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MP Vaz blames Counter-Strike for Malmo shootings

Anti-game politician claims Valve title linked with spate of migrant violence

Outspoken Labour MP Keith Vaz has once against accused videogames of inciting real-life violence.

Vaz claimed in a recent Early Day Motion that the recent shootings in Malmo, Sweden, which saw one death and up to 15 other attempted murders, were "associated" with PC online title Counter-Strike.

A 38-year-old man has been arrested for the incident, and is suspected of a year-long campaign of violence against dark-skinned Swedes. The country is currently seeing a rise in racial tensions, following anti-immigrant party the Sweden Democrats taking seats in parliament.

Nonethless, Vaz feels that Valve's military FPS is to blame. "The recent race shootings in Malmo, Sweden have been associated with the violent video game Counter-Strike," he told parliament.

He went on to request that parliament "further notes that the internet-based, first-person shooting game that pits a counter-terrorist team against terrorists was previously banned in Brazil and in 2007 was associated with US College Campus massacres."

Vaz appears to have derived his argument solely from a Times report (warning: paywall) which quoted a local man as saying "I am sure that this is down to some crazy kid who plays that sniping game Counter-Strike all day. I don't believe in the lone Nazi theory."

Local police have yet to publicly implicate the game in the shootings.

Continuing a history of undermining existing game ratings and not acknowledging the planned move to more regulation under the PEGI system, Vaz also demanded that the house "calls on the Government to ensure the purchase of video games by those under 18 years is controlled and that parents are provided with clear information on the violent content of certain games."

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Latest comments (39)

Stephen Woollard Online Infrastructure Specialist, Electronic Arts8 years ago
"further notes that the internet-based, first-person shooting game that pits a counter-terrorist team against terrorists was previously banned in Brazil and in 2007 was associated with US College Campus massacres."

Associated by Jack Thomson, a discredited and disbarred nut job, but hey, why let the truth get in the way of a good story eh?

Change the record Mr Vaz, it's getting really old now. We have a very good ratings system that oddly enough provides the "clear information" Mr Vaz is calling for - why should the industry or retailers be responsible for poor parenting?

/rantoff
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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D8 years ago
God, I hate this man.

Fran Mulhern calls on the Government to ensure the distribution of video games related commentary by Keith Vaz is controlled and that parents are provided with clear information on the cretinous idiotic nature of certain comments from him.
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Terence Gage Freelance writer 8 years ago
I blame that horrible newfangled 'Rock and Roll' and all of those young music artists who show their flesh and thrust their hips. I spoke to a resident in Malmo who said they'd heard rumour the shooters once listened to some 'Rock and Roll'.

As a side note, I think Keith Vaz should quit his job as an MP and become the editor of the Daily Mail. It would be a pairing made for them both.
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Show all comments (39)
John Donnelly Quality Assurance 8 years ago
If this guy is your MP please please contact his office with emails letters and personal apointments to point out the problems with his comments, how negative it is to the industry and that he should make sure he understands what he is saying before he says them.

Hell lets all contact his office with emails and letters even if he is not our MP.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by John Donnelly on 17th November 2010 11:07am

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Terence Gage Freelance writer 8 years ago
Actually, that's a good idea John. Having looked at his website he is the MP for Leicester East, and although I'm from Kent I think I'll send him a letter to Keith Vaz, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA or vazk@parliament.uk saying that his comments are ill-informed and he's clearly talking about an industry of which he knows very little. Similarly, at a time when developers and UK studios are struggling, persons in official positions should be trying to aid videogames development and its workforce, not do their best to undermine it and make potentially damaging comments based on hearsay.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Terence Gage on 17th November 2010 11:24am

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Jason Stewart Associate Producer, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe8 years ago
His ignorance beggars belief, or maybe I'm just lucky I stopped playing CS?!

