Very much like the world of film, video games run the gauntlet of genres and often contain all manner of strange subject matter and weird plots and storylines. Ever since gaining traction in the 80s, video game developers are always looking for the slightest edge to beat out their competitors, and sometimes they go too far. Throughout the gaming world's history, there have been hundreds of games released that make you do a double take and wonder how on earth they managed to make it onto the shelf of your local EB Games. Some of these are just horribly designed games with bad plots while others are more controversial, featuring content that's often morally dubious or go overboard for the sake of it.
Many of these console games were released during the 80s and 90s when it was much easier to release a game featuring questionable content. As the rules and laws concerning video games have tightened over the years, it's much harder for games containing such content to get made, and if they do somehow get the green light, they're often strictly rated.
This piece is dedicated to some of these controversial games from back in the day that would never get made today. From the creepy Night Trap to the intense Manhunt, here is a list of video games that would never get made today.
24 Night Trap
Regarded as one of the most controversial releases in video game history, Night Trap is an unusual game whereby you watch a group of women via a security camera and have to try and help them survive an attack from vampiric beings known as Augers.
It's like being involved in an interactive movie, except with poor graphics, a weird plot, and horrible acting.
It's the creepy voyeuristic gameplay that really makes Night Trap the type of game you hope never gets made today.
23 Peek-A-Boo Poker
Game designers will often do anything to get some material featured in their game and Peek-A-Boo Poker is the perfect example of this. Under the guise of a poker game, Peek-A-Boo is just another game on this list with a flimsy premise so they could sneak grown-up content through. While the game would have had young boys excited when it first hit the NES in 1990, today, a game like this would fail miserably. It's just a really weak vehicle for this kind of thing.
Even though there's a successful sequel to Manhunt, it's been over a decade since the second game in the series came out and the video game landscape has changed dramatically. Laws regarding video games are much stricter and getting a game like Manhunt on the shelf would be a nightmare. I have to admit despite the aggressive tone and depictions in Manhunt, it's actually a really clever and enjoyable game, as long as you can handle lots of blood. The plot alone, about a prisoner forced to carry out a series of acts that are being shot for an awful film, is enough to raise red flags and get this game banned if it were released today.
21 Bible Adventures
The NES had some pretty interesting video games during its lifetime and none are more puzzling than Bible Adventures. As the name suggests, this game involves players participating in a number of adventures based upon famous stories depicted in the good book. It's pretty much a Super Mario Bros. 2 rip-off featuring a constant stream of bible verses interrupting gameplay and the reusing of levels throughout the game. Obviously it's a strange marketing tool to begin with, but this particular NES game is also just weak.
Not only is Catfight a terrible fighting game, it's also disgusting and exploitive. The game features an all-female cast of fighters to choose from, which sounds great, until you discover they are all scantily dressed. The fighters are digital recreations of actual women using the same technology as seen in Mortal Kombat, so it's even worse. Thankfully blasted by critics when released, and remains a relic of a different time today.
The name alone is enough reason for this game never making it past the development stage in the present day. Along with the rude title, Seaman is also pretty weird, with you controlling a hybrid fish/man creature that you have to learn to take care of while Star Trek's Leonard Nimoy gives you advice. I know it sounds like a crazy idea for a game, but Seaman actually sold very well in Japan and became the third highest selling game on the Dreamcast in that region. Despite the high sales, I don't see it translating well with young gamers today, and I doubt a game called Seaman would sell very well either.
18 State Of Emergency
Rockstar doesn't usually misstep, but State Of Emergency hit a little too close to home for many. The game depicts a futuristic world where a financial crisis has crippled the country. The Government is overthrown and turned into a police state. You choose one of five characters who must help overthrow them and restore freedom. While the game mainly consists of beating up enemies and destroying things. Nobody likes to make light of tragedies so I don't think this game would work as well now — it echoes too many real-world things.
