8-bit fatalities show what really happens when Mario’s boot meets Goomba’s head

“Just because you didn’t see Pac-man violently tearing into the ghosts with his jaws, or Mario smashing in the brains of a goomba, that’s what I knew was happening,” says Steven Lefcourt of his art project, 8-Bit Fatalities, which brings a gritty, gory realism to those seemingly non-violent videogame confrontations of pixels past.

“The idea behind the project stems from growing up at an arcade, and my eventual love affair with Mortal Kombat,” explains Lefcourt. “Before Mortal Kombat, violence in video games was largely unheard of or ignored because of its extreme pixelized simplicity.”

But that didn’t mean it wasn’t happening, as explored in these rather graphic tableaux from Pac-Man, Super Mario Bros., Final Fantasy, Kirby, Dig Dug and Kid Icarus. The old school really knew how to f*ck shit up.