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Video Games, Violence,
and Crime
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Compelling Violence
Video Games and Mass Shootings
Chapter Two
Antisocial Behavior
Chapter Three
Video Games and Mental Illness
Legal Responses to Gaming Issues
Source Notes
Related Organizations and Websites
For Further Research
Index 73
Picture Credits
About the Author
hen the  rst home versions of video games appeared in the
1970s and 1980s, few people realized just how popular they
would become over the next few decades. In 1982 the revenue of
the home video game industry was $3.8 billion; in 2013, accord-
ing to the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), American
consumers spent $21.53 billion on video games, hardware, and ac-
cessories.  e ESA reports that as of January 2014, 59 percent of
Americans play video games, and 71 percent of them are age eigh-
teen or older.
For some of these players, gaming is not a casual hobby but
an important part of daily life. More than 60 percent of them play
games with others, either in the presence of other players or online,
and many of these individuals gain a sense of community from their
game play. Some also join clubs devoted to particular games and
attend events dressed as their favorite characters. Many positive ex-
periences can come out of such activities. However, they can also
create di culties for gamers who cannot limit the amount of time
devoted to them. When people become obsessed with gaming, they
can play for so many hours that it destroys their relationships with
friends and family, costs them their jobs, and brings  nancial hard-
ship and depression.
Many of the downsides related to video games are, according to ex-
perts, the result of heavy gaming. Some believe that heavy gaming can
make people more aggressive and perhaps even violent, particularly if
the games being played involve committing violent acts in the world
of the game. Ohio State professor of communication and psychology
Brad Bushman, who has spent roughly twenty- ve years studying the
because “video games require the player to identify and interact with
a violent character instead of just observing them.”
One type of video game provides an especially strong connec-
require the player to
identify and interact
character instead
of just observing
—Brad Bushman,
psychology at Ohio State
is projected on a screen during a
promotional preview of the game in 2013. Many believe that the violence in such
his neck with a satisfying crack. I want the cheap but rewarding thrill
of crushing a group of hapless A.I.-controlled [arti cial intelligence–
games) de nitely
affects the player,
to a degree. You
Video Games and
he Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (AL-
ERRT) Center at Texas State University de nes mass shootings
as instances when a gunman opens  re in a public place speci cally to
of the shooters brought multiple weapons. Five percent wore body
e ALERRT study did not provide statistics regarding the pop
ularity of violent video games among mass shooters. However, when
a mass shooting occurs, further investigation often reveals that the
ted his real-life killings. His movements at the mall were also similar
to those he would have made within the game environment, and he
performed certain actions in the same order as they might occur in
the game. Another similarity is that the shooter dies at the end of the
game level, although he is killed by the terrorists rather than by his
own hand.
Novelist Emile van Veen, who has written a thriller in which ter-
rorists use computer games to rehearse their attacks, suggests that
van der Vlis used
Modern Warfare 2
as a way to practice how he was
going to carry out his mass shooting. Others say that the idea for the
shooting came while van der Vlis was playing the airport terminal
level of the game. In either case, many people believe that his actions
at the mall show that his game play in uenced his choices during the
A woman lays  owers at a memorial to the victims of a 2011 mass shooting in the
Choosing Weaponry
ere has also been at least one instance in which a violent video game
appears to have inuenced a mass shooter’s choice of weaponry. e
shooter was thirty-two-year-old Anders Behring Breivik. On July
22, 2011, Breivik red at teens attending a political summer camp
on an island approximately 25 miles (40 km) from Oslo, Norway. For
roughly an hour and a half, Breivik shot people as they ran, including
from February 2010, he called the game
the best military simulator
out there,” adding, “I see [
Modern Warfare 2
] more as a part of my train-
their bedroom and shot them while they slept, hitting his father in the back
of the head and his mother in the face and hand. Though both of them were
seriously injured, Brooks’s father managed to call 911. Nathon Brooks told the
arriving of cers that an intruder had committed the shooting, but later, after the
truth came out, he blamed video games for the crime. Speci cally, Brooks said
that he had recently been trying to quit playing violent video games because
they were making him violent—although he admitted that he started having
thoughts of murdering his parents when he was only eight years old. He also
said that he had heard voices in his head urging him to kill his parents, and
“Where does a
14-year-old boy who
never red a gun
Kentucky killer, he says, “Where does a 14-year-old boy who never
ports that many US soldiers who had participated in the war later ad
can lead certain gamers to believe that some human beings are more
deserving of being shot than others. According to Jack  ompson, an
antigaming activist who has brought lawsuits against the makers of
violent games, if someone spends hours playing a game in which police
games are not a
Different Circumstances
However, the circumstances of the killings committed by the men
Ferguson mentions are dierent from those involving gamers. Per
When horrible things happen, we look for simple answers,
for easy rationalizations—ways to essentially say, Oh,
why so-and-so did such-and-such. We want the “why” right
now, when the spotlight’s on. We want the dots connected,
and we want them to correspond with our suspicions about
new, ultra-popular activities, like dancing to jazz music in
the 1920s, or reading comics in the 1950s, or listening to
rock ’n’ roll in the 1960s, or playing
Dungeons & Dragons
violence against its own people. Here’s one, it’s called ‘Kindergarten
LaPierre was referring to a free online rst-person shooter
game in which players take the role of an elementary school janitor
who kills a teacher and then proceeds to shoot at children throughout
the school grounds.
