The Game: Gladiator Deathmatch
Developer: The Romans
Release date: 80 AD
Number of players: Multi
Rating: Rated M for being the most brutal, violent, and inhumane form of entertainment ever.
There was a lot of public concern about how a casual twitch of the thumb could kill a virtual cop in Grand Theft Auto. But in ancient Rome, citizens flooded giant amphitheaters to watch the most brutal, violent, and inhumane form of entertainment ever, the gladiatorial games. Whether or not a defeated gladiator lived or died in these public shows was often determined by the audience with the turn of a thumb.
Pre-show events whet the audience's appetite for more violence by starting things off with animal-on-animal deathmatches, hunts, and public executions. The emperor, Nero was known to have penned plays specifically for these introductory executions. Prisoners sentenced to death in these sadistic tales were cast to play characters that were killed at the plot's climax. How's that for intense performance art?