Publisher Kalypso has announced that Tropico 5 won’t be coming out in Thailand, after being denied release by the Thai Board of Film and Video Censors. Releasing a videogame that pokes fun at military dictatorships was probably a bit of a long shot in a country recently taken over in a military coup d’etat, I suppose.
According to Kalypso’s press statement, Thailand’s Ministry of Culture backed Board of Film and Video Censors ruled that “some contents of the game are not appropriate for the current situation.” Both Tropico 3 and Tropico 4 were released in the country without problems. But, again, that was before an actual military junta were in control of the nation.
Jokes about the suppression of dissidents would be even bleaker than usual in a nation where that’s actually happening. On 21 July, the military council issued order 103/2557 which bans “criticisms made with ‘malice’ and ‘false information’ that ‘aim to discredit’ the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).” Enforcement of this order is entirely at the discretion of the ruling council.
In light of that, it’s not a huge surprise that Tropico 5 won’t be appearing for sale over there.
Thailand’s citizens sound like they have much bigger problems to deal with than missing out on the occasional videogame, but the censorship of a game full of black humour about dictatorships has somewhat ironic element to it.