List of controversial video games
Table of controversial games
|1973||Gotcha||Arcade||Atari||Controversial due to the controls being perceived as pink rubber bulges that were meant to represent breasts and were squeezed in order to control the action.|
|1976||Death Race||Arcade||Exidy||Violence (running over stickmen "gremlins", who then scream).|
|1982||Custer's Revenge||Atari 2600||Mystique||The game depicts a crudely rendered General Custer dodging arrows to reach a naked, Native American woman tied to a pole. For surviving, he was allowed to have sex with her, and received points for doing so. This quickly led to controversy regarding whether he was raping her, or if she participated willingly.|
|1984-2009||Punch-Out!!||Arcades, NES, SNES, Wii||Nintendo, Next Level Games (2009 version)||Numerous instances of racial stereotyping, mainly of the opponent boxers that the player fights.|
|1985||International Karate||Amstrad CPC, Apple II, Atari 8-bit, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Commodore 16, MS-DOS, MSX, ZX Spectrum||System 3||
Main article: Data East USA, Inc. v. Epyx, Inc.Data East USA sued Epyx, the publisher of the game in the United States (under the name of World Karate Championship) due to similarities between International Karate and Data East's Karate Champ. Although the suit was dismissed, Data East did obtain an injunction to prevent further sales of World Karate Championship, which was subsequently appealed and reversed.
|1986||177||NEC PC-8801||dB-soft||A bishoujo game revolving around rape, it ignited a public furor that reached the National Diet of Japan.|
|1987||Barbarian: The Ultimate Warrior||Acorn Electron, Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Apple II, Atari ST, BBC Micro, Commodore 64, MS-DOS, ZX Spectrum||Palace Software||The cover art of the game, which featured bikini-clad Maria Whittaker, a model who was then associated with The Sun tabloid's Page Three topless photo shoots, and Michael Van Wijk, who was only wearing a loincloth, provoked outrage in the United Kingdom. Electron User magazine received letters from readers and religious bodies, who called the image "offensive and particularly insulting to women" and an "ugly pornographic advertisement". Barbarian's violent content was also controversial and was banned in Germany by the Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Medien because of it.|
|1987||Super Monaco GP||Arcade, Mega Drive/Genesis, Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Game Gear, Sega Master System, ZX Spectrum||Sega||Phillip Morris sued Sega (and some other video game companies, including Namco and Atari Games on behalf of their Final Lap game) because the arcade version of the game contains advertisements that resemble those for Marlboro cigarettes.|
|1987-present||Leisure Suit Larry series||PC, PS2, Xbox, PS3, Xbox 360||Sierra Entertainment||Controversial for its obscenities and mature humor. Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude was released on PC both censored and uncensored in the United States and was banned in Australia.|
|1988 - 2010||Splatterhouse series||Arcade, Famicom, TurboGrafx-16, Sega Genesis||Namco||Blood and gore, violence, and some questionable enemies. Critics described the game as "massive disappointment" and "violent, excessively gory brawler".|
|1991||J.B. Harold Murder Club||TurboGrafx-16||NEC||Sexual themes, including reference to an unsolved rape.|
|1992||Wolfenstein 3D||DOS, SNES||id Software||Violence, gore, Nazi symbolism, and the inclusion of Adolf Hitler as the final boss.|
|1992–present||Mortal Kombat series||Arcade||Midway (later Warner Bros. Interactive)||Blood, violence and gore. First fighter to introduce "Fatalities" to finish off opponents. When released for home console formats became the first "big budget" game to raise the issue of violence in the medium. Possible catalyst to the implementation of a rating system.|
|1992||Night Trap||Sega CD||Digital Pictures||Violence, child abuse and sexual themes.|
|1993||Fighter's History||Arcade, SNES||Data East||Capcom sued Data East in the United States and Japan on grounds of copyright infringements pertaining to Street Fighter II property. The U.S. case were ruled in favor of Data East (which argued Karate Champ was the true originator of the competitive fighting game genre), as the "copied" elements were excluded from copyright, similar to Apple's graphical user interface lawsuit against Microsoft.|
|1993||Doom||PC||id Software||First-person violence, gore, and satanic themes. Was once blamed for the Columbine High School massacre.|
|1996-present||Pokémon series||Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS||Nintendo, Game Freak||Jynx, one of the series's titular creatures, came under heavy backlash following a 2000 article by Carole Boston Weatherford that accused its design of perpetrating blackface imagery. The resulting controversy forced a drastic redesign of Jynx, changing its skin from black to purple and shrinking its eyes and mouth. The series was also attacked by fundamentalist Christian groups, who argued that it promoted Satanic themes. In response, the Vatican broadcast its public approval of Pokémon in April 2001, claiming that the game was based on "intense ties of friendship" and lacked "any harmful moral side effects."|
|1996||SimCopter||PC||Maxis||A programmer named Jacques Servin introduced unauthorized "himbo" characters into the game, who would appear on certain dates and kiss.|
|1996||Duke Nukem 3D||PC, Sega Saturn, PS1||3D Realms||Violence, sexual themes, nudity.|
|1996||Tomb Raider||PC, Sega Saturn, PS1||Eidos||An unauthorized software patch nicknamed "Nude Raider" was created by fans which allowed players to play as a nude version of Lara Croft (complete with graphic nudity).|
|1997||Shadow Warrior||PC, Mac, iOS||3D Realms||Controversial for "insensitive" and "inauthentic" depictions of East Asian society and culture, although 3D Realms responded, saying that they did not intend to make a racist game but had deliberately used a melange of Asian culture in order to create a "fun game" which "didn't take itself too seriously" and parodied "bad kung fu movies". Despite their response, such criticism had continued.|
|1997||Carmageddon||PC, Mac, N64, PS1||SCi, Interplay Entertainment||Violence against pedestrians and animals.|
|1997||Postal||PC||Running with Scissors||Violence and anti-law, most of which is committed against civilians and authorities.|
|1997–present||Grand Theft Auto series||PC, PS1, PS2, PS3, PS4, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One||Rockstar Games||
See also: Controversies surrounding Grand Theft Auto IV, Controversies surrounding Grand Theft Auto V, and Hot Coffee modSexual themes, drug use, racism, nudity, language, drunk driving, violence (against civilians and law enforcement officers). Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was originally rated "Mature" in the U.S., but was re-rated "Adults Only" after controversy surrounding a fanmade Hot Coffee mod which unlocked a hidden sex scene (which was in the game's code, but left out of the final version). It was re-rated "Mature" after Rockstar Games removed this scene from the game's code. In Grand Theft Auto V, one mission sees the character Trevor Phillips torturing another character in several different ways, including waterboarding, pulling out teeth and administering electrical shocks to the nipples.
