Gaming’s 10 Biggest Scandals of All-time

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!


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  1. 0

    […] 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.[/blockquote] [url=]Source[/url] This article sounds like they just did a Google search and threw it together.  Only 3 were not from the most recent 3 years.  This business is over 30 years old, I imagine there has been a lot more juicy “scandals”. […]

  2. 0

    […] 20, 2007 Gaming’s Top Scandals Posted at 12:33 am in In Other News | Share This Tags: game politics, scandals The gaming industry: “BDGamer”, pageurl : “”, pagetitle : “Gaming’s Top Scandals”, formID : “commentform”, textareaID : “comment”, authorID : “author”, buttonID : “submit” } //this activates coComment […]

  3. 0
    Algernon says:


    The whole world’s gone completely crazy anyway. You know the end is near when people get IRATE because of an animated sex scene in a game called “Grand Theft Auto”. Parents didn’t mind forking over the cash so their children could sit for hours on end, glazed eyes darting back and forth, fingers sore from countless armed robberies, murders, car jackings and high speed pursuits….

    OH my GOD there’s a naked cartoon! This is an outrage!

    the end is near

  4. 0
    Madmacch says:

    All this discussion is about nothing in fact. Those all are only games and if it affects in anyway the real life – it’s the matter of unsufficient parental care.
    If there is something wrong with some of’em, it’s misstatement of the history in some of “II World War” games.

    To Matador:
    Chuj pisze si? przez “ch” ciulu bosy 😛

  5. 0
    Jordan Lund says:


    The Phantom – A newly announced console with 30,000 games operated by a fly-by-night company whose corporate address is a Mailboxes Etc?
    Their fight against HARD-OCP is legendary.

    Gizmondo – How could you forget the executive racing 2 stolen high-performance automobiles and tearing an Enzo in half?

    Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion – Re-rated to M due to a fan created mod?

  6. 0
    Rick says:

    I’m sorry but any censoring of any game, I don’t care how untastefull anyone finds it, is BS. It’s simple, you don’t like it.. then don’t play it. PERIOD. Don’t want your kids playing it, then do your damn job as a parent and keep tabs on what your kids are doing.

    But to then ban a game/scene or tell me I am denied.. that’s an infringement of my own rights.

    When I was in high-school (back in the days of the C64), I wrote a simple pacman like game called De-Mon. You where a demonic packman who chased priests around and devoured them. (powerup pills where pentagram’s, ect). Shortly after I posted it on a few BBS’s (anyone remember those?), I was blasted and even threatened by many in the forums. EVERY person who threatened me, where suppose to be ‘christians’, yet would rather see me die and burn in hell because I wrote a game they didn’t agree with…
    A perfect demonstrations of just how intolerant most christians are as soon as you disagree with their silly beliefs.

    (by the way I’m working on a new game, where you play Jesus, who adventures thru a mazelike church and rescue the children from Pedophile Priests. I Can’t wait to see those wonderful christians reactions.)

  7. 0
    Bob says:

    How about Bully? There was a huge media spin-up prior to the release of that game, centered around the fact that it was “Grand Theft Auto with school kids,” which dropped off like the continental shelf once the game came out and revealed itself to be about as offensive as a homeless squirrel.

  8. 0
    Jack Monahan says:

    10 Biggest Scandals “of All Time” is a bit much for a list that’s almost entirely transpired within the last 10 years, don’t you think? Poorly researched, lazily written, but still slashdotted. Aces.

  9. 0
    JC says:

    Is it joke? I think so – where is Postal or Lula 3D – these games sucks! Games above are much more better then these titles, but thanks I have to play some titles from the list above… ;/

  10. 0
    Clyde Wyman says:

    To Rich Nixon,

    I’m sorry if I have offended some of you. I felt ashamed of what I did but I can’t help but to think that Jesus has forsaken me for my weakness. And to think that the Manchester Cathedral has the nerve to laugh at the weakness of Sony! That’s the same story.

  11. 0
    rev_g33k says:

    ALL of you are forgetting TWO big ones

    1. Postal -shame on all of you for forgetting that one

    2. That game where you tried to recreate JFK’s shooting

  12. 0
    Aereus says:

    I’m pretty sure Postal was a big deal when it was released in like 1996. I remember working at CompUSA then, and we had to put warning labels on the game.

  13. 0
    stewart says:

    although the hot coffee was complete bullshit it was probably the worst and most publicized one. when people complain that their 7 year-old saw it and now he is irreparably ruined for the rest of his life then maybe they shouldn’t have let him see it in the first place. and its pixelated sex…next thing you know it will be god of war getting in trouble for implyed sex

  14. 0
    Keaton2008 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    I think the game “DeathRace” had a bit of controversy back in the 70’s. People drug the cabinets out of the arcades and set them ablaze in the parking lot. That says something.

    I’m voting for Hot Coffee though. no doubt. It began some downward spiral of Rockstar and Take Two and gave Jack Thompson a career.

  15. 0
    Soldatlouis ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Hey ! What about Mortal Kombat ? To me, it’s really the game that REALLY started it all (1993 hearings, Lieberman, ESRB, IDSA / ESA, etc…). True, Night Trap was involved in the same scandal, but it really started when a politician’s son asked Mortal Kombat to his daddy.

