Some video games over the years have really pushed the envelope when it comes to violence
Violence and video games kind of go hand-in-hand these days.
For those of us that grew up gaming, we likely have fond memories of tearing apart our foes in Mortal Kombat, or murdering police and innocent bystanders in Grand Theft Auto. As a result of gaming's often grotesque violence, video games have garnered a lousy reputation in certain circles.
The twice-impeached former President Trump once condemned violent video games for their "role" in creating a "glorification of violence in our society." The American Academy of Pediatrics' Council on Communications and Media wrote a policy statement that criticized the violence in video games and claimed children's "exposure" to "violence in media" led to substantial health and developmental risks.
By no means should violent video games be blamed for the overwhelming (gun) violence in our society, but there have been a handful of games over the years that have definitely pushed the limits of what we deem socially acceptable. Here are the most violent video games that might have gone too far.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Modern Warfare 2 was one of the highest-grossing video games of all time, and for good reason. The game's groundbreaking multiplayer format would go on to define the series for the rest of time, but there was one aspect of MW2's solo venture that many believed to be just too much.
Infinity Ward prided itself on using Modern Warfare 2 to give the series a brutal authenticity, and the game's campaign would often recreate realistic combat tragedies to give the game a more hardened feel. With that said, the game's optional level "No Russian" is still widely debated to this day.
In it, the player controls an undercover CIA agent, who heads to a local airport to commit a mass shooting. Again, the level is optional, but players who take on the level will engage in some of the most brutal and realistic violence ever seen in video games. Armed with an LMG, players mow down as many civilians as they can, the question being: If you were an actual undercover operative, how much would you participate in order to maintain your cover?
Yes, this is just a video game — but it is a game that children played. Putting children in the role of a terrorist seems a bit like overkill, no?
While this idea has since been toyed around with to excruciating extents since the release of Postal, the 1997 video game was one of the first third-person games that put players in the role of a mass shooter. The game actively encouraged mass murder, rewarding players with points and upgrades for how much mayhem, murder, and destruction they caused. The screaming victims and over-the-top gore led to this game being banned around the world. The worst part is that they made two more Postal games after this.
Mortal Kombat 11
A game that prides itself on being grotesque and unnecessarily gory, Mortal Kombat has a longstanding tradition of showcasing some of the most sickening violence in video game history. If anything, with enhanced graphics and technological advances, the game has gotten even more violent over the years.
The game was met with so much controversy that Mortal Kombat kickstarted the congressional hearing that led to the creation of the ESRB rating system. To try and put the game's over-the-top gore into words would be impossible, as the Fatalities in particular just need to be seen to be believed. Whether you loathe gratuitous violence or are indifferent to it, those with a weak stomach should avoid the Mortal Kombat series.
The official sequel to Doom, Doom Eternal was not only a major upgrade in terms of graphics and gameplay but in gratuitous violence. While the violence seen against the alien enemies is all rather animated and not nearly as realistic as the bloodshed in games like Mortal Kombat, the graphic hand-to-hand combat can be jarring.
Aliens' limbs get snapped with a satisfying crack and eyeballs get plucked out with bloody results, all while the aliens gurgle and scream their way to a horrifying death. Again, it's all done rather playfully, but overall can still be intense at times.
Rockstar Games has quite an affinity for pushing the envelope. After all, the Grand Theft Auto games are grotesque enough to warrant a spot on this list. But the violence in Manhunt challenged perceptions of what was acceptable..
Players star as James Earl Cash, a death row inmate, who finds himself trapped in a number of twisted snuff films that require him to murder gang members in gruesome ways. Basically, the more brutal the death, the better you do in the eyes of the film's producer, Lionel Starkweather. In turn, the violence was so gruesome that Germany banned the game entirely. A substantial amount of controversy also hung over the game's equally violent sequel, as ESRB refused to slap on anything less than an "Adults Only" rating.
There is no other game where you can choke out a guy with fiber wire, shove his corpse in a closet, and take his clothes as a disguise. Hitman may be the tamest game on this list, but the acts performed in this game are still dark and sinister when thought about too deeply. Exploring different levels, the player stars as Agent 47, a registered hitman who is assigned to murder multiple people.
Grand Theft Auto V
Grand Theft Auto V
As mentioned before, all the GTA entries deserve a place on this list, but Rockstar Game's fifth entry to the Grand Theft Auto series experiments with gruesome torture in one scene in particular, as a character gets electrocuted, waterboarded, and much more.
Advocacy groups protested the scene, which was ultimately included in the game anyway. This is, of course, in addition to all the other tactless murder and mayhem you can commit, such as shooting cops in the face or beating hookers to death.
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