|1997||Formula 1 97||PC, PS1||Psygnosis||The game was withdrawn from shops six weeks after its release due to legal wranglings with the FIA (Formula One's governing body) objecting to the use of the FIA logo on the game's packaging. It was re-released without the logo, but the FIA were still unhappy. However, the FIA lost a court case, and the game continued to be sold without the logo.|
|1999||Kingpin: Life of Crime||PC||Interplay Entertainment||Violence.|
|2000||Daikatana||PC||Ion Storm||A highly controversial advertisement regarding John Romero's involvement with the game, which caused a highly publicized outrage.|
|2000||Perfect Dark||N64||Rare, Nintendo||As the first M-rated published game by Nintendo, the release of Perfect Dark was met with controversy since Nintendo at the time was known for family-friendly video game franchises like Pokémon and Mario.|
|2001||Conker's Bad Fur Day||N64||Rare||Controversial for its "over the top" and "lewd" humor.|
|2002||Shadow Man: 2econd Coming||PlayStation 2||Akklaim||An attempt to promote this video game involved placing advertisements on deceased people's gravestones.|
|2002||Ethnic Cleansing||PC||Resistance Records||Racially motivated violence, white supremacist themes.|
|2002||Kaboom!||Browser||fabolous999||Players control a suicide bomber, the aim of the game being to kill as many people as possible.|
|2002||State of Emergency||PC, PS2, Xbox||Rockstar Games||Contains Columbine-style violence, including political assassinations and coup d'états. Additionally, the game caused controversy in Washington due to the game's similarities to the World Trade Organization riots in Seattle.|
|2003||Postal 2||PC||Running with Scissors||Violence against pedestrians and police officers, racism, sexual themes, drug use, language, and animal cruelty. Banned in New Zealand, Sweden and Australia.|
|2003||Manhunt||PS2, PC, Xbox||Rockstar Games||Violence and gore. Manhunt gained significant controversy after it was alleged that the game inspired a teenager to commit a murder. Banned in Australia.|
|2003||Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball||Xbox||Tecmo||Many critics have commented that the game's shameless use of female bodies is often ridiculous at best, and some have found it downright offensive.|
|2003||Whiplash||PlayStation 2, Xbox||Crystal Dynamics||The game had some controversy over the animal cruelty, mainly by the RSPCA.|
|2004||The Sims 2||PC||EA Games||A player-made mod allowed for the blur effect that appears when a character is nude to be removed. However, the nude Sims are featureless.|
|2004||JFK: Reloaded||PC||Traffic Software||Puts the player in the role of Lee Harvey Oswald as he assassinates U.S. President John F. Kennedy. Criticized for its controversial content matter in recreating the assassination and was condemned by a spokesman for Senator Ted Kennedy as "despicable".|
|2005||Super Columbine Massacre RPG!||PC||Danny Ledonne||The game simulates the events of the Columbine High School massacre, having the player take on the roles of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold and acting out the massacre.|
|2005||Gun||PC, PS2, Xbox, GameCube, Xbox 360||Activision||The game's offensive depictions of American Indians prompted the Association for American Indian Development to call a boycott against the game.|
|2005||The Punisher||PC, PS2, Xbox||Volition Inc.||Interrogation, torture, intense gun fights, drugs, and killing with no mercy. Originally merited an "Adults-Only" rating before being edited on appeal.|
|2006||Bully||PS3, Xbox 360, PS2, Wii||Rockstar Games||Based upon its title, it was perceived that Bully glorified bullying. That the main character Jimmy could also kiss another boy was a matter of controversy. Classification boards generally restricted Bully to a teenage audience: the US-based Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) classified the game with a T rating, the British Board of Film Classification gave it a 15 rating, the Australian Classification Board rated it M, and the New Zealand OFLC restricted it to persons 13 years of age and over. In 2007, Yahoo! Games listed it as one of the top ten controversial games of all time.|
|2006||The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion||Xbox 360, PC, PS3||Bethesda Softworks||
Main article: ESRB re-rating of The Elder Scrolls IV: OblivionRe-rated by the ESRB after a third-party mod revealed a nude topless graphic hidden in the game's data files. While the graphic did not warrant a re-rating of the game in and of itself, upon review, the ESRB noted that the game contained much more explicit violence than had been submitted to them in the original rating submission.
