Video games sure have come a long way from the days of Pong. Almost all of today's major titles are backed by compelling narratives that used to only be seen at the movies. But as the industry has matured, so have many of the themes in the games. Just like that "R" rated film at the cinema your parents don't want you to see, many of today's most popular titles aren't afraid to dip into sex and over the top violence.
While most parents probably don't have a problem with their kids experiencing some amount of adult content, there are of course certain titles that intentionally push the envelope. Sometimes the extra sexual or violent content makes sense within the story of the game, but sometimes the developer is just trying to sell copies by catering to those with low brow tastes.
For those looking for the best of the worst when it comes to adult content in video games, here are the Top 10 Games Your Parents Don't Want You to Play. Just remember to delete the browser history before Mom and Dad get home.
Grand Theft Auto V
This list might as well start with the most notorious franchise in gaming history, right? Grand Theft Auto has always been controversial. Former attorney Jack Thompson and numerous other moral crusaders have built their careers around attacking Rockstar Games flagship franchise. Players have been able to shoot the police, beat up innocent bystanders and get involved with prostitutes in just about every game in the series.
Things arguably escalated quite a bit though with 2013's release of Grand Theft Auto V. The initial release on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 featured strip clubs with topless dancers as well as full nudity for the first time. With the release of the first person mode on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One late last year, players are now closer to the action than ever. Things get especially raunchy when propositioning a prostitute using the new mode. In previous games, the player could see the car rocking back and forth while the protagonist got busy with a lady of the night, but first person mode actually shows what's going on inside the vehicle. The following video is very NSFW.
Grand Theft Auto V brought the usual outcry from the usual people, but that didn't stop the game from being one of the best-selling of all-time. If for some reason you still don't have a copy, just tell your parents everyone else is playing it, so it can't be that bad. It's important not to laugh when saying this.
There are few gaming franchises that can compare to Grand Theft Auto when it comes to being a perennial punching bag for the moral police, but Mortal Kombat may come close. When the game first released in 1992, it shocked parents everywhere with its bloody combat and gruesome Fatalities. Of course, seeing blood in a video game today is par for the course, but back in the early 90s, it was highly controversial.
Future iterations of the franchise would continue to ramp up the violence, and each new release brought more hand-wringing from Mom and Dad. The Mortal Kombat reboot in 2011 brought back Fatalities with vivid modern graphics, but developer NetherRealm Studios didn't stop there. The title also features something called X-Ray Moves, which allowed players to view their opponents bones literally breaking as they were pummeled with blows.
A form of X-Ray moves will returns in 2015's Mortal Kombat X, but the most controversial aspect of this latest title may be the return of Brutalities. This finisher is designed to be more complicated to pull off but also more gruesome than a standard Fatality. Those with parents nearby may just want to stick with the 2011 game's Babalities instead.
God of War III
If you've heard of but never played Sony's popular God of War franchise, you might be surprised to see this game showing up on the list. While it's true that God of War III does not set out to intentionally shock players with any particular aspect of the game, there's still a pretty solid reason for its inclusion. In addition to the sometimes vicious violence that Kratos unleashes upon his enemies, the game's protagonist also has a reputation for being a bit of a ladies' man.
All of the God of War titles feature at least some sexual content, but God of War III is definitely the least shy about letting you watch Kratos get down and dirty. In fact, you actually help him do the deed.
Grand Theft Auto isn't the only Rockstar title that's drummed up controversy over the years. Back in 2006, the concept for Bully upset parents and educators as soon as it was announced. The game lets players assume the role of "Jimmy" Hopkins on his first day as a student at Bullworth Academy. Jimmy must navigate through the perils of high school as he goes back and forth between different typical cliques like the "preppies" and the "jocks". At various points throughout the game, Jimmy is either bullied himself or must use physical violence against another student in order to achieve a larger goal. The game was mostly well-reviewed by critics, but a number of anti-bullying groups spoke out against the title.
Bully also stirred up controversy for some of its sexual content. Some interest groups did not like the fact that Jimmy can kiss both girls and boys in the game.
Rockstar and publisher Take-Two Interactive have teased the possibility of a Bully 2, including filing for a trademark for the game last year. Countless parenting groups are no doubt standing by to condemn yet another title before it's even released.
Leisure Suit Larry
A franchise that can trace its origins to a 1981 text-based game called "Softporn Adventure" is making its shtick fairly obvious from the start. The Leisure Suit Larry games, originally developed by Sierra from 1987 to 2009 before getting picked up by Codemasters and then Replay Games, features a misogynistic protagonist who sets out (and usually fails) to seduce various attractive women in the game.
The most current title in the franchise is 2013's Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded, a remake of the original 1987 title. But the greatest controversy surrounding the games was caused by a 2004 title called Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude. Magna tells the story of "Larry Lovage" who is the nephew of the older character featured in most of the other games. Basic gameplay is a mix of exploration and a relationship simulator, as Larry attempts to gain the affection of various coeds on campus by succeeding in various mini-games.
