Blame Game

After two teenagers stalked through classrooms killing fellow students at Columbine High School in 1999, many observers suggested that violent video games might be partially to blame. Violent games were still relatively new at the time, and they made an attractive target to media moralizers. The charge pervaded for quite a while: Some of the relatives of those killed at Columbine sued a group of video game makers in 2001, and in 2007, a Portland psychiatrist—who has since pushed for Internet addiction to be given official status as a clinical disorder—argued that the two teenagers’ shooting rampage was an enraged response to being cut off from their computers.

Jared Lee Loughner, the 22 year old alleged to be responsible for killing six and wounding 13 more in Tucson last weekend, was known to be a video gamer. This morning, The Wall Street Journal published a selection of disturbing excerpts from posts he contributed to a private Web forum devoted to the online game Earth Empires. As with his postings to a separate, UFO-focused message board, they indicate an unstable mind fixated on strange ideas.  Several suggest a history of violent thinking, such as Loughner’s chilling open questions: "If you went to prison right now...What would you be thinking?" and “Does anyone have aggression 24/7?"

Earlier this week, statistician Nate Silver asked why we aren’t having a “debate about violent video games” and followed up by noting that games, like "guns, alcohol, [and] rhetoric" are known to be “dangerous to a disturbed person.” Video games have been mentioned (briefly) by a few others as well. But by and large, there hasn’t been a concerted attempt to blame Loughner’s actions on video games.

That’s reassuring, if only because the evidence indicating that there’s no significant connection between game violence and real world acts of violence has grown in recent years. Last December, for example, researchers at Texas A&M released a study reporting that exposure to violent media wasn’t an effective predictor of aggression or violence.

More to the point, I think, is that the real-world evidence that violent games increase violent behavior just doesn’t exist. Particularly violent games first became popular in the early 1990s with fantasy-driven first-person shooters like Doom and Wolfenstein and the two-player fighting game Mortal Kombat. But between 1994 and 2007, serious violent crime in schools dropped by half. This drop occured despite the fact that a reported two-thirds of middle school boys play “Mature” rated games regularly, and violent first person shooters are consistently among the gaming industry’s most popular products.

But at the time of the shooting—and, indeed, for years after—violent games made an easy target, much as the “culture of violent rhetoric” has this week. Like the “violent rhetoric” charge we’ve heard so much of over the past few days, the violent video games storyline gave the media something to chatter about, fed the public’s desire for speculation in the absence of news, provided a pat explanation for those who wanted a clear and easy narrative, and gave moralizers a villain to blame. But ultimately it lacked much substance. The same, I suspect, will turn out to be the case with the media’s fixation on violent political rhetoric.

There is one notable difference, however, between the two charges: Both of the Columbine shooters were regular gamers, and one even compared the planned massacre to a video game (among other things) in his journal. There’s still no evidence that Jared Lee Loughner was influenced by—or regularly paid attention to—anything resembling mainstream political discourse, or even a well-established fringe political group.  In fact, there’s some evidence to the contrary.  But as we see so often in the coverage of horrific events like these, the story doesn’t work without someone, or something, to blame. 

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  • Binky||

    pushed for Internet addiction to be given official status as a clinical disorder

    What about addiction to scapegoating?

  • Satanic Cults||

    What about us?

  • H man||

    Too late 70's early 80's. But don't worry these things come in cycles.

  • Disco||

    We can't wait for our turn!

  • 8-track Tapes||

    Me too!

  • Velocipede||

    Then my era should surely swing around again! Good show!

  • Buggy whip||

    Sigh.

  • Satan||

    Ahem...What about me?!

  • pancakes||

    I still love you.

  • Homer Simpson||

    And I love you

  • The Church Lady||

    Well, isn't that special?

  • In Time Of War||

    Great. Now they can start banning things based on "think of the schizophrenics!" I wonder what this country will look like once it's perfectly safe for children and lunatics. I'd imagine there will be a lot of foam rubber...

