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Added by Prelude on 3 Jan 2008 09:55
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Most Controversial Games

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People who added this item 2 Average listal rating (2 ratings) 4.5 IMDB Rating 0
Death Race - Arcade
Date: 1976

Game concept: "In the year 2000, hit and run driving is no longer a felony. It's the national sport!". This arcade game was based on 'Death Race 2000' movie which starred Sylvester Stallone.

Result: Commercial flop (only 500 made) because of big public backlash. Just goes to show the public has different concepts of what's acceptable in movies vs in games.

Yes, this was considered controversial in the 70s
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People who added this item 16 Average listal rating (15 ratings) 3.5 IMDB Rating 0
Custer's Revenge - Atari 2600
Date: 1982

Game concept: General Custer has to dodge arrows in order to reach a naked indian girl tied to a cactus, and he 'wins' by raping her.

Result: Since home consoles were a new thing, the public was associating this game with Atari, forcing the game maker to sue the developers of Custer's Revenge for 'wrongful associating' with the game. While they sat in court, the developer made two more 'sex' games before finally closing their doors.
Warning! X-rated video! lol
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People who added this item 178 Average listal rating (120 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 0
Wolfenstein 3D - PC Games
Date: 1992

Game concept: Explore rooms of Castle Wolfenstein, killing Nazis. It was controversial because of the violence and blood, killing of dogs, and nazi symbolism throughout. In Germany, this game had to remove all swastika and images of Hitler, and in the SNES version, the dogs were changed to giant rats.

Result: Despite (or because) of the controversy, this game is now considered the birth of 3D first-person shooters, and was a huge commercial success, with many ports and sequels.
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People who added this item 49 Average listal rating (39 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 0
Mortal Kombat - Arcade
Date: 1992

Game concept: Designed to compete with the mega arcade hit, Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat drew in the crowds with a simple formula: Add tons of blood, and 'finish off' your opponent with a killer move, like ripping the spine outta them.

Result: One of the most popular arcade beat'em'up game ever, ported to dozens of home consoles, spurred many sequels and even a movie. But the US government was so appalled at this game in particular that it launched congressional hearings on the subject of violent games. The gaming industry, fearful of government regulations, initiated a mandatory ratings system (Everyone, Teen, Mature, Adult) in large part because of the controversy surrounding Mortal Kombat.
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People who added this item 13 Average listal rating (11 ratings) 5.2 IMDB Rating 0
Night Trap - Sega Mega cd
Date: 1992

Game concept: As a commando of a secret organization, you monitor (spy) on five young girls dressed in nightgowns, trying to protect them from vampire-like killers. This was achieved thru many short video clips of B-movie actresses doing things like pillow fights and giggling.


Result: The plot may seem suspect, but the game itself was very toned down; no nudity, excessive violence, or rape scenes. Nevertheless, it was mentioned along with Mortal Kombat in US Congress hearings about game violence, mostly because of overzealous politicians. The game itself wasn't that popular with players because it was too repetitive and offered no replay value.
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People who added this item 351 Average listal rating (272 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 0
DOOM - PC Games
Date: 1993

Game concept: Ultra violent and ultra addictive FPS that revolutionized the gaming industry with its incredible 3D engine. The game is set on a Mars colony invaded by Satanic forces.

Result: Despite its violence and blood, it oddly flew beneath the government's radar during the Mortal Kombat hearings. Many religious groups however attacked this game because of its violence and strong satanic atmosphere. But Doom's major controversy occured several years after its release; in 1999, the media reported that the Columbine Massacre killers were avid Doom players, and Harris was quoted as saying the planned massacre would be "like fucking Doom" and his shotgun was "straight out of" the game. Many parents became fearful that video games, specifically first-person shooters, were turning their children into killers.
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People who added this item 51 Average listal rating (23 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 0
Phantasmagoria - PC Games
Date: 1995

Game concept: An 'interactive movie' during the height of the multimedia era of PC gaming (thank god THAT fad died out quickly), this game was released on 7 CDs and the plot script was 4 times longer than a typical movie script. The story is similar to 'The Shining', about a writer going to an abandoned house to finish a novel in peace, but the house turns out to have a dark secret.

