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Sunday, September 23, 2021

robotic controversy
This list of the most “controversial” videogames from the past decade-and-a-half makes me think that, really, shock value is judged on a constantly sliding scale.

As Exhibit A, I point to Adult Swim’s collection of online Flash games, which I’ve lately been turned onto. Think Mortal Kombat’s blood-and-gore graphics is unnerving? Load up shock-schlockers like:

- Viva Caligula: Terrorize your subjects with all 26 weapons — including exposing your “Imperial manhood” for shock value — to achieve enough experience point to unlock the Orgy Level. Hey, at least it’s historical.

- Orphan Feast: Orphans in Victorian London tasted good. Not like the orphans you get these days. Dickensian inspiration throughout, including the avoidance of one Artful Dodger and various overweight whores readily jumping on you.

- 5 Minutes to Kill (Yourself): Stick it to the Man by sticking it to yourself. You’ve got a microwave, scissors, some office supplies, a giant shark… and five minutes.

It’s a bit apples-to-oranges to compare commercially sold games to Adult Swim’s freebie applets, although in practical terms, they’re both targeted toward younger-skewing audiences. And the Adult Swim offerings are more explicitly tongue-in-cheek. But if the usual uptight types have some bottled-up outrage to uncork, they know where to point their mouses.

Back to the Yahoo! controversial list. All of them deal with videogame violence, save the one which I find to be the funniest:

SimCopter (1996: PC) - Before Rockstar was scalded by Hot Coffee, sim developer Maxis was burned by Hot Guys In Speedos. Upset with what he considered unfair working conditions (i.e. too many hours, not enough margaritas), a SimCopter programmer named Jacques Servin decided to play a bit of a prank by making a few alterations to the game code just before it shipped: on certain dates, scads of shirtless male sprites (dubbed “himbos”) would gather in great numbers to hug and kiss. When word of the unauthorized code leaked, sales skyrocketed and Servin was summarily fired. Where’s the love?

Pity the unsuspecting Sim jockeys whose eyes were assaulted by himbo make-out sessions! Given societal mores on sex vs. violence (with attitudes toward homosexuality mixed in), maybe if the scene concluded with those sprites getting decapitated by the SimCopter rotors, controversy would have been averted.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 09/23/2007 09:02:36 PM
Category: Comedy, Videogames | Permalink | Feedback