The word "offended" has almost become a bad word, on par with a nice solid F-bomb. If you claim to be offended by something, you might easily face the rage of the Internet. Names like "snowflake" and "SJW" will be hurled at you, and those are two of the nicest names you'll see or hear. Some individuals might even go so far as to dox you and momentarily make your life a living hell. Fortunately, for folks on both sides, there isn't that much truly offensive material out there these days. Most of us are more-or-less okay with drugs, sex, and violence in media as we've realized we don't have to watch the films or play the games that offend us. In terms of racial, cultural, and religious sensitivity, most media is on board to make sure there is appeal to everyone, as opposed to alienating a possible customer. A few questionable choices slip through the cracks, but by and large it's never anyone's intent to harm or offend, and apologies are quickly issued.
This was not the case in the retro era of gaming.
Some developers decided to make out-right offensive games, containing all sorts of ethnic stereotypes, tasteless humor, lewd conduct, and sexually explicit themes. Most of these games were just juvenile and bad. That would have been okay today (thanks to things like the ESRB and a more lax attitude towards media), but video games were already under fire through the end of the '70s and through the '90s for damaging the fragile young minds of the world. For protesters back then, these games were more fuel for the fire - more reasons to get the entire industry condemned.
Most of these games were probably made in good humor, but deeper into the list you'll see that some were most definitely created out of hate.
Note: Some material may be NSFW.
15 Leisure Suit Larry
You can't make a list like this without dropping a nod to Leisure Suit Larry. There are indeed games on this list that pre-date Leisure Suit Larry, but this is probably the first game most players think of when their mind goes to games featuring crude and offensive adult humor. This is largely due to the fact that Leisure Suit Larry is a legitimate franchise in the world of gaming. The series boasts ten different games that have been released over the coarse of nearly thirty years. The first game, Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards was released in 1987. The most recent installment, Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded, was released in 2013.
The game puts the player in the shoes of an older, balding pervert as he tries to convince young, nubile women to have sex with him. Some games in the series have even featured characters who were slipped Rohypnol.
14 Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!
You might think we're going to call Punch-Out!! offensive because it originally featured Mike Tyson and even sported Tyson's signature in the title at one point. This is a bit obvious as Mike Tyson was convicted of sexual assault while sales of the game were still in full effect. This prompted Nintendo to drop Tyson's name from later copies and from the rest of the games in the franchise all together. Featuring a convicted rapist is probably enough, but many of us might not remember another little tidbit:
These games have managed to squeeze in almost every racial and cultural stereotype imaginable. Don Flamenco is a Spaniard who Flamenco dances and is an expert bull fighter. All the French characters are wimps and essentially "gimme" fights. Piston Hondo is always munching on sushi. Even the Canadian character chugs maple syrup and works as a lumberjack. They even went after Canadians!
13 Plumbers Don't Wear Ties
Plumbers Don't Wear Ties might be the most offensive game on this list (unless you stick around for spots 1 and 2!). Not because it crosses too many lines, but because it also has the distinction of being an offensively bad game. It's quite possible that in addition to containing offensive material, it might be the worst game ever made. It advertised itself as a full motion, live-action video game, but it was more comparable to an interactive Power Point presentation.
The game is about getting a plumber named John together with a girl named Jane, but there are scenes that deviate greatly from this basic premise - some of which are completely nonsensical. We get a front row seat for an attempted sexual assault on Jane by a potential employer. Possible storylines involve Jane getting paid $5 Million for sex, which leads to John being in an unhappy marriage and to Jane becoming a full fledged prostitute.
12 Night Trap
Night Trap is an FMV game that came out for the Sega CD all the way back in 1992. The player puts themselves in the shoes of a special agent tasked with watching surveillance footage of the Martin house and triggering traps to protect the inhabitants from vampires. Who are you protecting exactly? A group of young ladies having a sleepover. The game is essentially an exploitation flick, along the same lines as Slumber Party Massacre or Sorority House Massacre.
