Keith Vaz, Labour MP, has – citing no evidence – declared a link “between perpetrators of violent crime and violent video game users.” The accused game this time is Modern Warfare 2 DLC, Modern Warfare 3.
Vaz’s memory must be failing him, because he claims a scene set in the London Underground bears a “remarkable resemblance to the tragic events of 7 July, 2005”.
This scribbler was on the tube network that day, and while thankfully missing the terrorist attack, it should be noted that at no point did any witnesses report heavily armed men storming through tunnels, semi-automatic rifles blazing, on a pick-up truck.
Actually, gunplay on the underground probably more accurately resembles the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes. Even then, it’s a bit of a stretch – the chase didn’t last as long and the fight was rather one-sided.
Vaz has the support of eight other MPs, five of which are in the Labour Party, joined by Mike Hancock and Bob Russell of the Liberal Democrats and David Simpson of the Democratic Unionist Party. He and his cronies want the BBFC, the classification regulator in the UK, to “take further precautions when allowing a game to be sold”. The motion hasn’t got very far.
In his ongoing campaign to win support from the Twitterati, primary sponsor Tom Watson of the Labour Party has proposed an amendment which suggests Call of Duty actually encourages dexterity and collaborative skills.
In it, he “encourages the BBFC to uphold the opinion of the public that whilst the content of video games may be upsettling [sic] or upsetting to some, adults should be free to choose their own entertainment in the absence of legal issues or material which raises a risk or harm.”
The attack on gaming is nothing new. Anders Breivik, the lunatic gunman who shot Norwegian children, claimed in his notes that Call of Duty makes good practice. Of course, gun enthusiasts would note that Infinity Ward’s arcade shooter isn’t exactly realistic and certainly isn’t training grounds for anything other than filtering abusive headset-equipped Xbox Live users.
Years ago, tedious bag-strangling simulator Manhunt was the target. Before that, Thrill Kill, Mortal Kombat, Doom, etc., etc., etc. We’d suggest anyone shouting about links between violent gaming and violent criminals should probably Google correlation and causation.