Poll: Are Any Video Game Topics Taboo?

Are there any themes or topics that should never be explored in a video game?

A few years ago, Atomic Games was developing Six Days in Fallujah, a third-person shooter based on a 2004 battle in the Iraq war.  There were many who thought the game was insensitive and inappropriate.  Not in the “well, I’m just not going to play this!” sense but more along the lines of “no one should play this!”  Publisher Konami dropped the game in April ’09 and to this day, it hasn’t been released.

Back in 2008, the internet got wind of a Japanese eroge (erotic game) called Rape Lay.  In the game, you play a miscreant who stalks and rapes a mother and her two daughters.  Many in America were appalled by the game’s content and insisted that the title be made even less available than “not currently sold in this country.”

Back in ’06, cops-and-robbers shooter 25 to Life’s release was protested by several law enforcement groups and elected officials.  It seems some were really uncomfortable with a game that allows players to shoot cops.  Grand Theft Auto and other shooters often endure similar complaints.

The Punisher and Manhunt 2, two games that feature torture, suffered various sorts of censorship all over the globe.

So, some think games shouldn’t cover real-life military battles so soon after they actually happened.  Some think rape or even porn in general should never be a part of video games.  Some get their undies in a bunch over violence against cops or women while others think violence may be okay but outright torture is over the line.

But we want to know what you think!  And we’re not just feigning interest because we’re trying to get in your pants, we honestly value what you have to say!

Vote in the poll over on the right under the LOGIN box and if you know of a topic or theme that should never be tackled in a video game, hit up the comments section or send an email to SuperPACPodcast@gmail.com and let us know what it is.  Let us know why it’s taboo.  Let us know if it’s equally uncool in movies or books.  Let us know what you’re doing this Friday.  ‘Cause, we’re not busy or anything and we thought, you know, if you weren’t doing anything either…

Ahem.  Anyway, vote in the poll, let us know what you think and we’ll discuss the poll results and your opinion on the next podcast!

"vote label" © Tribalium / Shutterstock. All rights reserved, used with permission.

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Contributing Editor Andrew Eisen

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  1. 0
    Neeneko says:

    I disagree.

    As soon as something is not permitted to be talked about, all it really ends up doing is silencing the victims.  Bullies and abusers LOVE when the things they do are taboo.. makes it so much easier since their victims are less likely to get support or band together.

  2. 0
    Andrew Eisen says:

    Aw, come on!  Don't leave out the "why," that's the most interesting part!

    Also, should the subject of child abuse also be stricken from other forms of media like movies or books?  If not, why not?


    Andrew Eisen

  3. 0
    Kincyr says:

    child-abuse has been an element of a character's backstory a few times already, with rare instances of viewing it. however, AFAIK the player character has never perpetrated it, nor has the perpetrator ever gotten away with it.

    but yea, child abuse will never be the main point of a game

  4. 0
    ChuckLez says:

    Nothing is Taboo.  Even if done in the most objectionable context,  it still deserves to exist without censorship.

    However, if a store chooses to not sell it, or a digital/physical medium chooses not to market it (on legal grounds), or investors decide to take their money elsewhere, that's fine also.


  5. 0
    axiomatic says:

    No nothing.

    The racy and controversial themes are used in other forms of media. Why should games be held to a different standard? To do so would be hypocritical.

  6. 0
    hellfire7885 says:

    I clicked "Nothing"

    I don't think any subject should be taboo for a game to tackle, just like with movies.

    The problem is that video games are still the "new guy" in terms of media, so it's hard for games to tackle anything too serious or disturbing without morality police getting up in arms over it.

  7. 0
    GrimCW says:

    oh come now.. having logical reasoning for your beliefs is for nerds, cyber bullies and trolls.

    and anyone who does such things on the net with matter of fact evidence and reasoning is only seeking attention by being long winded a-holes.

    can't recall who actually tried telling me that.. or was it an article.. sometime last year i know i read it though :)

    apparently what is taboo is citing your info and having sound reasoning :p

  8. 0
    GrimCW says:

    shh don't tell that to the current run of publishers.. the controversies they're creating simply to get the easy advertising is just outrageous..

    tbh i'd bet nearly all "controversial" content since MW2's boring airport slaughter mission is just done for the attention.. in fact.. i wouldn't put it past that that one was too. most of'em are far to obvious, while others are somewhat believable given what people will get antsy over.

  9. 0
    rma2110 says:

    Nothing should be taboo, as long as it’s not done just to be contraversial and get attention. The only thing that might make me unconfortable is glamorizing evil. I still would not ban adults from playing such games, even though kids seems to think that anything adult only is automaticly cool.

  10. 0
    sakurakira says:

    I was going to say something along the lines of child molestation or rape, but then I thought about it a little more. It really depends on the context.

    I never played L.A. Noir, but I can see a game like that being an appropriate platform for such issues. Similarly when such events are a part of a character's history and help to form (most likely) the person you interact with in the game. To me, that is certainly very different than actually playing a rapist in a game.

    Regarding Six Days in Fallujah, I think it was in poor taste. I don't think it's censorship in the same way as government enforced censorship is. As a company, Konami was free to publish their game. As consumers we are free to be outraged by it. They in turn are free to decide whether the backlash from the public is worth releasing the game in the first place, and can decide to still release it and possibly recoup some of their investment in developing the game, or decide they would rather the hubbub go away. They chose the latter and never released it.

    I used to be one of those who was really against the GTA series (both parents were cops) but then as I learned more about the games and the other ridiculous things in them, they were more humorous than not. I think I started to change my opinion when I learned that in one of the games you could visit a prostitute to restore health, lol… It was just so stupid it became funny.

    The main problem with such games is it reduces law enforcement officers into a uniform and nothing else. The same thing happens in action movies with cop cars blowing up left and right. Even in Star Trek, the poor infamous "red shirts" suffer from the same problem. It's sometimes lost that these are real people that are dying, with lives and families. That isn't a problem unique to the GTA series, but across all entertainment. I don't scorn all such movies, but it's occasionally in the back of my mind as I watch them.

  11. 0
    Andrew Eisen says:

    Might want to give Papo y Yo a look.  Child abuse factors very heavily into the game's theme.  Haven't played it but I hear it's very well done.


    Andrew Eisen

  12. 0
    Mr.Tastix says:

    I don't believe in censorship so I will simply say "nothing".

    I do believe anything considered socially unacceptable has to be put into context though. Killing for the sake of killing is a pathetic excuse. A character can find the act of killing enjoyable but it's usually best not to make that the story's main driving point (and even books and movies that do this tend to have very poor stories because of it).

    Rape, alongside child abuse, are probably the top two contenders for "most taboo" because there's very little topics you can shove these in where it would be in any kind of context. The problem with the former is that it looks like a tacky and cliche way of adding drama, the latter is generally just not necessary.

    It really depends on the game. Storylines tend to differ from game to game, book to book, movie to movie. What the story is and what the purpose of the "taboo" subject is needs to be taken into account on an individual basis. You shouldn't just wave a magic wand and ban broadly.

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