  • Lunatic Child||

    I fucking hate foam rubber!

  • Four Loko||

    We demand equal time!

  • SIV||

    STFU you've been banned.
    You're so 2010.

  • alan||

    You see these criticisms from certain social con types and the public health obsessed left, both groups of people being not well integrated into the world at large, and are in fact, given nearly every male on the planet not stuck in a third world dump is a player, fringe to the point of sociopathology.

  • ||

    You guys are wasting your time thinking about facts and argument. Resident uber troll Hobie Hanson summed up liberal thinking this morning. It doesn't matter that this guy was a nut job not acting under the influence of political speech. The next nut could be. And that is enough.

    That is how sick and stupid these people are. If video games didn't cause this guy to blow a gasket, they could cause the next guy to and that is enough to ban them.

  • Michelle Obama||

    It would be facile and disingenuous to suggest that Jared Loughner's rampage in Tucson was the product of anything other than a disturbed mind, but the shooting spree, which left 6 people dead, including a child, a Democratic Congresswoman, and, like, a judge or something, must cause us to ask ourselves -- is our national climate of childhood obesity driving our young people to murder?

  • Fat kid||

    Man, I'd kill for a Baconator(TM).

  • Chris Matthews||

    Ha!

  • Ed Schultz||

    I'm gonna torch this fucking place!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    After this incident, when is this country going to have a serious debate about unemployment?

    Can't we look at how Washington's inability to create a stable, employer-friendly economic environment contributed to Loughner's lack of adequate employment options and subsequent mental breakdown?

  • Half the Country||

    After this incident, when is this country going to have a serious debate about unemployment?

    Better be quick about it, American Idol's starting soon.

  • PIRS||

    One of my favorite arguments against people who deplore our "low voter turnout" is this: Do you really want people who pay more attention to reality TV shows than the news to determine who the next President / governor / senator is?

  • Barack Hussein Obama||

    Do you really want people who pay more attention to reality TV shows than the news to determine who the next President / governor / senator is?

    I like it when that happens.

  • Mr Whipple||

    The Tyranny of a prince in an oligarchy is not so dangerous to the public welfare as the apathy of a citizen in a democracy.


    - Montesquieu,
    Spirit of the Laws.

  • ||

    Okay, picture this--we get a field of contenders--maybe hold some kind of open audition(think of the laughs--the freaks and the loons are bound to show up).

    We narrow each group to like 20--maybe by letting passersby 'vote' for them.

    Then we take each group of twenty and have them compete against each other in various stunts, physical and mental challenges and debates. The country decides who goes home each week.

    At the end, we've got a nominee.

    Call it 'Primary Decision', run a Democrat and a Republican one alongside each other--and have a third one, for indies and freaks run on weekends or late nite(make it more risque)

    When it's done, have the three winners compete in a shortened season--say July 4th through Halloween, with the finale on the first tuesday of November.

    People will be falling over themselves to join parties, politics will be popular, and voter turnout will always exceed viewers--possibly by a factor of 3.

    We'd run it for four years, starting the December after the finale. Whaddya think?

  • ||

    You mean they don't?

  • The Other Half||

    God, I fucking hate that show! Give me the remote...or there might be trouble....

  • Ivan||

    Fist of Etiquette, I know you are are being sarcastic. But unfortunately, I'm finding that people who are making comments as obviously absurd as yours are actually being serious.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    When, in this country, are we going to have a serious discussion about parody. Some people say things they mean to be satirical, but with such conviction, in such a dry tone, that others may think they are serious, and those people may act on what is said in irony.

    Let me be clear: I was indeed being sarcastic. I do not want any lunatic out there to go out and engage in debate about the hostile regulatory environment with which business enterprise is currently saddled. That is not my intention.

  • Old Mexican||

    After two teenagers stalked through classrooms killing fellow students at Columbine High School in 1999, many observers suggested that violent video games might be partially to blame.

