Game controversies you don’t know about

There are always games that cause a stir in the world; games that have certain themes in them – slavery, swearing, racism – and these often get wide coverage.

But there are also games of yesteryear with controversies going forgotten, or recent titles that had their blunders covered up quickly.

Nintendo’s Punch-Out

This game took stereotyping to a whole new level. The opponents you face during the game are over-exaggerated and ridiculous.

We have Vodka Drunksinski portrayed as a Russian alcoholic always drinking “soda pop”. Originally his drink was meant to be vodka, but Nintendo changed this quickly.

Then there’s Piston Honda was a Japanese character – get it? “Honda”. So clever. One of his quotes in-game was “Sushi, kamikaze, Fujiyama, nipponich” – a random collection of iconic Japanese words. At least the game’s developers were Japanese so they were really trolling themselves on this one.

The whole cast was made up of this sort of stereotypical nonsense, including an Indian wearing a turban, accompanied by a Tiger.

Nintendo was scrutinized for their decision on the character design, and slowly fixed all these controversial characters in the sequels, never to make the same mistake again

Punch Out roster circa 1987

Punch Out roster circa 1987

Mario Party 8

What an awesome family game, right? Wrong! Nintendo was bashed in the United Kingdom for using an offending sentence during the game.

The phrase uttered by character Kamek went: “Turn the train spastic! Make this ticket tragic!”

This caused outrage and forced Nintendo to recall the game in the UK and re-release it later with the word spastic changed to erratic. This was obviously due to the word spastic being considered offensive, and ridiculing the physically deformed.

Mario Party 8: Kamek says Spastic :O

Mario Party 8: Kamek says Spastic :O

Left 4 Dead 2

Did you know that the original box art for Left 4 Dead 2 was altered before release? The originally planned cover art depicted an offensive hand gesture, the reversed V-Sign. Valve then turned the hand around and everything was sorted.

The developers were also questioned for their decision to set the game in New Orleans, so close to the time after Hurricane Katrina. I am still trying to fathom out that V-Sign drama, maybe back then the world was a different place.

The shocking Left 4 Dead 2 reverse V sign. Rudeness unbounded!

The shocking Left 4 Dead 2 reverse V sign. Rudeness unbounded!

The Stanley Parable

The recent indie hit, The Stanley Parable was hit with controversy when it was revealed that there was a video in game that depicts a white businessman giving cigarettes to, and then setting on fire a black child from an impoverished third-world nation.

The video is revealed during an instructional in-game video called “choice”. It talks about the power of choice and how it can be used for good or evil. The white man is portrayed as a successful business man in a white shirt and tie, and the black child is portrayed as an African village child with no clothes.

The idea was to show that there is a choice to either help the child or set him on fire and not have to worry about helping him. Perhaps a simple dichotomy, but the message was lost amid a torrent of complaints, and the game’s creator removed the offending scene.

Watch from around the 3.45 mark to see the video.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

The highest-rated game on the Nintendo 64 was also faced with controversy. In the early versions of the game release the music that played in the Fire Temple contained and Islamic prayer chant.

This didn’t go down well with the Muslim community and Nintendo was forced to change the music when the next batch of games were produced. Remember, this was in the days before patches were delivered to Internet-connected consoles.

Version 1.2 of the game did not contain this prayer, and you will not find chanting in the Nintendo 3DS version of the game.

Have you ever been slightly offended by a game in one way or another? Let us know in the comments below.

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Game controversies you don’t know about

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