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Top 10 Dumbest Video Game Controversies

VO: Dan Paradis
Script written by Noah Levy Really? You’re mad about WHAT? Welcome to and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 DUMBEST Video Game Controversies. Special thanks to our user “Godslayer79” & “Abel Lewis” for suggesting this topic using our interactive suggestion tool at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Top 10 Dumbest Video Game Controversies

Gaming has been controversial since its very beginning. Still, we think these problems didn’t deserve to be blown out of proportion. Welcome to and today we’re looking at the Top 10 Dumbest Video Game Controversies.

For this list, we’re looking at notable debates that divided the gaming community, whether it be through in game content or cultural issues, that in all retrospect, didn’t really need to be such big deals. Choose your battles my friends, or risk looking like idiots.

#10: “PETA’s Complaint About Rats Death in Battlefield 3” (2011)

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, AKA PETA, have long been on a crusade to save virtual animals. The German branch of the animal rights group got stirred up over a sequence in the campaign of EA’s Battlefield 3 where players can kill rats by stabbing them. They said that the game treated animals in a sadistic manner, and that it “can have a brutalizing effect on the young male target audience.” Even though this was happening in an M rated game where the objectives including blowing up other human beings with rocket launchers, a quicktime event where you stab virtual rats was apparently the most reprehensible act you could perform.

#9: “Buttgate” (2016)

During the Overwatch beta, a poster in the Beta Forums commented upon how Tracer’s “over the shoulder pose” didn’t fit her character as it reduced her to a quote “bland sex symbol”. Can you see where this is going? This naturally lead to heated debates in the gaming community, with one side claiming that the pose unnecessarily diminished an otherwise amazing character, while others argued that any change was censorship of Blizzards original artistic vision by overzealous social justice warriors. Naturally, this dovetailed nicely into the larger debate about representation & censorship in gaming as a whole, with both sides picking a rather silly issue to squabble over. Blizzard did eventually change the pose though, so take that as a point for whatever side you root for.

#8: Target Australia removed GTA 5 from sale

Yes you’re reading the title right and no it wasn’t because of Australia’s Government. But rather Target removed GTA 5 from their shelves because of petition on Change.Org, starting with the misleading claim that QUOTE; “the game encourages players to murder women for entertainment.” But rather than actually verifying if these claims were true, Target gave in and pulled the game from all their store shelves. Of course this being the Internet, gamers weren’t going to take this lying down, with some even claiming double standards by launching their own petition to have ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ removed. But really, who buys their games from Target anyways? We know Canadian Gamers don’t, though there’s actually a good reason for that.

#7: “PETA Criticizing Mario’s Tanooki Suit” (2011)

Mario has been sporting the iconic Tanooki suit since 1990, but nobody really cared about the ramifications of it until 2011. Before the release of Super Mario 3D Land, PETA criticized Nintendo for supposedly supporting the skinning of actual Tanookis because the portly plumber wears their fur as a power up. PETA didn’t stop there though, releasing a browser game called “Mario Kills Tanooki” which featured a skinned Tanooki chasing down the villainous Mario to save its hide. PETA was lambasted for this ridiculous animal cruelty claim, but they later claimed it was all a joke, saying the game was a “tongue-in-cheek, fun way to call attention to a serious issue.”

#6: “Grand Theft Auto IV Vilifies New York” (2008)

Liberty City, Grand Theft Auto’s version of New York City, has been a mainstay of the series since the first installment, but GTA IV was the first time it was rendered in beautiful, lifelike HD. But not everyone was happy with the city’s realism. This is GTA we’re talking about, so Liberty City is depicted as a more degenerate, crime-ridden version of NYC. This prompted outcry from the government of the real Big Apple, with a spokesman for then-mayor Michael Bloomberg saying “The mayor does not support any video game where you earn points for injuring or killing police officers”. The industry came to GTA’s defense, asking why it was okay for violent films and TV shows to be set in NYC, but not video games?

#5: “Pokemon Has A Satanic Influence”

Is Pikachu really an agent of the Devil? That’s what some Pokémon critics would have you believe. Nintendo’s critter collecting RPGs have been vilified by, of all groups, religious fundamentalists. This claim originally comes from a fake interview with Pokémon’s creator which says he made the game for Satanists, but this was later debunked. Still, many Christians have spoken out against the games, saying they promote the theory of evolution, which goes against the Biblical accounts of creationism. This lead to strange instances like a TV station in Vatican City saying the games were harmless, and the introduction of Redemption, a trading card game which was like Pokémon but with… Biblical figures?

#4: “The Video Games As Art Debate”

Famed and influential film critic Roger Ebert famously said “video games can never be art.” It’s hard to believe people still seem to be grappling with the artistic merit of games long after masterpieces like Ico, Braid, Journey, and Life Is Strange have been published, each in their own way proving without a shadow of a doubt that games are capable of eliciting a powerful emotional responses in the player. Citing the brutal violence in popular games as proof of a lack of artistic quality in the medium is as strong an argument as citing the brutal violence in “Saw” as a way of judging “Citizen Kane.” Games have nothing left to prove.

#3: "The Hot Coffee Incident"

I mean, you knew you'd see a lot of GTA on this list when you clicked, right? In case you've never been on the internet, the long & short of this controversy was that hidden deep within the game code for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was an unfinished mini game that featured explicit sexual acts. When data miners discovered this hidden bit of naughtiness in the PC Version and naturally released a mod that allowed players to access it, the poop hit the poverbial fan for Rockstar. The ESRB changed the game's rating to Adults Only, prompting retailers to pull one of the most successful games of the year off of shelves. What's funny about the whole kerfuffle is that this recall included the PS2 & Xbox version, which couldn't use mods and therefore couldn't easily access the offending content in the first place. Of course, there's also the whole "sex is worse than violence" argument that the whole thing illustrates, but nobody expect a video game to solve that now did they?

#2: “Mass Effect Sex Scandal” (2007)

Sex in video games has always been a controversial topic, as the few games that have to tackle it have all been met with some degree of negative attention. But by far the most ridiculous instance of this came when Fox News called out BioWare’s 2007 hit Mass Effect for its now infamous sex scenes, which they claimed featured "full digital nudity and sex" – which, simply put, was not at all true. EA and BioWare questioned if the people decrying the game had even seen it, and the segment’s “expert,” author Cooper Lawrence, ultimately retracted her misinformed criticism.

#1: “Night Trap Encourages Murdering Women” (1993)

The debate around the effects of violent video games has existed practically as long as the medium itself. While Night Trap is probably the most well known “full motion video” game, it might not have been if it weren’t for the 1993 U.S. Senate Hearings on violent video games. Senator Joe Lieberman was a major critic of the games’ violent themes and content. The thing is, Lieberman even admitted he never played the game. While Senator Bryon Dorgan made frequent erroneous claims throughout the hearing, most notably claiming that the goal of the game was to murder woman, was he even looking at the same game?

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