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Thailand Bans "Dictator Simulator" Game Tropico 5

Tropico 5 has been banned from Thailand - but the Thai Government doesn't want to clarify as to why.

Thailand has been going through a lot of drastic changes for the past three months. According to the Associated Press via ABCNews.com:

"Thailand has been under a military dictatorship since May 22, when soldiers overthrew a civilian government in a coup. The junta has issued several edicts that critics say infringe on media freedom and free speech."

That must be why the new "dictator simulator," Tropico 5, was recently banned by the Film and Censorship Office of Thailand, which is conveniently under military 'junta' supervision. It's an extremely popular video game but it has very strong political - and possibly influential - themes to it. According to the game's official website, WorldofTropico.com, the game features the ability to dictate "from the early colonial period to beyond the 21st century." The game also features challenges such as "advanced trading mechanics, technology, scientific research, exploration" and a co-op/competitive multiplayer experience allowing up to four players to play together.

Unfortunately, the gamers of Thailand won't be able to experience the game. Perhaps the Film and Censorship Office believes that the democratic influence - or the possibility of another type of government other than a dictatorship - could cause an uprising or revolt from the people. As a result, the Film and Censorship Office banned the game, saying that "some contents of the game are not appropriate for the current situation," according to GameSpot.com.

But here's the kicker: the game's cover art has an image of Fidel Castro and Abraham Lincoln look-alikes, back-to-back while smiling, with the world right beneath their elbows. Cuba's long-time dictator and one of America's most memorable presidents back-to-back on the cover? This game is definitely trying to make a political statement, but with some humor involved since their smiles look creepy and too wide to be believed. Kalypso Media, past distributor of Tropico 3 and Tropico 4 in Thailand, had this to say about the Tropico 5 situation:

"Tropico 3 and 4 both enjoyed successful releases in the country and although the Tropico brand does have a realistic political element to it, the scenarios and content are all delivered with a certain trademark tongue in cheek humor."

Oddly enough, the game was released in May, the same month when the current dictatorship in Thailand began. And since the dictatorship has been in place, it's been strict on its people. According to ABCNews.com, Thailand television viewers, for example, see only blurred images of things like cigarrettes and alcohol and almost completely eradicate suggestive sexual themes or things that might go against the dictatorship way of life.

How would you like to rule an island as its president and build it the way you see fit, controlling everything, right down to the media? Sound familiar? Seems similar to SimCity or something like an Island Tycoon-type of computer game! The only difference is that the dictator of Thailand sees this game as a way of letting others know how they could possible overthrow him either by another dictator or by a revolt of the people. And he's obviously not about to let that happen.

Tropico 5 is set to be released on the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 4 later on this year. For more information on the game, check out their official website.

Published Aug. 5th 2014

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