GTA gets a pretty bad rap in the mainstream press. If you listen to them it’s responsible for the downfall of society, Han Solo shooting second and Skittles the shitting tiger corrupting children in their sleep.
But there are plenty of games that do controversial shit which pass under the all-seeing gaze of Saur… eh, the media. Blowing up an entire town with an A-bomb. Doing something decidedly saucy with a woman’s chest. Baby seal genocide! The games below all avoided courting controversy for these acts simply because their profile isn’t as high as the series that lets you kneecap hookers.
Why it should be more controversial: It lets you blow up an entire town with a goddamn nuclear bomb.
Yes, that’s right. This isn’t offing the occasional Lithuanian mobster, pimp or good old fashioned street walker. No, we’re talking about painfully vaporising dozens of innocent civilians with an atomic explosion… for money.
Above: Won't somebody think of the Jedis?!
Why it isn’t: Because while little Timmy can perhaps grow up to be an automobile thief, it’s unlikely he’s ever going to pop down to the local convenience store and pick himself up a weapon of mass destruction with his soda pop. That said, Japanese copies of the game understandably had The Power of Atom mission removed.
Why it should be more controversial than GTA: Your pixely protagonist can get a sex massage.
Quick, hide the young ‘uns. Someone needs to ban this sick filth right the hell now. Really, what’s this world coming to when a man can’t slay a few blocky monsters without being offered a happy ending massage? If you don’t get the above poofpoof scene it’s a reference to a bit from Dragon Quest VIII where a raunchy woman massages your character’s face with her big, round… eh, Slimes.
Only the thing is, there’s a definite lack of blue blobs to do the massaging this time. So when she dims the lights, we can only assume she’s giving the hero a thorough rubbing with her blocky, angular shirt turnips. Oh, and poofpoof totally means sex.
Why it’s not: It’s all a bit of fun, innit? Now if the next game in the 3D Dot Heroes series takes this direction that would be a different story…
Why it should be more controversial than GTA: It contains six, count ‘em, six minutes of brutal torture.
Holy shit. We’re used to seeing characters getting shot and having seven shades of bum juice kicked out of them, but Snake Eater’s torture sequence is something else. It’s the fact that many of the horrendous acts that befall Snake lie so close to reality. The plastic bag over the head to onset claustrophobia, the Deer Hunter-style Russian Roulette sequence, the dude who can fire bolts of lightning out of his finge… alright, scratch that last one. The rest of the scene, however, we can actually imagine happening in real life (admittedly pretty illegal) interrogations.
Why it’s not: Because Metal Gear can do something GTA never can. Namely, hide its violence behind a semi comforting blanket of fantasy. Where GTA is (somewhat) grounded in reality, making its shootings, knifings and hooker homicides too close to what’s actually going on in the world for many critics’ tastes, the Gear can balance its violence with baddies who shoot bees out of their ass, camp one-liners and effeminate men in g-strings.
Actually, screw what we just said. Seeing Raikov’s lightning bolt-branded banana hammock is worse than watching a hundred eye-gouging torture scenes.
Above: Nothing at all. Nothing at all. NOTHING AT ALL...
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