Video games you should never play around your kids

There's nothing like a little family gaming time to help you bond with your kids over your shared love of video games, as long as you're playing a game that everyone can enjoy. Most teens are capable of handling violence and other mature content in games — and good luck trying to tell them otherwise — but younger kids need to have their gaming time monitored more closely. If your child is in the 12-and-under club, you probably wouldn't let them play Call of Duty.

But what about letting them watch while you play? Researchers have yet to find any conclusive links between violent video games and child behavior, but if your kid still gets scared during Disney movies, they probably don't need to watch while you ruthlessly mow down enemy soldiers. Even if you think they're too young to understand what they're seeing, here are some more games you should definitely think twice about playing around your kids.

South Park: The Stick Of Truth is... well, South Park

Unless you've been living under a rock for the last two decades, you've probably seen at least an episode or two of the Comedy Central animated sitcom South Park. If so, then you already know that this popular satirical series doesn't exactly provide "family-friendly entertainment." Mature language, sexual situations, and violence feature prominently in most episodes, and the show's shock value wasn't toned down at all for South Park: The Stick of Truth, a 2014 RPG based on the series.

You play the new kid in town, who joins the rest of the kids in a live fantasy roleplaying game. But your quest to find the legendary Stick of Truth soon gets out of hand, threatening the survival of the entire town. Despite a cast of child characters and a cartoonish style, The Stick of Truth's storyline includes a number of elements not safe for kids, including abortions, alien anal probes, and Nazis.

Manhunt 2 is barely age-appropriate for adults, let alone kids

Known for its extreme levels of violence and gore, Rockstar Games' 2004 horror survival game Manhunt caused controversy around the world. That controversy peaked after Manhunt was linked to a murder in the UK, banned in Australia, and confiscated by the authorities in Germany. But if this gruesome game was bad, its 2007 sequel Manhunt 2 is even worse.

You play one of two characters in Manhunt 2: amnesiac mental patient Daniel Lamb or psychopathic assassin Leo Kasper. The game was initially given a rare "Adults Only" rating by the ESRB, which would have effectively banned its sale in the US. To get Manhunt 2 released, Rockstar had to tone down some of its most graphic details by blurring the screen during executions and removing the game's original scoring system, which rewarded you for committing particularly atrocious and brutal murders. Even with the censoring, Manhunt 2 still received a "Mature" rating, with some gamers considering it to be the goriest game of all time.

Unless you want to traumatize your kids for life, save this game for long after they've gone to bed.

Grand Theft Auto V didn't make the series any softer

The Grand Theft Auto franchise is no stranger to controversies, like the "Hot Coffee Mod" from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, which allowed players to exploit the game's files to unlock a hidden sex scene. While that source code snafu cost Rockstar Games and parent company Take-Two millions of dollars to settle lawsuits and recall the original version of the game, the GTA series is still just as inappropriate for kids today as it was back in 2004. In 2013, the franchise returned to its fictional San Andreas stomping grounds for Grand Theft Auto V.

This open-world game gives players a deeper look into the iconic city's underworld of crime, sex, and drugs via the three protagonist characters you switch between while playing. In one particularly violent scenario, you torture another character by pulling out teeth, waterboarding, and some nastier methods we can't mention here. Along with the traditional mission-based story mode focused on carrying out crimes and avoiding the authorities, the online multiplayer mode includes a number of violent options for solo missions or cooperative and deathmatch team play. Although your teenagers will probably be masters of GTA V long before they turn 18, this is definitely one game that you don't want to play when the younger kiddos around around.  

Saints Row IV has everything you want -- and everything you don't want your kids -- to see

Surprisingly, Grand Theft Auto V wasn't the most kid-inappropriate game of 2013. That title actually goes to Saints Row IV, an open-world action adventure from Volition. Before today, you were just the leader of the 3rd Street Saints. Now you're the President of the United States, you have superpowers, and it's up to you and your gang to fight off the alien invasion that threatens to end the world. Saints Row IV delivers the over-the-top satire gamers have come to expect from the franchise, with a heaping dose of violence, sex, drugs, and other mature content thrown in for good measure.

There's plenty of profanity and buckets of blood to go around, but Saints Row IV doesn't stop there. The game also includes some creatively blurred frontal nudity and even an alien anal probe weapon. Yes, really. In every country but Australia, you can use this pooper-shooter to attack enemies or civilians from behind and launch them into the air. However, the gaming regulators Down Under decided Saints Row IV had gone too far and refused to give the game a rating. Subsequently, Volition had to censor the game, making the Aussie version incompatible with international cooperative modes. Every version is incompatible with kids, though.

Silent Hill: Homecoming is too scary for kids, or Australia

Like Saints Row IV, the 2008 survival horror video game Silent Hill: Homecoming ran into some trouble with the Australian authorities when it was first released. Homecoming focuses on the tale of ex-soldier Alex Shepherd, who returns to find his hometown unrecognizable and his beloved younger brother missing. As he investigates his brother's disappearance and the shadowy cult that might be responsible, things get pretty scary — and entirely too graphic for any kid to see.