    Well, it is true: The carnage and depravity I was exposed to when playing Pac-Man turned me into a blue-ghost eater.

  • ||

    My favorite urban legend about Columbine was that the two losers who did it were these super shooters who shot better than special ops guys because they had played so many video games. Practically every cop in America repeated that piece of bullshit.

  • ||

    Well, the cops had to give a plausible reason why they cowered behind their cars, John. That was the best they could come up with.

  • ||

    That is true. Come on Epi, they did go in and clean up the bodies after the two shooters killed themselves. What do you want?

  • Chris Matthews||

    Ha!

  • ||

    True. And they probably collected some evidence, too, which for them is a lot.

  • ||

    They didn't want to EthcalateTheViolenth™.

  • ||

    they did it because they were fucking cowards and they responded with their "wait for SWAT" training that is par for the course (or was) with moronic academy instructors.

    since then, ASAP training has changed this, but it was NO excuse. it was unconscionable that those fucking cowards stoody by while an active shooter(s) was killing schoolkids.

    and yes, I am STILL pissed off about it

  • hmm||

    Uh, It might be possible to prove kids playing duck hunt can shoot better than a lot of cops...

  • Hugh Akston||

    Because the cops are too busy shooting that fucking dog to worry about the ducks.

  • emerson||

    +1

  • Geotpf||

    Reading Nate Silver's Tweets, he seems to be wondering why Sarah Palin and Teapartiers have been blamed this time but not video games, as in past mass shootings such as Columbine. It might be just that the media hasn't picked it up, or possibly that his game of choice (Earth Empires) isn't in-your-face violent as Doom et al is-it's text based, for crying out loud. No gory visuals for the TV news.

  • Pip||

    I think they haven't blamed video games because vidio games don't run for office.

  • Glock 17||

    I'm running for Sheriff in Pima County, AZ.

  • Dylboz||

    After watching our current sheriff's performance on TV, I'd vote for you!

  • flye||

    I've always wanted a politician in my hip pocket.

  • ||

    Lets also not forget that everything that was initial reported about Columbine turned out to be bullshit. The shooters were not bullied loners. They were bullies themselves. They were not looking to take revenge on their classmates. They were fucked up nihlist terrorists who wanted to blow up the entire school. This did not come out of the blue. They were very troubled kids. And this was known by their parents and school officials. The entire narative that the media put out after Columbine turned out to be false. Forgive me for not believing anything they are saying now about this incident.

  • ||

    ...and none of the kids said "I beleive in God!" before getting shot.

  • ||

    I read the book that kid's mom wrote about her and it was pretty good but not as good as the one written by Nancy of Sid & Nancy's mom.

  • vousy zuřivosti||

    but but "Bowling for Columbine" told me different. I know Michael Moore wouldn't lie to us.

  • PIRS||

    I used to play Space Invaders. It increased my desire to kill spider looking aliens from another world. Unfortunately I could not find any.

  • ||

    You could join the Mobile Infantry and become a Citizen.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    CO-ED SHOWERS!!! WOOT!

  • mr simple||

    It's insulting to both of us that you reference the movie.

  • ||

    I play Fallout 3. It makes me want to initiate a full-scale nuclear war so I can escape from a vault and live in the wastelands.

  • Sudden||

    I still regularly game it up on both Madden and Rock Band, and I have neither the talent nor motivation to play actual football or actual instruments. Hypothesis disproven.

    Real gamers are far too lazy to actually do anything in real life that they do on the PS3/Xbox/computer (not including Wii because no real gamer uses that).

  • ||

    Wait until they have real games for the Kinect and the Move.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    I play Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War. It makes me want to put on powered armor and kill millions of Xenos and heretics in the name of the God-Emperor with my bolter and chainsword.

