News Article

Mario Kart, Wii Sports And Animal Crossing Named In Violent Games Rundown

Posted by Damien McFerran

UK newspaper investigates guns and violence in best-selling games

Critics have been saying that violent video games have a negative impact on children for decades, but recent fatal shootings in the US have resulted in renewed debate on the topic.

UK newspaper The Guardian has decided to investigate the issue by highlighting the violent content of the 50 best-selling games of 2012. As you might expect, titles like Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, Halo 4, Far Cry 3 and Max Payne 3 are all mentioned, but the report also calls out releases such as Mario Kart Wii, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Wii Sports, Mario Party 9 and New Super Mario Bros. Wii — not because they contain guns, but because they come with "Comic Mischief", "Cartoon Violence" and "Violence" warnings on their packaging, as specified by the ESRB.

To be fair to The Guardian, the report is intended to illustrate a point — a worrying number of video games boast violence which is based around the use of deadly weapons, such as guns and swords. However, by trying to insinuate that family-friendly Nintendo titles are somehow harbingers of senseless violence removes some of the bite from the argument — in our opinion, at least. Perhaps the blame lies with the ESRB and the often misleading ratings given to totally harmless titles?

As ever, let us know what you think about this topic by posting a comment.


From the web

User Comments (127)



Sylverstone said:

Oh no, comic mischief is causing all of our kids to go nuts, but not bad parenting! Adults are always right!




bezerker99 said:

Comic mischief? I take it the "critics" have never seen an episode of Tom & Jerry or Wile E. Coyote and The Road Runner.



Geonjaha said:

To anyone who actually believes this...educate yourselves. There is no credibility to any of these claims - and for the sake of anyone who enjoys playing video games its best to get rid of these ridiculous arguments as soon as possible. I recommend everyone watches this video regardless of what they believe - it wraps everything up pretty nicely.



Bulbousaur said:

Remember parents, don't let your child do anything. It may be considered violent and will cause your kids to become serial Goomba killers.



Wilford111 said:

Oh shoot. Better burn all my copies of Animal Crossing so I won't grow up to be a serial killer.



DreamyViridi said:

"Mario Kart" - I guess, what with one of the items being a bomb...
"Wii Sports" - Huh? Because of the comical boxing?
"Animal Crossing - ...What...?

They're not really making a good point when using these for examples. Video games causing violence? Where were they, 100s of years ago then, hmm? There was violence and crime then too, y'know. Also, this.



Shworange said:

So we can play Tetris and that's it. What about violent books? You know what? I think all violent books should go away, we need to round them all up and destroy them. I guess we should gather together and throw them all in a big bonfire. Lets call it a book burning. You can throw all media into it that contains any violent, sexual or subversive messages! Lets protect our kids from this evil and join hands in solidarity! We need a strong leader to motivate the crowd. One that will commit to executing this plan with an iron fist. I hear there's this German guy who is up to the task. I forget his name though. It's a funny name like Aldo or Alvin... Oh wait, Adolf! I was way off!

If we allow free speech, thought and art to be censored, we travel down a scary path...



BossBattles said:

Its amazing how politicians/government are the purveyors of mass death on a consistent basis but point the finger at videogames.
What about the message they send when they solve problems by bombing weddings overseas with drones?



C7_ said:

I'm curious on how many studies need to happen until people can stop pretending that this is the problem and actually address the core problem of the child's mental health.



Omarsonic9 said:

Which means..



Omarsonic9 said:

Which means..



real_gamer said:

I wonder if these people actually play the game themselves or at least look at a good bit of videos on Youtube before this article was publish or mention what was going on. Just by putting AC with COD something tells me no....



Grackler said:

To be fair, the chart linked doesn't seem to indicate the games are violent or that games generally cause violence. I can't watch the video (so correct me if I'm wrong), but I think saying they "called out" Nintendo games for violent content is probably exaggerating it a tad to make an issue out of it.

Also: "Source: VGChartz" OLOLOLOLOLOLOL! The figure there are tosh, especially for Europe. Really, a proper paper like The Grauniad should know better!



Shiryu said:

I can't count the amount of times I went out on a killing spree every time someone messes up my garden in "Animal Crossing". Don't even get me starting about the Blue Shell...



