"Bioshock" was a massive hit with gaming critics, and for good reason.
It is visually sumptuous, thought-provoking and puts the player in a mind-bending, futuristic world that has gone very, very wrong.
None of that kept the complaints from coming, though, when word got out that the game gives players the chance to kill little girls for in-game rewards.
OK, so technically they're little mutated monsters that used to be girls. But, still ...
"Bioshock" players face a moral dilemma: Kill the creepy "little sisters" or try to save them.
The little sisters got the game all sorts of media attention that had nothing to do with its multiple awards. The game's creators said the criticism oversimplified what they were trying to do.
"What we want to do is create a game which deals with moral shades of gray and doesn't try and patronize us with two-dimensional cutouts -- like a Disney take on what is right and what is wrong," Irrational Games' Joe McDonagh told gaming site IGN. "I hope very much that people do focus on that with the little sisters and not try and reduce it to something that I really don't think it is."
9. 'Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2' (2009)
The level of violence in the massively popular "Call of Duty" title is probably what any experienced gamer would expect from a combat title.
But it was the nature of that violence that turned heads. Set in the "near future," the shooter puts the player in firefights in Afghanistan and, at least once, lets them join forces with terrorists. One scene puts the player in the position of deciding whether to join in as an ally guns down innocent civilians in an airport.
In fairness, that mission, called "No Russian," is optional and players are warned of "disturbing content" beforehand. But plenty of mainstream-media critics condemned it, particularly with its release coming around the time of the November 5, 2009, shootings at Fort Hood, Texas, that killed 13 people.
In Japan and Germany, the game was altered to end if a player killed civilians.
10. 'Bulletstorm' (2011)
This one created a bit of a fracas earlier this year and may speak, in its own way, to what the dialogue on violent video games can devolve into.
Before it was even released, the website for a certain cable news channel (hint: not this one) ran a story under the headline "Is 'Bulletstorm' the worst video game in the world?"
"The damage could be significant," if a child plays the game, one psychiatrist said in the article (which does not say whether the psychiatrist had seen the game).
Another told the site that an "increase in rapes" could be attributed to sexual scenes in video games like "Bulletstorm." Significant detail: There is no sex in "Bulletstorm." (Sexually suggestive language, yes. Sex, no.)
To be sure, "Bulletstorm" revels in a stream of nonstop profanity and rewards grisly "skill kills" that include impaling opponents on a cactus and chopping them in half. But the worst game in the world?
"I think of it as a teenage shooter game that tries to get attention by being gross, obscene and sexually charged," CNN.com video-game contributor Larry Frum wrote when it was released. "It is funny at first, but after a while, it becomes tired."