  • ||

    they already have designed sex games for the xbox 360 kinect. i'm waiting for them to blame some rape on a guy who was getting virtual sex on xbox first

  • ||

    Rock Band is the greatest game (if that's that rate word for it) ever. Don't have the talent to play real guitar. But what a great way to listen to music.

  • ||

    My kids like games like that, but they seem tedious and dull to me. They remind me of the dancing in one of the GTA games, which also involved hitting lots of buttons in sequence.

  • Chopin||

    Music is hard.

  • ||

    Music, maybe. Aping a bunch of preset buttons seems less so.

  • ||

    Well, your kids probably didn't have 'Simon'

  • Jess Keeding||

    PlayStation announced today that it is recalling all of its 3D video games in a good-faith effort to prevent future violence.

  • ||

    No way

  • Way||

    "Jess Keeding", John!

  • hmm||

    castle wolfenstein

    I'm impressed.

  • ||

    i played the original castle wolfenstein on the Apple II. it was old skool 2d but it did have some kick-ass voice generation "schweinhund!!"

  • dmoynihan||

    Did you also play "Castle Smurfenstein?" 'Cuz I flashed back to the horror of that one during Avatar.

  • ||

    no, but if it had smurfette in it, i'm down

  • Cliché Bandit||

    Am I the only one who remembers that Castle Wolfenstein was an Apple II game and that pictured above was Wolfenstein 3D? I hated the Apple game cause I never got anything right. Alos, a good portion of my adolescence was spent perfecting the 8 hit combo of Kabal in MKIII. I must say, when I had the chance to play again about 3 months ago it was FRIGHTENING how fast it came back...as in second try. Wish that worked for where I left my wallet.

    Karateca Cheat, 'nugh said

  • hmm||

    Yes it's 3D.

  • ||

    The original Castle Wolfenstein, on the Apple, was pretty cool; you did a lot of sneaking up on the guards because if they saw you, the alarm got triggered and you were basically fucked. I did win the game, which was pretty neat.

  • hmm||

    back when games were sold in sandwich baggies on 5" disks...

  • Cliché Bandit||

    I don't know sudermans age but I think Joust was before his time.
    Take it or leave it
    ...
    ...
    whiney bitch (@hmm)

  • ||

    With Hitler as the final boss?

  • Geotpf||

    I never played the non-3D one, but in Wolfenstein 3D, Hitler (wearing a mecha-suit, of course) was, in fact, the final boss.

  • M.E.Ch.A. Suit||

    For the glory of la raza y und faderland.

  • hmm||

    Hans Grosse was 3D final boss.

  • ||

    You had to plant the bomb just outside (or was it inside?) his meeting room. Then get outside before it went off. You could see him pacing around in there, if I recall.

  • ||

    I can only vaguely remember the details of the game.

  • Warty||

    Oh shit, I played that game on C64. I had forgotten how cool it was.

  • Warty||

  • vousy zuřivosti||

    "Inside the Eagle's Nest" was a better game.

  • vousy zuřivosti||

  • ||

    rise of the triad was pretty good, too. but duke nukem was epic!

  • hmm||

    You know what gamers are scary? The fucking Eve people. The time, planning, and logistics would drive any normal person insane.

  • ||

    HEY!
    We are normal, well adjusted people and fully integrated into society.

  • hmm||

    You are scary. That's coming from a former EQ PVP server top guild player.

  • ||

    Fuck the politician!

  • ||

    Stalker troll stalks.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    damn...you get your own stalker? All I get is hmm bitching about no free Clichés. Life isn't fair, there aught to be a law.

  • ||

    Don't be jealous; it's not a very good stalker.

  • hmm||

    Hey, name change or put out bitch.

  • hmm||

    with your snotty little accent mark.

  • hmm||

    fucking elitist

  • Warty||

    What do I have to say to get a crappy stalker?

  • Miggs||

    Rectal's semi-stalking you, and she's pretty crappy.