17 B.C. Bill
The premise of B.C. Bill focuses on the title character trying to build his own family. Nothing too weird there, until you find out how Bill goes about finding his new wife. Players spend the game trying to find women to bonk on the nogging and take back to their cave.
You can have multiple wives and must care for them and protect them against various creatures. This certainly isn't a great way to teach men how to behave and woo women, and it's obvious any game like this would be shut down quick smart.
Based on the expression, "Going postal," this over-the-top, top-down shooter involves players using a variety of weapons to attack everyday citizens as they try and progress to the next level. The game is quite short in length and premise, with players spending most of their time hunting normal people and ending them for no real reason. Although the dark humor expressed throughout the game is welcome, it doesn't detract from the actual content in the game. Given the state of the world today, it's impossible to imagine someone making a game like this today.
15 Michael Phelps: Push The Limit
The most recent game to appear on this list, the 2011 release Michael Phelps: Push The Limit is a swimming simulation meant to capture the excitement of the Olympic sport. Released on the Xbox 360 and meant to take advantage of the Kinect accessory, the game ended up being a woeful sports simulation with bad gameplay and rather poor graphics and sound. This game proves that while swimming can be great when included with other sports, such as an Olympic Games release, an entire game based around swimming laps just doesn't work. Most people would much rather be getting down to their local pool and having some fun in the water than pretending.
14 Michael Jackson: Moonwalker
Released in conjunction with the musical anthology of the same name, Moonwalker is a seriously weird game where players take control of superstar Michael Jackson and dance their way through a variety of levels. Visually pleasing and featuring many of Jackson's biggest hits from his number one charting Thriller album. Obviously, the fact that they made a side-scrolling game where players control Michael Jackson is weird enough, but the actual content of the game takes on a whole new meaning given Jackon's life.
As far as driving games go, Carmageddon is fairly standard, with players racing computer opponents across a variety of different tracks in a post-apocalyptic world. What makes the game stand out is the ability to run over pedestrians as a way to win the race. In an interesting twist to the racing genre, taking out innocent civilians is encouraged. The game caused a ton of controversy when it was first released but became a fairly big hit and spawned a number of sequels. Even though a fourth version of the game was released just a few years ago, the reviews were bad, with Game Spot claiming, "Carmageddon: Reincarnation is a tired and clunky reboot of a better game suited for a different time." Enough said.
12 Zombie Nation
The plot for this game alone is enough to warrant it being on a list of games that would never get made today. After the alien Darc Seed has crash landed on earth and turned the population into zombies, a floating samurai head called Namakubi decides to come to the rescue and defeat the evil alien. You fire eyeballs at your enemies in what has to be one of the strangest gaming experiences ever. Upon its release Zombie Nation was criticised for its difficulty and horrible gameplay. There's not one redeeming feature about Zombie Nation.
11 Mad Nurse
Games from the 80s often have interesting concepts and Mad Nurse is one of the strangest. The game is pretty simple and involves you trying to stop babies from (accidentally) hurting themselves. Publisher Firebrand originally planned to stop the games release due to the content, but eventually relented, although this didn't stop many outlets from refusing to sell the game. Any game that features kids and babies being put in compromising situations, so it's no surprise this game has ended up on this list.
10 Revolution X
Why you would want to play a video game based around rock group Aerosmith is anyone's guess, but Midway thought they were onto a winner with the awful Revolution X. Similar to Midway's Terminator 2: Judgement Day, this game is a rail shooter whereby you must take out members of the New Order Nation and rescue Aerosmith from their clutches. It's an absurd plot and one that could have only worked when the game first hit shelves in 1994.
These days putting Aerosmith in a video game would most likely result in gamers asking, "Aero who?"
9 Grey's Anatomy
Somehow television drama Grey's Anatomy is still on the air and back in 2009, the folks at Longtail Studios thought it would make a great video game. How wrong they were. Set up as a five-story episode, players have to complete various missions and solve certain tasks playing as the main characters from the show. It's pretty boring and filled with terrible mini-games while the absence of voice-overs from the actual stars of the shows hurts. As far as releasing the game today, Grey's Anatomy doesn't have the critical acclaim it once did, along with a sliding fan base. People would much rather watch their favorite characters on screen than play a dodgy game about them.
