The Wall Street Journal reports that the rampage killer Jared Loughner was a gamer. As usual? Recall Mr. Cho, whose killing of Hokies was followed immediately by angry denunciations of the game industry for programming him thusly. It turns out that the only game in his troubled mind was Sonic the Hedgehog. I guess Sonic only seems to be a cuddly rodent; he's actually the vehicle for a secret code that turns ordinary people into frenzied savages.
Loughner's preferred game was a MUD called Earth Empires. Aha! Now we get to the root of things! Richard Bartle, what insidious mind-altering snippet of code did you hide in MUD1 that has spread across the gaming industry and caused all these murders? Come clean, you rogue hacker!
On a serious note, it appears that Mr. Loughner's MUD community was more supportive and helpful to him than the world at large. He got kicked out of jobs and school, but one gets the impression from WSJ's report that EE forum readers never stopped trying to engage with him or give him advice. Certainly - and this is critical - none of the gamers encouraged him in his ravings.
Comments on Jared Loughner: MUD Maniac:
Oh dear, I was totally waiting for this.
My response was going to be 'but doesn't everyone play videogames by now?' along with my requisite 'we were finding inspiration to kill each other long before books/tv/videogames'!
But this? MUDs? Has thrown me for a loop.
Posted Jan 12, 2011 10:50:13 AM | link
Jon Stewart's take on 'effects':
'wouldn't it be nice to be able to draw a straight line of causation?'
Posted Jan 12, 2011 11:32:26 AM | link
>what insidious mind-altering snippet of code did you hide in MUD1 that has spread across the gaming industry and caused all these murders? Come clean, you rogue hacker!
I put in the notion that people could be and become who they really are, rather than who everyone around them wants them to be.
This is generally a good thing, even for those who, through playing virtual worlds, discover their inner jerk. Could it cause someone with mental health issues to go out and shoot up a shopping mall? Well, who knows when it comes to mental health, but I suspect that it's far more likely to prevent someone from doing it than it is likely to cause them to do it.
If you really don't want people to shoot people, a good place to start is not letting them have guns.
Posted Jan 13, 2011 2:58:54 AM | link
It gets better. The ominous first sentence in a Washington Post article referring to Loughner's 'descent into fantasy' is:
"He played late-night marathon games of Monopoly with his buddies."
He's not the Mud Maniac, he's the Monopoly Maniac.
Posted Jan 13, 2011 10:33:46 AM | link
Why? Straight line of causation...ask a forensic psychiatrist.
Posted Jan 13, 2011 11:42:46 AM | link
Ted>"He played late-night marathon games of Monopoly with his buddies."
Well I can see how late-night marathon games of Monopoly could derail anyone...
Posted Jan 14, 2011 3:30:43 AM | link
I think we should all be very grateful for the fact that the people, who would raise this as a possible cause, don't play or know anything about MUDs. Imagine if he was a vivid Achaea player, cheerfully farming "pretty, little girls" for XP and sacrificing their dead bodies to the deity of his liking. Or, perhaps, a veteran Armageddon player, who spends most of his time beating up PC slaves and subordinates. We don't even need to touch on the possibilities of playing a rapist alien robot with several sets of genitalia in something like Shangrila (these guys seem to really like the notion of "becoming who you really are", Richard :P).
If FOX could raise hell over the barely erotic scene in Mass Effect, this is the kind of material you could use to achieve anything.
Posted Jan 18, 2011 3:04:17 PM | link
Yes Sir ^, you totally right. If FOX do it I'll be a happiest man on the world ;)
Posted Jan 18, 2011 9:48:43 PM | link