Bit of a controversial header there, but I believe every word of it. This comes from a news report on ABC on-line with the header “German gunman a ‘keen shoot-em-up gamer’” which says within the report “”We seized his computer yesterday evening and analysed it… On it are games that are typical for someone carrying out a mass shooting,” [Police Chief] Mr Michelfelder said.”
Sorry, what? Games that are typical for someone carrying out a mass shooting? It’s quite obvious what type of games he’s talking about. the “Shoot-em-up” games which are very popular. Take for example, the games available for multiplayer on 3FL – a gaming site which I visit due to its association with my ISP. We have:
- Battlefield 1942 – a “3D World War II First Person Shooter”
- Call of Duty – also based in World War II
- Call of Duty 4 – based in the “near future”
- Call of Duty: World at War – based in World War II
- Counter-Strike: Source – Tactical Firstperson shooters
- Day of Defeat – Team based multiplayer First person shooter
- Enemy Territory Pro – Free Multiplayer FPS based on the Wolfenstein games
- Left 4 Dead – where you are one of four survivors fighting off hordes of zombies
- Team Fortress 2 – FPS video game, slightly more cartoony than the other games mentioned
- Team Fortress Classic
- Trackmania Nations Forever – A Racing game
- Tribes 2 – a sci-fi FPS
- Warsow – a multiplayer competitive FPS game
As you can see, only one game that is not a “Shoot-em-up” as the media would have us believe, though to be fair, there are many games here which I would not describe as shoot-em-up. Many of these games require skill, timing, patience, accuracy, and covertness, and are not the jump in and hold the trigger down type of game. However, the media would have us believe that any game of this type is the type of game that a mass-murderer would have, and lead the public into making the assumption that these games breed killers.
This is an outright lie, and should not be even promoted as a thought.
There are millions of gamers around the world who play First Person Shooters as their preferred games. Back in February 2008, Playfuls.com reported that 1.2 million copies of the FPS Unreal Tournament 3 had been sold for both PC and PS3, and this was just prior to the release of this game in Europe. So of course, you can expect more sales from Europe, and with the recent update and Titan Pack, Steam was offering a sale on this game, so you would expect even more sales just recently.
So we have millions of people that play FPS games. Yet, only a very small minority of these gamers ever do something outside of the game. It wouldn’t reach 1%. It probably doesn’t even reach 0.01% of all gamers.
Now I’m not saying that what this guy in Germany did was right. It’s a shocking thing, and I wish that it never happened. And I’m not going to say that FPS games may have played a minor part. We will never know for sure. However, the reason that most FPS players don’t go on massacres is because they are mature enough, and well enough in the head to understand that IT’S JUST A GAME. We do it to relax, we do it to entertain. I love gaming, and though I’m not very good at them, I really enjoy first person shooters. However, I could never hold a real gun – I’m a pacifist at heart. And I’m sure that the majority of gamers will never go on a massacre, and will be just as disgusted and appalled by this tragedy as anyone else.
The fact of the matter is that there were other factors in this guys life that lead to him committing such an atrocity. There were factors in his life that we may not know, things happening in his brain that he may have shared with no-one. It’s a shame that he felt this was the only way to solve these issues, that he couldn’t see another way, but gamers should not get blamed for this.
As Christians, we should be praying for the families of all involved, working tirelessly with those at risk individuals, and caring for and loving everyone that we meet, showing them that there is more to life and that it’s worth living.