Video games have been the subject of controversy almost from the very start. The more the medium has evolved and pushed the boundaries, the more common it has become to hear about some new outrage. And what gets people stirred up more than anything than human intimacy? From the early days of gaming all the way to modern times, there are scandals about the good looks and the hook ups of characters in the virtual world. In this case, we get a debate about whether games have gone too far, or whether people should just relax and enjoy the steamy moment.
To be clear, though, there's a big difference between steamy and trashy. Nobody would ever calling something like Custer's Revenge hot since it was ultimately just such a gross, immature game. What we're talking about are the controversies that piqued fans' interest and made them want to get a look for themselves. So, from the scandals that floated around among gamers, to the ones that made international attention, these are the 15 Hottest Video Game Scandals.
What else could we kick things off with than one of gaming’s earliest female protagonists? All throughout the original Metroid, Samus Aran wore armor, so most players expected they were just playing as a guy. The name also didn’t exactly sound feminine, so people never expected a thing until they finally completed the game. With the adventure finished, Samus removed the helmet to reveal the player had actually been controlling a woman the entire time.
That reveal in itself is one of gaming’s biggest surprise endings, but just to make it a little more scandalous, players who finished the game quickly were given even more emphasis of Samus’ femininity. Beat the game fast enough and not only would she ditch the helmet, but she’d appear in nothing but a bikini. The skimpier outfits as a reward for fast players have become a staple of the franchise by now, despite some critics finding it an archaic gimmick.
Tracer is actually two scandals wrapped in one since she managed to stir up some controversy more than once. At first it was about her victory poses, which featured her in the stereotypical “butt pose” looking over her shoulder at the camera. Fans said this felt out of character for how Tracer acted normally since she wasn’t big into being flirtatious. The pose was eventually altered a bit to something less provocative.
However, the far bigger scandal surrounding Tracer was the reveal that she is gay in an Overwatch comic. A lot of fans loved learning more about her character, but some called it pushing an agenda, and the comic was even banned in Russia due to their gay propaganda laws. But once the commotion died down, Overwatch fans have grown to accept Tracer and appreciate her lifestyle.
Bayonetta is a character who just can't seem to stop being the center of controversy. For starters, anyone who has played her games knows Bayonetta's style of fighting monsters is designed with titillation in mind. Her attacks frequently involve poses that you’d see in a strip club, and then there's also the little reveal about her clothing—or lack thereof. One of Bayonetta's attacks reveals that she uses her hair as a weapon, and that her outfit is actually comprised of her own hair. In this state, she actually loses her clothes except for some strategically positioned locks that block anything that would give the game an adults-only rating.
Bayonetta got more attention with the release of her second game, which was revealed to be a Wii U exclusive, something that got grumbling from fans of the original. Then there was a bit more of a fuss when Bayonetta won the fan vote to be included in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, a move some fans felt was dodgy due to this heavy sexualized character appearing in a game full of kid friendly Nintendo characters.
As soon as the design for Quiet was revealed for Metal Gear Solid V, the criticism was swift. Why would anyone dress like that? That was the question everyone asked. Franchise director Hideo Kojima promised a valid reason that would make everyone feel ashamed for their criticism. Instead, we learned Quiet breathes through her skin, so she needs to have a lot of skin exposed. So why not just wear shorts instead of see through leggings? Yeah, the justification was still flimsy, and it’s pretty obvious Quiet is dressed the way she is just because people think it’s hot.
Regardless, sex appeal still works, so Quiet was very popular among gamers. In fact, by far the most memorable scene from Metal Gear Solid V is the “rain scene,” where Quiet jumps out of a helicopter to strip down to her bikini and frolic in the rain. Some fans have swapped the male characters into the scene to illustrate how silly it is, but at the same time, Quiet undeniably looks better doing it and got a lot of people talking about the game.
Mr. Mosquito was an odd game for many reasons (the least of which is that male mosquitos don’t suck blood). Even back in 2001 it was viewed as an odd little title that not too many people were playing, but that reviewers were still recommending it just for how unique it was. The whole game was just you playing as a mosquito and trying to drink blood from the family whose home you were in without getting killed.