Many experts on violent crime have criticized LaPierre’s com
ments. For example, Ferguson complains that “the NRA is arguing
that the problem is imaginary guns, not real guns.”
Other experts
responded to the NRA comments by citing data from the largest
National Rie Association (NRA) executive vice president Wayne LaPierre blames video
(projected on the video screen) for encouraging
tries where video games are popular have much lower  rearm-
related murder rates. In fact, countries where video game con-
sumption is highest tend to be some of the safest countries in
the world, likely a product of the fact that developed or rich
countries, where consumers can a ord expensive games, have
on average much less violent crime.
Fisher adds that “this data actually suggests a slight
in violence as video game consumption increases.”
Many of the most popular video games do con-
tain a great deal of violence. But it is di cult to
establish a true cause-and-e ect relationship
number wouldn’t
dream of enacting
the screen.”
—Virginia psychologist
Stanton Samenow.
number of players who were highly aggressive after a gaming ses-
sion, she is dismayed that it has not caused more concern among
the public:
tration, they exhibit more aggression than normal. Ferguson
Since . . . violent games tend to be more dicult to learn and
have more complex controls than non-violent games, it ap
pears that many participants in these experiments may simply
have been frustrated by being cut o so quickly before they
even learned how to play, rather than by the violent content of
they have no control
over the outcome of
the game, that leads
to aggression.”
researcher Andrew
games for mature audiences, female characters are far more likely to be
portrayed in sexualized ways than male characters.  is creates issues
because of how gamers relate to virtual characters—particularly a char-
acter being used as the gamer’s avatar, or stand-in.
Jesse Fox, Jeremy N. Bailenson, and Liz Tricase of Stanford Uni-
versity’s Department of Communications, who conducted a study
into the e ect of the sexualization of gaming characters, explain that
displays the over-sexualized female
 gures often depicted in such games. Some psychologists argue that female gamers
can subconsciously take in such depictions, leading to poor self-esteem.
as their own, which has been shown to have stronger ef
fects than passively watching them. Because of the enhanced
realism, the opportunities for interactivity, and the experi
ence of embodiment, it is possible that these representations
will have powerful eects on users’ beliefs, attitudes, and be
haviors oine as well.
According to the researchers, female gamers who play violent
games in which women are seen not as individuals but as sex objects
can gradually internalize the messages of the game: that women re
ally are objects and are valued only if their appearance matches what
 is was a matter of concern to the researchers because studies have
shown that women who have internalized rape myths are less like-
ly to take precautions against being raped. For example, if they are
not dressed provocatively then they might feel they are immune to
a sexual attack.  e researchers also note, in regard to the possibility
that men might be experiencing the same e ect, that men who have
internalized rape myths are more likely to rape.
Grand Theft Auto
At around 2 a.m. on September 23, 2013, twenty-year-old Zachary Burgess, a
student at Auburn University in Alabama, spotted a truck in a parking lot with
its engine running and its driver missing. He got behind the wheel, ignoring the
protests of a woman sitting in the passenger seat, and began driving around
the parking lot. Witnesses watched him slam into nine other cars, then jump
out of the truck and run away. They chased him down and held him until police
arrived. Burgess told them that he had taken the truck and smashed into the
cars because he wanted to see what it would be like to play the video game
Grand Theft Auto
for real. He was charged with stealing the truck, kidnapping
the woman, and committing nine counts of hit-and-run for damaging the ve-
hicles he struck.
