On July 22, 2011 the people of Oslo, Norway experienced an event that they will never forget. As of the time of writing this article, 76 people have lost their lives in this brutal and vicious attack. Now you may be wondering why the Peoria Geek guy is writing about something such as this? Well it is because that even though this happened in Norway, the after effects may involves Peoria area geeks and nerds. In asking the question “why” there has been a lot of speculation and rumors. Most recently, I was searching through various geek related news sites I came across an article that said a document written by Anders Behring Breivik, the suspect in the Oslo attacks, claimed that he used the game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 as a “training simulator” for his attack.
Personally, this just makes me furious. In the last two decades video games have been targeted of being a trigger object for deliberate terror attacks. At Columbine, the video game “Doom” was cited as a major factor in the reason why that particular school shooting took place. Earlier this year, a Russian airport experienced terror at the hands of a suicide bomber. That particular incident was cited to be caused by Modern Warfare 2 as there is a level in the game that allows you to go through and cause havoc in a Russian airport. In the days after 9/11 there was a public outcry that was focused on Microsoft Flight Simulator. It seems with every school shooting that takes place through the world, if the perpetrator was playing a video game that it is cited as a cause of their actions. Because of this, there are times when being a gamer is a taboo.
I began playing video games in the early to mid 1990’s. I have seen them evolve from the lightheartedness of Super Mario Brothers to the violence of the Grand Theft Auto. Video games are much like films anymore in the fact that mostly they just want to tell a story. Now throughout history there have been people who have drawn inspiration for nefarious plots from mediums such as books, movies, music and yes video games. But does that mean we should blame the mediums for the acts of people? Unfortunately, there will always be a few people who take things too far. Oscar Wilde once said “Life imitates Art more often than Art imitates Life”. But that does not mean that every person who plays games is going to do something stupid and foolish.
But in many of these cases, the events in question could be avoided. Many people who play all sorts of video games are young children. Some children know that what they are playing in fake but there are times where children can take games out of context. If you are a parent who lets children play video games or watch violent movies then please talk with them and put the situation in a proper light for them. Do not just assume they know it’s fake or for fun. Also, if you see a friend or loved one who is not acting like their normal self then I implore you, do not just ignore the issue. Have a talk and ask if they are okay, take them out and bring it up in casual conversation. Please do not ignore someone until an incident does happen then try to blame their actions on art. Your outcry will only make things worse for people who will probably already get hate from the mainstream media.