The Oslo bombing and shootings are an undoubted tragedy. But to call Anders Behring Breivik’s manifesto anything less than the plagiarised rant of a madman — and even worse — to use it to try and reverse recent R18+ game announcements — is nothing but opportunism and lazy journalism. But sure enough, the Australian Christian Lobby is back at it, and mainstream media is set to debate the link with video games all week.
Moral panic draws eyeballs and it gets clicks. But here’s the reality.
Breivik was yet another 32 year old who played WoW, and happened to use visiting guilds as an excuse when travelling. That’s a seriously tenuous link to games right there. Seriously, he could have said he was a tourist. A student. A Travelling Wilbury. But check out Google News — you’ll see reports saying WoW was part of his “training”. Huh?
More serious is his rant that CoD: Modern Warfare 2 is a “training-simulation than anything else.” As my colleague Mark Serrels said over at Kotaku: right, and Breivik is also completely and utterly insane. You don’t ban alcohol for everybody because it’s tragically the leading cause of death for Australian teenagers. You don’t over react and start banning cosplay (Breivik liked costumes as you can see above), and you don’t over react and start banning games.
Sydney Morning Herald polls fanning hysteria with loaded questions like “Do you think video games should allow people to slaughter innocent civilians?” don’t help, either.
I definitely wouldn’t suggest that we start attacking all right-wing Christians — but there seems to be a stronger link between Breivik and religious fundamentalism than with video games. Yet the far-right Lobby groups are quick to point fingers. Just saying.