If you hate video games for exposing youth to violence and sexual content, you’re about to get a whole lot angrier. There’s a notion shared from some critics that video games need to be heavily censored in order to protect impressionable young minds. It’s a silly notion, of course, that is difficult to justify when one examines other art forms in the entertainment medium, especially film. Still, it doesn’t stop the detractors of video games to point to extreme examples of when the line was crossed—unlike other mediums, I guess. These extreme examples are video games that range from promoting extreme blood and gore to pursuing morally devoid acts such as rape. As any gamer will probably tell you, there is a line that should be carefully tread by developers. Any act can be justified under the right context, but doing so with malicious intent or simply for shock value blurs the line between what is acceptable and what isn’t.
That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the 15 most controversial video games ever and why they were the subject of controversy. Some are warranted, others are laughably tame by today’s standards. But it’s an important discussion to have in order to clearly dictate what should be accepted in the medium. Most of these video games are available online or through older consoles, so if you’d rather see for yourself, you can do that too. So sit back, prepare to be offended and enjoy this feature on the most appalling games to ever be released, or not released.
15 Conker’s Bad Fur Day
14 Duke Nukem 3D
13 Grand Theft Auto Series
12 South Park: The Stick of Truth
11 Night Trap
10 Mortal Kombat Series
9 Custer’s Revenge
8 Left Behind: Eternal Forces
7 Ethnic Cleansing
5 Thrill Kill
3 Super Columbine Massacre RPG!
These games are just brutal, and the controversy surrounding the series is well-deserved. Here are some of the executions you can dish out in Manhunt: suffocating enemies with plastic bags, jamming crowbars through skulls, gouging eyes and faces, beheadings with strangling cords, and destroying genitals with sickles, among other creative ways. It sparked considerable controversy overseas as New Zealand outright banned the game and made it illegal to own a copy. It was also banned in several other countries for its incessant and cruel violence. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the game was released by Rockstar Games, the minds behind the Grand Theft Auto series.
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