Russia bans children from playing Sims 4 because of gay relationships

Screenshot from The Sims 4 of two male characters in a relationship. (SWNS)

Russia has banned children from playing the popular computer game Sims 4 - because some of the characters can be gay.

The life simulating game has been given an 18 rating and marked 'harmful' to Russian youth by a Kremlin appointed body, even though the game has been rated as suitable for children as young as 12 in Britain.

The game allows players to design homes, take up jobs, buy clothes and engage in relationships.

The decision was made in accordance to Russia's 'gay propaganda' law - legislation that forbids citizens from supporting homosexual relationships in front of minors, which has been criticised around the world.

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Electronic Arts, the team behind The Sims, have lashed out at Russia's strict censoring policy and have vowed not to change the game ahead of its worldwide launch later this year.

Spokesperson Deborah Coster said: "We have no plans to alter The Sims 4. One of the key tenets of The Sims is that it is up to the player to decide how to play the game.

"We provide the simulation sandbox and player choice and creativity does the rest."

The announcement of the strict age rating came on Twitter from The Sims In Russia.

The equivalent age rating for British computer games would be 18, reserved for ultra-violent games such as Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty.

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The Sims 4 fell foul of Russia's controversial 436-FZ law, which was passed in 2010 under the name "On Protecting Children from Information Harmful to Their Health and Development."

The Sims 3, which has a 12-plus rating in Russia, was released in 2009, before that law came into force.

Russian factory worker Aleksandr Yevseyev, 27, has played several of the games in the series.

Aleksandr, from Samara, said: "Millions of Russians play The Sims. It is a very good game. But I don't understand why this new game has to have so many problems.

"If some people want to be gay, let them buy a different version that allows them to be gay.

"I am not gay so I do not want to play as a gay Sim, but I have gay friends who might want to marry their gay Sim lover. We should have separate games.

"That could solve the problem. We are not European. We are Russian and our beliefs and way of thinking should not be judged according to Western ideas."

The new game is thought to be similar to its predecessor, where players control their Sims - virtual representations of themselves - in all manner of 'real life' situations like going to work or falling in love.

Like all other games in the series, while romance and dating are possible, all sex-scenes are heavily pixelated and unclear.