A recent thread of the MobyGames forums discussed controversial or shocking moments in games. This arose when the original poster had read a review of Activision’s Spycraft: The Great Game that happened to mention the game’s torture minigame. Since hearing about a “torture minigame” undoubtedly piques your curiousity, disturbing though the concept may seem, I did what comes naturally and posted the relevant clips on YouTube.
To review, Spycraft is a 1996 CD-ROM game where you play a CIA agent leading a team to avert an international crisis between the U.S. and former Soviet Union. Gameplay consists largely of a series of highly unique sub-games and none is more unusual than the torture minigame.
After capturing this agent, you have two methods of extracting information from her. The first is to strap her into the Bullpen, the agency-sanctioned torture device. You have controls at your disposal to administer various levels of electrical shocks. Too much will kill her. This movie file from the game depicts the various reactions she has to shocks and questions:
It can be a tad stomach churning to view. It helps if you imagine that she invented interactive movie computer games, though.
The game acknowledges up front that this sequence might be too much for some gamers to handle and includes explicit warnings in the manual. Plus, at the very start of the game, the player has the option to disable the path of physical coercion entirely. In that case, or if the player chooses this route in the game, there is a minigame in which the player has to use special CIA equipment to doctor some photographs. The photographs are then used during the interrogation minigame to lean on the captured agent, by duping her into believing the agency has captured another agent for whom she has feelings. This movie has the scenes that comprise the interrogation:
Imagine what innovation could come of Nintendo’s Wii-mote for the Big N’s next party game… Wii O’ nine tails.