|2006||Hitman: Blood Money||PC, PS2, Xbox, Xbox 360, PS3||IO Interactive||Violence and assassinations; magazine ads for the game featured pictures depicting murder victims.|
|2006||Mind Quiz||Nintendo DS, PSP||Ubisoft||Recalled in the United Kingdom due to use of the word "spastic", which is considered highly offensive in the UK.|
|2006||Left Behind: Eternal Forces||PC||Left Behind Games||Accusations that the game promoted religious "convert or kill" violence, sexism and racism. Some reviewers denied that the game contained any truly controversial gameplay.|
|2006||Resistance: Fall of Man||PS3||Insomniac Games||Church of England objected to the game's use of Manchester Cathedral's interior as a backdrop during a gun battle, and called for the game to be withdrawn or for the cathedral to be removed from the game.|
|2006||RapeLay||PC||Illusion Soft||Rape is a core part of the gameplay, as the player takes on the role of a chikan who stalks, and subsequently rapes a mother and her two daughters, at least one of whom is underage. Three years after its initial release, significant controversy was raised in the UK Parliament and elsewhere, and Equality Now eventually pressured its distributor to withdraw distribution of it in Japan.|
|2006||Rule of Rose||PS2||Punchline||The mayor of Rome called for the game to be banned from Italy, saying children "have the right to be shielded from violence". The then European Union justice and security commissioner wrote an open letter condemning the game for "obscene cruelty and brutality". An Italian magazine, Panorama, claimed that in order to win the game players must bury a girl alive, which the game's European publisher disputed. On the UK release day, the publisher announced that Rule of Rose would not be published in the UK, despite the game being approved for release by the Pan European Game Information (PEGI) and Video Standards Council regulatory bodies.|
|2007||BioShock||Xbox 360, PC , PS3||2K Games||An article in The Patriot Ledger, the local paper of developer Irrational Games, argued that the game is "testing the limits of the ultraviolent gaming genre with a strategy that enables players to kill characters resembling young girls." The game presents an ethical choice to players, whether to kill 'Little Sisters' for extra abilities or save them and receive less. President of 2K Boston Ken Levine defended the game as a piece of art, stating "we want to deal with challenging moral issues and if you want to do that, you have to go to some dark places". Jack Thompson took issue with advertisements for the game appearing during WWE SmackDown's airtime, writing to the Federal Trade Commission and stating that M-rated games should not be advertised when large numbers of under-17s are watching.|
|2007||Manhunt 2||PS2, PSP, PC, Wii||Rockstar Games||Manhunt 2 has been labeled as possibly the most violent video game ever made and is infamous for being one of only three video games to receive an "Adults-Only rating" due to violence, the other two being The Punisher and Hatred. Further controversy surrounds the Wii version due to the fact that it actually simulates the violence through motion control, dubbing it the name "murder simulator".|
|2007||Mass Effect||PS3, Xbox 360, PC||BioWare||Falsely accused by evangelical blogger Kevin McCullough of containing "rape and sodomy", which later led to the removal of McCullough's blog entry on Townhall.com. The game was featured on the Fox News Channel following the controversy, with host Martha MacCallum, which included the headline "full graphic sex". In actuality, the game's most explicit content is an indirect "sideboob" shot of a humanoid alien breast.|
|2007||Mario Party 8||Wii||Nintendo||Use of the phrase "Turn the train spastic! Make this ticket tragic!" by the character Kamek caused controversy in the United Kingdom, where the word spastic is considered offensive. This led to a recall of the game; it was later re-released with the word changed to erratic.|
|2008||Muslim Massacre||PC||Eric 'Sigvatr' Vaughn||The game's contents and subject have been the subject of strong negative response; a spokesperson for the Muslim Council of Britain said "The makers of this 'game' and the ISPs [Internet service providers] who are hosting it should be quite ashamed of themselves. Anti-Muslim prejudice is already on the increase and needs to be challenged and not reinforced through tasteless and offensive stunts like this."|
|2008||Invaders!||Douglas Edric Stanley||An art game exhibited at the 2008 Games Convention in Leipzig. It represents the September 11 attacks in the style of Space Invaders. Players move their bodies to move the cannon and use arm movements to fire. Like the original Space Invaders, death (game over) is inevitable. Many people considered it tasteless and inappropriate, and Taito threatened legal action for unauthorized use of Space Invaders content. The creator later pulled the game.|
|2008||Silent Hill: Homecoming||PS3, PC, Xbox 360||Double Helix Games||Was banned and refused to get a rating in Australia and Germany for extreme violence and disturbing images which included copious blood spray in the game, decapitations, partially dismembered corpses, and numerous scenes of attacks, fights, torture, and death."|
|2008||LittleBigPlanet||PS3||Media Molecule||Lyrics from a licensed song, "Tapha Niang", were removed due to fears that Muslims would be offended as it allegedly contained words from the Quran. This led to controversy about the removal itself.|
|2008||Too Human||Xbox 360||Silicon Knights||The game was revealed to developed using a stolen version of Unreal Engine 3, following a successful counter-suit by Epic Games (makers of the Unreal Engine), Silicon Knights having initially sued Epic Games for "breach of contract". In November 2012, the counter-suit were ruled in favor of Epic Games, forcing Silicon Knights to recall and destroy all copies of the game and another Unreal Engine-developed game, X-Men: Destiny, as well as cancelling other titles that had been planned to use the engine.|
|2009||MadWorld||Wii||Platinum Games||The game's extreme, over-the-top violence has led to much criticism, and has been described by the Daily Mail as the "most violent video game ever". Also, the Nintendo Wii has been long-perceived as little more than a "family-friendly" console, and as a result, many parental organizations have condemned the game's release exclusively on the Wii.|
|2009||Resident Evil 5||PS3, Xbox 360, PC||Capcom||For a pre-release trailer that contains scenes of racism, according to Newsweek journalist N'Gai Croal in an April 2008 interview. He also stated that organizations and retailers would object to the game and that it would cause controversy on release.|
|2009||Saw||PS3, Xbox 360, PC||Konami||Several news publishings stated that the game's only purpose was to torture and kill people in violent ways with no sense of restraint or morality. Some editorials called it "depraved and inhumane" and stated that "Konami should be ashamed". It was also listed in the "Top ten most controversial games of 2009".|
|2009||Left 4 Dead 2||Xbox 360, PC (Steam)||Valve Corporation||The cover art in the UK had to be altered due to a potentially offensive hand gesture being depicted. The game was banned in Australia for its excessive violence and gore, but later the uncensored version was rated. The game's New Orleans setting so soon after Hurricane Katrina was considered "a bad call".|
|2009||Fat Princess||PlayStation 3
|Titan Studios||Feminists argued that the game concept and title was hostile to women.|
|2009||Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2||PS3, Xbox 360, PC,||Infinity Ward||
Main article: Controversies surrounding Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2A optional level in the game entitled "No Russian" has the player assume control of a deep cover Central Intelligence Agency agent, joining a group of Russian nationalist terrorists in enacting an airport massacre. The player is given the option to skip the level at any point. The game was discussed briefly in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom after the issue was brought to the attention of MP Keith Vaz, a longtime opponent of violence in video games, with fellow Labour Party politician Tom Watson arguing that the level was "no worse than scenes in many films and books" and criticising Vaz for "collaborating with the Daily Mail to create moral panic over the use of video games". The mission was made optional before release and removed from the game entirely.
