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Ten controversial video games from the early days of gaming

While advancements in technology have changed and evolved video games by an incredible rate over the past several decades, one constant has always remained with the video game industry.

Atari's 'Gotcha' used controllers in the shape of women's breasts
Arcade Flyer Archive

Controversial games.

While mainstream media pundits today often point toward the 1990s when discussing the start of the ongoing debate over video game content, the actual list of concerns extends all the way back to the 1970s and continued all the way through the 1980s as well.

One of Atari's earliest games, Gotcha, had controls modeled after a pair of women's breasts. Just a few years later, Exidy's Death Race created a huge stir by asking players to run over stick figures with their cars. While the instructions for the arcade game referred to the characters as 'gremlins' the media saw them as innocent pedestrians.

It continued through the 1980s as well. Games such as Shark Attack were called "morbid" while Stern's Berzerk was believed to be capable of "teaching children violent reactions" and was targeted by a lobbyist named Dr. Thomas Radecki as an example of what was wrong with video game content.

As the first golden age of video gaming continued, cartridges made with adult content appeared on the Atari Video Computer System while a Bally Midway arcade game was accused of marketing Budweiser beer to minors. Even the carefully reviewed era of the Nintendo Entertainment System was not free of reaction from parents groups and media pundits.

Take a look at the slideshow to see ten of the earliest controversial video games, ranging in release from 1973 to 1990.

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