I seem to remember, far back in the misty days of college, someone showing me a Playstation game that they said has been specially ordered from Japan or some such place, and that needed a special chip to be inserted in to the machine in order to play. Apparently the game was banned in the US because of violence. The game was a fighting game with weird characters, like a Hellraiser kind of guy, a man in a straightjacket, and others…sound familiar? Or did I mishear them and get a confused idea of the whole thing?
I know and played the game you are speaking of, but can’t recall the name for the life of me. I even saw screenshots in a few Playstation magazines when they were originally planning to release the game here.
US Playstation I’s could be modified to play games for the Japanese version. I played the Japanese version of Bushido Blade II months before it was released in America on a friend’s modified console. There were lots of titles that were never released to the American market, and a fairly brisk “market” for importing or burning copies of these games for American fans. There probably still is with newer console systems coming out.
The game you’re thinking of was a fighting game where the fighters were all supposed to be crazies in an asylum. The ring was a padded cell, IIRC. I remember one guy did wear a straitjacket and could only fight with his legs. There was also a dominatrix character who made noises like she was aroused when struck. The violence was cartoonishly graphic, with lots of blood, but no worse than some of the Mortal Kombat games.
I’m sure the game was never released in the US beccause it was demeaning to the mentally ill, and Sony didn’t want the bad publicity. This was about the time Congress was paying attention to graphic video games again. When I played it with my friends, once the novelty of playing a game you couldn’t get here wore off, it lost its appeal. We realized it was just a weak fighting game dressed up with a little blood and a hint of kinky sex.
The playstation, like DVD players, have a region code built into them that prevents discs from one region from being played on a drive built for another region. The main point of this is so they can sell distribution rights to different companies in different parts of the world without worrying too much about one distributor stepping on anothers toes, or undercutting prices. Whether or not this works is a totally different topic.
The mod chips put into playstations overwrite this code, so that the playstation can then play any game, not just the ones for, say, North America. They also let you play copies of games, which could be used for good (I installed one in a friend’s PS so that he wouldn’t have to go buy a new copy of Spyro The Dragon everytime his 6 year old scratched the disc) or for bad, by pirating games.
There are a lot of games that came out for the playstation that never get translated to other languages from japanese or ported to work on other tv systems. There’s a thriving industry that will export these games to the rest of the world. Usually the games don’t get ported because the distributors decide that there won’t be enough demand for the game to justify the cost of localizing it, which can be very expensive. Even something as simple as a fighting game needs to have menus and in-game screens translated, new artwork generated, and then the whole thing needs to get tested. This could run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and if you only expect to sell a few thousand units, it’s not worth it.
I really doubt that the game in question was banned in the US. There’s the whole constitution thing going on, so if it was banned in any official governmental capacity, there would’ve been a huge stink about it.
The game in question is Thrill Kill. I’ve played it, and I didn’t think the violence was too over the top. Like widdershins mentioned, the violence was on par with Mortal Kombat.
I don’t think the game was banned, per se, in the US; it was just never released. One of the innovative things about the game was that it was the first 4 player fighting game for the PS1 (in Japan, anyway).
Bah, vandal beat me to the name of the game.
Anyway, IIRC, it was, in fact, a U.S. developed game that was never released.
Or maybe it was, as I had downloaded, burned, and played the game and the disc image had to have come from somewhere (rumor has it that it was a somewhat disgruntled developer). Then again, I seem to remember all the menus and whatnot being in English so…well, who knows?
In case you’re wondering, you’re not missing out on much as the game pretty much sucked, though the character design was well thought out in a weird, if incredibly fucked up, way.
Gameplay was distinctly mediocre and if you need proof of this go rent the Wu-Tang fighting game as it used, as far as I could tell, the same engine.
FTR, as crappy a game as it was, it was a billion times better than Mortal Kombat 4.
There are some mod chips which solely affect the region codes and not the copy protection features. The site “Acts of Gord” (which is hilarious, seems to be a sort of journal by a Korean fellow who owns an independent game store in Canada) details in some parts his own adventures in installing these chips (he won’t do the deprotect chips, just the region ones).
His site is worth the read.
God, Mortal Kombat 4 for the Playstation was amazingly bad. I keep a copy just to show friends who visit.
"Ha,’ I say. “You thought Daikatana was bad? Look at THIS.”
As I recall, Thrill Kill also let you do things like rape your opponents once you beat them. Classy.