The 1993 U.S. Senate Hearings Held Over Video Game Violence Focused On Mortal Kombat And?
Answer: Night Trap
In the early 1990s, there was a bit of hysteria over violence in video games in the United States. So much so, in fact, that a United States Senate committee hearing was held to discuss the issue of video game violence, with two video games serving as the focal point of the hearing.
While nearly everyone remembers the press Mortal Kombat got as a result of the hearing, the other game scrutinized by the Senate isn’t as well recalled: Night Trap. The hearing was led by senators Joe Lieberman and Herb Kohl, and despite having never played the game, Lieberman led the charge against Night Trap, claiming that it glorified violence and promoted sexual aggression towards women.
Now, we’ll be the first to admit that Night Trap, an interactive movie game for the Sega CD system centered on a bunch of teenage girls trapped in a house full of vampiric beings (Augers), is packed to the rafters with bad acting, tacky jokes, and beautiful-women-in-distress themes (that came off as a bit sexist and dated even then, but even more so now). Despite the claims of the senators and the general public hysteria about video games, however, it didn’t actually have any graphic violence or sex scenes—and it certainly had nothing on Mortal Kombat’s finishing moves that involved, among other things, ripping your opponent’s heart out.
Image courtesy of SEGA.