Breivik Testifies About Gaming, Press Ignores The Facts

By John Walker on April 19th, 2012 at 1:30 pm.

I can't bring myself to put his smug grinning face on the site.

It is inevitable that during the trial of Norwegian mass murderer, Anders Breivik, that the matter of videogaming will come up. Soon after the horrendous events I dug into what Breivik had actually said about gaming in his ghastly manifesto, and it was pretty much nothing of relevance. But with the press still not having found the next nasty to leap on, gaming is the scapegoat. It seems reasonable to point out how inaccurate this remains, and how attempting to shift the blame onto things uninvolved only makes it more likely that whatever led to Breivik’s state of mind will not be discovered. But now that Breivik has testified about how important playing WoW was to him, and his peculiar understanding of Modern Warfare 2, it’s all happening again.

It’s pretty relevant to note much of what the killer said in his opening statements, in which he described secret societies, battles for purity, global conspiracy, and refused to recognise the jurisdiction of the courts. Very few press outlets took his comments at face value nor reported them as fact, strangely enough, but rather pointed out that he was either mad, or trying to appear mad. Now he has told the courts that he played World Of Warcraft for apparently 16 hours a day for a year, and saw Modern Warfare 2 as a police-shooting simulator, and not only is the press at large taking it as fact, but most are twisting Breivik’s words to their own interests. Something has gone very wrong when the horror of his actions is being used to fuel irrelevant agenda.

Yesterday Britain’s Daily Telegraph spoke to Oslo University professor of sociology, Thomas Hylland Eriksen, who believes that one factor that “hasn’t sufficiently been taken into account” was Breivik’s so-called “fascination” with World Of Warcraft. Because Breivik likes order and doesn’t like chaos, erm, something something, it’s gaming’s fault.

The blurring leaps from gaming to the real world are pretty concerning when coming from a sociologist, especially when he’s suggesting Breivik does the same. Lazy editing by the Telegraph means that sentences that begins with a description of WoW end with talking about Breivik’s home-made Templar uniform, the connection between the two completely unexplained. Also, I think the most disturbing part of this interview is Eriksen’s mocking use of Freudian analysis, saying it would only be appropriate to be so flippant were the case less serious. But he obviously believes it only appropriate to claim that when Breivik was shooting children he thought he was still playing a videogame. Presumably not World Of Warcraft, what with the lack of shooting, but there’s no need to mention that.

Today the Times (paywalled) ran an even more sensational headline.

“Breivik played video games for a year to train for deadly attacks”

Despite Breivik’s ranting describing his year with World Of Warcraft, which took place between 2006 and 2007, as a “gift” to himself, something he wanted to do before he gave up his life, the reports in multiple stories are claiming he was using the game to “prepare” for the attacks. It’s a not particularly imaginative reinterpretation of Breivik’s words, which really only suggested he played the game because he wanted to have some non-social fun because he believed he deserved it.

“I deserved to take a year off to do what I wanted to do, especially with the upcoming so-called suicide action – I wanted to have no remorse for what I would lose out on. I wanted a martyrdom gift, so I wanted a sabbatical year.”

For the usually rambling man, he’s oddly clear here about the purpose of playing. It was a break from his obsessive planning. If anyone is unfortunate enough to have read through his 800,000 word manifesto, they’ll know quite how much “work” Breivik put into his actions, albeit mostly nonsensical and convoluted, and rarely as he intended. The result is a terrifying tome of this peculiarly clear-minded madness, an exhausting collection of his beliefs, theories, and diary, on his collecting of guns, bomb equipment, and his attempts to acquire the ingredients for chemical warfare. And from this, he now says, he took a year off. Or as he called it, a “sabbatical”. And what did he actually say about it during the trial, that almost no paper is reporting? He said World Of Warcraft was,

“pure entertainment. It doesn’t have anything to do with July 22.”

Then comes Modern Warfare. This he told the courts he played between November 2010 and February 2011, and described it as “a simple war simulator”. He explained that it was helpful for learning about “aiming systems”, and then described in some detail how he had used the game to practice killing policemen.

So, well, an immediate thought. That’s not what Modern Warfare is, or lets you do. The scripted corridors, nor the multiplayer, offer no useful practice for any such actions, and don’t allow you to simulate practising killing policemen in the manner Breivik describes. There is of course the infamous No Russian airport level, in which you play as an undercover agent with terrorists, and are able to shoot (or not shoot) civilians and policemen, but I think it’s unreasonable to suggest that it offers what Breivik claims. Of course there are many other shooters out that that would let you create your own specific scenarios, attempt to rehearse escaping from armed forces, and so on. But Breivik, in keeping with much else of his rhetoric, doesn’t make much sense here. It is very unfortunate that while a sceptical press has been enjoying picking over his comments about being a member of the Knights Templar, and disproving them, they see no need to question his remarks on using Call Of Duty as a simulator for combating armed police in real life. Instead here it’s assumed he’s being honest and clear-headed. It’s also important to note that Breivik’s memoir makes it clear that he only played MW2 after he had entirely planned the attacks, and it was in no way influential on his decision to kill anyone.

The same Times report then explains how Breivik named all his guns, citing El Cid for having done the same for his favourite sword, but oddly doesn’t then condemn the learning of history. Instead, astonishingly, it just reports the names for all the weapons, and doesn’t even mention the possible concern that he was in possession of them. They also don’t mention the enormous detail written in the manifesto about how these guns were legally and illegally acquired, and the enormous amount of time he spent at shooting ranges, practising firing them. Factors that, you would imagine a journalist reporting on how he had trained for his attacks, would think relevant to bring up. But no, instead, only Modern Warfare and World Of Warcraft are mentioned.

Yet again I feel compelled to repeat the refrain: were gaming genuinely a dangerous factor, something that could cause someone to become a murderer, we would want to know about it, and you can damn well believe we’d be reporting on it. What more serious matter could there be for gamers than to be aware of this? This is not about defending gaming, but about defending truth, and truth in reporting. And it is woefully lacking in the so-called respectable papers over this matter. The headline in the Times bears no relation to what is actually said by Breivik. It obfuscates the year he spent playing WoW to give himself a rest with the couple of months he spent with Modern Warfare, and it ignores the huge amount of time he spent actually practising firing real weapons. While taking massive amounts of steroids.

And it’s of course far more widespread. Headlines have appeared in the last 24 hours like,

CNN: Admitted Norway killer Breivik says he trained on video games

They then mention the games for 51 words out of nearly a thousand.

London Evening Standard: Anders Breivik: Online games helped me plan killings

This article includes the extraordinary line, “He said his training on World of Warcraft, an online game, focused on situations where he would be flanked by two commando teams.” Which means the reporter, Bo Wilson, not only didn’t bother researching about the game, but didn’t even listen to what Breivik said.