Activision later removed the Favela multiplayer map from Modern Warfare 2 following complaints from Muslim gamers, which shows picture frames on the second floor bathroom of one building within Favela. When viewed through a scoped weapon, the frames contain a quote from Muhammad that translates to "Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty", according to Islam Today. One of the paintings is located directly above a toilet.
|2010||Medal of Honor||PS3, Xbox 360, PC||Danger Close Games, EA Digital Illusions CE||The multiplayer mode created controversy when it was revealed that players could play as the Taliban. The developers responded by stating the reality of the game necessitated it, but due to pressure from various military officials and veterans organizations, the word Taliban was removed from the multiplayer part of the game in which players would directly play as the Taliban, instead replaced with the term "Opposing Force." However, even in light of this change, the game is still not to be sold on military bases. The AAFES Commander Maj. Gen. Bruce Casella said, "Out of respect to those touched by the ongoing, real-life events presented as a game, Exchanges will not be carrying this product." He continued, "I expect the military families who are authorized to shop the Exchange are aware, and understanding, of the decision not to carry this particular offering."|
|2010||Six Days in Fallujah||PS3, Xbox 360, PC||Atomic Games||The game was opposed by both the public and critics alike for "glamorizing" and "glossing over" the real-life Second Battle of Fallujah. This caused the former publisher, Konami, to stop publishing it.|
|2011||Bulletstorm||PS3, Xbox 360, PC||Electronic Arts||Fox News Channel called out the title as the "Worst Video Game in the World" due to the extreme amount of violence; claims made in the original article were dispelled by video game journalists including Rock Paper Shotgun, but Fox News continues to assert the game as too violent.|
|2011||Portal 2||PS3, Xbox 360, PC||Valve Corporation||CBS News has deemed the game offensive to adopted children because Wheatley insults the protagonist by saying "Fatty fatty no parents". The daughter of the parents who reported this is in fact, adopted.|
|2011||Call of Juarez: The Cartel||PS3, Xbox 360, PC||Ubisoft||Residents of Ciudad Juárez and Mexico protested the announcement of the game, believing it to highlight the Juárez Cartel, who are believed responsible for over 3000 homicides in the city in 2010.|
|2011||Dead Island||PS3, Xbox 360, PC||Deep Silver||After a development build of the game was released on Steam by mistake, it was revealed that the skill 'Gender Wars' (which the character Purna uses) was called 'FeministWhorePurna' within the game's code. Developer Deep Silver apologised and released a patch for the game to replace the offensive name.|
|2012||Medal of Honor: Warfighter||PS3, Xbox 360, PC||Danger Close Games||Seven members of Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU) who worked as consultants for the game were disciplined for releasing classified information to the game's creators.|
|2012||Street Fighter X Tekken||PS3, Xbox 360, PC, iOS, PlayStation Vita||Capcom, Dimps||It was revealed that the game's downloadable characters were already on the disc in a ready-to-unlock form, leading to heavy criticism.|
|2013||Payday 2||PS4, Xbox One, PC||Overkill Software||Payday 2, while having featured a large array of downloadable content, had been claimed by its developers would never include microtransactions. However, a major game update released in October 2015 included rewards that required the player to use real-world money to purchase keys to unlock, and with rewards that may not be usable if the player did not buy certain pieces of downloadable content. Fans of the game reacted negatively to the change. In May 2016, Overkill was able to acquire full rights to the Payday series, and among other announcements relating to the series, announced they would remove the microtransactions from Payday 2.|
|2013||Tomb Raider||PS3, Xbox 360, PC||Crystal Dynamics||During an interview with Kotaku, executive producer Ron Rosenberg stated that one scene in the game depicts Lara Croft about to be sexually assaulted by a scavenger. She is forced to fight back and kill him in return. Prior to the game's release, this quickly led to controversy concerning the possible "attempted rape" sequence. Studio manager Darrell Gallagher later denied this, stating that one of "the character defining moments for Lara in the game, which has incorrectly been referred to as an 'attempted rape' scene is the content we showed" where "Lara is forced to kill another human for the first time. In this particular selection, while there is a threatening undertone in the sequence and surrounding drama, it never goes any further than the scenes that we have already shown publicly. Sexual assault of any kind is categorically not a theme that we cover in this game."|
|2013||Saints Row IV||Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC||Volition Inc.||Despite changes in the Australian Classification Board to adopt rules to classify mature video games in January 2013, Saints Row IV was the first video game under these new rules to be denied classification, due to the presence of drug use and an in-game alien anal probe weapon. Volition eliminated these elements from the game to obtain a MA15+ rating by removing the mission these elements were used in, rendering the game's co-operative mode incompatible with versions from other countries.|
|2013||The Stanley Parable||PC||Galactic Cafe||An in-game instructional video called "Choice" contained an image of a white man lighting a black child on fire.|
|2014||South Park: The Stick of Truth||Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC||Obsidian Entertainment
South Park Digital Studios
|The game was censored (by Ubisoft's decision) in Europe and Australia due to its depiction of an anal probing by aliens and the player-character performing an abortion. In their place, the game displays a still image of a statue holding its face in its hand, with an explicit description of events depicted in the scene. The German version was specifically censored because of the use of Nazi- and Hitler-related imagery, including swastikas and Nazi salutes, which are illegal in that country. The PC version remains completely uncut in Europe.|
