Author Cites 26-year Old Title for Rape Scene in Game Violence Bash

March 21, 2008 -
A University of Calgary professor cites 1982 game release Custer's Revenge in an op-ed piece about current video game violence issues for the Calgary Herald.

Author Tom Keenan is described as an award-winning science writer and professional speaker. That he may be, but his knowledge of the game space is clearly limited. His article focuses in part on the well-known theories of retired Lt. Col Dave Grossman, who coined the term "murder simulator" to describe the first-person shooter genre.

Keenan also touches on U.S. Defense Department recruiting game, America's Army. But it is his remarks about Custer's Revenge that caught GP's eye, particularly in a time when video games have been wrongly accused of including interactive rape by prominent political figures in the United States (see: Rape in Video Games? Top Aide to Boston Mayor Says Yes at Legislative Hearing) and Great Britain (see: Video Games Linked to Rape in Parliament Debate). Here's what Keenan wrote:
You won't see strippers suddenly appear [in America's Army], or be encouraged to rape a virtual character, as happens in the hideous Custer's Revenge game...

Cortisol is a naturally occurring hormone that's related to stress, so the researchers claim their technique can "cut stress off at the pass," at least for some people.

Unless of course, you're busy playing America's Army or, even worse, Custer's Revenge. In that case, you're on your own to manage your stress.

Playing Custer's Revenge? Who can even find Custer's Revenge, much less play it? The game was released 26 years ago by a publisher that no longer exists for a console that you might be able to locate on Ebay if you searched diligently.

Judging by its Wikipedia entry, Custer's Revenge is surely a disgusting excuse for a game:
Custer's Revenge (also known as Westward Ho) is a pornographic video game made for the Atari 2600 by Mystique, a company that produced a number of adult video game titles for the system. The game was first released on October 13, 1982 and has received significant criticism because of its crude simulation of an apparent rape of a physically restrained Native American woman.

Nasty business, to be sure. But as far as video games are concerned, a lot of water has passed under the bridge since 1982.

Most notably, the creation of the video game rating system now guides parental purchasing choices. Moreover, a game with an interactive rape scene would surely garner the retail-killing Adults Only rating. Additional factors preventing a modern Custers Revenge-like product include the entrance of increasing numbers of women into game development as well as the general maturation process of the video game industry.

That said, we don't suspect that Tom Keenan is a bad guy, just badly-informed when it comes to games. It is distressing, however, to see this kind of nonsense regurgitated in a mainstream newspaper. Readership of such publications generally skews older. Misinformation like this simply tends to reinforce existing cultural stereotypes of gamers and their hobby as disreputable and depraved.


I laughed so hard. I bet he tried to search the internet for a game that involved rape and this is the only one he found.

Wow. I've read this guy's columns before, he also has covered the brutality of bare-knuckled boxing, racism against the recent wave of Irish Immigrants and even such recent news as the exploits of Odyssius.

Bringing up Custer's Revenge as an argument is like saying that only those 18+ should be allowed to buy cameras because someone took some nudie photos in the 1800's.

Atari didn't require licenses, which led to a glut of garbage like Custer...AND it was before there even was a rating system, so it wouldn't be covered under most legislation. This guy is just a fool...

This just in...theft is now blamed on the 2600 game Adventure because the main character could use the bridge piece to break into a box and steal a dot!

Oh, you have GOT. TO. BE. KIDDING. ME.

It's a freaking 4-bit game. Both in technology and in stature. Using a game that's older than i am is NOT going make yourself look smart. Hell, the only place you can even find Atari console games anymore is on ebay. Literally. Unless your local speciality game store is some sort of uber-store, you're not finding 'em there, let alone Mystique's games.

(I'm being serious about that, too. I've been to my fair share of game retailers that catered to retro titles and the like, and i've not seen one console or game that was released before the 8-bit era began. Not one. They had imported games and systems, [an SNES Fire Emblem, for example] but no Atari's, no Commodore's, no nothing.)

No one would print the story if he cited "Birth of a Nation" as an example of modern racism in movies.

I have an original cartridge of Custer's Revenge for the 2600, and it's still in its fancy little case. I must be the devil...

Wow, a good author jumps on the bandwagon to look like an idiot? I feel sorry for this guy, to look like an idiot in front of millions... it is just a wonder if he's taken drugs or if he simply decided to not research for once because of a vision from the dope or something?

