When we put together our list of the Most Offensive Video Games Ever, our kind readers helped underscore one of the fundamental problems we faced when trying to compile an abbreviated sample: there are more than a few depraved games out there that have amassed over the last several decades.
So, in the interest of doing justice to the bloodiest and most controversial pages in the Great Big Book of Gaming History, here are five more of the most offensive games to hit a console or the PC.
Carmageddon (1997, PlayStation, N64, Game Boy Color, PC, Mac) — In Carmageddon, players raced against computer-controlled cars through various settings. It seemed harmless enough at a quick glance, but when word got out that players could gain bonuses or even win challenges by running over pedestrians, well, a few politicians frizzed up. Parts of Europe and the UK fell back on the old “Robot” standby, a method of game censorship that involved changing human soldiers and victims to robots.
Interestingly, Carmageddon was inspired by Death Race 2000, a brutal cult movie about a deadly road race. The 1976 video game that was born from the movie was one of the first video games to come under fire for its violence, even though players ran over monochromatic “gremlins” instead of people. Nevertheless, the media freaked.
Thrill Kill (1998, PlayStation) — Thrill Kill was on track to be published by EA for the PlayStation, but the game’s pre-release notoriety struck it dead before it saw the shelves. It wasn’t hard: despite its tantalizing four-player feature, Thrill Kill also boasted a great deal of violent and sexual content, including dismemberment and special moves with clever names like “Bitch Slap” and “Swallow This.”
Thrill Kill has a claim to fame beyond its hyper-violence, however. Since the title was pretty much completed when EA pulled the plug, the developers who had worked on the game released the game into the wild, where it spread quickly via bootlegs and downloads. It still remains one of the most widely-distributed unreleased games of all time.
RapeLay (2006, PC) — RapeLay, a Japanese release, is best described as really, really unfortunate. It was a game built solely around malice and sexual violence, as players took the role of a stalker who kidnapped and raped three women. The game attracted outrage from around the world, though it never got far beyond Japan’s borders. Eventually, the game was banned in its home country, too.
Postal (1997, PC, Mac, Linux) — Postal was a 3D shooter about a dude who goes, well, postal. The object of the game was to kill a certain percentage of non-player characters before advancing. Postal‘s story was pretty ambiguous. It has been suggested in-game and via supporting literature that the game’s main character believed his town had been infected by a “madness plague,” and was actually locked up in a mental institution. Either way, the most offensive aspect of Postal wasn’t its graphic violence: it was the fact the infamous director Uwe Boll saw fit to afflict us with a movie based on the game.
Night Trap (1992, Sega CD) — Night Trap was a super-cheesy full-motion video game that featured a plot about badly-dressed vampires trying to drain blood from a bunch of girls having a sleepover party in an isolated cabin. Other features included Dana Plato as the main characters, a wardrobe that never left the ’80s, and an inexplicable karaoke number.
In retrospect, Night Trap wasn’t an offensive game at all. However, it came under heavy fire from politicians when worries about “hyper-realistic” game violence worked up into an outright fever in the early ’90s. Whereas people who actually played the game saw a bad (and largely bloodless) take on old horror movies, politicians saw graphic depictions of women being mutilated and killed. Night Trap is a solemn and grainy reminder that the severity of game violence is truly in the eye of the beholder.