Video [view at your discretion]

Result: The plot was an exteme departure for Roberta Williams of King's Quest fame, as it featured graphic gore, violence, and even a rape scene. Australia banned it, CompUSA and other retailers refused to sell it, and many other countries made it an 18+ purchase restriction, yet despite all this, it was one of the best selling PC titles of 1995.
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People who added this item 243 Average listal rating (163 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 0
Duke Nukem 3D - PC Games
Date: 1996

Game concept: You're Duke Nukem, a trash-talking womanizing guy with big guns, and you're here to shoot all the pig cop aliens and rescue all the hot ladies. (or at least that's how my brain remembers it).

Result: Duke Nukem 3D caused controversy mostly because of the violence and treatment of women. The only women present in the game were prostitutes, cheerleaders, strippers, or sex slaves to the aliens. The game was banned in Brazil following a cinema theatre murder rampage that may have been inspired by the game's first level. But perhaps the biggest controversy is the tease the developer is doing to fans by promising a sequel, and 10+ years later, all we have is 2 or 3 teaser trailers and nothing else. Oh, the humanity! Where is my Duke Nukem Forever???
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People who added this item 58 Average listal rating (38 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 0
Carmageddon - PC Games
Date: 1997

Game concept: Holy crap! Not one but TWO games in this list that were inspired by the movie 'Death Race 2000'? I guess cars running over people is entertaining as hell.

Result: In many countries, including Germany and early versions in UK, the game had to modified to show cars running over zombies or robots instead of people, much to the dismay of undead activists. It was also outright banned in Brazil.
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People who added this item 29 Average listal rating (12 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 0
Date: 1999

Game concept: Beaten up and left for dead, the player wakes up with a thirst for revenge against the Kingpin and his henchmen. The dialog contained a heavy dose of profanity, and the violence was designed to be as graphical and realistic as possible. The more you beat a head in, the more its skin gets bloodied and deformed. And each body part was hit-aware and having its own 'armor' rating, so a guy could lose a leg, but still be functional enough to keep fighting you, albeit in crippled form.

Result: Very high marks from PC Game reviews, but releasing such a bloody shooter so soon after columbine generated lots of bad publicity from groups as well as US congressmen trying to show their constituents they are fighting to keep their kids safe. As a result, many top stores such as Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Toys-R-Us refused to stock the game. The developer commented later that if it wasn't for EB Games, this game might not have even made it to North America.
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People who added this item 77 Average listal rating (50 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 0
Soldier of Fortune - PC Games
Date: 2000

Game concept: Terrorists steal four nuclear weapons from Russia. A Soldier of Fortune from he US of A is assigned to prevent the nukes from falling into the wrong hands. Maybe they should've sent the Soldier to Florida flight schools instead.

Result: Controversial because of the extreme graphical violence, mostly because it was the first game to use Raven's GHOUL model engine which allowed gamers to dismember the enemies. After complaints, it was given a rare 'Adult Movie' classification by the British Columbia review board. It also got placed on the index in Germany.
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Date: 2000

Game concept: After aliens accidentally receive a lingerie catalog from planet earth and go there for more. There, they caputer you, the main character, and force you to search for women, get them to remove their clothes, and photograph them... or they will destroy earth!

Result: Controversial in the USA and pulled from some store shelves. Gamers in general just found the game retarded and ignored it. But biggest controversy was when an organization 'Dads and Daughters' singled out this game and arranged a boycott against it.
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People who added this item 871 Average listal rating (717 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 0
Grand Theft Auto III - PlayStation 2
Date: 2001

Game concept: Open-ended gameplay about the glorified life of a criminal; you get to carjack, shoot cops, deal with prostitutes, and running over pedestrians (again, what's with the fascination of driving over people in this list?)

