In the modern world of gaming, it is now easier than ever to get games into the hands of players across the globe. With physical copies, online shopping services like Amazon and eBay can get games delivered to your doorstep within 48 hours if need be. Digital copies of games can be downloaded from e-shops like the PlayStation store or Steam in a matter of minutes. Point being, access is now more instant than ever and the booming video game industry seems to be publishing a large array new titles monthly, if not weekly.
This barrage of content makes it much harder for parents to keep track of what is appropriate for their little children to be playing and what isn't. For the purposes of this article, we will define “children” as those aged 12 years old and under. While as a gamer and journalist I am against censorship, there are some games which, in my opinion, don’t belong in the hands of young children. Whether it be for reasons such as learning bad language to use in public, seeing risky content, or being exposed to an excess amount of violence, there are some games that require a developed and older mind to be enjoyed safely and properly.
Note that the opinions in this article belong to the author alone and does not reflect the philosophy of TheGamer as a brand. Without further ado, here are 25 games kids should never be allowed to play.
25 Grand Theft Gone Wrong
Starting off this list hard and heavy is perhaps the most controversial and notorious series from Rockstar Games developer: the Grand Theft Auto series. Why does the series take so much heat? Because the game is filled to the edge of the disc with stuff that just isn't meant for kids.
There are references and scenes galore that are too much, and the characters in the game commit a lot of crimes.
Therefore, it’s easy to understand why the series was banned in numerous countries. In context with today’s political climate and weapon control problems, the game has been the spotlight of a lot of negative press. Grand Theft Auto is often used as the go-to example of a game that could cause or promote bad behavior among younger gamers.
24 A Fallout For Certain Audiences Only
This section relates to the newer main titles of the series: Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, and Fallout 4. Bethesda’s beloved series has received much critical acclaim and has won an incredible amount of awards over the years. The open-world RPG gives players the freedom to choose whatever path they want, and be the hero or villain they want to be. However, there are good reasons why the game has an M ESRB rating. One look at the game, and it's pretty obvious as to why. As the fans of Fallout know, the bad things in the game are on the extreme end, rivaling or even surpassing the Grand Theft Auto series. In Fallout, enemies can explode into more pieces than we can count. More than that, some missions have incredibly dark and deep content such as saving Pickman, a known tyrant's, life.
23 Girlfriend From The Underworld, Literally
Published and developed by Atlus, Catherine is a console game literally unlike any I’ve played before. The game mixes puzzle-solving, platforming, and adventure game mechanics with a few RPG elements mixed in. The story follows Vincent and his girlfriend Katherine, who is trying to get him to commit to marriage. On the other hand, Vincent is indecisive and enjoys his carefree bachelor life.
One day, he meets an incredibly attractive woman at his favorite watering hole.
The woman looks like a less-conservative version of his girlfriend and is also named Catherine. Later it is revealed that she is a succubus. After a one-night romp with her, he has vivid nightmares of a demonic world that he must escape every night. The game has lots of inappropriate references and a deeper message and meaning that children just wouldn’t understand.
22 A Game For Guys?
The Guy Game is one of the more pricey retro video games out there, and for good reason. The game was the subject of a lawsuit which removed it from store shelves and resulted in it being completely banned in some countries. Developed by Topheavy Studios, the game is a trivia game show with around 1000 questions. As the player continues to answer questions correctly, live-recorded footage of actual young women in revealing bikinis plays as a reward to the player. Eventually, the woman will turn to the camera and unclothe. The game came under controversy for its content when one of the women shown in the footage claimed she wasn't old enough when the game was made. She said she didn't know what the footage would be for.
21 Nintendo Gone Conkers
Conker’s Bad Fur Day is one of the only games to get an M ESRB rating on the Nintendo 64 console. Since Nintendo constantly promotes a family-friendly image, it is quite rare for any game on a Nintendo system to warrant such a rating. One only need play the game to discover why it received such a high rating.
The themes are rather silly in an adult’s eyes, as animals, plants, and inanimate objects are personified in a mock-Disney like fashion.
