Thrill Kill


Message: Have you ever heard of a game called Thrill Kill? I’ve heard
it’s extremely violent and gorey, in fact it was so bad it was rated
AO and then banned, and then censored, and then put on the internet. -Llama

Wow, this letter takes me back!  I believe I spilled a lot of Internet ink over this game and the controversy back in the day. What day? Well it was the year I began writing about video games.

Thrill Kill was a fighting game (like Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat) for the original PlayStation that was to be published by Electronic Arts (EA). It initially was famous because it was going to feature the impressive – at the time – feat of letting four fighters fight at once, it was going to be very gorey and bloody in a Mortal Kombat way, and was going to feature sexist fatality moves like “Muff Diver” and “Bitch Slap.”

You’re right that it was also going to be slapped by that kiss of death rating, the AO (Adults Only) rating that no retail store will sell. To this day there has never been an AO game actually published.  That bears repeating. To this day there has never been an AO game actually published and this one wasn’t either. EA quickly refused to publish the title, work on it was never quite finished (to my knowledge) and it was never officially released.

However, it’s gained a certain noteriety like anything banned (or canceled) normally does, so someone with access to the code got it up on the Internet, inviting enterprising techo-savvy to download it and get it working (somewhat). I hear the game really stinks.

So, everything in your post – except for the censored part (it takes a government to “censor”) but if it was also scaled back to try for an M, I’m sure the extremer stuff was put back in when it was leaked on the ‘Net – is absolutely, 100% true.

Since you don’t have an actual question above, except for one I could have answered: “Why yes, yes I have” let me assume a parental angle here:

1. The game was to come out in 1998. That makes any blood and gore graphics considerably less offensive (the PlayStation’s capabilities aren’t as impressive in our HD age) but not completely inoffensive. Aside from the lame sexist garbage, this game would probably, easily, get an M-rating today and there’s stuff on the shelves now that, I believe, would make Thrill Kill blush in embarrassment.

2. The “barrier of entry” is really really high. It’s not easy to get these kinds of games working on your computer. It takes some knowing and some doing, and I can’t imagine anyone doing it except to see if they can. A challenge. Or because they’re curious to play something canceled – forbidden. Any child or teen capable of doing that is also capable of a host of nightmarish hackery. There is MUCH worse on the Internet and its barely hidden at all. I wouldn’t worry too much about Thrill Kill.

3. Here’s good old Wikipedia with more.

Apparently the game engine surfaced a few times (this is the computer code that leads to how the game plays) in a Wu Tang fighting game, a couple X-Men games and, get this, a kid’s game based on Rockem’ Sockem’ Robots!  Interesting but not really related.

So, my point is, if your kid is playing Thrill Kill, and that offends you – you’ve got a bit worse to worry about. But the main reason your kid might be doing it is the equivalent of him downloading a European copy of Disney’s Song of the South (which Disney has banned in the US) or reading from the “banned” book list. Probably more out of curiousity than anything else.

No Responses to “Thrill Kill”

  1. Things like this get banned but things like Mad World and Saint’s Row make it to the shelves? The censors have REALLY eased up since the late nineties. Many people still complain about the ESRB being too conservative (me included), but the fact that so many morally repugnant games are making it through to shelves are clear evidence that video games are being put on shelves is clear evidence that video games have gained a foothold as a main stream medium. I bet that ten years from now, we look back at children playing old copies of Left 4 Dead on their laptops and giggle at their wanting to try something M rated as we wanted to when we were their age. Then we commence to put on our virtual reality helmets and step into the total immersion chamber and drop ourselves straight into the middle of a total immersion Mafia life simulator where we don’t leave for weeks. (Fanciful, I grant you, but you get the point.)

  2. Wow, This game doesn’t seem like it would be that hard to get it too work. it might take time but i might just try it out and see if i can get it to work. By the way Saints Row is not that bad at all. My friend has that game and its not that bad at all. The only bad thing in it is if you use the chainsaw and you see a short clip of you massacring someone with blood going everywhere.

  3. I actually worked for Virgin Interactive and did some QA work on this game. The game was fun, addictive and yes… shocking (for the time). When Virgin was bought out by EA, they took one look and yanked this title. Yes, the engine was saved for Wu-Tang… You may be able to find the cut scenes for Thrill Kill online.

    Also, the game was at the goldmaster level of completion. 100% done.

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