Video games and controversy have always seem to go hand in hand. But, it wasn’t always the usual suspects that created the controversy. Today’s Flashback Friday will delve into one of the earliest games to be controversial.
Back in the days of the Atari 2600, the system had a open door policy. This meant that any old idiot could make a game and it would be part of the library of games for the system. Of course, this also meant that you had people who made pornographic games. The most noticeable of those was Mystique. This ‘Swedish’ developer made ‘erotic’ games for the system… despite the fact that this company was nowhere near Sweden at all. In fact, these were American made games and the cartridges were made in Hong Kong.
In reality, this company was an offshoot of Caballero Home Video. If you have no idea who that is, then you haven’t watched enough 80’s porn. These guys were the kings (and queens) of porno films at that time era… so, it made sense that they wanted to get a piece of the market share when it came to video games. Thus, they teamed up with American Multiple Industries and created the company called Mystique.
It had a few pornographic based games, but one stands out as the most well known of these games… and easily the most crass, dirty, underhanded and downright disgusting game of that era: Custer’s Revenge.
History lesson time! George Armstrong Custer was involved in the Civil War and the Indian Wars when he, thinking he was the big dog in the yard, tried to take on a large group of Natives. That was a HUGE mistake and it would go down as “Custer’s Last Stand”. Nowhere does it mention that he came back from the dead to rape a Native American woman tied to a cactus while arrows rained down from above.
Yet, that is the premise of Custer’s Revenge… you, as a completely butt naked Custer, get to rape a Native American woman who is tied up to a cactus while arrows rain down upon you. I wish I could make this shit up… I really do.
To say that this was controversial was a complete understatement. Many groups ranging from women rights groups to anti-porn groups to even Native American groups boycotted this game. There were lawsuits against counties who tried to make sure this game wouldn’t sell there. The controversy did give the game a nice boost in numbers, as it sold 80,000 copies… twice as many as the other porno based games made by Mystique. Proof that controversy can sell games.
Sadly, this game is lost in the annals of times. Talking about it helps keep it alive, in a weird and decisively fucked up way. Tune in next week as I take on a game that prove that have a basketball superstar doesn’t mean your game will be good.