Montreal attack and video games

Another horrible shooting at a school and once again there is a reported connection to a mix of blogs, goth culture and videogames. The Globe and Mail has a story about how the Blog of accused killer reveals dark character (Scott Deveau). The blog, which is still (as of posting) accessible, now has 233 comments on the last entry posted an hour before Kimveer went.

As for the videogame connection, Montreal gunman called himself ‘angel of death’ is the title of a CBC story that quotes the blog,

“Work sucks ‚Ķ School sucks ‚Ķ Life sucks ‚Ķ What else can I say?” he wrote. “Metal and Goth kick ass. Life is like a video game, you gotta die sometime.”

The Globe and Mail article quotes more from the blog on the subject of videogames,

Among other things, he says his likes were: “First Person Shooters” and “Super Psycho Maniacs roaming the streets.” He also says he likes his knife, guns, and “Crushing My Enemies Skulls.”

Among his favourite video games are several first-person shooting games, including Super Columbine Massacre RPG, which has players mimic the infamous high school killings in Columbine, Colo., the morning of April 20, 1999, through the eyes of the teenage killers. The shootings at Dawson College on Wednesday are a chilling echo of those events.

Mr. Gill also lists Postal as another of his favourite games. The purpose of that game is to get through as much of the game as possible without going berserk and gunning people down, or, failing that, to avoid getting caught and being thrown in jail.

He also complained that Postal 2 was “too childish.”

‚Äúi want them to make a game so realistic, that it looks and feels like it’s actually happening,‚Äù he wrote in his blog.

Setting aside the question of who would create a game like “Super Columbine Massacre RPG”, I find it hard to believe that videogames didn’t let Kimveer model his violent fantasies.

Now I’m going to go back to the 233 comments on that last post. A snapshot of reactions from anger to concerns about how goth culture will be portrayed.

5 thoughts on “Montreal attack and video games”

  1. This isn’t the first time we hear people blaming video games for similar acts of violence. I for one can see games as a possible facet of what might influence someone to go out and shoot a crowd, but there’s certainly more at work here than the result of one’s gaming habits.

  2. You’re right that it isn’t the first time and it won’t be the last time. I’m tempted to say that games don’t cause the violence, but they help people with violent tendencies model (or practice) what they want to do. Thus the games influence the way the violence is expressed. That said, it isn’t the only influence on expression either. There is a copy-cat element to this – Kimveer may have been influenced by previous rampages like Columbine.

  3. In response to your question, who would make a game like “Super Columbine Massacre RPG”, see here. This interview has some good insights into the ideas behind the game, and the convenient scapegoats that people will always find.

  4. Just once, I want to see a movie or a game credited with having a positive moral influence. Clearly, we (at least the collective which the press represents) do believe that the arts have a deep and powerful effect on behaviour. We blame movies and other artistic expressions all the time for influencing bad behaviour. I just wonder if we ever give them any credit? Are lives ever changed (for the good) by a movie or a game? It ought to work that way too, if they are such a powerful force. Somehow it no longer seems fashionable to believe that a book or a movie or a game has any positive moral force. Why bother if that is the case?

  5. Robert – thanks for a great link. I’m still thinking about the interview and whether it is just more sophistry.

    Joanne – I agree that we need more credit. What is interesting is that blame and credit often go through different venues. Game reviews will give credit as will stories about how much money there is in gaming. Perhaps it will be from the social scientists that we read about how good games are for cognitive development.

    What strikes me about the two comments is the paradox we have. If a game can have a positive moral influence then it should be able to have a negative moral influence. Those who defend games from all criticism don’t do games a service since they make it sound like games have not impact whatsoever. I would prefer a world where games can make a difference, can be dangerous, and therefore can have a positive influence. It is the world after we take a bite from the apple of knowledge of good and evil.

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