Over the past few decades, video games have gone from being just another toy for kids to a multi-billion dollar industry that shows no sign of slowing down. As technology has evolved, so too have video games, and they can now be played on everything from a PC to a mobile device that fits into your palm.
Additionally, games have expanded in content from simple platforming to sprawling, epic stories that many consider a full fledged art form. Not only do many gamers not "grow out" of gaming for decades, but they also often become a part of the industry themselves as creators to entertain the next generation, and with all of this comes shifts in tone to more mature subject matter.
Despite this, video games still struggle with the stigma of being "for kids," and the industry often has to walk a precarious line between maintaining the integrity of their art and not upsetting the social expectations that are-- perhaps unfairly-- placed on them.
This inevitably leads to clashes between the developers and the consumers, with developers sometimes inserting subtle, and not so subtle, jokes of questionable appropriateness.
These aren’t limited to games that target a teen or young adult audience either, but can be found in franchises that have long been part of many childhoods.
From innuendos to plainly obvious displays of vulgarity, here are the 15 Adult Jokes You Didn't Catch In Video Games.
15 The Princess' Mystery Item In Mario RPG
Super Mario RPG was a well received game that took Mario and the gang out of their familiar elements of platforming and cart racing into the realm of role playing. To the surprise of many RPG fans, the game was solid and a very fun experience overall despite early inhibitions about the tone.
However, there is one part in the game where Mario can enter Princess Peach’s (called Princess Toadstool interchangeably in the US) private bedroom and snoop around. Between a blue chair and the fireplace is an object that is simply called “Toadstool’s ???”
We don’t know what it is, but it's clear that is is an extremely private item. If the object is found before Peach joins the party, then Grandma Peach will offer Mario a Mushroom to leave and forget he saw it.
However, if Mario is caught, Peach will scold Mario and tell him to not go into her personal belongings. We never see the object nor its real name, but the implications from the bribe offer and the Princess's reaction only point in one direction.
14 The "Beating" Joke In Jak 3
Jak and Daxter was somewhat of a surprise hit in the early days of the Playstation 2 and went on to become one of the console’s defining franchises. The series combined action and witty one-liners that were refreshing and provided a fun experience overall.
Being a bit on the edgy side, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Jak and Daxter sometimes walked a fine line with its jokes. One of the challenges in Jack 3 is Kleiver’s Gun Game, where Jak and Daxter use a gun turret and are invited to beat the score of the previous record holder.
Upon hearing the challenge, Daxter retorts, “Oh don’t worry, Jak beats things all the time, eh Jak.” Complete with air quotes and emphasis on the beating, this is delivered with the subtlety of a sledgehammer.
One has to wonder if the writers went a little overboard with this one, or how it even managed to make it past censors.
13 Link And The Lady In Red
Possibly the most beloved video game series, The Legend of Zelda has consistently ranked among the most popular and best selling titles for over 30 years. However, one entry in the series was truly divisive, and that would be the sequel to the original game, Zelda II: The Adventure Of Link.
Changing the original overhead view to a side-scrolling layout was only one of many alterations that had a good number of fans clamoring for a return to the old form. One of the other new mechanics was a way to restore health.
In every town, there is a woman in a red dress who will tell Link that she can restore his health, saying: “please let me help you, come inside.” Link will then proceed to go inside her house and return a few moments later completely restored.
Nothing is very explicit here, but the clues are all there that this is a lady of the night.
12 Mega Man Is A Creep In Mega Man Legends
Classic Nintendo hero Mega Man pulled serious creeper moves in the Mega Man Legends games. There is a point in the game where you fix a broken Flutter. In this scene, you can walk in on Roll Caskett, a 14 year old girl who is essentially Mega Man’s sister, while she is changing.
Roll tells him to knock next time and he apologizes, but then he pumps his fist triumphantly afterward like he scored points on something. This became even worse in Mega Man Legends 2, when robotic monkey ally Data decided to get in on the action.
He tells Mega Man at one point that “Roll is taking a bath, maybe you should get cleaned up too.” Mega Man responds to this with his fist pump of victory, with victorious music playing in the background.
You can even read her diary and read her entry about it afterward. We can’t be sure what exactly Capcom was going for here, but it’s hard to imagine something like this happening in a game today and not being censored out.
11 "Iron Tail" In Poképark Wii
At first glance, one would probably think that Pokémon of all franchises would be devoid of sexual innuendo or inappropriate jokes, but they would be surprisingly mistaken. Developers often tend to throw in adult themed jokes into games, and one such joke can be found in PokéPark Wii: Pikachu's Adventure.