    I think you should replace “Night Trap” by “Mortal Kombat + Night Trap”.

  16. 0
    Joseph4th says:

    Night Trap was not the first, but it was the first of this new trend of media attention where there wasn’t really anything there to get upset about in the first place. NOTHING!

    You are a security agent working with Dana Plato who is undercover in the house. A bunch of girls are having a slumber party. No sexy nighties, nothing more exciting than you could expect from a slumber party in the Baby Sitter’s club. You are viewing the house though hidden cameras and can switch from room to room. Time goes forward the whole time so you have to keep switching from room to room to keep up with what’s going on.

    You have to protect the girls from evil vampire monster guys (guys in goofy masks walking with the zombie shuffle) who are breaking in. You do this by activating traps in the room you are viewing causing the wall to flip around, trap doors and the like. The violence is on the level of B horror movies from the 50’s. One scene shows a girl you failed to save tied to table and the monster guy activates some machine and the girl screams (poorly acted) while some jar on the machine fills with red liquid. And from what I remember that is worse one.

    The game was horrible and the only reason people bought it was because of all the media attention talking about half nude women and ultra violent game play. I though about sending my copy to Washington and asking them to give me my money back after it failed to live up to their hype! Funny thing is I think the sales of this game accounted for most of the money the failed 3DO system did manage to squeak out.

  17. 0
    Soldatlouis ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    By the way, here are my rankings, based on my personal estimations :

    1 – Columbine+Doom(+Paducah) (1999). For the first time, a video game was clearly linked to a murder, Dave Grossman’s “murder simulator” theories reached a national audience, and it was the beginning of Jack Thompson’s and Lyndon LaRouche’s involvement into the video game debate.
    2 (or 1 ex-aequo) – Hot Coffee(+Grand Theft Auto) (2005). The storm that generated a cascade of video game bills and really made Jack Thompson a superstar in the process. It’s the scandal who had the biggest political impact. Columbine and Hot Coffee clearly shaped the video game debate for the worst.
    3 – Mortal Kombat + Night Trap (1993). The “funding” scandal that started it all : political involvement, Lieberman, ESRB and ESA. It was also the moment where games could be really considered as “violent”. All the people who had a reason to be angry at video game craze could celebrate.
    4 – Rule of Rose (2006-2007). The “European Hot Coffee” that decided Franco Frattini and European politicians to act against violent games. Even though right now, they can’t do much, video games are under their radar.
    5 – Manhunt 2 (2007). The game that even the ESRB and BBFC didn’t want to support.

    Other scandals seem insignificant to me compare to the ones I cited.

  18. 0
    Soldatlouis ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Oh, and when I say “a video game was clearly linked to a murder” about Doom, I should precise that the link was made “by mainstream media”, of course.

  19. 0
    J-Guy says:

    I haven’t voted yet, but Night Trap seems to have been one of the first cases that clearly showed how wrong these politicians are. That was the first step toward “protecting our kids” and kicked off many debates.

    But the one thing that makes me think it is the biggest is the fact that politicians said that the developer wasn’t there to defend the game, and when he did, they told him he was out of line.

  20. 0
    Arlen ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I agree with the above posters who say that no top ten list can be complete without Mortal Kombat. That game was one of the very first to really galvanize parents’ and politicians’ opposition to violent video games. It’s hard to believe now, looking back at the game’s graphics, that it was seen as so “realistic” at the time.

  21. 0
    Soldatlouis ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I was thinking about something : it would be very interesting to have the opinion of video game critics : anti-violence activists, CCFC, NIMF, etc… Which gaming scandal would be the biggest according to them, who sometimes contributed to create and publicize these scandals ?

  22. 0
    DragonBomber ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    These are all content scandals, and not really the biggest scandals of all time in the gaming world. Right from the get go you had scandal, namely Nolan Bushnell ripping off Ralph Baer and getting spanked in court. There are plenty of others that only classic console geeks really know about, unless you have read Leonard Herman’s “Phoenix: The fall & rise of home videogames”. I agree with others here that Mortal Kombat trumps some of the entries. Maybe 25 to Life should lose its spot as both the Night Trap and Mortal Kombat hearings were larger covered controversies.

  23. 0

    Well, lets look at it shall we? Until Hot Coffee, we didn’t have much in the way of critiscism. Mortal Kombat was one thing. Night Trap was something on its own. The Columbine incident just was a little bit of a tornado but quieted down much in the way the VT incident just did when they tried linking Counter-Strike which ultimately failed. Realistically speaking, the shit didn’t hit the fan till Hot Coffee.

  24. 0
    DragonBomber ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I forgot to add this but if you are looking for something good to watch in TV there is a special on the criminally insane of worth. I don’t recall if it is on MSNBC or not, but it showcased America’s horrible correctional conditions for those with severe mental conditions. It showcased the stories of Dahmer, Theodore Kaczynski, the Columbine Duo, Seung-Hui Cho, and others. There was so mention of video games to blame for their actions, only faults in detecting their problems soon enough to get them help or to act on that knowledge. In Cho’s case they highlighted the lack of any system to account for him when he failed to go through the ordered treatment.