8 Navy SEALS
If you're hoping for some kind of Call Of Duty or Battlefield type game you'll be sorely disappointed with Navy SEALS. Set across three different countries, the game requires you to blow away waves of enemies without any real direction or plot threads. There are no hostages to rescue or bombs to diffuse, just hordes of bad guys to shoot. The graphics are also terrible and the A.I. as thick as a plank of wood. When compared to similar first-person shooters, this one comes across as a disaster and would struggle to find a market in the current video game climate.
7 Chubby Cherub
Of all the games on this list, Chubby Cherub is up there with the worst. Based on a Japanese game about a ghost named Q-tarō from a famous manga series, the Western version instead stars Chubby Cherub who must rescue his friends who were taken. You have to eat food so Chubby can keep flying and avoid constant attacks from dogs. It doesn't really make much sense and features terrible graphics and gameplay. Just the idea of the game alone is startling and I can't see anyone wanting to play a modern version, no matter what changes were made. This game is certainly best left back in the 80s.
6 Tongue Of The Fatman
Despite the misleading title Tongue Of The Fatman is a fighting game from Activision where you pick from a variety of alien races in a battle to find the ultimate warrior. The fighters all look ridiculous and you must bet on fights to earn money to upgrade them. The final showdown pits you against Mondu The Fat, whose special move involves opening his belly to reveal a massive tongue that attacks you. The cartoon graphics and poor gameplay only add to the horrible feeling you get playing this game, making it well worth a place on this list.
5 10 Most Wanted
When this game was released in 2004, just three years after a devastating event that still echoes today, it's not surprising a game like 10 Most Wanted was created. As the name suggests, the game revolves around tracking down the 10 most wanted men in the world. The first person shooter was poorly received due to bad graphics, sound, and gameplay, and it's easy to understand why a game like this wouldn't work today. Not only was this game in poor taste, but it was just poor.
4 Where's Waldo?
Anyone who grew up in the 90s remembers the fantastic series of puzzle books Where's Waldo? (or Where's Wally for a lot of the world). Each book contains different locations and scenarios where you have to search for Waldo who's hidden in the picture. Basing a game on the books is as exciting as it sounds, with you having to use a magnifying glass in the game to search a variety of ugly looking levels looking Waldo.
While you could recreate the game today with better graphics, it's still not as fun as reading the actual books.
There's also the fact that Waldo isn't really big with the kids today, so I'm not sure who would be buying this one.
While well received when first released way back in 1981, there's nothing redeeming about Kaboom! that would tempt anyone to make a similar game today. The object of Kaboom! is simple; stop bombs hitting the ground that are being dropped by the Mad Bomber. That's it. It's a very simplistic concept and one that wouldn't lend itself well to modern video game players who usually want something a little more challenging.
It's also a rip-off of fellow Atari game Avalanche so it doesn't even contain any original ideas.
2 Samba De Amigo
If you've ever felt the need to shake maracas in a competitive environment then Samba De Amigo is the game for you. Released on the Dreamcast in 1999 (and later spun-off for the Wii), the game requires players to shake their controller like a maraca as they try to match the patterns seen on the screen that represent the Latin music playing throughout the game.
There's no doubt this game is fun for about 15 minutes, but after that, it doesn't offer much.
When you consider Rock Band and Guitar Hero contain more instruments along with better songs, it's obvious this game would never sell well in today's market.
1 Ninjabread Man
The game is as crazy as it sounds and unfortunately an absolute mess, with reviewers criticising the graphics, sound, gameplay, storyline, and control system. The game was savaged so badly I doubt any developer would try and remake it today. Frankly, this kind of shovelware just doesn't have a life on consoles the way it used to (it's all on mobile now). Even if it was a fresh idea, there's nothing about taking control of a gingerbread man who's also a ninja that piques my interest.