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Report: Norwegian Retailer Pulls Violent Games In Wake Of Attack
Report: Norwegian Retailer Pulls Violent Games In Wake Of Attack
July 29, 2011 | By Kyle Orland

July 29, 2011 | By Kyle Orland
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    30 comments
More: Console/PC, Social/Online, Business/Marketing



Media reports indicate retailer Coop Norway will cease to carry 51 gaming and toy brands following attacks that killed 77 in a government building and youth camp.

Danish site Gamers Globe reports (translation) that the removal includes first-person shooters Homefront, Sniper Ghost Warrior, Counter-Strike Source, and the Call of Duty series, as well as popular MMO World of Warcraft.

Alleged attacker Anders Behring Breivik mentioned playing World of Warcraft and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare in a wide-ranging 1,500-page manifesto written before the attacks.

"The decision to remove the games was made around the time we realized the scope of the attack," Coop Norway Retail director Geir Inge Stokke said, according to a Norwegian newspaper report translated by VG247.

"Others are better suited than us, to point to the negative effects of games like these," he continued. "At the moment it’s [appropriate] for us to take them down. I wouldn’t be surprised if others do the same. We have to think very carefully about when to bring these goods back. The economy involved is of no importance."

The move echoes that of German department store Galeria Kaufhof, which in 2009 removed all mature-rated video games from its shelves in the wake of a school shooting in the country that killed 15 people.

Coop operates over 1,000 retail locations across Norway through a number of independent national co-operatives, selling everything from food and housewares to DVDs and cell phones.

[UPDATE: Norwegian site ITavisen reports that major Norwegian entertainment retailer Platekompaniet has also decided to pull these titles from shelves (thanks to GamingVault's Herman S. Lilleng for the tip).]


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Comments


Daniel Gooding
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If only he had been playing just dance. Then he would have went off to be a pop star back-up dancer. Or Harvest moon/Farmville, then he would have gone off to be a farmer. I'm gonna grow up to be paper mario.

Andrew Grapsas
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We could just, you know, raise our children correctly instead of blaming video games. Just saying.

zed zeek
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So it was his parents fault?

Kofi Jamal Simmons
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I think what Andrew means is that instead of going and blaming games, we take responsiblity for ourselves. Or at least that's what I get out of it. He was a grown man, can't blame his parents. However HE is to blame for what he did. I play Black Ops daily and I'm no more a commando than I'm a space pirate for decades of watching Star Wars and being Han Solo and Lando for Holloween for three years straight....

Pallav Nawani
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Okay, it was Homefront's fault.

Kale Menges
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Same kind of people tried to blame the Microsoft Flight Simulators for 9/11...

George Pigula
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I'm sure this guy also watched the nightly news. Will that be taken off the air?

Todd Boyd
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This just in: The attacker also breathed air, which has since been outlawed in Norway.

Eric Geer
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Let's see. 2/3s of Americans play video games...lets say 1/3 of those(though its probably higher) play violent video games. That means we still have over 66,000,000 potential violent killers on the loose.

Joshua Sterns
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Someone should make a game called Scapegoat.

Herman Lilleng
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A couple of notes:



-First, Gamers Globe is Danish, not Norwegian.



-Coop is a "carries everything" type of retailer, similar to Walmart, so this is almost expected. However, ITAvisen (http://www.itavisen.no/874728/disse-spillene-fjernes-fra-hyllene) reports that Platekompaniet are also pulling the same games. Platekompaniet is a chain focused solely on music, film and games, so this is a big deal for them to do.



-In the manifest, the killer states that MW2 is excellent for training for operations. Not only is this, as we know, completely inaccurate, but it also explicitly infers that he played this game AFTER deciding to murder innocent people.



-WoW is only mentioned as something he plays, and that he uses it as a cover for being secluded. he discovers that if he tells people he's addicted to World of Warcraft, he gets left alone, and people accept that he stays for himself.

