It’s accepted now that video games fuck you up. Tabloid newspaper experts have shown how games cause people to torture dogs, carry out school massacres and throw gravel at old people.
But it wasn’t always this way.
Back in the dark old days, people treated video games as a simple entertainment – a bit like stamp collecting or hopscotch. Innocent children would skip to amusement arcades and play these “games” without realising the sickening damage being inflicted on their fragile eggshell minds.
So let’s take a look back at some of the most terrifying examples of this digital filth.
5. HOOLIGANS: STORM OVER EUROPE, 2000 (PC)
In this innocent age of Danny Dyer, Green Street 2 and pensioners in retro trainers; it’s hard to believe that football hooligans were once feared. But one only has to look back at the furore created by Hooligans: Storm Over Europe.
When it was released in 2000, the tabloids were fucking furious; so furious, they had no option but to heavily publicise it. They claimed it was being used to recruit and train hooligans – presumably for a career in IT. The Home Office and Football Association also felt the need to give it a public slap.
The predictable result was that Hooligans: Storm Over Europe sold well despite the fact that it was absolute shite. The hooligans in the game were of the Shadwell Town variety – with your gang of “specialists” featuring a bovver-booted skinhead, a balaclava wearing demolition expert, a biker in leathers and a shell suited raver.
The terrible controls made for a surprisingly realistic depiction of football violence with small gangs of men bumbling awkwardly around town centres and occasionally waving their arms about.
- As the game loaded a crowd chanted "We are still loading!" to the tune of We Are The Champions.
- The two daftest names for hooligan groups are Newcastle United’s The Benders and Bolton Wanderer’s fearsome Mongoose Cuckoo Boys.
- The company which made Hooligans had previously focussed on musical education adventure games set in the world of opera.
4. SONIC BLAST MAN, 1992 (Arcade)
This was a game which had to be dragged kicking and screaming out of British arcades – not for the mental damage it caused - this was physical abuse. Yes, Sonic Blast Man was the Begbie of video games; a psychotic loon who left behind a trail of broken bones and lawsuits.
It was a digital version of those test your strength punch balls you get at dodgy fairgrounds. At the front of the console was a pad which you had to punch with an attached boxing glove. You took on the role of Sonic Blast Man; a superhero whose unique power was lamping people in the face.
So various baddies would appear on the screen and you had three punches to defeat them using the power of your punch. But what was meant to be a bit of fun developed into a dangerously competitive test of manhood for rat-faced idiots and psychos throughout the land.
"Innocent children would skip to amusement arcades and play these “games” without realising the sickening damage being inflicted on their fragile eggshell minds."
As people competed to rack up top scores, they started to develop increasingly elaborate punching techniques. Particularly popular was the cricket style run-up – making full use of the amusement arcade floor. This was when the problems started.
People were twatting the thing so hard that their wrists were shattering and splintering. There were even reports of head and neck injuries as more advanced users began to headbutt the machine.
With the growing injury toll and tabloid horror stories, Sonic Blast Man was frogmarched out of the arcades and put into superhero retirement. God bless you Sonic Blast Man - the toughest video game character of all time.
SONIC BLAST MAN FACTFILE
- An arcade game called Real Punch was released in 1994 which took a photo of your face and deformed it, Rocky style, based on the power of the punch.
- Frank Bruno tested Sonic Blast Man on an episode of Channel 4’s GamesMaster and racked up a score of 245. The average was 90.
- The maker of the game, Taito, got taken to court in the US with more than 70 reported cases of wrist injuries.
3. CUSTER’S REVENGE, 1982 (Atari 2600)
The instructions for this game were simple - “You score - you score”. Yes, this was one of the first horrifically inept attempts to create video game porn.
The cover of Custer’s Revenge advertised it as Swedish erotica. Yowzer, yowzer. So now you’re excited – you’re thinking sexy, sexy. You’re thinking American Civil War – am I wrong? You’re thinking General George Custer raping a Native American woman – no?
How or why this game was ever made remains a mystery. It did indeed feature the player as a naked George Custer standing to attention with a three pixel high erection. You had to dodge arrows and cacti to get to the other side of the screen where a big titted woman was tied to a stake.
Once you got to the woman you could carry out the sexual assault by frenetically jabbing the action button. And if you ran into a cactus then Custer’s “last stand” would droop. And that was it really.
The only explanation for all this has to be that it was some kind of a sniggering pun on the Battle of Little Bighorn. But whatever the reason it’s now accepted as one of the worst games ever made.
It was released in 1982 by a company called Mystique who did a few other similar porn related games. They were taking advantage of the fact that Atari had no control over who made games for their fledgling console.
"What was meant to be a bit of fun developed into a dangerously competitive test of manhood for rat-faced idiots and psychos throughout the land."
Unsurprisingly it provoked loads of protests from just about everyone - women’s rights, Native American groups, the games industry and Atari themselves who tried unsuccessfully to sue Mystique.
- General George Custer didn’t rape any Native American women tied to stakes.
- In response to the criticism a follow-up game was made called General Retreat in which a Native American woman raped General Custer – in your face women’s rights.
- One of Mystique’s follow up sex games was Burning Desire in which you used a man juice firing penis to put out fires.
2. CARMAGEDDON, 1997 (PC)
This was a game based on the cult 1975 movie Death Race 2000 in which you were encouraged to mow down pedestrians: policemen, blonde haired bimbos, blind people, old ladies with walking frames. The collisions caused explosions of blood and gore, with extra points gained for “artistic” kills.
It became the first game to be made illegal in British stores. This was more to do with a daft marketing stunt which backfired than any horrific content.
The publishers had sussed out that tabloid headlines equalled increased sales. They sent Carmageddon off to the censors – games at the time didn’t need a certificate. They were hoping for an 18 certificate but what they got was an outright ban.
This was largely thanks to the Daily Mail’s enthusiast campaign to “Ban Death Game Now”; this included a call for Home Secretary Jack Straw to resign. Things weren’t helped in the wake of Princess Diana’s death with one of the character’s in the game called “Die Anna” – more tabloid frothing.
After 10 months of legal wrangling the game was finally released with pedestrians turned into zombies and red blood converted into green goo. And obviously, it sold a shed load.
- The booklet sold with the game included an apology from the designers for creating such a “sickly depraved and violent piece of soul-poison”.
- The only change made to the Indian version was the removal of cows to avoid offending the Hindu population.
- To get footage of pedestrians being run over they drove a car into a heavily padded employee in the office car park.
1: CHILLER, 1986 (Arcade)
I had a friend at school called Peter Ninja. He was a quiet lad who always wore black; he took a keen interest in serial killers and had the best collection of homemade weapons in North East Wales. If a games company had asked young Peter to describe his dream game - he would have described Chiller.
This was an early light gun game, set in a torture chamber, in which the aim was to mutilate and torture innocent people in grotesque ways. The more you mutilated and tortured, the more points you would rack up. You could shoot faces, you could should shoot breasts, you could crush heads in vices, throw daggers into eyeballs and...you get the idea.
What Peter Ninja would have particularly admired about Chiller was the way in which the things you shot were chained down and helpless. The only monster in this game was the clammy handed twat playing it. Unfortunately Peter never got to play Chiller because it was banned in the UK.
- The company who made Chiller also created the first ever video game nasty - Death Race – which dates back to 1976.
- Chiller’s piss poor advertising slogan was: “The theme is scream, but skill is an equal thrill”.
- A family friendly console version of the game was made in which the victims you blast to pieces remain tastefully clothed.