GiftedGimp said:

I will say for a extreme minority of people there will be cases where they do something in a game and then go and copy it in real life.
Its not just games though, this also applies to films, comic books and even books.
The problem isn't the game, film or whatever its the person involved. For someone to watch or play a game then to go out and copy what they've seen means that person had, probably undetected some sort of psychological issue to begin with.
Thing is the press automatically blame games for violence these days, in the 80's & 90's it was films, without taking into account other factors like up bringing, thier social enviroment etc.
Untill the day I read that someone killed another person while kart racing by throwing a turtle at them I will not accept that gaming is the only influence on one persons actions to another.
As I said, the act someone does may be inspired by what was in a game or on a film, but for them to even contemplating repeating what they have seen there has got to be numerous other factors involved.



sonicfan1373 said:

This made me chuckle. If people think Wii Sports, Mario Kart, and Animals Crossing are promoting violence, then as might as well they should lock up all their media and electronics and move into a cave. I mean by god Animal Crossing is just about as violent as The Waltons.



TheNintendOtaku said:

"Perhaps the blame lies with the ESRB and the often misleading ratings given to totally harmless titles?"

The problem isn't with how the ESRB works, but with how parents- or in this case, reporters- use it. The blurb on the box is handy for quick reference, but if you want to really understand the content of a game you need to visit their website for their comprehensive summaries of every game they rate.



The_Fox said:

You know, I'm pretty sure Animal Crossing is pretty violent but keeps it behind the scenes. What do you think happens when you fall behind in payments to a usurious raccoon with questionable connections?



Epic said:

Animal Crossing?
Oh boy they discovered that I tried to hit villagers with and axe and that I hitted with the bug net few villagers O_O



Nintenjoe64 said:

When a kid, who likes GTA, steals a car, takes up position on a hill and takes out 50 policemen, 100 civilians and then flies away in an RAF Harrier I might consider GTA to have been an influence on that person.

I'm sure the constant war on terror that's on the TV is far more influential on young minds when our TV and politicians are actively defending our soldiers killing people on the other side of the world and the news is far more graphic than something like GTA. The other thing that's stupid is the fact that if you take away all the fancy video game graphics, children will still imagine killing things in their head and play the most violent games using their imaginations.



AVahne said:

And? Everything on TV has violence except maybe Teletubbies. Why not go after TV? Or books? Books can be violent, too. Even some children's books. In the end, all this violence being done in real life comes down to bad parenting. Because let's face it, parenting in America gets worse every generation.



evanescent_hero said:


"Untill the day I read that someone killed another person while kart racing by throwing a turtle at them I will not accept that gaming is the only influence on one persons actions to another."

You have no idea how hard I laughed at that.



Sonic260 said:

Since they're so concerned with weapons, I"m surprised they didn't mention Kid Icarus Uprising...



dragon_rider said:

Hey Guardian, I have a phrase I'm sure you're well aware of.

"Sod off you bloody wankers! Why don't you piss off?"



GiftedGimp said:

@Koto Just about every Fairytale contians violence, before Disney rewrites them that is.
Violent media has been part of culture since man could draw cave paintings.

Rather than put blame on the state the society is in there's always been a scapegoat when it comes to violence or what ever else is socially unexceptable.
in the past its been Music & Movies, now its Games, and even further back in time Books were criticized for being a bad influence on society.



mikeyman64 said:

I don't remember one story about a videogame being the CAUSE of someone's violence. Maybe the fuel to push them further, but not until after they had already cracked...



HeroOfCybertron said:

Wait Animal Crossing is viloent? Is there something in this new Animal Crossing: New Leaf I'm not aware of?



Incognito_D said:


I agree - all the Guardian's article is doing is providing an overview of the 50 best selling games and their themes - violent or otherwise.
Everyone saying "HOW CAN ANIMAL CROSSING BE VIOLENT LOL XD" hasn't actually bothered to look at the article.



TwilightV said:

This is sad.

Edit: You can also hit your neighbors in AC with a bug catching net.