    It was nice to see reporting that did not latch onto the moronic statements about video games to explain why people went off the deep end. We’ve had crazed rampagers/calculated killers for centuries, but now we wish to blame media for our inabilities to combat the holes in our social services and criminal justice systems. I would imagine that in some cases media serves as a diversion for those with such scattered thoughts requiring medication and therapy, keeping a few in tow until they can be reached.

  25. 0 says:

    De top 10 (recente) games schandalen…

    Gamepolitics heeft een aardig artikel in elkaar gedraaid met een top 10 van games schandalen. De meeste draaien uiteraard om geweld. De recentste gebeurtenissen zijn natuurlijk Manhunt 2, Resistance en de Church of England, de Hot Coffee mod en natuurl…

  26. 0
    Rubber says:

    What about that Roller Coaster Tycoon video where the guy kills all of the people with the half-built coaster? That’s very scandalous!


  27. 0
    aesir05 says:

    Whatever happened to the Phantom…..those guys ran off with the money that they raised or what?

    Last I heard it was going to be a software solution rather than a hardware one.

  28. 0
    Scudd says:

    Eve-online has had its fair share of scandals, ranging from developer’s cheating in the game to user in-game theft of isk worth several hundred thousand dollars in real world money.

  29. 0
    Terminator44 says:

    My top 3 scandals that were NOT on the list:

    1:Mortal Kombat. This was really the kicker. It wasn’t the first game with blood in it. It wasn’t even Midway’s first game with blood. But the unprecedented realism of the game (for the time) shocked politicians and parents who saw game technology as advancing too fast. It ultimately led to the creation of the ESRB, and the public’s belief that mature games are little more than mindless gorefests.

    2: V-Tech: The Game. If SCMRPG was an appetizer for crtics of homebrew games, this was the main course. Controversy over the game’s premise wasn’t helped by the creator’s response, which many pegged as uncaring and downright rude.

    3: GTA: Vice City (Hatian) controversy. A single line in the game’s dialouge, taken out of context, brought down racial sensitivity groups on Rockstar and protests at T2’s headquaters. While it wasn’t long-lasting, this debacle forever sullied the GTA series’ reputation in the eyes of the media, and was a perfect springboard for the Devin Moore incident, Hot Coffee, and other controversites surrounding the series.

  30. 0
    Jabrwock ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Night Trap. For helping to create the ESRB, and ensuring that for many decades to come, “adult” themed games would be considered “taboo” on consoles…

  31. 0
    Wolf ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    The one I would’ve voted for.

    V-Tech Rampage. He made a terribly tasteless game, too soon after V-Tech, and when demanded to have his game taken down by many people, actually wanted MONEY for it.

  32. 0
    VaMinion says:

    Hot Coffee first.

    EvE online’s developer-gate scandal second. CCP has been a prime example of how NOT to deal with your customers of late.


  33. 0
    Meggie ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “Terminator44 Says:
    2: V-Tech: The Game. If SCMRPG was an appetizer for crtics of homebrew games, this was the main course. Controversy over the game’s premise wasn’t helped by the creator’s response, which many pegged as uncaring and downright rude.”

    I would have to say that game was nothing but a cry for attention. The Columbine game has made a bigger impact on the community at large, while V-tech was a cheap copycat.

    I think we need a second list for “Politician and Video Games: You Tax Dollars At Work.” 😉

    My 2cents, Mortal Kombat should be mentioned too. Oh Night Trap, that game is so funny.

  34. 0
    Soldatlouis ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @Timmayl : actually, the outrage over SCMRPG incudes Dawson College Shooting. But it’s true that this shooting is quite different from the others, because this time, the killer had the full collection of most controversial games : Postal, Postal 2, 25 to Life, Manhunt, GTA Vice City, GTA San Andreas, Soldier of Fortune 2…

  35. 0
    Timmay! says:

    More missing controversies

    1) GTA made me do it:
    The multiple court cases, which had Jack Thompson involved in one part or another, where shootings and car jackings were blamed on GTA Vice City and San Andreas.

    2) Governer of Illinois to state residents – unconstitutional videogame legislation is more important than welfare, schools, and the rest of the state budget:
    When his little pet project got struck down as unconstitutional, the governor of Illinois took the case to court, lost, and ended up paying over $1,000,000 in court costs, all at the expense of taxpayers.

    3) Dawson College Shooting in Montreal:
    the shooter obsessed over Postal and Postal2, and made the biggest arguement against violent videogames since columbine.

  36. 0
    Stinking Kevin says:

    My Vote: Hot Coffee (not even close…)

    I do agree with Soldatlouis, Arlen, others, however, in that if there were some sort of “Mortal Kombat/Night Trap/Lieberman/Kohl” choice, I would’ve had a harder time picking. Even so, while the congressional hearings a decade and a half ago were the most politically significant games-related event ever in the U.S., I still think Hot Coffee will be remembered as the most “scandalous.”

  37. 0
    some one says:

    aesir05: Phantom is now a company that will produce a “lapboard” of some sort. Some sorta gaming wireless keyboard. Guess they finally spent all the 10’s of millions of bucks n00b investors gave them.

    They’ve basically given up the entire console business at this point.