The Star Online/Reuters: Breivik used computer war games to plan attack

Repeats the refrain that Breivik can’t distinguish between WoW and real life.

Al Arabiya News: Breivik: Playing ‘World of Warcraft’ helped me prepare for the attacks

During which they count the months between November 2010 and February 2011 to be sixteen, to give Modern Warfare a better showing.

The Irish Times: Breivik used games to plan attack

Yet another article that deliberately suggests that playing WoW was part of his training, rather than the holiday from it that Breivik so clearly states. It’s also a hasty rewrite of the Reuters piece.

And so on and so on.

Much more of this will appear over the next ten weeks, and I’m quite certain Breivik will revel in creating a furore over the gaming side of things, along with much else. But it’s important to actually look at the broad spectrum of facts, and to question what you see reported in the press. We should not assume that gaming must be innocent, but rather put it into context, and look at the whole story. Something you would hope outlets like the Times, CNN and the Telegraph and so on would have the integrity to do. But sadly not.

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235 Comments »

  1. Snids says:

    Great work John.

    • wonderpookie says:

      Yes, excellent write-up. I hope someone from these “news” papers takes note to see what accurate, thoughtful journalism actually looks like.

    • Novack says:

      Indeed, great work as usual.

    • spindaden says:

      Yes, i foolishly thought the queen’s BBC would be above such blatant agenda pushing, but it seems i was wrong: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17766404

      • Premium User Badge

        Vandelay says:

        The BBC has become incredibly reactionary in the past couple of years. Not quite Daily Mail levels yet, but getting there.

        • LionsPhil says:

          Might as well just go the whole hog and privatise it if theyr’e going to act like they’ve got to be sensationalist idiots to sell themselves anyway.

          • Phantoon says:

            It’d make more sense to blame his religion, or his ideology, or the fact he’s a friggin’ psychopath, than to blame VIDJA GAEMS.

    • Syra says:

      I actually disagree. It’s been blown out of proportion but this is a pure pro-gaming write up on a pro-gaming website. It’s just journalistic bias. It’s a shame no objective media can see this perspective but I genuinely think it will have no affect on anything ever, just a few more news paper stories and a few ignorant idiots raving for a little while. Whatever.

      • Premium User Badge

        Anthile says:

        …what?

        • Durkan says:

          He’s got a point..

          whoa put that pitchfork and branding iron down.

          Is John’s piece “pro gaming biased” well… yeah – but I think he realises that and obviously tries to write in a factual and as non biased way as he can.

          Thats not the problem though. John could be a good deal lazier and everyone here would agree with him anyway – it’s preaching to the converted.

          The question is how do you convince Joe public that John’s right.

          I for one will be keeping an eye on my local mp (who already has prior)…

      • aDemandingPersona says:

        “Yet again I feel compelled to repeat the refrain: were gaming genuinely a dangerous factor, something that could cause someone to become a murderer, we would want to know about it, and you can damn well believe we’d be reporting on it. What more serious matter could there be for gamers than to be aware of this? This is not about defending gaming, but about defending truth, and truth in reporting. And it is woefully lacking in the so-called respectable papers over this matter. The headline in the Times bears no relation to what is actually said by Breivik. It obfuscates the year he spent playing WoW to give himself a rest with the couple of months he spent with Modern Warfare, and it ignores the huge amount of time he spent actually practising firing real weapons. While taking massive amounts of steroids.”

        Did you read this paragraph at all?

    • nibbling_totoros says:

      Awesome article as always!

    • Metonymy says:

      It’s pointless to get bent out of shape about this every time it happens.

      Money keeps video games alive, not public opinion.

      And like everything else, money is also the reason it eventually becomes terrible.

      • SketchyGalore says:

        He’s got a point. Barring some idiot politician who will use this for some misguided censorship law, this situation will do absolutely nothing to gaming. If the alleged situation of two kids supposedly influenced by gaming shot up a school years ago didn’t cause a change, why would the world change over a full-grown madman?

        News media blowing something out of proportion? The least sane of us getting the loudest voice? I’m shocked.

    • Inev101 says:

      All that this reductionist article tells me is that he was drugged for an entire year prior to actually committing the act. Drugged as in the dopamine effect of “achieving” virtual “achievements” through raiding WoW, getting high kill/death ratios in CoD, etc…

      That’s whatever. He killed what? 80 kids? Set him loose, let him come back when he’s killed 80 million, but please, not in Norway, I hear that country has white people in it. Why not send him to some exotic place, for the next wave. Hell, I know it’s illegal to MURDER people, let alone other peoples’ kids, in most civilised countries. I just mean, give death a chance…

    • Keshie says:

      Did anyone watching Irish TV see this story?

      As I watched it; after the coverage of Breivik proclaiming (basically) what an arsehole he is and that he played computer games to ‘practice’ his murdering (sort of), there was a brief interview with a young Norwegian man who explained how playing computer games is a part of our culture. A well recognised part of our culture!

      Irish TV and radio commenters have remarked on how “difficult” it is to follow the case because of Breivik’s testimony. They express how they think that he’s simply; an insane shithead (my summary).

      Not all media are reactionary. Please remember that.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Napalm Sushi says:

    I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.

  3. michaelfeb16 says:

    It worries me that I don’t get worked up over these types of things anymore. Is this how freedom dies? They bombard the public with false, sensationalist claims for ten years (my experience, I realize this has a much longer history) until I can’t even be bothered to get upset?

    • Alexander Norris says:

      Generally, yes.

      • MadTinkerer says:

        This sort of thing has been going on for a very long time. It was the entire point of Citizen Kane, for example. Some times it was worse than others.

        However, now that we have the Internet, which is uncensored in most countries with a free press, the various editors have a legion of people fact-checking them all the time. Eventually, I think we will reach a point where hyperbole, misquoting, and screw-the-facts-this-is-entertainment isn’t tolerated anymore.

        Or we’ll just have reached the point where everyone is an amateur Internet reporter and no one can afford to report professionally in print and TV because the audience has shifted completely over to electronic news. Personally, I can’t wait.

        • stupid_mcgee says:

          “Just as food companies learned that if they want to sell a lot of cheap calories, they should pack them with salt, fat, and sugar — the stuff that people crave — media companies learned that affirmation sells a lot better than information. Who wants to hear the truth when they can hear that they’re right?”
          - Clay Johnson

          • aDemandingPersona says:

            Thank you for quoting that.. I was thinking it too.

        • LionsPhil says:

          Optimist.

          People just don’t have the time and capacity to drill down to reliable sources on everything, so will still have a use for aggregation and editorialism. Heck, you’re on a gaming news site right now, viewing the games scene through RPS’ lens rather than trying to poll every developer out there for news.

