The conservative kingdom of Saudi Arabia has a well-documented history of forbidding the most unexpected of things that it believes violate the state laws or its social customs.
This time the kingdom has reportedly banned a series of video games amid reports that two children killed themselves while playing an online barbaric game, known as the Blue Whale Challenge.
According to the Saudi General Commission for Audio-Visual Media, a total of forty-seven video games, including Grand Theft Auto V, Assassins Creed 2 and Witcher, were banned for violations of rules and regulations that weren’t specified.
Although the agency didn’t make a direct connection between the Blue Whale Challenge and outlawing of other games, the step came after the deaths of a 13-year-old girl and a 12-year-old boy.
The sinister game encourages youngsters to complete a series of challenges over a period of 50 days. Starting from seemingly harmless tasks like waking up in the middle of the night and watching a scary movie, the game escalates into self-harm as the players are urged to cut themselves with a knife or razor to make the shape of whale on their wrist or leg.
Upon reaching the final level, the sick challenge “masters” (apparently the administrators of the game) instruct the player to commit suicide.
The game allegedly originated in Russia, was linked to the deaths of 130 Russian teenagers, after which it spread across the United Kingdom and has now reportedly paved its way to the Middle East.
After the news of the ban on video games made rounds in international media, GearNuke, a video games and technology website said there was no such ban in the kingdom. An article on the website stated that some of the games in the list had been banned as soon as they were launched and that there was no recent ban imposed.
The article quoted Head of Communications at Ubisoft Middle East, Malek Teffaha, who called news articles of the ban on video games in the kingdom “poorly researched.”
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