Computer Games are programs and there are many computer games banned in various countries around the world due to their content, which are summarized in a Wikipedia article on the issue.
Specifically in Germany, some games can be prohibited for dissemination, but are still legal for
[p]rivate possession (and thus playing it) and acquisition (such as downloading a demo from the Internet)
The possible reasons for banning a game are violence or dissemination of Nazi symbols in any way:
§ 86a outlaws the use of symbols of unconstitutional organizations, § 130 Volksverhetzung (agitation of the people), and § 131 instructions for crimes. In the official lists, these three sections are always bundled, so any action game that contains swastika flags and/or any depiction of Adolf Hitler) is listed alongside racist propaganda pieces.
§ 131 outlaws representation of violence in media "which describe cruel or otherwise inhuman acts of violence against human beings in a manner which expresses a glorification or rendering harmless of such acts of violence or which represents the cruel or inhuman aspects of the event in a manner which injures human dignity."
§ 130 and § 131 make it to a criminal offense to do following with corresponding scriptures:
- distributing / selling
- issuing in public, demonstrating or otherwise making available
- leaving it to a person under the age of 18
- producing, buying, delivering, storing, offering, announcing, praising, importing or exporting to use them within the meaning of the letters 1 to 3.
This means, that the import or purchase and the possession for personal use are still legal for persons over 18 years.
A list of all currently banned games, and games on which the ban has expired (the ban is for 10 years) appears in the wiki article.
It should be noted that the list is relatively short, because game publishers publish edited or cut versions of their games in Germany in order to comply with local laws:
The game Return to Castle Wolfenstein was edited to not mention the Nazis directly by name or symbol:
In the German version of the game, it avoids making direct reference to Nazi Party and the "Third Reich", in order to comply with strict laws in Germany. The player is not battling Nazis but a secret sect called the "Wolves" led by Heinrich Höller, whose name is a pun of the original character Himmler (Himmler roughly translates as "Heavener", Höller as "Heller"). The Nazi swastika is also not present, the German forces use a Wolfenstein logo which is a combination of a stylized double-headed eagle prominent in most Nazi symbolism, a "W" (standing for Wolfenstein), and the Quake III: Team Arena "QIII" logo (the game engine and network code that RTCW is based upon).
And the games in the Grand Theft Auto series were edited to be less violent. From the GTA Wikia:
Since Germany is quite strict on ratings, after paranoia over violent video games, a number of the GTA games (since GTA III) have suffered cuts or edits. Some examples include: the removal of blood, pedestrians no longer dropping money when killed, no headshots, some missions removed, some weapons missing, or lack additional functionality.
Most countries that ban games, ban them because of depictions of violence. Some countries also ban games because of other content, like South Korea, which bans games that have content which reflects on North Korea to:
avoid increasing diplomatic tensions
other reasons include nudity and sexuality, offensive to the culture, nationality or religion of the country and other various reasons.