The 5 most politically incorrect games from the past – no holds barred

Signal neglecting political correctness

Following my best-villain post, my son asked me if there were any games where the bad guy was also the good guy. And that got me to thinking: what are some of the most politically incorrect games out there? Not games where the bad guy is the hero, necessarily, but where an anti-hero is given center stage.

Gaming and controversy are not strangers by a long stretch. In fact, it seems like scandal and a little bit of questionable, even risqué behavior is what makes some games so appealing.

Sure, it is great for initial buzz and press, but if you do not have solid gameplay underpinning it all, you have really got nothing at the end of the day.

For this list, I am not really going to focus on quality of gameplay and things like that, but instead on games that just purely caused a stir, because of their controversial approach to their subject matter.

I am going to talk about five games that are extremely politically incorrect, and I will explain why they were a big deal when they came out.

No worries, there are some high-quality titles on this list that are also known for providing stellar gameplay. One game even spawned the highest grossing media property of all time!

Alright, no more talk. Here are the top 5 most politically incorrect games from the past:

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5) Mikie (cross-platform 1984)

Mikie arcade version

Mikie shoving one of his classmates out of their seat.

Filled with violence and bullying at school, this game would not even hit the light of day now.

You play as Mikie, an American student who has to collect hearts in various areas of the school building.

He does so by giving his classmates an ass-bash out of their chairs, but also headbutting teachers, janitors, and any other staff member who is unfortunate to become an enemy of his.

The ultimate goal for him to collect hearts is composing messages from Mandy, his girlfriend.

Mandy is waiting for him outside the school practicing cheerleading, and judging from how quickly they jump into their car and leave upon meeting, it is safe to say that attending classes is not on their agenda, today.

There are no guns or gun violence involved here, “just” headbutting and ass-blasting, but any bullying-focused game is controversial, even if portrayed in a humorous way. Plus we all know that bullying is not cool, and games like this are seen to glorify it, which is a bad thing.

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4) Carmageddon (cross-platform 1997)

Carmageddon on the PS1

First race of Carmageddon

This title almost presaged the Grand Theft Auto series in many ways, with its depiction of vehicular mayhem and the like. A more recent title than Mikie, Carmageddon combines the words car, karma, and Armageddon in one of the most interesting portmanteaus every constructed, but that is pretty much where the innovation ends.

Crude and somewhat silly and pointless, Carmageddon can best be described as some kind of twisted take on the Pac Man concept where the car is Pac Man and the pedestrians are the power pellets.

3) Postal 2 (PC 2003)

A screenshot from Postal 2

Postal 2 intro

This game is like the dying gasp of the 90s extreme approach to pop culture. It has animal cruelty, crude humor, homophobia… You name it, Postal 2 has it. You see, back in the 90s, being offensive and edgy in a bluntly crude way was considered being edgy or even cool by some standards.

While I now recognize it as evidence of a lack of discipline or insights into society in a meaningful way, I also recognize crude stuff for what it is: largely garbage.

Do not expect smart social commentary or even stuff that is really that funny in Postal 2, a game that strives to offend even itself before it tries to center itself in some kind of existential reasoning.

2) Duke Nukem 3D (Ms-Dos 1996)

A screenshot from Duke Nukem 3D

First episode of Duke Nukem 3D

The game that Postal 2 wished it was, Duke Nukem 3D has porn, sex, drugs, violence, and much, much more. Taking the classic PC side scrolling games and turning them into this was not what most people expected, but –according to sales – it is all that most people wanted.

Sure, Duke Nukem Forever made this formula’s age deadly apparent, but, back in the day, Duke’s crude humor was likened to that of The Simpsons, South Park, and even other counter-culture icons like Beavis and Butthead. Duke Nukem 3D was not only crude, but it also made sense.

Everything in Duke’s world was the way it was because that was the best way to present Duke: An 80s action-hero type that saves the world while living in a pseudo-Hollywood decadence that everyone can lampoon and envy at the same time.

One thing that might turn off modern gamers about DN to a great degree is that it is pretty sexist by modern standards and the standards of the time. Be warned.


Honorable mention: Bull Fight (arcade 1984)

Bull fight, an 80s arcade game

First stage of Bull Fight

As the title of this game probably already lets you know, the central conceit of this title is fighting bulls like people do in Spain. It was a little bit controversial in its time, but it is completely inappropriate now.

