Ah, Custer’s Revenge—what can what say about this game? Apparently, quite a bit, considering the numerous articles already in existence. Custer’s Revenge is one of those games that I consider to be like a forefather of our modern-day hacks (and, especially, those featured on Badderhacks). With a combination of nudity, crude humor, misogynistic gameplay, and racial undertones, it struck a nerve with virtually every group in existence; it has, however, lived on to be a landmark in video game history.
Custer’s Revenge was released in late 1982 for the Atari 2600, a proud console that brought us great games such as Pitfall and Keystone Capers, as well as definitive arcade ports of the day. Despite this noble history, this game has left a black mark on the 2600 just by its very existence. The game’s premise is utterly laughable, and I have to wonder who came up with such a ridiculous idea as General George Armstrong Custer—the gentleman officer who was massacred along with all two-hundred plus soldiers and officers under his command at the Battle of Little Big Horn—taking “revenge” for his death by having sex with a Native American Indian woman.
Now, this is absurd for more reasons than I could probably count, but I’ll take a stab at trying to address as many as I can think of. Obviously, the basic premise is relatively obscene (I say relatively because, in today’s modern times where anyone has access to 4chan, Rule 28 of the Internet must be kept in mind: “There will always be more fucked up shit than what you just saw”), but there’s more to consider as well besides the idea of rape being the main objective of a video game. Consider, if you will, the fact that in real life, General Custer has been found to have had sympathy for the Native Americans, even though he fought them for considerable time during the Indian Wars of the late nineteenth century. Bearing this in mind, one can then assume that, if Custer was able to come back though some sort of Twilight Zone-esque magic, he probably would not take any kind of revenge—much less decide to lead a one-man assault on a naked Native American woman while under fire and sporting an erection the size of Rhode Island. But, who am I to bring sense to this ludicrous game? The fact that the cartridge is labeled as being “Swedish Erotica” makes me question what exactly those Swedes have been getting up to over there—a question whose answer makes me shudder in fear.
Custer is depicted as a cowboy, naked save for his ten-gallon hat, scarf, and cowboy boots (which he jumps in and out of when hit), sporting a massive, arm-sized erection. Revenge (the Native American chick) is depicted no better, completely naked and (apparently) tied to what most have assumed is a cactus—essentially an olive green pole. However, she could just as easily just be standing up against some kind of green wall—the graphics are so bad as to make it hard to figure out. Granted, this is Atari—but one must question why someone would decide to use the Atari as their console of choice for a pornographic game (bearing in mind that pornography is, first and foremost, a visual medium). In addition, our lady, Revenge, has an enormous rack—if she was a real woman, she’d probably put Pamela Anderson, Carmen Electra, Denise Milani, and Petra Verkaik to shame.
Now, to get to the meat and potatoes of any video game, I must discus exactly how the game is played. Considering the sexual premise, those who are not familiar with the game may wonder how it is possible to control a cavalry officer to engage in forceful coitus with an Indian bombshell using just the simple controls that the Atari 2600 has to offer (that is, a joystick affording eight-directional movement and a single shiny orange button). The answer is—by moving forward until you get to the girl and tapping the button to tap her, metaphorically speaking.
Of course, Revenge’s tribe isn’t taking the sexual assault on one of their nubile young women lightly, and the tribe’s marksmen are apparently shooting arrows at our aroused officer. I say “apparently” because those diagonal lines coming down from the sky could be anything, really; they could be snakes, they could be javelins, or spears, or tent pegs. But, considering the stereotypical imagination of the Swedes who apparently programmed this game, they’re most likely arrows (despite the fact that, at the battle of Little Big Horn, most of the Native American warriors were using guns, not bows and arrows). The archers fire in seemingly random-numbered volleys at Custer; if the arrows “hit” him, then he jumps in and out of his cowboy boots while the background turns psychedelic colors and his member goes flaccid.
(I say “hit” in quotation marks because the arrows technically do not reach Custer or the ground; for some strange reason, they disappear about halfway down the screen just before Custer’s hat.) To add to this strange display of violence and sexuality, while Custer is jumping up and down and losing his erection, an Atari version of “Taps” is played—the American military song played at funerals for soldiers. Considering the situation at hand in the game, it is bizarrely offensive to be playing said tune for this officer’s death, considering that the rape of native women is not in military code… to the best of my knowledge.
