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Gaming's 10 Biggest Scandals 96

Posted by Zonk
from the skeletons-in-the-closet dept.
GamePolitics has a list of ten of the most well known gaming scandals to hit the games industry. Starting back in 1993 with the senate hearings on Night Trap (a game that arguably led to today's ESRB), the list catalogs some things that the companies responsible would probably just as soon forget. "Hot Coffee (2005) - needs no introduction. Cheeky Rockstar programmers left hidden sex animations (accidentally or otherwise) buried in the PS2 code of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Modders made sure they didn't stay buried for long. Rockstar's denials only made things worse. And then Hillary got involved ..." At the post's close they call for additional nominations, as it's definitely not an exhaustive list. They left off the ESRB's decision to re-rate Oblivion , for example. What 'scandalous' gaming events can you see rating with this topics?
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Gaming's 10 Biggest Scandals

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  • Night Trap (Score:3, Interesting)

    by doublefrost (1042496) on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @06:17PM (#19894011)
    I remember everyone rushing to buy the game when the story broke out. Maybe that was the idea.
    • Re:Night Trap (Score:5, Informative)

      by Akaihiryuu (786040) on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @06:59PM (#19894473)
      I actually have an old copy of the Sega CD/32X version sitting around somewhere. It's not a *terrible* game, gameplay is basically the same as Dragon's Lair, but it's not good for more than one playthrough as it is exactly the same every time. The amusing thing is, despite the controversy, if it were a movie, it probably would have *barely* gotten a PG-13 rating, if that. No nudity, no on-screen violence, no blood, nothing. The most "controversial" scene was a few women in nightgowns, nothing even remotely revealing. The fact that there was controversy over it was rather amusing.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Akaihiryuu (786040)
      Also, Resident Evil (any game, doesn't matter which one) was FAR FAR more violent/bloody than Night Trap ever was. The most violence I remember from Night Trap was someone dressed all in black grabbing someone and carrying them off-screen (usually through a hidden trap door). And that's only if you didn't prevent it (the object of the game was to prevent it).
  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @06:22PM (#19894071)
    WhereTF is Mortal Kombat?

    e.g.,
    http://www.gamespot.com/features/6090892/p-5.html [gamespot.com]

    It looks like this "article" was written in about 5 minutes and would probably get a C in your average sixth-grade English class if judged for intellectual content.
  • Hit whoring (Score:2, Insightful)

    Wondering how to get people to read your crappy-ass article when you've already reported on XBox's Red Ring fiasco? Find nine random things that are related in some obscure way and make a list out of them.
  • Phantom?
  • by morari (1080535) on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @06:32PM (#19894177) Journal
    At least Hot Coffee was consensual and non-explicit. I guess America was founded upon the notions presented by that old Atari game though...
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by morari (1080535)
      Troll?! I guess we now know that at least one person on Slashdot is not only pro-imperialism but also pro-genocide. Oh wait, my bad! Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas, right? Them pesky injuns juss shows up one day and tried tuh claim lands fer themselfs so's we kills 'em! They probably supported terrorism and deserved it anyway!
  • by drfrog (145882) on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @06:34PM (#19894197) Homepage
    that it isnt in there is a scandal

    • Maybe Doom or Wolfenstein 3D deserve a place as well. Admittedly Quake was the multiplayer fps.
      • Maybe Doom or Wolfenstein 3D deserve a place as well. Admittedly Quake was the multiplayer fps.
        Doom had LAN multiplayer
        • Not 100% sure on Doom, but I know Doom II had multiplayer capabilities over the intar-tubes.
          • IIRC Doom had modem based two player (can't recall if you could do more then two, but who had two modems back then). Also its four player IPX networking could have been routed over IP even then.

            Obviously later versions have added native TCP (it is still played today).

  • Birdo! (Score:1, Funny)

    by The Iso (1088207)
    How can we forget Birdo, the transvestite antagonist of Super Mario Bros. 2?
    • by Bieeanda (961632)
      Birdo was transgendered, not a transvestite. "He" wanted to be a girl, not just dress like one for kicks.
  • Jack Thompson (Score:3, Insightful)

    by grapeape (137008) <mpope7@kc.rrTIGER.com minus cat> on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @06:55PM (#19894421) Homepage
    Jack Thompson should get his own category beyond just a mention in the Hot Coffee incident after all he has been stirring up controversy in gaming since the late 90's when he became bored with the PMRC crowd.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      No, Jack Thompson should be forgotten about. He's had no real impact on the gaming world. He's just a loud voice that sensationalist news outlets get for their incredibly shallow examination of any gaming issue. I can't think of a single time he's really been on top of an issue or caused any real change. It certainly wasn't Thompson that brought Hot Coffee to light.