DarkKirby said:

Mainstream news media not doing proper research and using irrelevant examples to prove their point that guns are bad, violent video games (but not movies or TV shows) are bad, and government should step in and regulate how video games should be created and who they can sold to aside, there has been no conclusive research that shows playing violent video games leads to people being violent (other than research done by people who have set out to prove that violent video games do cause people to be violent). As with TV and movies, responsibility lies with the parents to teach their kids the difference between right and wrong, reality and fiction, and if they so choose, what their kids do to entertain themselves.



wober2 said:

jeez parents how much sheltering do you give your kids. I thought we were past the safe foam 90's playground days.



CoAndy said:

the Guardian aka we hate everything paper, whats next? Harvest Moon given an M Rating???



Dyl_73 said:

We had best stop our kids watching all tv then because they may spot something bad in a cartoon or even an advertisement.



Mike1 said:

Oh no, comic mischief! What ever shall we do? It's the parents faults. If you don't want your kid playing those types of games, don't buy them!



Gridatttack said:

Actually, I can agree with MKW. Just imagine...youre pwning the CPU in first place. You then get hit by a red shell. Then a green shell. You drop to 3rd place. Then someone squashes you with a mega mushroom. After you recover for it, you get hit by a lighting. Someone with a star hits you, and finally, someone with a bullet bill hits you too. You fell from 1st to 12th in an instant.

That is pretty frustrating, and the way the AI works on MKW makes it happen constantly



Midnight3DS said:

Often times people are just lemons, and parenting doesn't always influence an outcome one way or another. It's much more difficult today to shelter your kids from the muck than say, 50 years ago. Then, when parents do try and cut off their kids from internet, movies games, they're labeled as puritanical kooks or something.

There are no blanket, easy answers here. We definitely want government out of this area, but at the same time, we need to look at ourselves as a society, and realise there's a lot of criticism to go around.

Man, can't wait for New Leaf!



Peach64 said:

Um, it's not the Guardian applying those tags to the games. They just made some charts based on the 50 top selling games and labels putting on them by the ratings board. All those labels are on the back of the game boxes in the rating section, so don't go getting mad at the Guardian. It's not even close to an opinion piece, it's cold hard facts. They don't even say that violence in games is bad!

Glad to see at least a couple of people have actually read the article before making a comment!



Grackler said:

@Incognito_D @Peach64 I'm glad I'm not alone! I thought it might be in the video (at work, so can't watch it) and made it clear I didn't see that bit, but it would be a massive disappointment if all these commenters hadn't read it before writing long diatribes on how it proves the evils of the press...



Einherjar said:

Simple solution: Ban all children. Put them in isolated cages so that they may never...NEVER come in contact with anything that could end up beeing considered violent...picture that...a child with a spoon...oh the tragedies...innocent children falsly armed with such a lethal weapon...



Mickey said:




retro_player_22 said:

Why are they investigating fake stuff? Guns and violence in gaming stays in gaming, why bring them to the real world?



Peach64 said:


The video is great. It says at the start there is no evidence to link video game violence with real life violence, and it says again this is just a look at the ratings labels applied to the games. It then explains how video game violence comes in so many different forms, such as cartoony, comic and playful violence like the Nintendo games, fantasy violence such as Skyrim, and then unrealistic violence against humans such as Borderlands 2, all the way up to realistic violence in Black Ops 2.

They never suggest the games should be banned, or are bad for you or anything of the sort.

The irony of so many people flaming the article for not being properly researched, when they didn't even read it before writing their attack on it!



NintyMan said:

This is laughable! How does even Animal Crossing use the kind of violence that incites massacres and bullying? They must think kids really are stupid. This reminds me of when I read that Super Mario Bros. was considered violent back when it released because it featured jumping on turtles. Plus, there's been British tabloids that speculated about the Sandy Hook killer's alleged obsession of Call of Duty and Dynasty Warriors, despite no evidence whatsoever for the latter game.

It's a wonder they didn't look at Super Smash Bros. Brawl. That has a lot of weapons and violence, but it's cartoon violence, not realistic violence.

