2011’s Top 5 Most Offensive Games
Lindsay Belle Chambers
With 2011 a not so distant past (I’m still accidentally writing 2011 on everything) it might be a good time to look back and examine some of the gaming industries more…controversial…games of the 2011. After all, the best way to move forward is to pinpoint exactly what went wrong, figure out the lesson, and learn from the mistake. So without any further ado, I give you:
2011 Most Controversial and Offensive Games
5.) Deux Ex: Human Revolution:
Let’s begin with Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the dystopian action RPG prequel to the original Deus Ex that was released in 2000. This game, like its predecessors, became an instant best seller and was praised internationally for its captivating story and emphasis on stealth combat. Unfortunately it didn’t take long for players to recognize a pretty offensive flaw in the Deus Ex: Human Revolution world in the form of what many considered to be downright racism.
While most of the NPC’s in Deus Ex: Human Revolution are so subtle as to be borderline dull, the street informant Letitia proved strangely flamboyant in her ridiculous 1930’s stereotypical Southern Black accent; Letitia’s most cringe worthy phrase perhaps being “Weellll sheeyit…If it ain’t da cap’n hisself!” Ugh.
Considering the game is set in futuristic China, many gamers and video game journalists called out the game’s designers for this completely unnecessary, and seemingly racist, error in judgment. Not only is Letitia’s accent, mannerisms and voice squirm inducing on a level only met by the crows of Disney’s Dumbo, but in a game with so much attention to detail this was, to many, an unforgivable anachronism.
4.) Dead Island:
Now we move onto the highly anticipated and grossly disappointing first person survival horror game, Dead Island, developed and published between Techland and Deep Silver.
The now famous Dead Island trailer, which was rumored to have earned the makers a movie offer, was the first in a long line of strange and offensive unveilings in that the trailer had almost nothing to do with the actual game.
After being teased with such an amazing trailer, gamers expected a breakthrough zombie experience, only to find Dead Island a zombified version of Borderlands with a handful of Left 4 Dead elements.
Then there came the issue of false advertising: Dead Island developers claimed the game would be single console co-op for months before the release, even stating the game was 2 person co-op on the Dead Island case itself, but unfortunately the game proved to be multi console co-op only, throwing fans of the Left 4 Dead multi player style into a blogging frenzy.
Of course, Dead Island can’t be considered truly controversial without some offensive elements, which it had in spades. Not only was an unlockable ability “Gender Wars” discovered, but on top of that the original name for the ability could be found in the easily accessible code- “FeministWhorePurna.”
Compounded with the game’s faulty storyline, horrifying depictions of males and incomprehensible opening sequence, Dead Island proved itself unable to live up to the high standard it’s trailer had promised. Too bad, considering the game itself is both fun and challenging; but that can be the cost of too much controversy for a game of so little substance.
3.) LA Noire:
Ah LA Noire, the long awaited noir crime game from Rockstar Games and Team Bondi. With breakthrough technology that captured actor’s expressions and actions, rather than having programmers create characters from scratch, alongside revolutionary story telling and problem solving tactics, this video game broke the boundaries of what, why, and how video games are told, played and created.
Sadly they also broke a few legal boundaries, forgetting about the who; LA Noire’s actual creators. Not only did game testers come forward claiming illegal mandates (such as lack of breaks, unfair pay, etc.) but over 130 employees came forward to accuse Team Bondi of exploitive working practices including massive amounts of uncompensated overtime, destructive work environment and lack of recognition (not being listed in LA Noire’s credits).
On top of all that the game itself faced a few minor gender and racial issues; mainly in it’s depiction of young girls and African Americans. Several gamers and gaming journalists noted that while the game stayed true to it’s 1940’s theme, the overabundance of racial stereotyping and over-sexualization of young girls within the game hinted at a production team using 1940’s culture as an excuse to run rampant with offensive characters.
This was more so about the several young girls within LA Noire who often claimed enjoying rape and forced sex with multiple older men; something Team Bondi and Rockstar Games has yet to comment on or explain.
Here’s a game that had the misfortune of being called out for it’s crude, weirdly sexist humor, but the good fortune of having the entire gaming community rally around it.
If you somehow stayed out of gaming news entirely, you’ll be surprised to learn that in February of 2011 Fox News ran the story “Is Bulletstorm the Worst Game in the World?”
Aside from the fact that boy howdy is Fox News good at asking loaded questions, the Fox News team then backed up their story with psychologist/author Dr. Jerry Weichman who claimed that “the increase in rapes can be attributed in large part to the playing out of (sexual) scenes in video games.”
Ignoring the fact that there has been no study even proving that there is a positive correlation between sexual crimes and video games, let alone causation, Fox News continued to question the effects of violence in all video games as the entire gaming world rose up against them
Now, while the claims made by Fox News and their psychologist were in no way correct and completely misleading, it was interesting that no one asked the question if Bulletstorm was maybe in the wrong at all with their over the top inconsideration and blatant crassness.
After all, Bulletstorm is a game that has playable moves like “Topless” and “Gangbang,” is there really nothing wrong with that? The game is rated M, but is a gang bang really something that only children could find offensive? Has it become completely acceptable to alienate an entire gender of gamers just to get a chuckle out of a handful of the opposite gender? Bulletstorm could have been cleverer and less offensive, but it went for a Duke Nukem type of humor and failed miserably; it may deserve our ridicule, but it definitely doesn’t justify the entire video game industry being called into question.
1.) Duke Nukem Forever:
Topping this list we have Duke Nukem Forever, the fifteen-year old bastard child first person shooter of more creators that you can stick a shake at (but for good form, here they are: Gearbox Software, Piranha Games, 3D Realms and Triptych Games.)
Duke Nukem himself is hardly a paragon of political correctness or courtesy, he’s more like the god of crude, lewd and rude. In the world of Duke Nukem, women are ridiculously dumb slut puppies with barely there clothing and forever open mouths, but then the men aren’t much better. Varying between complete morons and crudity obsessed fools the males in Duke Nukem Forever mirror the females in that they too are the perfect examples of the sexist ideal.
Obscenity is the name of the game, and if you don’t get offended in some way while playing Duke Nukem Forever you’re not having enough fun; being ridiculous and offensive is the point, revel in it and recognize that what Bulletstorm tried to do and failed, Duke Nukem succeeds with a grunt, grab of the balls and a booty slap.
And yes, Duke Nukem Forever is also offensive in that it is a terrible game that unsuccessfully mashes fifteen years of game play into an incomprehensible storyline that drags from scene to scene, but at least the mass amount of offensive material somehow conglomerates into a hysterical, have to experience mess.
Of course the gaming industry is under a lot more pressure and scrutiny as it becomes a more popular and mainstream industry. The games listed above were chosen for frequency of publications and news articles related to them, but of course most games have some controversial elements. If you have a game not on this list, please share it with us the and why you find it controversial!