Imagine a situation, then, in which a girl gam
er plays as a sexualized avatar, and then performs worse on a
school test than she would have otherwise.
An Ohio State University study released in March 2014 suggests
that violent video games can also promote racism, particularly in the
form of negative stereotypes against blacks. For this study white col
lege students were divided into two groups: one
group was 60 percent male, and the other was
65 percent female. Participants were randomly
assigned to play a video game as either a black
character or a white one. e characters were
identical in body type, but the white avatar had
a conservative haircut and the black one corn
rows. In addition, the black character spoke
with an inner-city dialect.
For the rst part of the study, members of
the rst group played a third-person game,
Saints Row 2
, in which they performed one of
two missions. One mission was violent (a prison break), and the other
was nonviolent (merely nding a church). Afterward they were asked
to agree or disagree with various statements about black people, then
shown photos of black people and asked to match words such as
with each one. For the second part of the study, members of the
second group played one of two violent ghting games:
Fight Night
WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2010
. Participants then were
asked to match pictures of white or black faces with various ordinary
objects, some of them weapons. Members of both groups were also
“Imagine a situation,
then, in which a girl
sexualized avatar,
and then performs
worse on a school
test than she would
have otherwise.”
—Joseph Bernstein,
were signi cantly more aggressive afterward than those who played
the same game as a white character. Speci cally, those who had been
exposed to game violence doled out 115 percent more hot sauce.
 e other tests revealed similar di erences. Participants who
played violent games as black characters were more likely to use nega-
tive words in responding to photos of blacks, agree with racist state-
ments, and associate blacks with weapons than those who played as
white characters. Consequently, Brad Bushman, one of the authors
of the study, concludes that “playing a violent video game as a black
character reinforces harmful stereotypes that blacks are violent.”
Bushman notes that this runs contrary to what many people ex-
pect. He says, “Usually, taking the perspective of a minority person is
seen as a good thing, as a way to evoke empathy.” Indeed, a 2014 study
led by researchers at the University of Barcelona, Spain, found that
example, Black says that because the IATs were conducted after the
gaming and not before, we do not know what the test subjects’ atti-
black character
reinforces harmful
stereotypes that
blacks are violent.”
—Brad Bushman, video
game researcher.
A study in Italy led by psychologist Alessandro Gabbiadini yield
ed similar ndings. Specically, it showed that playing a violent video
game for just thirty-ve minutes can lead gamers to exhibit a lack of
self-control and an increase in aggressive behavior. is aggression
was measured in a way similar to the hot sauce test, by allowing par
Game-Created Biases
players of the violent game took far more than players of the nonvio-
lent game. In a similar test, after the gaming the participants were
Video Games
Later Koenig told police that during her sessions with Lanza he
had asked her about other mental conditions, most notably schizo-
phrenia and psychosis, framing his questions as though he were ask-
ing out of general curiosity rather than in relation to his own prob-
lems.  is suggests that he might have been worried he had these
However, experts say that people whose mental illnesses are un
treated are at more risk of committing a violent act than ones who
are receiving care for their illness. Bandy Lee, a researcher at the Yale
School of Medicine who specializes in psychiatric violence, reports,
Some studies suggest that playing violent video games can actually reduce
logical harm.  erefore, some experts say that if a gamer exhibits a
lack of empathy, this means that it existed before the gaming, and
the gaming is only bringing attention to an existing illness. Henry
to know what empathy in video games looks like, you need go no fur-
ther than her.”
I’d been playing was responsible.” But he adds, “It had nothing to do
with  rst person shooters, the speci c genre of video game that ev-
eryone worries about in the wake of a school shooting.” Instead, the
games that caused him problems were role-playing games, which he
says “exacerbated my bipolar disorder or drew upon unhealthy aspects
of my psychology.”
He suspects this was because his mania, for which
he is now receiving treatment, usually involved delusions of grandeur,
accumulated bile. It feels similar to my very early therapy ses
“I’m mentally ill,
I’ve gorged on
my entire life, and
me feel like doing
harm to another
human being.”