  38. 0
    Terrible Tom ( User Karma: -1 ) says:

    Well I don’t really think the ps3 launch was even a scandal…. but this clearance sale would come a lot closer to qualifying as such.

  39. 0
    Decker says:

    Yeah…gaming scandals without being filled with Nintendo headlines? Most of these things are from pretty friggin’ recent. There are TONS from yesteryear. Tetris for one (and its distribution). Nintendo almost putting Capcom out of business. The whole reason the PS1 came out…etc…etc…

  40. 0
    ~the1jeffy says:

    Let’s look at the scope of things. Hot Coffee has led to a bunch of un-constitutional laws, and the worst thing that could happen is the failing of 1 game developer.

    Night Trap was the culmination of the initial ‘discovery’ of violence in video games which, to my knowledge was first seen in the up roar over the silly MK fatalities. This culmination led to the ESA, which similar to the MPAA, created it’s own self-governing ratings board which we are all familiar with (ESRB) to protect itself. And also like the MPAA, once they are out from under the spotlight of scrutiny, will have to be watched closely by consumers to stop from the excesses teh MPAA has been pulling on us. This definitely has farther reaching implications that Hot Coffee, which really was just a result of a mistake by TTWO/R* and the same scrutiny that started with MK and came to a head with Night Trap.

    If you vote for Hot Coffee, you show your age. Younger gamers probably don’t recall that hullaballoo, but us ‘old farts’ do. In fact, Night Trap was the reason my mom wouldn’t let me save my allowance/birthday/Xmas funds for a Sega CD. (A good thing in the long run, but I really wanted the Sonic game for it).

    I voted Night Trap.

  41. 0
    DragonBomber ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    Ouch. I imagine you had at least one friend with a Sega CD to play Sonic. My mom was strangely fine with games of all sort, since there wasn’t anything like GTA on the market tainting my mind. I mean, Motor City Patrol did inspire me something awesome fierce to shoot at red vans. Naturally.

    Of course I had a very strange Pagan mother with mental instabilities.

    I voted Night Trap also, since shortly after that fell the Surgeon General’s “report” full of out of context citing, and generally one-sided investigation methods.

  42. 0
    SmidgenOfIntelligence says:

    Maybe people should wake up about video game violence, which results in zero deaths (or at the very least, the deaths of a few darwin award candidates)…. and pay attention to the tens to hundreds of thousands being people killed by the actions of governments. Your very own tax dollars lead ultimately to their deaths. So who is immoral?

    Governments=Gang Warfare.. but on a larger scale and with big guns/bombs. Just replace the Red and Blue bandanna with your nation’s flag.

  43. 0
    tempo says:

    [huh? i guess i should copy before hitting post]

    (wallets) of content developers, and all future video games are based on the concept of petting cute animals (but not too hard).

  44. 0
    tempo says:


    A massive wall is constructed between content developers and consumers by the combined oligopolies of the console makers and major retailers ensuring that non-pornographic content deemed to extreme for those under the age of 17 never see the light of day. Multinational corporations, having attained the unquestionability status of ancient kings/ dictators, go unquestioned. The wall is shrugged at by consumers as they sit back on their couch to wallow in there own apathy, patiently awaiting the day unemployed lawyers converge on a popular high-profile title reasoning, anyway they can, that certain content within should not be viewed by 17 year olds and the rating of said title should be bumped up a notch. News and parenting organizations agree wholeheartedly and make a big stink, coercing the ESRB to reevaluate its ratings criteria and striking fear into the hearts (

  45. 0
    Justme says:

    I don’t think anyone mentioned the Gizmondo be-all-but-be-crappy portable game machine, along with it’s shady high society turned jail inmate company owner Stefan Erikkson. Anytime someone involved in gaming crashes a Ferrari, claims to work for law enforcement, blames the crash on a newfound unknown friend even though his own blood is on the steering wheel, has a hot wife whose several hundred thousand dollar Mercedes gets impounded on TV, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. This has to be one of the top scandals in gaming, not to mention should be made into a movie.

  46. 0
    Father Time ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Super Columbine Massacre RPG was pretty big, although I don’t know why he named it that, couldn’t he figure out that people would judge the game based solely off the title as something it’s not? I hope more games come out like that.

  47. 0
    Tye The Czar says:

    Q: “Games are supposed to be fun, right? So why do they make negative headlines so often?”
    A:It’s people’s common but human gut reaction to something they don’t know. Ignorance->Predjudice->Fear and so on. Their mind says, “Something like this should not exist. IT’S DIFFERENT!” So they go into good ol’ irrational mode, which will always coexist in mankind’s mind, oy. Also, it makes for a great news story. OH the DRAMA! The DANGER of one PLAYING IT!

  48. 0
    Wardo says:

    ET anyone? Not sure if it’d count as a scandal, but it was coded in a ridiculous amount of time, unbeatable, and so horrid they buried many copies of it in the desert. That’s a pretty big pile of something right there.

  49. 0
    Tank ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I voted for “Other” and made my reason the fact that none of them should be considered “Scandals” by any stretch of the word.