For example, one scene features a bee getting too close to a chested flower. Strange sounds are played, as Conker keeps watch. While there are no really gross elements to the game, these kinds of references in a Nintendo game is unheard of, and will easily turn some parents off.
20 A Silent Hill To Stay Away From
This section refers to the Silent Hill series as a whole, which is one of the most beloved horror game franchises of all time. Every game in the series released in the west to date has gotten an M ESRB rating for various reasons. What ESRB fails to mention are the creatures that roam the game. They're all very gross and are quite shocking to anyone who was not expecting them. Surely they have literally led to nightmares for the gamers brave enough to play the games to completion. The creatures in the game are so awful that players will fear for the sanity of the minds that created them. While the stories in each game will differ, the element of fear always remains thanks to the brilliantly scary character design and animation.
19 Children Of The Corn, Reborn
Perhaps one of the most expensive games on the PlayStation 2, Rule of Rose is a horror game that flew under the radar and was overshadowed by heavy-hitters like the Resident Evil or Silent Hill, and even the Fatal Frame series. Unsurprisingly, it had an M rating, but the most horrifying elements of the game may be scenes where children repeatedly attack people.
For example, one scene has a captive stuffed into a sack.
Each child places an insect into the sack one by one. Thus, while the game is less gross than many mainstream horror titles, it has the content to be much more psychologically scarring on young minds. Rule of Rose is a great example of a game inspiring true horror rather than an abundance of gross things and jump scares.
18 A Hunt Like No Other
Manhunt is a video game series also published by Rockstar Games, the company behind the highly controversial Grand Theft Auto series. The game has received a lot of negative press and public complaints about its violence. It was even named as the reason for an incident in the UK. The game has since been banned in some countries. Unsurprisingly, it has a high ESRB rating, though children have still managed to play the game. The gameplay revolves around clearing each stage by defeating the enemy gang members within it, mostly through stealthy executions. The animations for these are really something, and would be a bit much even for adults. Although I'm quite liberal when it comes to allowing children to play video games, this game is something even adults don't need to see.
17 Not So Lucky Larry
One of the longest-running adult games, the Leisure Suit Larry series has been around since 1987 and had its start on the PC DOS and Apple II. The main protagonist of the game, Larry Laffer, is a middle-aged man who has never spent time with a woman.
He tries desperately to get things started.
Instead he has unending bad luck with women and not to mention a less-than-fashionable style that would turn any woman off. Every Leisure Suit Larry title to date has received either an M or AO ESRB rating. Which isn't really surprising, given the subject. The game is filled with risky jokes and humor and scenarios that kids could never relate to. Parents, please keep your young children away from this series!
16 A Game Of Pure Hatred
Hatred is the one game on this list that perhaps gets the closest to crossing moral boundaries in terms of unnecessary violence in video games. With games like Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, or even Manhunt, players engaged in an incredible amount of violent action be it gunfights or blunt combat. However, in all those titles the game still had a purpose, a quest, or a main storyline that required the player to commit such acts to complete the game. Hatred, on the other hand, lives up to its title in the sense that the only goal of the game is to exhaust the flames of hatred in the main character’s heart by engaging in a ruthless and unprovoked attack on law enforcement, unarmed civilians, soldiers, and even other criminals. Hatred is one of the only games to receive an AO rating for violence and language alone.
15 A Space No One Should Fill
Dead Space has been revered as one of the scariest games that has ever hit consoles. It features alien-mutated monsters that are so gross they make Tim Burton films look like children’s programs. Sometimes the enemies look like reanimated bodies, overgrown spider mutations.
Sometimes they are so out there that there is nothing to compare them too.
With a combination of superb game direction, a well-crafted and well-timed soundtrack, and a good use of lighting, and intelligent A.I., Dead Space succeeds in creating a truly scary game. To date, every Dead Space game has received an M ESRB rating. But despite all that, it’s the gross animation combined with the intense fear element that makes this game one for adults with strong hearts only.
