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.