Most Offensive Video Games Ever

Most Offensive Video Games Ever

When you express yourself, you stand a good chance of cheesing off at least one person who’s listening. Count on it. Oftentimes, when we pick up a paintbrush or sit down at our keyboards, the things we do and say unintentionally offend others. Other times, we know that what we have to say is going to turn the civilized population on its head, but we do it anyway because we feel it’s vital to foster change and challenge old boundaries. And, of course, sometimes do offensive things simply because we know it’ll get a reaction.

Individual video games have been labeled as “offensive” more times than we can count by the mainstream media. There was (and still is) outrage over Mortal Kombat, the Grand Theft Auto series, DOOM, and dozens of other games that involve shooting, fighting, killing, and (Heaven forbid) depictions of sex.

Most of these targeted games push back the walls and deepened video games’ position as a means of expression and quality entertainment. Mortal Kombat was bloody and had over-the-top fatalities, but it also brought innovations to the fighting game genre, and inadvertently gave birth to a North American standard for game ratings. Grand Theft Auto III revolutionized the way we play games by putting us in a sandbox world and letting us make our own choices–all of which had consequences. And DOOM effectively used its horror-based atmosphere to transform the first-person shooter genre, arguably the most popular genre in the modern games market.

Admittedly, there are some video games that are noisy, stupid and juvenile for the sake of getting people to look in that direction for a second (hopefully long enough to spend money). These are the games that are the digital equivalent of a kid digging something out of his ear and running around with it yelling, “LOOOOOK!”

Here are five games that are, in no particular order, among the most offensive outings ever. Forgive us if the Postal series takes a temporary breather: That one deserves enough space to fill a separate story (if not novella) unto itself.

Chiller (1986, Arcade, NES) — Chiller, a shoot-’em-up light gun game, is one heck of a gory curiosity. For starters, most violent games are violent specifically because you, as the player, must defend yourself against a menace. At the very least, you’re pit against enemies that can fight back in some way.

In Chiller, nothing fights back against your rifle assault. The game is obviously styled after a cheesy carnival shooting gallery (mark our words, someday those wooden ducks are going to rise up against mankind), but this has an oddly mixed effect. It’s not so bad shooting zombies and ghouls and ghosts, but in two of the levels, you score points by shooting the body parts off men and women who are bound to torture devices. You don’t know why they’re there, but they are assuredly alive, at least until you kneecap ’em and hear their shrieks of pain.

There was an NES adaptation of the game released in 1990. Needless to say, it did not bear the Official Nintendo Seal of Quality, but the devs at Exidy and American Game Cartridges still made attempts to tone down the violence. The end result was mixed at best. Human beings still endured various states of discomfort in the torture room, and we don’t know how shooting a nun pushing a baby carriage is less offensive than shooting a monk pushing a cart full of body parts.

Custer’s Revenge (1982, Atari 2600) — What can you say about a pornographic Atari 2600 game, aside from “Why did they even try?” The 2600 wasn’t even capable of formulating Pac-Man’s maze successfully, let alone anything like an erotic adventure. Nevertheless, the human will triumphed, and the game company Mystique developed and released several raunchy Atari adventures.

The most infamous entry in Mystique’s schmutzy library was Custer’s Revenge, a game about General Custer making his so-called last stand with a naked Native American lady standing against (or tied to) a cactus. Custer, likewise in his birthday suit, had to dodge a shower of arrows in order to reach the maiden, and then–well, you can guess.

Custer’s Revenge quickly came under fire by Native American and women’s groups for its strong implications of rape. The game’s main designer, Joel Miller, claimed that the Native lady was a “willing participant” in Custer’s visit. Nevertheless, when Playaround acquired Mystique’s stable of pornographic Atari games, it tweaked Custer’s Revenge to make the Native girl beckon to Custer at the start of the game. Unfortunately, Playaround did nothing to fix the game’s boring goals (the shock value for Custer’s Revenge wears off real fast), and when the Industry crashed in 1983, Custer went down with it.

Duke Nukem Forever (2011, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Mac OSX, PC) — Oh, Duke. Duke Nukem Forever wasn’t simply offensive: it was just embarrassing to acknowledge on any level. No one expected Duke to behave himself on his first significant outing in 15 years, but he could have done better than jokes about poop and rape (not in the same sentence–thank God for small favors). The game market has expanded way beyond teenage boys, and even the teens who hung out with Duke through the ’90s have grown up, and acquired jobs and families. We’re no longer all that keen on the supposedly ironic hilarity of Duke’s twin girlfriends promising to lose the baby weight that came as a result of them being raped by alien overlords.

Manhunt 2 (2007, PlayStation 2, Wii, PSP, PC) — Rockstar Games practically exists to push boundaries, and the intense violence in some of its games are backed up by innovative gameplay, quality storytelling, and decent characters. However, though 2007’s Manhunt 2 flicked the media’s Rage and Paranoia Meter into the red, the shoddy gameplay and uninteresting story made the game come off as a noisy farce that was bloody for the sake of garnering empty attention. Worse still, Rockstar censored the game (still essentially a snuff film simulator) so that it could squeak away with an M rating by the ESRB instead of the dreaded Adults Only (AO) classification that would make Manhunt 2 impossible to sell at retail. A game that props itself up on blood and guts may as well revel in what it is, if the alternative is selling out and offending its target audience in addition to concerned parents.

Beat ‘Em and Eat ‘Em (1982, Atari 2600) — The success of Mystique’s Atari porn line (as in, it was successful enough for several titles to be published) makes a depressing statement about the human condition. There is some small consolation in the fact that, unlike Custer’s Revenge, Beat ‘Em and Eat ‘Em did not involve rape. No, the two women who ran around on the sidewalk with their heads tilted up to catch the droplets of stuff being dripped downwards by a naked man on a skyscraper seemed very willing to be in that place, at that time. That’s not enough to prevent us from uttering a deep, deep sigh.

To give Mystique some credit (we’re feeling generous), it developed a version of the game for gals and called it Philly Flasher. In Philly Flasher, you controlled two open-mouthed men who tried to catch droplets of breast milk from a lactating witch. Why a witch? Why Philadelphia? Like all of life’s great mysteries, who the hell knows.

About Nadia Oxford
Nadia is a freelance writer living in Toronto. She played her first game at four, decided games were awesome, and has maintained her position since. She writes for 1UP.com, Slide to Play, GamePro and other publications, and is About.com’s Guide to the Nintendo DS.

3 Comments

  1. What, no mention of Thrill Kill?

  2. Wow. Talk about offensive. Some people really want games like that. Should be marked as adult content if they are going to have it around at all. There should be things in place to make it really hard for anyone underage to be able to come anywhere near that, taken out of online public view adds. Jeez. I like a good video game while I buy sodastream and work on my home business but really. This should be kept far away from children or anyone really.

  3. What about Rapelay? A Japanese stalk and rape-simulator that, if I recall correctly, caused huge controversy and got pulled from Amazon.com.

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