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Since the early days of video game industry, there have been many controversies related to violence/ gore in video games, explicit graphics, sexual themes/ nudity, drug/ alcohol and industry practices.

20 Biggest Gaming Controversies: 1989 to 2009

Release date Title Platform(s) Developer(s) Reason(s)
1973 Gotcha Arcade Atari Controversial due to the controls being perceived as pink rubber bulges

that were meant to represent breasts and were squeezed in order to control the action

1976 Death Race Arcade Exidy The objective of the game is to run over stickmen "gremlins", who then scream and are replaced by tombstones, which was perceived as violence
1982 Custer's Revenge Atari 2600 Mystique The game depicts a crudely rendered General Custer dodging arrows to reach a naked Native American woman tied to a cactus.

As a reward, he was allowed to have sex with her (if he survived), and received points for doing so. This quickly led to controversy regarding whether he was raping her, or if she participated willingly

1984-2009 Punch-Out!! Arcade/ NES/ SNES/Wii Nintendo/Next Level Games (2009 version) Numerous instances of racial stereotyping, mainly of the opponent boxers that the player fights
1985 International Karate Amstrad CPC/ Apple II/ Atari 8-bit/ Atari ST/Commodore 64/Commodore 16/ MS-DOS/ MSX/ ZX Spectrum System 3 Data East USA sued Epyx, the publisher of the game in the United States (under the name of World Karate Championship) due to similarities between International Karate and Data East's Karate Champ. Although the suit was dismissed, Data East did obtain an injunction to prevent further sales of World Karate Championship, which was subsequently appealed and reversed
1986 177 NEC PC-8801 dB-soft A bishoujo game revolving around rape, it ignited a public furor that reached the National Diet of Japan
1986 Chiller Arcade/NES Exidy Senseless, gory victimization of innocent victims led arcade owners to widely reject it
1987 Barbarian: The Ultimate Warrior Acorn Electron/ Amiga/ Amstrad CPC/ Apple II/Atari ST/BBC Micro/Commodore 64/ MS-DOS/ ZX Spectrum Palace Software The cover art of the game, which featured bikini-clad Maria Whittaker, a model who was then associated with The Sun tabloid's Page Three topless photo shoots, and Michael Van Wijk, who was only wearing a loincloth, provoked outrage in the United Kingdom. Electron User magazine received letters from readers and religious bodies, who called

the image "offensive and particularly insulting to women" and an "ugly pornographic advertisement". Barbarian's violent content was also controversial and was banned in Germany by the Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Medien because of it.

1987 Super Monaco GP Arcade/Sega Genesis/ Amiga/ Amstrad CPC/ Atari ST/ Commodore 64/ Game Gear/ Sega Master System/ ZX Spectrum Sega Phillip Morris sued Sega (and some other video game companies, including Namco and Atari Games on behalf of their Final Lap game) because the arcade version of the game contains advertisements that resemble those for Marlboro cigarettes
1987-current Leisure Suit Larry franchise PC/ PS2/Xbox/ PS3/Xbox 360 Sierra Entertainment Controversial for its obscenities and mature humor. Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude was released on PC both censored and uncensored in the United States; the game was banned in Australia.
1988–2010 Splatterhouse franchise Arcade/ Famicom/TurboGrafx-16/ Sega Genesis Namco Blood and gore, violence, and some questionable enemies. Critics

described the game as "massive disappointment" and "violent, excessively gory brawler"

1991 J.B. Harold Murder Club TurboGrafx-16 NEC Sexual themes, including reference to an unsolved rape
1992 Wolfenstein 3D DOS/ SNES id Software Violence, gore, Nazi symbolism, and the inclusion of Adolf Hitler as the final boss
1992–present Mortal Kombat series Arcade Midway Blood, violence and gore. First fighter to introduce "Fatalities" to finish off opponents. When released for home console formats became the first "big budget"

game to raise the issue of violence in the medium. Possible catalyst to the implementation of a rating system.