Once again, they pay so much attention to video games without caring to take a look at cartoons, TV, movies, and books. This is being biased. Plus, there are studies that show that the overwhelming majority of kids are not affected by violent games. I don't care for truly violent games, but there is a bias going on



Peach64 said:

@Dev Would you care to point out where in the article they suggest Animal Crossing has the kind of violence that incites massacres and bullying? Or even where they suggest any video can incite that? Because I can show you right where they say there's no known link to video game violence and real life violence.



bloodycelt said:

I should point out: Stomping someone to death in Mario is violent, it may not be realistic, but any game that presents the solution to the problem in the elimination of enemies is violent. To someone young enough without proper parenting, this can instill the belief that its easier to solve your problems by removing/defeating the obstacle. Compare this to a game like Sim City where the point of the game is to solve problems by building, or puzzle games like Tetris. ( I would however put MarioKart on the same scale as hockey and football, a physical sport... but still a sport, and I cannot comment on Animal Crossing. ) People seem to think that realistic violence incites violence, but all it really takes is for something/anything to instill the belief that hurting/killing others is how to achieve your goals.



Hunter-D said:

They show a good argument when it comes to making others aware of the increase in violent video games, but I think the study is a bit weak. Why just use the ESRB ratings alone? That's not nearly thorough enough. Especially when they're trying to look into the connections between video game violence and real life violence.

Clearly some of those games shouldn't be mentioned as it is. There are games that aren't violent, yet are rated to be 'comic mischief' and then there are games that are downright violent.



Grackler said:

After what @Peach64 said I got home and watched it...
You really need to look at the linked article and re-consider what you've put here. "However, by trying to insinuate that family-friendly Nintendo titles are somehow harbingers of senseless violence".
Where does that occur?
The video there also makes a point of highlighting the LACK of violence in Nintendo's sport games compared to the generic label applied, otherwise the games there are just the top 50 sellers of the year, in which Nintendo feature heavily.
I feel this is an incorrectly reported story: the last line makes sense, but the rest is off. Nowhere does "The Guardian" say anything about it's opinion of the violence in the games, and the selection is based on (probably poor, but regardless) sales data of the top 50 games and the labels the ERSB has attached to them. it is a gathering of facts. If I have misread this or missed a link to an opinion piece, please correct me!
But at the moment there's a screen of hoo-har and Guardian-bashing about something that isn't even the case, and just reading the above text (and not the link) is what has caused it.



AJWolfTill said:

To be fair this is only a chart of content, bot a slander piece.
Lol Zumba fitness is on it as well! Even people who have only played two or three games in their life could probably laugh that off.



HawkeyeWii said:

If you're going to point any fingers, point them at the COD and Battlefield franchises.



Elhijodelrio said:

nothing wrong with the violence in the video games if it's clearly marked rated M then there shouldn't be any controversy secondly there is something called v chip that is in televisions but there are also ways to block sayings from the machine that you have it's really boils down to parents doing a job of parenting rather than the Machine babysitting for them



Elhijodelrio said:

reality check if people are so worried about violent video games they should really check their self they need to be worried about violence outside their home and what's around them everyday trust me video games are the least of our worries



bro2dragons said:

Of all those games, Call of Duty and Battlefied, included, Mario Kart is the only one that makes sense in terms of the article.

THAT GAME will make anyone want to kill people.



NintendoPro64 said:

So Wii Sports, Mario Kart, and Animal Crossing our now being used as subjects in the already pointless research into gun violence via video games:


I don't know about you guys, but I'm:



Drobotic said:

OK,maybe Mario Kart.But Wii Sports?How in the world is that in any way violent?



andrea987 said:

I'm all against unnecessary and extreme violence in videogames (or any other form of entertainment), and I think if there is a chance, even slim, that someone could be badly influenced by it, it should be taken in consideration.
Having said that, the real question everyone should answer (to themselves) is: Why do I like to play those kind of games (and no, not talking about MK or AC)?



zoroarkrules25 said:

This is the stupidest thing i have ever seen, mario is violent when he fights evil doerrs? What's next saying police are bad people to? Animal crossing is far from violent so is mario kart. I guess they think that nascar is violent to.



andrea987 said:

I'm all against unnecessary and extreme violence in videogames (or any other form of entertainment), and I think if there is a chance, even slim, that someone could be badly influenced by it, it should be taken in consideration.
Having said that, the real question everyone should answer (to themselves) is: Why do I like to play those kind of games (and no, not talking about MK or AC)?



