15 adult moments in games otherwise adapted to children – Wtf Gallery
Most games suitable for children end like fairy tales. You defeat the monster, save the kingdom and get the girl back. Pretty simple stuff, but the creators of Monster Party didn’t get this memo.
After defeating the King of the Monsters, your character (a child named Mark) receives a box with the princess inside. She looks unharmed … until her face melts. And then your character starts screaming as the flesh melts from their body.
It’s a bloody moment in every way, and the fact that this is your reward for beating the game takes it to the next level.
The whole premise of Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask is pretty scary. After all, it’s an adventure game designed to get kids thinking about the end of the world and the death of everyone and everything they love.
But it doesn’t get stranger than the horrific face of the moon as it gets closer and closer to the planet. This is just the lesson the kids need: there is a man on the moon waiting to kill us all, and death could come for all of us at any time.
At this point, almost everyone knows that Lavender Town in the early Pokémon games is pretty weird. This is pretty much the place that started a thousand creepypastas. But visiting this city is still shocking for new players to this day.
This is because Lavender Town reminds you that your creatures can die when you visit what is essentially a graveyard of giant animals. It’s sad and sobering in itself, and it also highlights the fact that your character is canonically an animal abuser.
Cue Pikachu’s shocked face. But you know he only makes this face on command because he doesn’t want to get into another dogfight, uh, Pokemon!
Sometimes the “continue” or “game over” screens can be insane in themselves. For example, the original Ninja Gaiden arcade game shows Ryu is about to be murdered by a saw, and only another quarter will spare his life.
We usually expect sweeter things from children’s titles. But in Donkey Kong Country 2, you see Diddy and Dixie Kong locked in a cage and looking miserable. It’s pretty sad on its own, but the screen eventually takes on a blood red tint which strongly implies that they simply died in prison.
Trust us: no cold underwater music will erase this trauma!
Maniac Mansion was a remarkable game back then because it gave the player a lot of freedom. You can do almost anything, including killing a beloved pet!
At some point, your character may have a chance to steal Wierd Ed’s hamster. Depending on who you’re playing, you can then put that hamster in the kitchen microwave and turn it on. It explodes, causing the words “totally awesome” to float above the screen.
If that’s not enough, you can return the murdered animal to Ed. Of course, that causes Ed to immediately murder your character.
Part of what made Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time so special is that it captured what it was like to be young and confused but on the verge of growing up. This is dramatized quite literally through the character of Link who can eventually shift from his child self to his adult self.
But it also included enemies and encounters that will scare children. The best example is Dead Hand, a zombie monster that appears as gnarled hands before manifesting as a bloody mummy with stumps for its arms. It’s like someone is dropping a rejection of Hammer Horror right into the world of Hyrule!
Kingdom Hearts was designed as catnip for children. After all, he’s mixing their favorite Disney characters with kid-friendly versions of some of Final Fantasy’s most iconic characters.
However, the call to adventure in the first game is pretty bleak. After spending a day exploring the island and playing with his pals, Sora must keep watch over his childhood home and everyone he loves being sucked into a vortex of darkness. It’s pretty horrible for kids, but still not as bad as sitting in front of this Lion King live.
Chrono Trigger remains popular with fans, and for good reason. It’s arguably the best game ever made for the SNES, and most retro fans first played this title when they were very young.
And for the most part, the character designs and gameplay elements are very kid-friendly. But the notable exception to this is the game’s emphasis on the death of characters. A subplot causes you to accidentally delete a character from the timeline. And the main plot is your attempt to prevent the death of almost every human on the planet.
Even your main character is killed as part of the story. And while you can bring him back, it’s also possible to beat the game without him. How is that moral for children? “Everyone is dying, and no one is really that important.”
Have you ever played Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure? It’s one of the more obscure games on our list, but most of this Wii game’s design has emulated the classic point-and-click adventures of yesteryear.
The characters and designs are mostly adorable and look like your old school Saturday morning cartoons. But at one point you come across a fountain that looks like a girl. Pull the chain and the girl opens her eyes and begins to bleed. And she opens her mouth and starts screaming.
Maybe the designers felt that this kids game wouldn’t be complete without a “Large Marge” style scare?
Kirby games are a great example of kid-friendly designs covering a horrific central idea. After all, Kirby eats everything and then takes on the qualities of his victims. It looks more like a villain on Hannibal than the protagonist of cutesy Nintendo games.
Sometimes, however, Kirby’s bizarre nature bleeds into some Lovecraftian character designs. For example, Kirby’s Dreamland 3 has a final boss fight involving a giant bleeding eye. He will continue to hurt himself to bleed all over you, and you won’t be successful until you rip the pupil out and leave behind a bloody mass of gooey eye tissue.
The Mega Man games helped really define what kid-friendly gaming could look like. Of course, they had intense difficulties, but the fighting and the violence were always portrayed in the most cartoonish way.
However, the Mega Man X games were an attempt to be a bit more adult. And in Mega Man X5, you get different ending cutscenes depending on how you play. But here’s the catch: Each ending features things like characters getting shot in the chest, cut in half, and generally maimed.
Good job beating the game, kids. It’s time to watch your heroes tear each other apart!
Lemmings games are generally a lot of fun for kids. The characters are cute mascots and the game is simple. And even darker things like the ability to self-destruct all of your Lemmings are played for silly fun instead of scary.
In fact, only one part of the game is designed to be scary. In Tricky 14: MENACING level, you have to navigate a landscape of blood, tentacles, blood and skeletons. You might not think it looks so scary, but it’s shocking when your little Lemmings suddenly look like they’re at the last level of the original Contra!
For the most part, Psychonauts is remembered as a light and fun game. And a lot of the humor comes from your character’s ability to get into the heads of different counselors helping them develop their psychic abilities.
But when you get inside Milla’s head, you find out that she once ran an orphanage. Why isn’t she still running one? Because it burned down with all the kids inside, of course.
Hopefully, the horror of this helped a child somewhere develop his own psychic abilities.
The Secret of Monkey Island is an acquired taste. Some players enjoy exploration and a quirky sense of humor, while others find the game a little too odd for its own good.
This extends to one of your weirdest inventory items: a severed head from a browser. But the head is still alive, and you have to use it to get directions. But that means constantly staring at a rotten face that’s inexplicably covered in extra eyeballs.
Maybe they were just trying to make the world’s first point and sick game?
Mario characters are familiar faces. Hit them in almost any environment (from tennis to go-karts), and kids know exactly what to expect from them. Until Nintendo ripped the rug off us.
In Paper Mario: the Thousand-Year Door, Peach is actually possessed by the Shadow Queen and becomes evil. Looks like she just has a cute new goth aesthetic … until she blows a villain’s head off. Just like that, Peach is a murderer, and you go into battle with the distinct impression that you will have to kill her in order to survive.
Sorry, Mario … your kid-friendly princess is in another game!