1992 Night Trap Sega CD Digital Pictures Violence, child abuse and sexual themes
1993 Fighter's History Arcade/ SNES Data East Capcom sued Data East in the United States and Japan on grounds of copyright infringements pertaining to Street Fighter II property. The U.S. case was ruled in favor of Data East (which argued Karate Champ was the true originator of the competitive fighting game genre), as the "copied" elements were excluded from copyright, similar to Apple's graphical user interface lawsuit against Microsoft.
1993 Doom (1993) PC id Software Excessive violence, gore, and satanic themes. Was once blamed for the Columbine High School massacre.
1996-current Pokemon franchise Game Boy/Nintendo 64, Game Boy Color/ Game Boy Advance/ GameCube/ Nintendo DS/Wii/ WiiWare/Nintendo 3DS/Wii U Nintendo/ Game Freak Jynx, one of the series' titular creatures, came under heavy backlash following a 2000 article by Carole Boston Weatherford that accused its design of perpetrating blackface imagery. The resulting controversy forced a drastic redesign of Jynx, changing

its skin from black to purple and shrinking its eyes and mouth. The series was also attacked by fundamentalist Christian groups, who argued that it promoted Satanic themes. In response, the Vatican broadcast its public approval of Pokémon in April 2001, claiming that the game was based on "intense ties of friendship" and lacked "any harmful moral side effects."

1996 SimCopter PC Maxis A programmer named Jacques Servin introduced unauthorized "himbo" characters into the game, who would appear on certain dates and kiss
1996 Duke Nukem 3D PC/ Sega Saturn/ PS1 3D Realms Violence, sexual themes and scenes containing naked characters
1996 Tomb Raider (1996) PC/ Sega Saturn/PS1 Eidos An unauthorized software patch nicknamed "Nude Raider" was created by fans which allowed players to play as a naked Lara Croft
1996 Battlecruiser 3000AD PC 3000 AD The game's long, troubled development, including the claims of use of neural network for the game's AI in the game's marketing, was a subject of multiple, year-long flame wars across the Usenet, generating over 70,000 posts and number of web sites documenting the flame wars
1997 Shadow Warrior PC/ Mac/ iOS 3D Realms Raised questions for "insensitive" and "inauthentic" depictions of East Asian society and culture; 3D Realms responded that they did not intend to make a racist game but

had deliberately used a melange of Asian culture in order to create a "fun game" which "didn't take itself too seriously" and parodied "bad kung fu movies". Despite their response, such criticism had persisted

1997 Carmageddon PC/ Mac/ N64/ iOS/PS1 SCi/ Interplay Entertainment Violence against animals and pedestrians
1997 Postal PC Running with Scissors Violence and counter-law, most of which is perpetrated against law enforcement and civilians
1997 - current Grand Theft Auto franchise PC/PS1/PS2/PS3/PS4/Xbox/ Xbox 360/ Xbox 1 Rockstar Games Sexual themes, drug use, racism, naked characters, language, drunk driving, violence (against civilians, law enforcement personnel and military soldiers). Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was originally rated "Mature" in the U.S., but was re-rated "Adults Only" after controversy surrounding a notably fanmade Hot Coffee mod which unlocked a hidden sex scene (which was in the game's code, but

left out of the final version). It was re-rated "Mature" after Rockstar Games removed this scene from the game's code.[35] Grand Theft Auto IV shows frontal male nudity and in Grand Theft Auto V, one mission sees the character Trevor Phillips torturing another character in several different ways, including waterboarding, tooth extraction and administering electrical shocks to the nipples.

