Top 10 Real World Crimes BLAMED on Video Games!

Script written by Fred Humphries

The media’s always looking for something to blame when tragedy strikes - and video games are often a prime target! Welcome to and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Real World Crimes Blamed On Video Games!

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Top 10 Real World Crimes Blamed On Video Games

Right or wrong, video games will always be a popular scapegoat. Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Real World Crimes Blamed On Video Games.

For this list, we take a look at a variety of notorious incidents where the influence of video games was cited as a reason behind the actions of the perpetrator or perpetrators. While it will always be difficult to determine the precise personal, cultural and social reasons why any of these individuals committed the crimes on this list, the playing of video games has been identified as a key factor by official reports, those involved in the incident or others simply investigating it. I want to be absolutely clear: We ourselves are not blaming video games for these crimes, but rather reporting on the accusations by politicians, activists, other media outlets or even by the perpetrators themselves.

#10: Grand Theft Auto Causes London Riots

It may well have been a throwaway comment not entirely representative of the official line,but this short statement from a London policeman laid the blame solely at the feet of Rockstar’s open-world crime titles just as the 6-day troubles were beginning. While the images from England’s capital were certainly similar to gameplay from Los Santos or Liberty City, gamers were angry that other complex issues like youth disenfranchisement, unemployment rates, police relations or sheer violent opportunism were being afforded less importance in the riot’s early stages. Former Oasis frontman Noel Gallagher also blamed the five deaths, 3,000 arrests and £200 million of damage on gaming’s negative influence as a whole, arguably ignoring the country’s diverse socio-economic climate.

#9: Grand Theft Auto Behind Nightlong Spree

Although Detective Sergeant Anthony Repalone wasn’t entirely sure which GTA character had inspired a group of 14 to 18-year-olds’ robbing and vandalizing spree in Nassau County, the June 2008 offence date suggests he was referencing Niko Bellic’s exploits in GTA IV. Reaction to the teens’ bat and crowbar-wielding crimes were mixed: some criticized the youths for being naïve enough to emulate the game,others suggested the police handed them a convenient excuse while unnecessarily exacerbating the paranoia around the psychological effects of gaming and,conversely, detractors of the franchise saw the teen’s reported admission of being influenced by the game as vindication of their beliefs. All we can be sure of is that this case made nothing clearer at all.

#8: Confiscated PlayStation Killing

16-year-old Kendall Anderson may well have confessed and expressed remorse for brutally murdering his mother with a hammer, but that doesn’t make this disturbingly futile case any less unsettling. After 37-year-old Rashida took away her son’s unspecified PlayStation console, Kendall struggled with himself for three hours before killing Rashida as she slept and attempting to burn her body in their kitchen oven. He eventually managed to conceal her corpse in an alley and then, once his conscience had caught up to him, reported her missing. The teen said himself that his mom was the only person who ever cared for him, yet his one deadly decision ended her life and landed him with up to 50 years in prison.

#7: Recreating Mortal Kombat

Political debate, censorship and lawsuits: the legendary ultra-gory fighting series has been the subject of them all. Following the fatal stabbing of 13-year-old Noah Wilson in 1997, developers Midway Games found themselves in court when Wilson’s mother, Andrea, alleged the company had not sufficiently warned of the franchise’s violent and supposedly addictive nature. She also claimed that Yancy – the friend who stabbed Noah – was addicted to the game and wanted to recreate one of Cyrax’s Fatalities’ despite the attack bearing little similarity to his finishers. Although the court ruled that the gamescouldn’t be held liable for damages in the same way as other products, the case represents another step in investigating certain games’ impact as an interactive medium.

