List of regionally censored video games

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Many video games have certain elements removed or edited due to regional rating standards. While, in the past, games were often toned down when translated overseas, in terms of violence, religious references, profanity, drug use, etc., when compared to their Japanese counterparts,[1] in recent years Computer Entertainment Rating Organization (CERO), among other ratings organizations, have imposed harsher restrictions on violent games.[2]

Third generation (1985-1991)

  • Bionic Commando - The game was renamed from Top Secret: The Resurrection of Hitler (ヒットラーの復活 トップシークレット?, Hittorā no Fukkatsu: Toppu Shīkuretto), the character of Adolf Hitler was renamed "Master-D", the Nazis are renamed "The Badds" in-game (they're referred to as "The Nazzs" in the instruction manual) and all swastikas were edited into a German eagle insignia.[3]
  • Contra - Released in Europe as Probotector, replaces the human combatants with robots.
  • Punch Out!! - The character Vodka Drunkenski has his name changed to Soda Popinski in its English release.[4]

Fourth generation (1985-1996)

  • EarthBound - In the North American version, a few of the game's materials been edited from the Japanese version. For example, Ness appears clothed in pyjamas instead of appearing naked. References to death were less obvious, a punishment is changed from spanking to loss of dessert, the phrase "Die and go to Hell" is replaced with "I'll smash your guts out!".
  • Final Fantasy IV - In the North American version, references to Christianity were altered or removed from the game, as well as certain religious images. The magic spell Holy has been renamed White (Though the Elder of Mysidia uses the word Holy in describing a sword). All references to prayer are eliminated; the Tower of Prayers in Mysidia is renamed the Tower of Wishes (though the White Mage in the tower still calls it "Tower of Prayers"); and Rosa's Pray command is absent. Direct references to death are omitted, although several characters clearly die over the course of the game. Anything considered too risqué has been censored, such as bikinis on town dancers (replaced by leotards). The Programmers' Room special feature (in which the player can find a pornographic magazine) has been removed.[5] New promotional character art was made for published previews.[6]
  • Final Fantasy VI In the North American SNES version, The town signs originally called Pub has been changed to Cafe. Also the nudity with Espers such as the "Siren" has her butt covered with a skirt, Starlet now has her dress on. Also the enemies such as Critic, Alluring, the boss Chadarnook and Goddess now wears more clothes. Smoking has been toned down with the smoke taken out of the following enemies sprites: "Madam", "L. 80 Magic", "Dahling" and "Barb-e." Two spells were renamed, as well: the Death spell was renamed Doom, and Death Gaze was renamed Doom Gaze.
  • Final Fight - The game's first two bosses, Damnd and Sodom, were renamed Thrasher and Katana respectively (those names was also used in the SNES version of Street Fighter Alpha 2 despite the game released after ESRB was formed); Belger's wheelchair was redrawn to look like an office chair; Poison and Roxy, two transgender enemy characters,[7] were replaced with two male enemies named Billy and Sid;[8] all alcoholic references were removed, with two health-recovering items replaced; the line "Oh! My God", spoken by an enemy when his car is destroyed during the first bonus stage, was changed to "Oh! My Car"; the blood splash effect shown when a character is stabbed is replaced by a generic explosion.[9]
  • Mortal Kombat - Due to Nintendo's "Family Friendly" policy, the SNES version replaced the blood with sweat and most of the fatalities with less violent "finishing moves".[10]
  • Street Fighter Alpha 2 - Sodom's name was once again changed to Katana on the character select screen, and some swearing was removed from some of the character's victory quotes. Also the blood was wiped clean from this version in cutscenes.
  • Super Castlevania IV - Lots of censorship happened from Japan to international areas. In the Japanese version, the title screen has a drop of blood, there were crosses on gravestones, as well as other objects, and there were nude statues in the game. In the international version, the drop of blood (and most, if not all of the rest of the blood in the game), was removed, or changed. The crosses were removed with the exception of the rosary item. The nude statues were given clothes in the international version.
  • Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts - In the American SNES version. Many of the Crosses on coffins on Level 1 has been altered to Ankhs symbol. There are however crosses on coffins in the middle and furthest background which remains unaltered.
  • Super Mario RPG - Bowser's Middle Finger pose was changed for Western releases to be much less offensive, as this is considered a very obscene gesture in Western Territories. Also in the PAL version of Super Mario RPG the word "Bugger" said by Croco has been replaced with "Pest"
  • The Combatribes Changes have been made in the North American version including the bad guys faces bleeding being replaced with tears coming out of their faces. Later on in the Virtual Console release. The "Ground Zero" gang has been renamed to "Guilty Zero" due to the 9/11 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center.
  • Wing Commander (video game) - In the SNES version of Wing Commander and Wing Commander: The Secret Missions, changes have been made in the game from the PC game including the word "Devil team" being changed to "Angel team", also the cigarette smoking, alcohol shown in the PC version has been censored. Also the word "Hell" used by the Commander is replaced with the word "Heck".
  • Zombies Ate My Neighbors - All depictions of blood and gore in the North American version are removed or changed to purple ooze.[11] Censorship committees in several European Nations censored more by having the game renamed to Zombies and made other changes including the replacement of the chainsaw-wielding enemies with lumberjacks wielding axes.[12]
  • Quest for Glory I - The game was originally called Hero's Quest I: So You Want to Be a Hero, but due to a copyright claim by Milton Bradley and Games Workshop, makers of the HeroQuest board game, Sierra On-Line changed the title to Quest for Glory I.
  • Space Quest I - The original release featured a robot store called Droids "R" Us, but the actual Toys "R" Us sued Sierra for copyright infringement and subsequent versions have Droids "R" Us changed to Droids "B" Us. In addition, the remake featured ZZ Top performing at a bar prior to Sierra being sued again, after which the band was replaced with aliens.