1997 Formula 1 97 PC/PS1 Psygnosis Withdrawn from shops six weeks following its release due to legal wranglings with the FIA (Formula One's governing body) objecting to the use of the FIA logo on

the game's packaging. It was re-released without the logo, but the FIA were still unhappy. However, the FIA lost a court case, and the game continued to be sold without the logo

1998 Thrill Kill PS1 Virgin Interactive Following Electronic Arts' acquisition of Virgin Interactive's assets in mid-1998, it swiftly cancelled the release of Thrill Kill, which was due to be released in time for the vacation, because of objectives regarding the game's high amount of violence.
1999 Kingpin: Life of Crime PC Interplay Entertainment Excessive violence
2000 Dance Dance Revolution Solo Arcade Konami In 2002, a local arcade in San Diego, California removed a Solo 2000

machine after members of the local "Youth Advocacy Coalition" complained that the background movies of selected songs contained images that could promote drug and alcohol abuse, such as a scantily clad nurse and pills in "I'm Alive" and alcoholic drinks appearing in "Club Tropicana". The machine was replaced by a mix which did not contain the imagery

2000 Daikatana PC Ion Storm Highly questionable advertisement about John Romero's involvement with the game caused a publicised outrage.
2000 Perfect Dark N64 Rare/ Nintendo The first M-rated published game by Nintendo, the release was met with objections because Nintendo at least at that time was known for family-friendly franchises such as Pokemon and Mario
2001 Conker's Bad Fur Day N64 Rare "Over the top" and "lewd" humour
2001 Tear Ring Saga PS1 Tirnanog The game, whose development was spearheaded by Shouzou Kaga, the creator of Fire Emblem series, was subject to legal actions during and after development by Nintendo, which owned the Fire Emblem intellectual property (partly due to the game being released for a

competitor console), although ultimately Nintendo was unable to stop the development or the sales of the game. Initially titled Emblem Saga during development, the game's name and other features were later changed to remove all direct references to Fire Emblem

2002 Shadow Man: Second Coming PS2 Acclaim An attempt to market and promote the video game involved placing advertisements on dead people's gravestones
2002 Ethnic Cleansing PC Resistance Records Racially motivated violence and white supremacist themes
2002 Kaboom! Browser fabolous999 Players assume the role of a suicide bomber and aim to kill as many people as possible
2002 State of Emergency PC/PS2/Xbox Rockstar Games Contains Columbine-style violence, including political assassinations and coup d'états. Also caused controversy in Washington due to the game's similarities to the World Trade Organization riots in Seattle
2003 Postal 2 PC Running with Scissors Violence against pedestrians and police officers, racism, sexual themes,

drug use, language, and animal cruelty. Banned in New Zealand, Sweden and Australia

2003 Manhunt PS2/PC/Xbox Rockstar games Violence and gore. Sparked significant controversy when it was claimed the game inspired a teenager to perpetrate murder. Banned in Australia
2003 Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball Xbox Tecmo Critics have remarked the game's use of feminine bodies is often ridiculous and some found it offensive
2003 Whiplash PS2/ Xbox Crystal Dynamics Controversial over animal cruelty
2004 The Sims 2 PC EA Games Player-made mod allows the blur effect that appears when a character is naked to be removed but the Sims are featureless even when nude
2004 JFK: Reloaded PC Traffic Software Players assume the role of Lee Harvey Oswald as he assassinates President Jonathan Franklin Kennedy. Criticised for recreating the assassination and was condemned as 'despicable' by a spokesman for Senator Ted Kennedy
2005 Super Columbine Massacre RPG! PC Danny Ledonne Game replicates the events of the Columbine High School shooting - the player assumes the roles of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold
2005 Gun PC/PS2/Xbox/GameCube/Xbox 360 Activision Offensive depiction of American Indians, prompting the Association for American Indian Development to boycott the game
2005 The Punisher PC/PS2/Xbox Volition Interrogation, torture, intense gun battles, drugs and merciless violence. Originally warranted an 'Adults Only'' rating before being edited on appeal
2006 Bully PS3/Xbox 360/PS2/Wii Rockstar Games Based upon its title, it was perceived that Bully glorified bullying. That the main character Jimmy could also kiss another boy was a matter of controversy. Classification boards generally restricted Bully to a teenage audience: the US-based Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) classified the game with a T rating, the British Board of Film Classification gave it a 15 rating, the Australian Classification Board rated it M, and the New Zealand OFLC restricted it to persons 13 years of age and over. In 2007, Yahoo! Games listed it as one of the top ten controversial games of all time
2006 The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Xbox 360/PC/PS3 Bethesda Softworks Re-rated by the ESRB after a third-party mod revealed a nude topless

graphic hidden in the game's data files. While the graphic did not warrant a re-rating of the game in and of itself, upon review, the ESRB noted that the game contained much more explicit violence than had been submitted to them in the original rating submission

