Atari Poop – Top 5 Most Racist Atari 2600 Games
Racism in video games: it’s not just a modern gaming problem. Sure, C.J.’s first mission in San Andreas has him stealing a bike and some people didn’t like Resident Evil 5 for all of the African villager killing, but you can’t forget pretty much everyone in Punch-Out!, Pokemon’s Jynx, and MAMMA MIA Super Mario himself. Yes, video games have a long, storied, and terribly embarrassing history with race, and the 2600 is no exception. Here are the top 5 most racist games to ever be released for the console.
5 – Basketball
Some of you younger folk might be thinking, “Racism in basketball?! Aren’t like 90% of the players black?” Well, back in 1978, when this game was released, the racial makeup of the professional basketball leagues in North America were a little different. I mean, it was only a decade earlier that some believe the NBA still had an unofficial quota on the number of black players allowed on a team. Be that as it may, the NBA had A LOT of African American players. It even had a guy like Wilt Chamberlain retire four years earlier and another fella by the name of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar still playing. You may have heard of them. They were kind of a big deal.
So then, what is so racist about this game? Well, as you’re about to see below, the game has both a colour and black & white mode:
At first glance, you might not think there’s anything noteworthy about purple guy playing against weird-shade-of-green man, or the black and white dudes in the other mode. But don’t you find it odd that out of all the different colours they could’ve chosen for the colour mode, brown would’ve been a logical choice. Oh, and your “Brown would’ve looked terrible” argument is immediately refuted by the colours chosen in roughly 90% of 2600 games, including this one.
Even worse, you can’t play as the black player and unless you play the two player mode. That’s right, the game was programmed so that the black guy is always your enemy.
4 – Boxing
See previous game’s commentary, but replace Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with Sugar Ray Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Smoking’ Joe Frazier, Joe Louis… I think you get the picture.
3 – Chuck Norris Superkicks
I’ve actually written about the racism in this game before. Essentialy, the game boils down to this: Chuck Norris in his KKK robe walks home and murders every brown-skinned person he meets along the way. Fuck Chuck Norris.
2 – Custer’s Revenge
What? You thought this would be #1? Don’t get me wrong, this game is one of, if not the most offensive video game ever made. I won’t include a screenshot since some of you certainly do not want to see this crap. For those of you who do want to see it, well, you know how Google works, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
For the very few of you who have absolutely no idea what this game is about, allow me to paint you a very graphic word picture. (Warning: some pretty vile stuff is about to get described.)
You play as US General George Armstrong Custer, most famous for his death and that of all his troups during the Battle of Little Bighorn during the American Indian War. Now he’s back and you must guide him across the screen while avoiding the constant hail of arrows. Also, you are naked and sporting an erection. Your goal is a native woman who is naked and tied up at the other side. If you reach her, you get to rape her.
That’s it. It’s an absolutely terrible game that no one should play. Sadly, it apparently managed to sell 80,000 copies, thanks mostly to all the negative press it received. It’s racist, yes, terribly so. It’s also insanely misogynistic. It also takes place during a time filled with racism and sexism. It doesn’t excuse it in any way, but it is the only thing that puts this game behind the next one. At least this game took a racist historical event and turned it into a racist video game, unlike the next one, which took one of the greatest movies from the 80s, a pop culture phenomenon loved by people young and old, and turned it into a racist video game.
1 – Ghostbusters
I absolutely LOVE Ghostbusters. Everything about the two movies (and even the cartoon) is perfect. It has ghosts, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, more ghosts, Slimer, a giant marshmallow man, Carpathians, Harold Ramis, a man without a dick, dogs and cats living together, and Ernie Hudson.
You remember Ernie Hudson, right? He played Winston Zeddemore, the best character in the movie (I’m totally serious about this, by the way). If you only played the Ghostbusters video game on the 2600, you would be forgiven for not knowing him. Just look at the box art again. I see the three pasty white dudes, but no Winston. It’s the same for the game itself. Take a look:
Yup, two white guys, no Winston. The guy was a great Ghostbuster, and they dropped him from the game. You wanna know what that is?