|2015||Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number||PC||Dennaton Games||The sequel, like the first Hotline Miami, incorporates a large amount of violence as the player sets to kill off agents of the local mafia, but a preview build for the sequel includes a scene that is set up where the player's character then appears to rape a female antagonist, though this is later presented in the context of being part of a staged movie scene. Journalists felt that even though the game made it clear of the scene's setup, the inclusion of this scene went too far in taste levels. Despite some changes and assurances made by the developer, the scene in the game caused the Australian Classification Board to refuse to classify the game, effectively preventing legal sale of the title in that country.|
|2015||Hatred||PC||Destructive Creations||A game about a suicidal mass murderer, in which the primary mechanic is about shooting innocent civilians in the murderer's fit of rage. The CEO behind Hatred has been accused of having neo-Nazi, anti-Islamic affiliations due to liking some pages on Facebook related to such beliefs. The title has been highly controversial, and when the developers attempted to place it on the Steam Greenlight service, it was pulled by Valve due to the game's content; however, it has been brought back onto Greenlight by Gabe Newell, and later apologized for the removal. The game was rated "Adults Only" (AO) by the ESRB, which prevents retail sales and its release on consoles and would likely prevent its sale on digital storefronts for personal computers.|
|2015||Playing History 2: Slave Trade||PC||Serious Games||The game was created by Serious Games as an edutainment title to teach the user about slave trading. One game mode in the title was called "Slave Tetris", with the goal to try to fit as many African slaves on a boat, using gameplay similar to Tetris; the developer had intended to show how inhumane the slave traders were and how such trade boats were packed to capacity, stating "it really gets people to think about just how absurd and cruel it is". When the mode was discovered by a wider audience due to discounted sales of the game and Let's Play broadcasts of it, many critics expressed distaste for the mode, considering it to be highly insensitive. The developer pulled the mode from the game following this outrage.|
|2015||Survival Island 3||iOS and Android||NIL Entertainment||A first-person action game in which the fair-skinned player-character has to fight and kill Indigenous Australians as well as Australian fauna. After a Change.org petition, the game was pulled from the App Store and Google Play.|
|2015||Pakistan Army Retribution||Android||A first-person shooter game, based upon the 2014 Peshawar school massacre. Developed as part of the Peaceful Pakistan peace campaign, the game allowed the player to control a soldier during the attack and kill Taliban terrorists. After a negative review on the website of newspaper DAWN, calling the game to be of "poor taste", other people also outed their criticism. The game was subsequently pulled from the Google Play Store in January 2016.|
|2016||Overwatch||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One||Blizzard Entertainment||A team-based multiplayer shooter includes a number of unique characters, and matches concluded with the winning character doing one of several possible victory poses that can be selected by the player. Some players found that the victory pose for one character, a young woman named Tracer who is also shown on the game's cover art, was overtly sexual and reduced the character to a "bland female sex symbol". Blizzard removed the offending pose, replacing it with a pin-up model-inspired pose.|
|2016||Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear||Microsoft Windows||Beamdog||Siege of Dragonspear is an expansion atop Beamdog's Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition, itself a remastering of the original 1998 game, providing a narrative to explain events between Baldur's Gate and its sequel. Though the game was criticized by players on its release due to a number of software bugs, a controversy arose at what was perceived as a forced political agenda by the developers, in particular the inclusion of a transgender character.|
|2016||Pokémon Go||iOS, Android||Niantic, Inc., Nintendo||Pokémon Go gained significant controversy after the game allegedly inspired criminals to commit robberies using the augmented reality feature. CNN reported that the geolocation feature was used for robbers to find and capture victims.|
- Gotcha at the Killer List of Videogames
- David Craddock, "The Rogues Gallery: Controversial Video Games," Shacknews (Sep 29, 2005).
- DeMaria, Rusel; Wilson, Johnny L. (2003). High Score!: The Illustrated History of Electronic Games. McGraw-Hill Professional. pp. 27, 28. ISBN 0-07-223172-6.
- ; Fecal Jesus, "The Seven Most Controversial Games and why most of them are complete crap," GamerHelp (02/14/08).
- Kearney, Paul; Pivec, Maja (May 2007). "Sex, lies and video games". British Journal of Educational Technology 38 (3): 489–501. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2007.00712.x. Retrieved 2008-07-23.
- "Top 5 Racist Videogames". 1UP.com. Retrieved January 9, 2014.
- DATA EAST USA, INC., v. EPYX, INC., - UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA - No. C-86-20513-WAI
- Data East v. Epyx. In: Steven L. Kent: The Ultimate History of Video Games: From Pong to Pokémon--The Story Behind the Craze That Touched Our Lives and Changed the World. New York, New York: Three Rivers Press, 2001. ISBN 0-7615-3643-4. p. 368-371.
- Richard H. Stern, Computer Law 484 Professor Richard H. Stern Cases and Materials
- Retro Japanese Computers: Gaming's Final Frontier, Hardcore Gaming 101, reprinted from Retro Gamer, Issue 67, 2009
- Carroll, Martyn (30 March 2006). "Company Profile: Palace Software". Retro Gamer (Bournemouth, United Kingdom: Imagine Publishing) (23): 66–69. ISSN 1742-3155.
