.

Hatred

This is a violent game released in 1992 where players perform the role of a murderer motivated by hate and disgust and, as such, enters the streets with the aim of killing as many people as possible. Just as the title implies, this game props up the concept of nihilism and is particularly worrisome for parents of teenage kids who formed a significant audience of this game. An adult-only rating was initially slammed on the game before it was eventually withdrawn from Twitch, which announced a ban on games rated AO.

While video games ban may be criticized as an affront against human rights, a similar fate is experienced in the iGaming and casino industry. It could be said even to be responsible for high rates of piracy as well as limiting the financial opportunities of the vendors. The piracy is widespread among such wellknown mobile slot games as Gonzo’s Quest Nonetheless, Return of Kong Megaways and Solar Disc slots. Gamblers should pay attention to the sites where they play slot games. For new gamers there are a huge variety of review sites where you can find the slot you like and the best gambling sites where you can play it, and even try slots for free like Wrath of Hades or Razor Shark demo. The public health and safety must assume paramount importance over every other thing.

Several games with abusive content didn’t seem suitable for the wide audience and were banned in the USA. So, keep them in mind and opt for the other titles recommended by ESRB.

We are happy to present this collaborative post to offer valuable information to our readers.

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