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Violent gaming debates reignited by Sandy Hook tragedy

Tuesday, 18 December 2012 00:11 GMT By Brenna Hillier

It’s hard to know what to say in the wake of the appalling loss of seven adults and 20 children in a shooting spree in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, but there’s no denying that violence in games is back in the mainstream media spotlight.

I feel like I can’t ignore these headlines from around the gaming press, but it seems disrespectful to the victims of this tragedy to post multiple articles as I normally would. Instead, I’ve collated a number of stories related to the massacre below.

Shooter Adam Lanza’s interest in games has been cited by many mainstream publications as somehow explanatory or motivational of his bizarre act of mass violence. Destructoid found a particularly egregious example in which the Express said Lanza’s favourite game was “a shockingly violent fantasy war game called Dynasty Warriors which is thought to have given him inspiration to act on his darkest thoughts”.

Polygon highlighted a saner response from the Washington Post, which cites actual facts in pointing out there is no correlation between national spend on games and national incidence of firearm crime.

Also on Polygon, we learn that a group of gamers has called for a “24 hour online ceasefire” – not because of any perceived link between shooter games and real world violence, but as a show of support, sympathy and solidarity for all effected by this genuine horror.

Finally, notorious anti-games campaigner Jack Thompson is back in the spotlight. GamePolitics reports that the former Florida attorney, now disbarred, left a voice message with Entertainment Consumers Association president Hal Halpin, noting that Thompson had “tried to prevent” such events.

The ECA responded with an extended statement on the matter.

“Regarding media requests for a statement about what role violent media (movies, music, games, etc.) has played, I’d simply and respectfully point to the lack of evidence to support any causal link,” Halpin said.

As I’m personally deeply uncomfortable with the thought of leveraging this weekend’s events for traffic, I’ll be updating this article with any further reports of note which surface today.

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19 Comments

  1. Gheritt White

    Terrific article, really great – thanks for writing it.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. absolutezero

    If Jim Sterling can hold himself back from giving that man anymore publicity then I sure hope you can too. It gives me the creeps knowing that even though he has no credability left and was ground into the dirt he still gets media attention. As soon as the recent events took place he was sniffing around the usual sites trying to get himself back into the spotlight.

    I know the news needs to be reported and all that but Jack Thompson being a skeezy bastard is not news.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. SlayerGT

    At my Christmas party over the weekend one of my co workers, who knows my interest in games, expressed to me that he felt violent video games where at fault in conjunction with this tragedy. I’ve had these conversations so much with many family members and friends in the past the only thing I could say to him was, “are you worried I’ll show up to work one day with intent to harm someone?” He said “no” to which replied “why not?” He said, “cause you’re a morally good guy.” I was like, “well shit man there you go.” I told him I felt that, why it’d be nice to have something to blame that could easily be fixed, I think the obvious problem is bad wiring. Some people are just crazy.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. SlayerGT

    @2 I agree about Thompson.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. uomoartificiale

    @3 what do you mean with “I told him I felt that, why it’d be nice to have something to blame that could easily be fixed, I think the obvious problem is bad wiring. Some people are just crazy.”?

    Ok, I get what you’re saying about games, but don’t tell you don’t see a causal link between the dimension of this tragedy and the gun culture and gun legislation in place in the USA. Some people are just crazy, and may harm someone, but how can they kill 20 innocents if they are not armed to the teeth? Consider if this crazy person could even get a knife: 20 children? is that even possible?

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Telepathic.Geometry

    Personally, I’d like to think that the sort of maniac that can kill his own mother and then slaughter a bunch of little kids is not the product of the gaming world. And I also think that the likes of Thompson leveraging this tragedy as a springboard for their campaign is despicable. :/

    #6 2 years ago
  7. mentl

    blaming the games not the movies or the war that they cause ??!!

    #7 2 years ago
  8. SlayerGT

    @5 I meant that there’s no “switch” that someone can flip i.e. banning violent video games, that would keep such tragedies from happening. Personally I think, just like music, comic books, and movies before them..video games are the current scapegoats.

    Also, I’d rather not get into a gun control conversation here..

