The year is 1994. Forrest Gump, Boyz II Men, and PRIMAL RAGE. A pre-historic Mortal Kombat inspired game had taken the arcades by storm. The Atari created fighting game found it’s way to home consoles, including the Sega Genesis by way of Time Warner Interactive a year later in 1995.
The press release described it as:
"Primal Rage" is a head-to-head fighting game with an original look that features seven fantasy, pre-historic characters in a battle for supremacy. The originality of the characters and the sheer number and ingenuity of their moves, come together in an innovative and addictive fighting game.
Fast forward a year to 1996 in the Town of Gilbert, Arizona (28 years later and it’s still technically a town), and as the story goes : a young 11 year old is enjoying the Genesis version of Primal Rage. With the help of an issue of GamePro Magazine, the kid had pulled off a move in the game called “Golden Shower”. It’s exactly what you think it is. A character named Chaos takes the opportunity to urinate on the opponent.
Horrified, the mother brings the game back to Target and returns it. That’s not the end of it though, she is able to convince the store to remove copies of the game off the shelves. With the small victory, the mother took it further, getting 22 Target stores across Arizona to also remove copies of the game. However, her biggest victory came in the way of Best Buy where 251 stores across the country also removed the game.
The boycott was working, the mother had set up an 800 number to spread the word, pleaded to US Senators, and took to the media to put the pressure on Time Warner Interactive. However, at this point the game had been out for two years with no other complaints about the game.
Eventually Time Warner Interactive resubmitted the game to the ESRB, the association in charge of rating video games. Primal Rage had originally been given a rating of T (Teen 13+) and after being submitted a second, the ESTB determined the game should be rated… T. A rating change was not needed and the boycott from a mom in Gilbert, Arizona had come to an end. Best Buy had return the game to shelves with the exception of the Genesis version which was no different from say the Sega Saturn or 3DO versions that Best Buy put back on the shelves.
Oh yeah, she bought a game rated for Teens for her 11 year old kid.