      He's not worth mentioning.

      • by Carnildo (712617)

        No, Jack Thompson should be forgotten about. He's had no real impact on the gaming world.


        No real impact? He's the best publicity that certain publishers could hope for!
  • The guy game? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by crossmr (957846) on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @06:57PM (#19894455) Journal
    Wasn't it the guy game or one of those similar games released with a nude 17 year old contained within (that was only discovered AFTER the game was released). Animated guys kissing vs underage nudity in the US... I guess that is a pretty tough call on which would get more blown out proportion...
  • Launching rockets at cops during the height of the war on drugs in the 1980s, that was some fun stuff. I remember the outcries against it even now, and, I just had to play it. I think the game lead to a wave of "William Sessions of the FBI says don't do drugs", or some other crap, on arcade games thereafter.
  • by WCMI92 (592436) on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @07:20PM (#19894701) Homepage
    The NGE was the biggest bait and switch EVER pulled on a MMO subscriber community, sell them an expansion containing content and enhancements for professions that would be removed 2 weeks later, publically say things like "The CU is here to stay", and "Jedi will never be a starter profession" then 2 days after charging for the expansion announce a massive change to the game that deleted 2/3rds of it. This was so egregious that a week later SOE was forced to offer refunds for the expansion (probably because spending time in a federal "pound me in the ass" prison for wire fraud didn't appeal to John Smedley).

    The NGE also ruined SOE's reputation basically for good. Not that the rest of Sony wasn't helping.
  • 11. Duke Nukem Forever 12. Daikatana
    • We're talking legal scandals here not just gaming scandals - though frankly some sort of legal action should have taken place over Daikatana...class action suit anyone?
      • by aichpvee (631243)
        Did enough people buy Daikatana to form a class? Or can each copy Romero bought himself count as a separate member of the class?
  • Tagged: Top10 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @07:33PM (#19894833) Journal
    From now on, I want to be able to filter out any "Top 10" list from some random blogger. Generally, these lists have at least five things that I've already heard about, and five more that I honestly couldn't give a damn about.
    • While I don't think GamePolitics.com counts as "some random blogger" I do agree, in part, that "Top [10, 25, 100] list of [insert topic here]" are, by and large, completely arbitrary and pointless. More over I don't feel they justify a full posting but that might just be my own view.
      • by Nimey (114278)
        Agree wholeheartedly. There should be an official Slashdot category "Top Ten" that we can filter out by preference.

        Of course, one could also just filter out anything posted by Zonk, since he's the major offender in that regard.
    • by shird (566377)
      Especially if such article also has a "Digg it" link attached to it, and written with the sole intention of trying to get linked to by Digg for ad revenue. A Top x article with a "Digg it" link is a proven formula which works on the uneducated masses of Digg, but don't post it here.
    • by Khaed (544779)
      I'll go you one further: I'd like to be able to avoid most top "..." lists. They're all very subjective. The writing is generally poor, even when a usually good site puts one up.

      The only reason I read this one was to see what scandals I might not have heard about. I disagree with the inclusion of Columbine; that wasn't a video game industry scandal. That was a "make the parents feel better about what their little monsters did by blaming a video game" scandal trumped up with little basis other than "oh th
      • by Nimey (114278)
        Every time you masturbate, Eric and Dylan kill a cheerleader. Please, think of the cheerleaders.
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward
          But thinking of the cheerleaders leads to more...
      • I bet they did... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @03:42AM (#19898065) Journal

        I mean, they were busy blaming everything they could get their hands on for Columbine. There was so much blame that even on PBS, there was barely time left to mourn...

        Here's my all-time favorite quote, though:

        Michael Moore: If you were to talk directly to the kids at Columbine or the people in that community, what would you say to them if they were here right now?
        Marilyn Manson: I wouldn't say a single word to them, I would listen to what they have to say. And that's what no one did.
  • How about.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by UncleTogie (1004853) * on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @08:09PM (#19895187) Homepage Journal
    ...the porn hidden in Star Castle [everything2.com]...?
  • The DC Sniper claimed he learned how to murder people by playing GTA, which is ridiculous. GTA isn't even a FPS. However, it provided the perfect quote for people who wanted to insist the game was a murder simulator.

