Seven forgotten video game controversies0 Comments
For as long as video games have brought entertainment to players around the world, the ugly head of controversy has tried to find a way to butt in. While gamers and the mainstream media will always remember the headlines surrounding Doom, Mortal Kombat, Grand Theft Auto and Jack Thompson, a number of video game controversies have been lost to the winds of time. Today, before a FOX News anchor can find a way to blame another horrible crime on our PlayStation 4s and Xbox Ones, we take a quick look back at some video game stuff that used to have people up in arms.Pills in Dr. Mario
While this Nintendo Entertainment System classic is considered one of the best puzzle games of all time, this game's bedside manner created some controversy when new. Andy Eddy, the editor of VideoGames & Computer Entertainment Magazine wrote a scathing editorial over Nintendo's decision to let children play with pills in Dr. Mario. Reportedly, several consumer groups felt the same way, writing to Nintendo to voice their displeasure. Nintendo's only reply was a statement stating that the game could help children feel more comfortable taking medicine when sick, noting that the pills in the game killed the enemy viruses. "Nudity" in Rampage
Bally Midway struck gold with 1986's Rampage, but with the success of the game came public concerns. Early feedback to the programmers reportedly took issue with the fact that defeated monsters turned into tiny naked humans, despite the fact they covered up all the appropriate pixels. Apparently, this issue was considered far more concerning than the fact that the object of the game required players to kill thousands of people as they caused billions of dollars in major property damage.
Aladdin's Castle versus the City of Mesquite, Texas
Town East Mall in the Dallas suburb of Mesquite was the battleground of a major controversy in the early 1980s. Citing an old pinball-related law on the books, the city wished to bar anyone under the age of 17 from entering the mall's Aladdin's Castle video arcade. The fight lasted for years, ranging all across the court system, and included moments of pure mudslinging, including the city claiming the arcade chain was owned by the mob. Eventually, Aladdin's Castle won the much-watched case, which had a ripple effect against similar attempts by other cities across the country. Aladdin's Castle would remain in operation in Town East Mall until the end of the 1990s.
The operators versus Aladdin's Castle
While the famous arcade chain won against the City of Mesquite, it had to deal with other issues from their own customer base. The Aladdin's Castle arcade chain was owned at the time by Bally, the same company that owned Midway, one of the hottest arcade game companies of the era. More often than not, the hottest new Bally Midway games would hit Aladdin's Castle arcade locations before other arcade and street location vendors took delivery of the same game titles. At a time where having the hottest new arcade games on the street made all the difference, many arcade owners felt that Bally was unfairly competing with the very customer base they were trying to sell to.
In the early 1980s, Sega/Gremlin introduced the Convert-A-Game system, an arcade cabinet that opened from the front and could quickly be converted to other games released by the company. The idea was ahead of its time and did fairly well, with operators across the country investing in the Covert-A-Game units. In 1982, Sega/Gremlin's new Zaxxon arcade game created a ton of buzz at industry trade shows, especially since it appeared on the show floors in a Convert-A-Game style cabinet. However, Sega chose to make and sell the game in a dedicated unit only, a fact that upset operators who had believed Sega's claims of standing behind their own Convert-A-Game concept. While operators bought Zaxxon anyway, their distrust of the company led to a downward spiral. Less than two years later, this version of Sega would be sold to Bally Midway, killing the brand name until Sega's Japan branch came to the United States a short time later.
Double Dragon violence
Well before Mortal Kombat was even thought of, another arcade fighter dealt with a controversy over in-game content. 1987 side scroller Double Dragon opened up with a street gang gut punching a woman and carrying her off, providing a look at her undergarments along the way. Several women gang members were also included in the game, requiring the player to fight them with one of two male characters. Parents were none too happy with either of these inclusions, but it didn't stop the game from becoming a huge success in the arcade. The typically conservative Nintendo Entertainment System version didn't tone this content down much, either, extending the controversy to home for a short time. Seemingly unphased, the company behind the game decided to open up the sequel Double Dragon II: The Revenge with the same woman being brutally gunned down. No controversy about that was widely reported.
Nintendo's lack of backwards compatibility
No home video game console before or since has dominated the U.S. market quite like the Nintendo Entertainment System did in the late 80s and early 90s. At any given time during this span, Nintendo's NES held 90 percent or more of the North American marketplace, leaving all other companies to scrap for whatever small pieces might be left over. When the Super Nintendo Entertainment System was launched, parents were ticked off to learn that the new 16-bit console wasn't compatible with the NES games and accessories they'd spent so much on in the years before. News reports from across the country covered the outrage, as parents took to the airwaves to express their displeasure. The SNES went on to become a great success anyway, with quite some time passing before any other successful game consoles decided to avoid repeating the same mistake.
What are some video game controversies you remember, but believe the general public has forgotten? Please post them below along with your memories of them and why you think the world went on to forget about them. Remember to play nice.