In recent years, the video game industry has experienced a meteoric rise, captivating the minds of millions across the globe. However, not all games are created equal, and some have become the subject of stringent censorship policies in various countries. China, in particular, has drawn a firm line in the sand when it comes to the types of games allowed within its borders. This article delves into the fascinating world of video game prohibition, revealing ten wildly popular games that have met their match at the hands of Chinese censors. From gritty, action-packed adventures to seemingly innocuous titles, prepare to be surprised by the games that have been deemed unfit for consumption in the world’s most populous country.
10 Popular Video Games That Are Banned in China
Alliance of Valiant Arms
China’s strict regulations on video games have led to some popular titles being banned. Alliance of Valiant Arms, for example, is prohibited due to its graphic content, including blood, gore, and vulgar elements. This game, along with others that violate Chinese standards, is unavailable to the country’s large gaming community. While these bans aim to protect citizens, they also limit the range of entertainment options for Chinese gamers.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Animal Crossing: New Horizons, has been banned in mainland China since April 10, 2020. The game’s custom pattern tool allowed players to create and share anti-government messages, leading to its prohibition. Despite its global popularity, this Nintendo Switch title remains unavailable to Chinese gamers.
Another notable example is Battlefield 4, a first-person shooter from EA DICE. Chinese authorities banned this game, citing reasons such as discrediting the nation’s image and promoting a “cultural invasion.” Depicting a fictional war between China and the US, the game stirred controversy for its portrayal of Chinese military forces. This ban reflects China’s ongoing efforts to regulate and control media content, particularly when it comes to the representation of the country and its interests.
Command & Conquer: Generals
Despite showcasing China as a protagonist and glorifying the People’s Liberation Army, Command & Conquer: Generals was banned for allegedly “smearing the image of China and the Chinese army”. Chinese authorities found the game’s portrayal of their nation and military to be offensive, leading to its prohibition in the country.
Football Manager 2005
Football Manager 2005, was prohibited due to its recognition of Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Tibet as independent countries. This geopolitical sensitivity resulted in a global release of an edited version without these territories. This is just one example of how China’s policies influence the gaming industry, forcing developers to adapt their content for the nation’s massive market.
Another such popular game is Free Fire, a popular battle royale title. The Chinese authorities deemed the game inappropriate for its inclusion of overly-revealing female characters, graphic blood and gore, and vulgar content. These elements were considered to violate China’s guidelines, ultimately leading to the game’s prohibition in the country. As a result, Chinese gamers are unable to access this widely-enjoyed global phenomenon.
Hearts of Iron
Hearts of Iron, a popular video game, is banned in China due to its controversial representation of disputed territories. The game portrays regions such as Tibet, Manchuria, and Xinjiang as independent nations, and Taiwan is shown under Japanese control. These depictions have led to its ban in China, as they conflict with the country’s official stance on territorial sovereignty.
I.G.I.-2: Covert Strike
I.G.I.-2: Covert Strike, a well-known first-person shooter, is also among banned games. The game’s portrayal of China and the Chinese army has led to its prohibition, as authorities claim it “intentionally blackens China and the Chinese army’s image.” This ban reflects China’s ongoing efforts to control the content consumed by its citizens, ensuring it aligns with their political and cultural values.
Paladins, a popular multiplayer online game, faced a ban in China due to various controversial elements. Initially, a character was removed for excessive gore and resurrection abilities. Later, the game was banned entirely for featuring scantily-clad female characters, blood, gore, and vulgar content, all of which violated China’s strict censorship guidelines.
Plague Inc./Plague Inc. Evolved
Plague Inc./Plague Inc. Evolved, a popular strategy video game, is banned in China. This decision came in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as the game’s premise revolves around creating and evolving a deadly pathogen to wipe out humanity. Chinese authorities considered the game’s content inappropriate and offensive, potentially leading to public panic and misunderstanding. As a result, Plague Inc. and its evolved version are no longer accessible for Chinese gamers, illustrating the country’s strict stance on media content related to sensitive real-world issues.