2006 Hitman: Blood Money PC/PS2/Xbox/Xbox 360/PS3 IO Interactive Violence and assassination. Magazine ads featured pictures depicting murder victims.
2006 Mind Quiz Nintendo DS/PSP Ubisoft The United Kingdom considered the word 'spastic' highly offensive - this was in the game, and thus there was a recall in said country.
2006 Left Behind: Eternal Forces PC Left Behind Games Accusations that the game promoted religious "convert or kill" violence, sexism and racism. Some reviewers denied that the game contained any truly controversial gameplay.
2006 Resistance: Fall of Man PS3 Insomniac Games A gun battle set in the Manchester Cathedral drew objections from the Church of England, and the organisation called for the game to be withdraw or for the landmark to be removed from the game - but the controversial mission remains unchanged as of 2017.
2006 RapeLay PC Illusion Soft Rape is a core part of the gameplay, for the player takes on the role of a chikan who stalks, and subsequently rapes a mother and her two daughters, at

least one of whom is underage. Three years after its initial release, significant controversy was raised in the UK Parliament and elsewhere, and Equality Now eventually pressured its distributor to withdraw distribution of it in Japan

2006 Rule of Rose PS2 Punchline The mayor of Rome called for the game to be banned from Italy, saying children "have the right to be shielded from violence". The then European Union

justice and security commissioner wrote an open letter condemning the game for "obscene cruelty and brutality". An Italian magazine, Panorama, claimed that in order to win the game players must bury a girl alive, which the game's European publisher disputed. On the UK release day, the publisher announced that Rule of Rose would not be published in the UK, despite the game being approved for release by the Pan European Game Information (PEGI) and Video Standards Council regulatory bodies

2007 BioShock Xbox 360/PC/PS3 2K Games An article in The Patriot Ledger, the local paper of developer Irrational Games,

argued that the game is "testing the limits of the ultraviolent gaming genre with a strategy that enables players to kill characters resembling young girls."] The game presents an ethical choice to players, whether to kill 'Little Sisters' for extra abilities or save them and receive less. President of 2K Boston Ken Levine defended the game as a piece of art, stating "we want to deal with challenging moral issues and if you want to do that, you have to go to some dark places". Jack Thompson took issue with advertisements for the game appearing during WWE SmackDown's airtime, writing to the Federal Trade Commission and stating that M-rated games should not be advertised when large numbers of under-17s are watching

2007 Manhunt 2 PS2/PSP/PC/Wii Rockstar Games Possibly the most violent video game ever made and is infamous for being one of only 3 games to merit an 'Adults-Only' rating due to extreme violence; the other two being The Punisher and Hatred. The Wii version in particular also raised some questions because it actually simulates the violence via motion controller, thus calling it 'murder simulator'.
2007 Mass Effect PS3/Xbox 360/PC BioWare Falsely accused by evangelical blogger Kevin McCullough of containing "rape and sodomy", which later led to the removal of McCullough's blog entry on The game was featured on the Fox News Channel following the controversy, with host Martha MacCallum, which included the headline "full graphic sex". In actuality, the game's most explicit content is an indirect "sideboob" shot of a humanoid-alien breast
2007 Mario Party 8 Wii Nintendo Use of the phrase "Turn the train spastic! Make this ticket tragic!" by the character Kamek caused controversy in the United Kingdom, where the word spastic is considered offensive. This led to a recall of the game; it was later re-released with the word changed to erratic
2008 Spore PC Maxis The use and implementation of SecuROM digital rights management, including the game's activation policies, was subject of widespread criticism and lawsuits. The game was listed as the most pirated game of 2008
2008 Muslim Massacre PC Eric 'Sigvatr' Vaughn The game's contents and subject have been the subject of strong negative response; a spokesperson for the Muslim Council of Britain said "The makers of this 'game' and the ISPs [Internet service