So, to summarize, the game is basically controlling Custer back and forth across the desert, dodging arrows to get to Revenge, tapping the button a few times to score (literally) some points, then dodge the arrows again until possible to navigate back. The gameplay is extremely repetitive and grows old relatively fast. If it wasn’t for the novelty factor of the sex-oriented play, it would grow stale very fast. Progress can be made in the game after successfully attaining about fifty points or so in a stage; the next level gets faster, meaning that while Custer can be more agilely-controlled, the arrows are also faster. A one-up is earned for every 69 points (ha ha! sixty-nine, get it?!). With such simple gameplay and graphics (even for the Atari era), and with the imminent video game crash of 1983 on its way, one would think that Custer’s Revenge wouldn’t have much of a legacy apart from turning up at flea markets for a couple of bucks. However, thanks to the immense controversy and brouhaha that the game stirred up, it not only has a legacy as a pervy game to play with your friends on a rainy day or as a party game, but has actually spawned several sequels, most of which were from the same company attempting to capitalize on the controversy of the original.
The first of these sequels was entitled “Westward Ho” (released by “Playaround”, a fake name for Mystique, the original publisher of Custer’s Revenge), and is mostly the same as the original game, with a few minor graphical and gameplay changes. Now, Revenge does a sort of a “come hither” movement with her hand, which also causes her gigantic 8-bit breasts to wobble humorously. Said “come hither” motion was probably added to attempt to show that Revenge was willingly having sex with Custer, trying to dispel accusations of rape in the game. However, this also suggests that Revenge is a freaky chick who likes to be tied up a little before engaging in sexual encounters in the middle of the desert (or, maybe she really is standing in front of a large green wall!). In addition, the gameplay seems to have been slowed down slightly, noticeable if played back-to-back with the original. Gameplay speeds up as the player reaches higher levels, which actually makes it easier to play, as Custer now has a fighting chance at dodging the incoming arrows. Some of the background colors are also slightly different, but nothing major. However, thanks to the slower gameplay and less high-contrast color, it’s a much more enjoyable play than the original “Custer’s Revenge” (that is to say, it’s actually possible to dodge the arrows with some form of skill, and it’s a little prettier to look at).
As a final note, I must pass some conjecture onto the meaning of the title of this game. Although “Westward Ho” could refer to the exclamation and general feeling of the pioneers heading west during the time of the Old West (Manifest Destiny anyone?), could it also be calling Revenge a “ho” (as in, slang for “whore”)? I’m not certain if said slang existed in 1982, or was mainstream enough to be known by the makers of the game or the general public (or by Swedes); however, it is amusing to think that Custer has journeyed westward to find himself one of the westward hoes.
The last of the Atari 2600 sequels was called “General Re-treat”, where this time the player controls the Native American chick, Revenge, attempting to have sex with Custer while under fire from cannons at a nearby army fort. This game was released as the “flip side” of Westward Ho, in that the cartridge is flipped upside down and the other end inserted (as was a standard feature of many of Mystique’s products), and features the same slight slowdown that “Westward Ho” did. (Note that the packaging claims that the cartage contains “2 Totally Different Adult Video Games…!” These games are pretty far from being totally different in that they are almost exactly the same.) In addition, this game has the largest graphical changes of the three, with the background being completely different, showing a crude army fort and smoking cannons (instead of the smoking teepee), actually indicating where the enemy fire is coming from. The sprites for Custer and Revenge are lifted from the previous game, with some minor changes to Revenge so that she has a basic walk animation (with gratuitous jiggling). In addition, she now wears some sort of moccasins, so that she can jump out of them a la Custer when hit by cannonballs. Her little feather headpiece also pops off of her head, which is somewhat alarming as, with such primitive graphics, it makes her appear to be bald (I had always thought it was just a feather in her hair anyway, not a full headpiece). Also, amusingly, Custer jumps out of his cowboy boots when engaging in the sex act with Revenge. All in all, “General Re-treat” is an amusing change from the original that many of us are familiar with.