Scimeca, who suffers
from bipolar disorder.
because it distinguishes gaming abuse from substance abuse). Ac-
cording to Gentile, roughly 9 percent of Americans can be called
pathological gamers, and psychologists who try to help these people
say that they can be similar to drug addicts. For example, psychother-
apist Hilarie Cash says that most of her clients “have lost jobs, lost
marriages, dropped out of college or high school, and their lives have
fallen apart.  ey exhibit all of the standard characteristics [of addic-
to his Xbox. Later he discovered that his son was dead, and he was
charged with third-degree murder, which is an unplanned killing.
Authorities subsequently charged Wygant with child neglect as well
after they found another baby in the house, a three-month-old girl
who had been seriously neglected. In particular, she appeared to have
at-head syndrome, a condition whereby an infant’s head is attened
in one spot because the child has been left lying in the same position
for hours on end.
is was also the case with a two-year-old who was hospitalized
in critical condition in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in October 2011 because
of neglect. In addition to having at-head syndrome, the child was
severely underweight and weak. Authorities blamed her condition on
her parents’ addiction to the online social game
Second Life
. While
focusing for hours on the game, authorities said, the parents had ig
nored the baby’s cries to be fed. After taking her to the hospital when
The Wrongfulness of His Conduct
In May 2014 twenty-six-year-old Nianthony Martinez was sentenced to twenty-
 ve years to life in prison for the 2008 attempted murder of his ex-girlfriend
and the woman he believed turned her against him. His decision to plead guilty
was based on his desire to avoid an even longer sentence, but originally he had
planned to plead not guilty by reason of insanity. Legal experts believe he was
going to use video games as at least a partial excuse for his crimes.
Both Martinez and his friend Angel Gamez—who helped Martinez carry out
the attempted murder and received a sentence of  fteen years in prison for his
World of Warcraft
him at it. ey immediately took the game away and locked it in
their safe, which also held a handgun.
was taken away. His subsequent actions could have been an attempt
to regain the power to game. As many gaming experts note, violent
video games often provide the feeling of being powerful. As gamer
Paul Runge explains, “Video games are appealing because they allow
players to become what they are not. For example, outside the
of Warcraft (WoW)
, a player may feel weak and vulnerable. However,
, the player is some bu, kickass ogre. A dweebie panthe
on of strength.”
Former gamer Ryan van Cleave, who wrote an autobiography en
to reveal his struggles with his
World of Warcraft
diction, reports that his pathological behavior was driven largely by
the need to feel more powerful. In his book he explains that “playing
WoW makes me feel godlike. I have ultimate control and can do what
I want with few real repercussions. e real world makes me feel im
potent . . . a computer malfunction, a sobbing child, a suddenly dead
cellphone battery—the littlest hitch in daily living feels profoundly
Some mental health professionals suggest that playing violent
video games can cause someone to become addicted to feeling god-
like and that this addiction might result in a desire to experience the
same feeling in real life. Such a desire, they say, might be a part of what
motivates some gamers to commit mass shootings.  is was one of
the speculations regarding the  rst school shooters whose actions the
media tried to tie to video gaming. On April 20, 1999, eighteen-year-
old Eric Harris and seventeen-year-old Dylan Klebold killed twelve
classmates and a teacher at Columbine High School in Colorado be-
fore killing themselves.  e two young men were fans of two of the
earliest  rst-person shooter games,
Duke Nukem
, and Har-
ris chose the shotgun he used in the massacre based on its similarity
World of Warcraft:
at a premiere for the game. The role-playing aspect of such games is
appealing to gamers, who may not feel very powerful in their own lives.
to his weapon in
. Harris and Klebold were also both bullied
and were bullies themselves. ey had been victimized at school since
at least the tenth grade, and by the twelfth grade they were victim
izing younger, weaker students, perhaps as a way to reclaim feelings
of power.
However, both youths also had psychological problems that pre
ceded their playing of rst-person shooter games. Harris had been
under the care of a psychiatrist who had put him on a powerful anti
“These are not
ordinary kids who
played too many
These are simply
not ordinary
These are
sarily mean that it equates in their minds to killing a person.
 ey’re already in the context that this is a game, and the fact
that the game is realistic heightens the immersion, but that
doesn’t change the fact that it is a game any more than playing
“Battleship” does with little plastic ships.
