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Games not linked to Virginia Tech shootings

Official report.

The massacre at Virginia Tech in April this year has, according to the official report filed by the Virginia governor's office, no link at all to videogames, GamesIndustry.biz reports.

The report, which includes a mental health history of the shooter, Seung Hui Cho, notes that during his childhood he had "played videogames like Sonic the Hedgehog", yet "none of the videogames were war games or had violent themes."

This flies in the face of statements made on Fox TV news by Jack Thompson in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, which laid the blame for the incident firmly at the door of videogames.

He linked the Virginia Tech shootings to other school massacres: "What the FBI and Secret Service found after Columbine after looking at all the school shooting up to then was the common denominator of the perpetrators being immersed in incredibly violent entertainment, most notably violent videogames."

He went on to cite other games, such as Doom and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, in other murders, and stated his belief that, "To have been able to pull this off, with the high body count, one has to have been able to have rehearsed it, and I think that's unfortunately what will be found to be the case."

But those statements made in the mainstream press by Thompson, who has a history of crusading against videogames, now seem to have been debunked, and the official report goes on to note that Cho's roommates never saw him play videogames - something which they thought odd, because most others did.

30 students and two teachers were killed in the Virginia Tech shootings, before Cho turned the gun on himself. The report concludes that more lives may have been saved if officials had acted sooner, although the governor stated that the point of the inquiry was to prevent further tragedies from occurring, rather than apportioning blame.

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GamesIndustry International is the world's leading games industry website, incorporating GamesIndustry.biz and IndustryGamers.com.