Swedish Erotica: Custer's Revenge
History was never quite like this. In a "creative interpretation" of the Battle of Little Big Horn, a rowdy and naked General Custer must make his way through a hail of continual arrows to a Native American Princess tied to a pole. If Custer can survive the obstacles in his way, he then gets an opportunity to have "sexual intercourse" for big points. Whether his needs have been sated, or brought down by enemy fire, Custer will return again and again to get what he wants. One of the few "adult oriented" titles for the Atari 2600.
Credits (Atari 2600 version)
Average score: 0% (based on 2 ratings)
Average score: 1.1 out of 5 (based on 37 ratings with 2 reviews)
The controversy was more interesting than the gameplay. As a 21 year old owner of an Atari 2600 I was intrigued at the concept of an "Adult" game. All games at the time were for kids. It seemed like the video game industry was going to mature. So even when the game turned out to be a stinker it had redeeming qualities in it's effect. And when you finally get to play it is really funny for the first few minutes.
When it came out it was only available in video rental stores. The price was outrageous at $50 and they even rented it for $5 a night versus the $2 a night for all other games. There was a waiting list so it took a few weeks to finally get to play it. And the gameplay is repetitive and boring, which was a good thing because it kept people from keeping it for more than a day.
The Bottom Line
Without getting in to the adult descriptions the game is basically two characters on opposite sides of the screen. You must advance your character to the other side and complete a task. There are objects falling you must avoid along the way. And you must retreat to start the whole process all over again. Over and over again.
Atari 2600 · by gametrader (208) · 2005
It's a game of timing, when it comes down to it, and on this point it does very well. If you've got a good sense of timing, you'll probably do pretty well, as the controls are responsive enough. All in all, it's simplistic, with only it's shock value to prop it up.
Surprisingly, the graphics are fairly colorful and well-done for an Atari 2600 title. However, I highly doubt that Custer sported a 14" phallus.
I'm not a P.C. person, but I do have certain sensitivities. Walking through a storm of arrows to hook up with a Native American chick may sound like a frontier romance novel, but when the game's called Custer's Revenge, it's pretty safe to assume that it's the system limitations that kept the rape sequence looking almost consensual. I'm sure that if it the state of technology had been different, your "reward" wouldn't be standing naked next to a cactus and disrobing her would have been another minigame.
The fact that you get points for banging away on someone who is probably moments away from being a murder victim is sick. Unfortunately, the comical look of the graphics may detract from any shock one may feel. I don't find rape funny in the least, yet I managed to rack up the points. Once the "I can't believe they made this" reaction wore off, I shut it down and never touched it again.
The Bottom Line
Custer's Revenge may call to mind a rematch at Little Bighorn, but that isn't what you get here. As General George Custer, wearing nothing but boots, hat, and scarf, you work your way across the playfield as arrows rain down. Once you make it to the naked Native American maiden, you smack the fire button over and over to "score".
If curiosity happens to grab you hard enough to make you play this game, you'll either quit in disgust or out of boredom.
Atari 2600 · by DarkBubble (342) · 2007
Contributor to the Crash
Custer's Revenge is an excellent example of a game that aided the collapse of the video game industry in the 80s. Atari's lack of licensing system meant they had no control over the quality or types of content that could be made for their Atari 2600 console. This was the situation for nearly every other platform out there at the time. In the case of Mystique's Swedish Erotica releases, it alone brought a load of bad press to Atari and cost them time and money filing suit.
Controversy & The Eventual Formation of the ESRB
When news of the game controversy hit, 250 people protested in October 1982 outside a showing to retailers and the press at the New York Hilton. The protest was organized by Women Against Pornography, aided by the National Organization for Women (NOW) and the American Indian Community House. Their claim that the game's goal was to rape the Indian woman was refuted by the publisher who said it led to a mutually consenting act. The content was so foul that it led to the first call to establish a rating system for video games "similar to that of the Motion Picture Association". It would take 10 years to happen but this rating system would later be known as the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB).
The main character, Custer, is based on the real-life Lieutenant Colonel and Brevet Major General George Armstrong Custer, a famous American cavalry commander most well known for his major defeat and death at the Battle of Little Bighorn back in 1876. Custer was likely chosen as a historical figure due to his infamy as being known as the "Indian Killer" who openly endorsed and committed genocide and rape against the Sioux people and other tribes.
European Regional Differences
PlayAround, operating under parent company Castlespring Enterprises, decided to give Custer's Revenge a fresh identity for the European market, resulting in its re-branding as "Westward Ho". Along with the new name, PlayAround made adjustments to the original gameplay. These modifications primarily involved minor visual changes, such as darkening the skin tone of the Native American woman. Additionally, PlayAround introduced a gender-reversed edition of Custer's Revenge, known as "General Retreat".
When Atari was criticized for the game being on its console, even though the game was unlicensed, it filed a lawsuit against AMI/Mystique for "wrongful association" of Custer's Revenge to the Atari 2600. The suit was to halt and block the game's distribution and sale. In a statement, Atari said it intended its products for "wholesome family entertainment". The amount of public backlash was overwhelming with a November 1982 issue of People magazine stating Atari claimed they were logging 1,200 Custer's Revenge complaints daily. The decision to file suit against AMI was unavoidable at this point.
Lockpicking Skill Required
Due to the adult, X-rated nature of the game -- it came with a special box (complete with key and lock!) to keep children away from its contents.
Because of their "adult nature", games that were published by Mystique came with special lock boxes (complete with key) to keep younger gamers from playing these titles.
Since it is several decades past relevancy -- Swedish Erotica was a well-known pornography publisher as well as a series filmed during the 1970s and 1980s. As a brand and publisher, they were very keen on the idea of being the pioneer and first to market adult "X-rated" games. Custer's Revenge would ultimately end up being released as one of these first few games.
Worst Video Game Ever
Custer's Revenger is considered to be one of the most hated games and is universally panned by critics and gamers alike. Often found on many "worst video games ever" lists. Usually hated for its offensive content but also poorly rated for its low quality.
- Dec. 31, 2002 - #1 on a list of the "Top Ten Shameful Games"* GameTrailers
- Nov. 17, 2006 - #3 worst videogame on a list of "Top Ten Best And Worst Videogames"* PC World
- Oct. 23, 2006 - #3 on a list of "The 10 Worst Games of All Time"
Information also contributed by Scaryfun
Related Sites +
Video review of pornographic Atari 2600 titles (WARNING: Language, adult themes)
The Angry Video Game Nerd, James Rolfe, reviews pornographic Atari 2600 games, including <i>Swedish Erotica: Custer's Revenge</i>.
- MobyGames ID: 13603
- Wikipedia (en)
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by Guy Chapman.
Game added June 9th, 2004. Last modified October 9th, 2023.