ABC News: 9 Video Games That Went Too Far

ABC News has posted a web feature on controversial games, listing nine titles "that went too far." The games chosen by ABC’s Ki Mae Huessner are:

  • Rendition: Guantanamo
  • Six Days in Fallujah
  • Faith Fighter
  • RapeLay
  • Miss Bimbo
  • GTA IV
  • Manhunt 2
  • Super Columbine Massacre RPG
  • JFK Reloaded

Although Ki Mae interviewed me for the piece, I’m not clear as to the criteria she used to narrow her final list down to nine. Still, it’s a thought-provoking article and should serve as a good starting point to discuss what makes a game controversial.

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  1. bgmnt says:

    They’re not counting Left Behind: Eternal Forces? There’s nothing "too far" about killing the unsaved from different religions in the name of Christ? Interesting.


    They’re not counting it because no such thing happens in the game.  You can read my blog posts about the game and the lies being spread by people like you (i.e. – people who’ve never even played the game who are mindlessly regurgitating others’ lies) here:



    Pay particular attention to this post:



    Care to retract your comment?

  2. Vengful_Soldier says:

    The only really that I wish wasn’t there was Six Days in Fallujah, because I am a history junkie and the tactical plans used during that battle are classified. People who put up the red flag were claiming what I felt was either arogant or ignorant and the rumors going around that even terrorists were helping with the game pissed me off even more. That would have been an awesome game if done correctly, I haven’t gotten see any of the gameplay just stills….

  3. DannyLedonne says:

    It seems that every new videogame that represents a controversial issue now invites a retrospective of "the worst games" or the most "tasteless games" or, in this case, "games that went too far."  The notion that "Games about religion, sex, and violence cross the line" is itself deeply problematic for a pluralistic society.  Questions quickly arise, questions such as "too far for what?" or "cross the line for whom?"  Whether the game in question is a mega-selling mainstream title like "Grand Theft Auto IV" or an obscure independent effort such as "Faith Fighter," clearly all the games in question have an audience and social value for those willing to engage them.  To suggest otherwise is antithetical to a free society, one in which First Amendment protections grant game developers, as with all creative artists, the right to freely express themselves through electronic media.  That videogames are expected to be childish fantasies devoid of social commentary is problematic and unfortunately articles like this fuel such misguided assumptions about this emerging art form.

    All commerce of the mainstream game industry aside, the goal of any artist is to evoke, captivate, and even confront audiences.  Whether an individual finds a title such as "Super Columbine Massacre RPG!" to be social critique, cathartic examination, satire, or simply offensive drivel, such a title deserves and has rightly found recognition in our heterogeneous culture.  Indeed, if art is to have any impact at all, it MUST "go too far" insomuch as the conventional expectations must be pushed, questioned, or challenged.  Not everyone is willing to do this, but some of us must – regardless of how warmly our efforts are met on message boards or in mainstream media publications.  The alternative is the banal, the lifelessly comfortable, the self-censored.

  4. Ironmaus says:

    They’re not counting Left Behind: Eternal Forces? There’s nothing "too far" about killing the unsaved from different religions in the name of Christ? Interesting.

  5. Da_ALC says:

    More irritating nonsense from reporters who know nothing and need to publish ANYTHING to keep getting their wage.

  6. ryagor says:

    Because if you had read the article you would know that the article was fair and balanced and sympathetic towards the games, particularly Super Columbine Massacre. The whole point of the article was that people blow up about games way too much. The way you ripped on the article for mentioning a flash game (which had a ton of controversy surrounding) strongly suggests that you didn’t read the article.

  7. Sigvatr_ says:

    I think "too far" is a misnomer. When I think of "too far", it conjures imagery of earthquakes, mass murder and stock market crashes. All these games did is merely offend someone.

  8. MechaTama31 says:

    I see 2 games that never came out at all; 1 that didn’t come out in this country; 3 that are online flash games, not retail; 1 I’ve never heard of; and then 2 Rockstar games, as if that horse hasn’t been beaten to death.  That sure is some list.

