The popular violence in video games debate rises again after a recent string of gun crime attacks in the US, but what’s more surprising is the number of franchises named which typically remain a fair distance from the fray. UK newspaper The Guardian has featured 50 of the best-selling video games of 2012 and pitted them against each other in a chart showing varying levels of violence in gameplay.
Joining the battlefield are popular Nintendo franchises such as Mario Kart, Animal Crossing, Super Mario 3D Land and Wii Sports Resort amongst others. The official ESRB rating gives them an ‘E’ for everyone, but they have underlying levels of ‘cartoon violence’ with a pinch of ‘comic mischief’. According to the chart only 32 per cent of the 50 listed titles contained no violence while 38 per cent were listed as ‘E’ by the ESRB, and 38 per cent contained realistic firearms. If ‘cartoon violence’ is excluded, just over half of the games listed carry a violent label. Of course, The Guardian is clearly underlining the core violence that exists in video games, but is slipping a few bananas behind your vehicle in Mario Kart a step too far?