back to article BANGKOK-BLOCKED: Thailand's dictators 'ban dictator sim Tropico 5'

Thailand's censorious military junta has banned Tropico 5, a game in which players assume the role of a censorious dictatorial ruler. That's according to a report by the Associated Press: the game's Thai distributor told the news wire that the nation's Culture Ministry blocked the city-building title from sale on Monday. …

  1. Michael Hoffmann
    Thumb Up


    You've outdone yourself, El Reg!

  2. Youngone Silver badge

    Thai Problems

    There is also the awful corrupt Royal family and their bullying Lèse majesté laws. Outside the scope of this article, but worthy of mention.

    1. poopypants

      Re: Thai Problems

      and... now El Reg is banned. Good one Youngone.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Thai Problems

      You jest, surely they can be that rich and corrupt, after all there is massive poverty in Thailand..Oh hold on...

  3. veti Silver badge

    Too good to be true?

    Are we sure about this story? It's not just a publicity stunt by the publisher?

    OK, stories on other sites confirm the basic story - but all links point back to the distributor, who's (apparently) the only one to have released the story. No-one seems to have got a first-hand statement from the Thai gov't.

    I'd love to know exactly what they said about it, and how many other games they said the exact same thing about at the same time, and what (if any) avenue for appeal there is (that the distributor is deciding to ignore, because as noted, you can't buy this kind of pubicity. Unless, I guess, you happen to have a friend in the Thai censors' office...)

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Too good to be true?

      It's only right to have a healthy level of skepticism. If we can stand it up any further, you'll be the first to know.


    2. Jedit

      "No-one seems to have got a first-hand statement from the Thai gov't."

      There was such a statement, but the government blocked it because it made them look bad.

    3. silent_count

      Re: Too good to be true?

      I'm on holidays in Phuket. No troubles accessing

      using the hotel's wifi.

      I'm not however going to buy a copy. Not for fear of government censors kicking down the door but for the (hopefully!) more rational fear of wasting my money on a crap game.

      1. Mephistro

        Re: Too good to be true?(@ silent_count)

        Tropico 4 wasn't a crappy game at all, it was real fun to play. I would buy also this new instalment if the game didn't require a DirectX 11 graphics card. Throwing away a rather good two years old graphic card and spending more than one hundred bucks to purchase a new one just to play a game seems a little excessive, no matter how good the game is.

        I'll probably buy it in two years, from the offers bin, for ten €. This was a really stupid decission by the developers, IMO.

        1. 9Rune5

          Re: Too good to be true?(@ silent_count)

          Mephistro: I've got a Radeon HD 4870 based card which is so old that ATI/AMD stopped updating their drivers over two years ago. I doubt it is DX 11 capable by any stretch of the imagination.

          Tropico 5 plays just fine. Maybe I don't get all the eye candy, but the game plays reasonably well.

          My complaint with the game is certainly not the graphics, but the way the economy a bit out in the game seems to stagnate for no apparent reason. Haven't found the right overview that gives me a sense of what is going on.

          The negative reviews over at Steam seem to suggest that not much changed from Tropico 4, so you might want to hold off a bit longer for that reason. (I skipped 4 and feel that 5 is pretty similar to 3...)

      2. Yag

        Re: Too good to be true?

        Tropico IV was not a crappy game, I really enjoyed the vibe and the overall wackiness of this game. There's nothing like turning a tropical paradise into a nuclear testing ground for a few bucks.

        Heck, I feel nostalgic now, I'll play it a bit tonight.

  4. Scott Earle

    Yeah, thanks Youngone

    poopypants is right - don't go making comments like that in public, Youngone. Last time it was YouTube that was blocked for many months. I don't want to be unable to read El Reg indefinitely just because of something YOU said.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yeah, thanks Youngone

      Wait ... and now /you're/ trying to censor stuff as well? :-)

  5. graeme leggett

    Didn't even know such Sims existed. Sounds more fun than Sim Tractor and the like.

    Also made me nostalgic for the boardgame "Junta"; we used to play it wearing sunglasses for added ambience (though as we were still a bunch of teenagers in Scotland of a wintry evening, much good it did?)

    1. Richard 81

      The Tropico games have a South American dictatorship theme, but really they're city building games. You usually only resort to jackbooted face stomping if things are going badly.

      Tropico 2 was an exception, since you played the king of a pirate island. It didn't really work though.

      1. lglethal Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Tropico 4 was fantastic

        I havent played Tropico 5, but I spent many a happy hour with Tropico 4. The city building is great fun, the atmosphere and theme is incredibly well done and the music is highly addictive. The game is very challenging, as you try to squirrel away as much money in your swiss bank account whilst setting up enough housing and industry to keep your people content. There's also numerous factions on the islands which you need to keep happy which often involves balancing your actions so as to favour the most popular factions.

        All in all, a great game! I might have to dig it out again this weekend...

