Despot simulator Tropico 5 has been banned in Thailand because it poses a threat to peace and order, according to the country's military junta.
Tropico 5 is a city-building simulator game in which players step into the role of a dictator and manage an island nation. As the immortal "El Presedente," Tropico 5 players script and revise a constitution to guide their country from the colonial age and well beyond the modern era.
The game's light-hearted take on ruling a country has received a heavy-handed rebuff from Thailand's military junta, the National Council for Peace and Order, as the game was outlawed in the Southeast Asian country.
Nonglak Sahavattanapong, video game distributor New Era Thailand's marketing manager, said some of Tropico 5's content could affect peace in Thailand, though she said she felt it was an entertaining game.
"Actually it's a good game with positive reviews," said Nonglak. "We've had licenses to distribute Tropico 3 and 4 before, but in the fifth installment, the story line has developed further and there might be some part of it that's not appropriate in the current situation [in Thailand]."
Nonglak said she believed Kalypso, publisher of the Tropico series, wouldn't challenge Thailand's decision to ban the game -- while neighbor China has lifted its ban on consoles, it still maintains a lengthy list of outlawed games that have been said to pose a threat to national security.
The pendulum of law in Thailand has swung back and forth between civilian and military rule since the 1932, when a handful of military officers imposed martial law in the country during a bloodless coup. The most recent military junta in Thailand emerged after a coup that began on May 22, 2014, and was led by chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha.
Thailand's military government has heavily censored all forms of media and free speech in the country. Books have been banned, newspapers have been threatened, television content has been removed and there have been plans to consolidate the country's 15 Internet portals into a single, government-run gateway before the conclusion of 2014.
Nonglak didn't reveal what elements of Tropico 5 made the game more of a threat to peace in Thailand than previous installments, but it could be that the country's military rulers were looking to avoid being the subject of more jests. Brad Adams, Asia director for Human Rights Watch, said Thailand's generals have replaced democratic rule with repressive policies and show signs of establishing a long-term dictatorship.
"Two months of military rule in Thailand has brought alarming setbacks in respect for basic human rights," said Adams in July. "While the military junta claims it's returning 'happiness' to the nation, the junta is actually enforcing a regime of forced smiles by prohibiting criticism, imposing aggressive censorship, and arbitrarily putting hundreds in detention."
Here's a look at the game trailer: