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Censorship Entertainment Games

A History of Video Game Controversy 354

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the something-to-think-about dept.
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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A History of Video Game Controversy

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  • by hambonewilkins (739531) on Monday March 08, 2004 @12:23PM (#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).

    • by WorkEmail (707052) on Monday March 08, 2004 @12:37PM (#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.

      • Ha ha. You don't have to beat the hooker to get your money back, but admit it, you've done it.
    • 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 med
    • by Ayaress (662020) on Monday March 08, 2004 @01:02PM (#8499381) Journal
      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.
      • Wether or not its a good game, how do you capture that premise in a satisfying way WITHOUT sex, language, and violence?

        The point that opponents of GTA and other such games would make: Why capture that premise *at all*?
    • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Monday March 08, 2004 @01:52PM (#8500000) Journal
      This proves that more violence doesn't necessarily make a game better.

      Well, that doesn't address the issue of what the game is FOR, now does it?

      If the purpose is to make money, "better" means "make more money". Violence is a tool to attract male teenagers with pocket change in the "young warrior" stage of maturation. So the profit maximization function may include putting as much violence in as possible without getting banned from the arcade.

      If the purpose is to propagandize the player, then it depends on what you want to propagandize him WITH. Violence remains a tool to attract players. But now it must be tied to a propaganda message. Which can be done by the effects of use of violence in gameplay and the situations where using it improves, rather than harms, the score.

      But then the issue becomes "what message do you want to propagate"? Political Correctness? The current legal system's rules? How to be a better warrior?

      The Roman Games were viewed, by the rulers at the time, as a way to (in modern terms) desensitize the Roman population to violent death, in order to make them better soldiers.

      Which brings us back to the fundamentals of US law.

      The choice of "message" in any form of communication or art is a free speech issue. As such it's very heavily protected by the First Amendment. This is because government selection of moral codes is, in the view of the country's founders, more dangerous to the population than letting them select for themselves.

      Violence in video games may not be "nice" according to some moral codes. But limiting communication to a particular set of moral codes is NOT within the government's power.
    • BMX:XXX tanked, to my knowledge, as did DOA:Extreme Beach Volleyball.

      No, DOA Volleyball sold fairly well. A brief googling shows it sold 73,000 copies in it's first day in Japan, which I think is somewhere around a fifth of the number of Xboxes sold there. Last April it was "approaching 500,000" units sold worldwide.
  • by loserbert (697119) on Monday March 08, 2004 @12:24PM (#8498940) Homepage
    Grand Theft Auto:Sheep Fscker
    Quake IV:Disembowelment Edition
    and my favorite....
    Catholic Priest Online

    I love video games....
  • What?! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by falzer (224563) on Monday March 08, 2004 @12:24PM (#8498942)
    I think XEvil [xevil.com] deserves a mention.
  • by Naked Chef (626614) on Monday March 08, 2004 @12:24PM (#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.
    • 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 n

      • by maxpublic (450413) on Monday March 08, 2004 @02:02PM (#8500137) Homepage
        People seem to want the government and other organizations to take care of them and take care of their children.

        More importantly, they want the government to deal with their neighbors as well, in much the same fashion as the original Puritan colonies did. That is, "do things according to my moral code or I'll get the government to beat your ass."

        The Constitution is of little concern to many Americans. They're far more invested in oppressing the people around them to confirm that they have the power to control their environment. Rights interfere with those activities, and because the Constitution is about rights it's an impediment to their goal to exercise power. The fact that such a view will come back to bite them in the ass is of little concern as they're sure that *they* will never become the target - since, of course *they* are RIGHT and everyone else is WRONG.

        Max
        • Really? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by sczimme (603413) on Monday March 08, 2004 @03:10PM (#8500922)

          The Constitution is of little concern to many Americans. They're far more invested in oppressing the people around them to confirm that they have the power to control their environment.

          Wow, I didn't know that. Here I thought I was trying to do the best I can by my family and working hard to better myself, but it turns out I've been trampling the Constitution with my power-mad ways. Thanks for the heads-up.

          /rolls eyes
    • You are absolutely on the mark.

      To quote the great Dave Barry:

      "Fortunately, I live in the United States of America, where we are gradually coming to
      understand that nothing we do is ever our fault, especially if it is really stupid."

      In almost every aspect of life, I run into this. People who are unable to take responsibility for their action or inaction. Everything is always everybody else's fault.

      They didn't lose their job because they neve showed up to work on time and then left early and took a two h
  • Blue Max (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sumocide (114549) on Monday March 08, 2004 @12:24PM (#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 (Score:2, Funny)

      by eddy (18759)

      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?

    • Vaguely remember the game. I'm thinking the ban was related to the German ban on Nazi related themes.
  • by Chris_Stankowitz (612232) on Monday March 08, 2004 @12:24PM (#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?
    • If you're that desparate, there are plenty of sites online with that kind of content. ;-)
    • 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 ;)
    • by Ayaress (662020) on Monday March 08, 2004 @01:12PM (#8499513) Journal
      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... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Dreadlord (671979)
    ... nobody complains about movies although they had controversial elements like violence and sex much earlier than video games ever existed.
    • Re:I wonder why... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Ayaress (662020) on Monday March 08, 2004 @01:16PM (#8499562) Journal
      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.
    • Re:I wonder why... (Score:3, Informative)

      by corbettw (214229)
      nobody complains about movies

      Um, you really need to get out more.

      A quick search for movie violence [google.com] turns up over 1,750,000 pages. I'm guessing more than one of those is a complaint.

      Also, where do you think the MPAA rating system came from?
  • by YomikoReadman (678084) <jasonathelen&gmail,com> on Monday March 08, 2004 @12:25PM (#8498959) Journal
    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 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by CashCarSTAR (548853) on Monday March 08, 2004 @12:28PM (#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 (Score:2, Insightful)

        by nebenfun (530284)
        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 (Score:5, Insightful)

          by rblum (211213) on Monday March 08, 2004 @01:16PM (#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?
          • Re:Pulling Games (Score:3, Interesting)

            by ScooterBill (599835) *
            Yeah violence is violence.

            I had a long email conversation with a member of some religious right group who was trying to justify the invasion of Iraq. This person used quote after quote from the bible showing how God condones the killing of people in the "right" circumstance. However, the quotes in the bible that condemn violence were conveniently forgotten by this person.

            In the end, we all make our own decisions. One person's rational logic is another person's whacko crazy way of thinking.

            "We're not g
        • Re:Pulling Games (Score:5, Insightful)

          by OzPeter (195038) on Monday March 08, 2004 @01:24PM (#8499663)
          That may be so, but The Passion is rated R .. and from what I have heard for a good reason due to the use of violence as a shock tool in order to make a point about the sacrifice that Jesus made. The (quite reasonable by the sound of it) R rating is meant to protect children from just wandering in and seeing it.

          Yet there *are* many examples of Christian parents taking their kids to see this movie without having seen it before themselves. This is totally irresponsible and I feel an extremely hypocritical action on behalf of those parents.

          There was also the story this week of the 6th grade teacher who showed long excerpts of this movie to their class without the parents knowledge/permission.

          Such blind belief that because its Christian, that any amount or portrayed violence is acceptable is worse than what is in a video game, because the adults are *forcing* their childrento see it.

          OT There are a lot of interesting stories in the Bible that would not make it to any sermon due to the extreme levels of sex and violence. Check out "The X rated Bible" for more info :-)
        • Re:Pulling Games (Score:3, Insightful)

          by dave420 (699308)
          What's the difference? GTA didn't happen, "The Passion" certainly didn't happen like that, and "Saving Private Ryan" had about as much historical insight as my lunch did.

          Seriously, just because it looks (or even claims to be) fact-based, doesn't mean to say it is.

        • Re:Pulling Games (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Qrlx (258924)
          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.

          I have to say, I disagree with that. There is little of "religious value" in The Passion.

          The Passion is really just an excuse to show a ton of violence and suffering. By only focusing on the last 12 hours of Big J's life, you don't have the chance to see a character arc, or learn anything about WHY he's (willingly) bei
      • Re:Pulling Games (Score:3, Insightful)

        by infinite9 (319274)
        As a member of one of those groups, i'd like to chime in. I went to see the movie in theaters and took my 12 year old daughter. After seeing it, I'll let my 10 and 8 year old daughters see it also. I think they have the maturity to handle the violence in that context. I'm not about to say that it's ok for any 8 or 10 year old. I won't let my five year old see it either. That being said, I think it's ridiculous to ban video games, tv shows, music, or movies to protect the children. It's my job to filt
    • And some other group to help me get my 50 dollars back after I buy an All-Day pass to some CRAP CARNIVAL they call a game.
  • by pieterh (196118) on Monday March 08, 2004 @12:26PM (#8498963) Homepage
    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.
    • by gbjbaanb (229885) on Monday March 08, 2004 @12:35PM (#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.
    • 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
    • Young minds do not need violent video games to give them ideas.

      Strictly, no. But games/films/comics/music/novels/plays/operas/phil o sophy/politics will give them particular ideas. (Culture is no barrier to corruption.)

      For example, there is an interesting phenomenon in the UK arising from a series of adverts for a Chocolate bar: Cadbury's flake. These adverts involved beautiful women eating the bar rather provocatively. For a man who went through puberty while these adverts were being shown, you can of

  • Custer's Revenge (Score:3, Informative)

    by conner_bw (120497) on Monday March 08, 2004 @12:26PM (#8498967) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • Gaming Controvosy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Un0r1g1nal (711750) on Monday March 08, 2004 @12:27PM (#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]
  • Optionally (Score:5, Insightful)

    by andih8u (639841) on Monday March 08, 2004 @12:34PM (#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 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by canajin56 (660655) on Monday March 08, 2004 @01:11PM (#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

      • Re:Optionally (Score:3, Interesting)

        by poot_rootbeer (188613)
        Quite frankly, if I were the babysitter I would have summoned the police when the brats started firing at me with pellet guns, if not sooner. Let Mommy explain her negligent parenting behavior to the man with the badge.
    • Re:Optionally (Score:4, Insightful)

      by dave420 (699308) on Monday March 08, 2004 @01:57PM (#8500075)
      It's a seriously good point. Seeing as the parent is the child's "guardian", and therefore responsibile for them - every time they condemn something for leading their kid astray, that parent is admitting, publicly, they're a bad parent.

      In the cave-man days, who told the Sabre-Tooth tigers to stop eating the little kids? No-one. Their parents were being real parents and chasing them away with big-ass pointy sticks, not moaning and whining about needing a public committee to oversee a legislative addition to the "Constitution of the Third Cave from the Left". Shoooot. Your kids, your problem.

  • 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.
  • by Sabalon (1684) on Monday March 08, 2004 @12:34PM (#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.
    • by Sentosus (751729) on Monday March 08, 2004 @12:51PM (#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 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by vasqzr (619165)

    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.
  • by ADRA (37398) on Monday March 08, 2004 @12:36PM (#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!
    • by Ayaress (662020)
      Fallout 2 went beyond stimpaks. In Fallout 1, all the drugs (while many were addictive) had a purpose in the game (raise strength, charisma, intelligence, purge radiation from the system, heal wounds, etc). Fallout 2 had Jet, which is probably the most realistic drug ever put into a game. It gives you some brief effect for about two minutes (I forget what it is. I think it was like +1 all stats), but when it wears off, all your stats get lowered and you're addicted. The addiction never wears off, and the o
  • by Sentosus (751729) on Monday March 08, 2004 @12:39PM (#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.
  • by chiyosdad (759746) on Monday March 08, 2004 @12:40PM (#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.
  • by JessLeah (625838) on Monday March 08, 2004 @12:40PM (#8499146)
    When they mentioned "Manhunt", I thought they meant Manhunter: New York [mobygames.com]...
  • by stratjakt (596332) on Monday March 08, 2004 @12:42PM (#8499160) Journal
    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. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bad enema (745446)
    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.
  • uh (Score:4, Interesting)

    by 2MuchC0ffeeMan (201987) on Monday March 08, 2004 @12:44PM (#8499192) Homepage
    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.
  • by oniony (228405) on Monday March 08, 2004 @12:47PM (#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.
  • by Mark_Uplanguage (444809) on Monday March 08, 2004 @12:49PM (#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! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bentonsmith (81425) on Monday March 08, 2004 @12:49PM (#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.
  • by Jim_Maryland (718224) on Monday March 08, 2004 @12:50PM (#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.
    • 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

      • I have to disagree on your statement that "it's really not up to parents to deal with the consequences". Parents are the primary influence in their children's life. Parents have a responsibility to prepare their children to deal with the "real" world. Part of that involves monitoring the other "influences" in their life. These other "influences" can involve anything: video games; friends; teachers; coaches; TV; etc.... I, as a parent, feel that I am responsible for my children's actions (and I'll feel
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 08, 2004 @12:51PM (#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.
  • by superpulpsicle (533373) on Monday March 08, 2004 @12:54PM (#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.
  • What about postal? [lokigames.com]
  • Lost games: Loverboy (Score:5, Informative)

    by AndroidCat (229562) on Monday March 08, 2004 @12:57PM (#8499319) Homepage
    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.

  • by JavaLord (680960) on Monday March 08, 2004 @01:02PM (#8499382) Journal
    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?
  • 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.)

  • 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?

  • 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.
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Monday March 08, 2004 @01:23PM (#8499640) Homepage
    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...

  • inspired by the blockbuster movie Death Race 2000 [imdb.com].
    Sylvester Stallone's finest performance till Spy Kids 3D finally put him on the map of superstardom.
  • by Gannoc (210256) on Monday March 08, 2004 @01:32PM (#8499738)
    Last week, my 7 year old nephew stole a 1982 crown vic, ran over at least 5 people, threw a grenade at some cops, and after getting shot, healed himself by having sex with a prostitute.


    Bad parenting? Perhaps, but I discovered later that my nephew had finished playing the copy of Grand Theft Auto III he had received for this birthday. Yes, it could be a coincidence, but this about this: How else could a 7 year old child have learned that banging a prostitute can heal wounds except through that video game?

    Are we going to continue to allow these games to poison the minds of our children? I pray that we shall not.

  • by Ayaress (662020) on Monday March 08, 2004 @01:44PM (#8499901) Journal
    Take them hunting. Peg Bambi in the throat, have the kid help gutting/cleaning it, take him to the butcher's and let him watch as they run the deer through the bandsaw, then give him a nice big slab of venisen. It didn't scare me off of video games (I've probably accumulated the digital blood of billions on my hands since), but it sure scared me off of guns. Either that, or it'll make them a vegitarian.
  • by maddogdelta (558240) on Monday March 08, 2004 @01:47PM (#8499933)
    Given the assumption that video games makes one violent, what games did Adolph Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, Attilla the Hun and Jack the Ripper play when they were younger>

    After WWI there was a great fear that the return of all the trained and experienced killers from european battlefields would create a violent crime spree of endemic proportions. Never happened. If real violence couldn't create that kind of effect, how come video violence is supposed to be a surefire violence trigger?

  • by Shirov (137794) on Monday March 08, 2004 @01:55PM (#8500049) Homepage
    Personal Responsibility! These kinds of stories should be moot. Bottom line, no one forces kids to play these games. Typically a kid gets the game from their parents or money provided by their parents. If this is not the case, the parents still have the right/obligation to NOT allow their kids to play the "violent" games. Parents, stop asking the government to raise your children and do it your damn selves!

    --Ryan
  • by Rolman (120909) on Monday March 08, 2004 @02:13PM (#8500264)
    For every idiot spewing BS about violence in videogames, there are three game-savvy people who can shout "ESRB!". This industry self-regulation system actually works quite well when people, media and retailers get involved with it. It's very efficient when the circumstances are the right ones.

    The problem is, it's not as widely enforced as the movie rating system, and it's worse in some countries I've been in, where the ESRB rating is completely ignored and the video games can be sold to minors. Countries in Central and South America come to mind, and some countries in Asia. The US has been improving in this area, as some retailers actually ask for ID when selling mature games, but the situation is still far from perfect.

    Let's remember the one with the money is usually not the child, and most of the cases where the offending game gets to a child's hands is the parent who bought it. Whenever there's a case like this the parent simply blames the company or the videogame industry altogether, and of course there's always a "Paladin of Justice" of sorts, ready to take the issue to the media or to some control circles.

    In Mexico, for example, I saw a case of some people on national TV saying Pokemon is the devil's work and a priest encouraging children to burn their Pokemon toys (the priest, by the way, used to own a video rental store, ironic, huh?). This stupid issue stopped the very second some news arose about none other than the Pope himself endorsing Pokemon and praising it for getting children together to play. Pokemon is a children's E-Rated game, completely safe to play and yet there are people ready to use it for their own agendas. Now think about the real trouble makers like the M-Rated Resident Evil, Grand Theft Auto or the upcoming Doom 3.

    Every once in a while I get to see stupid, ill-informed articles about the issue on media in many countries. I think it's time the videogame industry defends itself by making the same amount of noise as those sensationalist idiots do. We have a good rating system, we need people to effectively use it, we need to strongly enforce it.

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