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A History of Video Game Controversy

CmdrTaco posted more than 10 years ago | from the something-to-think-about dept.

Censorship 354

Decaffeinated Jedi writes "Sex, violence, animal cruelty, and scandalous pixels -- GameSpot has posted an in-depth feature examining the history of controversy in the video game industry. The feature examines several "major offenders" dating back as far as Death Race in the arcades up through more recent games like Grand Theft Auto III and Manhunt. Also included in the feature is coverage of the so-called "retail rogues" (games controversial enough that they were pulled from the shelves), as well as a docket of game-industry lawsuits and a look at the lighter side of game controversy. Who wants to bet that that the use-confiscated-drugs-for-short-term-benefit gameplay of Midway's upcoming NARC will make the cut in future articles about video game controversy?"

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354 comments

custer's revenge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8498890)

Legendary game for atari, never saw it 'till I played this one on MAME. Disappointing.

FP! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8498906)

Worth a try....

a history of sucking... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8498920)

george w. bush's cock!!!

More violence doesn't mean better (4, Insightful)

hambonewilkins (739531) | more than 10 years ago | (#8498928)

This proves that more violence doesn't necessarily make a game better.

People hem and haw about violent videogames but games like GTA are good games with violence put in.

On the other hand, excessive games like Manhunt and BMX:XXX (both mentioned in the article) have pointless violence and sex that doesn't drive the game forward. In many ways, this mirrors movies: a movie like The Matrix may be violent but has a decent story behind it. Other action films feature a lot of violence but lack a decent hook.

Violence may sell, but when the consumer realizes the lack of anything besides the violence, the game stops selling. BMX:XXX tanked, to my knowledge, as did DOA:Extreme Beach Volleyball. I think its too early to say about Manhunt (which is widely regarded as really disgusting and way too far, even by gamers).

Re:More violence doesn't mean better (4, Insightful)

WorkEmail (707052) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499110)

I think that BMX XXX was a gimmick to sell games. I never even gave it the chance and played it. I knew it would suck.

Now GTA III on the other hand was a really great game. And the other thing that people forget to mention s that a lot of the things that are considered really offensive in games, are the things that are not a part of the game itself, but something the player can "choose" to do if he/she wants to.

A lot of those games kind of put you in a free roaming world where you can do as you wish, true, some of the in game missions are kind of bad, but it is rated M for a reason, and if your kid is under 17 and playing it, it is your fault.

No, it's only shock value.. (3, Interesting)

DelawareBoy (757170) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499205)

It's not the violence, it's the shock / originality. Anyone remember Carmageddon? Where the point of the car race is, well, run over as many people as possible? (Including little old ladies with Walkers). Once GTA has a few dozen rip offs, this will be a non-issue. Example, a fairly good graphics game where you deal drugs to high school students would be insanely popular. Right up until it was banned, the company sued, etc. it's when a) companies push limits and b) Those products are recognized by the media. Add those two together and you have a great recipe for controversy. -DB in 2004

Re:More violence doesn't mean better (1, Interesting)

dfg5959 (760225) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499304)

Adding more violence doesn't make something better?? Guess someone forgot to inform Mel Gibson of this before making his "masterpiece".

Re:More violence doesn't mean better (4, Insightful)

Ayaress (662020) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499381)

I agree entirely. I like violence, swearing, sex, whatever in games, as long as it fits.

An English teacher of mine in high school had a saying about using foul language in writing: "You can swear all you want, but you have to earn every word, or it'll only hurt you."

All games are built on a premise. GTA was built on the premise of street crime: Drugs, prostitutes, carjacking, even low-time acts of terrorism. Wether or not its a good game, how do you capture that premise in a satisfying way WITHOUT sex, language, and violence?

BMX:XXX was something completely else though. I really don't get the premise. If the premise were bike racing, then the riders would be at least wearing appropriate clothing (Ever ride a motor cycle wearing shorts? I burned my leg on an exauhst pipe doing that), because you don't ride a motorcycle naked. If the premise were naked people then what's the point of having them riding bikes?

It didn't build on the game's premise, and frankly, it wasn't all that great to begin with - for half or less of the price, I could buy a copy of Playboy or Hustler and a bargain-rack non-naked BMX racing game.

Currently in development (3, Funny)

loserbert (697119) | more than 10 years ago | (#8498940)

Grand Theft Auto:Sheep Fscker
Quake IV:Disembowelment Edition
and my favorite....
Catholic Priest Online

I love video games....

Re:Currently in development (1)

WorkEmail (707052) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499149)

If you like those, go to www.somethingawful.com [somethingawful.com] and check out the Photoshop Phriday section, they do a cool post on Fake Games once in a while, and they are really really funny.

It's Really Just A Statement About The Direction (5, Insightful)

Naked Chef (626614) | more than 10 years ago | (#8498946)

society in the U.S. has been going the past 20-30 years...away from any conception of personal accountability or responsibility. We look for someone or something to blame society's ills on, when WE'RE the problem. Frivilous lawsuits related to lack of common sense, warnings on music and video games, "outrage" over the tiniest slights or perceived lack of "political correctness" in word or deed... Maybe getting offtopic a bit, but video game controvery is just one example. An interesting read, kinda sad though.

