Will Torture Game Spark New Controversy?


In 2006 it was Danny Ledonne’s thoughtful, yet highly controversial Super Columbine Massacre RPG which sparked outrage among politicians and pundits.

Last year it was the appalling V-Tech Rampage.

Will The Torture Game 2 be this year’s controversial amateur game?

MSNBC’s Winda Benedetti writes about The Torture Game 2 this week. The online-only affair is available for free on Newgrounds and other sites:

…it’s a computer game in which you, the player, are asked to do horrible, unspeakable, and totally sick, sick, sick things to a defenseless man-like person tied up in some dark room from which he has absolutely no hope of escape.


…this dangling ragdoll offers you a canvas to do with what you will — stab him with spikes, flay the skin from his body with a razor, pull his limbs off with your bare hands, paint him every color of the rainbow. 

Benedetti admits to being troubled by the game, and sought out its creator, 19-year-old Carl Havemann of South Africa, who told her:

I never thought of it as a stress reliever. The only thing I meant it to be was something simple and pointless meant only for entertainment… You’re supposed to make anything you want out of it… I don’t mind people disliking my game, but some of them are too serious about something so simple and basically meaningless.

Likely to add to any eventual controversy is a feature which allows players to customize the face of the torture victim.

GP: Just as they have with SCMRPG and V-Tech Rampage, it seems inevitable that political figures will point to The Torture Game 2 as a justification for legislating games. However, non-commercial products like these are beyond typical legislative attempts, which focus on ratings and point-of-sale.

UPDATE: Fox News did a piece on the Torture Game…

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  1. Jack Wessels says:

    Justice Antonin Scalia, a member of the United States Supreme Court no less, is quoted as saying that torture is not cruel and unusual punishment because it’s not punishment.

    Jon Stewart said it best. (It’s towards the end, and linked to GTA hypocrisy, so double awesome)

    So what’s wrong with this? If the US government can do it why can’t US children do it?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Using the paintbrush you can create some pretty odd pictures. and messing with the physics engine is a blast. The lack of screming and obvious pain takes the focus away from the actual torture in my opinion.

  3. Jabrwock says:

    The specifics don’t matter, it’s the overall attitude. The idea that it’s ok to torture if WE do it, but not if THEY do it. Because we have a "need" to extract that information. They’re just doing it to be mean.

    Ex: "it’s not ‘torture’, it’s called ‘enhanced interrogation’, which is just a fancy term for ‘torture’, but not legally equivalent." "It’s not really torture if we only make them THINK they’re about to die…"

    How are you supposed to explain to a kid that we’re really the "good guys" when we pull crap like that.

    — If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap…

  4. Anonymous says:

    Exactly, if it were possible to count how many sales of controversial media is down to attention bought about by people attacking it, I wouldn’t be surprised to find that being attacked by a censor-group is actually a profit-opportunity.

  5. Trevor McGee says:

     Ironically, I wouldn’t even have heard about this game if it weren’t for "worried" reporters talking about it.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Easy way to kill some time and suprising flexibility. I found it entertaining to black out all the gore after I was finished then pretend it was never there. I call it "Censorship"

  7. Anonymous says:

    Exactly, but apparently, the more times it’s said, the less true it is, according to the PTC.

    Kind of ironic considering how long they’ve been pumping out their formulaic quotes for…

  8. Dark Sovereign says:

    Oh, and the answer to the question posed by the article: probably not. There is worse stuff on Newgrounds.

  9. Valdearg says:

    Could it be that thats actually the case? That games DO actually relieve stress? I mean, I know its a stretch, but it could be possible.

  10. Dark Sovereign says:

    You know what? For every American story from here on out, I’m going to just post BUSH TORTURE MASS MURDER WAR CRIMES just to head everyone off.

  11. JustChris says:

    Yeah, many developers have done this sort of thing before. An Unreal engine demo uses chunks of "meat" that you can squish and kick around.

  12. Anonymous says:

    NBC is pretty balanced, but just watch the Fox report posted in the comments, according to a PTC representive, she’s heard the fact that games are stress relief too many times to believe it.

    I wonder, if I told her the sky was blue 100 times, whether she’d start denying it?

  13. Valdearg says:

    If you actually read the article, the conclusion of the Author was that it was Just a game, people should treat it as such. This author is on our side.

  14. Andrew Eisen says:

    Anyone ever mutilate, melt, or blowup your action figures when you were young?

    Yeah, same thing here.


    Andrew Eisen

  15. DarknessDeku! says:

    For me this game was really disturbing, and I didn’t play it that much, but I never wanted a ban on it.  The Massacre RPG game would have been a great educational game if the gameplay hadn’t sucked.

