Scientific studies have shown video games have become far more mainstream in recent years, attracting a diverse audience. In fact, gaming has grown to become an important way of keeping people in contact, opening up new opportunities to communicate with friends and family.
However, while there are certainly more family-friend games on the market, that doesn’t necessarily mean that every game out there will be something that mom and dad should see you playing. There are plenty of titles available that might raise a few eyebrows, from suggestive releases designed to titillate players to ultra violent experiences that contain shocking imagery. Whatever the subject matter, gamers would probably not want their parents to hang out while they play quite a few of the games they have in their collections — especially when there’s still some things that parents will never fully understand about games.
All platforms have questionable games, but the very nature of the PC market means that there’s likely to be more controversial content available to players. Releases don’t always have to be approved by major companies like likes of Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony — and, as noted by TechRaptor, popular digital stores such as Steam are becoming more open to hosting adult content. From quirky indie games to big budget releases, the PC landscape is full of weird, obscene, brutal, and plain old offensive games. Here are just a handful of the titles you’ll definitely want to avoid playing around your folks.
Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards
"Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards" was the first entry in the series, setting the trend for what was to come from the Sierra On-Line franchise. Created by Al Lowe, this early controversial title was released in 1987. The game essentially told the story of a nerdy man trying to find love in the world — or, at least, have some fun along the way. And as Leigh Alexander noted for Game Developer, it’s a game that should probably stay relegated to the past.
The games were laden with double entendres, sexual references, and just generally creepy behavior. While there wasn’t any real nudity, the title was certainly suggestive and aimed at an adult audience. This last fact is possibly why it was pirated so much (per Vice). Children wanted to play it, but were not allowed to purchase it. Meanwhile, some adults were too embarrassed to go into a store and buy it. Of course, the fact that many retailers refused to even stock the explicit game contributed as well.
Although by today’s standards, "Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards" probably wouldn’t be as controversial as it was back in the late 1980s, it is still one of those games you wouldn’t want your parents to catch you playing. The raunchy jokes, campy visual style, and sexist overtones — which are meant to be satirical — make the game a hard sell in more ways than one.
Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015
A game called "Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015" was never likely to be anything other than weird. Released on Steam in 2015 and developed by marbenx, it’s a game that pretty much does what it says in the title: You control a kid who has to find their dad in public showers.
Essentially, the game works as a sort of matching puzzle, where you have to quickly navigate your character to the right person. The faster you find your dad, the more points you get, but going to the wrong dad causes you to lose your streak (no pun intended). As noted in Indie Gamer Chick’s review, the landing pages also feature plenty of corny jokes, with characters like Robin Hood showing up naked and making more puns.
As you might expect, there’s a lot of nudity in this game as the various dads shower in all their naked glory. The 8-bit graphics help take away some of the shock, but it would still be hard to explain to anyone watching what exactly you’re playing — and even harder to give a good reason why. Despite all of that, reviews of the game are pretty positive, with Indie Gamer Chick noting that the title is surprisingly a lot of fun, and The Next Web complimenting the level of challenge.
With the success of titles such as "Surgeon Simulator" and "Microsoft Flight Simulator," there has been an explosion in the simulator genre. Players can now pretend to do everything from mowing the lawn to guiding a huge truck across the country. So it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that there is a game on Steam called "Granny Simulator." What might be surprising to many people, though, is just how violent the game can be.
In this two-player game, one user takes control of an elderly granny and the other plays the part of a baby. As the granny, the player has to try and complete a normal routine that involves doing chores, finding her medicine, and getting things done around the house. Meanwhile, the child’s goal is to stop her by any means necessary.
All of that adds up to a pretty brutal game, as pointed out by YouTuber and streamer CHRBRG in their playthrough. The baby can utilize weapons such as knives, guns, and even ordinary household objects to attack the feeble old woman. Anyone seeing you control a killer baby might have serious questions, and that makes "Granny Simulator" something that would be best played in private.
Have you ever wondered what a cross between "Bejeweled" and an X-rated dating simulator might be like? Then you have to look no further than "HuniePop," a 2015 puzzle game in which players try to win the affections of several different women. The gameplay largely revolves around going on dates and giving gifts to the various characters, with the tile-matching game being the method that determines how well a particular date is going. The more points a user scores, the better their chance of success is when it comes to securing future dates.
Although these types of puzzle games would not normally attract much negative attention, the scantily clad women posing on the side of the screen certainly raised some eyebrows upon release. Then there’s the rewards for completing successful dates — which are generally lewd (and static) photographs, as noted by Game Zone.
