Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Jackals Descend

From the Washington Post:
Several Korean youths who knew Cho Seung Hui from his high school days said he was a fan of violent video games, particularly Counterstrike, a hugely popular online game published by Microsoft, in which players join terrorism or counterterrorism groups and try to shoot each other using all types of guns.

Well, let's look at this, and I'm sure you guys will let me know if I'm misstating something.

Counterstrike is a team-based game that requires cooperation among teammates. In fact, if you asked Counterstrike players to describe the game in one word, many would say "teamwork." Yes, like many games, there's plenty of shooting, but in no way is it nihilistic in any form or fashion.

Does that sound like the kind of game that would spur a loner to commit a one-man assault on a college campus? And does a game teach you how to use, or even aim, a weapon?

Of course it doesn't--the entire premise is totally ridiculous--but within days, Jack Thompson will be bleating like a stuck pig because this kid played Counterstrike in high school. And Valve needs to get out in front of this right now. The mistake that the gaming industry consistently makes is trying to hide in situations like this.

This time, they need to stop hiding.

Valve needs to issue a press release immediately, and it needs to include something like this:
Counterstrike is, above all a team-based online game that requires cooperation among teammates. A player cannot succeed in Counterstrike without teamwork.

Anyone claiming that a keyboard and mouse-based control method in a computer game can somehow "train" individuals to commit murder with real weapons is doing nothing more than grandstanding for publicity and personal gain.

As I wrote earlier today, this is a terrible tragedy, and the profiteers that are descending are the worst possible kind of human beings. And the point needs to be driven home that people like Thompson are nothing more than jackals feeding on corpses.

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