14 A Game Few Could Outlast
Outlast may be one of the scariest horror game franchises to ever grace the PC and console gaming industry in the past decade. It takes place in an insane asylum overrun by psychotic patients. One main difference in Outlast from most horror game franchises is the inability to attack. The player can only use stealth tactics as well as running to get away from and hide from enemies. To add to the horror, the game is mostly played in the dark, with the only source of light coming from the night vision mode of the player’s camera. While the game is one of the few that inspires true horror, the excess visuals make it a game not fit for children. Some of the scenes and creatures can truly be scarring for younger children.
13 A Resident Evil Game That Changes Everything
The Resident Evil series is one of the longest and most popular survival-horror franchises in video game history. The game has had many spin-off titles. While the games usually held more action and 3rd person shooter elements, the newest installment of the series, Resident Evil 7, took an incredibly brilliant turn to more survival-horror mechanics and gave the game a chilling atmosphere.
Instead of blindly shooting their way to safety, players will need to run and play strategically, as some enemies cannot be defeated by bullets alone.
The game is set in a house in the middle of the woods, filled with insane mutated humans. Even the trailer of the game is not for the faint of heart, as some trailer footage featured a scene in which something questionable was fed to the player. This one will give you nightmares for sure.
12 Some Lines Aren't Meant To Be Crossed
Spec Ops: The Line is one of the most well-made 3rd person shooters in recent years, which a powerful storyline and artful presentation. This is one of the few games that use the video game medium to its full potential, making the player feel culpable for their actions reflected in the psychological war story told in the game. One scene in the game is much too heavy for young audiences. This scene revolves around manning a drone to drop artillery fire on a large number of troops closing in on the player. However, after successfully dropping fire on the enemy troops, the player sees the aftermath of their bombs. There were civilians, and it's heartbreaking. Worse, the player must then make a decision on what to do with the still-suffering civilians.
11 Don't Play This At Work
Deep Space Waifu is an action-shooter developed by Neko Climax Studios. The summary on Steam tells players they can “Discover [their] perfect WAIFU amidst explosions!” and went on to describe the game as “a simple SUPER CASUAL action game, full of colors and girls! Destroy alien colonies and do some CLOTH DAMAGE in giant girls!” Basically, the game is a shooter with well endowed young women in the background.
As the player defeats enemies, they can simultaneously shoot clothing off the women in the background until there’s nothing left.
While there are certainly some worse titles on this list, this game still is one you shouldn’t be playing at work. Furthermore, it contains enough bad stuff that it shouldn’t be in the hands of children.
10 The Internet's Most Circulated Legend
Slenderman is a PC survival-horror game in which you wander through the woods and find cryptic and frightening notes, all while trying to avoid a tall, slender, very creepy looking man in a black suit who kills you if he catches you. The game has proven to be psychologically scarring for two particular adolescents, Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier. The two were under the delusion that Slenderman was real and would end their families unless they paid tribute to him. Unfortunately, their classmate, Payton Leutner, was their to-be target. Thankfully, they failed. While mental illness seemed to be the prime factor in the case, the game is still one that may be too scary for children.
9 Japan's Done it Again
Coming as a port straight out of Japan, it’s easy to see why publishers were hesitant to localize Gal Gun for Western audiences. Its content is quite commonplace in Japanese pop-culture and sub-culture. The scenario of the game is simple. The player takes control of a male teen who, through some magical means, has become overflowing with fascination which makes all girls who see him instantly fall in love with him.
The game is essentially a shooter, in which the player shoots their love at teenage girls to get them to fall over in happiness.
In a special Doki-Doki mode, which translates roughly to "pounding heart," the player must rub in specific areas to bring euphoria. Yes, the language has been made as PC as possible for the game to be allowed in the West.
8 Jason's Back!
If the classic horror movie this game is based off of is anything to go by, the Friday the 13th game will be crazy. Furthermore, it will surely bring on fear and nightmares for children who play it. Friday the 13th The Game is an asymmetrical multiplayer survival horror game. In the game, one player controls Jason and must hunt down and end all the other players who take on the role of camp counselors. All this considered, it was given a high ESRB rating, for obvious reasons. The animation in the game is quite gross and realistic, with finishing moves that show classic scenes from the movies, as well as new ones. Based on the violence alone, this is one game for kids to stay away from.