providers] who are hosting it should be quite ashamed of themselves. Anti-Muslim prejudice is already on the increase and needs to be challenged and not reinforced through tasteless and offensive stunts like this."

2008 Invaders! Douglas Edric Stanley An art game exhibited at the 2008 Games Convention in Leipzig. It represents the September 11 attacks in the style of Space Invaders. Players move their bodies to move the cannon and use arm movements to fire. Like the original Space Invaders, death (game over) is inevitable. Many people considered it tasteless and inappropriate, and Taito threatened legal action for unauthorized use of Space Invaders content. The creator later pulled the game
2008 Silent Hill: Homecoming PS3/PC/Xbox 360 Double Helix Games Extremely vicious and violent even for conventions like that which Silent Hill established, the game involves intense violence and disturbing imagery which included graphic sexuality, copious blood spray, decapitations, partially dismembered

corpses, and numerous scenes of attacks, fights, torture, loss of limbs and death. Banned and refused to be rated in Germany and Australia; the latter version was subsequently edited with censored graphics and released with the MA15+ rating. The Japanese version was never released.

2008 LittleBigPlanet PS3 Media Molecule Lyrics from a licensed song 'Tapha Niang' were removed for fears that Muslims would be offended because it apparently contained words from the Quran. This in turn led to questions about the removal itself.
2008 Too Human Xbox 360 Silicon Knights The game was revealed to developed using a stolen version of Unreal Engine 3, following a successful counter-suit by Epic Games (makers of the Unreal Engine), Silicon Knights having initially sued Epic Games for "breach of contract". In November 2012, the counter-suit were ruled in favor of Epic Games,

forcing Silicon Knights to recall and destroy all copies of the game and another Unreal Engine-developed game, X-Men: Destiny, as well as cancelling other titles that had been planned to use the engine

2009 MadWorld Wii PlatinumGames The over-the-top, extreme violence led to much criticism, and the Daily Mail described this as the 'most violent video game ever'. The Wii has also been long believed to be little more than a 'family-friendly' console, and because of this, many parental organisations have condemned the game's exclusive release on the Wii.
2009 Resident Evil 5 PS3/ Xbox 360/PC Capcom For a pre-release trailer that contains scenes of racism, according to Newsweek journalist N'Gai Croal in an April 2008 interview. He also stated that

organizations and retailers would object to the game and that it would cause controversy on release

2008 Saw PS3/Xbox 360/PC Konami Several news publishings stated that the game's only purpose was to

torture and kill people in violent ways with no sense of restraint or morality. Some editorials called it "depraved and inhumane" and stated that "Konami should be ashamed". It was also listed in the "Top ten most controversial games of 2009"

2009 Left 4 Dead 2 Xbox 360, PC Valve Corporation The cover art in the UK had to be altered due to a potentially offensive hand gesture being depicted. The game was banned in Australia for its excessive violence and gore, but later the uncensored version was rated. The game's New Orleans setting so soon after Hurricane Katrina was considered "a bad call"
2009 Fat Princess PS3/PSP Titan Studios Feminists argued the game concept and title was hostile to women.
2009 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 PS3/Xbox 360/PC Infinity Ward An optional mission in the game entitled 'No Russian' involves the player assuming the role of an undercover Central Intelligence Agency operative who perpetrates an airport shooting with a group of Russian nationalist terrorists. The player may elect to skip it at any point, and a warning before the campaign also notifies them of the disturbing content. The game was discussed briefly in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom after the issue was brought to the attention of MP Keith Vaz, a longtime opponent of violence in video games, with fellow Labour Party politican Tom Watson arguing the mission was "no worse than scenes in many films and books" and criticising Vaz for "collaborating with the Daily Mail to create moral panic over the use of video games". The mission was made optional before release and removed from the game entirely.