This adventure has Pikachu collection 14 pieces of an artifact with help from various other Pokémon throughout the park. Pikachu also gains moves as he progresses, the last of which is called Iron Tail.
These upgradable abilities aren’t limited to the player, however, and one particular Pokémon raises a few different alarms when you approach it. Primeape is a fighting type Pokémon who boasts that he himself has mastered Iron Tail.
However, Primeape doesn’t have a tail. He proudly states “I’ve mastered Iron Tail without a tail, and do you know what that means?" Yes, Primeape, we do know what that means, but maybe some of the younger players don’t. It seems more than a little weird that this joke made it past the censors.
10 Vendetta's Inappropriate Bikers
Vendetta is a classic arcade side-scrolling beat 'em up title from Konami and the sequel to Crime Fighters. Vendetta was a solid game but was not a particularly memorable entry in a crowded genre. However, the Japanese version of the game contains a shockingly explicit pair of enemies who had no chance of making into the American version.
At the start of the third stage, a pair of men will enter from either side of the screen and will catch players attention immediately. Dressed in revealing leather outfits, the bearded men will grab hold of the player's character and push them against the wall.
If the player falls down then they aren’t safe, either, as they will be pushed onto the ground until they manage to get up. They appear to have an insatiable need to do this, as they will also grab hold of a lamp post if it is in closer proximity than the player.
Complete with an inappropriate animations and lusty sound bytes, these characters have become infamous in the series.
9 Anatomy Lesson In Kirby's Dreamland 2
Kirby is a character that quickly developped into one of the most recognizable mascots in gaming. Premiering in the memorable Kirby’s Dream Land for the Game Boy, he has gone on to make appearances in games like Super Smash Brothers, as well as comics and even anime.
He’s mostly thought of as s character who appeals to younger players and he is seen to have an overall wholesome, family-friendly image. However, one moment in Kirby’s career stands out starkly.
In Kirby’s Dream Land 2, a series of vertically stacked blocks might catch older gamers' eyes, as it is a clear representation of the female anatomy. The message is clear but confusing: why is this in the game?
There is no context or further allusion to anything like it at any other time in the series. While grade school anatomy lessons are certainly valuable in the right context, one has to wonder if a kid’s game should also provide images of the subject.
8 Revealing Too Much In Rings Of Power
Naughty Dog is a familiar name to older and younger gamers alike, with modern hits like the Uncharted series and classics like Crash Bandicoot. They’ve been around a long time, and one of their less memorable titles is a Lord of the Rings knock off titled Rings of Power, which was available on the Genesis in 1991.
As you might expect, the game was received poorly by both fans and critics, with the main criticisms being difficult controls and its sharp learning curve. There was one not-too-secret code in the game, though, which completely transformed the title screen.
Players could enter a code with two controllers simultaneously, which would change the title logo to a woman in her birthday suit. The 1991 era graphics aren’t exactly great, but there is absolutely no mistaking what this image is.
Since Rings of Power was such a terrible game, its hidden title screen is often the only thing that it's remembered for.
7 Candy Kong In DK64
The Donkey Kong Country series is one of the most popular side-scrolling adventures ever. Starting back on the Super Nintendo and developed by Rare, the series focuses on Donkey Kong, his family, and numerous allies as they join against the forces of King K Rool and the Kremlings.
Candy Kong is Donkey’s love interest and has appeared in many of the series' games, but her standout role is certainly in the first 3D adventure, DK64. If the player is playing as Donkey and goes into her music shop, they will immediately realize that she is the main romantic option.
The music is a caricature of old-timey cartoon romance scenes, and Candy herself has a large bosom, short shorts, and excessive makeup. Some of her dialogue includes “I’ll take real good care of you, Donkey Kong” and “Just 3 coins and I’ll let you play with my instrument anytime you want.”
She also blatantly tells him to “stand a little closer and I’ll show you how to use your instrument.” These comments probably went over the heads of the younger players, but Candy clearly had a one-track mind.
6 Enticing Spells In Secret Of Mana
Secret of Mana was an RPG for the Super NES that wasn’t quite as popular as other Square titles, such as Final Fantasy and Chrono Trigger. However, it still holds a fond place in the memories of many gamers.
Featuring real-time battles with a power bar mechanic that is now commonly seen, Secret of Mana more than made up for it’s lack of story depth with fun, innovative gameplay. However, any veteran of the game will remember exactly what joke was hidden in the game.
