In light of The Darkness 2’s release next week, we decided to take a look back and discuss some video games that are excessively violent. Granted, a lot of video games use graphic violence these days, so to cut down our list from 10,000 to 10, we’re only focusing on the games that use violence as a focal point, not a byproduct of the title’s story or action.
Essentially, these are the titles that keep Jack Thompson up at night.
As an added note, we’re not including horror games simply because they’re mostly all gory and violent. We hope those guidelines make sense, and now let’s get to the blood and guts...
Commercially, MadWorld was pretty much a failure. Sega built an incredibly violent game for the Wii and delivered a mature experience that was fun, stylistic and well designed... too bad it flopped. In this black and white world, blood is viciously red. Players are encouraged to kill with style throughout the experience, and the game just keeps getting more and more violent as it rolls on.
The original Twisted Metal was build with the ‘90s death metal kid in mind. The game is all about destroying everything around you in a destruction derby-type of event where missiles, chain guns, mines and other weapons are the norm. There are no sentimental moments here, but did you really expect that when the game’s mascot is a creepy looking clown? Yea, we didn’t think so.
God of War
Platform: PlayStation 2
Creator David Jaffe and Sony Santa Monica took Greek mythology and turned it on its head with the original God of War, a title that twisted the beauty and majesty of the Greek gods into back-stabbing abominations who not only accepted violence, but advocated it. Granted, God of War told a pretty spectacular story amidst all the chaos, but there’s no denying that a large draw for the game was showcasing excessive violence against a Greek backdrop.
The main reason the original Mortal Kombat was so popular was because you could rip your opponent’s spine right out of his/her body. Face it, Mortal Kombat didn’t get the attention it did because it was a mechanically perfect 2D fighter. Mortal Kombat will forever be known as one of the first games that made parents nervous their children were playing video games. That speaks volumes about how dependent MK was on the violence it championed.
Platforms: PlayStation 2, Xbox , PC
Manhunt was a game created by Rockstar in 2003. It was built entirely on principles of stealth, over-the-top violence and brutal gore. Sure, by today’s standards it might not look like the most enticing game, but nearly 10 years ago it was a damn thriller. It actually managed to stir up controversy with its violence. Heck, it was even connected to a murder in the UK.
The original Postal is considered one of the most controversial games ever released. The game follows a nameless main character, simply going by “Postal Dude,” who goes on a murdering rampage after supposedly being evicted from his home. That’s pretty much it. It’s a dude fed up with being screwed over by life and goes about taking it out on everyone around him, justifying his actions with a conspiracy that everyone in town has been infected with a “madness plague.” The game was all about violence and rewarded players for performing it. As you can probably guess, Postal was not a favorite among the P.T.A. circles. (Image above is from Postal 2)
It’s ironic that a game called Serious Sam is so outrageously over-the-top. There’s isn’t a whole lot of depth to the original Serious Sam; you pretty much just jump in and start blowing apart enemies ranging from rocket launcher-equipped soldiers to giant robots to suicide bombers without heads and bombs for hands. Yea, that last one definitely shows that Serious Sam was anything but serious, yet was perfectly content with being a showcase for blood, guts and carnage. And back in 2001, games like Serious Sam were frowned upon because parents look at them as adding to the problem, not helping it.
Platforms: PlayStation, Nintendo 64, DOS
Carmageddon was, literally, a game about brutally running over pedestrians. Well, actually, it was a racing game with a time-limit mechanic. But time was gained by crushing pedestrians, damaging other cars and collecting pick-ups. The whole thing was a death race. The game was banned in all sorts of countries while places like Germany forced the devs to cut people and add robots. Yep, robots.
Gears of War
Platforms: Xbox 360, PC
We’re going with the original Gears of War, here; not because we have a metric that gauges the violent nature of each game in the series, but because it was the first in the brand. Remember the first time you played the game? Yeah, it was nuts. Then you revved up your chainsaw gun and sliced something in half. The blood, the gore, the violence... it was all brand new to you with this original game. And, yes, we know that’s not Gears 1 in the pic above... it’s just damn brutal.
Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC
Bulletstorm came to the market with a regularly touted tag line: “Kill with skill.” The focus of the game was on killing enemies in creative ways. Those ways include throat shots, dick kicks, spikes, electricity, high falls and massive explosions. Players are literally challenged to figure out new ways to kill constantly, and they’re given less reward if they keep it too simple. It’s a game that makes violence inventive.