It's finally happened. A Tottenham Police officer has claimed that the London riots over the last series of days were inspired by Grand Theft Auto. This, of course, has spread into the press.
This sort of thing is understandable in some forms. Different people have different moral systems that do not accept the progression that video games have had into becoming interactive entertainment. However, in this and many other cases like it, claiming direct responsibility is wrong. Video games did not kill Chris Staniforth. Manhunt did not cause the murders eight years ago. Killing prostitutes in GTA does not make you abusive to women.
We rally for this a lot: it's the responsibility of the parents. But as was true with video nasties of the 70s, the only option that's been seen is to utilise the medium as a scapegoat and condemn the industry, which is, of course, going to encourage more children to buy into. It's the comfortable option that doesn't find glaring holes in the parenting morals of our big society.
Credit to computerandvideogames.com for the two images.