  16. Kaiselius says:

    Least they haven’t found any of the hentai rape/torture flashes like the one that involves a red hot iron and the girls naughty bits >.>

    Also I need to stop opening random flashes.

  17. nightwng2000 says:

    Actually, it was closer to an unofficial documentary done in video game format.

    Several of the early scenes espcially gave insight into the minds of Eric and Dylan, including excerpts from a video that they made and their views prior to the shooting.

    The addition of the afterlife was worthless to me, but I have no real complaints on its addition.


    NW2K Software

    Nightwng2000 has also updated his MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

  18. mogbert says:

    What is stupid is that this is that persons expression. Why did they do it? I don’t know. He doesn’t really know either, but the point is that it’s something on the internet. You do know there is a lot worse on the internet, right? Guess what, this game has nothing to do with anything. It’s not American, it’s not for sale, it hasn’t been rated by the ESRB, nothing.

    To me, it’s like somebody somewhere showed a picture of a pberson with a giant screw through their chest, then everyone gets all up in arms about it, and the people say "relax, it isn’t real. It was a metaphor for someone being screwed by the corporations." Oh wait, they had two pictures like that recently on Consumerist, but no one got upset.

    Right now, legislators will jump on thier high horse as soon as anything comes out as a game. Shoot, it doesn’t even need to have anything in it, it just has to be suspected of having something in it, and they will start proposing laws. This is one of the first times that they have been so blatent about it.

  19. Jabrwock says:

    I see this as no different than what pre-teen girls seem to do to their Barbies. Boys just pull the clothes & head off. Girls do VERY scary things to their dolls…

    — If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap…

  20. Alteffor says:

    The game is entertaining for a bit but no lasting appeal really. The fox news report is fully bull though. This ‘popular’ video game that your children are playing. They’re just using scare tactics to trick parents to watch their damn broadcast. It’s no wonder less and less people are watching the news. It’s become full out lies.

  21. nightwng2000 says:

    Interesting, considering that it ISN’T original.

    No, really, it isn’t.  Several years ago, Progressive insurance had an ad about a woman using a voodoo doll to torture a man.  I guess it was an acceptable ad to the author of the NBC article, as well as the PTC member from the FOX News story previously mentioned above.

    After all, did any of them condemn the web page also offer by Progressive Insurance that allowed visitors to play with a virtual voodoo doll, hoping that the voodoo would be real and cause REAL harm to the visitor’s "victim"?

    Some reference material:

    http://www.archive.org -> http://www.instantvoodoo.com from around 2002-2004.



    NW2K Software

    Nightwng2000 has also updated his MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

  22. SomeChristianKid says:

    Sounds like one really screwed up game although I probably shouldn’t judge this from the games I’ve played, hell I screwed around with the whole buddy game where you use a buch of items to beat around this simple circular guy, only difference is that the other is more gory and graphic.

  23. Jabrwock says:

    I’d say no. The only sounds are from the implements, until the victim dies, then he "sighs". No pleading, no screaming, no grimacing. No real feedback at all.

    As others have pointed out, it’s a bit of a warped demo of ragdoll physics than anything else.

    — If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap…

  24. Mark says:

    Oddly enough, I was slightly impressed by the effect of the razor.  VERY disturbing game, don’t get me wrong, but I was struck by the razor’s effect and how you could basically get down to the skeleton, hidden underneath.  Interesting effect, in my opinion.


    Oh, and of course they’ll get up in arms about it.  I assume though, that someone, somewhere will point out this is nothing like anything to be found in games that are sold.  This game is just out there…like porn or videos of insurgents being killed or Faces of Death or any other socially questionable/reprehensible stuff you can find online.

    Unless they want to FORMAT INTERNET or something, there’s not much to be done.

  25. Jabrwock says:

    The NBC article is quite balanced. She wants to criticize the author, but then feels the US doesn’t have the moral high-ground anymore. How can you criticize someone for making such a game, when your own government advocates the same kind of attititude towards torture that the game does?

    — If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap…

  26. jdmdsp911 says:


    "…it’s a computer game in which you, the player, are asked to do horrible, unspeakable, and totally sick, sick, sick things to a defenseless man-like person tied up in some dark room from which he has absolutely no hope of escape."

    Or as it is also known….Following the Bush Doctrine.


    No wonder Fixed Noise is all up in arms about it.

  27. Anonymous says:

    I think the US Gov (at least members of the current admin) has limited credibility on this issue.

  28. Anonymous says:

    I played the game and didn’t see anything particularly terrible about it. It’s pretty cheesy, and the ragdoll physics aren’t even very good. It’s not like the doll screams when you hurt it or something.