Result: Funny, whenever media reports to us about how bad and violent games are, they always seem to show video clip of GTA3's carjacking, shooting at cops, and running over pedestrians. You can't buy that kind of free publicity! The game was meant to be released in early Oct 2001, but was delayed by a few weeks to make some last minute changes (removed a mission involving a van that lured citizens, and then exploded, and also repainted all cop cars from the NYPD color scheme to the black & white LAPD color scheme as to avoid controversy.) Since its release, it has won many awards, got rave reviews, and became the best selling game ever in the US. It seemed the US congressmen had other priorities than pixelated blood in video games. But in Oct 2003, another big controversy would befall the game, as yet another game-inspired killer struck and this time, GTA3 was name the culprit. The parents of the slain kids decided to sue Rockstar, the makers of GTA series, Wal-Mart, and Sony, for a total $246 million. Great, the terrorist threat is over, time to refocus our fears on those evil game makers.
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Date: 2002

Game concept: A rushed, buggy, pathetic sequel.

Fun Fact: Sometimes, just the fear of controversy can kill a game. In order to avoid being banned in Germany again, the German version had all violence and gore removed, and placed the story in a parallel universe occupied by cyborgs. Needless to say, it didn't impress german gamers.
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People who added this item 1157 Average listal rating (1014 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 0
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City - PlayStation 2
Date: 2002

Game concept: Very similar to GTA3, only set in Miami-style city. Another monster hit for Rockstar.

Result: Another Rockstar release, another highly controversial release. I'm starting to see a pattern. On top of the usual groups against cop-killing, carjacking, and prostitution, Cuban and Haitian groups protested against this game on the basis that it invited people to harm immigrants, and some lines could be considered racist. Rockstar benefited from a fresh wave of controversy, and after cashing in millions more, they proceeded to release an updated version in 2004 that had those lines removed in order to prevent discrimination lawsuits.
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Date: 2003

Game concept: Scantily clad women with big tits decide to play beach volleyball. Millions of teenage boys line up to buy the game.

Video Clip:

Result: What controversy? Sex sells. It's an ancient law of physics. But nevertheless, women groups complained about the sexism and treatment of (rendered) women as sex eye candy.
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People who added this item 6 Average listal rating (4 ratings) 3.3 IMDB Rating 0
BMX XXX - GameCube
Date: 2003

Game concept: Scantily clad (and nude) strippers with (not so) big tits decide to try out BMXing. Everyone says WTF? (and teenage boys go buy it anyways)

Result: Originally to be called Dave Mirra's BMX, the developers realized their game sucked and decided to add tits and ass. Dave was smart and made sure his name was completely removed from this title. But regardless, many teen boys went drooling all the way to the counter, and soon discovered that Wal-Mart, Toys-R-Us, and most other major retailers in the US refused to sell it. The GameCube and Xbox versions were fully uncensored, with stripper video scenes between load times. Sony asked that all PS2 versions be censored. The sight of pixelated nipples could irreversibly harm young boys (and got back to making great child-friendly games like GTA and ManHunt).
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People who added this item 119 Average listal rating (77 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 0
Postal 2 - PC Games
Date: 2003

Game concept: An open ended FPS game with an interactive town all around you. Do you walk around doing mundane day-to-day tasks? Do you get rude and flip strangers the bird? Or do you pick up that can of gasoline and burn the whole goddamn place to the ground?

Result: Although the levels are not violent by nature, there's lots in the town to piss you off, and the game clearly urges the gamer to 'go postal' for fun. Most of the crude racist sexist homophobic jokes were done as a parody, but poor reviews from game sites combined with its extreme concept resulted in many stores not carrying this game. More controversy sprung up in 2006 when media revealed that Montreal's Dawson College Massacre killer played violent game, including Postal 2. Despite all this, the game enjoys a cult following, but that will soon end when infamous director Uwe Boll will release a movie based on this game. He has a good track record of killing off any game franchise he touches.
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People who added this item 143 Average listal rating (68 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 0
Manhunt - PlayStation 2
Date: 2003

Game concept: Rockstar, in order to take heat off their GTA series, decide to release this game, essentially an interactive 'snuff film'.
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People who added this item 34 Average listal rating (18 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 0
The Punisher - PlayStation 2
Date: 2005
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People who added this item 515 Average listal rating (371 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 0
Date: 2005
Prelude's rating:
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People who added this item 263 Average listal rating (162 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 0
Bully - PlayStation 2
Date: 2006
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People who added this item 54 Average listal rating (25 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 0
Date: 2006
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People who added this item 20 Average listal rating (4 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 0
RapeLay - PC Games
Date: 2006

A game where the goal is stalk, and eventually rape, the woman who got you arrested for molesting girls on trains. Hmmm. I dont think I need to explain the controversy here. ;)
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People who added this item 47 Average listal rating (25 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 0
Manhunt 2 - PlayStation 2
Date: 2007
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Sex, Violence, Gore, Cop Killing, more Sex, and more Gore.