Fifth generation (1994-2000)

  • Crusin' USA - Many changes were made from the arcade game, including the name of the Shaft being renamed from "XL Power Shaft" to "XL Power", the billboard ad to Corn Pops with the slogan "Gotta have my pops" being removed. Deer and cows no longer cross the road, eliminating any possibility of running into deer and cows with the blood and body parts flying everywhere. The bikini clad woman with the trophy wears a shirt and dress. In the Washington DC tunnel the 100 dollar bill picture with Hillary Clinton smoking a cigar was replaced with a Benjamin Franklin 100 dollar bill. Also the hot tub scene at the White House with Bill Clinton and the two bikini dressed women in the hot tub has been completely replaced with a rotating race car.[13]
  • Duke Nukem 3D - Many of the sexual references found in the PC version were either removed or toned down in the Nintendo 64 version. The steroids have also been replaced with vitamins. Also some of the swear words have been either removed or edited as well.
  • Breath of Fire IV - The scene with Fou-Lu decapitating Emperor Soniel head in the Japanese version has been cut out in the North American version. [1]
  • Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back - A death animation in which Crash is squashed into a stunned head and feet was altered for the Japanese version of the game due to its resemblance to the severed head and shoes left by a serial killer loose in Japan at the time.[14]
  • Final Fantasy VII - Some of the profanity used by Cloud, Barrett and Cid has been censored with swearing symbols. Also the word "Wench" used by Tifa has also been replaced with swearing symbols.
  • Final Fantasy VIII - In the North American version of Final Fantasy VIII the boss Gerogero has been recolored from red in the Japanese to blue in the English version, this change also applies to the Triple Trad Gerogero card. [2]
  • Um Jammer Lammy - A few lines and an entire cutscene were altered for the American release, such as references to cutting down trees in "Power off, Power on!", and going to hell in "Taste of Teriyaki". Any references to hell were changed, and instead of slipping on a banana peel (and subsequently dying), Lammy gets her waist stuck on a door, and it stretches very long to sling her to a tropical island.
  • DreamWeb - Full frontal nudity was censored in the Australian version.[15][16]

Sixth generation (2000-2005)

  • BMX XXX - Only the GameCube and Xbox versions contained nudity. A North American version of the game disables the ability to create naked customized riders.[17]
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas - See Hot Coffee mod
  • Indigo Prophecy - Sony and Microsoft had policies that they will never allow "Adults only" (AO) rated games on consoles. To earn a M rating from the ESRB, most of the scenes depicting sex (one of which is interactive) and other adult content were removed from the North American versions. An exception is the final sex scene between Carla and Lucas, which was not completely cut from the game due to its important role in the story, but was shortened by removing the more graphic shots and most of the visible nudity. Though one shot of nudity remains, in the edited version the angle that should have revealed Carla's fully naked breasts, the nipples were removed from her model skin, giving the appearance that the nipples were merely obscured from view, and thus avoiding any identifiable depictions of frontal female nudity.[18]
  • World of Warcraft - In the European version players are unable to acquire a Wolpertinger pet by completing a quest that requires getting their character drunk. In the Chinese version, blood is black instead of red, and virtually all bone-looking objects are removed or replaced (e.g. no skeletons, sand bags instead of bone piles, undead without exposed bones...). Initially, the whole expansion Wrath of the Lich King was banned.
  • Command and Conquer Generals - Due to the game previously being banned in Germany, EA released a title-localized German version specifically for the German market called "Command & Conquer: Generäle", which did not incorporate real world factions or any relation to terrorism. For example, the "terrorist" suicide bomber unit was transformed into a rolling bomb and all other infantry units were changed into "cyborgs" in order of appearance and unit responses similar to earlier releases of the Command & Conquer franchise.[19]

