Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

One Of The Rarest PS2 Games Was Actually Banned In The UK

Survival horror games have long held a tenuous reputation in the medium. After all, back in the '90s, when the political debate about video games, their effects on children, and whether they should be censored was really heating up, many gamers were violently murdering (the gradually transforming) hoards of photo-realistic zombies in the "Resident Evil" franchise. 


"Silent Hill" took things even further with stories that dealt with its increasingly adult subject matter, including euthanasia, animal cruelty, and sexual assault, which will likely need to be addressed in the upcoming remake of "Silent Hill 2." Still, as far as we know, there are no games in either of these long-running survival horror series that were ever banned for their mature and often violent content. 

However, another far rarer PS2 game was banned in the United Kingdom for its alleged erotic content and the brutal violence at the heart of it. Somewhat similar to "Haunting Ground" or "Clock Tower 3," the game follows a vulnerable young woman as she contends with dangerous forces while investigating disturbing crimes at a local orphanage.


Rule of Rose was banned in the United Kingdom and other countries

"Rule of Rose" became the subject of intense media scrutiny in Europe leading up to its release to the point where Sony asked its developer, Punchline, to edit down the game's more lurid and controversial content (via Bloody Disgusting). Punchline did not relent to the pressure though, and as a result, the game was banned in several countries, including the United Kingdom.


Why it was banned there specifically could make a bit more sense when you look at the subject matter at the heart of the game. Since "Rule of Rose" takes place in an English orphanage during the 1930s, it's possible that politicians saw it as a slight against the government since many of these institutions likely received some state funding (via Merryn Allingham). However, based on the many waves of moral panic that have occurred over things as innocuous as "Dungeons and Dragons" over the years, there's another more likely culprit. 

The game is now incredibly rare and tough to find

It's somewhat probable that this was simply another in a long list of moral panics stirred up by politicians to cater to their base or distract voters from other issues. Anyone of a certain age will recall the dreaded Satanic Panic of the '80s (via Vox), the fearful scourge of music like Twisted Sister and Madonna (via Rolling Stone), or even how the foul-mouthed kids of "South Park" have stirred up their fair share of controversies over the years.


Ultimately, regardless of the reason for the banning of "Rule of Rose," gamers are really the ones who lost, as the game is, by many accounts, a stirring, moving look at childhood trauma and a pretty well-received horror game (via Metacritic). Maybe Atlus will remaster "Rule of Rose" one of these days and allow more players the chance to give the game a shot without blowing up their Paypal accounts on eBay.