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Cobra951

    When you have a pen full of sheep, and you allow any random wolf to wander in unopposed, the result will be slaughter every time. The pen needs guard dogs on duty at all times to remove such risk. Taming or defanging all wolves is not possible. Why anyone would propose it baffles me.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. uomoartificiale

    @8 I agree with you and respect that you don’t want to discuss about gun-control, especially in this comment section. I think us europeans (left or right wingers, marxist and liberals, coservatives or moderates) view the issue as completely non-political, just a matter of basic common sense. I get though that this is not the place for such a discussion.
    I just found a little bit unsettling a certain trend in your comment. Let me put it this way: arts and culture, as strong as their message can be, are the antidote of such tragedies. In the best case they provide a reflexion on the violence in society, in the worst they are a valve to vent someone’s inside demons.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. SlayerGT

    @10 forgive me but I’m not sure I completely understand what you mean. Like, it can bring about the best..or the worst? If that’s what you mean I agree.

    And its no biggie about gun control. That just opens an entirely different and HUGE can of worms. A more serious topic in my mind then that of video “games” which I don’t take seriously. Nor do I think they should be in any way other than art, entertainment, or toys.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. GwynbleiddiuM

    Every time a crazy shit like this happens, immediately violence in gaming comes to attention. This is insulting, not only to those who have lost their loved ones in such an atrocious tragedy but everyone else involved with computer and video games in any way. It’s demeaning and ridiculous. The fault is not with the gaming or films or music industry, the fault is with the government that allows easy access to fire arms to everyone because it is part of the constitutional rights that system provides. Since the beginning of time men used all sort of weapons to kill each other for various reasons and it goes way before films and games and books and music. Public access to firearms in my country is non-existence, yet you hear people still get their hands on firearms to kill each other, it’s not as tragic as what happened in Sandy Hook, but it happens nonetheless. Those who are motivated enough to go on a killing spree, they find the means and tools to their ends. Adam Lanza, whatever his motives were I’m sure they go beyond violence in video games. It is pathetic, it’s tragic, it’s horrific, but someone whom willingly kills more than 20 other human beings and then kills himself in the process clearly has issues beyond… way beyond violence in gaming, movies, musics, etc. Such a person, who kills his own mother, the mother who taught him to shoot. Pathetic…

    #12 2 years ago
  13. The Auracle

    The fact that Jack Thompson has weaselled his way back to the media platform to spout his crap is very telling about how convoluted and ridiculous this debate has become.

    More of a reason to switch on the PS3/Xbox 360/Wii U/PC and tune it all out, in my humble opinion.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. DrDamn

    @9
    What’s baffling is allowing wolves to arm themselves beyond reason in the first place.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. NeoSquall

    Hey, ‘Mmurica.

    - Ban civilian access to automatic weapons (machine guns, submachine guns, PDWs, automatic rifles and assault rifles);
    - Restrict civilian access to long guns (rifles, shotguns and carbines, including sport versions) to American citizens, who have to take a federal exam for the license, must be registered in a federal board and demonstrate they have a safe storage (a locked box, away from minors range, etc.) for both weapons and ammos;
    - Ban civilian access to knives with blades longer than 20cm (or 8 inches for those uneasy with SI measures) and other melee weapons like swords, bows and crossbows;
    - Criminally prosecute any offenders with full force.

    There you go, don’t need to thank me.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. NeoSquall

    And to hell with JT, I hope he gets what he wants soon, ie. to burn himself as a martyr (a useless one, of course) while trying to torch a GameStop.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. Da Man

    Uh, the guy was an insane psychopath.. he was no er, wolf.

    What is actually pathetic is how ‘gamers’, using all kinds of straw men, exploit articles like this to make internet know they don’t want their precious violent videogames to be taken away.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. silkvg247

    What are the chances that a 20 year old *wouldn’t* be playing video games?

    As usual human nature is to point the finger and blame something. It’s pathetic coming from a nation where everyone has the right to bear arms and refuses to give that “right” up, blissfully being ignorant to the fact that some people are simply just born with psychotic tendencies.

    Maybe until science develops a way to detect and cure said mental illnesses they shouldn’t be keeping guns in every household. Maybe.

    But no, instead there’s uproar that their rights are in peril, and let’s blame video games. Fucking retards.

    Ban video games or ban guns? It’s actually sadly ridiculous when you view it that way. One of them actually kills people.

    The above strong opinions in no way reflect my thoughts/feelings on the tragedy in general. I’m just tired of knee-jerk reactions and a blame culture, it’s like people lack the ability to think logically and it pisses me off.

