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Top 10 Video Game Controversies

VO: Dan Paradis
Sometimes they’re serious, sometimes they’re stupid and sometimes they’re misleading, but they all got people talking. Today we’re counting down one of the highest voted topics from our suggestions page, namely all those video games that caused an uproar with parents, politicians and the media. From sexual content to graphic violence, these games had everyone rethinking who should be allowed to play. Join, as we count down the Top 10 Video Game Controversies.

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Top 10 Video Game Controversies

Sometimes they’re serious, sometimes they’re stupid and sometimes they’re misleading, but they all got people talking. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down one of our highest voted topic from our suggestions page: The Top 10 Video Game Controversies.

In order to get on this list, a controversial story needs to have been covered by more than one source. Not just by a one off single channel on a slow news day.

#10: Mass Effect Sex Scenes

In 2008, just after Mass Effect’s release, Conservative Blogger Kevin McCullough claimed that players in Mass Effect could “engage in the most realistic sex acts ever conceived”. Meanwhile over on Fox News, Author Cooper Lawrence had this to say (“It’s a Man in this game deciding how many women he wants to be with”) Only problem is, neither of those statements are true. There are sex scenes in the game, but they only last one minute and would bore a preschooler.

#9: Pokemon Controversy Magnet

When Pokemon was at the height of its popularity, the series was accused of pretty much everything from being satanic to encouraging gambling, to even promoting blackface racial stereotyping with the Jynx pokemon, leading to a purple face change. In more recent years PETA has accused the franchise of encouraging animal abuse, even going as far as making a shocking flash parody game … twice.

#8: “Night Trap” (1992)

Now here’s a game that would have been forgotten had it not been for the controversy, A Full Motion Video game on the ill fated Sega-CD. This gamemade it all the way to the US Congress, where it was stated that (The aim of the game is to trap and kill women). Once again just like Mass Effect, that claim was completely bogus, but Night Trap would still go down as one of the seminal examples of controversial videogame violence..

#7: “Mortal Kombat” (1992)

Another game that ended up before the US Congress, this one over is graphic fatalities involving decapitation and heart ripping. Along with Night Trap, is help forged the non-profit ESRB. Unlike Night Trap however, Mortal Kombat did really feature the violence that so horrified congressmen and parents alike. The violence was censored for the SNES version, and hidden but unlockable on the Sega Genesis. And when word got out about the blood code, the Genesis version outsold the SNES iteration.

#6: Banned In Australia

In Australia, on the other hand, game classification is maintained and funded by the goverment. But thanks to this guy… games that were always intended for an 18 + Audience like Left 4 Dead 2, Mortal Kombat, and the Witcher 2 are Refused Classification and couldn’t be sold. Even though Australia now has an R18+ rating, it didn’t seem to do much good as Saints Row 4 and State of Decay were both denied under the new system. … Now what? Interesting, while violent content is a major factor in these classifications, what really will get your on the down under shit list is “using drugs for beneficial effects”.

#5: Grand Theft Controversy

GTa is another series prone to controversy, though unlike Pokemon, the intention is more deliberate. Notable instances that got people talking include the torture scene from GTA 5. But, the violent rampages that players can go on at will have been garnering negative attention since the series debuted way back in 1997. But the most Infamous firestorm came from GTA: San Andreas, when an unfinished sex minigame was uncovered in the game’s code dubbed: Hot Coffee Mod, resulting in the game being pulled from retail distribution.

#4: Six Days in Fallujah

In 2009, Minnesota based developer Atomic Games was set to develop a realistic military game with funding from Konami, based on the real life Battle of Fallujah which 200 combatants, over 600 civilians and thousands more wounded and homeless. The game, was supposed to retell the battle through the testimonies of US Marines working with Atomic. However when word of the project got out, the developers faces a bombardment of hatred from Anti-War activists and negative press, and as a result Konami bailed on the project, leaving the game unfinished.

#3: No Russian – “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2” (2009)

After the runaway success of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, its sequel became the most hyped game of 2009. And within days of the game being released, it landed in the headlines when word got out that one mission had players massacring a Russian airport as an undercover agent embedded in a terrorist cell. Though the mission is skipable, and is included in the plot as the event that spurs world war three, it is still understandably horrific, and the press had a field day.

#2: “Manhunt 2” (2007)

A game that was considered so violent, that it was banned in a handful of countries. Plus the game had to be censored in order to be released on the Wii and PS2. Despite the censored version getting an M rating various US Senators including Hilary Clinton called for the rating to be raised back to Adults Only. The uncensored version was released digitally for PC 2 years later, but is now no longer obtainable. It is quite literally about murder for entertainment after all.

Before we get to our top pick, lets briefly mention other controversial moments, like the time the Playstation Network was compromised resulting in stolen credit card information. Or running over pedestrians for points in Carmageddon. What about when Doom was considered by religious organizations for being satanic? Oh and lets not forget one of the first games to ever be considered offensive: Custer’s Revenge.

#1: Allegations to Mass Shootings

Taking the top spot is one subject that just won’t go away. A massacre in which dozens of innocent people lose their lives is tragic, but the ensuing blame game that follows, usually, but not exclusively fueled by Conservative news media, or by a certain advocate in Florida who shall not be named, is reckless to say the least. Never mind the fact that it ignores multiple scientific studies that heavily dispute this claim, it seems that virtual guns are always to blame when people use real ones. Who’d have thought?

Agree with out list? Which games or scare mongering news stories pissed you off the most?

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