Building The Most Offensive Video Game Ever

[Autuin] created the most offensive video game ever. Inside a small cocktail arcade cabinet, he installed his own video game that recreates the experiences of the Space Shuttle Challenger and her crew on their last flight.

The build started off by picking up an old cocktail version of Space Zap from The Hackery, a neat little recycling place that turns old computers, monitors, and even old arcade machines into something useful again. After [Autuin] lugged his arcade machine back to his home base at Free Geek Vancouver.

After drooling over the 30-year-old circuitry, [Autuin] disassembled the old machine and installed a mint condition 19″ VGA monitor where an ancient black and white CRT once resided. The control panels replete with their comically large buttons were refurbished and connected to an Arduino and the whole shebang hooked up to a slightly outdated computer.

The real magic happened when [Autuin] coded his game. He created a few sprites from NASA archival footage and made a game where a shuttle takes off and is controllable by each player. As the most offensive video game ever, the space shuttle blows up shortly after launch, declaring ‘game over’ for both players.

[Autuin] will be showing off his new arcade game with a new bezel and cabinet graphics during Vancouver’s Eastside Culture Crawl this November. The game will probably be updated by then; we suggested editing the ‘time to explosion’ to T+73 seconds, but [Autuin] said he’s thinking of ways to make it even more awful.

76 thoughts on “Building The Most Offensive Video Game Ever

    1. There was a game released called “Columbine Massacre” that came out like a year after the Columbine shootings. I believe it was a fps. The game actually made hundreds of thousands of dollars if i remember right.

  1. Really, you can do quite a lot more offensive than that.

    Even the ancient Custer’s Revenge is far, far, FAR more offensive, given that the object of the game is to rape a Native American woman.

      1. Oh, Holocauster Tycoon is nothing…

        There’s “Waco Resurrection”, where you play David Koresh fighting off the ATF and FBI.

        Then there’s “Ethnic Cleansing”, an FPS made by white supremacists where you can choose to be a skinhead or klansman and run through a ghetto killing black people and Latinos, before descending into a subway system to kill Jews, eventually reaching the “Jewish Control Center”, where Ariel Sharon, former Prime Minister of Israel, is directing plans for world domination.

        Japan’s given us “RapeLay”, where you’re A male character stalking and eventually raping a mother and her two daughters.

        And there’s also “Operation Pedopriest”, where you’re a ‘silencer’ whose goal is to protect child-molesting priests from police and media attention. Although at least this one’s tongue-firmly-(if-disturbingly)-in-cheek.

        If you’re out to make the world’s most offensive videogame, you face some *stiff* competition.

  2. I too think the guy is a jerk and has wasted a beautiful piece of gaming history on this ridiculous idea… but I think you’re stretching just a little.

    1. I hear you re: your concern about destroying a vintage game. This cabinet was warehoused by someone who looked into restoring it and gave up on the idea. It was in rough shape. At each step along the way I tried to preserve whatever I could in the hands of someone with video game experience — I ended up passing along the board set, colour overlay, and some other circuitry, but I also offered the artwork, wiring harness, button panels, and pretty much everything else. I was told by two sources that they weren’t worth preserving and neither wanted them. I figure that’s due diligence.

    1. Exactly, I can still remember that day vividly. So this is very offensive.

      Some punk with absolutely no imagination, and no morals, yes I believe that, making it to HaD for what exactly? This article did not educate in the slightest.

      HaD please refrain from such blatantly imature topics, this is not why I come here, and I will stop visiting if kept up.

      1. I thought a big part of hacking was following your own compass and abandoning the rulebook provided, and now you want Hackaday to legislate the moral instruction booklet that you hand out? Well, on your same vein, “Dear Hackaday, if you start trying to legislate some random guys moral stipulations to your audience, then I will no longer visit your site”….. mostly because, if you lose sight of your purpose and try to make every ignoramous happy (including myself) this site will be boring and we’ll all be following manufacturer’s handbook and stop thinking for ourselves =P

  3. Well, we also call these people artists, humorists, and comedians.

    I guess we should kill all of those people off before Katy Perry shoves low explosives into us for a fireworks show.

      1. “there is a BIG difference between ART and Vulgarity.”

        Not really this is fully dependent on ones morality.

        What I do for hours on end is take my wacom and shade Miku with money shot all over her ass after shes been stuffed like a thanksgiving turkey. Hell another acquaintance likes to draw women all tied up.

        Some like it for it’s artistic value.
        Some like it to beat their dicks to.
        Some catholics hate it cause its outright disgusting.

        We humans have been dying for a long long time and honestly I have no problems with it. I’d rather have my death made fun of to crack a few laughs out of someone instead of having to be forgotten or cried over.

        Get over it you’ll have your time.