This is a list of games, some hits, some duds, that has stirred up parents, media, and in some cases, governments, to keep them out of stores and out of kid's hands.

I made this list in chronological order, and included games that gained public and media attention due to controversial (in their time) topics.

If you have any suggestions, corrections, or additions to this list, please send me a personal message.

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Posted: 7 years, 7 months ago at Oct 25 3:23
I remember the crazy Mortal Kombat controversy from when I was a kid, ah, good times.

I don't see how movies can get away with so much violence but when a game does it everyone points fingers, I think that most older generations still have the perception that video games are toys thus they're marketed solely to kids.

Then again parents seem to think that too if they're willing to buy their 12 year old a game that says for ages 18+ on the cover.
Posted: 6 years, 10 months ago at Jul 27 22:09
Super Columbine Massacre or whatever it was called caused a bit of a stir too. The most recent upset I can remember is about RapeLay.
Posted: 6 years, 10 months ago at Jul 28 11:53
i added RapeLay. Thanks for that one.
Posted: 6 years, 5 months ago at Dec 10 19:53
Great list of games that have something in common - they're special, not ordinary. Some more boring, some (Doom, Postal 2) first place action/brutality.
Posted: 5 years, 10 months ago at Jul 10 19:01
You should really add a note to Manhunt 2. That's the f*cking silliest controversy I've ever seen. I used to read my every-monthly game magazine and laugh.

BTW, how can the "Hot Coffee" from GTA San Andreas contain nudity if they have their clothes on? That's just plain dumb. Great list.
Posted: 5 years, 8 months ago at Sep 12 17:32
Great list, Prelude!
The only possible addition that immediately comes to mind is:

While it was violent as hell, that wasn't even the source of its controversy!
from Wikipedia:
It was pulled off the shelves in early 2003 for offensive religious content, namely that it had verses from the Quran being chanted as part of the background sound effects the song "Love/Hate Chant", which serves as theme song for the character Asad (a Muslim himself), is an example of this controversy.

Never got a chance to put hands on the game myself, but I do remember when collectors were clamoring to find a copy right after it started getting yanked! LOL!
Posted: 5 years, 5 months ago at Dec 5 11:55
Brings back memories! I haven't owned a video-game console in 15 years, but still remember the Mortal Kombat blood-code for Sega Genesis (ABACABB)

Expected to see "Leisure Suit Larry" on here, but never played it, so maybe wasn't ever as controversial as I thought. I sure remember hearing a lot about it though as a wee lad.
Posted: 5 years, 2 months ago at Feb 27 15:29
Yes, this was considered controversial in the 70s...

Made me laugh. =P
Posted: 5 years, 2 months ago at Feb 27 15:59
who would invent a game like RapeLay? xD So wrong....
Nice list mate :D
Posted: 5 years, 2 months ago at Feb 28 3:57
Some of your video links don't seem to work. Is it just me?

I recall pumping quarters into the Death Race arcade game when I was in college. It was a million times more fun than those dumb racing games where you were supposed to stay on the track and not crash into anything. I'm not sure why it was controversial. It was about as detailed as Space Invaders, and you had to shoot Space Invaders with bullets and they obviously died.
Posted: 5 years ago at May 15 17:37
Posted: 3 years, 9 months ago at Aug 23 3:31
who would invent a game like RapeLay? xD So wrong....
Nice list mate :D
Where else, but Japan ofcourse.
Posted: 3 years, 8 months ago at Aug 31 4:06
Going to have to mention JFK reloaded as a strong suggestion for this list. I played it in college with the excuse that I was "studying" for my paper on the Kennedy Assassination.
Posted: 3 years, 6 months ago at Nov 7 18:40
Hey, what about Modern Warfare 2?
Posted: 3 years, 6 months ago at Nov 13 17:12

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