Re:It's Really Just A Statement About The Directio (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8498973)

"We look for someone or something to blame society's ills on"

Can anyone say "Salem Witch Trials?"

All of this nonsense, including antiquated notions about sex and nudity in the media, comes from the American Puritan (read: stupid, backwards, and closed-minded) Tradition.

Some things never change...

Re:It's Really Just A Statement About The Directio (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8499187)

I would paraphrase you that the rate of change of societal decay is constant.
The last several decades of "American culture" are tragically useless.
Far from a serious pursuit of questions like

Why am I here?

How should the tension between the individual and society be reasonable maintained?

How can we leave a better world than we found?

The question are more along the lines of:

How can we leverage the legal system for marketing purposes?

How can we take fundamental lies like homosexuality and masquerade them as truth?

How can we convince formerly free people that enslavement to crass Ponzi schemes like Socialist Security is a Good Thing?

Wow, didn't set out to rant or troll; just turned out that way. I'm prolly a victim, or something.

Re:It's Really Just A Statement About The Directio (1)

WorkEmail (707052) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499418)

I completely agree. People seem to want the government and other organizations to take care of them and take care of their children.

The world is a different place now. Television and media are different. There isn't just 4 channels on TV that everyone in the country watches, there are thousands of possible cable channels, all with different content. And when you pay extra to have cable, can you relaly complain about it's content?

In my opinion, I can understand keeping things relatively tame on regular network television (the channels that anyone can plug a TV into a wall and get for free). But on cable anything should go, and regarding internet censorship, it is ridiculous when there is so many filtering resources available to parents, and their lack of computer knowledge is seen as a threat to their children.

Things like CyberSitter [cybersitter.com] and Net Nanny [netnanny.com] can restrict your child access to offensive or harmful content, and you can also limit your browser to only go to bookmarked sites. And it does not have ot be an annoyance to you, somply create a Windows profile for your child with a password that you and the child know, and when the child loggs in as themselves, have the browser and internet setting applied as desired. So simple, am I wrong?

Blue Max (5, Interesting)

Sumocide (114549) | more than 10 years ago | (#8498948)

The olde C64 top view airplane shooter Blue Max is (yes is, not was) banned in Germany. For it's controversial gameplay which involves shooting 4 pixel wide enemies, 80's style.

Only effect the ban had was that every youth absolutely had to copy the game.

Re:Blue Max (2, Funny)

eddy (18759) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499017)

Good game. Reminds me of Zaxxon, both of which were some of the first games I ever played.

Ah... Barbarian, Commando Libya, both sources of moral panic at the time. There's also that old game... what was its name.. General Custer?

Re:Blue Max (-1, Troll)

Simonetta (207550) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499171)

(yes is, not was) banned in Germany.

This could be simply political. Germans have a history of building up a meticulous and highly ordered societies, then burning up everything in a orgy of violence and mayhem.
Since it's been fifty years since the last cycle and since the authorities aren't exactly sure what triggers these episodes, they are hesitant to allow any new technology that could seem to be put to socially destructive ends.
While that's good in theory, it tends to look absurd in practice. Especially when they goof up and ban an innocuous technology, like low resolution video games.
Plus it makes them a stagnant society. Little innovation in completely new technologies happens there. There is however major advances made in the refinement of proven technologies.
If you want to bang two cylinders of metal together ten thousand times a minute and not have the devices move more than five thousandths of a meter within a hundred million bangs, then German engineering is the world's best. But don't count on them to figure out how to melt silicon and aluminum together to get a million microchips out of pile of sand and soda cans.

Re:Blue Max (1)

jayayeem (247877) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499180)

Vaguely remember the game. I'm thinking the ban was related to the German ban on Nazi related themes.

Re:Blue Max (2, Interesting)

goldspider (445116) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499218)

Of course, Blue Max was set during World War I. No Nazis here. Tho I do suspect the ban was indeed political.

Re:Blue Max (1)

AceCaseOR (594637) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499223)

Um... I own a copy of Blue Max. It was set during World War I, not World War II, and you're playing a RAF pilot anyway (every game starts with the end of "God Save the Queen").

What about the old... (4, Interesting)

Chris_Stankowitz (612232) | more than 10 years ago | (#8498950)

japanese pr0n games for nintendo? Did anyone really get off to these things? Has nintendo ever made any statements about these games? Do they make games like this for current consoles?

Re:What about the old... (1)

DreadSpoon (653424) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499233)

If you're that desparate, there are plenty of sites online with that kind of content. ;-)

Re:What about the old... (1)

dancingmad (128588) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499295)

There are several unlicensed hentai games for the Gameboy Advance. Tsuki no Hime comes to mind. It seems to be one company putting them all out for the GBA.

Don't ask me how I know ;)

Re:What about the old... (5, Insightful)

Ayaress (662020) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499513)

There are some things about the hentai games for the SNES and GB(A) though:

1. Nintendo didn't license them, and they already say, "Don't play games with out the Nintendo Seal of Approval." I doubt they'll comment on unlicensed games.

