WASHINGTON, DC–A coalition of video-game characters representing the nation's leading systems appeared before Congress Monday to decry "the pointless, deadly presence" of spinning blades in video-game landscapes.

A concerned Mario discusses the rotating fireball chains found throughout World 1-4 of Super Mario Bros.

"We are here to demand an end to the shockingly casual placement of dangerous blades in our places of work," said Tomb Raider star Lara Croft, who estimates that she has lost more than 600,000 lives to spinning, falling, swinging, and suddenly appearing blades this year alone. "This kind of thing has been going on since the days of Pitfall Harry, and it has got to stop."

Croft, flanked by Metal Gear's Solid Snake, Super Mario 64's Mario, and both soldiers from Contra, called upon Congress to revise OSHA laws to extend protection to the digitally rendered.

"From Pitfall to Bad Dudes Versus Dragon Ninja to Gauntlet, the deadly spinning blade has been with us so long, we no longer even question it," Croft said. "It's high time it was done away with once and for all."

Exacerbating the situation, Mario said, is the seemingly arbitrary placement of the hazards. "I could see why, if you're in a factory, you might find yourself jumping around on dangerous conveyor belts moving in different directions," he said. "But why would you have conveyor belts in a castle? Or in the middle of a forest? Nintendo and these other companies are always talking about how realistic their graphics are. Well, what's so realistic about killer turtles shooting out of clouds and such?"

Added Mario: "It's-a me, Mario!"

In addition to the standard spinning blade, the coalition is seeking restrictions on random whirling fireball chains, falling blocks, spike-pit traps, and invisible cross-corridor laser arrays.

Legislators listened attentively as the digitized characters told of their near-death encounters.

"Just the other day, I was running through the British Museum's Egyptology exhibit when a bunch of six-foot steel scythes suddenly burst out of a sarcophagus," Croft said. "Fortunately, I managed to leap out of the way at the last possible second. But a situation like that could have easily turned tragic."

"We're not so different from you," the blue-jacketed guy from Double Dragon said. "We just want to be left alone to do our jobs–saving princesses, finding lost treasures, destroying out-of-control nuclear-equipped robots. But it's nearly impossible to go about your daily life when you're living in constant fear of some giant, evil mushroom suddenly lunging at you from out of nowhere."

"I mean, would you put up with a row of whirling knives in the cereal aisle at Safeway?" the Double Dragon guy continued. "Of course not. Why, then, should Duke Nukem have to run through a corridor of them to get the health pack he needs need to survive?"

The characters said they intend to boycott their respective video games until Nintendo, Sega, Sony, and other manufacturers take "significant measures" to improve safety.

"In addition to mandatory warning lights and buzzers at least eight seconds before the appearance of a blade, spike, or other health hazard, we are calling for mapping features in all 3D-rendered environments, large flashing arrows to highlight such hidden objects as health and life bonuses, and, in the case of Sonic Team games, safety guardrails on all loops."

Added Sonic: "And would it kill you to compose better music? I almost didn't finish the jungle part on that last one."