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The Ten Greatest Moments in Video Game Violence

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Since the Illinois state government wants to ban violent video games because there seems to be nothing else important to them on Earth, it’s time to discuss exactly what they want to keep under wraps. What follows, in no particular order, are the 10 greatest moments of video game violence ever conceived. Each game/series will only be used once to prevent repetition (and since some of these games are so brutal, they would own the entire list). Pick a fave if you want, but you know each one of these are unforgettable and yet some idiots want this taken away from us. If you haven’t figured it out, this isn’t an article for the weak-stomached.

“Grand Theft Auto 3:” Sniping the Old Lady… Ok, you could pick just about any moment in “GTA” and run with it, but getting up on parking garage, taking aim at the old woman with the walker, and pulling the trigger to watch a spurt of blood fly out as she looks for her head is priceless.

“Resident Evil 4:” Decapitation by Chainsaw… For everything “RE4″ did to keep you playing, it’s even more fun to get killed. Letting the insane chainsaw-wielding madmen (or woman) lop your head off ever so slowly takes the cake. It’s amazing this one managed an “M” rating and didn’t get worse.

“Mortal Kombat 4:” Quan Chi Leg Rip… A lot of classics to choose from in this series to say the least. Here, Quan Chi rips your leg off (after tugging on it for a few seconds) and then proceeds to beat you with it. As any attempts to get up are tried, he takes another swing. If this list was in some sort of order, you could expect this one in the top two.

“Eternal Champions: Challenge from the Dark Side:” The Long Fall… Only in the Sega CD version, this one sends your opponent into the X-Ray machine in the background, warping them into some sort of pit. There they fall, being chopped up on 4 different levels by gears and saws. Their skin gets ripped off, bones break, and their skull is the only thing left by the time they reach the bottom (and even that disintegrates upon impact). It has to be one of the longest deaths in gaming history. Actually, view it here for yourself.

“Primal Rage:” Golden Shower… Banned from the Super Nintendo version after a mother complained (and obviously missed the rating on the box), this is a classic. Chaos knocks the opponent down, turns his back to the player, and then realizes he had too much to drink. He begins whizzing all over the downed opponent, disintegrating them in the process.

“Texas Chainsaw Massacre:” Head Lop… This is definitely one of the earliest examples of gaming gone wrong. Players control the always-popular Leatherface as he looks to take peoples heads off with a chainsaw. Successfully completing the task shows the victim running around, minus head, as a blood spurts out from what’s left of their body. Hilarity ensues.

“Doom:” Mancubus Death… Tough call but lets go with this one. Once pumped full of enough bullets, this fat disgusting blob collapses into a puddle of his innards, blubber and blood. The death of the Cacodemon is a close second.

“Way of the Warrior:” Lava Pit… The game may have been an absolute disaster gameplay wise for the 3DO, but this fatality probably sold the game. Knocking the player into the pool of lava surrounding the fight, the poor sap dunks in rather quietly. Then, in one of the better gaming scares of all time, the overcooked human jumps from the pool, splats against the “screen,” all his/her flesh barely hanging on.

“Killer Instinct:” Spinal Impale… Under appreciated for its violence, “KI” has some good ones. Spinal was really hard to use, though once mastered, you can pull off this one. Here, he takes a few swipes with his sword, which was plenty enough; then a giant spike pops out of his shield, penetrating the body in the best way possible.

“Prince of Persia:” Razor Blade Fall… A classic in animation, the original “POP” was really quite brutal. Missing a jump is all it took, falling into a pit of giant razor blade like things. Various body parts are sliced and diced (plus a few gallons of blood drape the blades) in a classic segment. All of three people probably finished the game because all they wanted to do was die.

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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.
  • http://dumpsterbust.blogspot.com Eric Berlin

    I’m kind of old school, so I like my video game violence simple a la making the dude’s head bleed in Play Station’s NHL ’94 (I think it is), as seen in Swingers.

  • http://dumpsterbust.blogspot.com Eric Berlin

    I’m kind of old school, so I like my video game violence simple a la making the dude’s head bleed in Play Station’s NHL ’94 (I think it is), as seen in Swingers.

  • http://www.breakingwindows.com Matt Paprocki

    That was NHL ’93 Eric, the last one to feature fighting for some time too. Yes, I’m a nerd to know that.

  • http://dumpsterbust.blogspot.com Eric Berlin

    That was an extremely popular game — in fact, I always felt something of a goon because I was never very good at it. I wonder if those NHL games are still as popular today with better graphics/features but less blood on the ice.

  • Keith Sikora

    Although it is totally lacking when it comes to gore, it nevertheless came as quite the welcome surprise when I found out that I could body slam Tim Couch in NFL Blitz 2000.