          “Grass-roots” small-scale at-the-scene reporting is a great source of “community” who-cares-what-license-was-set-on-flickr-anything-not-ours-is-royalty-free-on-the-internet photos, though.

  4. Dr I am a Doctor says:

    Well, there’s always a scapegoat for everything.
    And I don’t think anything Breivik’s saying should be taken seriously

    • diebroken says:

      “Modern Warfare … a simple war simulator”

      • eaprivacypolicy says:

        “… and simulator of homo-erotic camaraderie.”

        • Det says:

          “Remember, no homo.”

        • Jamesworkshop says:

          Can anyone point out a single piece of military fiction or deals with military figures, that doesn’t have an homoerotic element

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symposium_(Plato)
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top_gun

          Much older than GoW or CoD

          It wouldn’t be so bad if the people pointing that out didn’t come across as believing they are the first person to have ever noticed this

          • eaprivacypolicy says:

            No offense intended, and I can guess from your nick that you are someone who deals with military figures, but I hardly claimed uniqueness. Personally I find it amusing, that is all.

          • arccos says:

            It is kind of sad that men being anything other than homophobic around each other comes across to so many people as homoerotic.

          • eaprivacypolicy says:

            What, no, the point of homoerotic behaviour (in this instance) is that guys who act in a overly straight/macho way still come across as being a bit into each other.

            It is irony (I think) and therefore amusing.

    • Grargh says:

      Of course what he says should be taken seriously, somewhere between all his bizarre blabber are the reasons for a man to kill close to a hundred kids.

      • dysphemism says:

        Guys like him, acts like his… we always look for the “reasons” for them. The reasons aren’t good, they aren’t deep, and they aren’t coherent in any kind of moral universe.
        The world is fascinated by madmen, and it’s understandable that we try to make sense of tragedy. But, in searching for their “reasons,” we need to be careful about elevating monsters, treating their bile as some sort of riddle that holds any shred of useful truth. They carry no greater meaning than the slavering and snarling of rabid animals.

        • PacketOfCrisps says:

          Of course there are reasons for why he behaved the way he did. Breivik isn’t insane, despite what most people here seem to think. This whole anti-Muslim ideology was most likely passed onto him by someone close to him in his childhood. Mass murderers aren’t some different species, you know. They are just like any other human being on the planet and his behaviours and thoughts can be explained by his socialization, most likely during childhood. Calling people “crazy” is just a lazy way out and it is something that the press love to do. He isn’t crazy, he is completely rational. If you want to understand why events like this occur then you have to look at the underlying factors rather than just taking everything at face value.

          • Crane says:

            No, you don’t understand!
            Conceding that people who commit terrible acts could potentially be rational human beings whose minds aren’t fundamentally broken invalidates the belief in a fundamentally good human nature.
            People who commit mass killings are without exception heinous, evil, insane villains, and no ordinary person (like you or I) could ever act that way.
            Except if we’re using nuclear warheads against civilian populations, that’s just a rational way to end a conflict quickly, and totally not a war crime.

          • PacketOfCrisps says:

            Thanks for the sarcasm, Crane, that made my day. I guess I’m just aligned with John Locke and tabula rasa in this instance, I don’t see humans as inherently good or evil. Demonizing these people is just an easy way to rationalize their behaviour. Determining the cause is much more difficult and, seemingly, the majority of people do not care for such things. Of course, no media outlets have reported on his apparently traumatic childhood which included divorces, custody battles, and an absent father. You make a good point about dropping the bombs on Japan. When allied forces kill unarmed civilians in cold blood (Iraq) it is seen as a mistake due to the “pressures” that they are under. When a lone gunman detonates a bomb and goes on a shooting spree, he is seen as insane. It’s all a matter of perspective.

          • dysphemism says:

            “He isn’t crazy, he is completely rational.”
            Whether or not he’s ultimately found competent to stand trial, I’d find “completely rational” to be a stretch. Maybe I shouldn’t have used the word “madman,” as I actually didn’t mean it in the sense that he is or was psychotic, but I think we can agree that his worldview is unhinged; whether schizophrenia factors into it or it’s straight-up extremist indoctrination (which I agree with you, I’m sure, he was subjected to), the result is that he acts on core beliefs about how the world works that are based in paranoid fantasy. I would call that “mad” and “irrational.”

            “…invalidates the belief in a fundamentally good human nature.”
            Hey, Condescension: Truman the war criminal might make a great straw man, but it doesn’t address my point, which is that there’s little to be gained in humoring racist mythologies, whether they come from paranoid schizophrenics or legally-competent hatemongers. What he wants to talk about is what, in his mind, caused his actions. What we, as a society, are looking for is what caused this man. I imagine you’ll get lots of the former out of Breivik, very little of the latter.

          • PacketOfCrisps says:

            He wasn’t or isn’t delusional in the slightest. He has a perspective, albeit twisted, of the world and he acted on it accordingly. In his mind his actions are acceptable and, as a result, are entirely rational. Just because he doesn’t share the perspective of the majority of society does not mean that he is irrational. Besides, I am not sure how difficult it is to prove diminished responsibility in Norway, but in Canada it is extremely difficult. As far as I am aware he was never treated for a mental illness so I find it hard to believe that diminished responsibility can or will be applied.

          • dysphemism says:

            “In his mind his actions are acceptable and, as a result, are entirely rational. Just because he doesn’t share the perspective of the majority of society does not mean that he is irrational.”
            By that reasoning, all delusional and psychotic persons are perfectly rational — at all times! News alert: Mental illness down worldwide thanks to redefinition of terms!

            “As far as I am aware he was never treated for a mental illness so I find it hard to believe that diminished responsibility can or will be applied.”
            Yeah, you know it’s usually when mental illness goes untreated that people abdicate legal responsibility for their actions, right?

            Your defense of this guy is bizarre, to say the least. I’m perplexed why you seem to need to cling to the idea that it’s just, like, my opinion, man, that killing dozens and dozens of innocent teenagers is mad.

          • PacketOfCrisps says:

            It’s not a redefinition of terms at all, the absence of the common societal perspective does not equate to an absence of sanity. Nazi’s were not insane or delusional and neither is Breivik. I am not sure what you are trying to say with your second comment, the court will not accept diminished responsibility if there is no history of it in his life. Finally, I am not defending him at all, his actions were terrible. However, the explanations are tied to his socialization and childhood rather than his sanity. In summary, people aren’t born killers, society creates them.

          • dysphemism says:

            You wouldn’t say that one of the core tenets of Nazism during the Holocaust — that Jews were a cancer and an inferior race that should be weeded out of the national bloodline — you wouldn’t say that’s a delusional mythology?

            Court systems routinely call on professionals to establish mental competency. He does not need to have been treated in the past for his mental fitness to be questioned. See the Wikipedia page for confirmation of that.