2. (As far as I know) none of them have been brought to the US (at least not openly - you can't buy hentai games in the store like you can in Japan, you have to order them), and Japan is a far more open society, both to new ideas and technologies, but in this case more open to forms of entertainment. There isn't a social stigma around pornography in Japan to the extent that there is in the US.

People who don't like it actually participate in capitalism the way it was INTENDED to work: They vote with their money and don't buy it. They don't sue the companies that made it (at least not anywhere near as much as we do). The people who do like it do the same, and they buy it, and it continues to get made.

Back to the US: It bugs me how people are so opposed to pornography. If you compare a few polls about how many people like looking at pornographic materials and how many people think they should they should be illegal, you'll see there's a striking overlap - people who buy porn, but say it should be illegal.
Porn is considered so socially unacceptable that if you ask people, they'll say it should be illegal even though they have a limited edition of Debbi Does Dallas hidden under their couch. It's like the smoker who says (between weezes and coughs and lighting a new ciggarette) that the tobacco companies should be forced out of business.

I wonder why... (2, Insightful)

Dreadlord (671979) | more than 10 years ago | (#8498951)

... nobody complains about movies although they had controversial elements like violence and sex much earlier than video games ever existed.

I'll take a stab at this. (-1, Flamebait)

bad enema (745446) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499075)

Hahaha a "stab"..get it?. Ok that was dumb.

When movies first introduced violence and sex, society was much more traditional and these were only exposed to adults. As capitalism overtook traditionalism and movies like Austin Powers 3 get PG-13 ratings, this is all but gone of course.
br However, video games have and were always targeted at kids and teens. As these games become more violent, they also happen to coincide with events like the Columbine shootings.

Re:I wonder why... (3, Insightful)

Ayaress (662020) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499562)

They do, and have for a long time. When I was young (early 80's), violent movies were the big target. Video games are newer. Holywood is established and entrenched, and it's unlikely any amount of litigation will budge them an inch. Video games are getting there, but there's still enough give in the market that they can win little victories here and there.

Pulling Games (5, Funny)

YomikoReadman (678084) | more than 10 years ago | (#8498959)

It's all well and good that there are groups out there that will crusade night and day to get games pulled because they are violent and graphic and will scar their children for life.

I want to know where the groups are to get games pulled for being absoulute pieces of garbage, and leave deep mental scars simply by existing.

Re:Pulling Games (5, Insightful)

CashCarSTAR (548853) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499001)

The ironic thing is that I'd be willing to bet good money that the members of those groups pulled their kids to see "The Passion of the Christ"...

Talk about violence and scars for life...

Re:Pulling Games (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8499108)

There's a big difference between purposeful violence and senseless violence - of course it's still way too much for kids.

(Especially kids like my little cousin, who got nightmares from the munchkins in the Wizard of Oz :))

Re:Pulling Games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8499164)

How about multiplying that violence times 1,000 for the slaves that were crucified that year for attempting escape and other crimes? Purposeful indeed.

Re:Pulling Games (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8499346)

If you aren't a Christian the violence will have little meaning. From what I understand crucifixian is a pretty nasty way to die - obviously. But then, the movie isn't about those slaves. A movie that featured entirely people being executed for their crimes would be grim and pointless, but just because YOU don't find any positive meaning in the movie doesn't mean that a very large number of people won't.

Re:Pulling Games (2, Insightful)

nebenfun (530284) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499390)

If you can't see the difference in the violence in let's say beating up hookers for money (GTA) and historical violence like saving private ryan, the passion, schindler's list, etc, you have a poor sense of perspective.

I think "those groups" have bigger problems than boycotting video game companies, tv and disney, etc...

but there IS a difference between GTA and the Passion, and it wouldn't be hypocritical for a Christian parent to refuse their child GTA but make sure they watch the aforementioned movies.

Re:Pulling Games (5, Insightful)

rblum (211213) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499560)

That difference, of course, only exists if you're Christian. If you're not, they're both multimedia works about violence against fictional characters.

Oh, in GTA, you're actually in control, so you have to make a moral choice, while in Passion, you just absorb.

Nope, violence is violence. Just because it happened in the past doesn't make it any different.

Apart from that, it's not about "my right to violence". It's about freedom of speech. Steven Spielberg wants to make a movie about people getting blown up (SPR), I want to make a game about blowing people up - why exactly should it be OK to censor one and not the other?

Controversy misplaced (5, Insightful)

pieterh (196118) | more than 10 years ago | (#8498963)

The standard answer when youths "go bad" is to search for the evil influences that twist their minds.
It's bullshit. Young minds do not need violent video games to give them ideas. What they need is decent supporting social contexts to show them the alternatives.
Society has to address the "economics of behavior", as one /. comment put it. Mass-production education, absent parents, junk food and junk society... these warp minds. Violent video games? Diversions that keep kids off the street and most likely beneficial insofar as they provide a release mechanism.
But... hey, it's easier to blame the victims than address the real causes of social problems.

