Once again computer games are being blamed for violence, the impetus this time being the release of Grand Theft Auto IV.
The evidence presented is anecdotal – someone was mugged after purchasing the game and there were fights in the queue to buy the game.
In the case of the mugging it was the victimnot the robber who owned the game. The desire of anti-social thugs to own the game at someone else’s expense is not evidence that there is anything wrong with the game. Using that logic we should also ban mobile phones, credit cards and money. The fights in the queue prove nothing either. When a new IKEA store opened not so long ago there was a riot as bargain-hunters fought with one another to get their hands on the opening night special offers. I don’t recall this leading to any calls for IKEA to be closed down to prevent public disorder.
If anecdotal evidence counts, then here is mine:-
I do not own any of the Grand Theft Auto games but I did play “Doom” a lot in the Nineties (incidently, if anyone has a PlayStation version of Doom they would like to sell, please email me). I have yet to go on a gun rampage shooting anything that crosses my path. I enjoy playing Gran Turismo and other games that involve driving at speed. Not only do I not speed in real life, I don’t drive at all.
I could go on but I think I have made my point; you can find anecdotal evidence to support any position you wish to take. The proposition that there is a link between such games and anti-social behaviour is worth examining however, though perhaps it should be undertaken by a university’s social science department rather than by tabloid journalists with space to fill and a deadline to meet.