Video games will rot your mind, warp your psyche and turn you into a drooling, homicidal nimrod. At least the good ones will. In honor of Bulletstorm, the so-called “Worst Video Game in the World,” we’ve compiled a list of the 10 most controversial video games. What makes a game controversial? It could be for profanity, sexuality, violence, or plain ol’ debauchery. Whatever the case may be, here are 10 that pushed the envelope so far off the frickin’ map of decency, even we question if it’s right for the general public. WARNING: The following videos are explicit in nature and highly offensive. Viewer discretion is advised.
10) Custer’s Revenge
Apparently, in 1982, there was at least one company who thought it would be a good idea to make pornographic Atari games. In this one, you played as General Custer – albeit naked, and sporting a very large erection. The goal? Cross the screen, dodging arrows, and then rape a naked Native American woman tied to a post. Yup. Really. Oh, and the woman’s name was “Revenge.”
9) Wolfenstein 3D
In 1992 id Software released this now pioneering first-person shooter. Sure, it arguably led the way to, well, every game where you run around shooting people while looking down the barrel of a gun, but this game did cause controversy because swastikas, Nazis and pictures of Hitler are just about everywhere. True, you blow them all to bits, but, still, Nazis everywhere. And pre-Call of Duty, this was something people cared about seeing in video games, apparently.
A top-down shooter where you, an unnamed guy, wandered around neighborhoods and shot a lot of people. Rather tame by today’s standards, in 1997 this Running With Scissors game had the somewhat disturbing aspect of having no plot. You’re just a guy, who may or may not have lost his house, who goes on a shooting spree. Inspired by 1993’s “Falling Down” starring Michael Douglas? Possibly.
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7) Grand Theft Auto
No matter which entry in the Rockstar series you pick, there’s pretty much nothing but controversy. Murder, crime, paying hookers and then killing them so you get your money back – there’s really no limit to the carnage you can cause. But the ultimate capper was the Hot Coffee Mod, a hidden sex scene in 2004’s Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Although the explicit mini-game was never intended to be seen by the public, it was still in the game’s code. Accessing it required a pretty above-average grasp of computer programming, but that didn’t stop the uninformed, including Senator Hillary Clinton, from throwing a hissy fit. Hopefully, these days she has more important things to worry about.
6) BMX XXX
Originally, developer Activision was set to create an extreme bicycle sports game featuring legendary pro-biker Dave Mirra. But, the story goes, the game was not turning out very well. So not very well, in fact, that Activision made the desperate, last-minute decision to include topless girls in a purposeful attempt to court controversy. Dave Mirra balked, and successfully sued to remove his name from the product. When the 2002 launch date arrived, Activision was basically stuck with a sub-par racing game where all the racers were topless girls. Controversy briefly flourished, but the game’s sales did not, and BMX XXX turned out to be a bust.
A controversial Rockstar game? Shut your mouth! By having protagonist James Earl Cash suffocate you with a plastic bag, maybe. This 2003 third-person stealth title turned you into a death row inmate who has been freed, and then kidnapped, by the Director, a sadistic mastermind behind a series of snuff movies, of which you were the latest star. Stalking through abandoned malls, trailer parks and other filthy locations, killing your enemies with plastic bags, shards of glass, and baseball bats, Manhunt was insanely violent by anyone’s standards but also, by most reviewer’s standards, pretty darn good. Unfortunately, the sequel took a significant nosedive in terms of quality, and was just gory for goriness sake.
(turn down volume first)
4) JFK Reloaded
Created by Traffic Software, JFK puts you in the shoes of presidential assassin Lee Harvery Oswald. The aim of the game is to re-create the JFK assassination as accurately as possible – i.e., you get points for recreating the findings of the Warren Commission. This game was billed as a “historical simulation,” an attempt to prove once and for all that Oswald was the lone killer, and was tastefully released on the 41st anniversary of the JFK assassination. Not surprisingly, public outrage was strong, especially on the part of Senator Ted Kennedy, and sales were so poor that the game was eventually just given away for free. Conspiracy theorists – the theoretical target audience for the game — were likely unconvinced too, although it’s a bit hard to get that bunch to answer surveys.
3) Super Columbine Massacre RPG!
This top-down, 8-bit-looking computer game had you navigate the halls of Columbine as, alternatively, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. As someone who played this freebie when it came out (in 2005), it’s hard to say exactly what this game was. It’s an RPG, but in the limited, old school Nintendo sense. And it’s an action game, but it’s not a flat-out shoot-everything-that-moves bloodbath. It’s a real-life event turned into an old school video game, designed to spark controversy and discussion. I guess that means it’s art? It’s also, and this is only viewed through the prism of memory, really hard. I don’t remember getting more than halfway through the whole thing.
2) Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Anyone even casually familiar with video games has heard of “No Russian.” When you first start a campaign in MW2, you’re asked if you want to play it, and offered the option to skip it. In game, when you finally get to the level, you’re asked again if you want to play, and, again, offered the option to skip it. “No Russian” puts you in the shoes of an undercover agent who tags along as a group of Russian terrorists meander through an airport and gun down innocent civilians. Lots of innocent civilians, who run around screaming and are all hopelessly slaughtered. You can either walk along and watch, or just go ahead and butcher everyone. It’s successful as a level in that it paints the villain as a very, very bad dude.
1) Call of Juarez: The Cartel
A sequel to Call of Juarez, which took place in Western times, this 2011 sequel moves the action to modern times. A first-person shooter with heavy RPG elements, with information available only through previews, the game is scheduled to be released in the summer of 2011. But despite the fact the basically no one outside of Ubisoft knows much about the game, it is still causing controversy, as recently the Mexican State Congress universally passed a resolution calling for the Interior Department to ban the game in the entire country of Mexico. While the country-wide ban has yet to go through, and the game has yet to be released, many believe the game reflects poorly on the city, which last year was the home of over 3,000 real homicides, most of them drug-related. To recap: the real life city of Juarez passed a law, possibly the only law in the land, attempting to ban a video game.
Which game do you think is the most controversial? Vote in our poll and let us know in the comments sections.
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