            I’m not arguing that any idea outside the mainstream can be labeled crazy. But rationality relies on an understanding of cause and effect, a correct correlation between action and consequence. I’m failing to see how killing those kids accomplished any of his stated goals. Ergo, either he’s a liar about his goals or the action was irrational.

          • PacketOfCrisps says:

            I don’t think you understand the meaning of diminished responsibility in respect to the legal system. Sure, he doesn’t need to have been treated in the past to be eligible for a defense of diminished responsibility; however, it is virtually impossible to prove without any history. Even people who have had psychiatric treatment in the past have difficult defending themselves on the basis of diminished responsibility. Finally, he did understand cause and effect perfectly well. First, he bombed a government building. Second, the youth camp that he attacked was a Labour part camp which is the party that was accepting of Muslim immigrants. It was a statement to them that he disagreed with their policies. He understood that targeting government institutions would send a strong message, thus he is perfectly rational.

          • Memphis-Ahn says:

            I have to agree with Crisps that Breivik is actually very rational. It just so happens that his views are considered evil by the majority of mankind.

      • Ninja Foodstuff says:

        Interesting how rare it is that the media report on the studies that show that media coverage of these events causes more of the events to occur.

    • PacketOfCrisps says:

      “Breaking News: Breivik ate food three times a day in order to prepare for the attacks!”

      • TechnicalBen says:

        Sad, but this is the current reaction. :(
        However it’s even worse as people use it to twist for their own agendas. :(

      • GiantRaven says:

        Would you suggest it better to eat more or less times per day in order to stop myself from becoming a mass murderer?

  5. Soulstrider says:

    Good Lord, more pain in the ass for the gamers

    Inb4 Dead Island puns (Yes I am a terrible person)

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Not any worse than the jokes I have in my head about killers trained by the Sims (the killer is said to have removed all the doors, and the ladder from the swimming pool) or Tetris (the bodies were found stacked in row).

      That’s the problem with the Internet, and these sorts of stories… so many jokes, and 99% of them will get you banned from 75% of the internet, while the other 25% encourage them.

      in other news, there have been calls for Agatha Christie to be arrested, for her Train Murder Simulator know as “The Orient Express”

  6. simoroth says:

    A great article. Thanks for laying it all out, the stupid headlines are still coming in, such a shame that journalists have chosen such a strange false narrative.

    • thegooseking says:

      That is a fantastic headline.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      Yeah, good article, this. It also points out that Breivik advised using WOW/MMOs as an alibi for secluding yourself while you prepare for an attack like his. Which is interesting, I think.

      • TechnicalBen says:

        Especially as it’s still working after the event. So sad.

  7. Premium User Badge

    PoulWrist says:

    Actually the press here in denmark have been saying “no provable link between violence and videogames” and “violent videogames build relevant skills in gamers; violent and emotional people playing are likely to lose vs. calm and intelligent”.

    • Premium User Badge

      RedViv says:

      Sadly enough, not many people recognise that this sociopath, like so many, is of the latter kind. We rarely see sociopathic tendencies manifest this horribly, and that’s all the more reason to be precise, scientific, and attentive.

    • Premium User Badge

      Durkonkell says:

      The state of the press in the UK and US is deplorable, unfortunately. It’s good to hear that there’s somewhere in the world left where the press have a modicum of integrity.

      • Premium User Badge

        RedViv says:

        The Scandinavian media are mostly keeping quiet about this case too, as far as I have heard. That’s actually a really good idea, looking at how ridiculously hypocritical the international press acts about this case. Don’t let the guy who only lives for his message, which he has already broadcast in a horrible way, get even more help for his cause.

        • Post-Internet Syndrome says:

          Not so. One of the biggest morning papers here in Sweden are updating their coverage from the trial by the minute on their webpage, and for the first three days it has been their online headline. Only today did another story manage to climb up above it, and now it’s back again. It’s driving me nuts.

          • Premium User Badge

            RedViv says:

            Ah. Well, then it probably is only Norway, or only an important Norwegian paper, which is really the only thing I can actually find anything on right now.
            Should rather check the net before bringing offline info in.

        • Premium User Badge

          Stellar Duck says:

          My professor of archaeology refused to say the name of the guy who burned down the Temple of Artemis so he could have his name live forever. We really shouldn’t encourage people like that.

          And no, I won’t say his name either, in general. And I in fact also refrain from using the Norwegian guys name if possible.

  8. Furtled says:

    I saw this coming when the manifesto appeared right after he was caught, not sure what the answer is beyond getting games journalists into mainstream news organisations, so far the only ‘respected’ publication I can think of that has anyone even remotely like that is Forbes and the odd story appearing on the BBC.

    • Vorphalack says:

      It has been a good few years since the BBC news was respectable.

  9. Commander Gun says:

    I fidn it ironic that the press actually does everything what Breivik wants them to do. Everyday i get another headline with his b*ll***t, and the local news radio said “Breivik plays the violent computergame World of Warcraft for 16 hours in a row to prepare for his muders”.
    And then on the news websites, everytime i have to see that face of his. The press is so depressingly disappointing and predictable, it makes me sad.

    • Kandon Arc says:

      Yeah it’s like with high school shootings, the press shine their spotlight on it and it just encourages copycats. It baffles me that they claim that this kind of reporting is in the public interest.

    • Premium User Badge

      Bluerps says:

      Yes, I agree. The less spotlight the man gets the better, but the media doesn’t care.

    • Maldomel says:

      Exactly. They are just giving him what he craves for: a chance to expose his way of thinking.
      Trials like this one should stay confidential, not be broadcasted live.

    • psyk says:

      Agreed

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PezlFNTGWv4
      Dr Park dietz @ 1:42

      GOT TO GET THEM VIEWS GOT TO KEEP THE MASSES COMING BACK

      • PacketOfCrisps says:

        That guy lost my respect when he falsified evidence and lied under oath.

    • mouton says:

      The only thing they show restraint in, is suicides. Unless you also kill other people, then it is okay to report.

  10. abuchris says:

    Bravo!

  11. bitbot says:

    20 years ago violent movies would be blamed, before that rock music. We’ve seen this before.

  12. Bradeh says:

    It won’t be long until the big gaming corporations are finally into the pockets of the mainstream media. All this nonsense will finally go away.

    • Vorphalack says:

      Based on relative earnings, I would have said that the other way around. But the outcome would likely be similar.

      • Bradeh says:

        True.

      • frightlever says:

        It’s a rearguard action by dead tree media desperately spraying FUD about anything to do with computers or the Internet.

        However, the nutter says he used COD to train killing policeman, so is it wrong to blame them for picking up on that? If I was the media I’d be portraying him as a feckless waster that spent more time playing video games than promoting the cause of white supremacy to try and play down the inevitable hero-worship he’ll attract, or has already attracted. Hitting out at the games is the wrong way to approach this. But everyone has an agenda, and nothing is exactly the way it seems.