  50. 0
    HidariMak says:

    “Night Trap (1993) – the bloody Sega CD offering…” Uhhh, what? The monsters were dropped through trapdoors on the floor, and the victims were bloodlessly dragged off the screen when they were caught. And the Night Trap critisisms were from those claiming that the object of the game was to trap the young women in the game, when the reality was protecting them.

    Mortal Kombat drew a lot of media wrath, for reasons which were more accurate. Bloody decapitations were newer then.

  51. 0
    Guy New says:

    Pssst… I’m not a ‘modder’. The whole Hot Coffee thing wasn’t a mod. I’m tired of people saying it was the modding community… it was a built in cheat that they hid. Cheats are usually activated by changing a “0” to a “1”… this one was a bit different, I just found a “01” that was near all of the other in game cheats and changed it to “00”… BOOM Hot Coffee on PS2 and Xbox was born.

  52. 0
    usagi704 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Apparently somebody hasn’t done one bit of real research to realize that Night Trap has absolutely positively no blood in it.

  53. 0
    ChrisK says:

    With the whole XBOX 360 thing, although I don’t own one it reminds me of the Disc Read error so prevalent on PS2. I think this deserves to be mentioned alongside the XBOX scandal since there was a class action resulting from the poor design of early models, and sad to say I have had two of the older pre-slim ps2s that suffered from this problem.

  54. 0
    Kevin R. Brown says:


    Thanks so much for that link.

    I wasn’t old enough to really catch wind of the Night Trap bit, but man, I have to cast my balot for that. How absolutely senseless. I can’t stress enough how this constantly brings to mind the old Patricia Pulling nonsense with D&D and most other pen and paper RPGs (I wasn’t old enough for that one, either, but given my current interest in the hobby, it’s been a major point of study for me).

    I can’t help but wonder what new form of entertainment will arise that OUR generation will be so irrationally opposed to.

  55. 0
    ZippyDSMlee ( User Karma: -1 ) says:

    ya but the RROD is at least twice as much as the DRE’s, so meh,plus MS has gotten off its butt and doing something about it,be it tho a bit late but non the less they have shown a reasonable level of consumer support,better late than never,sony keeps dcking around there is a slight difference in the levels of anti consumerness of them,MS seems to be doing a bit better as long as they keep up with the refunds,and free repairs for the next 2-3 years I really can not hate them for their lack of foresight on the 360,dosent mean I like them either 😛

  56. 0
    beemoh ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Good point made upthread about Phantom- while it’s not really that controversial, it does remind me of the whole Gizmodo thing, which did contains rumblings of corruption.

    The non-appearance of the fiasco around the first Manhunt is an odd one, but some “other”-s I’d like to point out are mostly UK based, and predate The Internet, certainly in the mainstream, so it’s not a surprise they’re not here. But:

    #1: Epilepsy- In 1993, a young boy died of an epileptic fit brought on by a SNES game, leading the UK’s reasoned, thought-out tabloids to scream- as a front page headline, no less- “NINTENDO KILLED MY SON”. The result was the typical media circus, and the inclusion of epilepsy warnings in all subsequent games released.

    Sadly, the media never did let go of that one, and a BBC documentary on the financial successes of the company over ten years later felt the need to bring it up like it was a new thing.

    That being said, Nintendo never did learn their lesson- an episode of the Pokemon cartoon in Japan gave a load of kids seizures, which was later parodied in The Simpsons.

    #2: The Poppy Appeal- anyone remember Cannon Fodder? 1993 again, and Virgin was to release the Sensible Software-developed title with its anti-war message and everything, with a picture of a corn poppy on the box. The poppy happens to be the chosen symbol of WWI veterans and “rememberance day”, a day commemorating the sacrifices of war veterans. PR disaster once more, including- and I kid you not- *the* famous headline: BAN THIS SICK FILTH. Oh yes.

    The result? Sensible Software gave them £500 and they went away.

    #3: Carmageddon- The *other* game the BBFC banned. Re-released with green blood. Then the company released a patch online to make it red again. Tsch. You’d never get that happening nowadays.

    And, of course, PS3 price lol. ;P


  57. 0
    Michael ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    What about the Greek Government banning all computer/console games on the basis of attempting to control gambling. If that isn’t the biggest political screwup, what is?

  58. 0
    hayabusa75 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    This may be just me, but I don’t see most of the things mentioned here as “scandals”. To me, a scandal implies that someone’s doing something secret and shady and tries to cover it up by lying or other means. Only Hot Coffee, the SimCopter thing and the XBOX red rings involve actual deceit (a reasonable assumption for the XBOX).

    Pushing the envelope openly, whether to make a statement, make money or just plain be an ass, isn’t scandalous. Also, incidents like Blagojevich’s money-wasting aren’t game scandals, they’re game-related POLITICAL scandals.

    I know I’m kind of splitting hairs, but I think “controversies” would be a better term than “scandals”. Just because some goofball didn’t like something the game industry did or released doesn’t automatically mean the industry is the villain.

  59. 0
    Jatone says:

    I’d have to agree with Hayabusa75 on that most of these are not scandals at all. Columbine wasn’t a scandal, neither is manhunt 2, or the ps3 launch (how is acting idiotic a scandal?).

  60. 0
    Soldatlouis ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ Hart704 : thanks so much for the video, I couldn’t help laughing when I saw excerpts of this game. You know, I expected BLOOD and NUDE GIRLS ! Or something that would have justified such a scandal.

