In the latest move in a series of draconian measures imposed by the ruling junta in Thailand to curb dissent, a video game that allows players to don the garb of a military dictator and rule a Caribbean island was banned by the Ministry of Culture, Agence France-Presse, or AFP, reported Tuesday.
The video game was reportedly banned because “some parts of stories within the game affect Thailand's situation,” according to Nonglak Sahavattanapong, the marketing manager of New Era Interactive Media, which distributes video games in Thailand. The multiplayer game reportedly offers players the option to rig elections, draft a constitution, intimidate the media and assassinate political opponents.
"Tropico 5," which is sold under the tagline, “Imagine a place where the people never go hungry, all work has a decent wage and the weather is forever bright and sunny -- just make sure you always vote El Presidente,” is the fifth installment in a series of simulation games developed by Bulgarian video-game developer Haemimont Games.
"It's a good game with positive reviews," Nonglak told Associated Press, or AP. "We've had licences to distribute Tropico 3 and 4 before, but in the fifth instalment, the storyline has developed further and there might be some part of it that's not appropriate in the current situation.”
An unnamed official at the Video and Film Office, which is part of the Ministry of Culture, told AFP: “Tropico 5 has been banned but I cannot give the reason unless you ask permission from our Director-General."
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This is not the first time that the junta, led by General Prayuth Chan-ocha, has tried to ban perceived symbols of dissent.
Since it seized power in a bloodless coup in May, the self-proclaimed National Council for Peace and Order has attempted to muzzle the media, ban websites critical of the government and prohibit gatherings of five or more people, according to a Guardian report.
In June, a man was reportedly arrested by undercover officers for reading a copy of George Orwell’s dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four in public, according to a South China Morning Post report.
A number of protesters were also arrested in June for displaying a three-finger salute -- borrowed from the science fiction book series, The Hunger Games -- as a symbol of resistance against a totalitarian regime.