Japanese killings see gaming scapegoated again

Op ed hotshot against lazy mainstream media inside

Reports coming in from Japan have attempted to link a brutal double killing with Grand Theft Auto III.

A 15 year-old boy from Tokyo is alleged to have murdered his parents and then attempted to conceal the evidence by blowing up their apartment with home-made explosives.

The boy was later arrested at a resort in Gunma prefecture where he admitted to police: "I wanted to kill my father since he made a fool out of me. I decided to kill my mother as well since she was always saying she wanted to die because of all the work she had to do. I felt sorry for her."

How is this alleged double killing being linked to gaming by some media outlets in Japan? Well apparently when interviewed the boy's classmates described him as an average student who liked playing video games, and a particular fan of GTA III.

While we don't speak enough Japanese to read the reports in full, it's hardly the most compelling of evidence is it? It does seem yet another example of lazy mainstream media attempting to scapegoat gaming for society's wider ills on the flimsiest of evidence.

One boy who happens to be a fan of GTA is alleged to have killed his parents - but is there really any link between those two facts? Hardly, what about all the fans of the game worldwide who haven't attempted to kill their parents? Surely the weight of statistical evidence in fact points the other way?

Mind you, this isn't the first time the GTA series has been in trouble in Japan recently with several provincial districts including Kanagawa prefecture deciding to put age restrictions on the sale of the GTA to under age gamers. What took them so long?