Seventh generation (2006-2013)

Some titles in the PlayStation 3 library have been censored according to the console hardware, resulting in consoles from certain regions directly altering game content, regardless of the region in which the game was produced.

  • Beyond: Two Souls - The European version of the game is censored to keep the PEGI rating at 16 instead of 18. Two changes were made to the version, amounting to 5–10 seconds of gameplay.[20]
  • The Last of Us - The European release of the game is censored. The version doesn't feature dismemberment and exploding heads in the multiplayer mode.[21] The Japanese version is also censored, as dismemberment is not possible. A scene where Ellie is imprisoned and witnesses a man cutting a corpse was also censored, specifically the camera's position doesn't show the corpse.[22]
  • Little Big Planet In the later copies of the game the lyric song "Tapha Niang" has been replaced with the instrumental version.
  • Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe - In order to ensure a T rating in North America, two Fatalities in the game were censored.[23][24] In the United Kingdom version, both the Joker and Deathstroke's first Fatality feature them each finishing their opponent with a gunshot to the head, with each respective shot shown uncut from a distance. However, the North American version has the camera quickly pan toward the victor before the shot is fired, thereby cutting the victim out of the shot completely.[25][26][27][28]
  • Resistance: Fall of Man - Blood is removed from the game when played on Japanese consoles. Players can work around this by using an altered save file or copying save data from a North American console.[29]
  • Siren: Blood Curse - The North American version of this game was heavily censored to receive "Mature" ESRB rating. An extremely violent stabbing scene in the intro is omitted in U.S. version, by the way of applying shaky camera motion filters and altering the video angle itself. A scene where Seigo Saiga commits suicide by placing a .338 caliber hunting rifle in his mouth and blowing his head and brains out.[clarification needed] Characters and enemies show a significantly lower amount of blood splatter decals on skin, clothes, and face.
  • Uncharted: Drake's Fortune - Blood is removed from the game when played on a Japanese region PS3.[29]
  • Mario Party 8 - In the U.S, version of Mario Party 8, the word "Spastic" has been changed to "Erratic" in later PAL copies due to the controversy surrounding the word "Spastic".
  • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption - In the Metroid Prime Trilogy edition, the word "Damn" said by Admiral Dane has been replaced with "No".
  • No More Heroes - in the versions released in PAL territories and Japan, blood spatter is removed. Decapitation scenes are implied, but not shown. Scenes of missing body parts after having been cut off, are replaced with the same scene, but showing the body parts fully intact.
  • No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle - Like No More Heroes, the Japanese version is toned down violence scenes.
  • Fallout 3 - The side-quest "The Power of the Atom" was changed in the Japanese version to relieve concerns about depictions of atomic detonation in inhabited areas. In other versions, players are given the option of either defusing, ignoring, or detonating the dormant atomic bomb in the town of Megaton. In the Japanese version, the character Mr. Burke has been taken out of this side quest, making it impossible to detonate the bomb.[30] Also in the Japanese release, the "Fat Man" nuclear catapult weapon was renamed "Nuka Launcher", as the original name was a reference to the bomb used on Nagasaki.[30][31]
  • Silent Hill Homecoming - The game had difficulties in passing censors in some countries before it could go on sale. The Australian classification board, then the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC), refused to classify the game, due to "impact violence and excessive blood effects". The objectionable scenes included various body parts being drilled into, as well as the bisection of a character by an enemy. This had the effect of banning the game for sale in the country, and representatives for publisher Atari mentioned that they would be asking Konami to tone down the violence to allow the game to receive the needed MA15+ rating for its sale to be permitted in early 2009.[32] The German version of the game was also postponed to 2009 in order for cuts to be made to pass the German censors.[33]
  • Saints Row IV - The Australian version of the game has had a mission removed in which characters steal and use alien drugs in order to give them stronger physical abilities. Portraying the use of illegal substances as a way to gain rewards is not permitted according to Australia's classification guidelines.[citation needed]
  • South Park: The Stick of Truth - The European version has all five references to anal probing removed. An abortion minigame was also cut. Ubisoft claimed that it was their decision to censor it.[34]
  • Left 4 Dead 2 - In Australia, the game was originally banned due to the high levels of violence in the gameplay. Valve then submitted a 'censored' version of the game, which no longer contained images of "decapitation, dismemberment, wound detail or piles of dead bodies". The game received the MA15+ rating (the highest possible rating at the time in Australia), and was allowed to be released in the Australian Market.[35] The German version is similarly censored.
  • The Witcher - All the female portrait cards shown after Geralt's "sexual conquests" were censored ("retouched to a more modest standard") for the U.S. release version.[36]

