The latest gaming controversy

An interesting article in today’s Scotsman says that the mother of 14-year-old murder victim Stefan Pakeerah ‘claimed her son’s “inherently evil” murderer was “obsessed” with the game [Manhunt] and called for it to be banned’.

Further down the article, we get the full quote:

“I think that I heard some of Warren’s friends say that he was obsessed by this game.
“If he was obsessed by it, it could well be that the boundaries for him became quite hazy.”
“I can’t believe that this sort of material is allowed in a society where anarchy is not that far removed.
“It should not be available and it should not be available to young people.”

Which isn’t exactly the same thing. Nevertheless, Dixons has already pulled Manhunt from its shelves, and I’m sure Daily Mail journalists are loading up their word processors for a “ban this sick filth” story as I type this.

There’s no doubt that Manhunt is an odious bit of entertainment, the latest instalment in Rockstar games’ rather tiresome saga of winding up the moral majority, and Pakeerah’s family has every right to ask “why did this happen?” However, any connection between the computer game and the murder so far is pure speculation: the link may prove to be as tenuous as the link between the Child’s Play film and the murder of Jamie Bulger, or the link between the game Doom and the Columbine shooting. Perhaps we should postpone the moral panic until we’re in possession of all the facts.

2 thoughts on “The latest gaming controversy

  1. Anonymous says:

    I agree, we shouldn’t light the torches until we get all of the facts. I think the main problem is that people think they are social analysts whenever something bad happens to them… and of course, few people have the knowledge or common sense to make a fair assessment of any kind of situation. Personally, I love Rockstar games, and I have never had the urge to kill based on a game I play. On the contrary, my anger is usually vented in the games. Of course, there are those without parental role models that take those games too seriously. However, I can only speak for myself, which is something that all of us need to learn to do when these things happen.

  2. Gary says:

    I think you’re right about the role model thing, although of course that’s not the only factor. That said, it’s more likely to be a factor than, say, Doom III, which the Mail has picked on even though it hasn’t been released yet.

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