Surprisingly (or, not, depending on your mindset), someone has created a remake of Custer’s Revenge in Flash. Considering all the downfalls of the original game, this version fixes many of the problems, and has greatly improved on the graphics and gameplay. The remake is done in a smooth cartoon style with hints of anime/ hentai in it, which is a lot better than the LEGO brick style of the original game. This time around, Custer can be controlled a lot more fluently, and has a fighting chance against incoming arrows. Using the simple controls, Custer can use his manhood to shoot blasts of semen up in the air or straight in front of him as if he has an artillery piece for a penis. Upward blasts can take out incoming arrows, and straight shots are used to defeat a new enemy for this game, incoming women armed with hedge loppers (an addition that practically turns it into a survival horror game).
A level is a much easier to complete than in the original, thanks to the better controls, defensive “weapons”, and a meter that shows how much more “stroking” is needed to climax, thus ending the level.
Revenge has been depicted in traditional hentai damsel-in-distress style, struggling against her bonds. However, one graphical edition that somewhat confuses me is that Revenge now wears high-heel sandals, in the style of modern-day strippers. Considering the fact that the original Custer’s Revenge takes place in the late ninetieth century, when such a fashion did not exist—much less worn by Native American hotties—the addition is slightly perplexing, especially since the game’s designer did a pretty good job of staying true to the original. Of course, I’m sure that most of you don’t care about a stupid little thing like that, and are just interested in seeing some tits and ass, but I find that it is my solemn duty to investigate and find out why such changes were made, to find the true facts (and, where no facts exist, to invent elaborate conjecture).
I find it likely that Doc Brown gave the pair of heels to Revenge as a gift of sorts once he had used his flux capacitor-powered Delorian to venture into the time of the Old West. In “Back to the Future Part III”, Doc Brown tells Marty that the Old West is his favorite time period, but fails to explain that the reason why it’s his favorite time period is because he likes nothing better than scoring with busty Native American chicks, particularly ones who are into a little light bondage play.
So, the scene probably went down like this: Doc Brown had convinced a hawt young Sioux chick to engage in a little in-and-out with him, and gave her the stripper heels as a present. After having her strip down and trying her to a pole for some kinky sex, Doc Brown was interrupted by Marty getting himself into trouble as usual, and had to leave her as she was. The Sioux chief, Crazy Horse, found her and assumed that she had given herself to a white man—when in fact she had not gotten the chance. Seeing this as the ultimate betrayal to their tribe, Chief Crazy Horse decided to leave her in the scalding desert sun to be sacrificed at the end of the day (despite the fact that human sacrifice was never a Sioux tradition).
However, poor Revenge had even bigger problems than imminent death from her incensed chief, as Doc Brown unwittingly brought an uninvited guest back with him from the future—the spawn of the titular Alien from said series had snuck inside the Delorian before he made the jump to the late 1800s, and was now roaming the countryside. Seeing Revenge as an easy breeding target, the facehugger literally raped her face, and began the reproductive cycle of its species—a cycle that, unfortunately for the host, is fatal.
But, this is where the hero of our story comes in. For, at this exact moment, General Custer had been curiously observing Revenge’s predicament via spyglass from a nearby mesa. Looking on in horror as the facehugger impregnated her, he knew that her only chance for survival was if he were somehow able to reverse the process of the alien’s reproductive cycle—using his own reproductive system. Saddling up his horse and racing down to the open plain, once he was within walking distance of the nubile Revenge, he quickly shed the majority of his cavalry uniform and went in to save her, erect member in hand. However, the Sioux scouts, seeing Custer advancing on one of their own, yelled to their archers to attack. Thus, Custer became forced to push ahead through a hail of arrows to save the young woman’s life by blasting her various orifices with human semen, killing off the growing alien inside of her. Revenge’s struggling against her restraints wasn’t just out of panic at being held captive there, but out of fear of her alien-infected fate! So, contrary to the implications of the game’s scenario, Custer was just looking out for the poor young woman, not just taking advantage of her.