    Somehow the PS3 launch is more of a scandal that an actual mass murderer blaming a video game for training him how to kill people.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by steveo777 (183629)

      The DC Sniper claimed he learned how to murder people by playing GTA, which is ridiculous. GTA isn't even a FPS.

      Ridiculous? I find your conclusion just as or more so. Neither GTA nor a FPS (none that I'm aware of) really show how to hold, fire, care for, and maintain a firearm. But either can easily point out tactical and strategic positions for shooting from a distance.

      • by 4D6963 (933028)

        But either can easily point out tactical and strategic positions for shooting from a distance.

        Didn't he shoot people from the trunk of a car?

        • by steveo777 (183629)
          I really don't know. But even then I haven't seen a game that lets you snipe from a car trunk. I know Halo let's you sit on the Warthog and snipe from the passenger seat, but that hardly allows any tactical advantage. Sounds like he was taking Hide-n-Seek to a new level.. It is the last place I would look for a sniper.
  • What about the Nintendo Power with Simon Bellmont holding the bloody head of a vampire on the cover
  • Pac-Man vs K.C. Munchkin [wikipedia.org]
    and the Death Race arcade game [wikipedia.org]

    • by penp (1072374)
      Thank you.
      I think this article is pretty lame, as most of the "10 biggest" scandals all happen to be within the last two years. I find that pretty hard to believe.
    • by LWATCDR (28044)
      Don't forget Custer's Revenge.
      I get the feeling that this list was written by somebody that thinks that Nintendo invented the video game.
  • Remember Carmageddon? The highest scoring hit was the evasive little old lady with the walker for 300 points. Hours of pedestrian squashing fun.
    Sadly later versions of this game removed the running over of pedestrians for points. Though the multiplayer in later versions was entertaining.

  • EVE Online (Score:5, Interesting)

    by L-Train8 (70991) <Matthew_Hawk&hotmail,com> on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @10:45PM (#19896419) Homepage Journal
    How is an MMO game where the developers are cheaters who give themselves and their friends an advantage? That's scandalous. http://endie.net/cs/blogs/endie/archive/2007/05/25 /Eve_Online_Developer_Cheating_Again.aspx [endie.net]
  • Cheeky Rockstar programmers left hidden sex animations (accidentally or otherwise) buried in the PS2 code of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Modders made sure they didn't stay buried for long.

    Vice City helped set the stage.

    Rockstar North, based in Scotland, enraged ethnic communities in Miami.

    Rockstar came into the arena with a reputation for pushing the limits of public tolerance for violence in the M-rated game - and touched a raw nerve simply by being so far removed physically from the American inner

  • by solar_blitz (1088029) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @01:33AM (#19897451)
    I can think of several different controversies or scandals in the video game industry that need to be explained. Yes, Mortal Kombat is definitely one of them. Harris and Klebold are another. But aren't we forgetting some others?

    Christian Conservative backlash over Pokemon is one of them - summoning demons, doing demonic acts, James the cross-dresser, etc. As well as Jewish backlash against Pokemon because one of the Japanese card had the manji character on it (essentially a swastika), even though it was in use for thousands of years prior to World War II, and African American protests over the character Jynx, which was based upon a reference to picadilly characters in old Japanese comics. Oh, and the epileptic seizures caused by an episode of Pokemon.

    Also consider the Gizmondo, which had everything from a trashed 1 million dollar ferrari to the Swedish mafia. Oh yeah, and Phantom.

    Then there was that lawsuit Universal Studios threw against Nintendo in the early days over the creative license of Donkey Kong. Nintendo won, by the way. And got Universal to pay off their legal fees.
  • by SharpFang (651121) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @04:52AM (#19898313) Homepage Journal
    For those who don't remember it: man-boobs forbidden.

    Oblivion originally used the same skin for both male and female models. Males had normal male chests with normal nipples on them. Female models had an extra unremovable piece of clothing - a bra or a strap of cloth, or some other halter, so the breasts never show. Except a mod removed the piece of clothing and what you got were stretched, misplaced textures of nipples that came from the male body.

    Result? "Bethesda tried to sneak adult content into the game!" outrage. And re-rating it.

