Games, from multi-million dollar franchises like “Call of Duty” to multi-award winning “Assassin’s Creed” to notorious “God of War”, have split public opinion, and been censored the world over. The UAE is no exception to the polarizing voices that have arisen after more and more game franchises cater to adult tastes. In the UAE games that contain nudity, gambling, or religious slurs are considered to infringe on Islamic values. Do they destroy the moral fabric of Islamic society? Or does censorship of games in the UAE kill a burgeoning gaming culture that is directed at adults and is meant to be protected by age ratings?
Owner and manager at Geekay Games, Nimit Palija, insists that video games should indeed be banned in the UAE if they have mature content. “If the government has banned a games, there is a reason for that” Children and adults still find ways to get a hold of those banned games, although the games are banned for compelling reasons, that logic should apply if and when the content is not suitable for children of certain age groups. But more often than not, the games that have been banned are blockbusters, games that have received much accolade in the industry, and the fact that stores cannot sell these games is a loss for the retailers.
Call of Duty: Black Ops, has the player flying in an attack helicopter over rivers in Vietnam, shooting civilian and military targets alike. The previous iteration in the franchise, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 had players commit a terrorist attack by shooting innocent civilians in Moscow’s largest international airport, the scenes graphic nature led to much criticism. Games liked God of War, whose title alone led to consequent banning; the justification being that associating any other deity with “Allah” is “shirk”, a sin in the Quran with explicit punishments. Frequently are games put on shelves and then taken off a week later when orders come from the Dubai Chamber of Commerce in...
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