    By the way, does someone have the full video or the full transcript of these 1993 hearings ? I’d be delighted to hear exactly what everyone had to say about it.

  61. 0
    Hart704 says:

    Kevin R. Brown & Soldatlouis: You are both welcome. I enjoyed that video myself. I especially liked it when the woman that played Lisa was talking about the bathroom scene and noted that it was “Oooh, so scary.” 😆

  62. 0
    nudistmonkey says:

    To Clyde,

    Spoke like a true atheist. Seems like you are very intolerant of Christians, making you mr hypocrite. Or are you just incapable of giving Erik a straight answer?

  63. 0
    Clyde Wyman says:

    To nudistmonkey,

    “Spoke like a true atheist. Seems like you are very intolerant of Christians, making you mr hypocrite. Or are you just incapable of giving Erik a straight answer?”

    You’re wrong there, I am a agnostic. Anyway, are you aware that there is one stupid fucking Christian monkeying around in the old Gamepolitics livejournal? And I am not a fool, I had checked with some friends who are visitors of Gamepolitics and they said that there is a idiotic Christian in the site.

    Anyway, I would give the person a big thank you who chased that insignificant person away. Oh, where was I? And do you know that when Sony apologized to the Manchester Cathedral? They don’t give a shit! Manchester Cathedral keeps whining and bitching about Sony making their ‘holy’ place in their game.

  64. 0
    UTP says:

    Bully strikes me as kind of an “anti-scandal.” Yes, there was a big stink made by JT, various European bigs, and others. Based on a game that not only had nobody ever played, but one that Rockstar, strangely, allowed very little information to circulate over, until the project was very near completion.

    Upon which time the game, which was called a “Columbine simulator” by JT, and various other disparaging terms by the also-rans, was discovered to be…

    … Absolutely harmless. Mean-spirited, sure. Slightly nasty, certainly. But probably less violent then your school days were, and certainly not a glorificaiton of school shootings.

    The only thing that happened is that the game got renamed in England (I believe).

    I think even JT quickly dropped the subject.

    I’m not a big fan of Rockstar these days, but I applauded them there- They made a fool out of everyone.

  65. 0
    MasterAssassin ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Why is the 25 to Life thing up there and Bully isn’t? The 25 to Life controversy started 7 months before the game was even relased and was pretty short lived. I didn’t see people protesting over 25 to Life.

    I voted for Columbine. Yeah the Hot Coffee thing probably was the biggest scandal but I don’t think we would have even heard about it if it wasn’t for Columbine and the other school shootings. Night Trap and Mortal Kombat DID lead to the creation of the ESRB but they didn’t lead to FTC investigations and vast changes in the marketing policies of both the game and movie industries.

  66. 0
    Soldatlouis ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @Koos : I do ! But I haven’t heard of any big controversy surrounding “Harvester”. Having read Wikipedia entry, it seems that it generated controversy BEFORE its official release, but not after. What a pity, it would have deserved it much more than “Night Trap”, because indeed, there was a lot of gore in it.

  67. 0
    Jack Thompson ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I was delighted to be a participant in five of the above scandals.

    One week before “Columbine” I was on NBC’s Today show predicting that male teens would train on Doom to author more school shootings like the one in Paducah, whose victims’ parents were there on the show with me.

    Guess what happened? That led to my appearance on CBS’ 60 Minutes the Sunday after Columbine.

    But, Dennis, you missed one of the scandals. It was your filing of a Bar complaint against me on behalf of the video game industry that you failed to disclose to your readers and that was dismissed by The Florida Bar as baseless.

    I guess we can’t count upon the person responsible for one scandal to report fully on ALL the scandals.


    Jack Thompson, Attorney and You’re Not

  68. 0
    Clyde Wyman says:

    Don’t make me laugh, Jack Thompson. You are just filth and lies, the world would be a better place without you. And you know what, like the Johnny Cash song title implies, “Sooner or later, God’s gonna cut you down.”

    Although you are a Christian, but to God’s eyes you are just a filthy useless mortal.

  69. 0
    Clyde Wyman says:

    And by the way, it’s a good thing that you got balls to show your face on the news. So that the police can put you to swift justice for public nuisance, you may be a lawyer, but everyone is treated equally.

    And do you know? That some policemen who did crimes also got jail time and lose their jobs? You could be the same.

  70. 0
    Soldatlouis ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Well, I said in a previous message that “it would be very interesting to have the opinion of video game critics”. I guess we heard one of them.

  71. 0
    Clyde Wyman says:

    To Soldatlouis,

    “Well, I said in a previous message that “it would be very interesting to have the opinion of video game critics”. I guess we heard one of them.”

    Yeah, so that we can laugh at the ignorance of them. Either way, the critics should learn how to stop embarrassing themselves in the public.

  72. 0
    hayabusa75 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @Massacre Chaser:

    Perhaps you should focus on your current problems with the Florida Bar instead of this thing with Dennis you keep bringing up as if anyone here actually cares. We concede that every once in a while you come out on top. It’s near impossible to be so bad at something that you lose ALL the time. What’s funny to us is that for every victory you tout (half of which aren’t actual victories anyway), there are a dozen instances where you’ve fallen flat on your prejudiced ass, yet you still present yourself as some sort of conquering hero. It still amazes me to this day what a deluded prick you are. Duh.