The Javelin missile launcher was criticised for being ridiculously overpowered, especially when used in conjunction with the Scavenger and Danger Close perks, which respectively allow players to constantly replenish ammunition and multiply explosive damage. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 subsequently altered Scavenger to never replenish explosive munitions, and removed Danger Close altogether.

Activision later removed the Favela multiplayer map from Modern Warfare 2 following complaints from Muslim gamers, which shows picture frames on the second floor bathroom of one building within Favela. When viewed through a scoped weapon, the frames contain a quote from Muhammad that translates to "Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty", according to Islam Today. One of the paintings is located directly above a toilet

2010 Medal of Honour PS3/ Xbox 360/ PC Danger Close Games/EA Digital Illusions CE The multiplayer mode created controversy when it was revealed that players could play as the Taliban. The developers responded by stating the reality of the game

necessitated it, but due to pressure from various military officials and veterans organizations, the word Taliban was removed from the multiplayer part of the game in which players would directly play as the Taliban, instead replaced with the term "Opposing Force." However, even in light of this change, the game is still not to be sold on military bases. The AAFES Commander Maj. Gen. Bruce Casella said, "Out of respect to those touched by the ongoing, real-life events presented as a game, Exchanges will not be carrying this product." He continued, "I expect the military families who are authorized to shop the Exchange are aware, and understanding, of the decision not to carry this particular offering."

2010 Six Days in Fallujah PS3/Xbox 360/PC Atomic Games Opposed by both the public and critics alike for 'glamorising' and 'glossing over' the real-life Second Battle of Fallujah. The former publisher, Konami, therefore stopped publishing it.
2011 Bulletstorm PS3/Xbox 360/PC Electronics Arts Fox News Channel

called out the title as the "Worst Video Game in the World" due to the extreme amount of violence; claims made in the original article were dispelled by video game journalists including Rock Paper Shotgun, but Fox News continues to assert the game as too violent.

2011 Portal 2 PS3/Xbox 360/PC Valve Corporation CBS News deemed the game offensive to adopted kids because Wheatley insults the protagonist with 'Fatty fatty no parents'.
2011 Call of Juarez: The Cartel PS3/Xbox 360/PC Ubisoft Residents of Ciudad Juárez and Mexico protested the announcement of the game, perceiving it to highlight the Juárez Cartel, who are, in turn, believed responsible for over 3000 homicides in the city in 2010
2011 Dead Island PS3/Xbox 360/PC Deep Silver After a development build of the game was accidentally released on Steam, it was revealed that the skill 'Gender Wars' (which the

character Purna uses) was called 'FeministWhorePurna' within the game's code. Developer Deep Silver apologised and released a patch for the game to replace the offensive name

2012 Counter Strike: Global Offensive PS3/Xbox 360/PC Valve Corporation The game was criticised in 2016 because several players used third party betting through the use of skin gambling - this involves players selling in-game cosmetics for true currency. This led to worries of potential underage players participating in skin gamling, which could possibly lead to future gambling addictions. Valve has since ordered a cease and desist against many Counter Strike gambling websites.
2012 Medal of Honour: Warfighter PS3/Xbox 360/PC Danger Close Games Several members of the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU) who were game consultants were penalised for releasing classified information to the game creators.
2012 Street Fighter X Tekken PS3/Xbox 360/PC/iOS/PSV Capcom/Dimps The game's downloadable characters were already on the disc in a ready-to-unlock form
2012 Persona 4 Arena PS3/Xbox 360 Atlus/Arc System Works The PlayStation 3 version of the game includes a regional lockout,

allowing the game to be played only if the game's region matches the console region, despite the fact that PlayStation 3 games are normally region-free, leading to a massive fan outrage.