Skeet102 said:

Here is why the games are violent...
Mario Kart Wii: You are throwing bananas at people.
Animal Crossing: Animal abuse.
Wii Sports: Boxing.
Mario Party 9: Boo's stealing from people.
NSMB Wii: All those Gombas and Kopas.



bunnyking said:

This is the most ridiculous article ever, you might as well ban stories such as Cinderella and Snow White as well. The evil queen wants to eat Snow White's heart!



Zaphod_Beeblebrox said:

21st-century "journalism" at its finest. The only metric by which it is judged is advertising revenue. Nothing else matters.



Electricmastro said:

It's not the responsibilty of objects who choose to harm people, it's the responsibility of people who choose harm people.

"A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls." - Proverbs 25:28



demonta4 said:

Honestly, I think playing a violent game when you're mad is worse than actually shooting someone.I find video games an alternative to violence.



Chunky_Droid said:

When you put your mouse over half of the games it comes up with the fact there's no weapons in the game, including Mario Kart.

They need some more research in this if they want to be taken seriously.



Chunky_Droid said:

"Comic Mischief - Depictions or dialogue involving slapstick or suggestive humor"

So why are these games even listed? The Guardian can't even get its facts straight.



Spleetal said:

"What led you to a life of crime?" "You know I played too much animal crossing, and it all went downhill from there."



Grackler said:

I guess it's due to it been out of office hours, but since there's several of us down here pointing out the mis-information in the piece, I hope it's updated in the morning to reflect what the Guardian survey actually says.

These comments show that the article content has skewed people's view of the facts, so for the sake of journalist integrity, the data presented should be updated in the article, or the content justified (particularly the "trying to insinuate that family-friendly Nintendo titles are somehow harbingers of senseless violence" line). Come on NL!



KAHN said:

that's the thing though. guys, you have to remember that a lot of people involved in the media are ignorant and thick-headed (not you guys, NLife Staff :3). the best way to treat this is to just ignore it. the sting might remain for a couple minutes, but eventually this slap-in-the-face will go away.

regarding their list, i do think that it's odd they chose the most innocent of games to put on their list, aside from the obvious games of course. they'll put animal crossing on their list, but not Pokemon (which is essentially a game about abusing animals and making them fight for your own entertainment)? odd.



Aviator said:

It would be nice if people read the article on the Guardian than basing their thoughts on what NL wrote.



jacksayspurple said:

Let's not lie about it, The Guardian newspaper LOVES to kick up a fuss about pathetic and silly issues like this and pass it off as serious journalism. Anyone remember the time when they accused Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream of being racist? This is the most ridiculous, trashy, tabloid journalism, and just because it's been printed in a broadsheet newspaper it's treated as somehow noteworthy? Ignore it, I say. If anything, write to the editors of that ridiculous newspaper and mock the idiocy of its writers.



MadAdam81 said:

for the 5% of actual sickos who play games, violent games could give them some ideas, along with the infinitely more violent movies they watch and music they listen to, but it can also distract them from doing anything violent to people in real life.
The Columbine shooters made a Doom wad of their school, but they were violent before they did it, and use it as training, hence why they did their murders in a narrow field of view.



StarDust4Ever said:

But comic mishief is soooo awesome - many E rated games and virtually all E10s have this descriptor - where's the humour in playing a game if we can't have our comic mischief?

And murder is still murder, whether it's stomping goombas or gunning down zombies, right?

Wait a minute... I'll keep my Overalls for stomping Goombas and kicking Koopas; they can have their zombies, tanks, and machine guns!



Peach64 said:


Thanks for the pic, because this one sums up how I feel about you and 90% of these comments right now


The Guardian have not put together this list, it is the top 50 selling games in 2012. Ok? Nowhere do they say they think these games are violent, they say they have a label from the ESRB that says they feature violence, ok? Nowhere do they ever say that violent games are bad or should be banned. The video does a pretty good job of explaining the different categories of violent ratings the ESRB use too.

@zoroarkrules25 Now you're jumping to conclusions. They don't ever say that violence = evil. The only reason Animal Crossing and Mario Kart are on there is because the ESRB tells people they feature comic violence on the back of the boxes.

@bunnyking Please read the article. For a start, they make it quite clear this is just a break down of which ESRB labels the top selling games have. It's not the Guardian claiming the games are violent. The more important point is they are NOT suggesting anything be banned. They do no make any comments about violence in games being bad, or being linked to real life violence, so why do you flame them for doing that?