- Sinclair User staff (November 1987). "Whodunwot". Sinclair User (London, United Kingdom: EMAP) (68): 8–9. ISSN 0262-5458.
- "Chronology of Action". Tobaccodocuments.org. Retrieved 2010-05-15.
- Good, Owen. "What Are Splatterhouse, Kindergarten Killer and the Other Games the NRA Slammed Today?". Kotaku. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
- Video Games and Computer Entertainment. July 1991. Pg. 44
- Wolfenstein 3D Just Got Modernized With the Release of Wolfram, Indiegamemag, June 12, 2012
- Silverman, Ben (2007-09-17). "Controversial Games: Some games push all the wrong buttons.". Yahoo! Games. Retrieved 2008-09-12.
- Oxoby, Marc; Browne, Ray (2003). The 1990s. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 84. ISBN 0-313-31615-5.
- Williams, D. (December 2003). "The Video Game Lightning Rod". Information, Communication and Society 6 (4): 541. doi:10.1080/1369118032000163240. Retrieved 2006-07-23.
- Analysis at Patent Arcade accessed June 18, 2009.
- Weatherford, Carole Boston (2000-01-05). "Politically Incorrect Pokémon". Archived from the original on September 25, 2008. Retrieved 2009-04-17.
- Barrett, Devlin (2000-01-05). "POKEMON EARNS PAPAL BLESSING". Retrieved 2015-06-12.
- "The First Hot Coffee". PC Gamer (Future Publishing). March 2007. p. 62.
- Soete, Tim (1 May 1996). "Duke Nukem 3D Review for PC". GameSpot. Retrieved 1 July 2009.
- "Duke Nukem 3D review for the PC". Game Revolution. 5 June 1996. Retrieved 1 July 2009.
- Lara Croft: Feminist Icon or Cyberbimbo?, Helen W. Kennedy, Game Studies, Vol. 2, Issue 2, December 2002.
- Lee, Rachel C. and Sau-ling Cynthia Wong (editors) Asian America.Net:ethnicity, nationalism, and cyberspace, Routledge, 2003, p. 253
- Sze-Fai Shiu, Anthony. "What Yellowface Hides: Video Games, Whiteness, and the American Racial Order" (PDF). The Journal of Popular Culture. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-09-28.
- "The Making Of... Carmageddon". Edge Online. 2008-06-27. Retrieved 2008-07-25.
- Androvich, Mark (2007-11-08). "Take-Two settles "Hot Coffee" lawsuits". Gamesindustry.biz. Retrieved 2007-11-09.
- F1 Racing magazine, December 1997 issue, page 20, British edition as imported to America
- Video Game Maker Drawing Fire for Violent Ads. Los Angeles Times. June 29, 1999
- 10 Years Later, Romero Apologizes for Daikatana Tom's Hardware, May 18, 2010 (Article by Kevin Parrish)
- Casamassina, Matt (2001-03-02). "Conker's Bad Fur Day review". IGN. Retrieved 2011-05-20.
- Scheeres, Julia (2002-02-20). "Games Elevate Hate to Next Level". Wired. Retrieved 2010-02-04.
- Moore, Matthew (November 6, 2008). "Suicide bomber video game condemned by terror victims". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved May 26, 2013.
- "The Good, The Bad, The Ugly". Game Informer 11 (100): 17. August 2001.
- "Interview with Ryan Gordon: Postal2, Unreal & Mac Gaming - Macologist". Web.archive.org. 2005-03-09. Archived from the original on March 9, 2005. Retrieved 2011-10-21.
- "Controversial video games". virginmedia.com. Retrieved 2014-10-26.
- "'Sims' content criticized". CNNMoney.com. 2005-07-28. Retrieved 2010-01-12.
- Holmes, T.J.; Nguyen, Betty (November 7, 2007). "Transcripts - CNN Sunday Morning". CNN. Retrieved December 10, 2008.
- Hung, Yee (June 12, 2007). "Exploiting grief; bad taste, it appears, makes money". The Straits Times. p. 1.
- Thompson, Clive (July 23, 2006). "Saving The World, One Video Game At a Time". The New York Times. p. 1.
- Townsend, Emru (October 23, 2006). "The 10 Worst Games of All Time". PC World. Retrieved October 7, 2008.
- "Gun controversies". GameSpot. Retrieved 2008-08-22.
- "The Punisher for PlayStation 2 (2005) MobyRank". MobyGames. 2005-01-18. Retrieved 2012-11-02.
- "Case Study: The Punisher". Sbbfc.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-11-02.
- "Games Censorship: A to Z". Refused-Classification.com. Retrieved 2012-11-02.
- "The Punisher for PlayStation 2 (2005)". MobyGames. Retrieved 2012-11-02.
- Sinclair, Brendan (26 October 2006). "Bully's boy-on-boy scene causing a stir". GameSpot. Retrieved 19 March 2007.
- "Bully". Entertainment Software Rating Board. 4 January 2010. Retrieved 27 May 2011.
- "Bully (Multi Platform)". Australian Classification Board. Australian Government. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
- Silverman, Ben (17 September 2007). "Controversial Games". Yahoo! Games. Retrieved 19 September 2007.
- Zenke, Michael (2007-06-19). ""Boobies Did Not Break the Game": The ESRB Clears the Air On Oblivion". The Escapist. Retrieved 2007-07-02.
- "Internet Archive Wayback Machine". Web.archive.org. 2009-01-13. Archived from the original on October 12, 2007. Retrieved 2011-10-21.
- Hayward, Andrew (2007-06-29). "Mind Quiz Yanked in UK for Offensive Term". 1up.com. Retrieved 2011-10-21.
- Musgrove, Mike (2006-08-17). "Fire and Brimstone, Guns and Ammo". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-09-12.