Experts also note that a psychopath who is also a sadist would typi-
cally be drawn to video games that involve hurting and/or killing oth-
ers, which means that the video gaming is incidental to an underlying
mental illness. Many experts say, therefore, that it is wrong to assume
that video gaming plays a role in extreme acts of violence.
Legal Responses
very time an act of violence committed by someone who plays vio-
lent video games gains widespread media attention, there are calls
for bans on violent video games.  ere are also attempts to restrict
the content and/or sale of violent video games. Some of these e orts
have been successful initially, only to be later overturned by court de-
Night Trap
 e  rst objections to the violence in gaming were triggered in 1979
by the release of the arcade game
Death Race
, which involved killing
gremlins by running over them with a vehicle.  e graphics were crude,
but parents were appalled that children were being encouraged to
kill. Other violent games soon followed, along with more complaints
about game content, but it was not until games became more realistic
that public o cials began to address the issue of violent gaming.
 e  rst of these e orts occurred in December 1993, when then-
senator Joe Lieberman began holding Senate subcommittee hearings
on violence in gaming. Heavily covered by the media, these hear-
ings provided a platform for politicians to denounce certain games
for their violent content. Among the games drawing criticism were
the  rst-person shooter game
, which would later be associated
with the 1999 school shooting at Columbine High School in Colora-
do, and
Night Trap
, which involved watching virtual rooms in a house
via hidden cameras and clicking on an icon whenever a vampiric be-
ing known as an Augur appeared on screen.
But whereas
involved killing people,
Night Trap
saving them. Speci cally, players who clicked on an icon at the right
time would activate a trap, such as a false  oor, to capture an Au-
gur, thereby preventing him from killing any of the girls in the house.
Players who failed in this task would see a brief video of a bloodless
murder or a victim being dragged away by an Augur who was perhaps
wielding a blood-draining device, and the death of certain characters
would immediately end the game. In other words, any scenes of vio-
lence were the result of player error, and to win the game the player
had to save people and prevent violence.
playing or viewing violent games in arcades, and a 2002 St. Louis,
Missouri, law that prohibited children under seventeen from playing
violent games in arcades and prohibited anyone from selling or rent
ing a violent game to a minor. Both laws were struck down by federal
courts that deemed them infringements on the US right to freedom
of expression.
Congress began holding hearings on violence in video games in 1993. One of the
games that drew criticism was
A later version of the game appears here.
for not limiting its
protections to real-world heroes as opposed to
evil, tyrannical police o cers, space-alien police o cers, or car-
toon  gures.
In noting this problem, Lasnik said, “Would a game built around
‘ e Simpsons’ or the ‘Looney Tunes’ characters be ‘realistic’ enough
to trigger the act?  e real problem is that [a store] clerk might know
A California Appeal
Amidst these developments, several states passed laws restricting
children’s access to video games, but these statutes were ruled uncon
stitutional. One of these rulings, however, was appealed all the way to
Opponents of violent gaming have complained that violent video games often
show crimes without also showing the legal consequences of those crimes.
This, they say, might lead gamers to think that they can commit violent acts in
real life without repercussions. Consequently, some people have called on game
manufacturers to include more punishments in their games. For example, the
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has pushed for video games
to punish crimes committed in battle in the same ways that such war crimes
would be punished in real life. On its website the organization states,
As in real life, these games [those simulating real-life war situations]
should include virtual consequences for people’s actions and decisions.
. . . The ICRC is concerned that certain game scenarios could lead to a
trivialization of serious violations of the law of armed conict. The fear is
that eventually such illegal acts will be perceived as acceptable behaviour.
the US Supreme Court.  e legislation in question, passed in Cali-
fornia and signed into law in 2005 by then-governor Arnold Schwar-
zenegger, banned the sale of violent video games to children under
eighteen. It de ned violent video games as games featuring “killing,
maiming, dismembering, or sexually assaulting an image of a human
being” that possessed “substantially human characteristics”
speci -
cally because viewing such images could cause psychological harm
and make it more likely for young people to behave in aggressive or
antisocial ways.  e law also imposed a $1,000  ne on violators.
