Games are supposed to be fun, right? So why do they make negative headlines so often?
Here at GamePolitics we thought it would be fun to track the most publicized gaming scandals ever and we’d like your help. Check out our Top Ten below and then vote (right sidebar) for your choice of the biggest video game scandal of all time.
25 to Life (2006) – Politicians and police groups decried Eidos’ cops & robbers shooter; game reviewers hated it too, but for a different reason: it sucked
Hot Coffee (2005) – needs no introduction. Cheeky Rockstar programmers left hidden sex animations (accidentally or otherwise) buried in the PS2 code of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Modders made sure they didn’t stay buried for long. Rockstar’s denials only made things worse. And then Hillary got involved…
Xbox 360 Red Rings of Death (2007) – Microsoft hid the extent of the 360’s hardware failures for far too long; even now they won’t say what caused the failures or how widespread the problem is, but it must be a lot because MS has set aside a billion dollars to deal with it
SimCopter (1996) – a gay programmer making a social statement secretly coded animations of men kissing to appear during game play on certain dates; he got fired and Simcopter was re-released without the guy-smooching
Manhunt 2 (2007) – officialy banned in the U.K. and effectively banned by an AO rating stateside; was it the intense violence level or the ESRB’s payback to Take Two for Hot Coffee? Either way, this drama is ongoing as T2 reviews its options
PS3 Launch (2006) – fights, riots, shootings – and we’re not talking about the games – these were the unanticipated features of the PS3 launch, fueled by system shortages and overhyped consumer expectations
Columbine (1999) – when it was revealed that Dylan Harris and Eric Klebold were fans of Doom, the news fueled a firestorm of criticism over game violence that reached the Clinton White House and continues even now.
Resistance: Fall of Man (2007) – When religious leaders at Manchester Cathedral learned that PS3 launch title Resistance: Fall of Man included a level based on the interior of the house of worship they demanded a recall, drawing a dubious linkage between Resistance and local gun violence in Manchester. The story made international headlines and earned criticism from then-Prime Minister Tony Blair and Parliament. Sony issued an apology, but officials still aren’t satisfied.
Super Columbine Massacre RPG (2006) – Designer Danny Ledonne wanted to use the video game medium to explore the reasons behind the Columbine shootings; Although some acclaimed Ledonne’s effort, others hated it; the game was blamed by some for Kimveer Gill’s shooting rampage at Montreal’s Dawson College and made more headlines when officials of the Slamdance Competition yanked SCMRPG from the event.
Night Trap (1993) – the bloody Sega CD offering featured down on her luck actress Dana Plato and became the subject of hearings in the U.S. Senate over its violence; the controversy helped launch the ESA and, ultmately, the ESRB.
There’s no doubt we left out some scandals, but we had to whittle the list down to ten. If we missed your favorite, feel free to let us know in comments, or use the “other” box on the poll.
And be sure to vote for the top video game scandal of all time!