Re:Controversy misplaced (5, Insightful)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499078)

I remember back a few years when 2 youths committed suicide, and they happened to enjoy Judas Priest's music. Naturally the parents took JP to the courts (who were found blameless BTW).

One commentator at the time remarked that it was a sad time when the parents took more interest in their kids when they thought they might win compensation than they ever did when the kids were alive.

I figure this is the problem, anything that someone starts to shout about has less to do with the issue at hand, than it does with that person wanting acclaim, money, or publicity.

Re:Controversy misplaced (3, Interesting)

pedrop357 (681672) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499622)

Brain also misplaced.

You forgot to mention that as video games have gotten more violent and realistic, youth crime has hit rick bottom.

Young minds need to explore death in a fantasy context, so they can control their demons. An excellent book about stuff like this is "Killing Monsters" (forgot who the author is).

Mass-production education, absent parents, junk food and junk society... these warp minds.

They've warped minds to the point that youth crime is way down, drug deaths are even rarer then they were 15 years ago, teen pregnancy is down. In fact, despite all the mind warping, all things negative teenage are down, but the same thing cannot be said for people in thier 30s and 40s-crime rate up. If you don't believe me, check out the FBI's UCR for the last 10 years.

Diversions that keep kids off the street and most likely beneficial insofar as they provide a release mechanism.

The kids who could benefit from the diversions won't use them and come from families that won't use them. The kids affected and generally forced into these diversions don't and never did need them. They just lose their ability to manage their own time and plan their own activities.

To put it succinctly: The kids are alright, in fact they're much better then anyone says.

Custer's Revenge (3, Informative)

conner_bw (120497) | more than 10 years ago | (#8498967)

Custer's Revenge [seanbaby.com] anyone?

Games were far more controversial/racist/etc in the past, the only thing that has changed is the major media outlets make a circus out of it.

Way to steal someone's comment! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8499145)

Re:Way to steal someone's comment! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8499228)

Despite the fact that they provided a link and more insight.

You must be new around here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8499401)

No one cares what ACs think... wait a minute... oh, nevermind...

Gaming Controvosy (3, Insightful)

Un0r1g1nal (711750) | more than 10 years ago | (#8498971)

Games are becoming more and more like the film industry, seeing just how much they can get away with and still make it to mainstream market. Also like the film industry they have to have as much violence, nearly nakid pixels, and if you can get lots of swearing in the narrative... all the better.

I remember when games didn't need all this crap added to them to make them good to play .. like the first couple of the dizzy series, and time and magik.. great games...

Think I will go dig my emulator out and have another go... you can see a field, exits are [north] [east] and [south]

They took siezed my cardboard box!!! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8498979)

"Who wants to bet that that the use-confiscated-drugs-for-short-term-benefit gameplay of Midway's upcoming NARC will make the cut in future articles about video game controversy?"

You mean like the gubbemint's use-confiscated-"alledged drug assests"-as-revenue-enhancement-for-short-term-ben ifit is contreversial?

am i the only one... (0, Flamebait)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 10 years ago | (#8498991)

who is sick of this commie liberal "think of the children" bullshit that seeks to substitute parents actually teaching their kids right from wrong?
Maybe I'll go play DOOM and shoot up a high school, since apparantly that's all it takes...

Re:am i the only one... (2, Insightful)

Jonas the Bold (701271) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499365)

"Somebody please think of the children" isn't liberal, it's mostly from the Christian right. Thier the ones that ban books, and try to ban movies, music, games, and everything else.

Communism is economic policy and not social, so is completely unrelated.

Labeling everything you disagree with "liberal" (or conservative, or right, or left, or communist, or anything else, for that matter) is stupid.

Re:am i the only one... (3, Insightful)

snoopsk (698577) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499571)

The religous conservatives want the games banned because they feel the games are morally wrong.

OTOH, liberals want the games banned because they beleive that games cause violence. It is a liberal mentality that suggests that society, not the individual, should accept responsibilty for an individual's actions. These same people believe that guns cause violence.

The extremists on both ends of the political spectrum are the ones trying to ban the games.

Re:am i the only one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8499398)

actually... the majority of groups, organizations, and politicians that have been involved are extremely conservative and religious.

Re:am i the only one... (2, Insightful)

snoopsk (698577) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499406)

I have been playing violent fps games since my early teen years when Doom first came out. I also own a variety of real guns. According to some, I am a potential mass murderer.

This is another example of the lack of personal responsibility found in the US today. Most people don't realize that responsibility is necessary for liberty. When people do not take responsibilty for themselves, their freedoms will be revoked (games banned, etc).

What about Custer's Revenge? (0, Redundant)

DaHat (247651) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499005)

This game for the Atari 2600 placed you in the part of Custer, who would run across the screen, dodging arrows to rape an Indian woman tied to a cactus. This was the game, over and over and over again. Each level would simply have the arrows moving faster and in different positions

Re:What about Custer's Revenge? (1)

shaunyb (646779) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499053)

Custer's Revenge [atariage.com]

the maker (Mystique) made several other games that used the same characters. the plot was always the same: make it across the screen, insert youself into the woman, and hit the buttons really really fast (humping).

