Correction: the piece was published by The Associated Press
Anders Behring Breivik, the evil bastard who murdered 77 people (69 of them kids) in Norway testified today that he played the video game, Modern Warfare to sharpen his aim. He also explained that he was inspired by al-Qaida to decapitate the Prime Minister of Norway; took steroids; meditated to “de-emotionalize” himself; and that he’s a “Knights Templar.”
Julia Gronnevet and Karl Ritter of
Bloomberg Businessweek The Associated Press wrote a piece on the testimony titled, “Norway killer sharpened aim on computer games.” It’s 1,099 words long, and of those 1,099 words only 152 of them are even remotely about Breivik’s use of video games. And of those 152 words, 77 of them cast a ton of doubt on the claim that video games helped him at all. Here’s all 152 words:
In a chilling summary, the far-right fanatic claimed Thursday that he sharpened his aim by playing computer games for more than a year before Norway’s worst peacetime massacre.
Breivik said he played the computer game “Modern Warfare” for 16 months starting in January 2010, primarily to get a feel for how to use rifle sights. In 2006 he devoted a full year to playing “World of Warcraft,” for 16 hours a day, he said.
Christopher Ferguson, of Texas A&M International University, said there is no link between violent video games and violent behavior. Though some research suggests that action games can improve “visuospatial cognition,” he said it’s difficult to say whether Breivik could have improved his accuracy by playing “Modern Warfare.”
“Let us keep in mind too that he was shooting kids on an island from which they could not escape easily,” Ferguson said. “That does not require great accuracy.”
The rest of their story is filled with substantive and non-sensationalistic things like:
Breivik told an Oslo court he took steroids to build physical strength and meditated to “de-emotionalize” himself before the bombing and shooting rampage that left 77 people dead.
His lack of remorse and matter-of-fact description of weapons and tactics — he even considered using a flame thrower — was deeply disturbing to families of the victims, most of whom were teenagers.
The 33-year-old Norwegian was ice cold when he once again described his victims as “traitors” for their links to Norway’s governing Labor Party.
The government building he tried to blow up was “the most attractive political target in all of Norway,” he said.
Breivik said he had planned to capture and decapitate former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland while filming it, but she had left Utoya earlier that day.
The self-styled crusader said he was inspired by al-Qaida’s use of decapitation, but noted that “beheading is a traditional European death penalty.”
But no. Video games get top billing, because video games are clearly the villain in this horrific story.
Let’s take this apart.
Can Video Games Help You Shoot Better?
I’m saying this with a fair amount of authority. I’ve been shooting since I was a boy, and worked for three years as a shooting instructor. I’m great with guns, and even better with a bow and arrow. I’m also bad at Modern Warfare. Mastery of shooting skills in real life have no connection to shooting skills in first person shooters, and vice versa.
Similarly, Guitar Hero and playing a real guitar have nothing in common.
For the record, I’ve never even gone hunting, let alone shot at a human being.
World of Warcraft Player = Violent Maniac?
While the name may sound menacing (I guess), World of Warcraft is best described as the video game love child of Disney and Lord of the Rings. It’s got plenty of action, but it’s also pretty whimsical. Have a look at World of Warcraft’s upcoming expansion Mists Of Pandaria and I think you’ll understand what I mean.
Felicia Day is another World of Warcraft player. She’s actually famous because of World of Warcraft (Spoiler Alert – Blacksmithing is a lot harder in real life than it is in a video game):
Stop the Gamer Bullying
That’s what this is, in addition to being horrible journalism.
Every once in a while someone kills people and they played video games too. They also exercised, ate food, took showers and probably had sex, but video games are blamed. Every single time. You know what no one ever writes about? The millions of avid gamers who get up in the morning; go to work; spend time with loved ones; play video games; and don’t murder anyone.
