Video game bans are never fun for the fans. They're also not enjoyable for the creators of said games. There are often sentiments in certain countries that specific subjects should not be allowed in video games. There's been a long-standing issue with video game violence in Germany, as an example. The United Arab Emirates is even worse when it comes to barring all sorts of games. In recent news there's one country that might be trying to top the list of most obnoxious when it comes to video game bans. That country is Uzbekistan.
Let's start this off the right way. Uzbekistan's banned video game list has a whopping 38 entries. Some of them seem random, like DOOM 3 and 4 but not DOOM 1 and 2. There's also The Sims 3 and 4, but 1 and 2 are nowhere to be seen. Still another entry on the list is Kane and Lynch 2. Just the sequel is there, not the original.
The rest of the list includes: Postal 2, Phantasmagoria, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Carmageddon, Mass Effect, Dead Space, Naughty Bear, Mafia II, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, Fallout: New Vegas, Dead Rising, Manhunt, Mortal Kombat X, Manhunt II, Left 4 Dead (1,2, and 3), Hitman, Resident Evil 4, SOMA, Silent Hill, Until Down, Hatred, Dying Light, Dead by Daylight, Prototype, The Punisher, Bone Town, Lula 3D, 3D Sex Villa 2, and Shadow Warrior.
It felt pertinent to include the entire list, even though it doesn't look the pretty, because I want to give you all the option to look over it like I did. The confusion is real, because why are things like Castlevania: Lords of Shadow included on the same list as Lula 3D? I had to look the latter up by the way. It turns out it's a game where you play as an erotic film maker who's rescuing kidnapped porn stars. I mean, to a degree a ban of that sort of game can be understood. But even then, not really.
I'm going to say this right now, I have an American worldview on this subject. I realize that freedom of the press and the artistic freedom that we enjoy here is not the same everywhere else in the world. In that regard it's possible that my opinion might seem flawed or biased by other worldviews. However, in this case I concede that my worldview is the only one I can give on this topic.
Video game bans are absolutely silly. Developers should be allowed to make whatever games they see fit, and the consumer themselves should be able to decide whether or not they want to participate. Will I be playing 3D Sex Villa 2 or Bone Town any time soon? Absolutely not. But should I have the option to if I want to? Definitely. I agree that we should keep children away from this sort of thing, but banning a game entirely is just an unnecessary show of force.
Uzbekistan's game ban in particular was supposedly part of a nationwide effort to protect young people from destructive influences. The country also mentioned that the games could propagate “violence, pornography, threaten security and social and political stability.” If your country's security and political stability are so rocky that a mere video game could upend it, then you need to take a serious look at those issues, not video games. Another of the country's reasons included the potential damaging of “civil peace and inter-ethnic and inter-religious harmony.” Again, those are much larger issues than video games. The simple banning of Fallout: New Vegas isn't going to fix that.
There's also the potential that some of the video games in the list might contain “false information about Uzbekistan and the distortion of its historic, cultural and spiritual values.” The least I can say to this is that the Internet exists! If I played a game that said something I believed to be untrue about the United States, I would look it up online. For one, it's a fictional game, so I'm going to be going into my search knowing that it most likely won't be true. The only reason this could be an issue is if I was taught and told an incorrect history my entire life and my Internet search would start a snowball effect. But again, this could happen even without video games. An Uzbek teen could become interested in their country's history and do some Google-ing themselves out of the blue.
Frankly, I can't see a reason where banning these games would do a whole lot of good. It's like telling a child not to push a button; of course they're going to want to push the button. It's the same thing here. Tell them they can't play a certain game, and they're going to look it up. You're going to have the opposite effect from what you originally wanted. I can't see a world where banning video games is going to do anyone any good. There are certainly those that are going to oppose me, and I am more than willing to hear their reasoning. But for now, all I have to say to Uzbekistan is, “What in the world kind of good do you think you're going to do?”