Hottest Video Games Of 2012: How Violent Did They Get?

By Brandy Shaul , Updated May 10, 2013 04:19 PM EDT

It's safe to say that plenty of politicians, and other non-video-game-playing adults have written off the industry as nothing but a pool of smut and violence, but how violent really is this industry that players love?

It might come as a surprise to some, especially those politicians that look to outlaw games with violent themes, or those that are convinced violence in video games causes violent acts in the real world, but 25 of the top 50 games of 2012 can be considered non-violent and therefore family friendly.

While the year's most popular game, Activision's Call of Duty Black Ops 2, is a game made with the single goal of killing as many digital humans as possible, the second most popular game, FIFA Soccer 13, is the polar opposite. The game sold over 10 million copies in 2012, and contains no violent themes or even adult language in its soundtrack. Including FIFA Soccer 13, six of the top 50 games were sports titles that had no specific content warnings for consumers.

According to an infographic published by the Guardian, six of the top 10 games are non-violent, or in the case of Just Dance 4 (the number six game of 2012) contain lyrics that might be inappropriate for minors under the age of 10-years-old. Other popular games include Pokemon Black 2 and Pokemon White 2, Kinect Adventures, Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, Skylanders: Giants and Mario Kart Wii.

The farthest any of these games go is to display "Cartoon Violence," likely similar to that found in cartoons which many children watch on TV everyday.

While grenade launchers and machine guns, or drug use and adult language are definitely themes to steer children away from, most all of these topics are unique to the same handful of games in the top 50: Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, Assassin's Creed 3, Halo 4, Hitman: Absolution, and a few others.

Sure, these select games are extremely violent, with Hitman: Absolution in particular rewarding players for their creative ways of killing their opponents, but the stats can't lie: the list of the top 50 video games of 2012 contained just as many family-friendly titles as it did violent ones. Perhaps the industry isn't as far gone as many would like to think.

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