Could you have guessed that there a serveral controversial video games that probably should’ve been banned? Well there are.
Gaming is one of the most prominent success stories of all time. Recently, new games have been flooding the market every other week. Consequently, tons of games are flooding the market, from FPS to RPG titles and life simulation ones emulating virtual realities. But with so many games and genres available on the market, it can be challenging to regulate each one against incorporating controversial content. It’s also a free space to express designers’ and developers’ creativity at will. Hence why some may describe controversial content as going hand in hand with video games.
A ton of video games raise controversial issues in the community. Be it depictions of extreme violence, unsettling sexual content, or insinuating values that go against societal beliefs. While some video games stir enough pots to warrant adult ratings, some raise so much intense uproar to warrant banning them from public release. Still, others continue to exist despite concerns raised against their controversial content. In this article, we’re ranking five controversial video games that probably should’ve been banned. Scroll on.
When Agony was released in 2018, it seemed like a fantastic FPS survival horror with a dark twist. Sure. Traversing through hell as a tormented soul and wanting to survive all of hell’s horrors. Anyone would wonder what that’s like. But when the innovation and creativity players were hoping for fell through, intense uproar ensued over the focus on sex, nudity, and violent scenes in the game. So much so that Agony got slapped with an “Adults Only” rating by ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board), which led to toning down some outrageous scenes, so they’re approved for sale on popular platforms under a “Mature” rating.
Still, trading off quality for shock values left a distasteful mouthful of rage in most players. It feels like actual torture playing the game, and the move to dehumanize women plays toxic vibes. While toning down some scenes created room for sale on popular platforms, dehumanizing women and high-impact violence already did the damage. There’s little to say about compelling graphics or addictive gameplay. And with stringing up men, torturing them, while women strut around the harsh environment without clothes on, screaming, “pull it out?” this first-person survival horror game just seems lucky to have dodged the “ban” wrath bullet.
4. Mortal Kombat
The Mortal Kombat franchise has grown to shake up the fighting gaming genre to the core. It ranks highly in the best fighting games to play and has become a staple of the entire gaming industry. But before all the fame and glory, the first Mortal Kombat release came at a time when it's over-the-top violence and striking graphics raised eyebrows on questioning, how much is too much? Consequently, public concern led to the creation of the Entertainment Software Rating Board to help regulate the gaming industry.
Still, it’s Mortal Kombat‘s very over-the-top violence that spiraled its fame in fighting-gaming violence. Today, ripping out hearts, spines, and severing heads seems commonplace. In fact, newer updates continue to extenuate graphic violence by pulling out intestines and eating your opponent’s head. In the ‘90s, though, it was concerning to the public, and even though it wasn’t banned, conversations still ensue on what is “okay” content and whether we should sell high-impact violent games to kids.
3. Grand Theft Auto
Another game to raise eyebrows on high-impact violence is Grand Theft Auto. Right off the bat of its first-ever release in 1997, Grand Theft Auto allowed players to do anything they wanted. Primarily, players would take on criminal roles and commit crimes, some more grizzly than others. Shoot to kill is commonplace. And with modern graphics, the gameplay is more realistic than ever.
There were several “depictions of high impact violence” lawsuits against Grand Theft Auto. Grand Theft Auto also got banned in a few countries like Australia and Germany for dehumanizing women and “gory violence.” Further, there was a large-scale ban when Rockstar games added an in-game casino to GTA Online. In 2005, the US rated GTA San Andreas “Adult Only” for the “Hot Coffee” minigame scandal where modders used hidden code to release offensive sexual content.
Overall, GTA has a massive following and is unlikely to receive a ban. However, there are certainly times when banning GTA seems surreal in heated conversations around allowing violent games on the market.
The Postal game series received a slap on the wrist in the US for its offensive content. It's well-known for controversial mass violence, with four games in the market to date. In-game, players can do almost every over-the-top act of violence, from abusing and killing cats up through cat’s anuses to killing people for cutting in line, or slamming a woman in the face, over and over again. On top of all that, the game allows urinating on corpses with a track record keeping the count for you along with counts for murders, roasts, or heads exploded.
While this first-person shooter game fails in all aspects of gameplay, it soars highly on the offensive side of the public’s reception. It’s used as a reference in court proceedings against violent games, all while developer Running with Scissors continues to develop similarly controversial sequels, arguing that violence is ultimately up to the player to either engage or not.
At the top of our listing of five controversial video games that probably should’ve been banned is Rapelay. Rapelay received a few bans in Argentina, Indonesia, and New Zealand but only got an “Adult Only” rating in the US. Consequently, most stores shy away from selling Rapelay though you could always grab a copy online. But why did this 3D eroge game receive so much backlash, you ask? Well, it contains heavy sexual themes that are so offensive that most people term it an abomination in the gaming industry.
The protagonist, Kimura Masaya, is a pervert who fondles women on subway trains. Kiryuu Aoi reports him for molesting her. He then plans to exact revenge on Aoi and her family, where the players’ role is to stalk each family member and rape them. It gets worse when progressing higher means more sexual assaults in a setting of the players’ choosing until you’re past training mode and the girls no longer resist your advances.