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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.

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