We all know that games like Grand Theft Auto and Gears of War are incredibly violent but as the 8-Bit Fatality project graphically illustrates, gamers have been inflicting horrific acts of digital brutality since the early days of the classic coin-ops.
Blood and guts are a gamer’s meat and potatoes. As technology has improved over the years, so has our ability to accurately and explicitly portray acts of unimaginable mayhem. Ours is a hobby in which a stupidly oversized assault rifle isn’t enough; we need a chainsaw attached to it. Rising alongside the body count is concern that this endless on-screen massacre is somehow warping us, desensitizing our children and turning our citizenry into murderous, slack-jawed zombies who desire nothing more than an excuse to kill everything we see.
But is it really all that new? Is the explosion in violence unprecedented, or has it just been brought into a sharper focus? Consider what actually happens when Mario jumps on the head of a Goomba; do you think the Goomba simply steps aside out of deference to the hero? And then there’s the great arcade stand-up Dig Dug in which, when you get right down to brass tacks, you ram a hose up your enemy’s ass and pump him full of air until he explodes. I don’t recall seeing that in Saint’s Row.
“Just because you didn’t see Pac-Man violently tearing into the ghosts with his jaws, or Mario smashing in the brains of a Goomba, that’s what I knew was happening,” TastyPaints, aka Steven Lefcourt, wrote on his Flickr page. “I decided to show everyone just what I imagined was happening when these little blocky, pixelized abstractions… came into contact with each other, but in a much more visceral, and gory way than could ever be shown with limited graphical systems.”
Other games featured in the series include Pac-Man, Final Fantasy 1 and Pokemon. Bear witness to the true horror of all that pixelated cruelty right here.