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    When you say Doom, do you mean Doom 3? I don’t recall the opponent you describe in the original, and my machine is far too feeble to run the latest version.

    If you mean the original Doom, I’d have to cast my vote for the deaths caused indirectly by exploding barrels of toxic waste. That was the most violently gory way I remember seeing any of the monsters die.

    You’re quite right about the violent deaths in Prince of Persia, the only other game in your list I ever got to play much. (Unless you mean the new version of that one, too, in which case I wouldn’t be able to comment on it.)

  • http://www.breakingwindows.com Matt Paprocki

    Nope, I mean the originals on both counts Victor. Too many ports to list a specific console. Check out this link for the Doom enemy:

    http://www.planetdoom.com/doom/characters/

    Wish I could find a .gif of him exploding, but I can’t.

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    I knew it! That’s a Doom II critter you’re talking about.

    No wonder I didn’t remember it. Only played Doom II a few times, so the monsters unique to that installment aren’t seared into my memory quite so permanently as the ones from the original.

    Thanks for the link. Brought back some memories from the old days, like having to boot from floppy disks to play games, because there was no way in hell Doom could co-exist with Windows for Workgroups 3.11 in 4 MB of RAM.

  • gonzo marx

    heh…the heart rip and spinal extraction from Mortal Kombat 1 set the standard for game gore…good times..

    try the Fun you can have in Painkiller sometimes…gibbing yer enemies and utilizing the physics engine to shoot the parts into smaller bits of gore brings the Art to new heights

    your milage may vary…

    Excelsior!

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    Subtle violence can be more disturbing than blood and gore.

    In Thief: The Dark Project you do a lot of sneaking around, as being detected can easily get you killed.

    To get past some guards, you have to knock them out with your trusty sap, then carry them to some dark corner so the other guards don’t see their unconscious buddy slumped on the floor and start hunting for you.

    In one of the early levels I feared the sapped guards might wake up, so I tried to carry them as far back toward the beginning of the level as I could. It turned out my fears were groundless, as they never woke up, not even when I accidentally dropped one into some deep water.

    Curious to see what would happen, I followed him into the water. After a few seconds, he still hadn’t regained consciousness, but he started to twitch and make desperate gulping, gasping noises. Then he stopped moving and sank.

    The memory of that drowned guard haunts me more than any of the zombies I saw get blown up by toxic waste barrels in Doom.

    Not surprisingly, I was horrified when I found out some people deliberately drown their little fake people when they play The Sims. Now there’s a game with some disturbing scenarios, all the more unsettling because people deliberately seek out ways to torment and kill their Sims. There’s nothing necessary about that. It’s not a shooter game full of monsters eager to kill your character.

  • http://dumpsterbust.blogspot.com Eric Berlin

    Subtle violence can be more disturbing than blood and gore.

    Sometimes violence, like other things I suppose, is in the eyes of the beholder. For example, Reservoir Dogs could be seen as a horrid gratuitous artless piece of garbage by some, and a slick, smart, fun, rollercoaster trip of a ride to others.

    I’m on the latter end of that one, by the way. All the same, I’d want to make sure that any youngster was of such an age/maturity level to appreciate it in the right light.

  • http://www.breakingwindows.com Matt Paprocki

    Remember folks, don’t feed the troll.

    Victor: You don’t know half the fun of the Sims. For instance, create room with no windows, bathroom, or furniture. Give them a phone to let them call for pizza though. While the pizza guys tries to get in, your Sim slowly goes insane from lack of sleep and hunger, knowing food is right outside the wall. Not to mention the lack of a bathroom brings good times…

  • Eric Olsen

    sorry we were so slow on cleaning this up Matt

  • gendo

    I’m partial to the ninja scene in MGS1 myself, mainly because it was done with such sheer artistry

  • http://www.getgot.ca aechris

    I loved slitting throats with CQC in Snake Eater. Hearing the poor bastards choking on their own blood while it sprays out of their neck, classic.

  • Alex

    I can’t believe you forgot Postal.

  • http://cneil.blogspot.com cneil

    Don’t forget Mutant League Football for the Sega Genesis!

  • http://www.google.com uncaringbear

    How can you have a top 10 list of violence/gore without mentioning Manhunt?

