How the hell was this ever controversial?!

For a medium that lets us chainsaw faces off, punch presidents in their plums and slaughter endangered species, it's amazing how sensitive some of us get when developers do things we don't agree with.

Certainly there's been many decisions to get us overly worked up about, whether it's Killzone 2's 'target footage' or Shigsy shedding that last bit of lingering dignity by playing Wii Music like a diminutive Japanese John Williams. That’s why we’ve taken a retrospective look at some of the industry’s biggest controversies from the last decade and tell you why they weren’t such a big deal after all.

Why it caused such a stink

Coming off the back of two fairly dark 3D adventures in Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, Wind Waker’s whimsical cartoon looks were a thematic and tonal sea change from what had come before. Nintendo also had fans clamouring for a realistic Zelda a year prior to Link's cel-shaded adventure being revealed, with the footage they showed at the 2000 Space World event depicting a Twilight Princess-esque Link squaring off against Ganondorf.

Above: Making fanboys mess their pants since Space World 2000

Journalists and gamers alike worried the new art direction was a sign that Nintendo were trying to dumb down Zelda by making it more accessible to all ages – talk about a dark omen of things to come. Miyamoto even had to defend the game before its release, saying people shouldn’t judge it on graphics until they’d played it at 2002’s E3.

Why it really wasn’t a big deal

Despite wags dubbing the game ‘Celda’, the disarming art style merely gave an already timeless series an image that was even more durable. Wind Waker was classic Zelda at its heart and fears the game had been dumbed-down were wide of the mark. Granted, the sailing was a bit boring. But the charming characters and setting, combined with Zelda’s trademark ingenious dungeon design, ensured the Gamecube’s first foray into the world of form-fitting elf tunics would be remembered as one of the best entries in the series.

Above: Begrudgingly gaining fanboys’ respect since 2003

Why it caused such a stink

Skewering Hitler’s finest with a bayonet. Fine. But killing some little alien bug things in the house of God? Now that really is crossing a line. Enter Resistance: Fall of Man’s brief fight through Manchester Cathedral and one spectacularly brassed off Church of England.

Not only did they take issue with all the alien blasting, but they weren’t too pleased Sony had recreated a near photo realistic depiction of the interior of the building without their permission. The Dean of the Cathedral branded it "virtual desecration" and called the Japanese giant irresponsible for basing a section of the game in a city that has struggled with gun violence over recent years.

Above: The Cathedral’s newest parishioners didn’t take too kindly to the holy water

The British press then jumped on the misinformed bandwagon, with the Times Online proclaiming: 'The new PlayStation 3 game, which has sold more than one million copies, sees a virtual shoot-out between rival gunmen with hundreds killed during a battle inside the cathedral.' Officials from the Cathedral consulted their holy lawyers and urged Sony to pledge some of the profits from the game to charities concerned with gun crime.

Why it really wasn’t a big deal

Can you say ‘mountain out of a mole hill’? As you can see from the movie below this was ust a classic example of the media getting hold of something and blowing it out of proportion. The offending, completely fictional, section is fairly inoffensive compared to most other shooters on the market and Sony made a full page apology to the Church in the Manchester Evening News to save a bit of PR face. That and to avoid getting sued back to biblical times over IP issues. The apology was then accepted and the matter ended. Best steer away from using the Vatican in Resistance 3, though, Insomniac, eh?

Above: The offending Cathedral fight in all its God-baiting glory

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  • Twizinator - December 9, 2010 4:50 a.m.

    @ HoraceQS That is his opinion. Sounds like someone cant take sarcasm :P The Xbox is a great console. I haven't bought a PS3 because I don't have the funds, and I do own a Wii. Monster Hunter 3 is great!
  • FanofSaiyan - January 1, 2010 3:31 a.m.

    Bet those Celda haters are rolling in their graves... or there parents basement Lol
  • DryvBy - December 23, 2009 4:40 p.m.

    34 million were wrong with the Wii. The reason this sold: great marketing, and people who foolishly thought Nintendo was going to release great games. That Nintendo stamp of approval is just passed out for the Wii. Have a generic "babyz" game? Sure! That's a great choice for the Wii. I don't even shop for my Wii because of that. Oh, and let's not forget those 'great value' Wii VC games. $5 for Donkey Kong? No thanks.
  • jackthemenace - December 19, 2009 3:07 p.m.

    I'm actually really glad nintendo created the "toon link" style, because, and i know this will get me flamed like hell, i actually prefer the toon style. twilight princess was fantastic, but the grraphics left me feeling more than a little like shutting myself in a dark room and slitting my wrists. also, the wii does, (generally) suck. Don't get me wrong, the wii has had some great games, and again twilight princess was BRILLIANT, but the ratio of wii gems to wii shames is something like 1:372
  • Slapdog - January 19, 2009 6:51 p.m.

