Top Ten Shameful Games
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1. Custer's Revenge (Atari 2600)
This monumentally bad idea came to light when Mystique, the publisher of the "Swedish Erotica" line of porno films, decided to create "adult" games for the Atari 2600. It's doubtful that the sight of monochromatic stick figures getting it on could be that exciting to anybody, but Mystique plunged ahead and created a line of trashy games anyway. The idea of peddling porno on a kids' gaming system was shameful enough, but Mystique upped the ante with the release of Custer's Revenge. In this game, the player took control of a naked General George Custer, who had to navigate a battlefield to have sex with an Indian maiden who was tied to a post. Although Mystique claimed the sex was just a consensual bondage escapade and not rape, Native American groups as well as the National Organization for Women believed the game promoted sexual violence and staged national protests against it.
This game is too depressing for me to write a witty caption.
In hindsight, there are two ways of looking at the game, and neither way speaks well of it. If Mystique really did intend Custer's Revenge to be a thinly-veiled rape fantasy, it's that much more sickening and disturbing. If Mystique didn't, then shouldn't the company have realized that having the girl tied up, making her a Native American, and putting the word "revenge" in the title would make people think it was about rape? Custer's Revenge is either a monument to sexual abuse or to sheer stupidity, and it's shameful whichever way you choose to look at it.
As scary as it may seem, these 10 titles are only a sampling of how low games can sink. There are many more where these came from. But remember, there are plenty of good games out there too. If you managed to read through this entire list, my advice is to immediately boot up your favorite game, play it, and try, just try to put all this ugliness behind you.
Special thanks to the members of the Digital Press Retrogaming Roundtable for providing so many good suggestions for horrible games!
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