  4. I like this. It gets people talking. Though making it more awful would become silly, like having a minigame where you load baby puppies and kittens into it or some such.

    If there was a very long training session getting you ready for all the stuff you will do(wont) in space (in heaven) along with a huge checklist to make sure everything is running correctly would turn this into something truly special. You could get a taste of the actual experience of working hard to accomplish a difficult goal only to die 73 seconds in through no fault of your own.

    And what can I say to people that find this sort of thing offensive? I doubt they would listen to reason after an emotional response. I guess it comes down to an example.

    Two hundred years ago, pirates were the terrorists of their time. Now we dress children up as them and call people that copy other people’s fake property pirates. Maybe in two hundred years your great grandchildren’s great grandchildren will dress up as Osama Bin Laden and pretend to crash planes into cardboard boxes for Halloween.

  5. Slightly related. I was at a makerfaire today at a science museum. In the gift shop they had little metal model shuttles… All were the Columbia.

    1. Columbia was always the best-loved shuttle. It was the first, the older, bigger brother to the younger shuttles. As such, it was the ‘default’ shuttle if ever you needed to represent a shuttle.

  6. I don’t understand the point of the game. Why not just restore the thing into a MAME cabinet?

    What is the point of going through the trouble to write this weird unplayable game? Just clickbait to make sure his project got some exposure online?

  7. Just because such filth is out there doesn’t mean you have to post it hackaday, I’m sure this video will be posted on little kids’ facebook pages all over. How do commenters find this funny? I’m sure none of you laughed at the recent Batman shooting while other people were in the room, so why laugh about death online? Simply childish.

    1. Nice comparison… because a mentally disturbed person shooting up a movie theater is almost identical to an accident with a space shuttle (which incidentally could have been prevented by more competent engineering and management, but that’s yet another tangent).

  8. My original comment was in reply to a comment from someone else that has now been removed…so it’s a little out of place/not necessary. Hopefully the mods will remove it fer me.

    MOD EDIT: I think this is a reasonable place to mention not to feed the trolls.

  9. Hi all —

    I didn’t make this expecting everyone was going to like it. However, if you read the build article, I addressed a lot of the things there that people are complaining about here. I also didn’t revel in the offensive aspect of it there as much as the write-up here chooses to — though it’s totally fine with me.

    I avoided a number of easy cheap shots in an attempt to strike a balance. None of the individuals involved were specifically targeted, for example. Believe it or not, for its central cheap joke, a lot of thought went into it, technical and otherwise.

    If I want to exhibit this I’ll probably have to write up a description with all kinds of phrases about “critiquing 1980s-era techno-optimism”. There is certainly a core of black humour to it, and I understand if it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

    The only people I would regret offending are those who were involved somehow in the disaster. Somewhere between the theatre shooting Mike mentioned and the Titanic is a line beyond which tragedies are fair game. For me this was on the OK side of the line.

    There’s a lot more death in most games, including some mainstream ones that are only thinly fictionalized.

  10. I’m a loyal readed of HAD and a resident of Lake City, SC, the home town of Dr. Ronald E. McNair. I find this post highly offensive and not at all in the spirit of the hacking community or the community. It is a sad day in the hacking world when the best news we can offer is a video game that gains notoriety by mocking the tragic deaths of the very individuals who’s shoulders we stand upon.

  11. I appreciate the black humor of having it unexpectedly blow up mid flight, especially if you DIDN’T Tell the player…

    This doesn’t offend me, but it does make me sad. Unlike most “big” disasters, we don’t have nameless & faceless masses of passengers or victims… we just have 7 people. It’s silly, but kind of makes it more personal.

  12. I love this website, and learn a lot from all of you. But this is so weak, those astronauts were people who loved the same stuff you do. For all you know there are NASA people who come here, or may come here one day. Or one of their kids could come here. What does this post say to people? That those who gave all in the pursuit of science are worthy of no more respect that this? I’m all for free speech, and I get the joke as it would have been played on the player who was playing the game, but this just smells bad. This is disappointing its here. We create the world we live in through our actions and attitudes, is this the way we want people to act? Not just the game, but the comments surprised me, I expected there be more dignity paid to the memories of those astronauts. Nothing about it was or is funny. Just because its a hack doesn’t mean it needs to be posted on here, and just because it was posted it need not stay here…and asmecher, nothing against you, because i think you worry about hurting people and thats good, but the whole thing will be snowballing and I would rethink it brother. Don’t be known for this ish.

    1. Thanks, Chris, for your thoughtful response.

      I decided to build this project after it had been rumbling around my brain for a while. I made my peace with it then. I grew up in the 1980s and NASA and the space program were like gods to me.

      I don’t specifically remember watching the launch on television when it happened and perhaps that’s why emotion didn’t veto the idea outright.