The horrible things it could have made me do!
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Glen Elliott Partner/Head of Sales, European Game League8 years ago
Has he now changed from "Passports for Favours" too "Ill write a nasty report on something i know nothing off unless I get favours".....maybe Valve should drop some money to his office....that normally works with him....I cant believe he is still an MP
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Stephen Baker8 years ago
Vaz is a joke. This should be taken with a pinch of salt. If we are going by his logic, I'm sure that we can "associate" many things to Mr.Vaz.
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Michael Warner QA Tester 8 years ago
I bet he thinks hitler played counter strike
violence has been around a hell of a lot longer then games (what did they blame violence before games were around?) and it only takes one unhinged individual to remind us of how readily people can resort to violence in desperation

oh yeah vaz is a moron rabble rabble rabble!!!!
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Paul Smith Dev 8 years ago
Who voted for this guy?!
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David Blewett Lead Artist, SUMO Digital8 years ago
Its through ill advised and incorrect comments from people like Mr.Vaz that the UK games industry stuggles for government support on things like tax breaks. Many MP's wont play games and probably feel any association with supporting us as an industry is going to cause a backlash against them from the people who actually believe the garbage that Vaz spouts !
Play a game like Super Mario Galaxy 2 with you kids Mr Vaz, and then tell us all how all games are violent and bad for all of us !
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Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 8 years ago
Bloody Vaz.

Jack Thompson: Reloaded.

He's not actually far as an MP for me, I'm in Leicestershire. About as credible as Thompson saying that Counterstrike trained someones real life shooting accuracy, slow down their breathing rate and all that dribble. Please have a clue what you're talking about before you speak, ignorant MP..
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David Blewett Lead Artist, SUMO Digital8 years ago
I believe he also once couldnt answer a journalists question about what age rated games his own kids were playing? Cannot recall the exact nature of the interview, but the general gist of it was that he was doing the very thing that parents shouldn't be doing - ie. allowing his kids to play 18 rated games.

Wonder if he would be quite so casual if his kids were watching a DVD of 'Big and Bouncy Booty'. Pretty sure that may have a similar 18 on the front of the box.
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David Jarrett Studying Game Design, Birmingham Metropolitan College8 years ago
Hmm... I requested an audience with Mr. Vaz recently to discuss issues just like this for an assignment I was given. Unsurprisingly though, he was "unavailable to undertake an interview".

But he did wish me good luck on my course, so, um ... maybe he's not all that bad?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by David Jarrett on 17th November 2010 3:08pm

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Bo Thomaeus Partner at the lawfirm Gärde Wesslau 8 years ago
Just to make it entirely clear; Counter Strike has not been "associated" here in Sweden at all - nor any other game/80s karate video/80s heavy metal band/50s comic book/etc. This was the first (and hopefully) last time I heard about it. Even though Sweden has its fair share of Vaz-ish moralists no one has voiced a concern in this respect. To be honest, I think that Karate Kid is more to blame using the same logic, since most of the pictures released of the person detained in association with the shootings have him sporting a budo dress of some sort or washing his American car...
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 8 years ago
It's always the same script with these guys: assume parents and elderly people are scared not to understand their kids, then assign blame to something parents know their kids do, but have no relationship with themselves and vow to protect those kids from it by trying to ban stuff. Step 2: win election.

It is so cheap and old a trick, yet it is unbelievable politicians are not called out on this BS on the spot.
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Shane Wilson European Sales Director, Curse LTD8 years ago
Is it a wonder why our worlds finances are in such bad shape, if politicians focused more on their jobs instead of getting their names in the paper this would not be an issue.

