We’re not quite sure of the connection, but WSOC-9 reports that police in Gaston County, North Carolina say three 19-year-olds who set fire to eight cars and a vacant home were inspired by the ultra-violent 2003 PC game, Postal 2:
Police say [the suspects] got the idea from a video game, “Postal 2”.
Investigators say the… arson spree lasted three weeks and targeted vehicles in neighborhoods… Detectives also say that [suspect] Jones has been charged with arson before and that he led them to the other two suspects.
GP: Hmmm… maybe the guy who had committed arson in the past “inspired” the other two? We’re just sayin’…
Meanwhile, in Lafayette, Georgia police fingered a more unlikely game as the inspiration for a separate vandalism spree – 2004’s T-rated Tony Hawk Underground 2. As reported by the Walker County Messenger:
LaFayette police are now saying that the New Year’s Day arson of the water-sewage building is linked to teens emulating roles portrayed in a popular movie and video game.
Public Safety Director Tommy Freeman told the newspaper:
The arsonists called their criminal act ‘the destruction tour. They told us directly that [Tony Hawk Underground 2 and the film Fight Club] influenced them…There was no remorse for their actions. They were high-fiving each other after they were brought in. It was simply a game.
I’ve not played THUG2, so I can’t assess whether the Walker County Messenger’s description is accurate:
In the video game, the mission is to complete what is called a “destruction tour.” Characters are rewarded bonuses for destroying or stealing objects. The emphasis of the game is depicted as the more destruction created by the player, the more points he will accumulate.
The ESRB descriptors for THUG2 include blood, crude humor, language, suggestive themes, use of alcohol, violence.
But not arson…