Atari 2600 | 1983 | Wizard Video
Modern equivalent: Silent Hill
And here it is ladies and gentlemen! The first decapitation ever recorded by the video game format (we think). Appearing, quite possibly, in the first survival horror game as well (though naturally, if you have any other suggestions, feel free to tell us of our failing in the comments).
Where the Atari 2600 game’s representations of Laurie Strode, Michael Myers and various kids in need of a rescuing are understandably a confused garble of pixels, its depiction of the mostly defenceless Laurie’s death is remarkably striking. Remarkably striking, and utterly hilarious. A head removal by way of popping as much as slicing, it gives the impression that Laurie’s pumpkin head lives counter is literal rather than figurative. Is her head really an over-ripe pumpkin ready to explode at the first tap of a pointy object? We like to think so.
Mega Drive/Genesis | 1988 | Razorsoft
Modern equivalent: True Crime
One of the first third-party games released on Sega’s 16-bit machine, Razorsoft’s bloody run-and-gun arrest ‘em up was a deliberate attempt to find out where Sega drew the line in terms of explicit content. It turns out that Sega drew the line in an abattoir using a dirty finger dipped in blood.
Using those special body-disintegrating bullets later popularised by ‘90s action game heroes, our technological policeman hero burst perp after perp all over the walls of many a grotty apartment building on his repetitive travels, but most dodgy of all was his ability to redecorate with the guts of any innocent child who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. And by “wrong place”, we essentially mean “nearby and asking for it”. Techno Cop: To protect and sever.
A scrolling arcade beat ‘em up has to be violent, but strip away all those cozy Mega Drive memories and what have you really got? A series of games which encourages you to brain people with lead pipes, stab them in the face with knives, beat women and steal valuables from the postal service. And you’re playing a cop?
It might sound like we’re over-exaggerating Streets of Rage’s shock value today, but back in the 16-bit heyday, the parents of one Sega-loving GamesRadar editor were genuinely not very happy at all.
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