  9. Erik says:

    And what makes you think we haven’t read the article?  Oh wait, you don’t know.  Acting out on your own ignorance aren’t you?

    -Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person’s fear of their own freedom-

  10. ryagor says:

    Did any of you actually read the article? Obviously not. You obviously don’t read the comments section before you post either because I specifically commented on how the article isn’t denouncing the games and its a fair and balanced article and how none of you morons are going to actually read the article. How can you guys yell at people for being ignorant if you insist on being ignorant yourselves.

  11. Erik says:

    What?  GTA4 went to far?  Since when?  The violence in that game is so sanitized it is really sort ob obscene.  I mean you fire on someone and they fall to the ground bloodlessly, then limp off camera a few minutes later.

    And I see a stupid internet flash game is on her list as well.  Rather than "Games that went to far" it should be, "Shit that we blew out of porportion during sweeps week".

    -Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person’s fear of their own freedom-

  12. CyberSkull says:

    I’d like to know what line these games crossed, the only one on the list that bothers me is RapeLay

  13. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Wow….half of those are not real games and the ones they chose to to be all sensationalist about are not really anything to trump up(becuse there are "worse" games), wow sheep media fails!!


    I am a criminal because I purchase media,I am a criminal because I use media, I am a criminal because I chose to own media..We shall remain criminals until Corporate stay’s outside our bedrooms..

  14. Karsten Aaen says:

    Manhunt 2 and Fallelujah, I can understand, maybe.

    But GTA IV —-? I simply don’t understand this.

    Why is GTA IV one of the most controversial games of all time? As far I can tell, everyone agrees that the story in GTA IV is great, you do almost anything, if you so choose… I don’t get…


  15. Bennett Beeny says:

    If it’s not against the law, it is by definition NOT too far.  Those who claim that legal games go too far are arguing for the computer age equivalent of fascist-style book burnings.

  16. Aliasalpha says:

    There’s a fairly valid case for arguing that Rendition: Guantanamo & Six Days in Fallujah didn’t go far enough what with being cancelled before release and all.

    Still sad that the medium isn’t granted the respect due to other forms of entertainment, how many movies like GTA4 have there been that apparently didn’t go to far but were instead heralded as masterpieces of cinema?

  17. chadachada321 says:

    NONE of these games went too far..

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  18. Father Time says:

    Resident Evil 5 didn’t go too far, you were killing zombies, which are fictional creatures. Just a bunch of people got into an uproar over some insignificant detail doesn’t mean it went too far.


    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  19. TK n Happy Ness says:

    Only one moron thinks it should be on that list. Our dear old ex-attorney "friend" whose name we don’t even have to mention. That, and probably the polygonal dick in Lost and Damned.

    When Jack Thompson runs his mouth, does anyone really care what he has to say anymore?

  20. mogbert says:

    See, I got my hackles up at the title of the piece, and won’t give them the website hit to read the article. I’m against the concept that insulting me makes me do what they want me to do. For one, some of those games were never made, so the person obviously didn’t play them. For another, one of those games was never translated out of Japanese. Finally, the one that wasn’t translated is next to NOTHING compared to the huge quantities of similar, if not worse, games in Japan. I’m pretty tired of hearing about one game out of Japan which is relatively less sick then a huge tome of games, or even a large quantity of of their live action movies.

    There is litteraly no subject, no matter how taboo or wrong, that that country doesn’t have movies about. And everyone here latches onto one GAME and talks about how wrong it is. If you want to get your hackles up about some other culture (which apparently has MUCH, MUCH fewer cases of rape per capita) then do some freakin research. Find a game which you can actually get upset about. Seriously! This is like people comparing Playboy to the absolute worst, most debased filth the planet has ever seen.  Or, ironically, like people comparing Grand Theft Auto IV to pornography. Until you see how big the scale is, you can’t accurately measure something.

