Oh great, it’s this old viewpoint again: games cause violence. Have we not heard this enough? Will people ever give it up? Apparently not, as Norwegian retailer Coop Norway has “temporarily” taken 51 gaming and toy brands off of store shelves. This is in response to the murders committed last month by Anders Behring Breivik which claimed the lives of 77 people.
“The decision to remove the games was made around the time we realized the scope of the attack,” Geir Inge Stokke, director of Coop Norway Retail told The Norwegian Press. “Others are better suited than us, to point to the negative effects of games like these. At the moment it’s [appropriate] for us to take them down. I wouldn’t be surprised if others do the same. We have to think very carefully about when to bring these goods back. The economy involved is of no importance.”
Along with numerous Call of Duty titles, other military shooters and toy guns have been taken off of sale. These games were singled out because the killer referenced them in his 15,000 page manifesto. The reference to World of Warcraft was apparently an explanation to why he had been out of contact, so I do not really understand why that was taken off of shelves. Being antisocial is hardly an indication that an individual is going to go insane. More believable is the attack on the Call of Duty games, which the murderer listed as a great “training tool”. Whether it is or it is not is up to the person perceiving it, but I have never felt particularly war ready after playing a military shooter.
It seems this is another case of popular media brainwashing people to kill, and the issue has really been done to death. Can games influence people to kill? Perhaps retailers should leave that issue for the psychologists to sort out.
[Images via Infinity Ward]