    Another citation might help here too: "Sony is in bad shape right now..." Really? Care to cite your source?
  • theguru - January 19, 2009 12:22 a.m.

    "Well, 34 million Wii owners can’t be wrong" you say? I beg to differ. So anoying trying to play anything on it, I'd prefer to to have most of its gmaes on another console, or atleast for the remotes to have a bit of a bigger range!
  • roguedvdrom - January 18, 2009 2:27 a.m.

    Very informative. I agree with all of it except for the wii which i still cant stand although i;ll admit that it was a huge success for nintendo. (noooo, really?) but i friggin LOVED Wind Waker.
  • Rzl - January 18, 2009 2:08 a.m.

    Oh I absolutely think exclusive titles do matter, it was why you bought it in the first place back in the day. I'm not here to debate which system is better, or defend Xbox. I just think so far Xbox beat Sony to the punch. Things like a late launch date, price, and so so line up of games for said launch kinda didn't help it.
  • HoraceQS - January 17, 2009 11:44 p.m.

    "Well, it just seems to me Sony was stagnate and dropped the ball by thinking PS3s were just going to practically sell themselves on the strength of the name alone." Unless you count all the new features like Blu-Ray and Wireless Integration out of the box a new archetecture and free online. Sony clearly tried to do new things with the PS3, I would actually make the argument that they overreached because those features made the console too expensive. "It's good hardware but thats only gonna get you so far if you don't have the games and marketing to support it in my opinion." And here it is, for everyone who says exclusives don't matter and that it's not a big deal when formerly exclusive franchises go multi-platform. Of course they matter.
  • Rzl - January 17, 2009 10:54 p.m.

    Well, it just seems to me Sony was stagnate and dropped the ball by thinking PS3s were just going to practically sell themselves on the strength of the name alone. It's good hardware but thats only gonna get you so far if you don't have the games and marketing to support it in my opinion. I have both systems, and for me there aren't too many games I'm willing to drop 60 bones on for PS3 that I don't already have on 360. It has alot of cool features but you wouldn't know it unless you get it.
  • Rzl - January 17, 2009 12:18 a.m.

    I've been playing games since '84 and I've seen systems come and go. Microsoft isn't going to kill gaming. Sega and Nintendo blew atari out of business in the 80's and were basically running the console market. Sony then seemingly came out of left field with something new and kicked the door in on them in the 90's . Microsoft did it in like 2000. They all had good hardware, good marketing, and good timing in common to make them stand out. In a few years some new system gonna do the same thing. Love it or hate it it's the way it is
  • Slapdog - January 16, 2009 7:42 p.m.

    "first titles" = "first party titles"
  • Slapdog - January 16, 2009 6:27 p.m.

    Is the word "first" really so offensive that people hate anyone who types it? Does it burn when you read it? Or are you just jealous you didn't get it? Did it start as jealousy and grow into "I'm too cool and 'mature' to put that?" Any defense would really only prove my point. Great article. I actually agree with the Microsoft thing. Microsoft has been hostile and killed a lot of software. However, they simply aren't big enough to "kill" Sony, and their involvement will only perpetuate competition leading to an overall better experience for the end-user: you.
  • hectorv1979 - January 16, 2009 3:48 p.m.

    everybody run screaming horace said microsoft is going to destroy the world ahhhh he was right my 360 is turning into a terminator
  • Xplosive59 - January 16, 2009 1:36 p.m.

    @HoraceQS Completely agree with you cause bill gates has done it before. Good Articles this week guys
  • NelosAngelos - January 15, 2009 11:02 p.m.

    Wind Waker was very good, kinda like playing a Saturday morning cartoon (the good ones anyway)
  • phoenix_wings - January 15, 2009 10:08 p.m.

    Haha, fun! I need to be first to compensate for the fact that I have nothing interesting to say or do, and spend all day refreshing the GR page to find new features! The Wii's novelty has pretty much worn off for me, I'm just looking for good games to come out...Same with the DS--especially since every time I walk by the Nintendo section and see more crapware like BABIEZ and the like littering up the shelves. And to be honest, I never played Wind Waker, but I did play Phantom Hourglass. While it did seem like more of a kiddie game, I have to say that I enjoyed Phantom Hourglass more than Twilight Princess, despite how pretty TP looked.
  • nudger - January 15, 2009 9:39 a.m.

    I don't understand why tardos add comments to these features saying things like "first" or "second, good feature", at least offer something like the next two guys have The Zelda controversy I thought was always ridiculous, its my favourite of the series personally (even beating Ocarina of Time!) and I actually enjoyed the sailing, I loved discovering new locations and changing the wind direction tactically to suit my needs. Fantastic game
  • Shellghost - January 15, 2009 5:45 a.m.

    i dont really understand how these Fanboys can get so worked up about a system, or even call themselves gamers if they are going to only touch one brand of a console.
  • Bioshockraptor - January 15, 2009 4:29 a.m.

    second. good feature