Only a short while back GameSpot's Cameron Robinson posted an insightful "What If" featurette, exploring the influence of violent video games on their audiences. In it, he rightfully pointed out that while there isno direct correlation between playing violent games and committing real acts of violence, there is evidence to suggest arelationbetween the two.
In the wake of the tragic events surrounding last week's school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, the US gun control policy has come under fire once again, for what seems like a never-ending political back-and-forth saga.
Well, we are not here to talk politics. This is GameSpot and we need a gaming angle- luckily there is one, a BIG ONE.
As facts began to surface, it was discovered that the deranged culprit of the aforementioned rampage - a 20-year-old Adam Lanza - was apparently obsessed with a little game called Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. Yes, Activisions latest, the one shooter millions of fans would love to hate. In the basement of his mother's house, much like a bunker, was Lanza's room dark and gloomy, no windows, walls covered with pictures of weaponry and posters of military hardware of all shapes and sizes. It was later made known that the crazed killer was obsessed with the army and firearms, as well as the Call of Duty series. Of course, it didn't help that his mother - a paranoid psycho - stockpiled an arsenal of pistols and assault rifles in her home, easily accessible by her social recluse son.
Needless to say - the "Influence of Video Games on Children" debate has been reinvigorated and intensified, with gamers, scholars and sociologists all arguing about who or what is to blame. Tabloids, analysts and TV reporters were quick to point out the influence of video games - and Call of Duty franchise specifically - on other alike tragedies of the recent past.
The most notable is the Norwegian gunman Anders Breivik, responsible for slaughtering 77 civilians and blowing up a government building in Oslo in 2011. It was later revealed that beside his fascist tendencies, Breivik was a passionate Modern Warfare player.
Another contender is Mohammed Merah- a 23-year-old mass murderer who went on a shooting spree in Toulouse, France in March 2012, and was also a passionate fan of the popular shooter franchise.
I am sure the list is even longer, but while the Games-Violence link is arguably there, the question remains -how decisive is it? Is there a genetic factor- in other words a natural predisposition to committing violent acts, or is violence a learned behaviour, influenced by such media as film, music and video games? Perhaps it is a mix of both - inherent violent tendencies amplified by the environmental factors.
What do you think, dear gamers, and especially Call of Duty fans? Do you feel the virtual massacres you commit in FPS shooters has any bearing on your real-world personality or behaviour? I'd love to hear your opinion on this issue.
Meanwhile, our hearts and minds go out to all the victims of this horrendous, senseless tragedy.