In its latest crackdown on violent video games, Germany is banning the popular first-person shooter Counter-Strike at public LAN events, leading to the cancellation of a major tournament.
These bans are being instated by local governments around the country, reports GotFrag, an enthusiast site for competitive gaming. The Convention-X-Treme tournament is the first major gaming event to be outlawed in Germany.
Recent school shootings have increased Germany’s desire to ban violent games. Most notably, a 17 year-old killed 16 people at his former secondary school in March. Reports later emerged that the shooter, Tim Kretschmer, played Far Cry 2 on the day of the shooting. The country was already hypersensitive to video game violence, having banned Mortal Kombat and Manhunt, among others.
Germany’s opposition to violent games may culminate in a far-reaching ban on all violent games. A group of 16 German states want Parliament to outlaw the sale of any game “where the main part is to realistically play the killing of people or other cruel or unhuman acts of violence against humans or manlike characters.”
The problem with Germany’s logic is that it assumes video games are causing violence. Those who seek to ban violent games take the Jack Thompson stance that these games are one link in a chain leading to violent behavior. Removing that link, the logic goes, disrupts the whole chain.
That assumption is faulty, or at the very least hasn’t been proven by science. Worse yet, it ignores all the other links in the chain. If violent games are swept off the streets and school shootings don’t go away, what will Germany do then?