Days after the Australian Government announces that it is releasing an R18+ rating for videogames, news breaks of an unimaginable act of terror in Norway, killing 91 people. The thing about these two seemingly different situations is that the mass murder/terrorist involved in the Norway killings wrote a manifesto about what he planned to do. It included hundreds of references to the bible, references to video games and how he was trying to “bring about a revolution” against Muslims in Europe. Anders Breivik was a self-confessed “conservative Christian” who enjoyed Modern Warfare and hunting.
Back here in Aussie-Land the leader of the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) announced that the tragedy in Norway was a good enough reason to ban violent video games. Using the same argument that they’ve been using for years, the Australian Christian Lobby try to point out that introducing the rating would allow high-violence video games into the hands of young, impressionable Australian kids and turn them into murdering, drug-taking hooligans.
Australian morning TV program Sunrise hosted a “debate” on the topic with Jim Wallace from the ACL and Kotaku editor, Seamus Byrne. Byrne had said that in Breivik’s manifesto, there were references to the bible, but Wallace and the media were only focusing on the video game references. Byrne also made mention that if the references to video games were being bought under the critical view, how can you avoid the references to Christianity and not bring them into a critical light, also. He says that not all Christians should be held responsible, but the right-wing conservative Christian views were the far more influential position in the manifesto.
Jim Wallace responded with (sic) “That was a cheap shot, as it always is with these people to distract from the main point at hand” which in his mind is video games. He also makes reference to 112 people who are academics and experts who say that there is a link to violent behaviour and violent video games, but doesn’t give out any names. Wallace read aloud a short from Breivik’s manifesto which says, “I see Modern Warfare 2 more apart of my training than anything else.” Now, this seems completely unreal to me. I was reading on Kotaku that soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan said that playing Modern Warfare 2 wasn’t like taking work home with them because the game is so unrealistic and that it doesn’t depict true war battles and strategies.
Thus ended the debate. The ACL get the last word which portrays Byrne as a supporter of the Oslo shootings.
I am astounded that such nonsense comes from someone who believes in “intelligent design” when he shows no intelligence for himself. Wallace continues to create propaganda against common sense rulings like R18+ being introduced because it would cause more violence and horror in the world and turn children into monsters, which the rating is against. The R18+ rating is designed to ensure that games like Modern Warfare 2 (which is rated R18+ in other Western societies) aren’t in the hands of <18 year olds who may or may not be able to comprehend the ideas in the game.
Even Brendan O’Conner, Federal Home Affairs Minister, has been quoted as saying
“Look, because there is a madman who has done just such atrocities in Norway, I don’t think that means that we are going to close down film or the engagement with games,” he said. “I think it really points to, of course, a person who – clearly there is something wrong with this person to sort of cause such devastation in Norway. But I’m not sure that the argument goes that as a result of watching a game you turn into that type of person. I think there is something clearly intrinsically wrong with him.”
I’m shocked and disappointed by Mr. Wallace, whose faith compels him to believe in compassion and love, would use such a tragedy to get his political point across. It shows how easily faith can be swayed by one’s own agenda and not for the good of the nation.