    Nonetheless, I find it odd that someone would create a violent “torture game” and not have any particular usage in mind when he created it. “Oh I let the players make what they want of it.” What -is- there to make of it aside from either stress relief or sadistic pleasure?

  29. Cheater87 says:

    Got back from playing it. The guy does not sceam in pain or anything when tortured he just sighs when he dies and then you hit the reset button. You have lots of weapons like chainsaws, spikes, a razer, rope, ak 47 and other weapons. The game does get boring after a few minutes.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Actually, that list consists of one rather funny satirical game, 2 movies, one funny, the other one actually rather cute, a very weak stick-man game and FMA Dress-Up which I’m not even certain what it is…

  31. travestibu says:


    Don’t forget that the ESA represent the member companies and their policies, so if these are sticking point issues with you, travesti blame and fight the companies themselves. travesti i am.

  32. tolga says:

    It’s not like the doll screams when you hurt it or something. Nonetheless, I find it odd that someone would create a violent "torture game" and not have any particular usage in mind when he created it.

  33. oto kirlama says:

    Nintendo is indeed selling SOME of these on the Virtual Console but not even close to all of them. While i agree in part to his piracy he was filling a market that Nintendo failed to recognize. Maybe someone doesnt want to buy a Wii. maybe they just want a console with 50 – 100 NES games on them?? maybe just maybe?

    but no Nintendo wants everyone araba kiralama to buy the Wii. thats their excuse but thats not what copyright is supposed to protect. i am real sure that the makers of 10 yard fight were losing sleep because they were missing out on their $0.00025 worth because they didnt get royalties from this player. *smirk*

    my question is, should Super Mario Bros. be banned from public domain forever? isnt 23 years enough time for Nintendo to have made their profits?

    If you have followed the Steamboat Willie case regarding Mickey Mouse you can rest in your bed well at night knowing that the MOUSE will still be under copyright law, away from public domain after your great grandchildren are in nursing homes. That is beyond ridiculous dont you think??

    Gallagher can araç kiralama say all he wants, but I strongly rent a car believe it’s due to his crappy leadership and E3 being a joke. ESA’s Board of Directors need to find a way to get out rent a car of this horrid contract with this Bush cronie before there’s no one left on the Board.

    Btw, I think Atari and Midway will drop out too, but mostly travesti because  these guys have done nothing ttnet vitamin or little and need to start saving costs.


    Now I don’t have to get off my ass for the important shit anymore!

    Whats next, ordering pizza from Xbox live?

    Wait… I think that sounds like a good idea.

    But I think voting should MAKE you get off your ass, and see outside or a second while you go vote. I mean, your picking the president of the United States of America for God’s Sake… least you can do is drive down there and punch out a card.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Oh, I just love it when Fox News weighs in on a topic.

    It always does my heart some good, in the same way huffing paint does.

    Sure, I feel all light-headed and funny, but my brain cells are screaming at me.

    I love how they’re "sickened" and "disturbed" by this simulated "torture" game, but when it comes to real life, most of the people at Fox news agree that it’s a way to get things done.

    Or this game, and others of it’s kind need to be regulated, but Haliburton/KBR gets all of Iraq with no contest, for the most part, and profiteers off of the war.

    "It’s ok America, it’s ok America. Your government has this all figured out. Here’s American Gladiators, here’s 37 channels of American gladiators. Go back to bed America. You are free to do as we tell you. You are free to do as we tell you. You are free to do as we tell you"

                                                                                                   –         Bill Hicks

  35. Repudiator says:

    Ugh… The minute I saw "Fox News" appear in this article, I just… I… I already knew what was coming.

    Fox News Channel: Lowering the IQ of Americans since 1996.

    — Ignorance is bliss, I guess…

  36. Anonymous says:

    These ‘idiots’ are no different from us when trying to decern whatever it is that is wrong with our society.  Its only because we’ve been playing games for however long it is, that we know all the blame they try to place on video-games is bullshit. 


  37. Necromancist says:

    It does the job as a stress reliever, though I do find it disturbing that you can upload faces to the ragdoll.

    What really bothers me though, is that the PTC person claims she’s sick of hearing the "It’s just a game" argument. Also, she portrays TV violence as being "better" because it’s passive. Hello? You’re from the Parents TELEVISION Council. Do your job instead of flinging BS at stuff you can’t do anything about anyway.


    Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. We don’t have to like them, but we can’t allow each other force theirs onto people.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Yeah because games are ALL just for kids PERIOD. Faux news, for the sake of the future of the world STOP humiliating yourselves for just one segment.



  39. Overcast says:

    Well, unlike GTA – they can’t say Bush got his ideas from a Video Game – I guess the opposite applies here. I think it should be banned…. Goverment is a bad influence to video games.

