20 Video Games Everyone Plays In Jail

It should come as no surprise to anyone in this country that there are people in jail. A pretty high percentage of the nation's population is or has been in a cell at one point or another. It's a pretty nutty statistic. Now, some might think it's silly to give inmates video games but when you want to incentivize someone to reform... games can work.

There are many jails around the world that offer gaming systems and the ability to purchase games via jail pay, in order to take a load off and escape (virtually) the jail for a while. Like it or not, here are a few of the games that seem to make the rounds in jails around the world!

20 Minecraft


In a sense, this is one of the most perfect games for a prison community. Why? Well, they can spend hours and hours mining and extracting resources (without actually being put into hard labor like the days of old), and they can spend even more hours building all manner of structures. It's a good time-waster.

19 Sonic The Hedgehog


This is a game that must get people fighting quite a lot, or at least smashing controllers a lot... if there are inmates with anger issues, which might be safe to assume in one way or another. Sonic is fun and a classic but it can easily become an overwhelmingly frustrating game.

18 Tony Hawk's Pro Skater

via youtube.com

This, while quite old and outdated as a skater game, has got to be one of the best on the list. Why? Just think about it. It's a sport but it's also kind of violent. There are many ways for Tony to get mangled in the game and there are so many goals in each level, it could take a whole jail sentence to clear it.

17 Tiger Woods


We cannot imagine just how this is a popular game in the jail system other than the fact that it is entirely PG and  safe. Though we are willing to bet there has been more than one inmate wishing they could just grab one of the clubs and start laying a beat down on the audience when a stroke goes wrong.

16 The Great Escape


This is just wonderfully ironic and makes us all smile a lot, that's for sure. There is something about allowing prisoners to play a game that is all about escaping from a giant prison camp that is sort of intriguing but also... a little concerning. Are they trying to give inmates ideas? Or just let them dream?

15 Resident Evil 5


This has got to be one of the most popular games that could ever hit a jail cell block. Even if it's in the communal TV room of a jail, everyone is going to get a kick out of blowing zombies away. This is one of those games that doesn't appear in a lot of prisons... for obvious gun-related reasons. If nothing else, its emphasis on co-op can build good communication skills.

14 Pimp My Ride


We suppose that if someone can't enjoy their car when they're on the inside, they can at least customize cool cars that they are not like to own for some considerable time (if at all.) The fact that this is a game that can be purchased with inmate income is kind of a sign of how dire the gaming situation in the clink is!

13 Pac-Man


Yet another classic... though we think that this game might end up making inmates a little nuttier than they likely were before they got settled into their very own cells. There is something brain-breaking about Pac-Man that just makes us think this game might start more fights than it dissuades.

12 NBA 2K12


There are a number of factors regarding the penal system in the States that lend credence to the fact that NBA and NFL are always going to be popular in cells across the country. First of all, sports are popular. Secondly, they allow some release of tension. And thirdly... well, some reasons just shouldn't be discussed.

11 Mega Man

via youtube.com

Why Mega Man? Well, for some jails, they have some pretty old and outdated consoles lying around. Of course, the fact that they have consoles at all is pretty awesome and they can't really complain in that regard. Especially when they have access as classic a masterpiece as Mega Man!

10 Mark Davis Pro Bass


We cannot imagine having to do deal with a game like this for years at a time and we hope that inmates have some sort of game rotation in the clink but if not, here's hoping that some inmates rehabilitate and become expert fishermen in their own right. Maybe they'll even get their own game in the future!

9 Madden NFL


Well, this is not a surprising one at all. Sports games are pretty well the easiest way to have a PG game that still, in some way, allows inmates to get a little bit of violence out of them. And who doesn't love running and hitting people while holding a ball? Of all the sports games, this has got to be easily one of the more popular ones in the States.

8 Jeopardy


If nothing else, at least inmates are getting some intellectual stimulation here. This could very well be a far more engaging way for prisoners to learn a whole lot of trivial stuff about the world on the outside. Who ever said that education wasn't fun, right!? We just hope there are 25 years worth of trivia in the game!

7 Hard Hitter Tennis


Well, we can't say that this is a particularly good game by any stretch of the imagination but we suppose the fact that inmates are allowed to play video games at all in certain jails must make them appreciate tennis way more. And they have the potential to see ladies in mini skirts...

6 Grand Theft Auto


Here is a very controversial one for a pretty good reason. the GTA series has been notorious when it comes to a whole lot of violence that (often) could easily be replicated in real life. That being said, there are some places where jail admin are of the mind that virtual aggression is a decent fix for actual violence.

5 Guitar Hero: Aerosmith


Well, if nothing else, we suppose that inmates could get a lot of funk out of Aerosmith and there has definitely got to be something said for therapy through music, so maybe getting a handle of Guitar Hero is actually sort of rehabilitating in addition to the incentive gaming program.

4 Forza Motorsport


We kind of understand this one well enough. Why wouldn't it be popular? It's already one of the best Xbox game series outside of jail so why not the same deal on the inside? And we are more than sure they just want to go fast and feel some sense of freedom for at least a little while, no?



This should be no surprise to anyone but it turns out that FIFA is one of the most popular jail games in the UK! It's not like we didn't already know that they are huge into soccer there and we guess when there isn't enough time to play a match out in the yard, they have to resort to game time inside as well.

2 Destiny


Destiny is certainly not the norm to look forward to if anyone if looking to end up in the clink anytime soon. Sure, there are those prisons and jails out there that will have far more modern gaming systems with a wider selection of games, but it's not usually beyond the PS2 or Xbox 360 level. It just so happens that, in England, some inmates can buy games like Destiny with their “salary.”

1 COD: Ghosts


This is actually a fairly limited game in the jail systems around the world, if we're entirely honest. It is not all that often that inmates manage to find themselves with some sort of violent video games. Typically, the rules is that the games have to be teen-rated or rated “E,” but there will always be those jails that just don't care.

Sources: Vice.com, Express.com, GameSpot.com, WinnipegSun.ca

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