  73. 0
    Sailor Enlil says:

    You guys left this one out: Panty Raider (2000), developed by Hypnotix and published by Simon & Schuster. The very concept of taking pictures of girls in underwear just to save the earth from alien invasion was insane enough. Getting the girls to appear in underwear was a bit worse, especially the method of dousing them with a certain goop that dissolves all clothing except underwear. And then there was the alleged comparison of that act to the New York City Park sexual assault incidents at the time where the victims were doused with water before being stripped then molested/raped, and that’s when hell broke loose.

    Still, there was the obvious fact that the game itself sucked anyway.

  74. 0
    Stinking Kevin says:

    @the1jeffy (from way back up on this page…)
    You make good points, as usual, but Hot Coffee voters “showing their age” isn’t necessarily one of them. I’ve been playing video games since the Odyssey was “current gen,” and I voted Hot Coffee too. As you point out, Night Trap and Mortal Kombat were cited in the hearings that led the IDSA (I’m old enough to remember it wasn’t called the ESA until 2003) to establish the ESRB.

    This was monumentally significant in the industry, but it’s debatable that those games themselves were as “scandalous” as Hot Coffee, which damaged the political standing of the ESRB, took months to fully vet because Rockstar didn’t come completely clean from the start, led to FTC actions, and accelerated a cross-country trend of exactly the sort of anti-game legislation the ESRB was supposed to buffer in the first place.

    @[regular GP messageboard readers and fellow fans]
    Once again, this “Jack Thompson” poster is probably just a troll. Actually, now that I read the post, even if it is the REAL Massacre Chaser, it’s STILL just a troll. I think we should try not to feed it too much, at least until it comes up with something on-topic or relevant to the conversation.

  75. 0
    kurisu7885 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @Jack Thompson

    Funny, especially how that BAR complain has to do with harassment and nothing to do with video games.

    Also, you are not a prophet, not like you seem to like to believe in your little fantasy world. You said that something MIGHT happen and by chance it did, one of the worst shootings in history.

    By the way, thanks for helping it along. It’s far more your fault than any video game. If the shooters never got their names famous, there’d be no copycat killers.

    You likely prayed for body counts too.


    kurisu7885, sane and you are not.

  76. 0
    BearDogg-X says:

    Using Jack Thompson’s logic:

    1) He “predicted” Columbine
    2) He did nothing to prevent it from happening

    Therefore, Jack’s responsible for Columbine.

    And if that’s really Jacky Boy, he should quit whining about a Bar complaint that was justified.

    Now practice what you preach, jabroni: Grow up and get a life.

  77. 0
    Gameboy says:

    OK, seriously, what is up with Jack? He obsessed with Dennis! He can’t seem to post without at least trying to insult him. It’s getting pretty annoying. As I said on an earlier thread, Jacks coming off like a spurned lover.

    Anyway, to comment on the actual story, I must be younger than I thought. I remember hearing a little about Mortal Kombat’s bloody fights, and people making a stink about it, but I’ve never even heard of Night Trap (then again, I was 9 in 1993). In my opinion, its a close race between Columbine, Hot Coffee, and Night Trap.

    I would almost put V-Tech in there, but, as intelligent people know, video games had nothing to do with it. Cho didn’t even play a game, that anyone knows of, in 4 years. So there’s no scandal in the sense that video games didn’t actually have a part in the incident. It was just Massacre Chasers with an agenda to push. At least the Columbine kids did play games.

  78. 0
    BrokenCrippler says:

    I would put the red rings far ahead of any of the other scandals. I think it has forever soured the word microsoft and should be the biggest recall ever. Along with the biggest lawsuit ever if they dont actually refund gamers for out of warranty repairs. The esrb and all censorship in general is controlled by the media. They report it and we form an opinion and I cant consider that enough for a scandal in any situation. Games cant kill nor plant seeds in peoples brains so when a game is deemed violent by officials they take action due to parents who are to lazy to do anything themselves. The only other scandalous thing I can think of is the crap employees at gamestop pull and get away with.

  79. 0
    Bar says:

    I dunno if this has been mentioned but what about Video Game addiction as a scandal? Theres been much made of MMOs and WoW in particular about it’s *cough* addiction problems.

  80. 0
    ~the1jeffy says:

    @ Stinking Kevin

    You are right, about the age crack. I realized some time later that many people might have legit reasons for voting Hot Coffee, but it seems like it’s getting votes from being cross-linked from other gaming sites, and simple notoriety, instead of merit. And this is arguably due to the fact that younger gamers (the internet in general) have no recollection of the Night Trap fiasco, or have no knowledge of the existence of another ratings board, as well.

    Others have posted that Night Trap wasn’t violent or really that bad, and they are correct. That’s another reason I voted for it: the most scandalous events, and their ensuing media blitz are known for making mountains out of molehills.