2012 Mass Effect 3 PS3/Xbox 360/PC/Wii U BioWare The ending was highly criticised because, among other issues, it rendered all the decisions made by players in the trilogy, carried over through save files, essentially moot, in contrast to marketing materials BioWare had put forth for the game. The company released free downloadable content that provided a more cinematic ending sequence which addressed some of these concerns.
2013 Payday 2 PS4/Xbox 1/PC Overkill Software The developers claimed it would never have microtransactions despite possessing a large array of downloadable content, but a major game update released in October 2015 included rewards which required the player to use real-world currency to purchase keys in order to unlock, and with rewards that may be rendered useless should the player refuse to purchase certain parts of downloable content. In May 2016, Overkill acquired full rights to the Payday series, and among other announcements relating to the franchise, announced they would remove the microtransactions from Payday 2.
2013 Tomb Raider (2013) PS3/Xbox 360/PC Crystal Dynamics During an interview with Kotaku, executive producer Ron Rosenberg stated that one scene in the game depicts Lara Croft about to be sexually assaulted

by a scavenger. She is forced to fight back and kill him in return. Prior to the game's release, this quickly led to controversy concerning the possible "attempted rape" sequence. Studio manager Darrell Gallagher later denied this, stating that one of "the character defining moments for Lara in the game, which has incorrectly been referred to as an 'attempted rape' scene is the content we showed" where "Lara is forced to kill another human for the first time. In this particular selection, while there is a threatening undertone in the sequence and surrounding drama, it never goes any further than the scenes that we have already shown publicly. Sexual assault of any kind is categorically not a theme that we cover in this game

2013 Saints Row IV PS3/Xbox 360/PC Volition The first video game to be denied classification despite changes in the Australian Classification Board which adopted rules to classify mature video games in January 2013. This was because drugs were present in the game, and an alien anal probe weapon was useable. Volition removed these elements from the game to warrant an MA15+ rating by eliminating the missions in which these were used, rendering the game's co-op mode incompatible with versions from other countries.
2013 The Stanley Parable PC Galactic Cafe An in-game instructional video called 'Choice' featured a picture in which a white character set a black kid aflame.
2014 South Park: The Stick of Truth PS3/Xbox 360/PC Obsidian Entertainment South Park Digital Studios Ubisoft decided to censor the game in Europe and Australia because it depicted an anal probing by aliens, and the player/character performed an abortion. The game supplants these with a still picture of a statue holding its face in Europe or a crying koala in Australia supported by music, while an explicit description of the event is shown. The German version was specifically censored because it used Nazi- and Hitler-related imagery, including swastikas and Nazi salutes, which are illegal in that country, though this remained intact for all other countries.
2015 Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number PC Dennaton Games incorporates a large amount of violence as the player sets to kill off

agents of the local mafia, but a preview build for the sequel includes a scene that is set up where the player's character then appears to rape a female antagonist, though this is later presented in the context of being part of a staged movie scene. Journalists felt that even though the game made it clear of the scene's setup, the inclusion of this scene went too far in taste levels. Despite some changes and assurances made by the developer, the scene in the game caused the Australian Classification Board to refuse to classify the game, effectively preventing legal sale of the title in that country.

2015 Hatred PC Destructive Creations The player assumes control of a suicidal mass murderer, and the primary mechanic involves shooting innocent civilians in the murderer's fit of rage. The CEO

behind Hatred has been accused of having neo-Nazi, anti-Islamic affiliations due to liking some pages on Facebook related to such beliefs. The title has been highly controversial, and when the developers attempted to place it on the Steam Greenlight service, it was pulled by Valve due to the game's content; however, it has been brought back onto Greenlight by Gabe Newell, and later apologized for the removal. The game was rated "Adults Only" (AO) by the ESRB, which prevents retail sales and its release on consoles and would likely prevent its sale on digital storefronts for personal computers.

