Country that banned it: Germany
Although Germany has a strict reputation, a 2003 ruling has prevented the outright banning of any video game in the country. They can have their advertising and in-store displays restricted if the violence is too gruesome though, which often results in more explicit titles simply never being released in the country. That wasn't the case for Wolfenstein though. A ban on including Nazi symbolism outside a historical reference meant that the game's many Nazi swastikas and the Nazi theme music caused it to be declared verboten.
Country that banned it: UK
Although running virtual people over for points is now something of a mythical cliché in modern games, it was very much a part of Carmageddon. You could even complete each level by simply crushing each and every inhabitant against your spiked bumper. The BBFC took exception to this, leading to the game being released with the blood replaced either with green ooze (to signify they were zombies, not real people) or oil (to represent robots).
Football Manager 2005
Country that banned it: China
Luxuries such as nutrition and sleep are sacrificed when it comes to masterminding managerial success in FM, but this wasn't what caused China to ban Football Manager outright. The Chinese government was more concerned that Taiwan and Tibet had been recognised as independent nations and had been listed as separate countries, which they considered a threat to "China's sovereignty and territorial integrity". Sports Interactive soon released a Chinese version of the game with both Taiwan and Tibet annexed into China.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Country that banned it: USA
Few serious gamers won't have heard of the infamous Hot Coffee scandal that embroiled Rockstar, GTA: San Andreas and the ESRB. In June 2005, an intrepid modder discovered and released a patch that unlocked a once inaccessible sex mini-game that was hidden in the game's code. Although Rockstar hadn't intended for this to be seen in the final version, the outcry was enough for the ESRB to reclassify the game as Adults Only in the US. Although that's not, strictly speaking, an outright ban, most retailers and each of the major console makers have strict rules about not allowing AO titles.
Country that banned it: UK
The game originally fell foul of the British Board of Film Certification (BBFC) because of its "unremitting bleakness and callousness of tone". But bleakness and a callous tone never prevents Endemol from pumping hours of Big Brother on to our screens each summer, so we assume that the fact you're encouraged to gruesomely execute your adversaries with a bewildering variety of household utensils had something to do with it too. A High court Appeal eventually overturned the decision and the game was released to the satisfaction of bloodthirsty 14-year-olds across the country.
Country that banned it: Singapore
If you picked your character and game actions carefully, the latter stages of Mass Effect could give you an eyeball at a steamy lesbian alien sex romp. The alien in question is a blue-skinned Asari scientist with long skin flaps instead of hair.
Exciting though alien lesbian sex sounds, it isn't quite as titillating when you realise that all you get to see is a flash of xenomorphic buttock and it takes you a good ten hours of porn-free play to get there. Not to mention careful attention to dialogue options. Singapore's censors were eventually satisfied with an upgrade to an 18 rating after a public outcry.
Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction
Country that banned it: South Korea
South Korea banned Mercenaries on its release citing that it could escalate tensions between the North and South Korea. Now, we've heard of games turning children into rabid mass-murders before, but a game actually inciting a full-on war is definitely a new one.
Country that banned it: Australia
Phantasmagoria will probably go down in history as one of only games (there are just three by our count) to feature a rape scene. It was NOT interactive and, unsurprisingly, the rest of the game was pretty dire. What's most surprising is that it didn't stir up more outrage - almost every other country made do with an 18 certificate but Australia's unusual ratings system doesn't allow for adult only games. That also means that on average Oz has the strictest games censorship policies of all. Although it's a landmark title now, we suspect they didn't really miss out on this one.
Country that banned it: Saudi Arabia
The Pokémon series was banned from Saudi Arabia in 2001, not because of the never-ending procession of mind-numbing TV shows it inflicted upon the world but because the country's religious leaders said it promoted gambling and other religions among children. If you doubt the true power of Pokémon to corrupt children, then try separate a 10-year-old from his Pokémon deck and watch them burst into a tirade that Mike Tyson would be proud of.
Country that banned it: Numerous
Although this series never quite inspired the national moral panic of Grand Theft Auto, Postal 2 made Grand Theft Auto look quaint. This was a game built to generate controversy as evidenced by the game's tagline: "banned in 13 countries". It featured urination, drug use, mutilation while taking shot at every religion and minority group on the planet, and that's just the stuff that we can mention here. Unsurprisingly, the game built a cult following which is still going strong today.