Even before the law went into e ect, the gaming industry was
working to overturn it. Two industry representatives, the Enter-
tainment Merchants Association and the Entertainment Software
Association, sued the state of California.  ey argued that the
ban was unconstitutional based on the First Amendment, which
protects free speech, and the Fourteenth Amendment, which pro-
hibits states from passing or enforcing laws that violate a US citi-
zen’s constitutional rights. But during the resulting trial, lawyers
for California focused not on rights but on the harm that the state
believed video games could do, saying that this harm was severe
enough to justify a restriction on freedom of speech. Courts have
found this argument compelling in other situations; for example, a
person does not have the right to yell “Fire!” as a prank in a crowded
A Supreme Court Decision
After this ruling California asked the US Supreme Court to review
the case, and in 2010 the Court decided to do so. In 2011, after
Protesters rally on the steps of the Supreme Court Building prior to 2011 hearings on
California’s proposed ban on violent video games.
But Justice Stephen G. Breyer countered
that common sense dictates that the government
should be able to prevent young people from
having access to images that most members of
would permit the
government to
protect children by
restricting sales
of that extremely
gagged, tortured,
—US Supreme Court
justice Stephen Breyer.
to act aggressively. Any demonstrated eects are both small
and indistinguishable from eects produced by other media.
Since California has declined to restrict those other media,
e.g., Saturday morning cartoons, its video-game regulation is
“Most parents
think their child is
mature enough so
—Jurgen Freund, a UK
expert on the effect
ence them.”
Freund’s research has also shown that most parents do
not bother to review the latest games their children are asking to play
change their minds on game bans. Consequently, some are propos
“Too Far a Leap”
Perhaps the rst attempt to hold a video game company legally responsible
for a mass shooting was a lawsuit led in 1997 by attorney Jack Thompson on
behalf of the parents of three children killed in a shooting at Heath High School
in West Paducah, Kentucky. The shooter, fourteen-year-old Michael Carneal, had
Castle Wolfenstein
. Thompson sued the manufacturers of the video
games Carneal played as well as the operators of the pornographic websites
the young man had visited and the producers of a movie that Carneal owned
in which a student fantasizes about committing a school shooting. Thompson
sought $33 million in damages for the victims’ families, but in 2001, after many
court proceedings, the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that it was
“simply too far a leap from shooting characters on a video screen to shooting
people in a classroom” and dismissed the case.
Mike Jaccarino, “‘Training Simulation’: Mass Killers Often Share Obsession with Violent Video
Games,” Fox News, September 12, 2013. www.foxnews.com.
ing alternative approaches to reducing or even eliminating the avail-
ability of such games. For example, in February 2014 the US Repub-
lican Party suggested a tax reform that would exclude the creators
of violent video games from receiving a research-and-development
that we’re going to
there read their
book or played their
criminal, there is no
stopping point.”
—Paul Smith, an
attorney who specializes
in First Amendment
work, but in the end it could lead a new generation to consider gam
ing harmful rather than fun. Dave Grossman notes that this has hap
“We need to say to
games, ‘That’s
—Dave Grossman,
Source Notes
Introduction: Compelling Violence
1. Quoted in Matt Homan, “Ohio State Professor: Violent Games
Can Make Players More Aggressive,”
February 6, 2014.
2. Quoted in Maria Konnikova, “Why Gamers Can’t Stop Play-
ing First-Person Shooters,”
(blog), November 26, 2013.
3. Steve Tilley, “
Review: Multiplayer First-Person Shoot-
Quoted in Je Grabmeier, “Video Games Can Teach How to
Shoot Guns More Accurately and Aim for the Head,” Ohio State
University Research and Innovations Communications, April 30,
2012. http://researchnews.osu.edu.
Quoted in Grabmeier, “Video Games Can Teach How to Shoot
Guns More Accurately and Aim for the Head.”
Grossman, “Teaching Kids to Kill.”
Grossman, “Teaching Kids to Kill.”
Dave Grossman, “e Violent Video Game Plague,”
of Reality.
Christopher J. Ferguson, “Don’t Link Video Games with Mass
Shootings,” CNN, September 20, 2013. www.cnn.com.
Ferguson, “Don’t Link Video Games with Mass Shootings.”
Matt Peckham, “Norway Killer Played
World of Warcraft,
Probably Means Nothing at All,”
April 17, 2012. http://
Peckham, “Norway Killer Played
World of Warcraft,
Which Prob
ably Means Nothing at All.”
