This weekend, Anders Behring Breivik murdered 76 people in Oslo, Norway. He has written a “manifesto”, explaining his actions, and among the 1’500 pages of whatever bullshit a psychopathic zealot might discuss are several refrences to video games. He claims to have used Modern Warfare 2 as a “training simulation” for his operation, and WoW as an excuse to his friends and family for spending so much time in isolation. This is no doubt going to dig up the age-old misguided media-fuelled argument that videogames are responsible for making people go around killing people. I expect Jack Thompson will rear his ugly face soon enough, but I want to get in here right away: the man who carried out this attack is INSANE.
Even his own lawyer thinks so. Ever since Columbine, the media has tried to blame games for inspiring tragic events, blowing it completely out of proportion, and never being able to provide any tangible evidence to back it up. The fact that Breivik has openly admitted to enjoying games, so much as to say he used it as a way of training himself is troubling indeed, and will no doubt give the media the fuel to bring it up again, but let’s keep this in context shall we: this is a single, highly unstable man with a ridiculous agenda. He has a serious mental condition, the likes of which is found amongst only the rarest of people. When you consider that the millions of people who enjoy playing games such as Call of Duty on a regular basis do it purely as a way of harmless entertainment, you can understand why we get pretty pissed off when misguided ignoramuses start looking for a story where there is none.
You don’t need me to tell you there is a monumental difference between clicking a mouse button to simulate killing digital soldiers, and physically pulling the trigger of a real gun aimed at a fellow human being in real life. To expect that the former can be used to prepare yourself for the latter is only something a lunatic would say. And Breivik has proved exactly that.