7 Video Games That People Thought Would Cause the End of Civilization

It’s hard to imagine it now, but there was an era when video games were so rude and had so much 'tude we believed they were signaling the very end of civilization. Congressional hearings were held and moral outrage was spun. And while we don't see a lot of that anymore, we can still peer through history and remember some video games that parents and lawmakers alike thought would bring this world to a horrific end.

Death Race

Death Race may have been the first video game to officially corrode our moral fiber. The game was based around chasing down gremlins with your car and crushing them, but due to the primitive technology at the time, the gremlins looked a lot like human beings. Death Race was said to be too violent, but the controversy is said to have quadrupled the sales of the video game. I wish this franchise was still around. I want to see gremlins get violently slaughtered with the majestic power of the X-Box One!

Mortal Kombat

The super violence of Mortal Kombat made the game a lightning rod when it came out in 1993 and caught the eye of Senator Joe Lieberman. Lieberman’s moral outrage led to the ESRB, the self-governing video game ratings board, and the controversy cemented Mortal Kombat's status as a classic that will never truly leave our hearts.


The controversy behind third person shooter Doom has its roots in something a little darker than Joe Lieberman discovering a game cartridge. The video game was reportedly an inspiration for the Columbine shooters and, along with Marilyn Manson, was explored as a potential influence on their massacre. Ultimately, it’s hard to pin something like psychopathic tendencies on a video game, but we should still ask ourselves why we’re so okay with game glorifying gun violence. It's much more fun to just shoot energy balls at Metroids.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Hey, can video game characters have sex? Are they legally allowed to have sex? This was the question on a moralistic nation’s mind after it was discovered that a mod on the already controversial Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas would allow you to watch its protagonists engage in copulation. When the public seemingly decided that video game characters could definitely not have sex, Rockstar Games removed the patch in order to keep the game in stores, leaving the people of San Andreas to return to their drab, sexless lives!

Night Trap

Night Trap was a very goofy game where you protected teen girls by trying to catch vampires. Joe Lieberman, who sure seems to hate video games despite never playing them, said that it was about vampires having to trap teen girls. Man, I wish I could be a '90s senator so I could legislate away whatever was bugging me in any given moment.


Manhunt, from Grand Theft Auto Creators Rockstar is terribly, unapologetically violent. You play a character forced to survive a snuff film by committing acts of senseless murder. Critics loved it, but many loathed it. California Representative Joe Baca said it “taught kids to kill”, leading to Manhunt 2 getting initially slapped with an Adults Only rating.

Postal 2

Postal 2’s story — one of a schizophrenic man going on a mass shooting — is certainly harder to take in a lighthearted manner today. But that didn't stop Uwe Boll from adapting it into a movie, showing that this game has absolutely no redeeming qualities after all.

Which games that pissed people off did I miss? Were they right? Were they wrong? Let me know on Twitter @AlexFirer!