Video games have always had a fight against government censorship. There have been bans and forced edits for the outrageous Saints Row series, with Saints Row: The Third having censored weapons in Japan and Saints Row 4 suffering an outright ban in Australia. The Australian Classification Board also recently refused classification for Hotline Miami 2, citing a breach of Australia’s rules regarding sexual content.
However, some acts of censorship make more sense than others, with games devoid of excessive violence or adult content still facing the ire of governments. Saudi Arabia banned the Pokemon series in 2001, alleging that the franchise promoted Zionism through the use of religious imagery. Meanwhile, China banned Football Manager in 2005 due to its perceived threat to Chinese sovereignty.
The gaming world may soon be hit by another strange choice for censorship. The Family and Social Policies Ministry of Turkey has proposed a nationwide ban on Mojang’s creative phenomenon Minecraft. According to Turkish news sources Hurriyet Daily News and Leader Gamer, the ministry’s month-long investigation into the game has concluded that Minecraft deserves to have a legal ban.
Minecraft may seem like an odd game to be hit with a national ban, however, the Family and Social Policies Ministry has stated that the game forces children to resort to violence to achieve their in-game goals. The report states that, although the game has the positive aspect of promoting creativity in children through its building mechanics, the game is “based on violence” due to the fact that mobs have to be killed to protect the player’s creations.
The ministry’s report, which was started as a probe to find out if Minecraft promoted violence against women, also suggests some other negative traits that could be passed on. It proposes that children could believe that torturing animals would not bring them pain, as well as leading to “social isolation” amongst some players. Minecraft, which was bought by Microsoft for $2.5 billion, was also criticized over its multiplayer mode, with the report stating it could lead to bullying.
Just how likely is Minecraft to be hit with a ban in Turkey, though? Nothing is set in stone just yet, as the ban needs to be approved by the country’s courts before anything finite can take place. However, the current cultural trends in Turkey make bleak reading for Mojang. There has been a recent increase in censorship measures in the country, resulting in restrictions for social media use and approximately 67,000 websites being blocked by the Turkish government. Let’s hope Minecraft, which is incredibly popular in Turkey, survives the block.