  • Robert Newell

    So violence in video games, good or bad. Personally I don’t care, I love a good gore game, plus anything to do with stealth kills, head explosions, and the all mighty fav. the cat silencer…What has this world come too when I can’t play a good and simple gore game, come on, if these political idiots get there way and ban our favorite games what next, ban the internet, or books even (which in some states and county’s they already have put bans on certain books not meaning porn I mean Literature). I think parents and the “board of whatever (political idiots)” should do some serious research on this subject and not just call out something that might have a MINOR affect on our youth. In my personal opinion it’s the parents fault for buying the violent game/s for the child and not take into account that the game is STRICTLY for MATURE audience. The other thing I think is funny is that there is a web site, and or reading material on the nature of certain games, like for instance the games official web site, and in most cases on the games official web site there’s a link to the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board), which gives you even more data about what the ratings of the game mean. Sorry for the rant and rave politicians, parents and other community leaders have the heads up an area that I wish not to say. Hope you had fun reading this…Oh and kill something…I mean on a video game not real life.

  • Kimheang Chea

    “Boom, HEAD SHOT!” You’ve got pawnage (owned)! These are the words you will hear when playing an online shooting game. Doom, Quake and Halo are some of the most popular violent video games out on the market. Video game violence has increased in intensity and productivity over the last few years. “10% of all video games on the market…is rated M for Mature…” (Hamilton 60). This is a concern that many parents face when watching over their children. Violence in video games is a trend that doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. The games themselves are becoming too addictive which has lead to many side effects including lowering the players’ IQ, giving them a false view of the world as a destructive place, and increasing their aggression. Parents need to watch over their children more closely when letting them play their video games.
    In your response on Blogcritics.org, you don’t care whether violence in video games is good or bad. You also stated that it’s the parents fault for letting their children play these sorts of games (Newell). I want to prove to you that violence in video games is appalling to kids and that parents need to keep a closer eye their children. They are the first line of defense against children. The Entertainment Software Rating Board, or ESRB, has put labels on all gaming software to tell parents what kinds of contents are in the game. “…NIMF found that only 40 percent of parents understand what ESRB rating means” (Irwin 152). It’s the job of the parent to know how to read these rating. For example, if parents consider their children teenagers and then buy them a game that the ESRB rate T for Teenager, than they should not be worried. Wrong! Parents need to understand that their definition of a teenager is not the same as the ESRB. They need to take an extra step by going on the ESRB website and make sure the content of that game is appropriate for their child.
    Playing video games will not increase one’s intelligence. Some gamers may argue that strategy games such as Command and Conquer Generals can increase the player’s IQ by making them develop many tactics to wipeout the opponent. I do agree with that statement, but first-person shooting games are a different story. The main objective of all shooting games is to point and shoot. There is very little thinking involved. Kids will spent hours playing these shooting games and ignore their school work. This is a sign of addiction and parents should watch out for it. A child that spends more time pressing buttons on the controller and less time writing will not be well-educated.
    To teach children that anybody they shoot will come back to life is a dangerous concept that video game violence teaches. Teenagers who have already grasped the concept of life and death are immune to this belief. They know that the world of video games is not parallel to their world. Children learn best though visual concepts. If a game teaches them that you can live after being shot, they will understand it and apply it. Another lesson that video games teaches is to aim for the head or known mostly as head shots. Shooting your enemy in the head is the fastest way to kill them. Video games such as Halo encouraged these actions by actually saying “Head Shot” out loud and have statistics at the end of the games to see which player has the most head shots. This concept is carved into many gamers’ heads, so that every time they hold a gun in a shooting game, they would automatically point it to their opponent’s head. This is a very dangerous lesson that kids have learned throughout playing violent video games. Kids who actually get a hold of the gun will know where to shoot. Accidents can be prevented through good parenting.
    “High levels of violent video games exposure have been linked to delinquency, fighting at school and during free play periods, and violent criminal behavior” (Anderson). Being a gamer yourself, you can appreciate a good shooting game but has it increase your aggression? Most gamers can agree that violent video games have no effect on them. I agree on this statement because I am also a gamer. It doesn’t matter how violent the games are, I am still a passive person. This fact made by Craig A. Anderson is only stating a small population of gamers. Gamers who express these aggressions are usually the one who dies without killing someone. This anger is released on the controller. It can go as far as hurting a family member or a friend. Gamers who do have a violent behavior will feed of these violent video games. Parents who don’t want their children beating up on their friends just shouldn’t buy violent video games.
    The most controversial video game in the news has been the Grand Theft Auto series. This game lets you do anything you want in a city from, beating up cops to running over old ladies with the car you’ve stolen. Grand Theft Auto is not the most violent game but it has brought out many concerning parents on the issue of video games being too violent. The governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, is trying to pass a bill that would make it a misdemeanor for retailer to sell mature games to kids under the age of seventeen (Hamilton 60). You’ve agreed that this is a stupid bill and I feel the same way (Newell).
    Don’t blame the retailers, blame the parents. They need to know that violent video games will cause addiction and in effect cause them to be dim-witted. Children need to grasp the concept of this world before they relay on a bloodshed world that violent video game presents. Finally, parents should know if their child has a history of violence before letting them play a violent video game. These games will only increase their violent behavior.