    In the meantime, I think I’ll take a queue from half of Penn and Teller, and be against the censorship of thoughtcrimes. If this had such bad effects on people, rather then cathartic, then their rape rates would be MUCH higher then other countries. So, for those of you still on the banning train, I hope you realize that right around the corner for banning a game that you feel went to far, if banning games JT thinks went to far. It isn’t a huge step, it’s more like a slow fall.

  21. Alyric says:

    Having worked as a journalist for some time at a print newspaper many years back, I can tell you that the headlines are often written by an entirely different person than the article.

    Obviously, I’m uncertain that this is the case here, but the possibility exists.

  22. Fedule mk II says:

    Having actually gone and read the article, I found that it was actually rather well thought out and showed evidence that due diligence was done with regards to research. The only really, really, headbangingly stupid thing about it was the title – "Games that Went Too Far". That title is so completely at odds with the words in the article that I wonder if it wasn’t the result of executive meddling by ABC. Hear me out.

    The article comes out heavily in defense of most of the games in question, and even stops short of directly condemning Rapelay (which, admittedly, is the easiest target of the nine). It is, as I observed, well researched and considered, even sympathizing with some of the developers (especially Danny Ledonne). I also find it suspicious that someone writing an article called "Games that went too far" did not mention V-Tech Rampage (or whatever it was called), a game that actually WAS created with the intent to offend and earn some easy publicity and infamy for its author.

    I therefore suspect that the author is actually quite sympathetic to the situation of many of the games in question, and intended only to investigate them as sources of controversy (which would neatly explain the absense of V-Tech Rampage, since that game, though offensive, did not leave much of a lasting memory), and that the title "9 Video Games That Went Too Far" was added by an editor later. This would be consistent with my (admittedly limited) experience of writing articles like this – you supply the text but the headline is added by the editor.

    Dennis, if you read this, would you be willing to elaborate on the exact questions you were asked? I imagine they would go a ways to clarifying the author’s intent. Also, having experience in journalism, do you find my suspicions plausible?

  23. Vake Xeacons says:

    The article only points out how these were controversial, rather than actually taking sides…except for that title, "went too far."

    Other than that she seems to have a balance of view from both sides on each game. But she did say these games "crossed the line." Now what line would that be, again?

    Oh, and she forgot RE5. That would have made it an even 10.

  24. State says:

    And very few of those games are made by actual games companies (only GTA4, Manhunt 2 and Six Days). Rapelay as every knows is interactive pornography, whilst the others are made by amateurs. It’s like me claiming that a dodgy Youtube video made by someone is a reflection on the produce from Hollywood.

  25. ryagor says:

    I was just about to say the the same exact thing. I find it a bit humorous though that the only offense actually listed against GTA IV was the drunk driving claims made by MADD.

    This should serve a lesson to everyone. Read the article first before you denounce someone as ignorant, because that my friends is pretty ignorant.

  26. Timbo says:

    In the article’s defence, it looks more to be naming nine games that have been deemed the most controversial, not necessarily ones that the writer agrees are bad.  The article seems to be expressing less of the author’s opinion and more on stating waht games have been controversial.

    That being said, I think the title of the article is a bit misleading for the content and I really wonder about her game choices because so many of them are such niche games.

  27. MaskedPixelante says:

    How stupid can these people be. 2 of these games are cancelled, at least 3 of them are retail… the rest are all freely distributed.


    —You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

  28. Dragoon1376 says:

    And how many on this "list" had anything resembling commercial success?  GTA is the only one as far as I know.  The others were either cancelled in the planning phase, are free to play online (I believe), or just sucked commercially because of bad gameplay/limited markets. 

    Since the criteria for this categorization is unknown, this is completely and utterly pointless.

    First secure an independent income, then practice virtue. -Greek Proverb

  29. Chaltab says:

    GTA4? What? 

    SHe’s probably thinking of San Andreas and Hot Coffee, because that sparked eleven times more outrage than anything in GTA4.

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