      I’m still formulating a good, concise description of why I wanted to build this. The quixotic aspect of building a complete cabinet for a minute-long game is part of it. Part of it is about the nature of video games — they’re usually about heroes but death is forgettable. Part of it is about the 1980s and their look and feel and my recollection of that decade. Extremely little of it is about the “ha ha they blew up” part which people here are mostly focusing on.

      Now that it’s here the chances that someone involved with the space program will see it are obviously higher. I would regret disturbing old wounds. However, I speculate those are some very tough people and this will probably go by without much reaction.

      Obviously I’ll be doing a lot more thinking about this.

    2. Get a grip, HaD of their own volition pointed out it was an offensive game, even calling it the most offensive, to affirm that they respect the astronauts, but it’s so long ago and many astronauts I’ve seen also aren’t so serious and in fact many started as testpilots and are taking for granted that things can go wrong, shit sometimes happens, you keep going is their philosophy it seems to me.
      So yeah it’s not nice, but get back to reality and relax a bit already.

    1. Yup, hits a nerve in Americans. Another non-American here, also thought it was funny.

      Not the tragedy, that’s not funny.

      What is funny is the idea itself that the game makes you think it’s real, only to comedically reveal that it’s not.

      Like a racing game where all the cars get a flat tire mid-race because of bad pave.

  13. Two things.

    Number one: What would this guy get sued for? Who would sue him? Royalties? NASA images are public domain. Is there a right to not be offended in Canada?

    Number two: Autuin made something cool (not withstanding the controversial dark humor concept) with a ton of pics of old hardware. If this guy made a Bubble Bobble clone out of an old arcade machine it would fit right into what is usually featured on HaD.

    We’ve featured more offensive stuff than this game on Hackaday. Just off the top of my head the stripper bot and an Arduino vibrator shield generated far more vitriolic comments than this post has mustered. If you don’t like it, move on. Don’t read it. You don’t have a right to not be offended, especially when this artist is trying to evoke a reaction.

    EDIT: After thinking about your comment a little more, I have to say your response of ‘hoping this guy gets sued’ is absolutely reprehensible. You want to inflict economic sanctions on this guy because he made a video game.

    You are welcome to say and do nearly whatever you want. Yes, even on Hackaday, which is why I’ve left your comment up. You’re not allowed to infringe upon the rights of others, which is what you are suggesting.

    So far, the only comment I’ve removed (besides dupes) is one jackass that said, “Hopefully someone takes this loser out before he falls out of his baby chair.” Obviously, that’s not cool.

    If you are still actually suggesting imposing economic sanctions on a guy who built a video game, I highly suggest you reconsider visiting websites that feature open source projects, hardware, and other builds that require the degree of intellectual freedom we currently have. Understanding the concept of free speech does not seem to be your strong suit.

    I’ll leave the fate of the rest of your comments in this thread (there are four total as of this posting) up to Hackaday readers. Just click on ‘report comment’ if you’d like soopergooman to get a taste of his own medicine, and we’ll take it down.

    1. I currently plan to complete the esthetic: chassis artwork, a high scores interface, attractor screens, and some improvements to the physics. I’d like it to look and feel entirely like a 1980s-era video game that was pulled from someone’s basement and plugged in after 25-plus years.

  14. While I think the content of the game is in poor taste, I also recognize this fundamental aspect of being an American:

    I have the right to free speech. But, the *cost* of this right is that I will hear things I don’t like and don’t agree with. I believe this to be a good tradeoff.

  15. Wow. You need to chill out. I’m going to call them and tell them I have no problem with this. Why would you feel the need to censor someone, let alone be “outraged” by this. You claim that you would smash this with a sledge hammer if you got close enough. I would claim that you wouldn’t do that, because you probably get fired up about useless shit all the time and never do anything about it. Ever. You’re the worst kind of people that live in Vancouver, always talking shit and never doing anything.

  16. Come on, HAD, this is totally weak-sauce. There is no merit to this article whatsoever. Did you let your kids edit the site over the weekend?

    I’m old enough to remember this tragedy quite vividly and as others have already pointed out, the people who perished in this tragedy are our kind of people – why would anyone waste time to produce this bilge unless there’s something wrong with them? If I saw this at a maker meet, I’d be tempted to put my foot through the screen.

    Instead, I’m going to vote with my feet and remove HAD from my daily read for a month and spend my time elsewhere.

  17. The majority of the articles on this website are educational and have been the basis for academic projects. Even some of the hacking and security examples are great academic engineering projects. The articles on HAD are informative and highlight some great engineering examples and hacks while being appropriate for everyone. Tear-downs and tutorials are invaluable and have long appeared on this site.

    I equate this article to Mario fellating the princess over at the end of Mario Bros. You cannot stop the freedom to design such a game modification as this, but I dont think it has a place on HAD and I’m surprised that it is still appearing on the site with the amount of negativity it has spawned.