@Zaphod_Beeblebrox It pains me to say it but the journalism fail here is firmly at the feet of Nintendo Life. I can't imagine this article was written without reading The Guardian one, so I have to assume they purposefully mis-reported what the Guardian have said to stir up a posting frenzy. As some of us have been saying, the Guardian article does not contain opinions. It's a list of the top selling games of 2012, and which labels the ESRB gave those games. The Guardian did not pick the games, nor do they ever say violence is bad. They do a GREAT job of pointing out the different kinds of violent content labels from the ratings board.

@Chunky_Droid What facts is it getting wrong? It's a list of the top 50 selling games of 2012, and then shows which labels they received from the ESRB. It doesn't matter if the game received no violent content label at all, it's still in the top 50 selling games so will be on the list. The label you're referring to is 'realistic weapons' which MK definitely does not include.

@0SP_ZELDAiii You are another accusing people of being ignorant, but it's actually NLife and most of the comments that are ignorant here. They didn't 'choose' any games for their list. It's a list of the 50 top selling games of 2012. There's no opinion stated in the piece at all. Here's the the top 50 selling games, and here's what violent content labels the ESRB gave them. That's it! There is nothing ignorant about it at all. What's poor journalist is the write up from NLife that gives the impression that The Guardian have made a list of games they believe are violent. And Pokemon is on there, it's the 5th game on the list. Pretty easy to see if you'd read it.



whynot- said:

I'm srry...but I could not ignore the picture of mario jumping in front of a person with a gun like that. I had to click the link....



whynot- said:

Anyway, games like mario only have cartoon violence. For all those who agree with the fact that simple games like animal crossing and mario are bad influences, would YOU see a kid trying to jump on another kid? (.......I hope not)



Zombie_Barioth said:

Ita a pretty interesting article, but it doesn't really have much to do with the affect of video game violence on society. Its rather interesting that the majority of games are either rated E or M and the majority of them don't involve guns, but all it proves is most games involve some form of violence which is already pretty obvious.

If anything this just goes to show that you can't just go by the ratings on the back of the box, the context of it is just as if not more important. After all, if you have concerns about your child not understanding that what happens in Tom&Jerry or Loony Toons isn't real then you have much bigger problems than Saterday morning cartoons.



Ketchupcat said:

Kirby would have been a much better choice. He goes around consuming civilians and fashioning them into crude headgear!



NintendoPro64 said:

And this is how I feel about you 90% of the time:

Even if the video explains itself well, I still feel that using games like these weakens the strength of the argument. People just won't take it seriously...



MoldyClay87 said:

Anyone in this article whining about the violent game thing clearly didn't actually read the linked article, and I have to wonder if Nintendo Life really did either or if they really just wanted click bait.

The article never calls Mario Kart or Animal Crossing violent.

It's just a list of the top 50 2012 games (ACNL for Japan) and what their ESRB descriptions include.

That's the ONLY reason these games are mentioned.



Peach64 said:

@NintendoPro64 But what argument are they making? They say quite clearly here are the top 50 selling games and what ratings labels they have. People are seriously missing the point here. They're not saying those games are violent or bad or anything. Those games are on the list because they are in the top 50 sellers. So many people are writing angry comments for no reason at all. The worst part is people are accusing the guardian of not doing research... but they've not even looked at the article,



ToxieDogg said:

Really can't wait for The Daily Mail to pick up on this.

I can see the headline now...'Animal Crossing - BAN THIS SICK FILTH!'

@Reef7009 You couldn't be more wrong. You're confusing The Guardian with The Daily Mail and The Sun I think.



ZeroxGT said:

OMG people.... really... Read and check the article itself... it didn't say that they were evil and will be banned or pulled from the shelves... its just listing games that have some hint of violence in them.. mostly within the best sellers. I understand with this stupid trend of Politicians and whatnot trying to ban and protest against violent games is causing a serious uproar but this topic isn't towards that.... its nothing serious. Yes I am pissed that we have to deal with folks out there trying to ban and remove games with violence and whatnot. but again.. this article isn't even about that at all... So yeah... lets end it here and fight against the real dummies that are the root of our own rage.

Leave A Comment

Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...