7 Video Games With A Terrible Message

Pretty much all art and media carries messages. Some of them are grand, game-sweeping aesops that attempt to impart a great truth onto the audience and make them reconsider everyday actions. Others are smaller, found in the interactions between characters that condone or condemn certain behavior.

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Often times, these messages are positive, seeking to improve people’s lives and behavior. Sometimes, however, games come with deeply unfortunate implications in their storylines. These may be intentional or unintentional, but they serve to teach a lesson that most disagree with, or find morally unacceptable in one way or another.

7 Persona 5 Supports Student-Teacher Relationships

The relationships of personas 5 have been controversial for a number of reasons. There are no LGBT options in the game alongside treatment of its gay characters that some viewed as offensive. Some individual heterosexual relationships are controversial, such as the relationship between Joker and Sayado Kawakami.

The problematic nature is simple: Kawakami is the homeroom teacher of the protagonist. To most audiences, student-teacher relationships are viewed as a complete abuse of power and are typically illegal. However, having the male protagonist with a female teacher echoes the excuses used to minimize and shame male victims — suggesting that such relationships are okay in one specific combination.

6 Dishonored Suggestions Kidnapping And Sexual Violence Can Be Deserved

Corvo Attano’s victims in Dishonored are undeniably awful people. It’s why Corvo can kill them while remaining a sympathetic protagonist. However, the game also offers non-lethal ways of dealing with its targets. These are usually ironic, karmic, and tied in some way to their particular crimes and vices.

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The exception is that of Lady Boyle in the first game. The non-lethal option for dealing with Lady Boyle is to subdue her and bring her to Lord Brisby, a sinister noble who has clearly sexual designs for Boyle. Putting this as the “karmic” way to deal with Boyle is an ongoing controversial story decision in the game due to suggesting she deserves a problem many women still face. The developers themselves have admitted to regretting it, leading to improved depictions of women in Dishonored 2.

5 Deus Ex Leans Heavily Into Conspiracy Theories

The entire plot of the Deus Ex series relies heavily on conspiracy theories, with the games typically including as many of them as possible in their narratives. There is a one world government based on ancient conspiracies, cyborg health upgrades are used to slip malicious software into individuals, and more.

In recent years, conspiracy theorism has come to be seen in a far harsher light. Some theories used in Deus Ex reflect prominent conspiracy theories of the current day — including about COVID-19 and vaccinations. By having them be true in the game’s world, and those fighting against them as the heroes, Deus Ex can come uncomfortably close to endorsing these beliefs at times.


4 Super Seducer Treats Harassment As Flirting

A game with the self-described aim of helping gamers find relationships, many were skeptical of Super Seducer when it was first announced. Its content vindicated a great many of those skeptics, being focused around pick-up techniques and persistence, rather than consent and respect.

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Super Seducer‘s strategies to seduce women include continually pushing after the player is told no, invading the spaces of women when they’re trying to simply exist, and limiting the number of options a woman has to safely disengage from a conversation. The outcry around the game and its messages proved enough to bar it from a PS4 release.


3 Some View Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla As Endorsing Colonialism

Tea Assassin’s Creed series is one that attempts to tackle a lot of themes over its many, many installments, some more sensitively than others. In the eyes of some commentators, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla contains some uncomfortable — and likely unintended — messages about colonialism.

Much of the game involves the Norse coming to England and uprooting it with their superior religion and way of life, much in the way a colonial apologist might say powers like the British Empires did to other parts of the world centuries later. Without thorough exploration of this theme or pushback from English characters, some view the game as accidentally endorsing the beliefs of colonists, even if not individual instances of colonialism.


2 Bioshock Infinite Draws Comparisons Between Civil Rights Leaders And Their Oppressors

The notion of a revolution that becomes as cruel and brutal as the regime it’s fighting against isn’t a new idea in fiction, but few pieces of media have attempted to apply it to a revolution with racial undertones. In Bioshock Infinitea major character is Daisy Fitzroy, a black woman who leads the Vox Populi, a rebellion against the racist and classist leadership of Columbia.

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For the last bit of the game, however, an alternate version of Daisy and the Vox Populi are the single biggest threat to Booker, being as ruthless as Comstock’s soldiers. Some viewed this as an uncomfortable message about civil rights movements, and suggested the game shouldn’t have included themes of racial oppression if they weren’t going to be handled sensitively and given the focus they deserve.


1 Death Stranding Has An Outright Credo Against Asexuality

Representations of differing sexualities are becoming more and more commonplace in gaming, with many games including LGBT characters, but one orientation that is often under-represented is asexuality. One of the few games to mention it, death strandingdoes so in overwhelmingly negative terms.

In-game, the player can find a log detailing widespread sexuality in the world of the game. In this log, they’re described as celibate individuals, responsible for the world’s low birth rate. They’re also said to lack desire and slow to form emotional bonds with others. This ties into a number of stereotypes about the orientation that many feel isn’t reflective of reality. The game received criticism for this specific log on release.

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