The sexual content was enough for Twitch to outright ban the game, with Ars Technica reporting that it was one of the first games to be censored on the platform. Curious players have a few choices now: You can either buy it on Humble Bundle in its original form or in a censored version from Steam.
Negligee: Love Stories
"Negligee: Love Stories" was one of the first games to be added to Steam’s "Adults Only" section, which allows for uncensored. The visual novel follows four distinct stories, with the player making choices about the lives of four women, Karen, Charlotte, Sophie and Jasmin. There’s a lot that you wouldn’t want a parent to see when playing "Negligee: Love Stories" and it is certainly not safe to play at work or in front of children.
Throughout the experience, there are graphic depictions of sexual activity and a steady supply of lewd imagery. The narrative also features depictions of abuse and violence, with women in particularly being treated pretty terribly throughout the various chapters. All of this prompted a series of bans in several countries, with developer Dharker Studios Ltd explaining in a post on Steam exactly why the game has been restricted in certain territories. According to the developer, the ensuing controversy led some fans to accuse Dharker Studios Ltd of generating fake controversy to draw more attention to the game.
Luckily for those who want to play "Negligee: Love Stories" while other people are around and don’t want to risk having any risqué imagery shown, there is a censored version available on Steam. However, even this edition still contains questionable content, as the developer explained the game was inherently designed with adult audiences in mind.
Doki Doki Literature Club
Compared to many of the other games on this list, "Doki Doki Literature Club" is actually considered a pretty good game by most accounts. It holds a Metacritic score of 78 and has largely been positively received by fans and critics. This visual novel appears to be a fairly innocuous dating simulator at first, but things soon begin to take a dark turn. Spoilers ahead for "Doki Doki Literature Club."
In quick succession, a childhood friend takes their own life, one character reveals she is being abused, and another confesses to self-harming. More deaths follow and "Doki Doki Literature Club" appears to break, displaying glitches and broken code, ultimately causing the player to sit and watch one character slowly decompose over the course of a weekend. From here, it essentially becomes a psychological horror game, one that Polygon praised for subverting your expectations and successfully trapping you in the world of the game.
Although "Doki Doki Literature Club" might look like a cute game on the surface, the horrific imagery and dark themes ensure it will be memorable for players. For the same reasons, it’s not something you probably want concerned parents to watch you play, simply because it deals with what Auto Straddle has called a "persisting sense of creepiness and despair."
If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Atlus released the puzzle game "Catherine" in 2012 for a wide variety of platforms, including PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. An emotional and horror-influenced title, the game has two distinct phases of gameplay. During the day, the player makes life and relationship choices for the protagonist Vincent as he interacts with various characters. By night, the game switches to a puzzle-solving segment in which Vincent must climb a tower as part of a series of horrific nightmares.
Over the course of the story, Vincent must choose how his relationships with his girlfriend Katherine and a new woman called Catherine will advance. Depending on the actions of the protagonist, there’s a variety of endings that are available, and the "Full Body" edition of the game introduces a third love interest. And no matter what you do, someone is going to get their feelings hurt.
The narrative features plenty of suggestive and risqué moments, all of which would probably raise an eyebrow from any parent if they saw you playing. Depending on how you play, your parents may begin questioning how you handle your personal relationships. At least this game is smarter than many other adult-oriented titles, as noted by DualShockers.
The Binding of Isaac
"The Binding of Isaac" has been cited by fans as the best game created by Edmund McMillen, one of the developers responsible for "Super Meat Boy." This roguelike sees players take on the role of a young child who escapes to the basement of his mother’s house after she tries to sacrifice him to God. Trapped in the procedurally generated basement with a host of monsters, Isaac must try to survive by battling the enemies using a variety of weapons.
Part of the unique style of "The Binding of Isaac" is the heavy use of religious imagery and overtones throughout. As noted by Polygon, this is one of the reasons that the game has been criticized by some players, and it could well make it a game you don’t want to play anywhere near your parents if they are religious. The rest of the game isn’t exactly more palatable, as it’s filled with feces, violence, and hideous monsters that look anything but appealing. You even get the chance to fight and kill Isaac’s mother multiple times, which might be a bit strange for your real mother to see.
Crowdfunded through a successful £1.6 million Kickstarter campaign in 2019, "Subverse" is essentially a tactical RPG that mashes up gameplay elements of "Mass Effect" and "X-COM" — and added plenty of sex and comedy.
