TMCnet Feature
July 26, 2011

Breivik References First-Person Shooter Games as Training Tools for Norway Attacks

By Beecher Tuttle, TMCnet Contributor

The 1,500-page manifesto of Anders Behring Breivik provided a disturbing window into the mind of the man who admitted to killing more than 90 people in cold blood, many of whom were children.

Dubbed “2083 – A European Declaration of Independence,” the rambling manifesto details Breivik's concern over the “Islamic takeover” of Europe as well as gives a first-hand account of his many years of training.

Part of Breivik's preparation – and his self-perceived ability to avoid suspicion – relied on video games, specifically World of Warcraft and Modern Warfare 2.

The 32-year-old Norwegian described first-person shooter games as a training tool in a February 2010 entry.

“I just bought Modern Warfare 2, the game. It is probably the best military simulator out there and it's one of the hottest games this year,” he wrote. “I see MW2 more as a part of my training-simulation than anything else. I've still learned to love it though and especially the multiplayer part is amazing. You can more or less simulate actual operations.”

In addition, Breivik pointed to video games as a solution for those who need to calm the suspicions of loved ones while planning a similar mission.

“Say you play World of Warcraft or another MMO and have developed an addiction for it,” he suggests. “Say that (you) are going to play hardcore for the rest of the year and it is no point trying to convince you otherwise. Tell them that you are ashamed of it and you don't want to talk any more about it.”

Breivik referred to this “credible project” as a justification for planning activities, which include isolation and travel.

The mention of video games in Breivik's lengthy manifesto has caused some to question whether publishers need to tone down their content or restrict use of certain violent games.

TG Daily quotes Conservapedia as saying: “The next time a teenager or young man goes on a murderous rampage, notice how he was first addicted to harmful video games.”

However, it should be noted that Modern Warfare 2 came out in 2009, several years after Breivik began his planning. Furthermore, the Norwegian references dozens of other inspirations and muses, including classical music and literature. His favorite books include 1984, The Fountainhead and The Wealth of Nations. 

So far, governing bodies have resisted the temptation to attach blame to the video game publishers, and have called it what it is: a horrible, premeditated act of a deranged man.

Australia's Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor said that the government will not look to revamp its proposed classification systems for violent video games, according to the Australian.

“Clearly there is something wrong with this person to cause such devastation in Norway,” Brendan O'Connor told Australia's ABC television. “But I'm not sure that the argument goes that as a result of watching a game that you turn into that type of person. I think there is something clearly intrinsically wrong with him.”

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Beecher Tuttle is a TMCnet contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

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