“Custer’s Revenge” is a controversial adult-themed action game developed by American Multiple Industries and released for the Atari 2600 in November 1982. The game attracted significant criticism for its offensive content, specifically the objective involving an assault on a Native American woman. It has been widely condemned by critics and is often cited as one of the most deplorable video games ever created.
In “Custer’s Revenge,” players take on the role of General Custer, depicted as needing to navigate a field while dodging arrows to reach a Native American woman named Revenge, who is depicted as being tied to a pole. The game features four modes: two single-player and two for hotseat multiplayer. The earlier modes require players to evade arrows, while the latter also include randomly appearing cacti as additional hazards. Movement is controlled by the joystick, with lateral movements moving Custer and vertical movements halting his advance.
Custer is given three lives at the game’s start, visually indicated by cacti icons. A life is lost if Custer is hit by an arrow or touches a cactus, signified by the playing of “Taps.” It’s possible for Custer to avoid damage by positioning himself carefully between arrows. Reaching Revenge and performing the game’s central action, achieved by pressing the fire button repeatedly, grants the player points, with each successful action earning one point. Accumulating points can earn players extra lives, up to a maximum of six, and every 50 points scored not only grants an extra life but resets Custer’s position and increases the speed of incoming arrows. Arrow speed can also be increased by adjusting the console’s difficulty switch.
The game’s premise, gameplay, and objectives have been universally criticized for their insensitivity and poor taste, contributing to its infamy within the gaming community.