7 Creepy High School
The Danganronpa series is a series I didn’t expect to be adding to this list. However, the 3rd installment of the game's main series, Danganronpa V3, was filled with much more fan service and questionable references than in the previous two installments of the franchise. Specifically, the game features a love hotel, which when activated features a lengthy sequence with one of the other characters of the game.
These sequences range from playful to AO and should by no means be experienced by children.
Furthermore, certain characters in the game have more aggressive personalities and use an unnecessary amount of profanity, including innuendos that are quite overly descriptive. While the series itself is a must-play, I’d have to object to any children playing this installment of the series.
6 Stay Out Of The Rain
As the title suggests, Heavy Rain is a game with a heavy story and requires the player to make some heavy choices. The serial child killer mystery plot inevitably has content too serious and mature for children. On top of that, the game features partial nudity and scenes with intercourse. Furthermore, one of the main playable characters has a drug addiction, and the player must make choices whether or not to feed this addiction or let the character feel the symptoms of withdrawal. The game also has psychological aspects. For example, one scene requires the player cut off their finger or let their son die. Aside from the mature content of the game, it’s deep multi-ended plot and artful storytelling require a mature mind to fully appreciate.
5 Everyone Will Be Gone By Daylight
Dead By Daylight is another multiplayer survival horror game much like Friday the 13th The Game mentioned earlier. However, one main difference is the large variety of bad guys available to choose from and play as. Played with a maximum of 5 players (4 survivors and 1 bad guy), the game only ends either when all survivors have either escaped or been finished off.
The game is a dream come true for horror lovers, but for normal people it’s a nightmare in video game form.
The game has been given an M rating. The game’s variety of bad guys comes with a variety of executions unique for each playable one, and all are intense.
4 From The Screen To The Consoles
Based on the 1992 film of the same name, Reservoir Dogs is about the planning and execution of a heist. The film has an excess amount of profanity, as most gang-related movies do, and the game follows suit. However, the controversy surrounding the game is due to its abundance of violence. In fact, the game has been banned in Germany, Australia, and New Zealand. New Zealand went further than mere banning and made it illegal to possess or import a copy. Apparently, the New Zealand classification office found that Reservoir Dogs promoted bad things for merely entertainment purposes. Violence in the game comes not only in the form of weapons, but also unarmed and force. Sometimes such attacks are unprovoked and against enemies who have already surrendered.
3 It'll Have To Be A No For This Game
The Call of Duty series, developed by Infinity Ward, is a first-person shooter video game series, dating back to 2003. The series’ biggest surge in popularity came from Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, the installment which broke the series into the mainstream eye and became one of the most widely played online first-person shooters of all time. However, with the sequel, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, the series received controversial press and some public outcry regarding one stage in the game called No Russian.
In the stage, the player takes control of a CIA agent who has gone undercover as a Russian bad guy.
The scene requires the player to idly watch or participate in the attacking of unarmed civilians in an airport. The scene was so bad that an option was added to skip it entirely.
2 The Opposite Of 4th Grade Role Models
If you are a fan of the South Park television series, I think it’s obvious why a South Park-inspired RPG is a game not suitable for children. For one, the series is infamous for an unbelievable amount of obscenity. To put things into perspective, in the 2001 Guinness World Records, the South Park film, South Park Bigger, Longer & Uncut, received the record for most profanity used in an animated film. The 81-minute movie contains 399 swear words, 128 offensive gestures, and 221 acts of violence. Imagine how much the creators were able to fit into a 20+ hour RPG. That being said, the game received an M ESRB rating. All while playing characters who are in the 4th grade.
1 Just... Everything About This One
In my opinion, R_lay is a game that shouldn’t exist and it is a testament to the state of society that such a game is allowed to be published. The game’s title gives you an idea of what the game entails. It involves an innocent, unsuspecting family of young women. Unsurprisingly, the game has been banned by many countries and is the only game on this list I think no one on earth should play, let alone children.
The game is awful and leaves almost nothing to the imagination.
Because of its content, it has not been released physically in the West, nor it is available for download on any major gaming retail service and in my opinion, good riddance.