Why? Mainly because of its depiction of animal cruelty, which is something that the majority of consumers do not go for in one way or the other. Outside of that, it is not a terrible game but it is terribly uncomfortable to play. It is unlikely a game like this would come out today, and definitely not without a fight.

If you are trying to relive the glory days of arcades and want to give this game a try, I do not blame you one bit, but it is not the most compelling game, and the subject matter is somewhat stomach churning.

OKay, number one is next! Guessed it already?

 

1) Grand Theft Auto (cross-platform 1997)

A screenshot from Grand Theft Auto

First stage of Grand Theft Auto

A title that really needs no introduction. Grand Theft Auto changed the video game landscape when it came out in 1997 and it continues to do so today.

As one of the highest grossing multimedia properties of all time, people have started to recognize GTA as a game as much about social commentary as it is its gameplay. No doubt this is a controversial title – with everything from sex, drugs, and violence to social commentary, political insights, and pop culture comedy – but it is a game that every serious gamer must play.

The bottom line is: do controversy well, and make classics like Duke Nukem or GTA; just do controversy and you will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

And that is all for today, retro folks. Do you have any controversial titles that you think should be part of this list? Then please let me know in the comments below.

Till next post!

About Andrew A.

Andrew is the founder and owner of RetroGamingLoft. He considers himself a natural-born gamer and is on a mission to keep our younger gaming years alive through the medium of Retro Stories. His event recount includes hopes, dreams, broken joysticks, magic, nostalgia and another final boss defeated.

16 thoughts on “The 5 most politically incorrect games from the past – no holds barred

  1. My Daily Pointers

    I am not sure if I should be laughing or shaking my head.  Isn’t it funny how things change and when we look back at them now, we cannot even fathom that such things were created.  I have found that very much with some of the television shows I used to watch as a kid.  Blatant homophobia, racism, bullying, etc.

    I am curious if because of their political incorrectness, are they in demand by collectors?  I find that these types of things often end up becoming popular again.

    Reply
    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Daily Pointers and thanks for your comment.
      Even though I love the 80s and the 90s, I am by no means a fan of the politically incorrectness of those years. I too shake my head when I watch some tv-show clips from the 80s/90s and hear some offensive jokes much to the audience’s amusement. I was young and did not realize how disrespectful that could be, so I used to laugh too, something that I deeply regret today.
      It was a different era, that is for sure, but sometimes it looks like a different world either.

      Concerning your question, I would say that too much is too much, even for avid collectors. For one thing, Postal 2 was banned in a few countries and – according to wikipedia – in New Zealand it is still illegal to own a copy. It is still sold via Steam, but physical copies are not in demand by collectors, to my knowledge.
      Of all the other games mentioned in this post, only Duke Nukem and GTA have gone on to become mainstream series. Yes, they show a crude depiction of reality, however – while I do not condone the acts portrayed – their political incorrectness is not an end in itself.
      Thanks again for your comment, hope you become a regular on my blog!

      Reply
  2. James Cavendish

    hey I remember playing Dukem Nukem but to be honest Grand Theft Auto is still a game I play to date, I remember when Grand Theft Auto first came out and was sat there with my mates on the sofa, we were all lined up and I remember it being so addictive we stayed up all night til the following day playing it, Politically incorrect, I don’t know, I would say it caused quite a stir at the time,

    I absolutely love your post, it really brought back some memories for me, I just sent your link over to my mates to see if they can remember playing the first Grand Theft Auto, awesome.

    Thanks for sharing

    James

    Reply
    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello James and welcome to my blog I am glad that you enjoyed my post and I thank you very much for linking it to your friends, it truly means a lot. 🙂

      Titles like GTA will always be debatable, but in my opinion, it is hard to not call “politically incorrect” a game where you complete missions and receive points for committing crimes.

      Thanks again for dropping by, hope you become a regular on my blog!

      Reply
  3. Jackie Rogers

    This post is hilarious. Mostly because I remember most of those games. I cant believe grand theft auto is 23 years old. Wowzers. My son looks at some of these and thinks they “look old.” Hes five. I dont know how he knows what “old” games look like! Now I’m wondering if you’ll do a political correctness post for video games of today? Eh? Really entertaining, thank you.

    Reply
    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Jackie and welcome to my website, I am pleased that you appreciated my post.
      Concerning your question, mine is a retro gaming blog so I am unlikely to do a political correctness post for today’s video games, but somewhere along the way I will talk about old, classic games that are all about good vibes, it’s a promise! 😉
      Thanks again for your comment, I hope you become a regular reader!