Tassi, “e Idiocy of Blaming Video Games for the Norway Mas
Quoted in Daniel Beekman, “NRA Blames Video Games Like
‘Kindergarten Killer’ for Sandy Hook Elementary Slaughter,”
New York Daily News
, December 21, 2012. www.nydailynews
Quoted in Beekman, “NRA Blames Video Games Like ‘Kinder
garten Killer’ for Sandy Hook Elementary Slaughter.”
Max Fisher, “Ten Country Comparison Suggests ere’s No Link
Chapter Two: Antisocial Behavior
25. Tobias Greitemeyer and Dirk O. Mugge, “Video Games Do Af-
fect Social Outcomes,” Sage Journals, July 11, 2013. http://psp
26. Jean M. Twenge, “Yes, Violent Video Games Do Cause Aggres-
Our Changing Culture
(blog), December 21, 2012. www
27. Christopher J. Ferguson, “Video Games Don’t Make Kids Vio-
December 7, 2011. http://ideas.time.com.
28. Quoted in Devin Coldewey, “Video Gamers’ Aggression Born
from Frustration, Not Violence: Study,” NBC News, April 8, 2014.
29. Jesse Fox, Jeremy N. Bailenson, and Liz Tricase, “ e Embodi-
ment of Sexualized Virtual Selves:  e Proteus E ect and Expe-
riences of Self-Objecti cation via Avatars,”
Computers in Human
vol. 29, 2013, pp. 930–38. http://vhil.stanford.edu.
Chapter Three: Video Games and Mental Illness
Quoted in Mike Lupica, “Morbid Find Suggests Murder-
Obsessed Gunman Adam Lanza Plotted Newtown, Conn.’s San
dy Hook Massacre for Years,”
New York Daily News,
March 17,
2013. www.nydailynews.com.
Quoted in Hannah Schwarz and Marek Ramilo, “Sandy Hook
Shooter Treated at Yale,”
Yale Daily News
, January 22, 2014.
Quoted in Schwarz and Ramilo, “Sandy Hook Shooter Treated
at Yale.”
Quoted in Phil Owen, “Do Video Games Make Depression
Worse?,” Kotaku, November 26, 2012. http://kotaku.com.
Quoted in Owen, “Do Video Games Make Depression Worse?”
Henry Jenkins, “Reality Bytes: Eight Myths About Video Games
Video Game Revolution
, PBS. www.pbs.org.
Quoted in Michael Abbott, “In Praise of Empathy and Good
Brainy Gamer
(blog), October 19, 2007. www.brainy
Abbott, “In Praise of Empathy and Good Teaching.”
Dennis Scimeca, “I’m Mentally Ill, I Love Violent Video Games,
and ey’ve Never Made Me Feel Like Killing Anyone,” Kotaku,
January 16, 2013. http://kotaku.com.
Scimeca, “I’m Mentally Ill, I Love Violent Video Games, and
ey’ve Never Made Me Feel Like Killing Anyone.”
Quoted in Serena Gordon, “Video Game ‘Addiction’ Tied to
52. Paul Runge, “Video Games Represent the Most Powerful (and
Potentially Dangerous) Era in Storytelling,”
Hu ngton Post
, Oc-
tober 21, 2013. www.hu ngtonpost.com.
53. Quoted in Tamara Lush, “At War with
World of Warcraft
: An Ad-
dict Tells His Story,”
, August 29, 2011. www.theguard
54. Quoted in Gregg Toppo, “10 Years Later, the Real Story Behind
USA Today,
April 14, 2009. www.usatoday.com.
Quoted in Evan Narcisse, “Supreme Court: ‘Video Games Quali
fy for First Amendment Protection,’”
, June 27, 2011. http://
Quoted in Narcisse, “Supreme Court.”
Quoted in Alfred Hermida, “Parents ‘Ignore Game Age Rat
ings,’” BBC News, June 24, 2005. http://news.bbc.co.uk.
Quoted in Game Politics, “Experts: Chris Christie’s Video Game
Proposals Would Face Uphill Legal Battles,” April 24, 2013. www
Nathan Grayson, “US Tax Plan Singles Out Makers of ‘Violent
Videogames,’” Rock, Paper, Shotgun, February 28, 2014. www
Quoted in Leung, “Can a Video Game Lead to Murder?”
Grossman, “e Violent Video Game Plague.”
and Websites
125 Broad St., 18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
phone: (212) 549-2500
e-mail: [email protected]
website: www.aclu.org
An opponent of government e orts to censor books, movies, video
games, and other forms of media, the ACLU has been involved in
many legal cases related to First Amendment rights.