Optionally (5, Insightful)

andih8u (639841) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499068)

Since you're the parent, then you should be able to tell your child not to play these offensive games. Asking the government, wal-mart, or EA to do your parenting for you is absolutely ridiculous. Its not like these games don't have a big rating label on the front of the box; optionally, you could always just look around on the internet to get a pretty good idea of the content, or most shockingly of all, just watch them play the damn thing. These people are letting their children be the parents, then blaming someone else because they can't ever be bothered to show any interest in what their kids are doing. You're the one paying for the game...decide if they can have it or not.

Re:Optionally (4, Interesting)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499493)

A friend of mine's older sister would buy anything for her kids, who were like 10 and 5 at the time. Although the older one got his pellet gun taken away because he kept shooting out the car and house windows. But the younger one got to keep his, since he was mostly good with it. But they certainly get all the violent video games they want. Why? Because otherwise they wouldn't like her. Last time she wouldn't because they didn't have the money, the 5 year old said "I hate you!" so she bought it. When she wouldn't get them icecream before dinner, they said they would kill her so she bought it for them.

They've learned they can do anything to the babysitter and they won't get in trouble. Last time she took their precious Playstation away for fighting, so they wedged the bedroom door closed with a chair while she was putting it in the closet. She tried to call the parents but they cut the phone line! She climbed out the window but they had locked the front door. Then they started shooting at her. She ran 2 miles to the next door neighbors (They live in the boonies, you see) and the mom came home and yelled at the babysitter for bothering her and taking their games away, then bought the kids ice-cream. (They didn't even have to threaten to kill her this time!)

On top of they, she is convinced the older one is the smartest person on the planet. He gets straight A's in elementry school, you see...mostly because she does all his homework and projects for him...but only because he's too smart to waste his time with them, you see ;)

Long and the short of it, she doesn't want Wal-Mart doing her parenting beacuse she doesn't want ANYBODY doing her parenting. She doesn't want her kids being repressed and deprived. And she certainly doesn't want them mad at her

manhunt's web site (1)

BitchAss (146906) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499070)

My god that's the worst site I've ever seen. I love sites I randomly click and hope it takes me somewhere interesting. I have no clue what that game is about from the site.

It's all in parenting (4, Insightful)

Sabalon (1684) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499071)

I've been playing video games for a long time (and I still suck at them.) I remember playing Pong on some tv console thing in the mid 70's. I remember early arcade games (very abstract :), and I've played my fair share of FPS's.

Other than some motion sickness caused by FPS's, I don't think they've affected me at all. It's a way of blowing off some stress from time to time. Just because I may get in GTA and start picking off random citizens doesn't mean I'm gonna find an M16 laying around and do the same thing in real life - never mind the fact that my aim is even worse in real life than in a game!

The only violence that I can think of that could be attributed to video games happened in the early 80s. And even then it's more of a parenting thing. We had an arcade in a strip mall. Some teen girl was in there while her parents had gone to the supermarket. She left the arcade with a couple of guys who raped her. The arcade then instituted a policy that if you were under 16, you had to have a parent in there with you. Pretty much killed their business. We used to ride our bikes up there just to play games. After this happened, it was a ghost town in there. And it wasn't the games or the arcades fault.

Re:It's all in parenting (4, Interesting)

Sentosus (751729) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499266)

I used to compete in laser tag. We actually had tournaments (Mad Props to those in Irmo, South Carolina). It contributed more to my last shooting abilities than any video games. Now, when we talk about knowing specifics to weapons, Counter-Strike has told me to hide behind a wall of 2X6 boards if a 9mm glock is firing at me and to hide behind 3 feet of concrete if a Desert Eagle is firing at me.

If nothing else, the games have taught me the limitations and information a spec sheet could not. Theif flashes a .50 Calibre pistol vs. a Glock 9mm, I am more willing to pass them the money I have. Afterall, with the .50 calibre pistol, you are fighting for you life while a Glock carries some chance of survival.

My parents never taught me about death. I learned my ways of sacrificing animals and fighting from the Old Testament of the Bible.

SP --- Finding evil in all things, just to keep it fair.

Thank god for GTA (2, Insightful)

vasqzr (619165) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499086)


Before Grand Theft Auto came out, Doom and Mortal Kombat got blamed for everything. There aren't any high school kids around today that have played the originals of either of them.

Re:Thank god for GTA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8499275)

I beg to differ... I HAVE!!!!! Loved doom and the original Mortal Kombat on Genisis.... and SNES but was better on Sega. Eat a raw one pal and dont speak for all

Been there, done that (4, Interesting)

ADRA (37398) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499090)

"Who wants to bet that that the use-confiscated-drugs-for-short-term-benefit gameplay of Midway's upcoming NARC will make the cut in future articles about video game controversy?"

Can anyone say:
Fallout 2
Any game with 'stim pack' such devices

Mind you, having the cool jitters can actually add depth and understanding to the drug usage, and hopefully become so sick and tired of the jittering controller or the blured screen that they actually get steared away from drugs. But that's not news so the first time someone gets high and blames NARC, you'll see headlines from here to Baghdad!