Silent Hill: Homecoming offers players all the terror of a blockbuster horror movie: blood, gore, dismembered corpses, decapitations, torture, and even graphic sexual content. The Australian ratings board told developers Double Helix Games to rack off with that nonsense if they wanted to sell the game there, and the devs dutifully complied, censoring some of the most graphic parts in order to land an MA15+ rating. However, even toning down the gore wasn't enough for the German classification board, who ordered that all imported copies of the game be confiscated and destroyed.

Heavy Rain is a real downer

Unless you want to pay for your child's therapy for the next 20 years, don't let them watch you play Heavy Rain. This 2010 interactive action adventure lets you learn about and track down the brutal Origami Killer, a serial killer who drowns his victims in the rain. While the gameplay style is more of a family-friendly interactive puzzle, the plot of Heavy Rain is definitely NOT appropriate for kids. There's lots of graphic violence, sex, profanity, and drug use — but those aspects aren't what makes Heavy Rain such a bad idea to play around your kids. Did we mention that all of the Origami Killer's victims are children?

This game is just extremely dark from start to finish, and even though there are more than 20 possible outcomes based on your actions during the game, only one of them is positive. The other endings will likely leave you (and anyone watching you play) depressed for days.

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is adorably age-inappropriate

Speaking of depression, let's talk about the popular roguelike dungeon crawler The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth. This indie title got its start in 2011 as a Flash game, quickly gaining acclaim and earning a full release for consoles and PC. The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth takes the Biblical tale of Isaac and gives it an extremely dark twist. In the game, young Isaac has been stripped naked and locked in the basement by his deranged and abusive mother. He sets out to explore the maze of passages and find a way to escape her clutches.

The randomized corridors and rooms of The Binding of Isaac teem with enemies that offer some intense and enjoyable gameplay while staying only mildly gory thanks to the cartoonish graphics. However, younger kids might be pretty traumatized when they eventually realize that poor Isaac was put in this dungeon by his own mother and left with nothing but his tears to protect him from the monsters. Obviously, the biggest monster of them all is Isaac's mother, who tries to kill him as he faces her in the final battle. If you have little ones, you'll probably want to wait until they're a bit older to teach them the ways of fighting The Bloat.

Surely you only play HuniePop for the puzzles

Unless you're a PC gamer who frequents Steam's adult-only category, you've probably never heard of HuniePop. One part puzzle game, one part pornography, HuniePop looks a bit like a Bejeweled knock-off at first glance — except for the large-breasted women standing next to the game board. HuniePop is a tile-matching puzzle game with a built-in dating simulator. All your potential hookups in the game love collecting those little puzzle tiles; take her on a date and you have to match up a set number of them to give to her before time runs out. You also can earn "Hunie" currency, which you use to buy your dates gifts and take your relationship to the next level.

If you have enough successful dates in a row, you advance to the final "bedroom game" round. You can probably imagine what the prize is for winning. Although HuniePop comes in both uncensored and censored versions, you definitely don't want your kids watching you play either one.

Hatred is not for the faint of heart, or strong of heart, or really anyone

If you're a misanthrope with some deep-seated rage for humanity and a passion for extremely violent video games, then Hatred might just be the game you've been looking for. This 2015 isometric twin-stick shoot 'em up features a psychopathic main character ("The Antagonist"), who decides he's had enough with the rotting carcass of this planet and the "human worms" who feast on it. Loaded for bear, he starts a mass-killing spree in New York City and then embarks to commit genocide on a massive scale.

His motives are left up to interpretation, but Hatred is extremely disturbing even without giving the main character a real backstory or plot. The game even encourages you to show no mercy for the people you encounter along the way: the only way to recover health is by brutally executing those you've incapacitated. Not surprisingly, Hatred has caused quite a bit of controversy since its release. The game was initially pulled by Steam before being re-added to the Greenlight platform, and the CEO/animator of Hatred faced allegations that he holds neo-Nazi and anti-Islamic beliefs. Even if you enjoy indulging your inner sociopath by playing Hatred every once in a while, definitely make sure your kids aren't around to see you laugh gleefully as you murder innocent civilians.

Games with loot boxes

When it comes to gaming with your kids, you should avoid any games that sell loot boxes. You get these virtual treasure chests by playing long hours until you earn one, or by purchasing them for real money. There's just one catch: you don't know what's inside. A loot box could contain an amazingly rare item, but it most likely doesn't. Your chances of scoring big time don't get any better when you strike out, either. In many popular games, you can open as many of these consumable mystery items as you want with just the press of a button (and your linked credit card). A loot box is kind of like a slot machine with no guaranteed payouts or regulations.

Titles featuring loot boxes (like Overwatch, FIFA 17, and Star Wars: Battlefront II) have made worldwide news as officials debate whether to make these mystery item microtransactions illegal. Like gambling, loot boxes can cause major addiction problems for some. Just ask this guy, who spent over $17,000 on in-game purchases in only three years. In the hands of a child with no impulse control, a loot box addiction could spell certain disaster for your wallet — not to mention the possible gambling addiction problems it could cause for your child later in life. If you can't resist indulging in a loot box yourself every now and then, just make sure you aren't buying and opening them when young and impressionable minds are watching.