The game’s most well-known level was one that took place in the bathroom. The daughter of the family, Rena, was taking a bath and you had to get her blood from her exposed skin. The sexual undertones of the scene were obvious, and the level even ends with Mr. Mosquito getting hearts in his eyes as he witnesses Rena get out of the tub off camera. The awkward part? Rena might have been a high school student, but she wasn’t 18 yet.
If you were following Street Fighter V as it was getting ready to be released, you probably remember the character Rainbow Mika got a lot of attention. This was all about an early build of the game, wherein R. Mika is shown slapping her butt before she performs her special move. In the maneuver, she tosses her opponent into the air and sandwiches their face between her own backside and her tag team partner’s (clearly a, uh, painful move that not a single person would ever enjoy). But in later builds, Capcom decided Mika’s taunt was too risqué and kept the butt slap off camera.
Players decried the move as censorship and pandering to oversensitive critics. Yet Capcom said the decision was made internally and had nothing to do with critics. Regardless, fans made an online petition that garnered over 8,500 signatures pleading for Mika’s taunt to return. While the petition was admittedly silly and didn’t change Capcom’s mind, some players really did find Mika’s butt slap a thing of booty—or, umm, beauty.
By the time God of War came out, video games had been around for a good while. But nudity still wasn’t a common thing in them, especially not interactive nudity. So it definitely caused some rumblings when it turned out God of War included a mini-game that let players guide Kratos through pleasuring two women at the same time.
Previous games that included interactive sex were things like the extremely trashy Custer’s Revenge and Beat ‘Em and Eat ‘Em. Fortunately, God of War didn’t go the tacky shock value route, instead panning the camera away and turning Kratos’ exploits into a mini-game about performing in such a rhythm that a nearby vase would be knocked off a night stand. It’s the kind of thing that pushed the boundaries and gave the game a memorable moment without being something you’d be embarrassed to say was part of one of your favorite games.
This one is recent enough that plenty of people no doubt remember the fuss that was kicked up about Final Fantasy XV, focusing exclusively on a player party of men. The other Final Fantasy games had always included at least one woman in the group, so some people were pretty surprised and irked by this change. But after getting a look at the guys in question, other fans weren't complaining about their looks. In fact, fans liked how the men looked so much that their outfits were even available for sale in real life.
Besides, it seemed only fair for the guys to get a solo game when Final Fantasy X-2 had featured an all female party. X-2 also got a lot of fans heated who weren't into the girly J-pop adventure, but the game certainly made efforts to appeal to all sorts. A big feature in the game was Yuna, Rikku, and Paine being able to swap outfits to gain different abilities, and each outfit change was complete with a magical transformation sequence. This usually ended with the character in a skimpy outfit that wouldn't look out of place in the sexy costume section of a Halloween store.
We’ve already talked about one controversy that arose thanks to Street Fighter V thanks to R. Mika’s butt slap, but it turns out even the guys were getting into some scandalous behavior. The franchise protagonist Ryu was revealed to be able to sport a new alternate look in the game that quickly got dubbed “hot Ryu.” Most of the men in the game are already sporting a lot of muscles, but in this outfit Ryu ditched his shirt and was also sporting an uncharacteristic beard. It gave the martial artist a bit of a mountain man look that some fans weren’t unhappy to see.
Still, others were quick to question why Capcom was cool with this, but would remove things that players found sexy about the women, like R. Mika’s taunt. The debate about sexualization and if it’s ever okay is too big to get into here, but ultimately it was Capcom’s call. Ryu’s new look made the cut, and the memes spread like wildfire.
The Witcher franchise is so notorious for its treatment of sex that we can’t even confine this entry to one game. All three of the games have raised some eyebrows with how they deal with sex. Obviously, it started with the first game which got criticism for its inclusion of nude collector’s cards that the player was given in-game for each woman they had sex with. The first game was actually censored in America at first to remove most of the nudity before an uncensored patch restored what the rest of the world was seeing.