#6: Manhunt Obsession

Often labeled a ‘murder simulator’ by critics, Rockstar’s brutal survival horror title undoubtedly tops the company’s list of violent controversy generators. The fervor around it spiked when 17-year-old Warren Leblanc beat and stabbed 14-year-old Stefan Pakeerah to death in the UK. Stefan’s parents claimed they overheard Leblanc’s friends discussing his obsession with the game, a stance they would stick to even as police and the courts asserted they found no link between the game and Leblanc’s actions, instead blaming the pressures of gang culture. As Leblanc received his life sentence and several retailers pulled the game, the courts confirmed Pakeerah’s murder was a botched drug-related robbery yet still Stefan’s grieving father insisted Leblanc used the game as an “instruction manual”.

#5: Real Daughter Left To Starve

Immersion and encapsulation are sought after features for developers, but as part of the emerging phenomenon of video game addiction, they are elements that blur the lines between reality and the virtual world. Two South Korean parents were said to be suffering from such an addiction when their frequent 12-hour binges on MMORPG “Prius Online” resulted in the fatal starvation of their 3-month-old daughter. Police said their neglect was a result of becoming obsessed with raising an in-game girl, yet their jail sentences were reduced as courts interpreted their addiction similarly to drugs or alcohol. The impact of that court ruling was explored in Love Child, a documentary that investigated why two million South Koreans are addicted to gaming.

#4: Teen Shoots Parents After Halo Ban

A month before 16-year-old Daniel Petric shot his parents Mark and Sue, the teen’s copy of Halo 3 was taken away, denying him an FPS experience he had grown obsessed with and laying the foundations for his mother’s death. Despite prosecutors arguing Petric was merely a cold-blooded killer who attempted to frame his surviving father, Mark forgave his son and even defended his actions in court. Although the judge considered Daniel to be seriously addicted, others have pondered whether the confiscation simply triggered an explosive reaction that had been growing out of his strict, religious upbringing. Petric may well have unlikely familial support, but his 23-years to life sentence means he won’t even have a chance of parole until 2032.

#3: Modern Warfare Trained Norwegian Man To Kill

Far-right extremist Anders Breivikmight have testified that the games he played had no role in his motivations for carrying out Norway’s deadliest attack since WWII, but that didn’t stop others from finding allegedly tenuous connections. The terrorist’s admission that he used CoD: Modern Warfare 2’s controversial but realistic gameplay to prepare for shooting 69 people that triggered the conjecture, leading to others accusing them of playing down the role of Breivik’s blatantly racist and xenophobic manifesto reminiscent of Nazi Germany. Most agree that the massacre would have happened regardless of any FPS’ existence – with fewer casualties perhaps - and, disturbingly, it seems Breivik had contingencies to exploit and falsely blame his actions on tendencies to fixate on gaming-induced violence.

#2: Sandy Hook Elementary Shooting

It may have been the uncertainty surrounding Adam Lanza’s massacre of 27 children and adults that initially fed rampant media speculation regarding the third deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. Tabloids, the NRA and worldwide outlets found links to Call of Duty, Combat Arms and Dynasty Warriors, but they were accused of using gaming as a fashionable scapegoat to divert attention away from gun control and Lanza’s array of mental disorders. Bizarrely, Dance Dance Revolution is the only game that receives extensive analysis in Connecticut State’s investigation, officials preferring to look at a gun-filled home life and Lanza’s fascination with the macabre. Due to typical ambiguity in such a case, Obama called for more research but, unsurprisingly, funding remains elusive.

#1: Columbine High School Massacre

When Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold slaughtered 12 students and one teacher in 1999, the panic and shock it induced encompassed a number of different moral and societal issues. When rumors emerged that Harris had created the school in his mods for Doom and named his shotgun after a character in the FPS, gaming’s role in the incident was elevated alongside bullying and psychopathy. For relatives of the deceased, the connections to gaming were so tangible that they sought $5 billion damages from a selection of game developers, accusing them of manufacturing a climate where such violence could happen. The judge dismissed it, but, as games grew more realistic, so did the fear of a hobby safely enjoyed by billions.

Do you agree with our list? Which video game related crimes shocked and stunned you? For more top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to

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