Jul 25, 2011

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Norway Terrorist Used MW2 and WOW to Train for Terror Attack

Norway Terrorist Used MW2 and WOW to Train for Terror Attack

We’ve seen it before, video games being blamed for some violent act but usually it’s the media who sensationalize this; however this time it’s a terrorist himself who wrote about using games as “training” and as a cover story. In his 1,500 page manifesto he talks about using Modern Warfare 2 as a form of training and World of Warcraft as a cover story to remain isolated and secretive.

The manifesto titled “2083: A European Declaration of Independence.” The terror suspect Andres Behring Breivik talks about using Activision’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Blizzard’s World of Warcraft to help him prepare for the attack in Norway where eighty-five people were killed when Breivik gunned them down at an island retreat while dressed as a police officer. Breivik is also being blamed for a bomb that went off at a government building that killed seven people.

As media outlets and police dissect the manifesto one interesting portion of it turns to the highly popular titles MW2 and WOW. According to Forbes Breivik writes this in his manifesto:

“I just bought Modern Warfare 2, the game. It is probably the best military simulator out there and it’s one of the hottest games this year. … I see MW2 more as a part of my training-simulation than anything else. I’ve still learned to love it though and especially the multiplayer part is amazing. You can more or less completely simulate actual operations.”

While he sees the military shooter as his “training” later he talks about how WOW was used as his “cover story” when he needed to isolate himself to plan his attacks. He also talks about using the game as an excuse to travel as he told his friends and family he was going to visit guild members.

“For example, tell them that you have started to play World of Warcraft or any other online MMO game and that you wish to focus on this for the next months/year. This “new project” can justify isolation and people will understand somewhat why you are not answering your phone over long periods. Tell them that you are completely hooked on the game (raiding dungeons, etc.). You will be amazed on how much you can do undetected while blaming this game. If your planning requires you to travel, say that you are visiting one of your WoW friends, or better yet, a girl from your “guild” (who lives in another country). No further questions will be raised if you present these arguments.”

Apparently Breivik was an active WOW player using it to isolate himself from the “consumerist” population and up until about months ago, he played extensively under the handles “Conservatism” and “Conservative.”

Usually we see media outlets lash out at video games especially when there is some kind of terror attack perpetrated by minors but this time it was a 32 year-old terrorist who wrote about how those particular games played a role in his attacks on innocent people. While video games are obviously not at the heart of his motivation for his attacks, it is very interesting to read how he was affected by these games. I’m sure all of us have seen, heard or read about how some people can be affected by violent games or be affected by their addiction to WOW, this is one of the only times I’ve heard of a terrorist point to games specifically as a form of training. Does this mean our military shooters are getting too realistic? Maybe, but this is again an isolated incident of someone who is mentally ill and happens to play video games. I don’t know if we will hear more about how video games played a role in the attacks but the terrorist is in custody so we’ll have to wait and see how things play out in the coming weeks.

[Source: Forbes]