The world is loaded with controversy because all humans are inherently garbage who actively seek out something to be mad about. I’m not different; I’m looking for something to upset me just for the sake of being angry. In the internet spirit of sharing something in united aggravation, I’m going to examine some of the controversial moments in gaming.
1. Star Wars Battlefront II
Star Wars fans are a particularly interesting bunch. I don’t think anyone needs reminding of the reaction to The Last Jedi. They bullied a girl off social media just because they didn’t like her role in the story. Just imagine the fiery inferno that charred the earth when they found out that Battlefront II was going to include microtransactions and loot boxes. I didn’t buy it because of the microtransactions and overall dislike of EA, like most gamers. Battlefront II went on to flop because of the unpopular cash grab tactics that were the foundation for the game. I can only place so much blame on them, as I understand that the popularity of the Star Wars as a series made the cost to license an insane amount.
2. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II
(Cover art for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II is a property of Infinity Ward and Activision.)
Modern Warfare II was a pinnacle for gaming. It consumed my life, much in the manner Halo 3 Custom Games did. It did have a slight controversial moment when the game had the character (possibly) partake in shooting up an airport like their the goddamn Terminator. The game does express that the shooter shouldn’t participate in the killing but does not stop the character if they choose to. A tad bit on the controversial side, but it’s gone on to be remembered more for the multiplayer aspect than the infamous mission that was “No Russian.”
3. Fight of Gods
(Image retrieved from PQubeGames “Fight of Gods – Launch Trailer.”)
Allow me to pitch you an idea. Jesus and Buddha fist fighting on the snowy mountains of Mount Olympus, much akin to that of Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat. Only one can make it out. As you can probably imagine, this image would upset some people, as it did. Religion plays a significant portion of peoples lives, which developer Digital Crafts found out upon the release of the game. The idea of Moses and Anubis squashing their beef(?) through violence was one that would always be a bit of a stretch, but I’ll be damned if the idea didn’t make me giggle at least a little bit.
4. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
(Image retrieved from user Zakar00z’s re-upload of Trevor Martin’s deleted apology video.)
We have a unique controversy in store for us with this one, where the video game itself was not as controversial as the complicated gambling scandal that occurred to some of its players. YouTubers Trevor Martin and Tom Cassel cam under fire after it was revealed that they were the owners of CSGO Lotto, a website that allowed players to put money towards weapons and character skins and they would then randomly pick a winner and the said winner would then receive all of the bet upon skins. What was complicated, aside from their audience being primarily teenagers, was that their business ties to the website were not disclosed during their promotions. As a result, both issued statements regarding their relationships and Martin himself gave a phenomenal apology with a view of his expensive truck in the background which makes for one of my personal favorite apology moments. Nothing quite conveys an apology more than flexing on your viewers inside your mansion. I respect that.
5. Doom (1993)
(Doom cover art created by Don Ivan Punchatz.)
Doom is one of the most influential games in history. It established the first-person shooter genre and went on to spawn multiple well-received sequels. Its legacy is immense, but it too has found itself in some fair bit of trouble. The game was of unknown violence at the time and received criticism for its dark imagery. Columbine shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were also fans of the game and references to the game were found in Harris’s journals. The narrative of a potential connection between violence and games began after these occurrences and it’s still a controversial topic to this day.
Controversy follows art like thunder does lighting. One cannot exist without the other. Some of the others I could not cover in this article involved sexual assault and heavy tones of racism, which I did not want to be a platform for. So, we know all works of art can stray into dangerous territories, as expression itself is fickle, and creators have an obligation to determine if it’s necessary, and then deal with the repercussions of these actions should they choose to support these messages.