"Manhunt 2:" Most Violent Game Yet?

Just in time for Halloween comes one of the scariest video games ever seen.

The objective: a mental patient tries to escape from a bizarre insane asylum using everything from a sickle to rip out a character's skull to a club to attack a police officer, CBS News science and technology correspondent Daniel Sieberg reports.

As Scott Steinberg, a video game reviewer and author, demonstrated for CBS News, the experience is even more intense when it's played on Nintendo's Wii, which gets players to act out the violence.

"We're going to lure them into the open and then chop them up," Steinberg explained while playing.

"The Wii has motion-sensing controls, and therefore to stab you're gonna mimic a stabbing motion, to swing a sledgehammer or a shovel you would do the same. Unfortunately it's probably not something you would want to have your kids get much practice on," Steinberg said.

That has parents' groups outraged, worried it will be played by teens and younger children.

"It is some of the most horrific, senselessly violent stuff you've ever seen," James Steyer, CEO of Common Sense Media, said.

CBS News invited Dr. Christopher Lucas, a child psychiatrist at New York University, to watch the game being played.

Sieberg asked him if this is a cause for worry for parents.

"I think we don't know at the moment, but I think this is the sort of game that is most likely to have an effect," he said. "Games that actually have players act out things in a physical way, are more likely to have one."

Researchers have not found a direct scientific link between playing violent video games and carrying out those acts in real life. But some studies have shown children who play certain video games become more aggressive and could become desensitized to violence.

The entertainment software rating board has rated "Manhunt 2" "M" for "mature," meaning no one under 17 should be allowed to play or buy it. It's made by the same company - Rockstar Games - that created the controversial and popular "Grand Theft Auto" titles.

What surprised industy watchers is that Nintendo, maker of the Wii, has allowed "Manhunt 2" to be played on its system. Nintendo has been known for its kid-friendly games, but now it will have an edgier reputation that may be good for business.

In a statement, Nintendo told CBS News: "Just as with movies, television, and books, different video games appeal to - and are appropriate for - different audiences."

Sieberg took "Manhunt 2" to a local gaming center and let three 20-something-year-old gamers get their hands on it. They enjoy playing, but even these hard-core gamers recoiled at the violent imagery.

"The game looks like they made it like this just to make it controversial, just to bring something up, because there's no reason for the amount of, the level of violence in the game," said Jackie Waldman.

"This definitely takes the cake as probably the most violent thing I've played," another player, Chris DeMaida, said.
  • Daniel Sieberg

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