    @17 I’m not threatened by this, I’m annoyed at the sheer idiocy of it. It’s disrespectful to the victims and gamers around the world. If someone dear to me was shot dead, I would be infuriated if the media put emphasis on the killer playing video games, rather than emphasis on why his degrading mental health wasn’t spotted and acted upon.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. uomoartificiale

    @11 I just wanted to say that videogames are not at fault not because they are not to be taken seriously or because there’s no easy way to connect such tragedies to any form of entertainment. I state exactly the contrary: videogames, as any other form of entertainment or art (some games are artistic expressions, some other clearly not), have to be taken seriously.
    Against those barbarian acts of violence and ignorance of human emotions, we can only oppose more fantasy, more thought, more ingenuity. Everything that foster this is the antidote against a violence in society. The proliferation of arts and entertainment has a positive effect so that tragedies like this won’t happen again in the future.

    #19 2 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    Jason Voorhees will arrive for Mortal Kombat X players in May, NetherRealm Studios announced today during the latest Kombat Kast. Jason will be shown for the first time on Monday, May 4 during a special Kombat Kast. According to EventHub which watched the livestream, the developer will also show off the character’s move and Variations. […]

  • The Witcher 3: Nvidia heads to Poland for a behind-the-scenes look – video

    A video for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has been released, taking you behind-the-scenes with CD Projekt RED. Nvidia’s GeForce crew went to the firm’s studio in Poland to talk with the game’s executive producer John Mamais, who provides a look at the PC version of the upcoming RPG. CD Projekt, according to the video […]

  • Microsoft notes decline in Xbox unit sales for Q3 FY15 to 1.6 million

    Microsoft reported its Q3 FY15 earnings today, citing growth in Xbox Live usage as one of the contributing factors to the firm’s reported revenue. However, the firm noted a decline in units sales for its Xbox consoles during the quarter. Microsoft Q3 2014 (yoy comparison) Microsoft Q1 fiscal 2015 Microsoft Q2 fiscal 2015 The firm […]

  • Powerplay is a new feature included in the Elite: Dangerous May update

    The next update for Elite: Dangerous is coming next month and it includes a new feature called Powerplay. According to Frontier Developments, Powerplay allows players to participate in an ongoing battle that “enhances every aspect” of the game. Players can become allies with a number of galactic Powers and guide their strategy, pursue objectives in […]

  • Facebook says it’s “too early” to discuss large-scale shipments of Oculus Rift

    Facebook has said it is “too early” to discuss large-scale shipments of Oculus Rift as the VR headset is still in the development stages. Speaking during a call to investors, Facebook CFO David Wehner said the company had nothing to announce regarding the amount of stock it expected to ship. “We have not announced any […]

  • Battlefield Hardline’s first patch and rental server program hits next week

    Battlefield Hardline’s first patch has a release date for both consoles and PC. PC & Console patch and RSP for Consoles coming April 28th. Fixes include TDM spawns and more: http://t.co/BZYJeomPlr pic.twitter.com/27TCiY8hmf — Battlefield (@Battlefield) April 23, 2015 The update will include fixes to Punkbuster, Nvidia DirectX drivers, TDM spawns, contains weapon balance tweaks and […]

  • Modders can now earn money through Steam Workshop starting today with Skyrim

    Valve has introduced a new functionality within Steam Workshop which will allow mod makers to earn money for their creations, starting with Skyrim. The update will allow content such as mods, items, or maps to be sold through Steam Workshop for titles which have the feature enabled. A new “streamlined process for listing” has been […]

  • Play Skyrim for free this weekend on Steam and take 75% off while you’re at it

    Skyrim is free this weekend on Steam providing wanna-be Dragonborns who have procrastinated on wetting their blades with Stormcloak blood the perfect opportunity to give the RPG a try. Head over to Steam and download the game and play for free until April 26 at 1am PDT. The game is also 75% off if you […]

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 “Ember” teaser video released ahead of full reveal

    Activision has released a Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 teaser video titled “Ember” and you can watch it right here. Here’s the video blurb: “In the next 50 years, technological advancements will lead us into a world where only those who risk going too far, will find out how far we can actually go.” […]

  • Dragon Age Keep update includes more customizability and control

    Bioware has updated Dragon Age Keep after listening to community feedback. The update includes more customization and control over heroes, world states, career and more. Players can now customize hero portraits or delete Dragon Age: Inquisition heroes from the Hero section. They can also remove playthrough states from the World State Manager and keep up […]