If that’s not enough, the second game amped things up even further with its infamous sex scene atop a unicorn. Even late night host Conan O’Brien commented on that moment. But by the third game people pretty much knew what to expect from the franchise, so while the sex was still outrageous, it almost became like an expected feature at that point.
Of all the scandals on this list, this is probably the most well-known. Even people like Hillary Clinton were discussing this one back in the day, so you know that this was getting some big attention. And honestly the mini-game itself isn’t very appealing to look at. Watching blocky old video game characters have sex is not something too many people are going to find enticing. But back when Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was still new, hearing about this mini-game definitely had people curious.
The mini-game wasn’t even meant to appear in the finished product, but modders were able to dig around and find ways to access it. It actually briefly resulted in San Andreas having its mature rating bumped up to adults only until the mod was disabled for good. GTA is all about allowing players to do the taboo, so the hot coffee mini-game was an appealing bit of forbidden fruit for a while.
It’s no secret that a lot of fighting games amp up the sexuality of the female characters. Implementing jiggle physics isn’t exactly a move made to ensure the balance issues of a game are ironed out. The Dead or Alive franchise has been particularly blatant about this, with the women being one of the most famous aspects of the game. So, eventually the developers just said screw it and abandoned all pretense that the women weren’t meant to be sexualized. This gave us Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volley Ball.
Despite the game’s mature rating, it’s actually more of a dating simulator than a gamer’s version of Playboy. Obviously all the women wear very little clothing, but the focus really is on building friendships between the women and getting better at volleyball. At least that’s the game’s focus. The sexualized fantasy of the game was obvious to anyone and stirred up some controversy, but was popular enough to get multiple sequels.
Not every scandal that has happened in the video game world actually has merit behind it. Today, it would be really hard for a rumor like this to have much longevity given how easy it is to verify things through the internet. But back in the ‘90s, your friends at school were your trusted source of information for video game news. Eventually, the rumor started that since the Mortal Kombat games pushed the boundaries in violence with their fatalities, that you could also perform “nudalities.”
Suffice it to say, this was not true and never became true even as the franchise evolved. That didn’t stop players from searching for the secret, though, no doubt to the dismay of protective parents who already weren’t thrilled with the franchise. Over the years the game’s fighters have become even more idealized, and the violence is even more brutal. But whether your cup of tea is Liu Kang or Kitana, you’ll have to use your imagination if what you’ve seen of them already isn’t enough.
We have Fox News to thank for this scandal, as they ran a story years back about the then-new Mass Effect game. The angle Fox took in covering it was in response to them finding out that the game contained sex scenes and nudity, so they brought on a psychologist to criticize it, as well as a representative of the gaming community to defend Mass Effect. However, it quickly became clear that the psychologist had never even played the game, incorrectly stating that it was a male character engaging in these activities, before she was corrected that in Mass Effect you can play as a man or a woman.
At one point, guest Geoff Keighley flat out asks the psychologist if she played the game, and she says no while she laughs. So it was obvious this scandal was based on assumptions rather than legitimate criticism. Still, for those who have played Mass Effect, they know the romances might not be the porn fantasy Fox seemed to suggest, but the relationships you can form with characters actually are quite nuanced (and can get pretty steamy).
Though the new, more realistic Tomb Raider games have been a lot of fun, there’s no denying that part of Lara Croft’s claim to fame will always be for being a sex symbol. As one of the earliest female protagonists in a game, she garnered a lot of attention. Part of that was due to gaming culture suddenly looking a bit less catered to male players, and partially because Lara is also very attractive.
Lara was many a gamer’s ‘90s crush, so of course rumors quickly circulated that there was some super secret code that let you see her naked. This was old school Lara, though, so admittedly by today’s standards, Lara’s original hyper-exaggerated blocky polygons would look about as attractive as a drawing in Microsoft Paint (RIP). Still, to the disappointment of many gamers who grew up in the ‘90s, those rumors proved false. It’s done nothing to ding Lara’s sex appeal or popularity, though.
Which do you think were the most scandalous moments in video game history? Let us know in the comments!