"Manhunt 2" Most Violent Game Yet?

Manhunt 2 image Rockstar Games

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

Critics say Manhunt 2 features extreme gore and gratuitous violence. As a mental patient on the run when you play, you're able to do everything from use a sickle to rip out a character's skull to repeatedly hack at a police officer with an axe.

As Scott Steinberg, a video game reviewer and author, demonstrated for CBS News, Manhunt 2 is more is more intense than other violent video games when it's played on Nintendo's Wii. Users must act out the violence.

"We're going to lure them into the open and 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.

We invited Dr. Chris Lucas, a child psychiatrist, 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."

But keep in mind Manhunt 2 is rated M for "mature," meaning no one under 17 should be allowed to play or buy it. And Steinberg argues there's a built-in adult fan base for the horror genre, as evidenced by this past weekend's box office numbers — the latest in the popular "Saw" series opened at No. 1.

They're not necessarily a sick and twisted crowd, but those who like getting a shiver up their spine every once in a while, certainly not children.

The content of Manhunt 2 should come as no surprise since it's made by the same company — Rockstar Games — that created the controversial "Grand Theft Auto" titles.

Manhunt 2 is available for the Sony Playstation 2, but since Nintendo is more known for its kid-friendly titles, there are those who say Nintendo wants an edgier reputation by allowing Manhunt 2 on its system. 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 arcade and let three 20-something-year-old gamers get their hands on it. They seemed to enjoy playing, but recoiled at the level of violence.

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

"This definitely takes the cake as probably the most violent thing I've played," Lucas said.

Despite the mature rating, much younger children often find a way to play games like Manhunt 2. And that concerns groups that advise parents on dealing with entertainment choices, like common sense media.

Researchers have looked at the effects these types of games have on children — including a study earlier this year at Iowa State University — but as yet there's no direct scientific link between playing violent games and acting out violent acts in real life. however, some studies have shown children reached heightened levels of short-term aggression.
  • Daniel Sieberg

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