"Ban these evil games", "Videogame violence corrupting our nation's youth", "video games stole my husband". It seems everyday that the media are making more and more claims about the evils of videogames. But are these claims based on fact, or is it merely that there is a juicy new scapegoat out there that the woes of the world can be pinned on?
Many people will be aware of the Daily Mail's 'Manhunt' story by now. The paper ran with the first page headline of 'Ban these evil games', claiming that 17 year old Warren LeBlanc's obsession with the ultra-violent Rockstar game 'Manhunt' drove him to beat his 14 year old friend, Stefan Pakeerah, over 50 times with both a claw hammer and knife. The tabloid then proceeded to assert "the hammer-and-knife killing mirrored scenes in the ultra-violent game". The paper also ran a quote from the mother of the victim, saying that, despite the fact the game had an 18 certificate, "it's no good saying this game is marketed at adults. Everyone knows that young children get their hands on them."
But what was the real motive behind the murder, and the follow up story? It's easy to see where the motive for the Daily Mail's story came from. In the words of the panel of the IGDA (International Games Developers Association) "it was a slow news day". And what better to liven it up than blood, violence and a convenient scapegoat?
There are two other important facts to remember about this awful murder. Firstly, what do the police say? After the headline in the Daily Mail you may think that they came to the conclusion that it was the game that set Warren off on his murderous way. However the conclusion that the police arrived at is that the motive was robbery. It turns out that Warren Leblanc had, in actual fact, a