        Currently reading Paranoia S1 Reality Optional.

        • Blackcompany says:

          Call me a conspiracy theorist but I wondered if, just perhaps, there was not some truth in this. Video games have served to bring digital distribution to the forefront to an unprecedented degree. Sure e-books existed before, and they are growing in popularity daily. But they do not lend themselves to assault the way video games apparently do. Also, their distribution does not compare so strongly to that of music and especially television and movies the way games do.

          Media outlets have a vested interest in the antiquated world of scheduled television shows, the 11 o’ clock news and weekly and daily programming. Sure its outdated. Just like visiting a store to buy a physical DVD or CD is outdated. But media companies have failed to adjust. So yeah, the possibility they would lash out at any other media that so strongly supports what they see as a destructive distribution model does ring true, somehow.

          • Tams80 says:

            No, I just think the media are ignorant. The first generations who grew up with video gaming and especially the World Wide Web are only just getting into positions of influence. The oldest of this ‘vanguard’ are probably only in their early 30s (there are of course exceptions, but those tend to be people with more adaptable minds).

  13. Shadrach says:

    Blaming his horrific actions on videogames does only one thing, take focus away from the right-wing lunatics that were his inspiration for the massacre.

    The press are playing right into the hands of the extremist right.

  14. empty_other says:

    From Dagbladet.no:
    Play Experts ridicule Breivik weapons training from computer games
    “- If so, is there are millions of experts on the war front of TVs out there.”

    I haven’t found any norwegian publication yet who supports the “Trained by video-games” angle.

    • Ignorant Texan says:

      From today’s Guardian Online -

      Anders Behring Breivik has described how he “trained” for the attacks he carried out in Norway last summer using the computer game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.

      The 33-year-old said he practised his shot using a “holographic aiming device” he had bought to use with the war simulation game, which he said is used by armies around the world for training.

      “You develop target acquisition,” he said. He used a similar device during the shooting attacks that left 69 dead at a political youth camp on the island of Utøya on 22 July.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holographic_sight

      But, who cares about mere details?

      • iucounu says:

        I tweeted Helen Pidd – who wrote the story – to point out she’d got that bit about the sights wrong. To her credit she tweeted me back to thank me and the story is now updated.

  15. solosnake says:

    So did he play Horde or Alliance?

  16. BatmanBaggins says:

    It’s not unthinkable that he might have used Modern Warfare in some preparatory way. How much it might have actually prepared him for anything is another matter entirely, but you’re very quick to take his word that WoW was pure entertainment, then explain away why we shouldn’t take his word when it comes to MW.

    • aldo_14 says:

      It wouldn’t be surprising to see a racist cuntbag like Breivik continuously replaying the segments that involve shooting Indeterminate Arab Nationality Darker Skinned Peoples. But if the media are going to be blaming games for his actions, then they have to lay far, far more direct blame on their own xenophobic headlines for formenting his motives. He’s already claimed justification from a (actually non-existent) Times article, after all.

      (He may be Norwegian, but he still had links and/or admiration for the likes of the EDL – i’m looking at you, Mr Dail Mail)

    • KikiJiki says:

      Of course WoW wasn’t pure entertainment. I’ve never seen a better simulation for simultaneously assaulting a Blacksmith, Lumber mill and Gold mine in all my life.

      Every day millions of people are being trained to capture locations and hold them to the bitter end from an ‘enemy’ whose only crime is a differing racial makeup and ideology. Some of them are even being taught how to capture resources for their side.

      Ban this sick filth.

    • Mordsung says:

      Because training for a shooting massacre with MW2 would be like training to pack using tetris.

      The game does not line up well enough with the real use and representation of guns to be used as any meaningful type of training program. Combined with the completely retarded AI (who really can’t flank, so fuck knows how he used it to train for fighting in two directions at once).

      Now, if he said he’d used ARMA and the help of a military re-enactment/roleplay clan, I could see the argument.

      • BatmanBaggins says:

        Right, I’m not arguing that it actually helped him gain any skills, but rather that in his own mind, it seemed to serve some purpose other than just for fun (like he said he had with WoW). Not that I’m saying that that’s justification for media hysteria. It was just a little odd to be to see the article shrug and go “yeah, he’s right” about WoW, then not even consider that MW might have fed into his bizarre worldview

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      He could’ve used MW2 to prepare himself, yes. I could use Pong to prepare myself for a rectal exam, but it probably wouldn’t help.

      In my opinion, whether or not he used a videogame to prepare for the massacre is mostly irrelevant. What’s more relevant is, well, virtually everything else about the case.

      As John suggests, his motivation is vastly more important than his preparation.

  17. CaspianRoach says:

    Sensationalist journalism at its best. Nothing of value to see here, let’s move along.

  18. djim says:

    The media’s purpose has always been to twist facts so that they make things appear as they wish. Since i stopped caring and reading/watching what they have to say i have personally found my peace. It is very disappointing.

    Of course, this guy is a lunatic and everything he says should be laughed off. And i agree, finding the real motivations is much more important than selling a piece of junk.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      How can we do that if we laugh off everything he says? Sorry, but “he’s crazy, forget about it” is even less helpful than “games made him do it.”

      Just a thought.

      • Premium User Badge

        Wisq says:

        Because when someone is crazy, or particularly if they’re trying to appear crazy, it’s often better to just ignore what they say (laced with red herrings, intentional or otherwise) and look to their situation, behaviour, actions, or other clues to determine their real motivations.

  19. seanblah12 says:

    we should scour the planet to find someone that’s won a nobel peace prize that’s played games, turn the tide

    • Underwhelmed says:

      You don’t even need to. There are plenty of people that play/played violent video-games, watched violent movies, played Dungeons and Dragons, and even *gasp* listened to rock music that have gone on to become respectable human beings.

      I worked my way through medical school and am now a pediatrician despite playing Mortal Kombat when I was 14. I still play games and yet I am married, have two kids, as well. I know more than a dozen other young physicians that play violent games, warhammer 40k, D&D, hell one of my best friends is not only a physician, but also one of the top Blood Bowl players in the U.S.

      The whole notion that this stunts you in any way is utter nonsense.

      • marlin says:

        MURDERER!!!!

      • HothMonster says:

        Now I have an image of a doctor delivering a baby but instead of saying “almost there one last push!” its “FINISH HIM!” and of course the scrubs are yellow and black.

      • seanblah12 says:

        I know plenty of normal people don’t go around murdering people after playing violent video games but it appears the media doesn’t care about this, so maybe some who has played evil video games and gone on to save the world would convince them
        probably not

  20. Hoaxfish says:

    I’m not quite sure how a hot-key fantasy MMO can train anyone to kill anything with a gun.