    Incidentially, the male nipples appearing on female models were more offensive (and caused re-rating the game) than a mission to murder all children of a mother, then the mother herself, or performing a live sacrifice (ok, not actually human, but sentient...), or murdering innocent citizens on behalf of a schizophrenic madman... oh well, things that kids shouldn't be allowed to play. But cheating, stealing, murdering innocents in cool blood, that was all OK to ESBR. Piss-poor textures of nipples weren't.
    • False (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Moraelin (679338)
      Actually, that's false. Oblivion has different skins for males and females, and there's no freakin' way a male, even a bodybuilder, would have _that_ kind of shading of the pecs. The mis-placing the nipples is more of a result of not paying much attention to how it aligns with the mesh. (Probably most of Bethesda only saw it with the bra on.) But the texture itself, if you look at it as just a bitmap, is clearly a female skin and includes extra shading to accentuate the breasts. It's _not_ a male texture.

      An
      • by SharpFang (651121)
        Oblivion has different skins for males and females,

        With 1.1 patch or without?
        AFAIK "nipple-free female skin textures" were added in the patch.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Creepy (93888)
        are you sure? I remember something similar to the first poster, Oblivion defaulted to the male texture unless an override was present such as the female texture. There was also some odd naming, too, as I think female textures were all in a container _male (something like that - its been a while) and those contained the bra art. I believe all the first "topless" mods did was remove the _male files, skinning the female character with the male nipples.

        Still, it was hardly the first game to ship with art th
  • by necro2607 (771790) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @01:51PM (#19904073)
    The Columbine RPG note brings up a fact I found funny - that the shooting by Kimveer Gill was apparently "blamed" on the Columbine RPG. What the media didn't really mention is that Kimveer listed on his website quite a few other games that he had played. More significantly, one of them in common with what Columbine killers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold had played avidly: Postal [wikipedia.org]. Frankly I think the violence and "disturbingness" factor of this game well exceeds Doom or really any other game of the time.

    You basically ran around with the sole purpose of killing a sufficient percentage of "hostiles" in the city. Wounded people would crawl along the ground leaving a trail of blood [mobygames.com], crying in pain saying things like "I can't feel my legs!" or "I can't breathe!"... The audio in this game really completes the disturbing atmosphere. The ambient sound is some of the most creepy stuff I've heard in a game since, especially during some of the loading screens.

    Oh, did I mention the infamous marching band scene [mobygames.com]? (A marching band is parading through town playing music - you can guess as to the craziness that ensues when you lob a molotov cocktail in the middle of the group)...

    During all of this, whether you're on a senseless killing rampage or simply defending yourself from people trying to kill you is left for you to speculate - the loading screens give a bit of diary-style text written from the perspective of the player character, but that's all you have to go on. While he claims everyone is out to get him, as you progress further into the game you really begin to feel like maybe 'you' are just a psycho killer who is completely delusional, killing innocent people who are only armed because they know there's some rampaging killer on the loose. Gee, sound familiar at all to the "everyone is out to get me" attitude of basically every school shooter in recent history? Not to mention that the player character is wearing a full-length trenchcoat, no less.

    So, after hearing all this, and the fact that it was a game avidly played by at least three of the most infamous school shooters, I have trouble believing it wouldn't be a larger influence behind someone's violent actions than a low-tech "fan made" style of game (not to mention that Kimveer very likely just put "Columbine RPG" on his list of favorite games for the sheer purpose of maintaining a certain image of himself).

    Of course, I just spent all that time explaining something that any journalist would never even have been aware of - they just jump on the Columbine RPG thing just because of its name and reputation, despite how blatantly more extreme and disturbing Postal is. Regardless, Postal is definitely a key game that has gone largely overlooked despite its significance/value to at least a few notorious school shooters...
    • by neminem (561346)
      I think you're confusing causation and correlation, just like all the journalists you seem to admire. You seem to think that because school killers tend to enjoy playing games like Postal, that clearly Postal deranges people and makes them into killers. How about this, instead: people who are likely to decide to shoot up innocent people, are likely to also enjoy games that let them do the same thing.

      Of course, many people that wouldn't enjoy ending the lives of real people, would also find it interesting
      • by necro2607 (771790)
        "I think you're confusing causation and correlation, just like all the journalists you seem to admire."

        Actually, I didn't intentionally indicate causation of any kind, JUST the correlation. I did indeed refer to some journalists "blaming" the Kimveer Gill thing on Columbine RPG, but believe me, I don't share the same views. Not to mention, what's this about "admiring" the journalists? I personally think they're fucking retards... heh! ;)

        I didn't even bother discussing what you wrote above because it's jus

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