Violent video games

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Violent video games are video games that portray horrific virtual violence. Research suggests that teenagers playing these games may become desensitized to violent and criminal acts.[1][2] In a particular study specifically children who were diagnosed with neurotic behavior and predisposition to aggression reacted to violent stimuli brought by video games, though not all of them showed aggressive behavior as a consequence.[3]

Examples of violent video games include:

  • Grand Theft Auto (series) -- The series, which now spans ten games, is considered a "sandbox" game where a player can roam around a virtual city at will. The player is able to obtain many different types of weapons, murder anyone they encounter including other criminals and prostitutes, innocent bystanders, and even police officers. One of the games also included a modification that allowed a player to engage in graphic sexual acts in the game; however this was not made for the public and was found long after the original release.
  • Doom and Quake are first person shooter games wherein a player roams around various levels killing various demonic creatures. While not appearing very violent compared to more recent FPS games, the games have been described as murder simulators and were blamed as inspiration for the Columbine Massacre as well as other school shootings.
  • Postal 2: Apocalypse Weekend (M-rated) -- The ads for this first-person shooter boast that new weapons will enable you "to hack your enemies to meaty bits!" It involves a game character who commits violent acts against unarmed civilians. Other features in the Postal series include: urinating on people to make them vomit in disgust, using cats as shotgun silencers, and playing fetch with dogs using human heads.
  • The Punisher (M-rated) -- Game player is able to jam knives into victims' sternums and pull up to increase the damage, cut off heads, ram a character's open mouth onto a curb, run a character over with a forklift, rip a character's arms off with an industrial hook, and set a character on fire in an electric chair.
  • Resident Evil (series) (M-rated) -- Includes chainsaw decapitations and impalements, and zombies and other monsters ripping off other characters' throats and biting off their heads. A promotional chainsaw shaped controller was released with Resident Evil 4 for the Nintendo Game Cube.
  • Manhunt (M-rated) -- Game player's character is James Earl Cash, a convicted serial killer facing execution. The execution is ordered to be faked so that a character named "The Director" can use Cash as a star in a series of snuff films. As the Cash character kills other characters, by suffocating them with a plastic bag, slicing them up with a chainsaw, shooting them point blank with a nail gun, stabbing them in the eyeballs with a glass shard, or beheading them with a cleaver, The Director makes sexually vulgar comments. The game has two difficulty settings: fetish and hardcore.
  • Fortnite (Teen-rated) A "battle royale" first person shooter where a player is placed on an island with 99 other players. The point of the game, as with any "battle royale" game, is to "kill" the other players, and become the last man standing. The game uses a sort of arcade-style of graphics, but the object is still to kill the other players, which can be slightly graphical. Of course, voice and text chat can also be used abusively.
  • God of War (M-rated) -- Game features disembowelment, mouth-stabbing, eye-gouging, severed limbs, and human sacrifice.
  • Silent Hill 1-4 -- large portions of these games involve roaming around decaying buildings and beating hideously malformed humanoid monsters to death with blunt instruments.
  • Condemned—Requires the player to bludgeon NPC's to death.

The Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit declared this to be free speech and struck down a Minnesota law that prohibited minors from purchasing or renting video games bearing a "Mature" or "Adult Only" rating.[4]

See also


  4. Entm't Software Ass'n v. Swanson, 2008 U.S. App. LEXIS 5634 (8th Cir. Mar. 17, 2008).