    Why risk losing loyal readers to an obviously controversial project? There are an enormous amount of projects that could have been highlighted on HAD instead of this one. I’m just not understanding it.

    “Not really this is fully dependent on ones morality.” I think it is obvious what HAD’s “morals” are and it is definitely not aligned with presenting dick-beating material.

    “We humans have been dying for a long long time and honestly I have no problems with it.” Accurate statement. The majority of us have been dying from the moment we were born. Pure science. You are going to be forgotten and/or cried over. You are too insignificant to have cracks made about you after you die. So I suggest getting over it. You’ll have your time.

  18. I am asking the maker to withdraw the piece from hack-a-day. Please.
    That said, I really think summoning lawsuits or blowing this up by calling on another party to censor the piece from the show is just going to give this story legs and hurt people who I think never intended this to be hurtful in anyway. Plus its just wrong, more wrong in my book than a thoughtless or insensitive game. Also name calling isnt going to bring anyone to your side of the issue, its just not.
    When this hits the mainstream media its going to snowball, and I don’t think thats the kind of traffic you guys want. But traffic is traffic, not that I’m saying that’s the end game here, but this was sure to draw a lot of heat guys. If the mainstream media picks this up, I foresee this site and the Maker taking a hit in their reputations that could be averted, and people who were involved in the tragedy, being hurt and drug into it. The first thing the media’s going to do is go ask a family member what they think. First thing. That’s what I think can still be avoided.
    Thanks again for everything all you guys and gals do. I think the future really is in your hands, that the people who make up the hacker communities are going to make all the difference in how our future unfolds. If we can be saved, it will be you, because you inspire the future.
    Hack-a-day, you turned me on and got me thinking I could be a maker and hacker as well, it was you and boingboing who sent me to you. I won’t go into it anymore, but you really did change my life. Thanks again…
    p.s. you may want to check your servers or hosts before drudge picks this up and they get melted, they are notorious for that.

  19. I had no idea about the Culture Crawl. I hope the organizers allow this cabinet, as I plan on attending, so long as it’s there.

    Sure it might be a little bit in bad taste, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. People need to take chances and risk offending other people. It gives those easily offended folks a place to let out their anger, otherwise they might keep it locked up inside and explode. It’s not like this guy used actual recordings from the crew, or personal information about them, right?

    Ultimately the only reason you know it has anything to do with reality is because of the title of the game. Space launches are dangerous, and things sometimes go wrong. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it. Heck, even if the rockets only had a 30% chance of NOT exploding, I’m sure there would be no shortage of people who want to explore the unknown.

    Thank you HaD for posting this article.

  20. Also, since no one pointed it out yet, I will: “After [Autuin] lugged his arcade machine back to his home base at Free Geek Vancouver.” …..That’s not quite a full sentence is it? Someone lose track of their thought mid-sentence? :-)

    1. And for the record, this thing never passed through Free Geek Vancouver at all. I volunteer there regularly and often write up my own projects as part of the blog I run about/for Free Geek, since they often include materials sourced from there. otherwise my projects have nothing to do with them.

  21. Ah, I for one salute the indefatigability of the HAD chattering classes! The major thing ‘wrong’ with what was otherwise an excellent arcade rebuild is that it was indeed a bit, well, lame…

    …back when I were a lad I hacked the VIC-20 Blitz game, renaming it ‘Clydebank Blitz’ (I lived very close to Clydebank at the time, hehe) and got the usual death threats; similarly, my ‘Merry Xmas Yoko’ badges (on sale in early December 1980, and very unpopular with the peace and love squad) went down very badly in certain quarters… …all I can say is that young people today just don’t know how to cause proper offence!


  22. Think about it this way. Here you are going about your day, maybe playing a video game (or watching your 15th Space Shuttle launch on TV). You are enjoying it, then BAM! Whoa, what just happened? Here I am playing this game and the thing blows up? (Here I am watching this Shuttle in a routine launch for like the 15th time, and it blows up?) Wow, that is very disconcerting, unexpected, and upsetting.

    Now if you knew what the game was about, and took it as a prurient experience, then maybe it would be offensive. But if you look at it as a commentary on how unexpected things happen in an otherwise sorta benign experience (like watching just another humdrum Space Shuttle launch), then maybe it has some redeeming value.

    Or not, you decide — so as always YMMV.

  23. If someone really wanted to make an offensive game then they would create “The Rodney King Experience” and have it end with a drug overdose. The first part could be based off of Double Dragon, and the last part can be based off of South Park’s “Heroin Hero”.

  24. If someone really wanted to make an offensive game then they would create ”The Rodney King Experience” and have it end with a drug overdose. The first part could be based off of Double Dragon, and the last part can be based off of South Park’s ”Heroin Hero”.

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