Something, Something, Videogames: Saudi Arabia Bans Bravely Default because it promotes "Pedophilia.."
And also "sexual promiscuity in children".
It is not a strange occurrence for videogames to be banned in Saudi Arabia, just as it is not strange at all finding these banned games very easily in most videogame stores (albeit sold under the counter). Saudi routinely bans games for sexual content, violence, religious references, and for being David Cage games. However, Bravely Default is the first and only game that has been banned for the reasons mentioned above. Banning a game for its sexual content (nudity, sex scenes) is "to preserve public morals". Yet, the same reason is not applied to BD, but a more serious one indeed.
Having learned about the ban, not by means of the press or any actual credible list, but by the statement of videogame store vendors and company suppliers, I had to do some checking around. Videogames are less than a footnote to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and no official document would list all games banned and their reasons. Also, since some of the banned games are readily available, it can be hard understanding how the hell they are supposed to be unlawful to sell (CoD).
With Saudi's ministry of Culture being adverse to working with foreign languages, they mostly refer to the UAE for quick reference. Whatever they ban, we also ban as well. Hence, games that are not banned in the UAE but are banned in Saudi are mostly banned after the fact of their release.
Usually, a game would come in and by some serious of unlikely events manage to get the public in some uproar causing the game to get a ban. The ministry of Culture would not pain itself actually studying the game in question. Firstly, because they wouldn't know how. Secondly, because they don't want to open to criticism from the religious police.
In this case, according to the suppliers of the game, and the two major game stores (Tokyo Games, Computer Games), it all started with an editorial in a newspaper. You could color me surprised (sarcasm), but a single editorial managed to ban a game.
Why So Simple?
As is the case with anything, it is easier to morally degrade a product by claiming it hurts children in any way or form, so how about claiming it promotes sexual abuse towards them. The writer of the editorial says he was buying his children some "Nintendo children games" and was surprised by the "gross sexuality of children" in the cover of the game. Which is why covers are blackened in the illegal versions sold in stores now.
Here is the offending cover:
To the writer's credit, he did not only use the cover to support his arguments, but also some basic youtube research as well (sarcasm). In short, the game not only is a pedophile best training tool, but it also promotes children to act and dress more sexually.
With Saudi Arabia having recently being awoken to the real issue concerning children's safety (just 10 years ago you could be molested as a kid and your family wouldn't be able to do anything short of personal vendettas), any media that is said to encourage the act would be easy targets. The writer did go in a tangent mostly accusing Japanese anime as well as "foreign conspiracy cartoons" but those were actually supported by networks and some rich people.
Whether it is related to the vulnerable psyche of a nation coming to terms with a real problem in its treatment to children, or the footnote videogames find themselves in; banning Bravely Default was as easy as finding it in stores after the ban.
Disclaimer: these are not complete facts, with no official persons confirmation all we have is educated guesswork and the word of the suppliers as well.
Thank you for reading.