Video games have long been criticized for their frequent portrayal of graphic content. Though conservative mothers the world over may now spend their days shaking their fists at Kratos and Nathan Drake, gaming first caught the attention of the easily repulsed in 1976 with the release of Death Race. While ridiculously tame by today’s standards, the crudely rendered atrocities committed in this early arcade title managed to show the public that video games were more than playthings intended solely for children.
In an effort to curtail the consumption of controversial media by America’s youth, the Entertainment Software Rating Board was conceived. Though it really only succeeded in making adult-oriented games more popular, this rating system helped to ensure that experiences intended for children were actually appropriate for that audience.
That said, things managed to slip through the cracks. Player instigated or otherwise, there are some really messed up things you can do in kids games and it can be slightly unsettling to think of the hidden horrors lurking within some child-friendly media. As the piano from Super Mario 64 taught many 90’s kids, the innocent can quickly turn to the upsetting.
While a very small number of games can claim to be truly clean, it can be surprising to see which beloved titles are harboring appalling secrets. From constructing your own prison camp in a beloved Nintendo title to purposely afflicting your Pokémon with diseases, it’s safe to say that some E-rated games should best be left out of the hands of young kids.
25. Make Your Animal Crossing Friends Serve Hard Time
Players of Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp will likely sympathize with my need to lock up the shallow, needy inhabitants of my campsite. Providing your campers with an endless supply of oranges and beetles can be beyond tiring, and it would be so much easier to simply stick them in a little pen where they can no longer complain about my lack of hospitality. Fortunately, thanks to a few craftable fences and stools, that very scenario is possible. While players can’t actually force their campers to do anything, if a player leaves and returns to their campsite often enough, eventually, all of the critters in their campsite will be seated in their own little cell, as it should be. Some may call this a bit tyrannical, but it may be a necessary precaution. I try to be nice to my guests, but if Jay asks me for another yellow perch, I’m probably going to go crazy.
24. Gamble Your Savings Away With Your Favorite Mario Characters
Mario may be one of the most innocent, well-meaning protagonists of any video game, ever. His only goals in life seem to be keeping the princess safe and ensuring the prosperity of the Mushroom Kingdom. So, it should come as no surprise that backlash and controversy ensues whenever the portly plumber is seen in any kind of adult context. During the release of Nintendo’s critically acclaimed Super Mario Odyssey, fans were stunned to find out that the Italian icon had nipples, but didn’t have a belly-button.
What may be worse, however, are the casino mini-games available in several Mario titles.
The most prominent of which being those accessible in Nintendo’s New Super Mario Bros DS title. Players can literally gamble away their in-game savings in simplified versions of popular card games like blackjack and poker. The most traumatic element would be Luigi’s stoic, uncaring face which appears to be mocking the player as they descend into debt. Luigi does not care about your financial misfortunes, nor will he ever.