    Work Cited Page

    Anderson, Craig A. . “Violent Video Games: Myths,

    Facts, and Unanswered Questions.”

    Psychological Science Agenda. 05 Oct 2003.

    American Psychological Association. 27 Jul

    2006
    < http://www.apa.org/science/psa/sb
    anderson.html>.

    Hamilton, Anita. “Video Vigilantes: If parents

    don’t monitor kids’ access to violent and

    sexual games, should the states do it?.” Time

    10 Jan 2005: 60,63.

    Irwin, Mary J. “Rated V for violence: legislation

    against video games is ramping up.” PC

    Magazine 07 Mar 2006: 152-153.

    Newell, Robert. “Blogcritics.” [Weblog The Ten

    Greatest Moments in Video Game

    Violence] 21 Apr 2005. Blogcritics.org. 27

    Jul 2006

    < http://blogcritics.org/archives/2005/03/20/122600.php>.

  • http://www.breakingwindows.com Matt Paprocki

    “The games themselves are becoming too addictive which has lead to many side effects including lowering the players’ IQ, giving them a false view of the world as a destructive place, and increasing their aggression.”

    Now THIS is going to be fun. Lowering their IQ? Destrcutive place? Huh? Where did that come from? You can honestly sit there and type that line, believing every word of it? Watching CNN and seeing the situation in Israel wouldn’t have anything to do with the whole “destructive place” scenario, would it?

    “NIMF found that only 40 percent of parents understand what ESRB rating means””

    NIMF has been proven wrong countless times:

    http://blogcritics.org/archives/2005/11/30/011139.php

    There’s an ESRB link in the comments about how awful their stats were skewed too.

    “They need to take an extra step by going on the ESRB website and make sure the content of that game is appropriate for their child.”

    Do they now? I mean, they couldn’t look at the rating descriptors on the back of EVERY game box and get that same information? Hey, don’t let the truth get in the way of making your point.

    “There is very little thinking involved.”

    Play Ghost Recon, Rainbow Six, or an other tactical shooter which requires such deep planning, you’ll spend more time thinking how to attack than to attack. Not all FPSs are like that, but every game in both franchise is a best seller.

    “Kids will spent hours playing these shooting games and ignore their school work.”

    ‘And as I parent, feel helpless to stop them…’ – Jon Stewart

    “To teach children that anybody they shoot will come back to life is a dangerous concept that video game violence teaches.”

    I definitely haven’t heard this one in a while. Again, parental control which is what you’ve been pushing in your entire response is neccesary. Fantasy/reality. By age five, your kid should have the basic concept down. Any younger, and they probably shouldn’t have a game system.

    “Another lesson that video games teaches is to aim for the head or known mostly as head shots. Shooting your enemy in the head is the fastest way to kill them.”

    Yes, because shooting someone in the leg is far more effective in real life.

    “Kids who actually get a hold of the gun will know where to shoot.”

    Where, not how. Big difference. After playing for 20 years, nailing thousands of head shots, I still have no idea how to actually fire, hold, load, or work a real gun. Besides, I hope parents keep their plasma rifles locked away in case a kid gets a hold of them after an extended Halo session.

    “”High levels of violent video games exposure have been linked to delinquency, fighting at school and during free play periods, and violent criminal behavior” (Anderson).”

    I love those lines. There has NEVER been a long term study on the effect of gaming. All the studies done show short term effects, like when they’re playing the game. Once the console is off, there is nothing left. Couldn’t the same thing then logically be applied to say, high school football?

    “Gamers who express these aggressions are usually the one who dies without killing someone.”

    ???

    “Gamers who do have a violent behavior will feed of these violent video games. Parents who don’t want their children beating up on their friends just shouldn’t buy violent video games.”

    Obvsiouly they’re well adjusted in the first place, gaming or not.

    Even after reading your comment, I’m not ever sure where you stand. You flip around multiple times.

  • Guids13

    I aree. How could there be a top 10 list for most violent video games when Manhunt isnt on it?
    In manhunt you can cut off someones head with a machete then carry around the head and throw it at people. Not to mention that you can blow off your enimies faces with the shotgun. Imagine wat you could do with a Sniper Rifle… :)

  • Mike

    Dude Matt just tore that guy up!

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    You know what’s really detrimental to children? No paragraph breaks.

    “There is very little thinking involved.”

    Only if you are Leroy Jenkins.

  • nerdy thug

    you are all stupi video gane rock hard core if u say no suck a fat oneand go to hell!!!!!! =]