Violence and Sexuality in Video Games
Unlike popular belief, the first violent video game was not Mortal Kombat. The killing started with a game called Death Race 2000 released in 1976 by Exidy Software. It was based on a B movie by the same title and features the main theme of the movie in the game: to run people over. You control the car to run over people, and the people you have killed become a cross. Needless to say, the game was quick to draw attentions towards it. The criticism from Americans all over the nation eventually got the game pulled off the market. One would think that the game must have been pretty intense and gruesome if it attracted such a response. Nope…not a bit…in fact, this is how the game looks:
Things stay quiet until the 1980’s in which the Atari 2600 debuts. Out of the flood of titles being produced, someone decided that sex sells, even in videogames (geez…what a concept…). So a company by Mystique released Custer’s Revenge. The game had the player control a man named General George Custer going after a Native American maiden named Revenge, hence the title, Custer’s Revenge. Unfortunately, this game did not involve anyone saving a Native American princess; instead, the player has to control Custer and help him cross the playing field safely, while dodging cactus and arrows from Native Americans. Awaiting Custer on the other side of the field is Revenge, and the reward was that Custer gets to have sex with Revenge, on the screen, depicted by a group of flesh colored pixels (as shown on the left).
The game received heat from women’s advocate groups and the Native American communities. Custer’s Revenge was so bad that many retailers refused to carry it, and those that carried it decided to keep it in the back room somewhere. Needless to say, a concept such as this was doomed to fail for the start since the ideas of this game were just blatant. I mean just look at the cover art of the game! It features a pretty much naked cowboy around the vaginal area of a Native American girl, who just happens to have an orgasmic look on her face.
Moving on to 1992, two games were released that probably became landmark of violent and sexual video games. One is the infamous Mortal Kombat by Midway, while the other is Night Trap by Digital Pictures.
Gaming graphics and technology has come a long way since the 80’s and gone are the awful looking 3, 4 colored pixels. With the improvement in graphics and sound, things started to look more realistic. Because of its more realistic depiction of violence, Mortal Kombat was the center of mass controversy. Unlike Street Fighter, which used and still uses 2D sprites, Mortal Kombat featured human modeled characters. The characters in Mortal Kombat had been motion captured and were modeled after the actors that portrayed them.
The portrayal of a much more realistic violence compared to...