Eighth generation (2011-present)

  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Violence and gore was reduced, and nudity was cut from the game's release in both Japan and the Middle East.[37]
  • Until Dawn - A death scene was censored in the Japanese version of the game.[38][39]
  • Monster Monpiece - About 40 of the 350 card images in the game were censored for sexually explicit material in the international PlayStation Vita release of the game.[40] An uncensored port was later announced to be released on Steam for PC in 2016.
  • Fire Emblem Fates - A controversial scene showing what could be perceived as gay conversion therapy was edited in the international release of the game to remove references to the act. In addition, a feature that allowed players to "pet" a chosen characters face was removed.[41]

References

  1. ^ "Nintendo Censorship". Filibustercartoons.com. Retrieved 2012-09-20. 
  2. ^ Contact Brian Ashcraft: Comment (2007-11-21). "Uncharted Gets Totally Censored". Kotaku.com. Retrieved 2012-09-20. 
  3. ^ Per Arne (November 15, 2002). "The Horror!". Encyclopedia Obscura. Retrieved July 17, 2013. 
  4. ^ Wong, Kevin. "Every Punch-Out!! Opponent, Ranked". 
  5. ^ Kelley, Ian. "FF4j/FF4j Easytype Changes FAQ". FFCompendium. Retrieved 2006-09-12. 
  6. ^ Averill, Alan (1991). Nintendo Power November, 1991. Nintendo. 
  7. ^ Capcom. Final Fight (in Japanese). Super Famicom. Level/area: Instruction manual, page 25. 
  8. ^ Sheff, David. Game Over. p. 225. ISBN 0-679-40469-4. With Capcom USA, Phillips's team edited some of the grislier games that came in from its Japanese parent company, although Capcom's own censors weeded out the most offensive touches... When a Capcom USA representative suggested that it was tasteless to have the game's hero beat up a woman, a Japanese designer responded that there were no women in the game. 'What about the blonde named Roxy?' the American asked. The designer responded, 'Oh, you mean the transvestite!' Roxy was given a haircut and new clothes. 
  9. ^ 日米ファイナルファイト比較 (in Japanese). 
  10. ^ "Gamespy's The 25 Dumbest Moments in Gaming". Archive.gamespy.com. Archived from the original on 2004-08-18. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  11. ^ "Nintendo: Banned in the USA". 2009-07-22. Retrieved 2009-10-26. 
  12. ^ Webster, Andrew (2009-05-19). "Z-Day Approaches: A Look At The History Of Zombies In Games". Retrieved 2009-10-26. 
  13. ^ Wurm, Gerald. "Cruis'n USA (Comparison: Nintendo 64 - Arcade Version) - Movie-Censorship.com". 
  14. ^ Andy Gavin (February 6, 2011). "Making Crash Bandicoot - part 5". All Things Andy Gavin. Retrieved May 25, 2013. Naughty Dog would do a huge amount of work after this on the game for Japan, and even then we would always release a Japanese specific build. Whether it was giving Aku Aku pop up text instructions, or replace a Crash smashing "death" that reminded them of the severed head and shoes left by a serial killer that was loose in Japan during Crash 2's release, we focused on Japan and fought hard for acceptance and success. 
  15. ^ Kuorikoski, Juho (November 2014). "Hulluuden anatomia". Pelit (in Finnish). Fokus Media Finland (11/2014): 68–70. 
  16. ^ Booker, Logan (10 November 2012). "In 1995, DreamWeb Was Refused Classification In Australia. Now It's Freeware". Kotaku. Gawker Media. Retrieved 28 August 2015. 