Re:Been there, done that (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8499185)

How about Deus Ex? In Hong Kong there was a convenience store that you could break into to load up on booze, and right beside there was a night club where you could load up on other kinds of alcohol.

Then I'd go on a drunken killing spree with my dragons tooth sword... I could never seem to keep that thing from hacking down bystanders. It's like stormbringer :)

Phantasmagoria (SP?) (4, Insightful)

Sentosus (751729) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499133)

The old Sierra game titled here happens to be one of the freakiest games that I have seen. There was no need for violence, but still when I originally went to purchase it back in my youth, I was warned that it would send chills up my spine. It is too bad that we don't see violence used to further a story line and now we have it projected as an element of entertainment. We do not need gibs in BF1942, but the violent noises of death really add.

I must say the gargling noises of people in that game still gives me flashbacks. It adds to the experience, but in a way that gibbing people in UT2004 does not.

I hope that we see this as a passing fad and in the future we place more emphasis in realism vs. violence. Afterall, watch KillBill. The experience is only entertaining for the first few minutes and then slowly gets boring when a simple use a realism could have changed the effect.

SP --- OT as usual.

Games like these don't excite me anymore (4, Funny)

chiyosdad (759746) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499143)

I mean, really. Lame stuff like

In the game, you played as a comic facsimile of General George Armstrong Custer, the infamous 19th-century military officer who contributed to a seedier side of American history until he met his (and his entire unit's) death at Little Big Horn in 1876 at the hands of Native Americans. As the game version of Custer, you embarked on little more than a rape romp, as you ran literally across the screen from "enemy" arrows toward a Native American woman strapped to a pole. Once there, Custer would get it on with (or, according to many critics, "rape") the woman for points. Game over.

is for kiddies. Having outgrown all that, what I really need, is a game where I can murder helpless kittens.

What folks need to realize.. (5, Interesting)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499160)

The majority of the video game market is males, aged 18-35.. Google yourself for the demographics, I'm too tired too.

Bitching "what about the children!?" is pointless. There are plenty of age appropriate games out there, Mario, Sonic, Crash Bandicoot are still about.

But, there now exists a generation of adults who grew up on video games. They aren't kids stuff anymore.

The latest big budget kill-fest video game should be measured against the yardstick of the latest big-budget R-rated movie, not the latest disney flick. Compare it to HBO, not Nickelodeon.

A 20 year old gets the jokes and satire in the GTA3 series. An 8 year old doesnt. Games are rated for a reason. Time for some personal and parental responsibility.

That is all.

People, please. (2, Insightful)

bad enema (745446) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499184)

Take it easy, it is ONLY A GAME. No really, I'm serious. Relax.

The same people who want to ban violent games are the ones who are anti-gun control.

You know, people weren't any less violent before video games were created. This is both historically and theoretically true.

Re:People, please. (1)

EvanTaylor (532101) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499325)

The best part is that violence for teens is at an all time low (from my social science class), as compared to the last 50 years.

uh (3, Interesting)

2MuchC0ffeeMan (201987) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499192)

yeah, i think we should put more liability on game makers for messing up our children's lives

while we're at it, let's sue mcdonalds for making us fat [cnn.com] , sue microsoft for making us dumb [slashdot.org] , and other stupid lawsuits [power-of-attorneys.com]

i do like this article though, it has a different prospective, it said night trap's goal was to 'save the teen girls' not kill them. i've seen worse movies, but nobody dares question the effects of hollywood.

L Ron Hubbard audited my body thetans liberally (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8499200)

L Ron Hubbard audited my body thetans liberally. He asked me to sit down and ran an e-meter over my body. I couldn't believe what the fuck was going on. He was ridding me of many engrams. There was a clam in the seat next to me, open and closing it's jaws. I told him Xenu would not approve of his attempts to make me "clear".

Can you believe it? L Ron Hubbard did all this. He picked me off the street, asked me to sit down, and wouldn't stop reading me crap science fiction.

I couldn't believe what the fuck was going on, indeed. I pleaded with L Ron Hubbard but to no avail. I told him the CO$ would not approve of such an enlightened man auditing a famous actor (at the time I was John Travolta) for free

This got to him, worried about his image. He drove me back to Hollywood. When I woke up in the morning, my bank account had $150k less in it. Can you believe it?

None of those games are as controversial... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8499222)

...as this godawful color scheme. It is burning my retinas!

Syndicate (the original) (4, Interesting)

oniony (228405) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499224)

The earliest game I can remember that caused concern was Barbarian. This was a combat game for the Spectrum and others that had lots of blood, decapitation novel for the time. I think the cover of Crash magazine (Oley Frey, I think the artist was called) caused most of it, I reckon!

Syndicate was another memorable game, one of the first to allow mass carnage and easy access to fire.

Re:Syndicate (the original) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8499243)

AFAIK, they shared an artist, Gary Carr

Re:Syndicate (the original) (1)

el-spectre (668104) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499488)

I loved Syndicate... but MAN was that game harsh... when I got a mission to snipe a guy's wife (he was the mayor, I think) to teach him a lesson about loyalty, it kinda freaked me out.

