Speed Reads

Virtual idiocy

Ill-advised first-person school shooter video game yanked before its release

On Tuesday evening, Valve Software said it had removed a soon-to-debut first-person shooter video game, Active Shooter, from its Steam platform, saying the developer and publisher, "a person calling himself Ata Berdiyev," is "a troll, with a history of customer abuse, publishing copyrighted material, and user review manipulation."

But the video game had drawn attention not because of its developer gaming the online gaming system but because it allowed players to move through a school either as a SWAT officer or an AR-15-wielding school shooter killing police officers and civilians alike. It had drawn condemnation from the parents of children murdered at Parkland, Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February, among other critics.

President Trump and, after the recent school shooting near Houston, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) have cited violent video games as a cause of the epidemic of school shootings in the U.S. But at least one analysis of 10 school shootings between 2005 and 2012 found that only two of the 10 murderers played violent video games with any regularity, versus the 70 percent of male high schoolers who show interest in such games, Villanova psychology professor Patrick Markey tells The Washington Post. Studies have shown that people playing violent games can be more aggressive right after playing but the effect doesn't last, Markey explained, much like watching a tear-jerker on TV doesn't leave the viewer clinically depressed.