  40. Shoehorn O'Plenty says:

    Being able to put someone’s face on the ragdoll doesn’t make it any worse. This game could do more good than any alleged harm allowing people to burn off some stress or frustration. Boss has given you overtime work when you had a dinner with your girlfriend booked in a nice restaurant? Put his face on there and get your virtual revenge! Been stuck in traffic for 2 hours when the trip should have taken 15 minutes? Release all that rage on this anonymous figure.

    If political figures look at this and call for action, they must also immediately launch investigations into pictures taped to dartboards or punching bags, stress-squeeze balls that have any kind of face, etc., as this is no different except in terms of presentation.

  41. GPPlascencia says:

    Indeed, I can not see it as a game at all. If it is a game, what’s the objective?. It’s more like a puppet mechanics programming experiment with a lot of bad taste. (And some funny outcomes). Is it torture? Hardly, the puppet doesn’t express any emotion. I found funny that with the razorblade tool you would acualy peel to the bone (there aren’t any other layers of tissue anyway)

  42. Kris O. says:

    Meh. People see want they want to see, I guess. Personally, I see it as nothing more than a lesson in ragdoll physics. The weapons and damage effects exist to display the accuracy of the physics model. It’s not torture, it’s not brutality, it’s not evil-nasty anythingness. It’s just a model to test and showcase mathmatical accuracy.

  43. Freyar says:

    Dear Fox News,

    Your journalistic integrity has been breached, please evacuate your ship per safety directive 21-D-01 and await for your network to be decontaminated.



    Someone who wishes you’d actually consider what the hell you are pitching.


    —- There is a limit for both politicians against video games, and video games against politicians. http://www.goteamretard.com

  44. CyberSkull says:

     You know, I’d never hear about these games if someone wasn’t pitching a fit about them.

  45. Anonymous says:

    Nope, from what I remember, it was just a rolling demo of various scenes, and Border Patrol and a few other non-commercial flash games had been slipped into the mix.

  46. Jabrwock says:

    They’d probably be hosting it then…

    — If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap…

  47. Anonymous says:

    I wonder, if someone put Bin-Ladens face on the ragdoll, would the Media kick up a stink then?

  48. Jabrwock says:

    The PTC twit is flubbing BS left and right.

    "Will this numb kids to torture?"

    Yes, yes it will. But so will advocating torture of foreign nationals in the name of "freedom"…

    She keeps pulling out "causal relationship"…

    — If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap…

  49. SounDemon says:

    I could only watch 10 seconds before I was too sickened by the brainless blonde and the fact that I was watching fox news.

    "A popular game"? Are you kidding me? They’re only doing what your beloved Bush has been doing in the middle east for years.



  50. Anonymous says:

    I love the way she presented that piece about it making kids ‘numb to torture’ all things considered…

    Apparently, fake torture is abysmal, whereas real tortue is National Security….

  51. Jabrwock says:

    The article points that out. That without context, or much of a reaction from the "victim", there’s little feedback to indicate what it’s about, or why. So it’s up to the player to imagine their own reason to switch from paint-brush to spikes. She admits curiosity got the better of her.

    — If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap…

  52. GRIZZAM PRIME says:

    This is different from SCMRPG because it’s nothing (literally) nothing more than torture. There doesn’t appear to be any story or reason for any of the stuff to be happening.


     -If shit and bricks were candy and tits, we’d all be livin’ large. For information on games and psychology, look up: Jonathan Freedman(2002)Block and Crain(2007)Grand Theft Childhood, a book by Harvard Medical School researchers Larry Kutner and Cheryl

  53. E. Zachary Knight says:

    Now the real question is, "Do they allow Water-boarding?"

    That aside, I am not sure what the controversy is. It is not based on any real life events. There are no recognizable characters unless the player puts on in.

    It may be a little lacking in taste, but hardly controversial.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
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    E. Zachary Knight
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  54. Cheater87 says:

    I’m going to check this game out in a sandboxed browser. IIRC Newgrounds has spyware on it. 🙁

  55. Loudspeaker says:

    Well I can’t say I’m going to be playing with this game.  It will be interesting to see if any politicians try to use this to their advantage.  If they do I hope someone with half a brain throws torture practices like water boarding in their face when declaring this "appauling".

    "Volume helps to get a point across but sharp teeth are better."

  56. Anonymous says:

    Legislators have actually tried to slip these sort of games into videos of commercial games in order to promote their anti-game legislation, as they did in Louisiana iirc.

  57. Girricane says:

    Torture Game 2? Did the first one manage to slip under the radar?

    I never thought we’d ever be in a position where obscure flash games would start gaining the public’s eye.  Also, the guy is South African? Why should that matter at all to American laws/regulations?

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