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Sky points finger at games

News channel claims MS Flight Simulator could have been used for training by terrorists

Following the horrific events in New York and Washington DC earlier this week, the first inevitable news reports linking the terrorist attacks to computer games emerged yesterday afternoon, with Britain's Sky News suggesting that the terrorists could have used software such as Microsoft's Flight Simulator games to practice flying to other cities and crashing their planes into buildings. In a somewhat tasteless move, footage of a player flying planes towards the Pentagon and World Trade Center in the game was interspersed with actual video of the crashes in New York, while presenters and so called experts pontificated on the possibility that the terrorists may have been trained using the game.

Despite mounting evidence that at least some of the hijackers were fully trained pilots, a condensed version of the report was posted on the Sky News website on Thursday morning, complete with a screenshot showing the cockpit of a jet flying straight towards the World Trade Center. The story claims that "the terrorists who flew passenger planes into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon could have used a £45 computer game to help them train", adding that the game "even allows players to simulate crashing into buildings".

Needless to say this is pure speculation, and we are disappointed to see certain sensationalist elements of the mainstream media once again linking video games to a terrible tragedy, especially in such a frankly disgusting manner. Microsoft were also apparently annoyed at the suggestions, telling Ananova today that "the step up from computer games to full-size flight simulators used by trainee pilots is huge" and pointing out that being able to fly a plane on your PC using a joystick and keyboard doesn't give you the co-ordination and experience necessary to fly a real jet liner.

Source - Sky News / Ananova (thanks to Ian Merison, Andrew Smith and Paul Harrington)