Public Library provides more graphic violence (5, Insightful)

Mark_Uplanguage (444809) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499246)

I'm always amazed at the ignorance of easily offended people. It's easier to go into a public library and pick up mystery/thriller books by James Patterson (and many many other authors), which I would state are more violent and graphic by way of explicit details in what was done (murder), how it was done and why. Just go look at some of the published Editorials available on his books. The point is that apparently the first ammendment stopped these offended people from making noise about the authors! I fail to see the difference in video games.

Violence is A-OK! (4, Interesting)

bentonsmith (81425) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499249)


You can get away with near infinite violence in the media in the US.

You can get away with far less in terms of nudity. I mean look, we had a little breast flash on national television a little while ago, and everyone went agog. From what I have been told, europeans have far less tolerance for violence, and more tolerance for nudity.

Not just video games (5, Insightful)

Jim_Maryland (718224) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499254)

It's not just video games that create controversy. Remember how Dungeons & Dragons was viewed?

Any game that doesn't fit the "norm" will create controversy. A little parental supervision will help in any of these games. Know the capability of your child to determine what types of games they can handle. If they can separate fiction/reality, they can probably handle some of the controversial games. Some kids may take longer than others to differentiate what they see on TV/video games/music/etc... and therefore should be buffered from the content. It's all up to the parents to make these decisions and deal with the consequences.

Re:Not just video games (1)

rpillala (583965) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499519)

If the wrong kind of games have the impact that some say they do, then it's really not up to parents to deal with the consequences. I'm not sure where I fall on the issue of game violence leading to real violence but I do remember a case where some kids were enacting Grand Theft Auto on a public road.

In cases like that it's society that deals with the consequences, not just individual parents. I think the game violence debate is too centered on assigning responsibility to another party and too little on taking responsibility for problems that belong to all of us. Parents should look to themselves, but so should game developers. It's one thing to create a fantasy setting with orcs and whatnot and put fantasy violence there and something else to create a modern setting and put modern violence in it. Games make it harder and harder for kids to make the distinctions you're talking about.

Ravi

After playing Fallout II... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8499259)

..I went and purchased a Remington 700 VS Sendero chambered in .223 and scoured high and low for a Red Ryder LE BB GUN. I started digging up graves in my local cemetery looking for chits and stashed loot. I broke into the local Brotherhood headquarters (sneakily disguised as a Teamsters Local Union) and started a gun battle with the tommy-gun wielding folks therein. I won because I had lots of stimpacks and they were too surprised to do much other than scream. Scored a bunch of criticals and blasted Tommy "The Nose" Lasagna's nose off. Then I went to "Jake's Pub" on Pines and Main and bartered for some better weapons. I asked to see his "private stock" but he kept on pretending that he didn't know what I was talking about. When I showed him the Colt I had liberated from some cops earlier, he ran away. I found some liquor, a Glock G36 and some condoms behind the counter.

I'm heading to New Reno now, travelling west along the Dead Zone. I hear that there are mutants in New Orleans. It's my duty to take care of them on my way.

Vault 13, here I come.

Most offensive game is Mario (3, Funny)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499289)

Ok, I don't believe to this date no parent has ever complained about super mario brothers games. Gran Theft Auto is not even in the same league.

You got Mario and his brother Luigi jumping on clouds and mushrooms. Mushrooms the size of the screen. What's worse is Toad. A character that consumed so much XXXX, he's a mushroom himself. Come on people.

Lost games: Loverboy (4, Informative)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499319)

I notice that Loverboy doesn't get any mention. (MAME has it on their Want These ROMs list.) Basically a maze'n'dots coin-op game, with a little perv in a park. After gobbling a pickup, your perv could gobble a ghost, er, woman (without getting arrested). At that point it switched to a fairly graphic screen showing one of several positions. The object was to, umm, get both bar graphs to top at the same time by rhythmic taps on the fire button.

I don't know if anyone ever distributed it, but it toured the trade shows (1984) as a back-at-the-room demo.

One that is never mentioned (5, Interesting)

JavaLord (680960) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499382)

One that I never hear mentioned is Bloodsword for the Apple II computers. It was a 1v1 fighting game, and it came out around 1985. Needless to say, it had the blood of the early mortal kombat games with the ability to chop someones head off in mid combat. Then a goblin would come out and kick around the severed head like a soccer ball. You never heard of it, because it wasn't popular enough to be blamed for something. It's only the popular violent games that get pegged by people looking to place blame rather than assign personal responsibility

Take Doom and Colombine for example. Instead of blaming the teachers for letting those kids be teased everyday, or blaming the kids themselves for venting their frustrations in an unacceptable manner (ie shooting up the place) the media and the parents had to blame doom. Does anyone really think if doom wasn't around those kids wouldn't have shot the place up anyway?

Re:One that is never mentioned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8499609)

Sounds like a Barbarian clone.

Re:One that is never mentioned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8499620)

"One that I never hear mentioned is Bloodsword for the Apple II computers. It was a 1v1 fighting game, and it came out around 1985. Needless to say, it had the blood of the early mortal kombat games with the ability to chop someones head off in mid combat. Then a goblin would come out and kick around the severed head like a soccer ball."

