Thailand Bans ‘Fight of Gods’ For Damage to Buddhism

BANGKOK — A computer game that pits deities from different religions in brawls was removed Wednesday night from online stores in Thailand.

“Fight of Gods,” which launched earlier this month, was no longer available for purchase from within the kingdom on Steam, an online computer gaming platform. The removal followed complaints from Buddhist officials who were outraged to see Buddha trading fists with other divine beings such as Jesus Christ.

“This item is currently unavailable in your region,” notes the entry in Steam’s online store.

The game was also made unavailable to consumers in Malaysia this week.

Developed by indie company Digital Crafter, the game allows players to choose characters from a pantheon of gods and prophets such as Zeus, Moses, Jesus, Buddha and Odin. Notably, it did not include the Islamic prophet Muhammad, depictions of which are banned by the religion and have been answered with violence by extremists.

After the game was released, Buddhist officials in Thailand expressed outrage. Booncherd Kittitharangkoon, the director of a state agency that governs monks and temples, told reporters Tuesday the game could damage Buddhism.

Booncherd said he had asked the Cluture Ministry to send a complaint to Taiwanese game developer Digital Crafter. He warned that Thai authorities could take legal action if “some characters” were not removed.

Last week a spokesman from the Office of National Buddhism said the game could lead to “religious division.”

“Fight of Gods” publisher acknowledged it had received the complaint.

“So far, Thailand has formally demanded that the game be removed from sale in their territory,” an unidentified spokesperson for the game’s UK distributor PQube told a British gaming site.

One Thai reviewer noted that the depiction of Buddha featured in the game bore no resemblance to the figure habitually worshipped in Thailand.

“It looks more like a Chinese Buddha figure,” wrote a reviewer on M Thai. “To be precise, the Jesus is way more accurate.”

“Fight of Gods” is the second videogame to be banned in Thailand in recent years. In wake of the May 2014 military coup, national censors barred sales of “Tropico 5,” a strategy simulation game that put players in charge of running a backward tropical nation as dictators able to kill dissidents, rig elections and censor the press.