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DOOM Ate My Child

Is a video game company responsible for an act of real world violence?

By James Stevenson     July 30, 2004

MANHUNT for the PC.
© Rockstar Games

Once again, videogames have been blamed for a violent crime. In this edition of "Doom ate my child" a kid in the UK was killed by a friend with a knife and a claw hammer. Apparently the killer had played MANHUNT and the parents immediately blamed the Rockstar title for the death.

The largest retail chain in the UK, Dixons, took the game off shelves immediately. Now you can't find the game in order to prevent these grisly murders from happening again.

Is it just me or does it seem like anytime a videogamer murders someone the last M-rated game that the person played is going to be blamed? Does anyone remember the outcry when MORTAL KOMBAT was about to be released? Parents would refuse to let their children go to another friend's house if their parents were evil enough to allow their child to have a copy of the game.

Yet, I

Screenshot from MANHUNT.

don't remember any kids pulling someone's heart out, or throwing someone into a pit of spikes. Now obviously these are a bit more contrived situations than you might normally kill a playmate in, but the fact remains, it didn't happen. The murder was brutal yeah, and it might have taken a bit of inspiration from MANHUNT, but that by no means caused it.

I won't argue that games have no effect on us. What you put in your head will affect you. The military and police use games to make it easier to shoot people. I don't doubt that there is some level of ability of a game to desensitize you to killing. However, the ability to go through with the taking of a human life is not put there by a game. There are other issues at stake here. Millions of people played DOOM but only a few people were ever accused of killing because of it.

I just can't justify blaming game companies for a product that it makes that seems to be safe for millions of people who play it with the sole exception of the one nut who does something similar to the game. MANHUNT shouldn't be blamed, and neither should Rockstar.


Atari will announce a sequel to ENTER THE MATRIX soon... Acclaim may be taken off the NASDAQ listings... The demo for MEDAL OF HONOR: PACIFIC ASSAULT has been delayed... Atlus has announced five games for the Nintendo DS, including a new SNOWBOARD KIDS... Midway will publish the new UNREAL games instead of Atari... Square asked gamers what games they would like to see on the DS, including FINAL FANTASY III-VI, CHRONO TRIGGER and FRONT MISSION... EA will release another version of NFL STREET...

On Shelves


DOOM 3 for the PC.

week there is only one game you should be worried about and that is DOOM III. The game looks to be one of the spookiest and most atmospheric ever. I can't tell you how excited I am to finally get my hands on this bump-mapped glory-fest of scares, gore and violence. Hey, this fits in well with our "Doom ate my child" theme this week. Funny thing is, I didn't plan it.

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