  • ||

    Talk about individualist anarchism, and put down Randians and Hit & Runpublicans, for starters. See how that works out for you.

    Or you could just go read rectal's blog; she'd probably stalk you after that, but I don't know if you want a really crappy stalker or just a crappy one.

  • ||

    "individualist anarchism"

    Hahahahaha! Is that like collectivist capitalism?*

    *Rhetorical question. No need to reply.

  • SIV||

    MNG used to stalk me.I was working 80 hour weeks away from an internet connection and I'd take a quick peek to see what I missed on H&R after days w/o reading, much less commenting. MNG would be following random poster/trolls around accusing them of being me and trying to start arguments about cockfighting or something, joe did a bit of that too.

  • ||

    Too bad. I don't give a shit about a politician.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Aww c'mon Epi, I think he's cute. He's like a three-legged dog that tries so hard to keep up with your car after you drop him off at the edge of the woods.

  • ||

    Fuck off. Did you expect us to give a shit about some shitbag politician?

  • ||

    That's when you realize maybe you should have had it euthanized instead.

  • Warty||

    I note that the shitty troll (is it Tulpa, maybe?) leaves off my last sentence.

  • ||

    Tulpa isn't a Randroid.

  • Warty||

    Yeah, passive-aggressive trolling doesn't really seem like his thing, either.

  • The Ghost of Kurt Vonnegut||

    Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly;
    Man got to sit and wonder, "Why, why, why?"
    Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land;
    Man got to tell himself he understand.

  • Johnny Longtorso||

    "If Pac-Man had affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in dark rooms, munching pills and listening to repetitive electronic music."
    -- Marcus Brigstocke

  • hmm||

    Uh oh.

  • ||

    Unfortunately I grew up with "Rampage" and have to restrain myself from putting on a lizard suit and climbing buildings at all times.

  • hmm||

    Fuck me. That's bad too?

  • Sudden||

    I was always a bubble bobble guy myself. Yet nothing in my adult life approaches that wonderful fantasy world or the horrors that was level 57.

    Although I do sleep a lot, so maybe Little Nemo had some lingering effects.

  • LikeATimeBomb||

    level 57 was nothing compared to beating the game by yourself (near damn impossible) and then getting the "bad" ending screen telling you you had to beat it with a friend.

    f'ing collectivist crap that was!

  • LikeATimeBomb||

    level 57 was nothing compared to beating the game by yourself (near damn impossible) and then getting the "bad" ending screen telling you you had to beat it with a friend.

    f'ing collectivist crap that was!

  • LikeATimeBomb||

    level 57 was nothing compared to beating the game by yourself (near damn impossible) and then getting the "bad" ending screen telling you you had to beat it with a friend.

    f'ing collectivist crap that was!

  • LikeATimeBomb||

    level 57 was nothing compared to beating the game by yourself (near damn impossible) and then getting the "bad" ending screen telling you you had to beat it with a friend.

    f'ing collectivist crap that was!

  • LikeATimeBomb||

    level 57 was nothing compared to beating the game by yourself (near damn impossible) and then getting the "bad" ending screen telling you you had to beat it with a friend.

    f'ing collectivist crap that was!

  • LikeATimeBomb||

    level 57 was nothing compared to beating the game by yourself (near damn impossible) and then getting the "bad" ending screen telling you you had to beat it with a friend.

    f'ing collectivist crap that was!

  • ||

    "Death to the Demoness Allegra Geller! Death to eXistenZ! Long live the realists!"

  • ||

    "It's your character who said it. It's kind of a schizophrenic feeling, isn't it? You'll get used to it. There are things that have to be said to advance the plot and establish the characters, and those things get said whether you want to say them or not. Don't fight it."

  • ||

    "Free will doesn't a big part of this game."

    "Of course not. Just like real life."

  • ||

    "You have to play the game, to find out why you're playing the game."

  • ||

    That's where Pelosi got it from!