2015 Playing History 2: Slave Trade PC Serious Games The game was created by Serious Games as an edutainment title to teach the user about slave trading.

One game mode in the title was called "Slave Tetris", with the goal to try to fit as many African slaves on a boat, using gameplay similar to Tetris; the developer had intended to show how inhumane the slave traders were and how such trade boats were packed to capacity, stating "it really gets people to think about just how absurd and cruel it is". When the mode was discovered by a wider audience due to discounted sales of the game and Let's Play broadcasts of it, many critics expressed distaste for the mode, considering it to be highly insensitive. The developer pulled the mode from the game following this outrage

2016 Survival Island 3 iOS/Android NIL Entertainment The game involves a white character, controlled by the player, in a battle against Indigenous Australians and also destroying Australian fauna. After lodged a petition, the game was never released on the App Store and Google Play.
2015 Pakistan Army Retribution Android A first-person shooter game, based upon the 2014 Peshawar school massacre.

Developed as part of the Peaceful Pakistan peace campaign, the game allowed the player to control a soldier during the attack and kill Taliban terrorists. After a negative review on the website of newspaper DAWN, calling the game to be of "poor taste", other people also outed their criticism. The game was subsequently pulled from the Google Play Store in January 2016.

2016 Overwatch Microsoft Windows/PS4/Xbox 1 Blizzard Entertainment A team-based multiplayer shooter includes a number of unique characters,

and matches concluded with the winning character doing one of several possible victory poses that can be selected by the player. Some players found that the victory pose for one character, a young woman named Tracer who is also shown on the game's cover art, was overtly sexual and reduced the character to a "bland female sex symbol". Blizzard removed the offending pose, replacing it with a pin-up model-inspired pose

2016 Street Fighter V PS4/Microsoft Windows Capcom/Dimps An update for the PC version of the game released in September 2016 included a device driver named Capcom.sys, as a part of the game's anti-cheat measures, which was seen by players and security analysts as a rootkit. Capcom has since provided a rollback. In 2017, an update which added M. Bison's classic Street Fighter II stage was taken down after fans noticed Islamic chants in what was actually a Buddhist temple
2016 Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear Microsoft Windows Beamdog Though the game was criticized by players on its release due to a

number of software bugs, a controversy arose at what was perceived as a forced political agenda by the developers, in particular the inclusion of a transgender character

2016 Pokemon Go iOS/Android Niantic, Inc/Nintendo Sparked considerable controversy after the game allegedly inspired criminals to commit robberies using the augmented reality feature. CNN reported that the geolocation feature was used for robbers to find and capture victims. The game was also criticised for apparently promoting Satanic themes.
2016 Persona 5 PS3/PS4 Atlus Atlus spoiler policy for the game, including the disabling of native streaming of the game and threatening takedowns of users posting videos of the game's endgame, were all highly criticised.
2017 Fight of Gods Microsoft Windows PQube A satirical fighting game between

various religious and mythical god or god-like entities. When Jesus was added as a playable character in September 2017, the government of Malaysia considered it "blasphemous", demanded Valve remove the game from Steam, and had its ISPs temporarily block the country's access to Steam. Valve eventually blocked sale of the game in Malaysia, allowing the service to be restored in the country

2017 Star Wars Battlefront 2 Microsoft Windows/PS4/Xbox 1 Electronic Arts The game was criticised in November 2017 when its loot box monetisation system during the open beta was revealed, because many felt it was a 'pay-to-win' scheme since some loot box rewards directly influenced multiplayer gamplay. Electronic Arts revisited the loot box approach prior to launch to address these concerns. Before the game was fully released, it then transpired then many of the playable heroes would be locked until the player had accumulated sufficient in-game credits over time, or spent currency on microtransactions to unlock them faster. EA attempted to justify the change on the games sobforum on Reddit but this was criticised further, making that comment the most down-voted Reddit post of all time. Hours before releasing the game, EA temporarily disabled all microtransactions for the game to review concerns by players and rework the in-currency systems after launch.

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