Resident Evil 4. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. God of War. It might read like a list of Game of the Year nominees, but it's actually a sampling of games from Family Media Guide's recently released Top 10 Most Violent Video Games list.
Based on content assessments provided by sister company PSVratings, the parent watchdog group Family Media Guide released the list of titles on Thanksgiving, at the start of the holiday shopping season, stating that "this year, some of the most ultraviolent video games ever created are being made available." While the 10 titles were all a cut (and probably a kick, and perhaps a stabbing) above the rest in terms of violent content, the group did not put their top 10 in any specific order of odiousness.
Not everyone agrees with the appropriateness of the titles on the list. For instance, Australia's Office of Film and Literature Classification refused to classify 50 Cent: Bulletproof, effectively banning the game in the country and suggesting it isn't appropriate for anyone. 50 Cent himself, on the other hand, went on the record last week saying that parents could use his game as a teaching tool for their children.
The 10 games named by Family Media Guide and the reasons given for their inclusion are as follows:
Resident Evil 4--"Player is a Special Forces agent sent to recover the President's kidnapped daughter. During the first minutes of play, it's possible to find the corpse of a woman pinned up on a wall--by a pitchfork through her face."
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas--"Player is a young man working with gangs to gain respect. His mission includes murder, theft, and destruction on every imaginable level. Player recovers his health by visiting prostitutes then recovers funds by beating them to death and taking their money. Player can wreak as much havoc as he likes without progressing through the game's storyline."
God of War--"Player becomes a ruthless warrior, seeking revenge against the gods who tricked him into murdering his own family. Prisoners are burned alive and player can use 'finishing moves' to kill opponents, like tearing a victim in half."
NARC--"Player can choose between two narcotics agents attempting to take a dangerous drug off the streets and shut down the KRAK cartel while being subject to temptations including drugs and money. To enhance abilities, player takes drugs including pot, Quaaludes, ecstasy, LSD, and 'Liquid Soul'--which provides the ability to kick enemies' heads off."
Killer 7--"Player takes control of seven assassins who must combine skills to defeat a band of suicidal, monstrous terrorists. The game eventually escalates into a global conflict between the US and Japan. Player collects the blood of fallen victims to heal himself and must slit his own wrists to spray blood to find hidden passages."
The Warriors--"Based on a '70s action flick that set new standards for 'artistic violence,' a street gang battles its way across NYC in an attempt to reach its home turf. Player issues several commands to his gang, including 'mayhem,' which causes the gang to smash everything in sight."
50 Cent: Bulletproof--"Game is loosely based on the gangster lifestyle of rapper Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson. Player engages in gangster shootouts and loots the bodies of victims to buy new 50 Cent recordings and music videos."
Crime Life: Gang Wars--"Player is the leader of a ruthless street gang, spending time fighting, recruiting new gangsters, looting, and of course, more fighting. Player can roam the streets and fight or kill anyone in sight for no apparent reason."
Condemned: Criminal Origins--"Player is an FBI serial killer hunter in one of the first titles for the Xbox 360. Game emphasizes the use of melee weapons over firearms, allowing players to use virtually any part of their environment as a weapon. The next-generation graphics provide a new level of detail to various injuries, especially 'finishing moves.'"
True Crime: New York City--"Player is a NYC cop looking for information regarding the mysterious death of a friend. Player can plant evidence on civilians and shake them down to earn extra money."