A quick glance at the Steam page for "Subverse" reveals exactly the discerning audience this game is being aimed at. Comparing itself to similarly lewd-minded games, which typically offer low-quality visuals and gameplay, this title promises graphic and fully animated love scenes. As players explore the galaxy, they can recruit new crewmates for their ship, which naturally includes a host of female characters who will offer intimate encounters with the player as a reward.
"Subverse" launched with some technical issues, and players found problems with certain aspects of the experience — namely, how abrupt a lot of the relationships in the game seemed to be. To combat this, the developers have kept players up to date through Steam posts as the team fixes bugs and expands the ways in which you can interact with other characters. In the future, "Subverse" will see new missions and interactions added to enhance the experience. You may not want your parents to see you finding love in every part of the universe, but apparently the game will keep improving.
First released in 1997, "Postal" has been re-released several times across PC, mobile, and even the Sega Dreamcast. A top-down shooter played from an isometric perspective, the game sees the player attempting to kill civilians who roam the area before progressing to the next location. There are hints throughout that the protagonist is suffering some sort of mental crisis, but it’s not exactly handled with grace.
Believing that the US Air Force is responsible for releasing some sort of dangerous chemical, the titular Postal Dude attempts to reach a nearby base. However, he must fight a horde of armed residents along the way. As reported by outlets like Kotaku and We Got This Covered, the game drew attention from senators in the US and was the subject of a lawsuit from The United States Postal Service. Your parents also probably won’t be happy to see you solving your problems with wanton destruction — and the game is just tough to look at.
The original version had an even more controversial moment at the end when the Postal Dude seemingly attacks a school, even though his weapons prove ineffective against any of the virtual children he encounters. Speaking to Tech Raptor in 2016, the developers of the newest edition of the game confirmed that this section had been replaced, as it felt inappropriate to include in light of real-life school shootings.
Developed by "Grand Theft Auto" creator Rockstar, "Manhunt" is a stealth action game in which the player controls a death row prisoner who is manipulated into killing other offenders as a means of winning his freedom. Where it stands out (for better or worse) is in the way it forces players to execute other characters in truly sadistic ways. The intense and realistic violence included brutal actions such as suffocating someone with a plastic bag.
It was this graphic violence that made "Manhunt" such a controversial game and why it was ultimately banned in both New Zealand (per CRN) – although not before selling several thousand copies before the ban was put in place. It also faced censorship in Canada and Germany, while retailers in other countries also pulled the title. The controversy didn’t exactly help Rockstar’s shady reputation.
However, despite all of the criticism and controversy, "Manhunt" may well be a game that you’d still want to play. According to VentureBeat, it is one of the best horror games ever released and an example of how horror can be used well in the medium. If you do decide to give this one a spin, make sure you do so when not around your mother or father — just to avoid any potential questioning.
"House Party" is essentially the puerile and crass humor of the "American Pie" movies in video game form. That very concept is problematic, considering just how dated that particular film series has become since its debut in 1999 (per The Guardian). Just as you probably wouldn’t watch any of the "American Pie" movies with the ‘rents, playing "House Party" with them anywhere near you would also be a bad idea.
Taking place in a large house filled with rowdy teens and college kids, the game tasks players with talking to the other guests and completing a wide variety of objectives. Many of these involve trying to seduce everyone else using less-than-savory means. Players will get drunk, start fights, and even manipulate women via blackmail.
Containing plenty of graphic imagery, Rock Paper Shotgun even noted that the gameplay and visuals are miserable, making a pretty ghastly game even worse. "House Party" has even found its way onto Twitch’s list of prohibited games, so it’s probably best avoided if your parents — or anyone else, for that matter — are around, unless you want them to see you trick someone into going to bed with you.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole
The only safe scenario in which someone might play "South Park: The Fractured But Whole" around their parents is if those parents are already fans of the television series. This video game is as close to the crude animated sitcom as you can get. It features the same art style, voice cast, and offensive humor that you would expect from the "South Park" franchise, meaning there’s a lot here that might land you in trouble.
Whether it is the copious amount of derogatory and brutal jokes, the crude references, or the frankly appalling behavior of almost everyone you encounter, something is bound to upset discerning parents. As Polygon pointed out, even the difficulty option could well offend, with the color of the player character’s skin altering the game’s difficulty level. "South Park: The Fractured But Whole" is a minefield of risqué content, just like the show that inspired it.
Oh, and there’s a mission in the game that forces you to choose which of the protagonist’s parents to kill. If your own parents are watching, they may not love seeing your choice.