  • Here’s a look at some Conker community creations in Project Spark

    Conker’s Bug Reunion releases today, and below is a video showing some of the community creations you will be able to download using the creation pack. Project Spark is a free download on Xbox One and Windows 8.1, and you can download the Conker Creation Pack today. It contains 350 assets in order for users […]

  • Rainbow Six: Siege video shines spotlight on the British Counter Terrorist Unit

    Ubisoft has released a Rainbow Six: Siege video which gives you a look at the British Counter Terrorist Unit which features “the best of the Army, Navy, and Air Force.” The firm said that over the next few weeks it will introduce the public to each of the units in the game. Rainbow Six Siege […]

  • Mario Kart 8 DLC and Mewtwo for Super Smash Bros. headline eShop update in North America

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with an update and new DLC for Mario Kart 8 and the Mewtwo DLC for Super Smash Bros. Other highlights include Mario Kart DS on Wii U Virtual Console, the continuation of International StreetPass Week and more. Full update is below. Nintendo eShop Mario Kart […]

  • Square Enix host E3 2015 conference this year on June 16

    With Final Fantasy 15, Rise of the Tomb Raider and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided on the horizon, it should come as no surprise to learn that Square Enix will be hosting a dedicated E3 2015 conference this year. The presentation will take place Tuesday, June 16 at 9am PDT/12pm EDT/5pm UK. It will be broadcast […]

  • Final Fantasy 4: The After Years 3D remake releasing on Steam next month

    Final Fantasy 4: The After Years has been given a makeover and will be released on Steam of PC next month. You can now pre-order it on Steam and take 10% off for the time being. The game will be released on the digital service May 12 and will include trading cards and achievements. Thanks, […]

  • This Project Cars video shows off the racer’s multiplayer

    Project Cars developer Slightly Mad has released a new video giving you a look at the game’s multiplayer. The game is out next month, and if you would like to refresh yourself on the tracks included,  give this a look. While you are clicking links, here’s the minimum and recommended PC specifications which dropped last […]

  • Looks like Logitech is getting out of OEM mouse production business [Clarification]

    Logitech will no longer produce “low-end” mice, citing a decline in PC accessories. This story has been updated to include a clarification. According to a Reuters report, per MCV, the firm will instead focus on video accessories and streaming music, as its wireless Bluetooth speakers are now its best-selling product rage. This will help offset […]

  • Win! We have 1,000 Heroes of the Storm beta keys to give away

    Must have more MOBA? Win one of our 1,000 Heroes of the Storm beta keys and see if you’re more Blizzard than LoL. Can’t wait for June 2? Of course you can’t. We have 1,000 closed beta keys for Heroes of the Storm to give away this week, allowing you access before Blizzard’s MOBA goes […]

  • Xenoblade Chronicles X Nintendo Direct airs tomorrow, April 24

    A Nintendo Direct devoted entirely to Xenoblade Chronicles X will air this Friday, April 24. The video showcase will start at 11am PDT/2pm EDT/7pm UK. After the showcase, a new Nintendo Treehouse: Live presentation featuring the game will air. This is the second Xenoblace Chronicles X Nintendo Direct, but the first in English. The first […]

  • Blizzard will have 500 game stations set up at gamescom 2015

    Blizzard is heading to gamescom 2015 in August and it will have 500 game stations set up for attendees to get their hands on five of its titles. The developer will be set up in Hall 7 and those who stop by will be able to get hands-on with the latest content for Heroes of […]

  • PS4 price cut to £299 in UK

    Sony has dropped the price of the PS4 in the UK. For a limited time only, you can grab the console for £299.99 from Argos, Game, Tesco and Very. Go to Amazon.co.uk and you’ll get it for £289. You’ve only got until April 28, then it goes back up to £349. Go, go, go. For […]

  • Mad Max: first ever gameplay footage revealed

    Today, we get to finally take our first look at gameplay from Mad Max. Avalanche and Warner Bros. have shown off the first gameplay trailer for Mad Max today. The trailer below offers a look at melee combat, car combat, customisation and much more. Give it a watch below: There are a few new screenshots […]

  • Overlord: Fellowship of Evil has four-player co-op like we figured

    Codemasters has pulled the veil back on the next Overlord game, and its a four-player co-op game called Overlord: Fellowship of Evil. Rhianna Pratchett is back to write the story. The game may be co-op at its core, but it can still be played single-player. Each of the four playable character have strengths and weaknesses, […]

