It's a story as old as the gaming industry itself. Developer releases game, throws in a 'controversy' and sits back to enjoy instant teen kudos and masses of publicity. But this year has seen a bumper crop of political incorrectness, shameless publicity seeking and unfortunate slip-ups. Here are the best/worst.
So you think you can drive, Mel?
It has Mel Gibson! Booze! State troopers! "Hava Nagila"! And a Hasidic projectile-shooting rabbi! Beyond surreal, this little gem of a Flash-based game from GSN has players using the up and down arrow keys to maneuver Mel (who leers drunkenly from the window of a subcompact with the licence plate "WTFWJD?") around a nighttime highway.
You tag bottles of hooch for points while simultaneously dodging flying Stars of David thrown by bearded men wearing hats, shawls, and dark suits. Hit five state troopers, and the game ends. Play this game too much, and so might the world as we know it.
For: PC; Developer: Unknown; Publisher: GSN
Grand Theft Auto developer Rockstar doesn't deserve the publicity this mediocre sequel garnered, but publicity it nonetheless received in spades, mostly after sales of the game were banned here in the UK and it was initially given an AO (Adults Only) rating in the US.
Players have to perform visually detailed executions (styled as "hasty," "violent," or "gruesome") using objects at hand. These include shards of glass to slit throats, toilet seats to bludgeon, and hypodermic needles to jab enemies in the neck.
What's most offensive about Manhunt 2 isn't its violence but its cruddy gameplay: Poor AI, boring environments, and blurry execution animations make Manhunt 2 a shoo-in for the year's "Sound and Fury" award.
For: Wii, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable; Developer: Rockstar Games; Publisher: Rockstar Games
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