Sounds *very* like Barbarian on pretty much every 8-bit ever.....

What about.... (1)

Reorax (629666) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499504)

A lot of games might not have excessive violence or sex, but when something like FFX-2 is designed purely to waste 40 hours of my time, doesn't it deserved to be banned?

"First Person Shooter" (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499529)

One of the more amusing controversies was over the X-Files "First Person Shooter", which features a VR-type game with a character called "Jade Blue Afterglow". This annoyed Jade-Blue Eclipse [jade-blue.com] , who's a dancer in San Francisco. Jade never collected from Fox, although she tried.

(If you ever get a chance to see Jade in performance, do so. She's a small Asian woman who's very buffed and does performance pieces that show off her strength.)

Some of those games deserved to be banned (4, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499540)

Or at least, should have been sold only in adult bookstores. Custer's Revenge? That's fucked up right there. It doesn't mean I think it shouldn't exist, pretty fucked up no matter how you look at it.

A note on Wolf3D: Germany bans anything naziesque, whether you're being nazis, or killing them.

Incidentally I played (most of) phantasmagoria and aside from deciding it was a really cheesy game, I was nauseated by the experience of having my female character raped to further the story line. Given their track record i'm not sure "banned in Australia" really merits inclusion on the list. Although, I can't remember, if that's the game that has the sequence of a woman being killed by being fed her own guts through a funnel, I guess I can understand it. However, that's not mentioned here. The game was made by a woman though, the ever-famous Roberta Williams who is responsible for (in the old days) some fantastic games and (more recently) the stupidest puzzles ever known to man. So given that the main character is female, the author is female, I'd say it's man-hatin' if anything. Which should also hardly put it on the list.

The games that I feel are most justifiably contraversial are Grand Theft Auto 3/VC and Postal/Postal 2 (each game's second installment is basically the same game with different enhancements.) I feel this way because of all the different more or less realistic ways you can kill people in them. Postal (2, at least) is obviously goofy, like you can blow people's heads off while they're vomiting and vomit will come out of their neck. (Time for a MAD-style "Yeeeecch.") The thing that makes them different from, say, Unreal Tournament is that they are such a plausible setting, using (mostly) realistic weapons that the average person can get their hands on. (Obviously Postal has many departures from this, and GTA has a couple.) At least in games like Half-Life you're in a totally mythical situation.

Now, I like these games, I don't think they should be banned - but I can see why people get into such a froth about them. The bottom line though is that parents are responsible for parenting, not game companies. You don't let your kids eat rat poison and wash it down with antifreeze, even though rat poison looks like candy and antifreeze looks kinda like mountain dew. Why is this any different, besides the fact that we don't know if playing violent video games is actually harmful?

Leisure Suit Larry (1)

PalmerEldritch42 (754411) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499555)

What? No mention of the Leisure Suit Larry franchise? These games were all about a dorky guy trying to get laid. You had to solve quests for condoms and get enough money to get an expensive hotel room for your liasons. That's about it. There was nothing socially redeeming about it- but it was fun.

here's a real video game controversy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8499593)

...the soundtrack for the original Playstation version of Descent has been impossible to get for years now. The entire soundtrack was a collaboration between Ogre of Skinny Puppy and some other artists. It was so cool, yet Sony refuses to even sell it on cd. They have banned it from being posted on any sites. The same deal goes for the TV series Forever Knight...totally unavailable ANYwhere on video tape/DVD...why???

Aliens in doom? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8499606)

You played as a Marine, trapped on Mars, whose only hope for survival was to slash through hordes of aliens as hungry to waste him as he was to waste them. From this initial installment, Doom grew...

Wow, I thought you kill undead on doom, or maybe that is the author's personal fantasy?

More violent, or more capable of being violent? (1)

Killswitch1968 (735908) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499636)

I don't think video games are getting increasingly violent as a symptom of our increasingly violent culture, I think we're just more capable of making violent games.
If Space Invaders could have had 3D graphics, explosions, and shrapnel, I think they would have put it in. The technology simply wasn't available to them. More realistic violent video games are just a result of more realistic graphic engines.

Why, sure, I play Zork, proud to say it... (4, Funny)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 10 years ago | (#8499640)

A VIDEO GAME ARCADE?

My friends, either you are closing your eyes
To a situation you do not wish to acknowledge, or you are not aware of the calibre of disaster indicated by the presence of an arcade parlor in your community.

Now I play PC games myself, mighty proud to say it;
I consider the hours I spent with Zork are golden--
Helps ya cultivate logic, and horse sense, and a keen mind.
But just as I say it takes judgement, brains, and
Maturity to solve a puzzle,
I say that any boob can punch a button on an arcade console
And I call that sloth
The first big step on the road to dee-gradation.

And all night long your River City youth'll be fritterin' away their hard-earned quarters
Stick the coin in the slot, don't worry about taking out the garbage--

And, my friends, ya got TROUBLE!
Yeah, ya got TROUBLE!
With a capital T and that rhymes with V and that stands for GAMES...

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