According to Anders Behring Breivik’s Facebook profile, now deleted but immortal in an archived PDF form, the Norwegian terrorist was a gamer, playing World of Warcraft and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. The terrorist was responsible for killing more than 80 (the number continues to rise) youth camped on the island of Utøya. While his motives are unclear, Anders Behring Breivik tweeted a John Stuart Mill quote, “One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100,000 who have only interests,” days before the attack, and uploaded a YouTube “manifesto” (see 2083 A European Declaration of Independence.zip if you want to read the plagiarized document) including the following image:
According to his manifest/diary, he viewed “Call of Duty, Modern Warfare” as “a good alternative as well” to marksmanship training:
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 played MW1 as well but I didn’t really like it as I’m generally more the fantasy RPG kind of person – Dragon Age Origins etc and not so much into first person shooters. 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 the link between violent video-games and real-life violence is subject to much debate, the use of ultra-realistic games as effective simulator trainers, either for flying airplanes, carrying out military missions, or learning other skills, is indisputably an issue. In today’s world, when one can lookup how to make bombs online and practice shooting in Call of Duty, anyone could become a one-man-terrorist.
Kotaku has more commentary on the role of Video Games in this act of terrorism . For more general information, see At Least 80 Dead in Norway Shooting from the New York Times and Follow Up of the Day: Norway Attacks Suspect Identified.
Update: Slashdot has published The Oslo Massacre and Violent Video Games: the Facts, decrying “media hysteria” about the role of videogames in committing this act of terrorism.