    Take the Libby scandal. He outed a CIA operative, right? How is this an issue, when the husband of said CIA operative was on The Daily Show before that, talking all about his wife’s secret CIA mission. So, in the great scheme of things Libby’s ‘outing’ wasn’t really that big a deal, but the media/political/vote-pandering makes it the largest scandal to date. The same explosion happened over Night Trap. At least in the Hot Coffee blitz, there was at least SOME small level of deception by TTWO. It amounts to a PR mistake, but I believe Night Trap’s franzy was over absolutely nothing.

    NOTE: I am making an example, I am not taking sides in the Libby debate and have no wish to de-rail this thread. If you have to debate this, PM me in the forums. I am open to that being a bad example.

  81. 0
    E. Zachary Knight ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I would have to say that Sim Copter is the biggest. It was one of the first games to include content hidden from the ESRB and set the stage for future work in preventing what developers let slip by when publishing a game.

    Sure Hot Coffee got mass media coverage, but Sim Copter came first and it was in a family friendly E game.

  82. 0
    SlyFox says:

    Hey, it’s Jack. Hi Jack! How’s it going? Been well? While my opinion of you isn’t too high, I have to admit having some respect for you and your persistence and for the fact that you don’t target and hate an entire group simply based on their personal beliefs. Anyway, have a good one ^_^

    Now, back on topic… I wouldn’t really call these scandals. But if I had to choose, I’d say that Hot Coffee was the thing that brought too much political attention to the whole video game industry. However, I will venture to say that Night Trap, while a crappy game, was probably a good thing, as it brought about the creation of the ESRB, which prevents the arguement that the industry never regulates itself. Besides, if Night Trap hadn’t resulted in a rating system, then another event or game like;ly would have.

  83. 0
    Steve Fulton says:

    Chris Crawford getting kicked out of the GDC should be on some list some where!

    Also, I’d add the “peek-a-boo” Smurfette from Colecovision’s Smurf rescue, but I’m not sure anyone got upset about that one.

  84. 0
    Stinking Kevin says:

    All good points, all well made. I can agree that Night Trap was the most scandalously overblown “scandal” on the list. I never would have thought about the Libby analogy, but that’s exactly why I like coming to these boards. Thanks!

  85. 0
    Dark ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    Jesus is tolerant. The people who run the Manchester Cathedral, however, are clearly a different story.

    Think next time before you post something stupid.

  86. 0
    Meggie ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    usagi704 Says:
    Apparently somebody hasn’t done one bit of real research to realize that Night Trap has absolutely positively no blood in it.

    Well, there was a scene where a guy (brother of main character?) was hung upside down to drain his blood into some device ala the cheapest horror effects possible. I think calling it “bloody” was just a throwaway intro line, nothing more.

    You know, that Jack Thompson post might be the real deal. The combination of tinfoil hat logic and the fact that he’s got quite some time on his hands these days makes me believe this is our Jackie Boy.

  87. 0

    […] Le Top 10 des jeux qui ont fait scandale Le 17 juillet 2007 :: par Matthieu à 20h41 [ Réagir sur le forum ] – PostÉ dans : Actualité Vu sur et, la liste des 10 faits qui ont fait scandale (politique) dans le monde si impitoyable des jeux vidéo. Evidemment, le dernier à avoir fait scandale est Manhunt 2, qui a provoqué une véritable polémique sur la limite de la violence dans les jeux vidéo. 25 to Life (2006) Hot Coffee (2005) Xbox 360 Red Rings of Death (2007) SimCopter (1996) Manhunt 2 (2007) PS3 Launch (2006) Columbine (1999) Resistance: Fall of Man (2007) Super Columbine Massacre RPG (2006) Night Trap (1993) J’aurais bien rajouté Carmaggedon mais on me souffle que ce mot est interdit par Familles de France depuis 10 ans environ. Tant pis. Et sinon, il y avait également l’annonce de GTA IV condamnée par le maire de New York au début de l’année. Comme quoi … […]

  88. 0
    Erik ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “One week before “Columbine” I was on NBC’s Today show predicting that male teens would train on Doom to author more school shootings like the one in Paducah, whose victims’ parents were there on the show with me.”

    Jack if you cannot prove how it is even feasible to train on Doom, then shut the fuck up. Do you know anything about the vast differences between combat in a game and using a gun in real life? Do you know that the gamers in our armed forces laugh hysterically at these claims? You may be able to convince knee-jerk ready soccer-moms of this impossibility but don’t think for a split second that your bullshit is going to be spooned up here you baseless half-wit.

    So what I’m telling you you Alzheimer addled law monkey is PUT UP OR SHUT UP.

  89. 0
    Michael ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Jack Thompson wrote:

    Jack Thompson, Attorney and You’re Not”

    You know that’s the kind of thing my 5 year old niece would say. When are you going to grow up Jackie boy?

  90. 0
    Chaotix says:

    Eve Online’s developer misconduct and subsequently, GoonFleet’s submission of MORE developer misconduct that was promptly covered up by CCP should have made the list for sure.

  91. 0
    Rich Nixon says:

    Clyde Wyman, it did not point out the intolerance of Christ. It showcased that the church’s understanding of Christ’s teachings is prone to mistakes. There’s a difference between the behavior of the church and the teachings of Christ.

    I know that many find it hip to bash Christianity but don’t confuse what the followers do with what the Man taught.

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