  17. ^ Daniel Armstrong (November 8, 2002). "Acclaim Australia: BMX XXX Interview". Game Power Australia. Archived from the original on December 12, 2007. Retrieved November 27, 2007. Specifically, there's an option in the game where you can create a naked rider - you can create a female rider who's completely naked, but you can't create a male rider who's completely naked. [...] There is an NTSC version created in America which doesn't feature the naked Create a Rider feature, so releasing that here could be an option. 
  18. ^ Klepek, Patrick (17 December 2009). "Unlike Indigo Prophecy, Heavy Rain Won't Be Censored In The US". G4. G4 Media. Retrieved 1 October 2013. 
  19. ^ "Command & Conquer: Generäle". schnittberichte. January 28, 2007. 
  20. ^ Yin-Poole, Wesley (1 October 2013). "Sony confirms Beyond censored in Europe". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Retrieved 1 October 2013. 
  21. ^ Yin-Poole, Wesley (5 August 2013). "Naughty Dog confirms European version of The Last of Us censored". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Retrieved 1 October 2013. 
  22. ^ Censored Gaming (12 September 2015). "The Last Of Us Censorship - Censored Gaming" – via YouTube. 
  23. ^ Kelly, Neon (July 11, 2008). "Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe Interview". VideoGamer. p. 1. Retrieved June 3, 2010. 
  24. ^ Williamson, Steven (November 10, 2008). "MK vs. DC Universe U.S. version cut, U.K. gets more gore". PlayStation Universe. Retrieved June 3, 2010. 
  25. ^ Leahy, Brian (November 6, 2008). "'Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe' Less Censored In Europe". G4TV. Retrieved March 28, 2010. 
  26. ^ "Mortal Kombat vs DC 'Joker & Deathstroke UK Fatalities'". GameVideos. December 1, 2008. Retrieved March 28, 2010. 
  27. ^ Williamson, Steven (November 10, 2008). "MK vs. DC Universe Interview with Senior Producer, Hans Lo". PlayStation Universe. Retrieved June 3, 2010. 
  28. ^ McElroy, Griffin (October 26, 2008). "Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe toned down to keep T-rating". Joystiq. Retrieved June 3, 2010. 
  29. ^ a b "Uncharted censored in Japan". PlayStation Universe. November 21, 2007. Retrieved July 17, 2013. 
  30. ^ a b "Bethesda Softworks Statement of Fallout 3 Censorship" (in Japanese). Bethesda Softworks. Retrieved July 17, 2013. 
  31. ^ Snow, Jean (November 11, 2008). "Fallout 3 Pulls Nuke References for Japan". Wired. Retrieved July 17, 2013. 
  32. ^ Pattison, Narayan (September 29, 2008). "Silent Hill Aussie Ban Update". IGN. Retrieved October 8, 2008. 
  33. ^ Furin (September 22, 2008). "Silent Hill: Homecoming delayed until Q2 2009 for Germany". silenthill5.net. Archived from the original on September 27, 2008. Retrieved October 8, 2008. 
  34. ^ Yin-Poole, Wesley (25 February 2014). "South Park: The Stick of Truth censored in Europe". 
  35. ^ Ivan, Tom (October 8, 2009). "Left 4 Dead 2 Secures Australian Release". Edge. Retrieved July 17, 2013. 
  36. ^ Burnes, Andrew (October 24, 2007). "The Witcher Preview". IGN. Retrieved July 17, 2013. 
  37. ^ Grayson, Nathan (June 4, 2015). "Censored Witcher 3 Nudity Is Pretty Funny". Kotaku. Retrieved December 10, 2016. 
  38. ^ Makuch, Eddie (August 27, 2015). "See How PS4's Until Dawn Is Censored in Japan". GameSpot. Retrieved August 28, 2015. 
  39. ^ Phillips, Tom (August 27, 2015). "Until Dawn death scene censored in Japan". Eurogamer. Retrieved August 28, 2015. 
  40. ^ Haywald, Justin (January 22, 2014). "PlayStation Vita card game censored for US and EU releases for "intense sexual imagery"". GameSpot. Retrieved March 6, 2016. 
  41. ^ Grayson, Nathan (January 26, 2016). "The Other Ways Nintendo Is Changing The English Version of Fire Emblem Fates". Kotaku. Retrieved May 4, 2017. 
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