  • Update now available for Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, Pokemon X and Y

    Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire along with Pokemon X and Y are being updated by Nintendo to fix a few bugs and in-game text. There’s also the possibility of a few hacks and exploits being fixed. Per Nintendo Life (via Serebii), both patches are 250-270 blocks in size, and it’s a mandatory update which […]

  • Side-scrolling cover shooter Not a Hero gets a demo

    Not a Hero, the upcoming game from OlliOlli developer Roll7, has received a demo. The demo for Not a Hero was made available today on Steam. In the game, you play as Steve, the campaign manager for BunnyLord. A time-travelling rabbit who’s running for mayor of London. Think this is an absurd premise? This trailer […]

  • You have until April 30 to export your Green Day: Rock Band tracks to Rock Band 3

    Harmonix has announced that those looking to export their song collection from Green Day: Rock Band into Rock Band 3 can only do so until the end of the month. April 30 will be the cutoff date for anyone who wants to export tracks from Green Day: Rock Band into their Rock Band 3 library, […]

  • Batman: Arkham Knight minimum, recommended, and ultra PC specs revealed

    Batman: Arkham Knight is looking like it’s going to be quite a taxing game. Nvidia has released a list of the minimum, recommended, and ultra PC requirements for Batman: Arkham Knight. Here’s the full thing: Minimum OS: Win 7 SP1, Win 8.1 (64-bit Operating System Required) Processor: Intel Core i5-750, 2.67 GHz | AMD Phenom […]

  • Bloodborne patch 1.03 is live, reduces loading times, fixes suspend/resume bugs, more

    Patch 1.03 is now live for Bloodborne. The patch reduces loading times, adds item descriptions to loading screens, and fixes other various bugs. From Software has pushed update 1.03 live to all Bloodborne owners. As promised, it reduces loading times by approximately 5 to 15 seconds. Another new addition is showing item descriptions instead of […]

  • Battlefield 4: first look at Community Map in action

    Get your first look at the map designed by the community of Battlefield 4. Battlefield 4′s community-designed map is a reality. DICE has recently updated CTE to include an early version of the map. It’s not fully textured as Westie is about to show you, but the layout is nearly finalised. Westie goes over the […]

  • Microsoft apologises for uploading misleading Witcher 3: Wild Hunt footage

    Xbox’s YouTube channel uploaded a video of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt yesterday that was captured from the PC build. The most recent gameplay video for the The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt appeared on the Xbox YouTube channel and showed a quest from the game’s opening section. A few minutes after it had gone live, […]

  • Assassin’s Creed creator’s new game is Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey

    Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey is the game Assassin’s Creed creator Patrice Desilets has been working on. Patrice Desilets has just announced that the next game his indie studio Panache Digital Games is making is called Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey. The announcement comes from Desilets’s keynote at the Reboot Develop event in Croatia. The trailer started […]

  • Bloodborne: Cathedral Ward closed door mystery solved

    The mystery of the locked door at the bottom of the Cathedral Ward in Bloodborne has been solved. Bloodborne, like earlier From Software games, is filled with doors that don’t open the first time you try them. Some will give you “locked” messages, others “does not open from this side”. Some of these will open […]

  • Assassin’s Creed creator Patrice Desilets is revealing his next game now [UPDATE: ended]

    Patrice Desilets, one of the original creators of Assassin’s Creed is hosting a presentation where he’s expected to talk about his next project. Patrice Desilets has emerged once again. This time he’s attending development conference in Croatia. Desilets is giving a live keynote and there’s a good chance we’re going to hear about his next […]

  • Destiny House of Wolves: everything you need to know about gear upgrades & The Reef

    Bungie revealed plenty of important details in last night’s Destiny stream. Let’s go over everything. Alex wants to make sure you don’t miss any of the information revealed yesterday. Most of it affects all Destiny players too, even those who don’t intend on buying House of Wolves. During the first stream, Bungie explained the armour […]

  • Mod-friendly Galactic Civilizations 3 will leave Steam Early Access in May

    Galactic Civilizations 3 will leave Steam Early Access next month for a full release, Stardok has announced. The developer called the game the “largest and most diverse strategy sandbox to date,” as players have a variety of tools such as diplomatic treaties to resource exchanges, and United Planets resolutions to hundreds of research directions for […]