The 11 Most Violent Video Games in History

Fanart of DOOM

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Blood, guts and gore are inherent to some video games. It could be a zombie hoard or a war-based first-person shooter. No matter what it is, violent video games have been around since the 8-bit era. Violence comes in countless forms, whether it’s calculated, strategic sniper shooting or downright disturbing body horror. 

You might be trying to avoid excess violence in your gaming experience. Alternatively, you’re trying to find your new favorite horror game to put you on the edge of your seat. No matter your motivation, these are the most well-known old and new titles to watch for, in no particular order.

Mortal Kombat

When you think of Mortal Kombat, the word “fatality” comes to mind for a reason. This classic fighting series started in the 1990s and was violent then. Each time you land a hit, blood sprays. Players frequently dismember opponents. The most graphic content is in each of the famous “fatality” sequences, involving breaking jaws and peeling away skin. Nothing compares to the death machine in Mortal Kombat X — if you know, you know. If you don’t, you might want to keep it that way.

The Last of Us Part II

TLOU has developed a cult following for its gripping storytelling and empathetic characters. What makes TLOU so violent is its realism. The bleakness of the circumstances combined with the stunning graphics makes for an experience that tugs at your heartstrings while unsettling your stomach. Combined with unpleasant screams, torture and sadism, this would test even the most stoic gamer.

MadWorld

Released for the Wii, MadWorld required players to wield the Wii Remote as a chainsaw, tearing up their opponents. Needless to say, this game received some controversial feedback from concerned parents. The Frank Miller-inspired experience embraced the hack-and-slash genre to the fullest but in a more comedic fashion.

Hotline Miami

This is a shocking addition to this list because if you have seen the graphic to Hotline Miami, you would be confused about how it could be so violent. It’s pixelated, flashing in happy, neon colors. However, plenty of violent implications in this game provide a violent contrast to its aesthetic. Players shoot, smack and stab enemies, but it doesn’t stop there. Once an enemy is down, players can perform additional violent acts, like slitting throats. Don’t let the graphics fool you — this is a rough one.

DOOM Series

DOOM is gritty and bloody. The types of violence range between each of the installments, but it ranges from flying body parts to brutal displays of dead bodies. DOOM is a survival-horror series at its core, so it makes sense these gory scenes permeate every corner.

God of War Series

You play the game’s namesake, Kratos, who ravages those who stand in his way. There are plenty of monsters players eliminate, whether by carrying around the skulls of the unfortunate or crushing others under heavy boulders. The fantasy setting allows players to separate the violence from reality easily, but there is still plenty of blood to show for Kratos’s efforts.

Hatred

This game is so violent it has earned itself a ban in Germany on a list of harmful media for youth. In this shooter, you play The Antagonist, which seems appropriate, given the goal is to kill as many people as possible. The game is a depressing display of violence, as the main character has given up on the world. The developer created the game as a commentary, though some feel it went too far.

Manhunt Series

If you’ve looked up violent video games, you would be hard-pressed not to hear about Manhunt. You play a character who is about to receive the death penalty but instead kills gang members. What makes it even more disturbing? A film director follows the character, using him to make snuff films. 

It is one of the most gratuitously violent games on the market — so much so that it isn’t even on the market in many countries. Germany has also banned this series, alongside Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Korea, and the UK. Some places lifted the ban, but the amount of opposition speaks for itself.

Postal 2

Here is another violent video game that has received national bans because of its intensely disturbing content. This 2003 first-person shooter isn’t just violent in the way of blood and gore — it takes things to a whole new level. There is animal cruelty and public humiliation. Numerous controversies surround whether or not it is meant to be satire or purely gruesome.

girl pointing finger guns in front of a space invaders display

Resident Evil Series

Another zombie game has to be featured, and it is none other than the legendary Resident Evil games. Rotting and burning flesh are inherent to the series. You are fighting for your life against deformed, horrific creatures. The horror amplifies with the monsters that look like they have tumors growing out of them.

Grand Theft Auto Series

GTA is a different brand of degenerate violence. There are constant shootouts in the middle of cities, hitting people with baseball bats and running people over at top speeds with your car. It isn’t gory horror like you’ll see in survival games, but its real-life setting makes it hit different. 

People have gotten unnecessarily creative with how warped the violence gets, becoming the subject of many upset parents. 

Honorable Mentions

There are plenty of other violent video games to varying degrees. Whether it’s bloody sword slashes or zombie brains, here are some honorable mentions:

  • Dying Light
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II
  • Bulletstorm
  • Until Dawn
  • Splatterhouse
  • Bioshock Infinite
  • Soldier of Fortune
  • Dead Space
  • Gears of War
  • Phantasmagoria
  • Quake series
  • The Darkness
  • Harvester

Did we miss any, or did some games have surprising bits and pieces of violence you didn’t anticipate? Let us know.

Violent Video Games — Cringe or Binge? 

We get it — violent video games are not for everyone. They could make you feel everything from sick to frightened to anything in between. Consider this a warning for the faint of heart or a recommendation if you’re looking for something genuinely haunting in a video game. Are you brave enough to venture into these worlds with these characters?


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