  • ||

    No offense, Pete, but I am officially sick of massacrebating.

  • SIV||

    I like the massacrebating. Everyone is stuck defending Palin!

  • vousy zuřivosti||

    Tetris never killed anyone.

  • ||

    What the hell is up with the archive thingy? If you go from h&r to a main page story you cannot get back to h&r without going to reason.com.

    There used to be a h&r button on all the pages, then they took that away, but you could go through archives to get directly to h&r. Now it's gone and all is lost.

    I am going to cancel (non-existent)subscription, and move to Somalia with the real libertarians. Not this bunch of road driving faux freedom lovers.

    For a magazine called "Reason"!

  • SIV||

    ^^^^^^^^This^^^^^^^^

  • Almanian||

    Oh boy, we're gonna be two-fistin' tonight...

  • Sasha Grey||

    I'm in.

  • hmm||

    I don't think he meant that kind of fisting.

  • Audrey Hollander||

    Awwww...too bad.

  • ||

    I'd like to note for the record that in 1999 I blamed an unknown mayor of an obscure Alaskan town for the Columbine killings.

  • Andrew Sullivan||

    I used to play Space Invaders. It increased my desire to kill spider looking aliens from another world. Unfortunately I could not find any.

    I have an artist's conception of Palin's vagina I think you should see.

  • Number 2||

    After the RFK and Martin Luther King assassinations in 1968, the scapegoat of the moment were Violent Programs on Television. Never mind the utter absence of proof that either assassin had been affected by violent TV programs.

    And in case you were wondering, the National PTA declared the most violent program on television, with the most acts of violence per hour, to be....the "Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour."

  • ||

    I took the kids to see that Yogi Bear movie (against my will--I wanted to see True Grit, but my three-year old insists that she'll only watch the one with the Duke), which had a new Road Runner cartoon. It seemed to me that it was dramatically less violent than the originals. Which made it lame.

    Of course, I say that as someone who still thinks the Road Runner is a total bastard. Does anyone not root for Wile E. Coyote, Super Genius?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Does anyone not root for Wile E. Coyote, Super Genius?

    I rooted for Acme. With their obviously poor products and/or product documentation, they continued to do a brisk business.

  • ||

    Marketing.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    ACME gets a government subsidy.

  • Steve||

    ...but my three-year old insists that she'll only watch the one with the Duke

    I don't know what you're teaching that kid, but keep it up.

    *bows with respect*

  • ||

    I saw the new True Grit already. It's good, as one would expect from the Cohen Bros., but the story itself isn't that compelling, so without John Wayne, it's a little flat. There is one excellently violent scene, Cohen Bros style, but I would have liked more. And the performances are all very good.

    MATT DAMON

  • ||

    Ugh. Just when I thought your taste was getting decent with eXistenZ.

    I admit I did like the scenes where the girl was negotiating with the pony guy. The rest of it was typical Coen brothers episodic crud.

  • ||

    You're insulting my taste, Mr. Con Air?!? Have you even watched Cronenberg's other works? eXistenZ is good, but nothing compared to Videodrome or The Brood.

    And as for the Cohen Bros., you probably don't even like Barton Fink.

  • vousy zuřivosti||

    "Naked Lunch"
    Nelson Muntz: I can name 2 things wrong with that title.

  • ||

    Cronenberg is the s_it. Agreed on VD and TB.

  • ||

    I must say that even though his last few movies have been good, I am very disappointed by his completely turning away from his mutation fetish and just doing drama.

    "And tomorrow, we'll take some Percodan...just because it's Saturday."

  • ||

    I like the Coens, but I'm not sure they have that edge in their more recent films.

    Still, I plan to watch this one.

  • ||

    the introduction to jesus bowling scene with hotel california playing in spanish is worth the price of admission alone, for big lebowski. that is an absolutely classic scene.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Much as I hate to agree with Tulpa, it's right. There is almost no character development in True Grit. Everyone gives a good performance, particularly Josh Brolin, but there is no particular reason to sit around watching it for two hours.

