A problem that has beset the video game industry over the years has been much the same as any new medium, that it has been blamed for almost every ill in modern society. Such mis-information regarding a so called 'game related murder' such as that of Stefan Pakeerah can lead to mass outcry from initially the media and subsequently the public as to the depravity and poor influence these games can have. The fact that the police later revealed that accused game, Manhunt, was infact owned by the deceased and not the murderer does little to stem the flow of blame. Interestingly though, it can do wonders for the games sales!
According to Stanley Cohen (Folk Devils and Moral Panics, 1972) a moral panic is where the media fixates on some group or behaviour, (subcultures are always good scapegoats) seen as a menace to society and exaggerates reporting which leads to campaign groups, concerned parents, letters to MPs and statements in parliament.
Stanley Cohen then went on to describe what he calls Deviancy Amplification Spiral. In this instance the mass coverage can influence the groups behaviour and may actually attract similar group members.
So how do we get to this point? Where does the coverage begin? It is argued that much of the blame can be laid at the door of the rhetoric used by anti-video game campaigners. Anti-video game campaigns use subtle techniques to convince people that their message is true and just
S., Cohen Folk Devils and Moral Panics (2002) Routledge:London
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/leicestershire/3934277.stm Retrieved 2/3/07
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/leicestershire/3538066.stm Retrieved 2/3/07
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/leicestershire/3535268.stm Retrieved 2/3/07