Some countries, such as the United Arab Emirates, ban a number of games on the grounds that they violate cultural and political values. The central Asian nation of Uzbekistan is the latest to join this list, having just made it illegal to import and distribute titles like Grand Theft Auto, Hatred, and, bizarrely, The Sims 3 and 4.
The BBC reports that the country has deemed the games to be “distorting values” and “threatening stability.” If you check out the full list, you’ll notice they aren’t limited to recent releases. The earliest is Phantasmagoria; an FMV-heavy horror game from 1995 that I vaguely remember as being quite enjoyable.
Grand Theft Auto is also blacklisted, naturally, but there’s only mention of 2004’s GTA: San Andreas. Intentionally controversial turd Hatred is also there, as is Postal 2. And I’m assuming “Until down” is actually the excellent PS4-exclusive Until Dawn.
I can’t recall being able to brutally murder your friends and family the Sims 3 and 4, so its banning could be more to do with the depiction of same-sex relationships – the same reason Russia took such offense to the games. Last year, then-president Islam Karimov said "vulgar" gay people were mentally ill.
Uzbekistan authorities say the games could be "used to propagate violence, pornography, threaten security and social and political stability." Officials also worry they might disturb “civil peace and inter-ethnic and inter-religious harmony."
Another reason behind the ban is the potential "distribution of false information about Uzbekistan and the distortion of its historic, cultural and spiritual values."
Most of the country’s Twitter users are criticizing the ban, pointing out that the government would do better to focus on Uzbekistan’s social and economic problems. But some people are behind the decision. "it is high time! Those who do not like it can go to those countries where all this... is normal!" wrote one user.