    Personally, I blame Apple for my murderous streaks. In fact, I’d say Apple has trained me to kill as there is an app for that. I sure hope nobody see this, and tries to get Apple iPhones/iPads banned or anything.

  21. DeathRow says:

    “pure entertainment. It doesn’t have anything to do with July 22.”

    This statement is pretty powerful and shows just how twisted and how good at twisting facts the media is.

    What we read:
    He played a game for 1 year to take a break from planning a massacre.

    What the media says:
    Man played a game for 1 year to plan for a massacre.

    • HothMonster says:

      But it is called world of warcraft. Obviously its a whole world about crafting wars, what else could he be playing it for if not to become a better warcrafter.

  22. Premium User Badge

    Wisq says:

    The unfortunate thing here is that we have one side of the press — “games train murderer”, “games cause violence”, “down with this sort of thing” — and then we have the other side — “games don’t cause anything”, “press focuses too much on games aspect”, “what the heck is wrong with the press today”.

    What we don’t have is the actual middle ground that the latter side wants to see. “Police killer trained for years at range”, “killer obtained most guns legally”, etc etc. It’s all just “backlash against games” and “backlash against backlash against games”, and no “why do we need a backlash at all?” straight-path reporting.

    I’m not complaining here; it’s certainly not RPS’s job to report this kind of stuff normally, and a backlash agaisnt the backlash is exactly what I would gratefully expect from RPS. But ultimately, with even the more generalist press outlets either reporting on the “games problem” or reporting on the rest of the press reporting on the “games problem”. there’s nobody really reporting on the real stuff. Which is sad.

    • Shazbut says:

      Think I agree

    • Kandon Arc says:

      That middle ground does exist, but you tend to find it only in monthly or weekly outlets rather than daily papers. Stuff like Time or the Economist generally don’t need big shocking headlines to sell, and they have more time to think before they go to print. Often however they don’t even get involved with these kind of stories though.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lambchops says:

      Funnily enough the “minute by minute” style of reporting (the merits of which some people have been questioning in terms of it giving Breivik a platform) tends to provide the facts of what he said with little tme to skew to any sort of agenda.

  23. MordeaniisChaos says:

    I know all my Marine buddies play WoW to prepare for deployments to Afghanistan. Makes em better at killin dudes with guns, dontchya know!

    Journalists are just idiots 90% of the time. It’s frustrating but I pay little attention to the bullshit they spew. Great article though, good read and good to at least be aware of how much crap is out there.

  24. Drake Sigar says:

    Some years ago I had a friend who had an article run on him in a mainstream newspaper. The article got just about everything wrong, even simple stuff like times, dates, and locations. I have since learned that the news often isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

  25. Premium User Badge

    felisc says:

    Ah, press, how brown stainy you are. I wouldn’t be surprised if in a couple of monthes there would be a headline like “Man who tossed a grenade in a kindergarten confessed playing Angry Birds”.

  26. Misnomer says:

    While you largely have good points, I think your “linear scripted” dismissal of MW2 gameplay comes across as slightly ignoring the content of the game. I think a lot of the press will remember MW2 as the game with “No Russian.”‘

    I did a quick search and found this description:

    “The only threat in this part of the level are the police officers, though the terrorists will kill them easily regardless of any action on the part of the player. Halfway through the level, several Russian FSB teams arrive on the tarmac in armored trucks.”

    http://callofduty.wikia.com/wiki/No_Russian

    So to the casual observer this level is “Gun down unarmed civilians and then fight off police when they arrive.”

    Now if you want to argue nuance and say that because the AI kills the civilians without you… fine, but I think that is probably somewhat too much to expect the general public to care to understand. I think you have to admit up front that in MW2 the player is put in a position to kill police officers… then go into your causal analysis and important points about when he played the game.

    Otherwise it comes across as a gamer defending the medium without acknowledging the undisputed fact that from a general point of view the game puts you in a disturbing and vaguely similar situation with police and unarmed civilians.

    • John Walker says:

      You are correct, and I’ve amended accordingly. However, I think your final statement is unreasonable when I immediately point out that there are plenty of games available that could be used as Breivik suggests MW2 was for.

      • eaprivacypolicy says:

        The Norwegian newspapers reported that he was using MW2 to simulate the holographic aim sight he had bought for his pistol and it was stressed that he only found it useful for aim-training; it was not so much about simulating scenarios as far as I could tell.

        • psyk says:

          He was using a game where the bullet flys from your gun and goes pretty much in the same spot each time unaffected by anything that would effect it in the real world for training his aim? He was using a game to train his aim? LMAO

          Breivik playing the media like a boss

          • eaprivacypolicy says:

            Yep, it is a poor simulator of even that, but I think it is worth mentioning before we get bogged down in discussions about the merits of MW2 for simulating real-life scenarios, conditioning, de-humanising etc etc.

          • psyk says:

            This has been discussed in depth other places and the guy is a massive prick his “manifesto” is plagiarised to hell and back and he wants to be branded a nutter.

      • BatmanBaggins says:

        How many others have levels where the goal is specifically to murder unarmed civilians en masse? You have the capability to do so in certain other games (GTA and the like), but it’s rarely if ever the actual goal. I’m not even remotely saying that it influenced him to carry out the attack, but there’s a very relevant reason that he chose that game despite plenty of others letting you kill cops as well. Just bears considering, I think.

        • Post-Internet Syndrome says:

          The goal is specifically to follow Makarov. The level is very possible to complete without firing a single bullet. (I’ll admit though that I gave up when confronted with the riot shield police, since the AI took so goddamn long to handle it themselves.)

      • Milky1985 says:

        Payday-The Heist

        Lots more copper shooting in that one, and your trying to get away from them!

    • psyk says:

      No, seriously you people need help if you think MW2 has any effect, shit SAW/Hostel are worse than MW2, please put things in perspective.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        How are movies depicting violence any better or worse than video games that depict violence?

        Methinks you don’t understand how the human brain works.

        • psyk says:

          Me thinks you have never played MW2 or any game that has been branded “EVIL”.

          They call it (saw/hostle etc) torture porn for a reason ;)

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            The term “personal perspective” would like to have a word with you. So would the terms “critical perspective” and “professional perspective”.

  27. Nimic says:

    At least someone is doing it right. Dagbladet.no, which is the internet edition of one of the largest newspapers in Norway, has their own game reviewer on the front page with the headline “Gaming expert ridicules Breivik’s weapon training from computer games”, and then the quote under that “- in that case there are millions of experts of war out there in front of their TVs”.

    http://www.dagbladet.no/2012/04/19/nyheter/innenriks/breivik/dataspill/21192943/

    Mind you, they have been known to be somewhat tabloid themselves. Just not as much with this case. Most Norwegian media seems remarkably mature and measured in their coverage of the act of terrorism and Breivik.

