The revolving door that is blaming games for bad things that happen in the world spins and spins… First, after blaming video games for the riots that have plagued London for three days, UK Newspaper The London Evening Standard, ran a bold front headline page yesterday suggesting that Grand Theft Auto had inspired youngsters to run rampant through the street, committing acts of violence, looting and general public displays of destruction. But as Computer & Video Games points out in this story, the paper later issued a reprint of the same edition removing the GTA angle altogether.
"Children as young as ten, inspired by video game, among the looters", read the sub-heading under the headline "Lawless London." Later the headline was changed to "Children as young as ten hunted by police after riots across city."
The changes came, says C&VG, due to pressure from them and other UK games media outlets. Bravo.
But just as progress is made and things seem right with the universe, someone else has to throw a spanner (as they say in England) into the works. According to this Sp0ng report, the Daily Mail has picked up where The London Evening Standard began, blaming Grand Theft Auto for the rioting. The Daily Mail is quoting the same anonymous London Constable blaming Grand Theft Auto:
"A policeman said last night that children involved in the rioting and stealing were inspired by violent video game Grand Theft Auto."
"The hugely popular computer game, which should not be played or bought by anyone under 18, is popular among teenagers, with many having the game given to them by their parents."
"In Tottenham, the scene of the first riots on Saturday night, a police officer said: ‘These are bad people who did this. Kids are out of control. "‘When I was young it was all Pacman and board games. Now they’re playing Grand Theft Auto and want to live it for themselves."
Of course, The Daily Mail ran with it, without checking any facts or even getting the officer's name. Meanwhile, no one knows why a bunch of VERY YOUNG CHILDREN were running amok in London suburbs going completely insane, while their parents were.. somewhere else.
Thanks to the irrepressible Andrew Eisen for the links.