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A Brief History of Gaming Sexual Failures part 1

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Adrian Hatwell
Adrian Hatwell

As in almost any creative endeavour the spectre of sex has lingered in the realm of video games since the very beginnings. It hasn’t exactly been a healthy relationship, however, and as the decades roll on its difficult to suggest that things have really improved that much.

The following series of articles will form an incomplete but fairly representative history of sex overlapping with console video gaming and the often baffling results thereof.

Custer’s Revenge - 1982

One of the earliest instances of explicit sexuality in home gaming is also to this day one of the most offensive and puerile. Released on the Atari 2600 in 1982, adult game (this was a time when video games hadn’t yet been relegated to the status of expensive children’s toys) Custer’s Revenge is the very definition of a bad start.

The extremely basic gameplay tasked the player to control a naked (bar hat) General Custer in a state of perpetual arousal. The object of the game was to guide the engorged Custer across a stretch of land under constant arrow assault in order to reach the other side of the screen. As reward for this strategically questionable bit of daring-do Custer proceeds to rape a naked Native Indian woman bound to a pole. This was how one scored points.

Naturally this nasty piece of work caused considerable anger amongst women, Native Americans, probably the Custer estate, and anyone with even slight regard for decency and taste.

It should probably be noted that while the controversy over Custer’s Revenge made it pornographic developers Mystique’s most infamous game, it’s not exactly out of step with their other productions of the time. Beat ‘Em and Eat ‘Em had players controlling two women who scurryed about beneath a building as a guy with a frighteningly large penis ejaculated off the roof, the aim being to consume as much of the falling semen as possible. Oddly these pornographic titles were released under the ‘Swedish Erotica’ label, despite having precisely nothing to do with Sweden at all.

Strange, disturbing times indeed. It’s not too difficult to see how the industry's reactionary fear of sex came about, and it’s a sad testament that we are still subjected to that paranoia even today.

Next: Getting sexy in the days of NES with Golgo 13.

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