Saudi Arabia adopts new rating system, will also call for certain games to be banned

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Here in the United States, we fight censorship all the time. Visitors to this site are more than likely aware of these battles against Puritan thinking, but what we face here in the United States is nothing compared to what others are going through. A good example of this would be when a small group of outraged non-gamers successfully requested to get Grand Theft Auto 5 removed from Target shelves.

Rating systems such as the ESRB and PEGI attempt to avoid this by educating consumers about game content and preventing anyone from being surprised to see something that offends them, although the effectiveness of a such protection is questionable at best. (Ask any Grade 3 student if they have played Grand Theft Auto and you will see)

This brings us to the recent news from Saudi Arabia, where an official video game rating system has just been put in place by the government.

While scoring systems are not uncommon, it is not necessarily the guidelines themselves that cause concern. This particular scoring system seems rather typical. It has warning symbols for violence, alcohol consumption, and online gambling… nothing fancy. Instead, what worries people is that this scoring system comes on the heels of recent legislation that will see some games outright banned. The list, which you can see in the image below, includes some games you might suspect and some you probably wouldn’t want.

This is not the first time that Saudi Arabia has tried to control the games. A look at a previous list of banned games shows a number of games, the most fun of which is Pokemon, a game that apparently promotes Zionism.

It’s also important to note that although these games are banned by the government, some stores actually ignore the ban and sell them regardless. While they risk fines (or losing their license, perhaps), retailers can choose not to follow the rules.


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