Our very own Facebook king, lord Carl, wrote a great piece this morning about how the Daily Mail has completely missed the point when it comes to many of Grand Theft Auto's digs at society, or the fact that it has an an 18 age rating, describing it instead as a game that's easily accessible by younger teens (at the discretion of their parents) and may bleed violence into British streets. However, the Mail may not be the worst culprit when it comes to games related scare mongering: take a peek at the Daily Mirror's latest sensationalist headline.
Notice how it's framed as a question, making you wonder and therefore need to read more, as well as covering the fact that games have never been proved to drive anyone to do anything.
This story revolves around 34 year old Aaron Alexis, who has a history of mental health disorders and post traumatic stress, as well as previous arrests for violent acts. Ultimately he shot and killed 12 people, injuring 14 others in a random act of violence.
The Mirror covers this story on its website too (authored by Christopher Bucktin), modifying the headline to something a little less attention grabbing: “Washington Navy Yard gunman Aaron Alexis heard ‘voices in head' after playing violent video games up to 18 hours a day.” Those “violent” games are said to have included both Call of Duty and World of Warcraft.
While a Chris Rock bit might remind us that people like this are just “crazy,” instead of people forced by the media they viewed to commit horrible crimes, the Mirror takes it upon itself to point the finger at video games, using quotes from “friends,” of Alexis. One said: “There were a couple of guys I worked with that were kind of into shooter games, but by the time a new one came out, he would know a lot about the game.”
Of course instead of suggesting that the man reads a few gaming blogs or has a subscription to PC Gamer, this obviously means he's a killer. Another quote comes from a “friend,” who described Alexis as a heavy drinker – alcohol being a well known depressant and contributor to mental health disorders – and said that he would: “be in the game all day and all night. I think games might be what pushed him that way.”
Apparently this went on so much and for so long, that this friend brought Alexis food in his room, since the man wouldn't leave it. That sounds like someone enabling anti-social and potentially mentally scarring isolating behaviour, more than evidence of a murderer in training – but maybe that's just me.
Kitguru Says: I'll leave this story with one final quote from the Mirror, as I could go on for days about how many conclusions are jumped to and how obvious the agenda of Mr Bucktin's piece is, but here's a perfect example of the sort of audience the Mirror believes it's pandering to: “Call Of Duty are first-person shooting games where the gamer plays the role of military men on realistic missions.”“Military men,” “realistic missions,” “Call of Duty are”…[Thanks NeoGAF (mocoworm) for the image]