In Midnight Club 2, a streetracing game, you drive along the streets of LA, Paris, and Tokyo and are free to crash into any obstacles you want, and that includes pedestrians as well. Doing so will, however, lower your speed.
In the game Carmageddon, you have to race on a very limited timer. The only ways of increasing your time is to go past checkpoints, destroy your competitors, or kill civilians. You would get bonus time if you killed them creatively (splatter bonus, anyone?). On top of that was the fact that winning the race casually is nearly impossible, because The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard.
There are three ways to actually win a Carmageddon race — either finish the laps first (boring/impossible), destroy every single competitor's car (what 99% of victories consist of), or run over every single pedestrian on the map. Keep in mind that these maps are the rough equivalent of four square miles and there are several hundred pedestrians.
Despite the stated goals for the level, Carmageddon may quickly become a sandbox once the player gets the hang of the basics or gives in and uses the built in cheats. Some examples of cruelty include the following:
Carmageddon 2 onward includes not only pedestrians, but also wildlife. Repeatedly crash through an elephant until the recorded crash sequence includes the sounds of metal tearing, flesh and bone crushing, and elephant trumpeting overlaying each other for an amazing noise. Execute this from an airborne, tumbling trajectory to produce a video with which you may impress and entertain your friends.
Pedestrians do not always explode on impact. If the pedestrian is not struck with enough force, it may lose a single limb, or even simply fall down and briefly spray a bit of blood around. Such hits are apparently cumulative. The game has a bonus for mutilating pedestrians without killing them.
Fill one of the hangars on the Airport Level with random, inanimate objects such as boarding ladders, sound barriers, private jets, and helicopters. Use the forklift, of course. Bait a competitor into pursuit in the direction of the hangar entrance. Make a clever turn or use the repair reset to get out of the competitor's way and activate the Pinball Physics special. Frame-rate dropping, error clipping, bouncing, exploding Hilarity Ensues.
Locate or otherwise gain the Suicidal Pedestrian special on a particularly pedestrian-heavy level. Hold very still, watch, and listen while the crazy fools charge the player's car and throw themselves against it while blood, limbs, and torsos fly. If the pedestrian is unfortunate enough to end up on top of the car, they will appear to hump the car until their bloody, limbless demise.
Mind you, the above involve effort. For a more laid back game, just locate a Pedestrian Electro-Bastard Ray and have your car automatically zap all nearby civilians with lightning. Carmageddon takes the “potential” out of Video Game Cruelty Potential.
Some of the older NASCAR titles had this. Especially the ones that let you turn around and drive backwards until you catch up to the field. Or just the ones that let you ram intentionally. And repeatedly.
EA Sports' NASCAR '98 had a code that allowed you to shoot lasers from the front of your car. Turn off cautions, park in a turn, and when the pack comes back around, let the fun begin! Win races by simple process of elimination!
Twisted Metal: Destroying Paris while Frère Jacques plays in the background on electric guitar? Hell yes.
In Indy Car Racing II, you can put the damage-rate of your car in indestructible-mode. Then disable yellow flags and the pace car. Then go racing. Now you can push off all the other cars and make them crash horribly. Often they will remain on the track after crashing. Especially on ovals, this has the wonderful and destructive result of other cars hitting them at full speed, causing massive, moving balls of wreckage that get hit over and over by other still functioning cars, scattering car parts all over the track (too bad they don't flip over). You can even turn around and take the track in reverse. If you time your head-on collisions well, you will launch the car you hit backwards. Often, it will then travel along the wall for a half to a full lap (going backwards) while totally ripping itself to pieces. Finally, it will come to a rest, or smash into some other cars that were still racing, causing more crashes. Then drive past all the wrecks until you're in the leading position. Now hit the race accelerator, and win the race!
The Burnout series gives us Crash Mode and Showtime, which consist of smashing up as much traffic as possible.
Burnout: Revenge introduced traffic checking, which allows you to smash vehicles out of your way.
In Flat Out and Flat Out 2, the ragdoll minigames usually consisted of you LAUNCHING the car's unfortunate driver out of the windshield and into bowling pins, a chainlink fence, flaming rings, etc. Combine this with falling long distances and landing on a metal beam and a disturbing crunching sound when one of your bones was surely broken for instant fun.