Matthew Fairchild
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a read about that MW2 = training thing yesterday, and now i wonder how long it will take 'till the first politician or activist or whatever starts trying to ban violent games again while pointing to this tragedy ...

Adam Bishop
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Given that the manifesto also lists a number of books as influences, I can only assume that we'll see all those books removed from store shelves as well.

Jeffrey Crenshaw
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I was going to point to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludic_fallacy to illustrate the absurdity of trying to simplify blame in a black swan situation like this by pointing it to one unlikely cause, but I got an extra kick out of this statement, which can be seen as a double entendre: "It is summarized as "the misuse of games to model real-life situations.""



Another tenuous attempt to feel more empowered by believing that the existence of violent video games is an important consideration _at all_ for violence in the real world, instead of different political and religious ideologies, different economic classes, economic angst in a terrible economic climate, etc. I guess it's easier to get rid of games that to get everyone to agree to the same religion or political party, but it's also a pointless endeavor.

Aaron Truehitt
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So it's not alright to sale violent video games when large shootings occur. But when violence happens that doesn't get as much attention happens..it's alright to sale them.



Sounds to me like they are scared of losing a customer base. People might walk in and gawk at the "violent" games, saying "Didn't that killer play that? Didn't he say that's why he did it?" Then the rumors start going.



Basically, this company has no interest in defending the products they sell and don't believe in them. They'll just stick them back out there when all the commotion dies down in a few months.

Thierry Tremblay
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I'm confused. I though the problem was Dungeons & Dragons...

Kofi Jamal Simmons
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I remember the first time I told my Mom I was going over a friend's house to play D&D. She thought I was going to kill a cat or something. lol Ohhhhhh parents just don't understand....

Steven Sei
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I wonder if this has more to do with respect to the people who were affected by the attack rather than removing the games in fear of other people playing them.

Aaron Truehitt
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But doing that should also mean they should prohibit gun use or selling out of respect.

But still doing that regardless makes it seem like it was video games fault. I mean we can't just go around taking things down because someone used them or said they did. That just seems so..cowardly.

Steven Sei
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If the gun stores want to stop selling guns for a while to show respect, then i fully respect their decision on this. To me, these games bans seems to be more about being temporary rather than being permanently.



By the way, maybe you already know this, but these games bans are done by own free will. Both COOP and Platekompaniet are privately owned companies, so they act on their own in this situation. It is not a prohibition enforced by the goverment or anything like that. Other store chains like Spaceworld have said that they will not remove the games (Gamestop will probably not remove the games either if i should guess).



If it is cowardly, it depends on what the reason behind the removal of the games is, in my opinion. If it is a way to show respect, then i dont see anything wrong with it. The stores does afterall decide themself which merchendise they want to carry.



A lot of people play these games in Norway, so i dont think that the removal of the game is because of fear that other people will repeat what this insane massmurderer did. I see it more as a sign of respect towards those who were affected.



This terror attack is the worse thing that has happened in Norway since World War 2, so it is pretty huge. It also happened very recent. People do different things to show their way of respect. It doesnt mean that stores who still carry these games are being disrespectful though.



But as i mentioned earlier, the bans of games could also just be something temporary, maybe the games will come back later on. It is relatively old games though, so maybe they wont restock anyway. But i'm sure that these store chains will carry both Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3 when those games come out.

Herman Lilleng
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More details: This seems very much to be an indefinite thing. Meaning, not a total ban, but a temporary pull of the titles "out of respect".

Steven Sei
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Yeah, that is what i also think. At least i didnt get the impression that they removed the games out of fear.

Atle Hillmann
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One of the biggest game/music/movie retailers in Norway are NOT going to do this, they will keep all the games they have on sale, on the shelfs.