    I might add, during the trial today, Breivik said he was NOT in fact addicted to gaming. He explicitly used it as a cover. In his own words, “I couldn’t exactly say I was planning to blow up people”. Which those of us who read parts of the manifesto already knew. Of course, how much of the manifesto is true, and how much is his vain attempt at making himself seem something he isn’t, is another debate. I tend to think the real Breivik is being exposed more and more during the trial, and while he liked the importance that was put on him right after capture when the interrogations started, he doesn’t like lawyers contradicting his words.

    • Abdhyius says:

      Kinda wish the international media would just copy what the norwegian media is reporting and saying about 22. july.

      The only thing that’s been said about his comments on gaming, apart from just reporting what he said just like they’re reporting absolutely everything from the trial, has been saying that his statement that he used MW2 to get weapons training is ridiculous. (In Dagbladet, as noted several times.)

      • Nimic says:

        VG.no are doing much the same thing now, but earlier it was pretty much the opposite. There was a “commentary” (kronikk) by some middle-aged woman who had probably never played a computer game in her life, asking if perhaps computer games literally MADE Breivik a killer. It was ridiculous. Mind you, she certainly came to regret leaving the comment field open, the reception wasn’t exactly warm.

  28. Thomas says:

    Another great installment by John in the “No shit, Sherlock”-series of articles.

    (And i’m not even being sarcastic :/)

  29. Premium User Badge

    Surlywombat says:

    Even the BBC have fallen into it, as you read the article there is “World of Warcraft” just randomly inserted in bold, it’s bizarre. http://imgur.com/dXaKm

    • Groove says:

      I read that this morning, it was surreal. It mentions WoW in a fairly innoccuous fashion then BOLD WORDS. Then back to regular reporting.

      Are they trying to use liminal messaging?

    • lamontagne says:

      They’ve changed it now, not the text in full, but at least the heading now reads ‘Sabbatical’.

    • Milky1985 says:

      Either its a bad copy paste or a sub heading, its not part of the previous sentence so makes no sense there. I think if anything its bad editing but not the knee jerking like people think imo anyway.

      Although peopel may be knee jerknig to accusations of knee jerking.

      What happens if both knees jerk?

      • Korvus Redmane says:

        You fall over. or start to dance if they don’t jerk simultaneously!

  30. spruce1990 says:

    I hate hate how gaming is always jumped on by the media, but I can’t help but think of the level in MW2 when you walk through an airport shooting civilians and then police. Just a thought!

    • psyk says:

      Yep it was oh so realistic

    • sneetch says:

      That level was pretty appalling but it is important to distinguish between gaming and that one particular level in that one particular game. That level no more embodies gaming as a whole than Anders Breivik embodies gamers. He says he “saw Modern Warfare 2 as a police-shooting simulator” where some people stupidly see that as a possible cause I see it more as just another symptom.

  31. psyk says:

    Guy is crazy, wonder how plagiarism goes down in the nutter world

  32. psyk says:

    The jfk sim would of been a better tool than MW2, seriously people are fucked now days MW2 is not going to make you go crazy and it aint going to help you kill people. stop passing the blame from the real issues your just the same as the crappy journalists.

  33. Coroner says:

    I played Tetris on and off for 5 years to prepare for a triathlon.

  34. Cryptoshrimp says:

    I genuinely fail to see how either World of Warcraft or Modern Warfare 2 can train someone to shoot. The first game barely features firearms, and the second does not portray them realistically at all. In games, you press a mouse button, and lines of code say that a flash should appear and the enemy gets a different animation. You don’t actually pull a trigger or anything remotely like it. But well, what can you do about stupid news outlets…

    I’d love to have them sued somehow. That’d be lovely.

    • Post-Internet Syndrome says:

      Would be funny if Activision sued the papers for misrepresenting their games.

      • Ultra-Humanite says:

        To be fair, the contents of the articles are only reporting what he said. The newspaper can’t help it if that’s what he testified. I guess they could refrain from reporting it, but when has that ever happened? They are trying to sell a story here and the guy is giving them one.

        The real issue is that titles of articles are always sensationalist. They pick one part of a story and use hyperbole to catch your attention. This is hardly the first or last or even the most egregious example of that. They go with what they think is going to draw eyes, and honestly, it’s hard to blame their tactics when they are so effective. They don’t care whether you like or hate their article as long as you click on it or, even better, leave a comment telling them what dipshits they are. All of that helps them with more revenue. If you go to those articles now, not all of them even have the same headline anymore. Now they focus on how he wanted to go after the Prime Minister because that’s even more eye-catching than blaming stupid videogames.

  35. dmadrfe says:

    Apparently games are the root of all evil…

    • Blackcompany says:

      That’s a shift in paradigm. Last it was games publishers, was it not?

  36. Kartoffeln says:

    ‘World of Warcraft’ helped me prepare for the attacks

    WTF! How could WoW prepare anyone for any kind of attack?!

    • Post-Internet Syndrome says:

      Well I can totally see how you can prepare for something by relaxing and immersing yourself in your hobby. It’s quite an uncontroversial technique.

      • Premium User Badge

        Stellar Duck says:

        I agree, but you might as well say: “Taking relaxing baths and reading books helped me plan the attack.”.

  37. Blackcompany says:

    As a student of psychology, I can safely say two things about the arguments regarding violent behavior and video games. The first argues that there is no causal link between violent behavior and video games. The second is that some of the more educated in the field have begun to consider the question from a whole new angle: what if people who tend towards violence in order to express themselves, are drawn to more violent media. What if violent people choose violent media – including video games – as opposed to the other way round?

    Psychologists have performed numerous studies, up to and including studies of brainwave activity and heart rate, on gamers actively playing “violent” video games. Yes, there are changes in brain wave activity while playing video games. Just as there are changes in brain wave activity while eating, sleeping, dreaming or playing piano. Brain wave activity changes when we undertake any activity or change from one to another. Any task we undertake changes brain wave activity, but none of these changes has been correlated with, more less linked causally, to violent behavior.

    Moreover, educated psychologists who approach behavior with an open mind, as opposed to the intent to prove a theory in which they strongly believe for personal reasons, have begun to look at violent behavior and violence in media in a new light. Many believe in the possibility that people who tend towards violence as a means of expression are attracted to violence in media. That’s right: they have turned the popular but unreasonable belief on its head: Violent tendencies in behavior may well attract people to violence in media, as opposed to violence in media creating or engendering violent behavior.

