ByAlan Bradley, writer at
Alan Bradley is a freelance games journalist, vagabond, and collector of oddities. Find him @chapelzero on Twitter.
Alan Bradley

Life can be incredibly stressful, and video games are a fantastic outlet for some of that stress, especially when you can get together with some of your friends and vent your frustration (or, perhaps, pent up rage) on each other in harmless competition.

But while there are any number of games that let you, say, unleash nasty slap shots on one another, or compete in spirited fisticuffs, rare is the game that lets you brutally chainsaw your dearest loved one’s limbs off and them wield them as deadly weapons to beat the aforementioned loved ones into submission.

Escape, via entrails

Witness GUTS (Gory Ultimate Tournament Show), a game that lets you channel all your passive-aggressive, deeply concealed resentments into hideous, spectacular violence. There are few things in life as satisfying as hacking grandma’s virtual avatar into weaponized chunks and then bodily assaulting her with them until there is little left of her beyond a faint pink mist and the scent of disappointment.

Or, you know, maybe you have a slightly different relationship with your grandmother, I won’t pretend to know your business. Either way, she’ll think twice next time she’s about to scold you for raiding the cookie jar, amirite?

One of GUTS’ most prominent features, however, is how resilient the competitors on this future game show are. Despite losing precious limbs, they’ll continue battling to the bitter end, one-armed lumberjacks hacking away at legless priests, handless bikers continuing to savagely kick at their foes even as blood spurts in horrific geysers from their grievous wounds.

As satisfying as it is to use your opponent’s severed limbs against them, there’s something almost heroic about having one of your own arms hacked clean off your body and then lifting it in your other, intact hand and swinging it mightily to vanquish your foe. Controls and gameplay shift wildly as the dismemberment continues apace, adding a certain layer of strategy to how you manage your own violated avatar.

Good times with hyper-murder

The premise behind GUTS hyper-violence is amusingly dystopian, positing that an audience that’s exposed to terrible levels of brutal violence on television will feel some black part of their base, mammalian psyches appeased and will avoid real world violence.

The natural result is a future sports competition where competitors are pitted against each other in gory deathmatches, all broadcast in glorious hyper-definition to a global audience of riveted, horrified viewers.

While the backstory is obviously macabre, the comic presentation takes some of the teeth out of this futuristic horror-show construction, and GUTS manages to maintain a certain levity and twisted humor reminiscent of 90s gems like or the early games.

This black humor is expanded on in the backstories of GUTS various competitors, like the nature-loving wilderness advocate lumberjack who presumably had a change of heart at some point in his career and turned his axe into a plowshare, or some such nonsense.

Now he longs for vengeance on the creatures that have so abused the forest and its peaceful denizens for so many long decades, and is apparently willing to go to terrifying extremes to wreak a gory revenge for the outraged forest.

GUTS is the product of , a Brazilian studio whose stated aim is to “take as many people as possible into a flux state, while getting ourselves into that state while we develop it,” a state they describe as a sort of trance where daily concerns dissipate and a sort of pure focus on the present develops.

While that’s a lofty goal for a game like GUTS (or any game, for that matter), it certainly does provide a valuable emotional outlet for some of the same sort of homicidal urges the fictional reality show the game depicts was created to manage.


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