- Greene, Richard (2006-12-14). "Christian video game draws anger". BBC. Retrieved 2008-09-12.
- Tapper, Jake; Miller, Avery (2006-12-04). "Faith-Based Killing? Critics Rip Christian Video Game". ABC News. Retrieved 2008-09-12.
- Butts, Steve. "IGN: Left Behind: Eternal Forces review". Pc.ign.com. Retrieved 2011-10-21.
- Kuchera, Ben (2006-12-13). "Left Behind: Eternal Forces review". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2011-10-21.
- "GameSpy: Left Behind: Eternal Forces review". Pc.gamespy.com. Retrieved 2011-10-21.
- Bramwell, Tom (2007-06-11). "Church of England attacks use of cathedral in PS3's Resistance". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2008-09-13.
- UK Politician Claims Games Feature Virtual Rape, Wired; see also RapeLay#Controversy
- Bramwell, Tom (2006-11-15). "Rome mayor wants game banned". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2008-09-12.
- Gibson, Ellie (2006-11-17). "505 Games responds to Rule of Rose controversy". gamesindustry.biz. Retrieved 2008-09-12.
- Martin, Matt (2006-11-24). "505 Games cans Rule of Rose". gamesindustry.biz. Retrieved 2008-09-12.
- "BioShock draws attention for 'killing' little girls". GamePro. 2007-08-24. Archived from the original on 2008-12-10. Retrieved 2008-09-13.
- Orland, Kyle (2007-08-23). "BioShock's Little Sister killing gets mainstream attention". Joystiq. Retrieved 2008-09-13.
- Fahey, Mike (2007-08-25). "Killing Little Girls". Kotaku. Archived from the original on 2008-12-10. Retrieved 2008-09-13.
- "Jack Thompson Shocked by Bioshock TV Ads". GamePolitics.com. 2007-08-19. Retrieved 2008-09-13.
- Schiesel, Seth (2007-10-29). "Under Glare of Scrutiny, a Game Is Toned Down". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-23.
- "Blog Archive » Conservative Blogger Claims ''Mass Effect'' Offers "Customizable Sodomy"". GamePolitics.com. Retrieved 2009-03-24.
- Schiesel, Seth (2008-01-26). "Author Faults a Game, and Gamers Flame Back". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-01-26.
- "Mass Effect Hits PC On May 6. Alien Sideboob Ahoy!". 2008-02-07. Retrieved 2009-05-30.
- "'Spastic' video game is recalled". Metro.co.uk.
- "'Muslim Massacre' computer game blasted in Britain". ABC News. 2008-09-13. Retrieved 2008-09-13.
- Stanley, Douglas Edric (August 7, 2008). "Invaders!". Retrieved May 31, 2014.
- Stanley, Douglas Edric (August 25, 2008). "Some Context...". Retrieved May 31, 2014.
- Remo, Chris (August 25, 2008). "Creator of Space Invaders-Based 9/11 Art Piece Pulls Exhibit". Gamasutra. Retrieved May 31, 2014.
- "Silent Hill Aussie Ban Update". IGN. 2008-09-29. Retrieved 2013-01-15.
- Farivar, Cyrus (2008-10-20). "Sony recalls LittleBigPlanet over Quran quote in music". Machinist: Salon.com. Retrieved 2008-10-20.
- Video Game Features, PC Game Features
- Gamasutra - Breaking: Silicon Knights Files Lawsuit Against Epic
- "Parents horrified as most violent video game ever to launch on 'family friendly' Wii". London: Mail Online. 2008-12-08. Retrieved 2009-02-08.
- John, Tracey (2008-04-10). "Newsweek’s N’Gai Croal On The ‘Resident Evil 5′ Trailer: ‘This Imagery Has A History’". MTV. Retrieved 2008-09-12.
- "Editorial: SAW Game Is Depraved And Inhumane; Konami Should Be Ashamed". Cinemablend. 2009-07-28. Retrieved 2009-09-07.
- "Most Controversial Games of 2009". GameDaily. 2009-10-08. Archived from the original on 2009-10-13. Retrieved 2009-11-02.
- Amrich, Dan (July 2, 2009). "Only on Xbox 360: Left 4 Dead 2". Official Xbox Magazine UK (Future Publishing) (49): 43.
- Ramadge, Andrew (2009-09-17). "Left 4 Dead 2 refused classification in Australia". News.com.au. Retrieved 2009-09-17.
- Jefferson, Willie (2009-07-14). "Racism in video games: The new norm?". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2009-07-30.
- Kalning, Kristin. 'Fat Princess' game stirs up heavy debate. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
- Kietzmann, Ludwig (2009-10-28). "New Modern Warfare: Airport Murder Simulator 2 video game glorifies terrorism". Joystiq.com. Retrieved 2009-11-08.
- Crecente, Brian (2009-10-28). "Modern Warfare 2 Features Skippable Scene of Atrocities - Modern warfare 2 - Kotaku". Feeds.gawker.com. Retrieved 2009-11-08.
- "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 09 Nov 2009 (pt 0002)". Department of the Official Report (Hansard), House of Commons, Westminster. 2009-11-09. Retrieved 2009-11-15.
- Shoemaker, Natalie (2012-03-11). "The most controversial moments in Call of Duty history". Geek.com. Retrieved 2013-03-07.
- "Russians ban Modern Warfare 2 console versions for 'No Russian' mission - Neoseeker Forums". Neoseeker.com. Retrieved 2009-11-16.
- "Modern Warfare 2 Map Removed Following Controversy". IGN.com. 2012-10-08.
- New Video Game Will Let You Play as the Taliban, AOL News, August 13, 2010
- Goodrich, Greg (2010-10-01). "Multiplayer Change | Medal of Honor — Coming October 12, 2010". Medal of Honor. Retrieved 2010-10-14.