  • ||

    You mean the girl doesn't win over Cogburn with her grittiness? Well, what's the point, then?

  • ||

    That's sort of what I was trying to say; I guess I failed. It is not a great movie by any means. It is good, but there's nothing special about it. It will not bore you, at least.

  • ||

    Sort of like Con Air.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Con Air was a flaming piece of dog shit. Everyone associated with that movie should be ashamed of themselves, with the exception of the director, who deserves to be drawn and quartered.

  • ||

    Simon West shouldn't be drawn and quartered, he should be locked in a cave with Charles Bronson's and Michael Winner's zombie corpses, seeing as he has his remake of The Mechanic coming out now.

    I'm sure Tulpa can't wait.

  • ||

    You should explain to the child that John Wayne was in fact a closeted homosexual, and the tough guy routine was "acting"*. Also, that yous pays the moneys and that yous wants the 'Grit'.

    *use finger quotes here.

  • ||

    John Wayne was a fag.

  • ||

    plate o' shrimp

  • ||

    John Wayne was a fag.

    You are dead to me.

  • ||

    You know, it used to be that everyone knew I was quoting Repo Man. Now, sadly, that is not the case.

  • ||

    I'm against exposing 3-year-old children to homosexuals.

  • Ted S.||

    What about homosexuals exposing themselves to 3-year-olds?

  • Amakudari||

    Well, yeah. I mean, there's no proof that shooter was influenced by right-wing pundits either, and that's why they talk about the climate created by people like right-wing pundits. Video games also make an easy out, because no one bloviating about the evils of video games grew up playing them. (Of course, it's also true that loners play more games, but that's more effect than cause.) And likewise, even if Loughner never gamed, the climate created by a culture that accepts obscenity in things like video games is to blame.

  • VoteMuslimNoPork||

    The alt comment accounts in this thread are genius ... they win the innanet.

  • alan||

    Mum claims that as a four year old I would snarl at the set and yell, 'GET HIM!!!'

  • alan||

    Answer to FoE @ 7:45.

  • ||

    I remember the initial reaction to Columbine being "OMG! Geeks are not normal people! We have to suspect anyone who wears black teeshirts, spends too much time with computers, or who isn't a jock or cheerleader!"

    The punditry probably didn't mean it that way, but being a geek it was clear to me that we were being single out for being different. It's a stereotype that is now firmly embedded in our media culture. Just this weekend I saw a crime drama where the jock and cheerleader were murdered, and I said right at the beginning that it was the class nerd that did it. At the end of the show it ended up being the class nerd that did it.

    Welcome to the hellmouth.

  • High School GeeK||

    ""OMG! Geeks are not normal people! We have to suspect anyone who wears black teeshirts, spends too much time with computers, or who isn't a jock or cheerleader!""

    If that's the case, then cheerleaders have a duty to go out with geeks in order to rescue them from their geek status.

  • vousy zuřivosti||

  • Jerry||

    What about all the people who haven't been shot, because some idiot psychopath was getting his fix by playing video games instead of going outside roaming the streets.

  • Tony||

    It is utterly ridiculous to insinuate that violent video games or rock music had anything to do with this unfortunate incident. Loughner was clearly mentally unstable, and we can't use his actions to advance pet causes (ie, crusades against rock music and violent video games).

  • Tony||

    Clearly, the violent, hateful libertarian/right-wing anti-governmental rhetoric of Fox News and Sarah Palin types is responsible for Lougner's actions. If we don't take action to mitigate the effects of said lunatics, it may be the end of our Republic.

  • ||

    The Dalai Lama's refusal to demand the immediate liberation of Tibet led directly to this shooting.

  • vousy zuřivosti||

    Skeet Ulrich's departure from Law & Order: Los Angeles led directly to this shooting.