Night Trap's ability to offend (it's actually very tame by today's standards) pushed the Senate hearing that would begin the creation of the ESRB. In 1993, Senator Joe Lieberman used Night Trap as an example of violence and sexual aggression against women in the video game industry. It lead to many retailers pulling the game from the shelves. Sega tried putting the game back out for a second run with different box art.
11 Beat 'Em And Eat 'Em
People tend to romanticize the past. You'll here a lot of older folks curse the name of the younger generation, usually accusing them of a lack of values and moral decency. If you're a young person and an older person ever tells you that your generation is crude or lacking in manners, remind them that it was their generation that played games like Beat 'Em and Eat 'Em.
In Beat 'Em and Eat 'Em, the player controls two completely nude women that run back and forth across the bottom of the screen. What's the point to this? Well there is a completely nude man jumping across rooftops, masturbating, and releasing waves of semen down onto the streets below. The player is supposed to make the two women catch said semen in their mouths.
Yeah. We know.
10 Philly Flasher
The Philly Flasher is a gender reversed version of our previously listed game, Beat 'Em and Eat 'Em. Instead of the player controlling two women trying to catch waves of semen you play as two men trying to...
...catch waves of milk from the breasts of a witch?
We have so many questions. Why a witch? Why is the witch jumping across rooftops? Can't she just fly around on a broom? This is an awfully odd fetish, who exactly is this marketed towards? Were two guys literally sitting around saying, "What should we do tonight?" To which the other guy would reply, "I guess we could run around the streets and catch falling breast milk in our mouths." Who even is the titular Philly Flasher? The witch? One of the guys? The player?
9 Divine Sealing
Divine Sealing for the Sega Mega Drive is a hentai game that was made for no other reason than to strip women of their clothing. There was absolutely zero intention of making an actual game here. The game was a stripped down shooter that didn't feature a single item for the player to pick up, nor did it offer any kind of other weapon in the player's gear other than the single shot firing arm. The shot became a littler more explosive after 10,000 points, and the player was also rewarded extra lives at 10,000 point increments. They didn't even try to mix up the reward system by offering the games only two perks at different intervals.
There were only five stages in Divine Sealing. Once a stage was completed, the player was rewarded with a strip show. Not only was Divine Sealing offensive to women, it was offensive to players in general for barely being an actual game.
First things first: X-Man has absolutely nothing to do with the Marvel comic characters that operate under the same name. Such a misleading title is enough for this one to make the list, but X-Man faced protests by women's groups all the way back in 1983 for reasons beyond its misleading title. Protests created so much heat that many stores wouldn't carry the game. There are said to only be twenty to forty-five cartridges of X-Man in existence.
The game features X-Man, a fully nude man traversing a maze. While doing so, X-Man's fully erect member is susceptible of being chopped off by a number of foes including, scissors, chattering teeth, and crabs. When X-Man completes the labyrinth, the player is rewarded with the best sex simulator a console like the Atari 2600 could offer!
7 Pokémon Red/Blue
If you'd believe it, there was a bit of an uproar when Pokémon Red/Blue came to North America. The issue was rectified early for the overseas release, so many of us wouldn't even be aware of it.
If you're familiar with the original Japanese games or television programs, you might notice that the coloring on Jynx is a little different in North America. In Japan, she's black. In North America, she's purple. This is because the character too closely resembled the look of "blackface." During a rather embarrassing period in the history of the United States (around 1830), blackface was an extremely racist style of stage make up used by white performers to play black stereotype characters in minstrel shows.
6 Barbarian: The Ultimate Warrior
Barbarian: The Ultimate Warrior for the Commodore 64, also known as Death Sword in the U.S., ended up benefiting greatly from the offended masses. Protesters of the game had focused their ire on the fact that the game used overly-sexualized, real-life models for the cover of the cassette. One of these models, Maria Whittaker, was known for her topless "Page 3" photo shoots for tabloid The Sun. It was an odd thing to focus on since the cover itself didn't feature any nudity, and the game was actually pretty violent for 1987 (it could be described as the Mortal Kombat of its day). The protests backfired as they ended up generating interest in the game and turned it into a commercial success.