        1. Flatpackhamster

          Re: Tropico 4 was fantastic

          I loved playing Tropico 4. It was a real giggle, and a challenging sim too. And that catchy I'd hear it in my head when I dreamed.

    2. Martipar

      re: Junta

      Junta: Viva El Presidente comes with a pair of sunglasses, it's a much shorter game designed for a slightly younger audience though.

  6. Richard Jones 1

    So There Is a Series

    I did not know they were a series but this has helped to launch Tropico 5

  7. Sir Runcible Spoon


    So, all things being equal, can we expect games featuring mass surveillance and propaganda to be banned in the USA and UK then?

    Also +10 for the cock-block headline, is there some kind of red-top headline award you can win?

  8. Crisp

    That should stop the problem once and for all.

    Has Thailand finally solved the problem of people downloading books and games from the Pirate Bay? Because if not, I can see a bit of a loophole...

  9. Mtech25

    Played Tropico 5

    Okay plot(for a tropic game), good game play and they actually made quite a change from Tropico 4 the only thing that bugs me is the DLC which they are already releasing, maybe the Thai military Junta just doesn't like DLC. If that is the case then I would be worried if I was EA or those King games.

    What el reg no el presidente icon my jacket boot thugs shall soon rectify that.

  10. Don Jefe

    Not Realistic

    I'm not sure what the problem is. This game simulates a dictatorship about as accurately as one of those fuckable flashlights simulates a flashlight.

    Dictators are born, not made. There's zero possibility of someone playing this game then deciding to pop out and take control of a country. The people who are willing and capable of making themselves dictators sure as hell don't need video game simulations to pull it off. Besides, I'm dead certain I've never met a software developer who really understood the whole 'cult of personality' part of being a dictator.

    I mean, a dialogue box that says 'The Proles are protesting high taxes and the ban on the metric system:

    Do you: A) Compromise and reduce the tax rate to the nearest whole number


    B) Order the wheel studs on all automobiles to use left handed British Standard lug nuts?

    That sort of thing just doesn't carry on a console or computer. It's lifeless. There's no way someone who hasn't done it can truly understand what it's like to have a semaphore based State communications infrastructure with a signal corps comprised of orangutans using clear plastic flags. They'll never know what it is like to sleep atop the 14" naval gun (purchased as US DoD surplus, Ha!) you had placed atop the 250' tall statue of yourself with Jesus on one shoulder and Mohamed on the other. They'll never understand how you can actually taste the fear of the proles when they hear you cry out 'Bring 'round the Bourbon Wagon and my Spangled Battle Pants. We ride to war!'

    Let them have their silly game. No harm can come from it and the truly worrisome people don't need a video game for pointers anyway. At best this exercise in censorship is detrimental to the Bourbon budget, and no good can come from that.

    This message has been a service of One Planet, One People, One Leader Inc. A wholly owned subsidiary of Don Jefe Enterprises.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not Realistic

      Point of order, Mr Speaker!

      "This game simulates a dictatorship about as accurately as one of those fuckable flashlights simulates a flashlight."

      How do you know?

      "I've never met a software developer who really understood the whole 'cult of personality' part of being a dictator."

      Apple developers a few years back may be more enlightened in that particular respect?

      1. Don Jefe
        Thumb Up

        Re: Not Realistic

        I know, because I bought 52 of them and sent one a week to a person I don't like after his divorce. It was an expensive exercise. I had to hire three people to identify 52 of his company's vendors then have my art guys fabricate false labels for all the boxes and arrange for transshipping to get valid Post Marks: 'Is it a spec product from a vendor, or a fuckable flashlight from the asshole who had 33 cubic yards of granite rail ballast delivered to my lawn?' Good times.

        But Apple? Nah, Apple doesn't even come close to a proper cult of personality. Apple wants to be seen as something to strive for, something attainable. Something that, once attained, signifies your inclusion in an exclusive group. Let's just skim on past the questionable categorization of a $99 product as signifying any sort of exclusivity. That whole mess makes my brain hurt.

        A proper cult of personality cannot be inclusive. Citizens, Subjects, Roadies, Acolytes, Apostles, Soldiers, Fodder, Interns, what you choose to call them is irrelevant. The point is they are a second tier of being. A lower class of individual that exists solely to serve you and/or that you have been tasked (usually by some God or another) with guiding and protecting, the only cost being the expression of their free will.

        One thing is universal though, the 'Personality' is all powerful and beyond comparison with any of the Common Men. No one can aspire to that position, you either are the Personality, or you are not. There is no path or ladder that lead to anyone ascending to that role. Any and all are beneath you and they flourish or perish solely at your discretion. Communism failed more because it attempted to distribute the Personality via 'The Party' than because of socioeconomic factors.

        In the event someone misinterpreted/missed the glorious satire in my earlier post, go back and look again. Satire is a fairly stationary thing, it'll still be there.

    2. Eddy Ito

      Re: Not Realistic

      I'd go with the left handed lug nuts but only on the right side of the car and mandate that no lug shall be more than finger tight.

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