When players selected spells from their spellbook during battles, the enticing spell would appear, which works as a typical charm spell. It is characterized by a magazine style pin-up of a woman with a heart next to her.
Dressed provocatively in the American release, the image leaves little to the imagination and its use can be discerned without a description. It sticks out like a sore thumb in the game.
5 The Notepads in Grand Theft Auto 3
Grand Theft Auto 3 is one of the most revolutionary games in history. Launching the sandbox genre of the modern age, it was widely praised for its innovative gameplay and open world freedom. However, it also attracted more controversy than perhaps any other game in history.
GTA 3 was the first in the series to really catch mainstream attention because of its high level of violence and sexuality. It definitely did not lack adult content whatsoever, but there is one particular hidden gem that fans still talk about today.
In Liberty City, players can occasionally find citizens holding what appears to be yellow legal notepads. These seem to be generated at random, but if players are able to get a close look with a sniper scope, they’ll see that the pads all contain some very explicit drawings.
Though they are far from the most offensive things in the game, these depictions probably gave the developers at Rockstar private laughs since they were able to hide such inappropriate content thing right under the noses of those who were trying to get the game banned.
4 Link Is A Peeping Tom In Link's Awakening
Link’s Awakening was the first handheld The Legend of Zelda game in the series. In the uncensored Japanese version of the game, the player can use Link to peep on female characters.
First, players will see a female hippopotamus posing for an anthropomorphic alligator painter. When Link is seen, the hippo lady covers herself and yells at him to get out. Link gets another opportunity to commit criminal voyeurism after he meets a mermaid who has lost her bikini top. Link can dive underwater and catch a peek, but is once again caught, scolded, and chased away.
The American version has the mermaid lose her necklace instead, but the hippo is still fully revealed. It’s probably a good thing that the censorship happened since the two scenes don't fit with the game at all.
3 The Bikini Secret In Pokemon
One particularly disturbing adult joke comes from Pokémon X and Y, which were released for the 3DS in 2013. This game, like previous installments, focused on a young Pokémon trainer on a quest to become the very best. What made this quip stand out, however, was the 3D graphics, which greatly improved the aesthetics of the game.
In one of the player’s encounters with a female swimming trainer, the trainer tells the player, “If I’m wearing my bikini, where do I put my Pokeballs? Teehee...Woman's Secret!”
There are only a few possible answers to this question-- and none of them are safe for work. This isn’t the only time that the franchise has alluded to women hiding Pokéballs in strange places, however.
There is also a famous panel in the manga that shows one of the Team Rocket members hiding her Pokéballs in her underwear. While you can’t blame a Pokémon trainer for taking any advantage they can, it's a bit much to include in a game aimed at kids.
2 Chugging in Super Mario Kart
One of the most popular games of its era is Super Mario Kart. The series provides a friendly, competitive, and fun combat-racing experience that features all of the characters from the Mario Universe.
The original on the Super NES was an instant hit and players logged countless hours with their families and friends. However, there was one hidden gem in the game. If Bowser or Princess Peach win in the Japanese version, they would stand on top of their podium and chug an entire bottle of champaign.
This is relatively tame, but incredibly irresponsible on the part of the developers since the consumption of alcohol in kid's games or shows is something that censors take very seriously.
With a lot of anti-drinking and driving messages out there, it wouldn’t do well for Nintendo to have children’s characters chugging booze. Therefore overseas versions were changed to have the characters flip, juggle, or throw the bottle instead.
1 Ben Franklin's Love For Older Women In Assassin's Creed 3
Assassin’s Creed was coming off its most popular and successful period, the Ezio Trilogy, when they made the bold move to shift the time and setting to the American Revolution. Fans were very excited and couldn’t wait to play a new protagonist and possibly meet historical figures.
In one scene the player has a rather interesting interaction with one of America’s Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin, that focuses not on the philosophy of enlightenment nor the importance of liberty, but on his love of older women.
Ben lays out several reasons why partnering with an older woman is better, including their increased knowledge and wisdom, penchant for kindness, and the fact that they can’t have children.
This is not a one-line quip, either, but a four minute long conversation that the player never really asked for, and is based on a real letter written by Ben Franklin in 1745. This isn’t a knock on Franklin, but it is a bit strange to include in a video game.
Can you think of any other inappropriate adult jokes that were hidden in video games? Let us know in the comments!