      Reply
  4. Carlton

    Wow, you know this is a great topic. As parents, we are responsible for what our children are watching, playing and learning. I notice how even the cartoons are becoming very inappropriate for children. Some are full of violence, sexually suggestive. I think, that we need to view these games first before allowing our children to have them. Most, games do have an age restriction on them. 

    Reply
    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Carlton and thanks for your comment, glad you appreciated the topic.
      I absolutely agree, such games are by no means appropriate for children and – while not all the titles mentioned on this list feature gratuitous violence, I would never ever let my kids play them. Every new game has age restrictions today, so we can easily avoid the inappropriate ones.
      Thanks again for visiting my blog, I hope you stay tuned for more retro posts.

      Reply
  5. Kevin And Jade

    I’m not entirely sure why but I lol’d at practically every description. 

    I’m not really a serious gamer. I tend to fall in love with a specific game, play until it ends and it’s like I’m cured of the itch and am then good for another few months/years or so. But even I’ve heard of GTA and have even tried my hand at it (I suck at it hah!). 

    I don’t think I’ll like any of the other games but GTA was definitely one-of-a-kind. Thank you for sharing this post.

    Reply
    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Kevin and Jade and welcome to my blog.
      Who is the one not calling themselves a “serious gamer” though? Lol, just kidding.

      Seriously, I agree, while being extremely politically incorrect, it is undeniable that GTA is in a league of its own. There is a lot more than just gratuitous violence.

      Thanks again for your comment, till next article.

      Reply
  6. Andy Morris

    Damn, the original GTA was so damn good. There was something about games like that pre-storyline era where you could truly just run a business stealing cars and making some dough he he. Duke Nukem another classic. Never heard of Mikie or Bullfight! I was a C64 man back in the eighties. Leisure Suit Larry was like an early crude version of the Sims. Games are so much more violent and sexual these days but the impact isn’t quite the same as seeing 2k of square nipple on a ZX81. Great site Mate, really enjoying it. Cheers. Andy

    Reply
    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Andy and thanks for your nice comment, so glad you like my website! 🙂
      Actually I have always felt for poor Larry lol, so I was hesitant to include it on this list. I mean, more tragicomic than politically incorrect.
      In any case you are right, improvement in graphics, certainly maximize the impact of certain contents.
      Thanks again for visiting my blog, hope you become a regular!

      Reply
  7. Adyns68

    As much as I want the whole world to be a loving and morally correct place. There are still people coming up with such bad things in games and a lot of people buying them.  I remember the buzz auto theft created and I really thought that there would be a movement to oppose it. But they just gain in popularity and made even more money. I wish they could put laws to protect us more from such companies

    We need to be careful when buying games to check exactly what we are exposing ourselves and our kids to. And not follow the trend, I have seen a parent saying that he is just buying because everybody is.

    Thanks

    Reply
    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Adyns and thanks for commenting again on my blog. 🙂

      You know, while I too want the world to be a loving place, but the sad reality is that it is not and we cannot simply hide the truth. On such grounds,I believe that people have the right to express their opinions and tell their stories through any media, as long as they are not an end in themselves or are not glorifying violence.

      If we denied that, we should also ban a lot of movies, tv shows and what not that are as crude as GTA, but are often times referred to as “masterpieces”.

      That said, in my opinion, Grand Theft Auto does not glorify violence, as it clearly shows that committing crimes has consequences, not to say devastating effects.

      I fully agree with you on the necessity of protecting our kids. As far as I am concerned, I would never let them play a video game whose PEGI rating were higher than their age, personally I do not care about the trend or about what everybody says.

      Thanks again for stopping by, hope you stay tuned for more retro posts.

      Reply
  8. Henderson

    This is a really good post I must confess, I do agree totally that GTA should come first because even amongst my friends when we play the latest GTA version, we still argue over some of the content of the game even though we can’t get ourselves to stop playing. I also played carmageddon where all we do was destroy cars and run over pedestrians.

    Reply
    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Henderson and thanks for visiting my blog, I am pleased that you appreciated my post.

      Yours is a short, yet insightful comment; you summed up the gist of it all with a few words. Contents are questionable, but it is entertaining and certainly shows you another side of the story. As for Carmageddon, I simply avoid to play it, that says it all.

      Thanks again for stopping by, I hope you become a regular reader!

      Reply

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