Those games include "chat", which asked the player to steer a sperm icon through a course of "hot spots" and "panty raids" which are.... yeah, exactly what it sounds like. Magna Cum Laude received the dreaded Adults Only rating from the ESRB when it was first reviewed before some of the sexual content was cut in order to obtain a "M" rating. The unedited version was eventually released as Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude - Uncut and Uncensored!. The uncensored version features full frontal nudity and sex scenes. Both versions of the game are still effectively banned in Australia.
This is what happens when a publisher has a bad game on its hands, knows it's in trouble financially, and is desperate to avoid another underperforming title.
BMX XXX started out as just another BMX action sports game. Developer Z-Axis had previously created Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX and was at work on a spiritual sequel. Trouble was, the game wasn't shaping up to be very good and Acclaim knew it. It's worth noting that Acclaim was in its final years of existence at this point, having had a long run of unsuccessful titles. Company executives were desperate to salvage the title, and so they decided to style it as a sex comedy in order to drum up publicity.
The trick worked, to an extent. BMX XXX featured real life strippers, dancing nude, and this scandalous fact got the game plenty of negative attention in the media. Other games may have featured naked virtual characters before, but this was the first time a major publisher had released content featuring real women taking their clothes off.
Despite the publicity, the game still bombed on the sales charts and few gamers wanted to admit to actually buying such a game. BMX XXX is often cited as one of the final nails in the coffin of Acclaim Entertainment, which went out of business less than two years later.
Saint's Row IV
The Saint's Row series has always been inspired to an extent by that other controversial open world game on this list, Grand Theft Auto. So it's no surprise that a number of games from the series also feature some controversial aspects.
The game has gotten raunchier with every new release, and 2013's Saints Row IV ratcheted up the sexual content and violence to new heights. The game was refused classification in Australia due to its sexual content, and in particular because of "the Rectifier" weapon.
Moving along... the game was also knocked for its repeated drug use, including the fact that drugs must be taken in order to achieve certain objectives. Australia eventually received a censored version of the game, but that didn't stop developer Volition from bragging that the game was one that "Australia didn't want you to play" in its official trailer for the title.
Conker's Bad Fur Day
Never has an adorable creature been so controversial.
When Rare first announced Conker's Bad Fur Day in the early days of the Nintendo 64, the character was designed to headline yet another family friendly Nintendo adventure. But after the character drew criticism from the press, Rare went back to the drawing board. Some thought the game had been cancelled, but Rare eventually revealed that the title had been retooled as a raunchy and adult affair. As seen in the above video, Rare went overboard with a great deal of off-color or vulgar jokes.
This might not seem quite as bad as some of the other games on this list, but some parents were especially offended at the time of the game's release that such a title would exist on a Nintendo console. For its part, Nintendo did its best to distance itself from the game, failing to do much to promote it and putting a larger than normal warning on the box.
The game was eventually re-released on the Xbox in 2005 as Conker: Live and Reloaded once Rare was officially on board with Microsoft. Ironically though, Microsoft was even less comfortable with the game than Nintendo, and ended up censoring a great deal of the foul language that was present on the Nintendo 64 version.
Rare has recently teased that a new Conker game could be in development.
This title is advertised as a stealth-based survival horror game, but what it really represents is an attempt by Rockstar Games to see just how much violence they could get away with. The game was released for the PlayStation 2 in 2003 and the Xbox and PC the following year. Players assume the role of a supposedly executed death row inmate who is forced to participate in a series of snuff films for an underground movie producer. Every death in the game has the potential to be quite violent in it depiction.
The Chicago Tribune said at the time of the game's release that "Manhunt is easily the most violent video game ever made." Even a Rockstar employee was quoted as saying that some company employees, who are certainly no stranger to controversy, felt uneasy about the title.
Controversy around the game reached its peak in 2004 when a British teen who was said to be obsessed with the game murdered one of his friends in gruesome fashion. The game was removed from some stores following the murder. Police eventually said the murder occurred during a drug-related robbery and was not connected to the game, but that didn't stop people like Jack Thompson from blaming Rockstar.
A sequel, Manhunt 2 was released in 2008. It was also controversial, initially receiving an Adults Only rating in the United States before being edited down to a Mature rating.
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
Like God of War, The Witcher and its sequel The Witcher 2 did not set out to be intentionally controversial. But both games in the series feature a number of mature topics as part of their story. The Witcher 2 in particular features a great deal more sex and nudity than the original game. So much, in fact, that Playboy magazine even honored one of the female characters with a pictorial.
If the story (and associated content) of The Witcher 2 had played out on a show on HBO, hardly anyone would have batted an eye. But because video games are still held to a different standard by some interest groups when compared to TV and cinema, the release of the game was met with heated debate. Like other titles on this list, the game had be toned down in order to secure release in Australia.
Whether it's an overabundance of sex or violence (or both!), these are 10 games that gamers would rather not have their parents see them play. Which games would you be embarrassed to play in front of your parents? Let us know in the comments!