Less than 10% of
Bloomberg Businessweek’s The Associated Press article claims any correlation between this evil bastard’s killing spree and gaming. They subsequently cast doubt on the claim, and then give their article a title definitively stating that video games helped him kill. That’s wrong, and Julia Gronnevet and Karl Ritter know it. This is unproductive, and manipulative link bait, and I just won’t stand for it.
Bloomberg Businessweek The Associated Press has any ethics they will rename that article with a title that actually reflects its content.
Guns N’ Roses (if you can still call it that) frontman Axl Rose is suing Activision, the publisher of Guitar Hero, over Slash’s appearance in the 2007 hit, Guitar Hero III.
According to a legal complaint obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Rose is pissed that Guns N’ Roses hit “Welcome to the Jungle” was featured in the game alongside a virtual appearance from Slash. Rose claims that Slash’s appearance in the music game violates an agreement that specified absolutely no references to the ex-GNR guitarist or the band Velvet Revolver in association with “Welcome to the Jungle.” (Kotaku)
Rose wants $20 million in damages.
I thought No Doubt and Courtney Love’s legal actions against Activision were nuts. Rose’s might be even crazier.
- He is suing over a three year-old game.
- He and GNR were given proper credit in the game for his creations.
- I have no doubt that he has cashed the royalty checks from Guitar Hero III.
Why sue now?
Even if there is a violation of an agreement, both men have clearly benefitted monetarily. Plus the presence GNR in the game helped the image of his band, even if Slash is no longer a member.
It’s time to grow up Axl.
The complete track list for Guitar Hero Warriors of Rock has been unveiled, and it’s pretty damn good. It’s certainly better than World Tour and 5.
A number of tracks jumped out at me:
- Blue Öyster Cult – “Burnin’ For You”
- Creedence Clearwater Revival – “Fortunate Son”
- Dire Straits – “Money For Nothing”
- Jethro Tull – “Aqualung”
- Lynyrd Skynyrd – “Call Me The Breeze (Live)”
- Metallica & Ozzy Osbourne – “Paranoid (Live)”
- Neil Young – “Rockin’ In The Free World”
- Queen – “Bohemian Rhapsody” (Although this seems wrong without a piano)
- Steve Vai – “Speeding” (Vault Version)
- Stone Temple Pilots – “Interstate Love Song”
- Them Crooked Vultures – “Scumbag Blues”
- Twisted Sister – “We’re Not Gonna Take It”
- The White Stripes – “Seven Nation Army” (Doesn’t Jack White hate Guitar Hero? Maybe someone else owns the rights, or he likes money more than he hates video games)
- ZZ Top – “Sharp Dressed Man (Live)”
- And believe it or not, all of Rush “2112″
The complete track list is available on Ultimate Guitar.
Guitar Hero Warriors of Rock will be in stores on September 28.
The guitar controller for the next Guitar Hero sequel hit teh Internets this morning with an exclusive on Gizmodo.
The controller contains all of the electronics and hardware in the neck and center of the body. This allows the rest of the body to serve a solely aesthetic purpose. The new controller has detachable “wings” for the guitar body, and this will allow you to customize the look of the guitar, without buying a whole new unit.
It’s cool, but here is the big questions that remains unanswered…
Will this Guitar Hero controller have a silent strum bar?
If this new controller still makes the clicking noise every time you strum, then I have zero interest in purchasing another plastic guitar controller.
Silent controller or bust!
Two things to keep in mind before we begin:
- Real guitars and plastic game controllers that look kind of like guitars are two completely different things. Just because you are good at one, doesn’t mean you will be good at the other. Guitar Hero & Rock Band are games, have fun with them. If you’re an amazing guitarist, don’t bitch to your friends, “If this were a real guitar… blah, blah, blah.” No one likes to play with a whiner.
- There are no cheat codes, or magical things you can do to improve your plastic guitar chops (or real guitar for that matter). If you want to get better, practice.
With that in mind, here are some tips to improve your Guitar Hero & Rock Band skills:
Not all gaming consoles, televisions, and sound systems are connected equally. In most games, shows, and movies the fractions of a second that they are off are completely irrelevant. However, songs on expert move really quickly, and a fraction of a second can make or break your timing.