Ars Technica
website: http://arstechnica.com
 e Ars Technica website provides articles about video gaming, tech-
Entertainment Software Association (ESA)
575 Seventh St. NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20004
e-mail: [email protected]
website: www.theesa.com
A trade association representing companies that publish and
website: www.gamepolitics.com
 e Game Politics website, subtitled “Where Politics and Games
Collide,” provides information about political issues related to video
Mental Illness Policy Organization
50 E. 129th St., Suite PH7
New York, NY 10035
e-mail: o [email protected]
website: http://mentalillnesspolicy.org
A nonpro t organization, the Mental Illness Policy Organization
provides information on serious mental illnesses, violence, involun-
tary treatment, hospitalization, and other issues related to mental
health and violence. Its website links to numerous articles on subjects
related to mental illness issues.
Andrew P. Doan and Brooke Strickland,
Hooked on Games:  e Lure
Note: Boldface page numbers
indicate illustrations.
Abbott, Michael, 40–41
addictive gaming
characteristics of, 43, 45
child neglect cases, 44
cravings, 42
feeling godlike, 46–48
 rst-person shooters, 8–9
murder and, 43–44,
Advanced Law Enforcement
Rapid Response Training
(ALERRT), 11
of game players, 6
laws about sales, 51–53,
, 59–61
California, 54–58
Call of Duty
Modern Warfare 2
as training
for mass shooters, 12–15
played by mass shooters, 9
popularity of, 7
Carneal, Michael, 60
Cash, Hilarie, 43
child neglect, 44
Christie, Chris,
, 59–60
Clinton, Hillary, 53
Colorado, 47–48
Columbine High School
shootings, 47–48
conditioning to kill
military training and, 18
Grand  eft Auto
29, 62
Grand  eft Auto: San Andreas
(game), 53
Grayson, Nathan, 61
Graziano, Anthony, 34
Grossman, Dave, 16–18, 62
are not real cause of mass
shootings, 21,
are real cause of mass
shootings, 21, 22–23
Half-Life 2
(game), 40–41
Halo 3
(game), 45
Harmon, Arthur Douglas, 19,
Harris, Eric, 47–48
Heath High School, Kentucky,
immoral behavior research
results, 33–35
implicit association tests
(IATs), 31–33
Indianapolis, Indiana, 51–52
International Committee of
the Red Cross (ICRC), 54
Jacobs, Tom, 35
Jenkins, Henry, 40
Kalisch, Robert, 34
Kean, Sean, 60
Kentucky, 60
Klebold, Dylan, 47–48
Koenig, Kathleen, 36–37
Harris and Klebold, 47–48
Lanza, 36
van der Vlis, 12–13
self-control ability and, 9
weapons used, 11–12
media, 20–21, 50
mental illness and heavy
Supreme Court dismissed as
 awed, 57–59
reward system of games and
will to kill, 16–19
Runge, Paul, 46
Rutledge, Pamela, 48–49
Saints Row 2
(game), 30
Samenow, Stanton, 23
Sandy Hook Elementary
School, Connecticut, 36–37
Scalia, Antonin, 56, 58
scapegoats, video games as,
Schwartz, Harold, 37
Schwarzenegger, Arnold, 55
Scimeca, Dennis, 41–42
Seante hearings, 50–51
Second Life
(game), 29–30, 44
self-control, 9, 34
sexualization of game
internalization of, 26–28,
mod installation for, 53
rape myths, 28–30
sexual materials, sexualized
speech and minors, 53, 57
Smith, Paul, 61
Breivik, 14
Harris, 47–48
Why Kids Kill: Inside the Minds of
School Shooters
(Langman), 48
will to kill, games provide,
eect of rape myths on,
game content and attitudes
toward, 26–28,
internalization of
sexualization of game
characters, 26–28,
World of Warcraft
(game), 45,
WWE Smackdown vs. Raw
(game), 30
Wygant, Cody, 43–44
Cover:  inkstock Images
© Andrew Burton/Reuters/Corbis: 37
AP Images: 52
Bernhard Classen/Newscom: 40
Oliver Douliery/MCT/Newscom: 56
© Brownie Harris/Corbis: 17
Evelyn Hockstein/Polaris/Newscom: 22

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