- Sliwinski, Alexander (2010-10-05). "Military stores won't carry Medal of Honor despite 'Taliban' change". Joystiq. Retrieved 2010-10-14.
- "Iraq War video game branded 'crass and insensitive' by father of Red Cap killed in action". London: Dailymail.co.uk. 2009-08-19. Retrieved 2011-10-21.
- Cork, Jeff (2011-02-20). "Fox News Blogger Continues To Beat The Bulletstorm Drum". Game Informer. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
- Goulter, Tom (May 19, 2011). "Slow news day leads to Portal 2 adoption "controversy"". GamesRadar. Retrieved May 31, 2013.
- Cardona, Julian; Martinez-Cabrera, Alejandro (2011-02-17). "Cartel video game riles U.S.-Mexico border residents". Reuters. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
- Purchese, Robert (2011-07-08). "Dead Island Developer Techland Disturbed by Feminist Whore Skill". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
- Martin, David (8 November 2012). "7 Navy SEALs disciplined for role with video game". CBS News. Retrieved 2012-11-11.
- Dozier, Kimberly. "Pentagon cracks down on SEALs troops who spill secrets about their missions for profit". AP. Associated Press. Retrieved 2012-11-09.[dead link]
- Dransfield, Ian. "Capcom Includes Paid DLC On The Disc, Hilariously". Play. Retrieved March 16, 2012.
- Sinclair, Brendan (March 16, 2012). "On-Disc DLC Outrage Is Off the Mark". GameSpot. Retrieved March 16, 2012.
- Philips, Tom (October 16, 2015). "PayDay 2 community erupts in anger at addition of stat-changing microtransactions". Eurogamer. Retrieved October 19, 2015.
- Saed, Sherif (May 30, 2016). "Payday franchise rights back to Overkill, microtransactions removed, more". VG247. Retrieved May 31, 2016.
- Griffiths, Daniel Nye (13 June 2012). "That Was Quick: Crystal Dynamics Responds On Tomb Raider Controversy". Forbes. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
- Schreier, Jason (13 June 2012). "Tomb Raider Creators Are No Longer Referring to Game’s Attempted ‘Rape’ Scene As an Attempted Rape Scene". Kotaku. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
- Pitcher, Jenna (25 June 2013). "Saints Row 4 refused classification in Australia due to 'alien narcotics' and an 'Alien Anal Probe'". Polygon. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
- Pitcher, Jenna (2 August 2013). "Censored Saints Row 4 receives MA15+ rating in Australia". Polygon. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
- Pitcher, Jenna (5 August 2013). "Saints Row 4 in Australia barred from international co-op (update)". Polygon. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
- Chalk, Andy (23 October 2013). "The Stanley Parable Maker Promises to Change "Racist" Image". The Escapist. Retrieved 22 December 2013.
- Moses, Toby (March 5, 2014). "Why has the South Park: Stick of Truth game been censored in Europe?". theguardian.com (The Guardian). Archived from the original on March 11, 2014. Retrieved April 6, 2014.
- Crossley, Rob (15 August 2013). "Anger over 'rape scene' in Hotline Miami 2". Computer and Video Games. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
- Orland, Kyle (January 15, 2015). "Hotline Miami 2 blocked from sale in Australia over implied rape scene". Ars Technica. Retrieved January 16, 2015.
- Hall, Charlie (2014-08-20). "Change title". Polygon. Retrieved 2015-01-08.
- Matulef, Jeffrey (2014-12-15). "Controversial mass murdering game Hatred appears on Steam Greenlight". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2014-12-16.
- "Hatred given Adults Only rating in US and Canada". Polygon. January 16, 2015. Retrieved January 16, 2015.
- Machkovech, Sam (2015-09-03). "After outcry, "edutainment" game removes slave-Tetris mode". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2015-09-04.
- "Demands for 'racist' Survival Island 3 game to be removed from app stores". ABC News. Retrieved 2016-01-16.
- Rahool, Munir (2015-02-11). "Review: This Army Public School attack game fails on every front". DAWN. Retrieved 2016-02-22.
- "Pakistan removes Taliban school massacre video game after social media uproar". ABC. 2015-01-18. Retrieved 2016-02-22.
- Saed, Sherif (2016-03-29). "Overwatch – Blizzard removes “sexualized” Tracer win pose following fan complaint". VG247. Retrieved 2016-04-06.
- Saed, Sherif (2016-04-06). "Overwatch’s Tracer butt pose replaced with cheesecake pin-up stance". VG247. Retrieved 2016-04-06.
- Purchase, Robert (2016-04-05). "New Baldur's Gate expansion Siege of Dragonspear off to a rough start". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2016-04-05.
- Lindh, Clara (11 July 2016). "What Pokémon GO has to do with armed robbery and a dead body". CNN (CNN). Retrieved 11 July 2016.
- "Key Events in the History of Gaming & Violence". Facts on File. Issues and Controversies on File. Facts on File Inc. 1997. pp. 58–62.
- Bali, Avinash (2006-11-10). "10 Most Controversial Games Ever". Tech2.com India. Network 18. Retrieved 2008-07-23.
- Bennett the Sage (2008-06-24). "Top Ten Most Controversial Games" (Flash). ScrewAttack. ScrewAttack Entertainment LLC. Retrieved 2008-07-23.
- supadupagame (2006-11-11). "11 most controversial games ever". VideoGamesBlogger. Retrieved 2008-07-23.
- Slow news day leads to Portal 2 adoption “controversy”
- Sexual Moments in Video Game History from I-Mockery
- The Top 7... Controversies Waiting to Happen: Sex! Murder! Godless blasphemy and animal abuse! How could the media possibly miss these button-pushing games? by GamesRadar
- The Top 7... Most Evil Games: See the most racist, hateful and tasteless titles you wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole by GamesRadar