Button Mash
1.3k voters

Most Controversial Video Games That Have Ever Been Released

Updated September 23, 2021 6.2k votes 1.3k voters 68.8k views15 items

List RulesVote up the controversial video games you can't believe got made.

Just like every other form of entertainment, video games have not been immune from stirring up media storms. Ever since the first games were released, certain portions of society have looked down upon them and tried to blame particular crimes on their influence. This has been particularly true of violent games that some have claimed are able to incite aggression in players. It is little wonder then that there have been so many controversial video games.

Violent games, like first person shooters, are not the only type of video games that upset people. Some are wildly inappropriate video games that should never have been released because of the content they contained. Others were controversial because they included themes that some found offensive, such as titles that seemingly supported the LGBT community. In some instances, a game might have led to anger for no logical reason whatsoever. Whatever the case, check out these games that caused a ton of controversy when they were released, and vote up the ones that blatantly crossed the line. 

  • 1

    The Goal Of Custer’s Revenge Is To For The Hero To Force Himself On A Native American Woman

    Photo: Mystique

    Though it may seem like a rather crude flash game, Custer’s Revenge was a fully-fledged title that was released on the Atari 2600 in 1982 by Mystique. It is arguably one of the most offensive games to have ever been released. Set in the American frontier, players have to get their fully erect character across a field while avoiding obstacles such as flying arrows. The target is a naked Native American girl tied to a pole.

    The game's nonconsensual sex and disrespectful portrayal of Native Americans caused outrage. Atari sued the creators for damaging their brand, rights groups representing women and Native Americans protested it, and the publisher eventually pulled the game from store shelves.

  • The sequel to the equally controversial Postal, the sequel released in 2003 across a range of PC platforms. The first-person shooter attracted criticism from the media and charities due to its inclusion of hyper violence. It allows players to murder hundreds of civilians. Outrage also stemmed from the apparent racist, sexist, and homophobic themes present in the title. 

    Several countries have banned the sale of Postal 2 and New Zealand has even made it an offense to be in possession of the game. The Office of Film and Literature Classification said, "The game is designed, and has the capacity, to allow the player to test how much violence and humiliation he or she can inflict on human beings." Anyone caught with the game faces a fine of up to $1,400.

  • Photo: Infinity Ward

    Although the Call of Duty franchise has never been afraid to shy away from portraying controversial themes, the “No Russian” mission from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 might have overstepped the line. The level had players acting as an undercover CIA agent who has to participate in a terrorist attack in a Russian airport, opening fire on dozens of civilians.

    The issue proved to be contentious as soon as it became public knowledge. In order to avoid censure in both Japan and Germany, the developers altered the mission so that shooting the civilians would fail the mission. For Russian releases, the scene was removed completely. For the rest of the world, players are given the option to skip a "disturbing or offensive" mission, meaning you can still play as a terrorist and shoot up innocents in a CoD game as a US soldier. 

    #7 of 617 Sony PlayStation 3 Games: List of PS3 Console Games#20 of 454 The Most Addictive Video Games of All Time#21 of 1,371 The 100+ Best Video Games of All Time, Ranked by Fans

  • Photo: Sierra

    The Leisure Suit Larry series may seem like a jovial relic of a time when political correctness was less important, but the game was still able to cause a significant amount of controversy. Several stores refused to sell or advertise the title and some employees did not even want to work on the project at the development studio. The issue? The misogynistic tone of Leisure Suit Larry. The game treats women as nothing more than sex objects to be won over and this led to disapproval from many players.