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All That Gore Gets in the Way of Gameplay

Wired: Barely 15 minutes into the new Wolverine videogame, I am ankle-deep in carnage. I have filleted soldiers straight up the center, like fish; I have spun in a pirouette of death, decapitating anyone and everyone an arms'-breadth away. And I've grabbed enemies by the neck, hoisting them aloft and stabbing them repeatedly - crick, crick, crick - right through their rib cages. Eeeyikes.

Does grisly violence like this make action games more fun? For years, I assumed the free market had answered that question with a resounding "yes." If shoot-'em-up games were insanely gory, it was, I figured, because developers were simply giving their hardcore young-dude audience what it wanted. Violence sells because violence works: It's crucial to creating a sense of dastardly fun. Right?

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