    Its an interesting possibility. Certainly the argument that violence in media causes violent behavior in individuals ignores a couple of important facts. Firstly, any reasonable human being understands the distinction between fiction and reality. Secondly, a goodly number of people in this world – several millions of us, in fact, possibly a good deal more than that – are perfectly capable of playing video games or watching violent action films and acting entirely reasonably throughout the entire expanse of our lives. We are not driven to violence or violent acts because of the media to which we choose to expose ourselves. To claim, then, that this media drives people to violent acts is simply absurd, as the proof lies in another direction entirely, namely, that sane, reasonable, emotionally stable individuals can partake of violent media and behave in perfectly rational, acceptable ways. Any claim to the contrary is made patently absurd through the empirical evidence of millions of people doing just that.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      While I see the point, and do not necessarily disagree… Would you say things like “positive reinforcement” with games would be a problem at times? Should we not look for ways to reduce this? For those who are not beyond help that is.

  38. ChippyTea says:

    Ok so we all know that video games dont make people nutters we get that. But in the same article that you defend your own hobby you have a couple of sly digs at legal firearms ownership. Surly you can see the double standards?

    I dont understand why you give so much space on the blog to this kind of story. Gaming will never be banned for the simple reason that the generations of people who have no experience with gaming is litteraly dying out. The right to legally owned firearms on the other hand could could be lost …

    • Mattressi says:

      I don’t know; for the most part it seems more like he’s simply stating how ridiculous it is that the media focuses on Breivik using games to “train”, while ignoring that he used shooting ranges to train. I don’t think it’s meant to be like “no, videogames aren’t your devil – guns are!”; I think it’s simply stating that quite likely Breivik learnt more about shooting by actually shooting than virtually shooting.

      At least, that’s what I hope he means.

  39. ChainsawCharlie says:

    Great article John

  40. serioussgtstu says:

    “Neither video game violence exposure, nor television violence exposure, were prospective predictors of serious acts of aggression or violence” – Ferguson (2011). Literally thousands of psychological tests and experiments have come to the same conclusion over the years, but it’s still such an accepted fact that computer games make us violent.

    Eriksen’s ad hoc use of psychoanalyitic theory as proof of Brevicks condition in the interveiw really says it all. Hard evidence is ignored, but entirely subjective assumptions about potty training fit better, so thats what’s used.

    • psyk says:

      Where was the place that had no TV for years and when it was brought in crime went up. That happened with games?

  41. f1x says:

    So the problem, according to the mass media, its not his high ultra-catholic racist beliefs, his violent oposittion to multi-culturalism (a form of xenophobia actually), or his admiration of historical figures like The Cid
    its actually videogames,

    oh yeah videogames are a craddle for ultra-catholic racist fanatics, no doubt

  42. Bradeh says:

    I believe there has to already be an underlying psychological issue present for a video game to help promote violence, or to help aid future violence. The problem is the media would rather focus on symptoms than the actual cause.

  43. trjp says:

    I’ve played WoW about 3-4 times as long as him – does that mean 280-odd people must die??

    If so my pet peeve is people who drop litter so BEWARE 88(())

  44. lamontagne says:

    Just read the Mirror (http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/anders-breivik-prepared-for-potential-confrontation-799368).

    Cutting off social contact for a full year helped him prepare for the attacks, but said the game-playing was “pure entertainment. It doesn’t have anything to do with July 22″.

  45. Premium User Badge

    Gap Gen says:

    I thought Modern Warfare 2 was all about taking part in a poorly-explained terrorist shooting?

    In any case, it was his hatred of liberalism and multiculturalism that drove him to commit these acts, which I assume would resonate with much of the British press. I guess the Daily Mail can’t say: “Views similar to our own drove man to kill innocents.”

  46. InnFjording says:

    Hello
    I am from Norway and just wanted to say that this is the first time I have heard anything about the fact that Breivik played pc-games beein used against video games. The fact that he played games was mentioned in court (witch I have been following) but it was newer mentioned in the norwegian newspapers that this maked gamers in to trained killes. Actually it is quite the opposite.

    I just read in one of the 2 biggest newspapers in Norway (dagbladet) how stupid they think just this matter sounds. ( Link To article )

    My point: I think the fact that a whole lot of newspapers outside Norway thinks that the playing games part is so important while the Norwegan jurnalists don’t see Breiviks argument in this.

    Good article btw ^^

    • Post-Internet Syndrome says:

      I don’t know about the norwegian journalists, but there was definitely some fallout shortly after the actual shooting, with the release of Breiviks manifesto. At least one norwegian store chain (don’t remember which one) temporarily removed several games (including WoW and MW2) from their shelves in direct response to the attack. They said it was mostly for emotional reasons or somesuch though – that people could associate them with the killings and should not be confronted with that so shortly afterwards. I only read about this in swedish newspapers and on the internet of course, so I don’t know what kind of coverage it got in norway. They put them back after a while.

  47. theleif says:

    This reporting actually underlines an even deeper problem with news outlets these days. Note that most of these articles cites Reuters as the source. I saw this news in Swedish papers as well, and they mostly cite either Reuters or TT (the Swedish equivalent of Reuters that frequently gets news from Reuters as well) as the source. Even though we have all these news agencies to get information from, most of them, due to saving money and not sending reporters by themselves, get their news from one major source.
    So, it only takes one ill informed journalist to create a sensationalist news that other reporters publish as facts, without even a cursory fact check.
    Yay for the modern information society.

  48. boonishiwa says:

    It’s also interesting to note that Breivik played a Mage and a Resto Druid in WoW, at least according to his manifesto. So it’s not only the lack of shooting in WoW that makes these press reports ridiculous, it’s that he actually played a healing class which is, well, quite the opposite of shooting someone…

  49. Bradeh says:

    I wonder if this sensationalistic coverage is coming solely from the UK and US. Would love to see what the German news is saying.

    • Premium User Badge

      Oozo says:

      Just checked. As of now, the reactions of German papers could be worse.

      Spiegel made clear that the WoW-phase was used as a cover for his planning, Sueddeutsche Zeitung as well. The more conservative “Welt” is the only one I found that put the game into the lead, but the text itself is less sensationalist and quotes Brevik on the “pure entertainment”-aspect of it.

      The tabloid paper “Bild” is a bit of a mixed bag: they use the same quote, but start the next paragraph (which is in bold print) with a resolutely BUT, thus clearly suggesting that MW2 was used for practicing the killing-spree.

      All in all, less grave than I expected. Even though I wouldn’t be suprised if the more exploitative headlines were still to follow.

      • Subatomic says:

        Yeah, I’m rather suprised by the comparatively tame coverage of German news media, given their behaviour in other cases.

    • f1x says:

      I have not seen what they say on TV, but major newspapers here in Spain are focused in covering the things related to his polithical ideology, or ideaological nonsense,
      http://internacional.elpais.com/internacional/2012/04/18/actualidad/1334746438_924684.html
      http://www.lavanguardia.com/internacional/20120418/54284920006/el-asesino-de-oslo-tiene-contacto-postal-con-ultraderechistas.html

      But again Spain is always slower for news, so maybe along the day they say something about videogames