I wish the media would stop shining a light on people who say such outlandish things, but I guess they have ads to sell too...
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Andrew Clayton QA Weapons Tester, Electronic Arts8 years ago
Can we replace "associated" in this article with "the shooter lived next door to a guy who knew a guy who's second cousin sometimes played the game for fun with his drinking friends"?
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Stephen Page journalist 8 years ago
The man is both highly dangerous (in that he chairs the Home Affairs Select Committee) and a utter fool.
He has sat on some of the most important HASC investigations in the last few years and has done irreparable damage as a result.
He is corrupt beyond probity and subsequently shouldn't even be in politics let alone representing the opposition.
He has no deep understanding of the often complex issues the HASC's are investigating and as a result laws which he has officiated at are worse for it.
Some of the most ridiculous, facile, misleading abuses of power in recent years sit at his door.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Stephen Page on 17th November 2010 4:26pm

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Stephen Page journalist 8 years ago
'Vaz was elected Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, replacing John Denham, on 26 July 2007. He was unusually nominated to the Committee by the Government, rather than by the quasi-independent Committee of Selection which, under the Standing Orders of the House, nominates members to select committees.'



Outrageous New Labour plant who ticked all the ideological boxes but one:....competence.




http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keith_Vaz#C...

Edited 4 times. Last edit by Stephen Page on 17th November 2010 4:23pm

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Brian Baglow Head of Interactive Entertainment, Revolver PR8 years ago
Hateful bandwagon jumping arse of an MP. He's not 'outspoken'. He's a cynical and manipulative politician who's found a target the majority of the media are still unwilling to engage with.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Brian Baglow on 17th November 2010 4:35pm

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Mark Faulkner Game Manager, Market Spring Pad Ltd8 years ago
Look on the bright side, he gives us someone to laugh at.
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Alex Loffstadt Community Manager, Outso Ltd8 years ago
I'd be careful with throwing around the corrupt etc. comments.

Vaz has had longstanding ill informed opinions about games for years.
He had a go all the time when he was a Minister in the Home Office.

And admittedly hasn't reserved his wrath for just games, he was entirely negative about Dark Knight when it came out saying it wasn't appropriate for kids (12A rating may have passed him by).

The last government had an appauling reputation for poorly drafted, knee jerk legislation, and it would appear that the Honourable Vaz is merely maintaining the tradition.

As for "Vaz also demanded that the house "calls on the Government to ensure the purchase of video games by those under 18 years is controlled and that parents are provided with clear information on the violent content of certain games." "

It has been for at least the past 20 odd years, dating back to the old ELSPA ratings.

If anyone is writing to MPs I'd recommend writing to Ed Vaisey, the Minister for Culture, Media and Sport whose been fighting the industry's corner. If Vaz is coming out with rubbish we may as well help make sure that someone in the corridors of power has access to the facts. :D
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Wayne Gibson UK Marketing Manager for GameKrib.com 8 years ago
@Alex I agree, writing to Ed Vaisey would be a much wiser choice. Vaz is set in his ways with a mentality that firmly belongs in the Dark Ages. Maybe even submitting an online petition of some kind showing what an ill informed knee jerker Vaz is. Its comments like this supported by ill informed parents etc. that distorts the image of the industry we all love and work for.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 8 years ago
Holy Cats... and I thought we here in the US had the market cornered on nuts like this in office. I'd say "Welcome to the club!" but I'd rather pay good money to send ALL of these nut-jobs on that one-way Mars mission.
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John Donnelly Quality Assurance 8 years ago
I recomended writting to Mr vaz to counter his comments and show him we the people in the industry or the people wants to enter the industry do not agree with his comments and see them as damaging.

Ed Vaisey may have already countered these statements but it may not make the press.
Being in the same party though he might be able to reach him in other ways if we also where to write to him as well.

We really should be letting the MPs elected by the people know what we think when they say and do things we dont like.
We dont need the national media but a good number of emails or letters will get the attention of them. More so if you can actually run against them in the future.
Maybe we should make the Games Industry party and run againt them all in the future
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Alex Loffstadt Community Manager, Outso Ltd8 years ago
@John Minor correction here. Ed Vaisey is the current Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State with responsibilities in both the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills; in the former, he holds the Culture, Communications and Creative Industries brief. He is also a Conservative.

