Final Fantasy blamed for murder

28 January 2013 by , No Comments

The phrase “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” seems rather appropriate to define my stance on this matter. While I haven’t enjoyed a Square game in years (discounting remakes), I feel obliged to rush to their aid in this battle: if only because the other side is forehead-slappingly stupid.

According to Kotaku, a brutal murder took place in Germany and the killer, teenager Marco F., is being held responsible for it.

Now, this may just be me, but I’d start pointing fingers of blame at the ease at which this clearly mentally-unstable individual was able to get ahold of a katana, or the failure of experts to treat him properly. Unfortunately, though, the tabloid TZ has revealed that Marco was cosplaying his “favourite Final Fantasy character” (actually one from The World Ends With You, but we’ll let that slide for now) at the time he carried out this awful act. Furthermore, another tabloid (Abendzeitung) has made the claim that he was an avid player of Square’s latest online RPG: FFXIV: a “fact” that Kotaku has already taken the liberty of undercutting.

So, once again, we’re raising the question as to whether violent games were responsible for crime – a question that shouldn’t even merit an answer because it’s just so stupid. Yes, games have violence in them. Do you know what else has violent content? Films. Just name any Tarantino blockbuster for an example. Theatre’s also had more than its fair share of shocking moments. What about that scene in Oedipus Rex where the title character stabs out his own eyes? Novels have them by the plenty, too. Anyone remember that scene in Brilliance of the Moon where one of the main characters gets poisoned, has two fingers chopped off, and then struggles to survive an earthquake – all in the space of a few pages? Or how about The Bible? You know, that important cornerstone of western culture, in which an otherwise peaceful carpenter drove out some bad eggs with a whip after being pushed too far?

My point is, if you blame games for violence and start censoring them because of it, where do you stop? Do you employ digital editing to remove every trace of anger and rebellion in every punk rock album ever made because your wonderful order doesn’t have the balls to accept that people prefer listening to songs of chaos? Every good story, true or fictional, has a conflict in it – whether that be a physical, verbal or emotional one. You can’t tell a tale without a clash any more than you can run a fear-mongering tabloid without hack writers.

What makes this situation all the more frustrating is that, earlier this month, Kotaku published another article: one that should be mandatory reading before any ultraconservative gets any ideas into their heads. I could showcase the author Dennis Scimeca’s points and arguments all day but I think all that really needs to be mentioned is the title of his piece: “I’m Mentally Ill, I Love Violent Video Games, And They’ve Never Made Me Feel Like Killing Anyone“.

Murder victim Katrin M’s fate is a tragic one and we have to make sure that it never happens again. However, I do not believe for an instant that this is the way to do it. We fix problems not by jumping on blame bandwagons but by identifying the source of the problem and correcting it. Not by stirring up fear in the hearts of people over things that they don’t understand but by helping them to understand and showing them that, as with everything, those who do wrong are the exception rather than the rule.

So, don’t try to be tyrants and idiots, journos. You’re not making these claims because you genuinely think games are bad. You’re making them because taking advantage of the misinformed masses and whipping them into a frenzied panic about a mysterious subculture of geeks will sell more papers: because there’s no news like bad news. Heck, it’s the same principle behind that awful Mazes and Monsters movie that tried to portray DnD nerds as delusional psychotics. And while ordinarily I’d love to march down to Square Enix HQ and egg the place (I still have the mental scars from Final Fantasy XIII!), this time I’m going to be catching every unborn chicken you lot can throw – because I’m not going to stand for you nutters trying to pin a murder on them!

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