"-We can not see any connection between the tragic event, and that we sell games. We have never seen any surveys that a game alone has lead to events like this, says marketing chief Carl Haakon Klafstad"

(http://www.vg.no/nyheter/innenriks/oslobomben/artikkel.php?artid=
10081059)

BobbyK Richardson
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he probably read books too... BAN ALL BOOKS

Adam Piotuch
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Do publishers have the right to sue the company for the loss of sales due to unwarranted removal of product from store shelves? I believe (but do not know exactly) that distributors and publishers have contractual agreements in place which require store owners to allow the product to be available to customers, or otherwise incur the loss in sales by preventing access to specific product. I am not familiar with the Norwegian laws. Didn't the Shooter commit this atrocity due to his beliefs against Muslims, and not because of video games? By removing specific titles from store shelves, do the companies believe that anyone who plays those games will become a terrorist?



Next some shooter out there will say in a memoir, "I always wanted to go to Disney Land." I guess we'll have to shut down Disney Land.



The products have already been in the market for quite some time, even years in some cases, so it is probably safe to say the damage is done, in terms of 'corrupting our youth.'



OR



Why not have more valid reasons why certain games should be 'shut down' or restructured to prevent things like this from happening:



http://motherswhokillchildren.blogspot.com/2011/06/filicide-new-m
exico-rebecca-christie.html



Also, preventing sales of particular games in stores does not prevent users from gaining access to those games through other means, such as through piracy; or through other retailers. Whoever made these decisions to prevent the sale of particular games are only acting on their own beliefs and are not protecting the company and their investors from poor decisions and ultimately a loss in revenue and sales. It really looks like an amateur decision to make.

Steven Sei
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The games are bought in advance by the stores, so the publishers get the money already then. When the stores removes the games from the shelf in this case, i dont think that the stores asks the publisher for any compensation when it is done by free will by the stores and not something that is enforced by the goverment. And i dont think that there is any contract that says that the stores have to keep buying new copies later on. But that is just my guess, i have no idea what such type of contract says.



True what you say about his act, but he mentioned something in his manifesto that he used World of Warcraft and Call of Duty Modern Warfare as training on how to kill. He didnt become crazy because of these games though, he just used/abused them. That is why i belive the games removal is more about respect to the people who were affected by the terror attack, not because of fear that people playing these games should do something similar.

Adam Piotuch
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True say. I understand this may have been a reason to respect those who have lost loved ones.



But really, he's probably trying to cast blame on other things simply so he can justify his actions by presenting to court that he was not in control of his actions; that he was only acting out by direction of the games he played.

Steven Sei
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I actually think that he takes the full responsibility for what he did. He gave himself up without any fight with the police and he even said "it was a horrible thing to do, but it was necessary". He thinks that what he did was a good thing and that people will thank him in about 60 years for what he did. He is really insane. His manifesto was about 1500 pages and it even contains details on how he thought his trial would be. So it seemed that he expected to go to jail.



Since the manifesto seems to be so detailed, i guess this is why there is mentioning of the games in there. But i havnt read exactly what he wrote, so i cant say for sure if he tried to blame anything on the games or not, but i dont belive this is the case. This massmurder's attorney says that his client has a different understanding of the world that no one else seem to have.



But regarding the games ban, i think it is just a temporary thing in sign of respect. I'm sure that other similar games like Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3 will be sold in these stores when those games comes out.

Craig Page
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They should ban World of Warcraft, every one of those filthy little creatures in Gnomeregan is just filled with wickedness and sin!!

Aaron Truehitt
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I think in the end, it's out of respect, or it should be anyway. This was a huge tragedy, and we know games don't cause this type of violence, or making video games that are violent are wrong. It's out of respect for people who are sensitive at the moment to this type of thing.



Not everyone can get over something quickly. Seeing shooting of any kind might bring back bad memories to a recent tragedy.



In my opinion, it's a good thing to take them off shelves. However...I think if someone were to ask for the violent videogame, then they should be allowed to purchase it and the employee can go grab it from the back.


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