Keith Vaz MP is a Labour, a Privy Councellor, a former goverment minister and I believe still chair of the influence Home Affairs Select Committee. Plus, a teeny tiny bit prejudiced against forms of media he believes to be intended solely for consumption by small children.

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Alex Loffstadt Community Manager, Outso Ltd8 years ago
"Maybe we should make the Games Industry party and run againt them all in the future"

As a rule I'm not in favour of one issue parties.

However, we may want to see more out of industry bodies like ELSPA, TIGA and developers blowing their trumpets rather than hiding under bushels. :D
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Private VIdeo Games 8 years ago
Vaz is a complete joke..
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Pete Thompson Editor 8 years ago
This sort of thing just goes to show how much our Politicians are out of touch with everything that goes on in the real world..
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Stephen McCarthy Studying Games Technology, Kingston University8 years ago
it been some time when Counter Strike has been blame
CoD took most of the hits.

any bets on the next game?
my on (next big shooter)
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Stefan Pettersson Specialist Consultant, Fat Tuna8 years ago
Gotta love'em when they blame games for everything. Remember when they said the Taliban had trained in Flight Simulator before september 11 and future sales of the simulator was questioned.
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This guy is being payed to lobby on behalf of other companies, perhaps toy manufactures, who want the under 18s to spend more on other stuff, except games. No politician in Britain stands up for anything they actually believe in anymore, it's all about who will offer them a cushy consultancy job 1 day a week when they get voted out. Wouldn't surprise me if the music and movie industry were not behind this, they are losing serious revenues to kids buying games.
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David Rider Publisher, Hustler UK8 years ago
Dear Mr Vaz, please refrain from speaking out on issues which you are wholly unqualified to comment on. Now go away.
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Tom collins8 years ago
O Is that time of year again Already?
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Jordan Woodward Level Designer, Rebellion Developments8 years ago
It's people like this which give the industry a bad name. Absolutely clueless.
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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany8 years ago
Just watch history:

They said that about role-playing games
They said that about gothic
They said that about books
They said that about movies

RPG's, gothic, books and movies are there.
Where are those politicians now but forgotten by history?.
this guy is another biased ignorant, nothing else.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Alfonso Sexto on 18th November 2010 9:15am

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Alex Loffstadt Community Manager, Outso Ltd8 years ago
@Marcus. Please refrain from unqualified mud slinging.
If you're going to accuse a public figure of something that may be deeply unethical if not actually criminal, please substantiate it.

Comments like, "This guy is being payed to lobby on behalf of other companies, perhaps toy manufactures, who want the under 18s to spend more on other stuff, except games." Can be seen as libelous, and since you're posting with your real name with the name of your company associated with it, such opinions could be seen as representative of your firm.

Since we're actively criticising someone for the use of uninformed generalisations, it helps if we're not doing exactly the same. If you believe Vaz to have been paid off then please let us know what this is based on.

"No politician in Britain stands up for anything they actually believe in anymore, it's all about who will offer them a cushy consultancy job 1 day a week when they get voted out." Actually as someone who follows British politics quite closely this is another crass generalisation. Ironicly it's the fact that the Right Honourable Vaz MP genuninely believes what he is doing is right. He comes from a relatively conservative background and as a parent of 2 small kids that he's speaking out as a parent. He's of his generation where games, comics, movies and pop music are all actively associated kids rather than seeing how the forms of media have grown.

As Alfonso has said this has happened to books, various movies, Video when the technology came out, music genres, even comics which had many restrictive laws pasts against them in US during the 50s.

Things are changing, but we do need to speak out more.


Edited 1 times. Last edit by Alex Loffstadt on 18th November 2010 12:23pm

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Adam Jordan Community Management/Moderation 8 years ago
I blame today's society
He blames video games

Tomato, Tomata ;)

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Adam Jordan on 18th November 2010 11:37am

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