  • vousy zuřivosti||

    Sidney Crosby's concussion led directly to this shooting.

  • vousy zuřivosti||

    The Seattle Seahawks' losing record led directly to this shooting.

  • ||

    I'm surprised no one has blamed NASA yet. No fewer than two astronauts were close to one of the victims, you know.

  • ||

    Don't forget that "I'll have the last laughner" is a moon landing denialist.

  • Chris Matthews||

    Ha!

  • ||

    Connections within connections within connections. I'll be sleeping under aluminum foil tonight, that's for sure.

  • The Bearded Hobbit||

    OK, old-timey gamers, help me out with the name of an arcade game from the mid-80s.

    It was a shoot the incoming kind of game, screen view was a perspective view to a center point where the bad guys came from. It was a fast-paced shoot-em-up with only a roller ball and a fire button for controls. For it's time it had pretty good graphics (Ms Pacman was popular around this time), although obviously primitive compared to today. You'd use the ball to move your shooter up and down each side, like a half-pipe.

    Anyone remember this?

    ... Hobbit

  • ||

    Sounds vaguely like Catacomb but I don't know if that ever had an arcade release.

  • The Bearded Hobbit||

    No, background was much more basic. Think several sets of railroad tracks parallel to infinity rising off to the left and right like looking down a tube.

    Bad guys might be coming down the secondmost track on the right so you'd whip over, fire a shot, then whip back to shoot at the bad guy coming down the third track from the left.

    ... Hobbit

  • ||

    Sounds sort of like Space Harrier, at least in terms of the movement, but the rest sounds wrong.

  • The Bearded Hobbit||

    The perspective gave an illusion of 3-D so it was more advanced than Space Invaders or Pac Man or others of that era but still the bad guys were pretty primitive, polygons and the like.

    ... Hobbit

  • The Bearded Hobbit||

    And this was an arcade game, pre-Nintendo. Atari was still novel in homes.

    ... Hobbit

  • ||

    Is it tempest?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tempest_(arcade_game)

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    Yeah, that's what I was thinking too.

    I loved that game.

  • ||

    Great game. Love those vector graphics!

  • alan||

    sounds like one of the early Metroids, hwever, I only remember it vaguely.

  • alan||

    wait, no, misread the ball as being graphic and not interface.

    D'uh.

  • hmm||

    Tempest by Atari

  • hmm||

    The half-pipe was one of the first levels there were other shapes.

  • hmm||

    Although I remember a dial and not a roller ball.

  • The Bearded Hobbit||

    That's it. Thanks!!

    ... Hobbit

  • ||

    There was a retro game on the iphone called Vector Blaster that is a pretty good copy of Tempest.

    It was on the app store when i first bought my phone but last I checked it was no longer there.

    It looked fun and had good ratings...i did not download it...my guess is that it was removed because of licensing issues.

  • ||

    I think hmm got this one...and yeah it was a dial not a ball.

    Games like centipede and missile command had the ball.

  • ||

    tempest

  • Coeus||

    Representative James Clyburn managed to blame the shooting on both Sarah Palin and racism. He missed an opportunity, though. If he had worked in health care, it'd be a hat trick.

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.....hp?ref=fpa

  • alan||

    Why do they even bother to hand that fuck a microphone? He's just going to try to use it as a crackpipe.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    Raaaaaaaaaaaacist!!!

    I would love for someone to walk up to that shitheel Clyburn and slap him full in the mouth.

    Ooh! Violent rhetoric!! I'm so irresponsible.

  • Daze||

    I blame supermarkets. We should ban them just in case.

  • Im an American||

    WOLFENSTEIN 3D!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • ||

    What will happen to someone like me who likes playing the Sid Meier civilization games ?

  • ||

    The sad thing is that the game the assassin played Earth Empires is the equivalent of a text based civilization game.

    Minecraft has more overt violence in it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=742yr2el0us

  • tibia gold||

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