Tom Keenan, I advise you to seek self-help and to retract your article before it becomes a permanent stain on your life. Otherwise, you'll grow old and senile and wonder why people laugh at you for going mad and get put into a home.


Ok this guy is OBVIOUSLY misinformed. Yes, it is a game that includes "rape". Look at what is in the game and tell me how you'd know that was rape. It's less than 8 bit graphics. I don't even think this is VGA. Native American? She's the same skin coloring as Custer himself. Yeah... This is a huge stretch. On top of that we're talking about a game 26 years ago before the term gamer even existed. Gaming didn't really hit mainstream until the Nintendo Entertainment System. Yes, Atari was the pioneer, but at the time it was state-of-the-art tech and pricey to most.

If this was 3D I'd give it some merit, but not with a poor quality 2D game.

I was around when this was released and I didn't even know about it until the GP article yesterday regarding rape in games and someone mentioned it in the blog.

Hopefully this guy gets informed soon.

Anyone who cites Lyndon LaRouche for anything has no argument in my opinion.


Actually, unless the Atari 2600 has a motion sensing device worn on the hips to detect pelvic thrusts(and such devices were I think pretty non existent then) then it simulates rape no more than GTA simulates murder.

And the game came out 26 years ago, I think a decade before the ESRB was even suggested, so yes, that is relevant.

Figures, he just has to have the same name as me. I hope he realizes that referencing something that out-of-date will negate the rest of his article, even if by some lucky chance he had any good points. Just more of the same it seems, people who want quick publicity will find it wherever they can.

Why bother selling snake-oil when you can get the same results by writing a two page piece of garbage?

The funny thing is he relates this to the increase in crime rates from 1967. That is how sad this research paper is.

26 years ago
they are really scraping the bottom of the barrel for arguments this time

im really ashamed that his last name is my first name
im changing my name to something cool now like.......Altaïr

I would argue that these two films are easier to get a hold of than Custer's Revenge.

Wait, what? Is he saying Custer's Revenge is a FPS too?!

It's better than many of those sleazy "first-person shooter" (FPS) games. You won't see strippers suddenly appear, or be encouraged to rape a virtual character, as happens in the hideous Custer's Revenge game.

Heh add a pixelated blur and you MIGHT get a decent looking colot for the nipple! Now, I believe it was a SUPPOSED rape, now damn near 30 years ago!


Actually, unless the Atari 2600 has a motion sensing device worn on the hips to detect pelvic thrusts(and such devices were I think pretty non existent then) then it simulates rape no more than GTA simulates murder.

Well they could do that with the Wii. Basically make a straon dildo harness with a wiimote attachment. They've got the Wiimote, what would this be? Wiidong, Wiiknob, Wiischlong, WiiWii?

They really need to make an updated rape game with a laugh track. Regardless of the content, why not hold people responsible when they do something rather than allowing false excuses?
Let's just say a man listens to orson welles war of the worlds and then freaks out and kills his children claiming that he thought they were pod people, what do you do?
A. blame him
B. blame welles
C. blame the evil radio industry
D. b and c
A man reads the bible and based on what he has read he decides that everyone at work is possessed by the devil. He kills them all. Who to blame?
A. blame him
B. blame god/bible
C. blame satan

OMG! Elvis is so preverted with those hip movements! Get him off the Ed Sulivan Show!!!

Videogames truly did not become controversial until they became detailed enough to show explicit scenes of violence and adult material.
Interesting read.

So how long before people make a big deal over Custer's Revenge and start demanding it be banned and pulled from store shelves?

The best example of their point they can come up with is as old as me?

achem, FAIL.

Thank you.

Wow... I mean... really... wow...

Is it just me or posts more funny stuffs than comedy central and these irks? I mean seriously, I get more laughs out from this and JT articles than other comedies.

BTW Custer’s Revenge is so totally ungodly rubbish!
Yes, I'm unfortunate enough to play this game at me pals place.
and we laughed hysterically like 5 to 10 minutes due to the suckiness of the game, and we just stopped playing the game.

That's just sad.

Everyone needs to go over to the website and leave a comment on how silly it is to bring up Custer's Revenge.

We all know it is silly, but without enough people pointing out how dumb it is the general public won't know and the moral panic will just keep going.

And thus he proves that he is a total asshat. What surprise....

