The Top 7... Controversies Waiting to Happen

Sept 4, 2007

Scapegoats - gaming's full of them. Each and every year, the media sacrifices a new one to the public, proving again and again how violent and disgusting our hobby supposedly is. But they don't even know the half of it.

Posturing politicians and clueless news anchors love to sensationalize the obvious stuff - Super Columbine RPG, Ethnic Cleansing, JFK Reloaded, etc - games with seriously shocking titles but no real fans or audience (until the media shines the spotlight on them, anyway). Meanwhile, the truly offensive and dangerous material is slipping right under their noses in the most popular and commercial products.

Want to know just how ignorant society's watchdogs are? The following seven controversial games didn't register a single blip on their radar. Hell, some of these they've probably even purchased for their own children...

Shin Megami Tensei

Reason for controversy: Take your pick - cannibalism, suicide, demon summoning, high school violence, perverted religion. Oh, and those are just the games released in English.

Shin Megami Tensei courts fiery controversy with each and every entry. The long-running RPG series is famous in Japan for featuring demons and deities from almost every religion and mythological tradition in history. And, like Grandia II, the portrayal is not usually one your local minister would approve of.

In one game, for example, you forge and negotiate contracts with demons for mutual benefit. Another sees your hero surviving the apocalypse, transforming into a devil-human hybrid and following orders from Lucifer himself. Yet another contains youngsters who devour the flesh of those they conquer in battle. Still not enough to shock you? How about high school students who gain powers by shooting themselves in the head? Or a war with YHWH, the god of Judeo-Christianity? Or the resurrection of Adolf Hitler?

Seriously, pick your poison and Shin Megami Tensei has got you covered.

How did the media miss this one? For now, the Shin Megami Tensei series is as niche as it gets; even the number of gamers who are aware of its existence is a tiny minority. And with that unpronounceable title, the chances of a confused grandmother accidentally picking it up in her local Wal-Mart are close to nil.

Good news for you, then, because the series is a fantastic and emotionally powerful one. Enjoy the mature and adult themes before some blowhard decides what's appropriate for you.