5 Freaky Flyers
Freaky Flyers exhibits the same kind of racial caricatures as Punch-Out!!, but Midway really decided to turn the racism dial up to eleven in what is already a pretty mediocre racing title for the original Xbox.
Each of the racers is a different racial caricature that goes a bit over the top. Sheik Abdul is a Middle Eastern man with a massive nose, the obligatory turban, and a talking camel. The Italian man in the game is clearly the mob boss stereotype. The Japanese character is named Sammy Wasabi. Yes. Sammy. Wasabi. He speaks broken "Engrish" through comically large buck-teeth, much like Mickey Rooney's Mr. Yunioshi in Breakfast at Tiffany's. It's pretty amazing that even back in 2003 this was able to squeak by.
4 Homie Rollerz
Homie Rollerz for the original Nintendo DS is another racist racer in the same vein as Freaky Flyers except for the fact that almost all racial stereotypes are placed squarely on the Hispanic community. Imagine Mario Kart if Mario really hated Mexicans.
A quick history of Homiez. The characters were created by Mexican-American cartoonist David Gonzales. We can assume that Gonzales wasn't initially intending to create stereotypes that other Mexicans found to be offensive, but when the characters were featured as tiny figurines in vending machines, people began buying them and laughing at them for all the wrong reasons. Most stores eventually pulled the machines and you'd have a pretty difficult time finding a machine that sells them.
The game is pretty bad on its own, but the addition of the gags and voices given to the characters really makes the whole thing come off as a very intentional slight on the Hispanic people.
3 Tomb Raider (Original)
One needs to remember that just because they don't find something offensive, doesn't mean a lot of other people don't. If you'd believe it, Lara Croft wasn't looked at too favorably by a lot of people when the first Tomb Raider game hit the market.
When the game first came out, a lot of women's groups took issue with how sexualized the character is, citing her massive chest, pencil thin waist, and her more-or-less revealing outfit. Parents also weren't to happy with all the rumors about being able to play as a fully nude Lara by using a cheat code.
While a number of men's magazines would cite Lara as the hottest woman of the year, the backlash to the character's look have made the developers change her over the years. Her body type has become slightly more realistic and muscular. Lara also wears clothes that are a bit more fitting for her job as an explorer.
2 Ethnic Cleansing
Ethnic Cleansing is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the most shockingly racist and hateful games ever to be programmed. I'm a pretty difficult person to offend, but I took issue with actually playing the game and resorted to watching some YouTube Let's Play footage instead.
You might be thinking, "This is just someone trying to be funny and you're just a snowflake SJW!!" I assure you that's not the case. The game was created by the National Alliance, an American White Nationalist organization, with the expressed intent of pushing a white supremacist agenda. You take the role of either a neo-Nazi, Klansman, or Skinhead during a "race war" where you are tasked with killing black characters, Mexicans, Jews, and eventually moving up to foreign leaders. There was a long line of sequels planned. If you'd believe it, there wasn't a very big market for Ethnic Cleansing.
Note: While the game was released in a more modern era, it was created with a rather dated Genesis3D engine written for Windows in 1998.
1 Custer's Revenge
We saved this one for last even though it isn't nearly as terrible as Ethnic Cleansing. What makes Custer's Revenge's offensive material stand-out is it's so cartoony and goofy, the developers probably never once questioned that this game would probably offend some people. The overall tone of Custer's Revenge is "all in good fun," but wait until you read the premise.
The player takes control of real-life historical figure, General Custer. We can only assume he's here to take revenge for his death at Little Big Horn. Custer must make it across the screen while naked, fully erect, and under fire by enemy arrows, so he can
save a Native American women tied to a pole sexually assault a Native American woman tied to a pole. We're not making this up. It was a much different world back in 1982. One of the slug lines on the back of the box read, "She's not about to take it lying down!" Hyuk. Hyuk.