@Fuji2001 --

Dude, try Flesh & Blood...they've shown that on one of the movie channels I have quite a few times. It has a rape scene in it, and then basically Jennifer Jason Leigh is sort of held captive for the rest of the movie. It's arguably a LOT worse than Custer's Revenge due to the difference between 4-bit graphics and live action.

I think videogame´s critics are truly deseperated if they need to name Custer´s Revenge. What an asshole.

I would hope that someone in the news media might be convinced to show a clip of custer's revenge. "My god, look at the realism!"

@ mogbert

Really a smurff game had unreported nudity?

So I read his article, I find it funny, well this to be funny

"In an interview with the Executive Intelligence Review, Grossman says, "Anybody who's ever hunted with an automatic weapon, or has been in combat, will tell you that the natural thing to do is to shoot at your target, until your target drops, and then go to another. But, what do the video games train you to do? One shot, one kill, with bonus effects for head shots."

Who in the hell hunts with an automatic rifle? Can we say over-kill? Semi-auto yes. Anyways the "In combat the natural thing to do" Yes we call that a "survival instict."

An Atari 2600 is a system you might be able to find on Ebay if you search diligently? Funny I just typed Atari 2600 in ebay's search engine, then clicked system in the results and 120 auctions came up. That sure was a diligent search. :rolleyes:

Sorry for the double post had an extra line that I seem to have deleted.

James Rolfe aka. the Angry Video Game Nerd did a video about Atari Porn games, including Custer's Revenge. It can be found here.

And a lot of people would like to disavow all knowledge of crap like it, the Zelda CD-i games, and a lot of other crap that shouldn't exist.

Bah! Sorry for the 3rd post accidently clicked submit.

But, what do the video games train you to do? One shot, one kill, with bonus effects for head shots.”

Doesn't reality rewarding you with single kill shots to? Is't the reward less ammo used? Complex problems don't mean simple answers.

@ jccalhoun

Posted, let's hope that editor will accept my comment :D

Well that was a bad point to try and make with a 26 year old game. But if he wanted any recent titles he would have to look at the Manga/Hentai games coming over from Asia. Anal, bleeding, rape, etc... They aren't mainstream but they are out there.

Custer's Revenge? Are you frakkin' serious? Gods, this really is the bottom of the barrel for the anti-game lobbyists.

@Doctor Proctor
Just read the wiki article. I find it ironic that in a film about sex and violence, the character of Hawkwood is played by Jack Thompson (the actor).

This guy needs to be slapped upside the head while getting yelled at in a Schwarzenegger like voice "WHAT'S DA MATTAH WITH YOOOOOU?!"

I hope this was a bad case of satire.....

@ Brian

The point of that comment was because that's really the only place you CAN find them, and unless you're a dumbass that lets your kids waste your money on ebay, its not going to get into their hands that easy.

That, and if you can find a working Atari after all these years.


I was just wondering why a kid would want to play that ancient piece of crap at all.


yes, to PC users who have the patient and knowledge to import them. Otherwise who plays them? There are none on consoles. And if you ask the average joe gamer about them they would have no idea what the hell you are talking about, though I imagine they would want to know after you told them.


Wouldn't it be funny if the guy came out and said it is satire? Lol..


That's a good point too.

Bejebus, I wasn't even alive when this game came out.

To say that this man is beating a dead horse would be an understatement. More that he broke into the tomb of a 2000 year old horse with 20 others, then proceeded to bludgeon it with a crowbar.


Yeah I think he missed the boat on trying to bring that up for it's 'shock value' ... next thing you know you'll be hearing about the 'Obscene' content in Night Trap, or Mortal Kombat (1) or DOOM (again, 1).

So yeah it might take another 20 years just for them to catch up to us...


Thanks for saving me the trouble. I don't condone this sort of game, regardless of age, but neither do I condemn it. People just need to back off and mind their own ****ing business.

@ Guiguibob80


That's what makes me laugh when these guys bring up simulators. If Counter Strike is a murder simulater then I'm dead the minute I walk into any building due to headshot.

This guy might as well take a scrunchy and a cucumber and call it a sex simulator.

...Yeah I said it... A scrunchy.

This guy is fucking desperate if he's using a 26 year old game to make an example.

All together now!


Um..... Alright.... Why are people so deperate to make videogames look so evil?
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