The solution is simple, tweak the calibration settings until you are comfortable. This can be a slow process, but it’s worth the time once you get it right.
Don’t buy a crappy third party controller, they almost always suck. Get yourself an official controller.
I prefer using a Guitar Hero controller as opposed to a Rock Band controller because I only want to learn one. Guitar Hero controllers work on Rock Band, but Rock Band controllers don’t work on Guitar Hero.
Focus Your Eyes:
Those note patterns run really quickly. You need to learn to focus on the notes, and blur out the rest of the game. The pretty graphics can serve as a distraction.
As you become a better player, the distractions will be less significant. The better you become the slower the notes will seem to move. It’s an odd phenomenon, but I promise it’s true.
Hammer-On & Pull-Off:
Learn them, and use them. If you don’t know what they are, go play through the tutorial.
Don’t Strum What You Can’t Play:
Guitar Hero notes are like SAT questions. Strumming the wrong notes is worse than not strumming at all. If you find a passage of notes where you can’t get anything right, let them go without strumming at all. The meter will fall, but not nearly as fast as it would if you were strumming sour notes.
Similarly, if you find yourself behind or ahead of the beat, and you are consistently strumming the wrong notes, stop and let a few notes go by, then start again.
Use Your Pinky:
The muscles that control your pinky finger are small, and considerably weaker than the rest of your hand. You have to exercise it to gain the control, stamina, and dexterity that you will require. You need to practice using your pinky (this is also true for playing a real guitar as well).
Move Your Hand:
A lot of players try to keep their hand in place on the controller’s neck, and just stretch either their index or pinky finger to hit the notes. This is a royal pain, and isn’t a great technique.
So much of playing Expert is finger placement. Learn to move your hand along the neck. The movements should be small. Use the ridge on the yellow button for Guitar Hero controllers, or the dots on the Rock Band controllers to orient yourself.
When you play chords or a string of notes, make sure you are using a comfortable hand position.
If you reach a point where you are comfortable using all of your fingers, and can freely move your hand without getting lost, you will be “5 starring” a lot of songs on expert.
I received this game for free in the mail a few weeks ago. It came as a promotion for purchasing Guitar Hero 5; a stellar game.
It’s Guitar Hero. If you like pressing five colored buttons and strumming really quickly, then you will probably be pleased to have some new songs to play.
Some of the later songs are quite difficult which is essential for seasoned players.
If you love David Lee Roth era Van Halen, then you should be happy with the track list.
All songs come unlocked.
Shredding on Eruption was the high point of the game.
The Not So Good:
The graphics are dated.
The character models look uninterested and awkward. Graphics don’t make the game in Guitar Hero, but this version is still a noticeable step back as compared to Guitar Hero 5.
Some of the non-Van Halen songs are downright odd. The Offspring’s Pretty Fly (for a White Guy), and Fountain of Wayne’s Stacey’s Mom standout as the oddest songs in the game. Why they are included is beyond me.
If you were hoping for some Sammy Hagar era Van Halen… I’ve got nothing for ya. Not a single Van-Hagar track in the game.
Guitar Hero Van Halen feels hollow, like no one from Activision or the Van Halen camp gave a crap about it while it was in production. No love, no heart, and no fun unless you have particular attachment to the songs in the game.
I received this game for free and I didn’t want to play it for more than twenty minutes. It’s completely uninspired.
When you compare it to a refined game like The Beatles Rock Band, it looks even worse. The Beatles Rock Band was created with the utmost care and love. It’s creators carefully covered all of the band’s eras, and paid homage to their history.
Guitar Hero Van Halen leaves out significant portions of Van Halen’s history, ignores tons of great songs, and mixes in music that is remarkably out of place.
I got what I paid for. If you plan to shell-out money to get this game, do yourself a favor and buy something else.
Guitar Hero Van Halen is a steaming pile of poo.