Lawlessness, civil disobedience, rampant criminality and violence. All could be used to describe the events witnessed in Tottenham and Enfield over the weekend. Oh, and they could also be used to describe a certain video game.
And while Codemasters’ F1 series hasn’t been credited for the success of Sebastian Vettel and I’ve not yet read any stories thanking Populous for inspiring God himself, some people have seemingly linked Rockstar’s title to the tragic events.
Tonight’s copy of the London Evening Standard could claim that the London riots seen in the past 48 hours were “inspired” by famous games series Grand Theft Auto, MCV can reveal.
Two people – one a police officer in Tottenham and the other an Enfield resident – told reporters that they believed the popular game series was the catalyst behind the breakdown of law and order.
A member of the Evening Standard news team confirmed that at the time of speaking, the GTA quotes were to be included in the article. However, the source would not rule out the possibility of alternations being made before the paper hits presses.
UPDATE: It appears that at least some copies of today's Evening Standard carry an altered story, dropping the mention of GTA in the strap. It's unknown if the game is still mentioned in the body copy.
UPDATE 2: MCV has been informed that some editions of today's paper DO carry the GTA headline. Presumably a decision was made to change it after the first print run.
This will be far from the first time a paper has sought to instigate video games as the evil mastermind behind distressing real-world events.
Last month Activision’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was accused of being a training tool for Norwegian shooter Anders Behring Breivik.
In 2004 Rockstar’s Manhunt was wrongly said to have been the inspiration behind the teenage stabbing of Stefan Pakeerah in Keith Vaz’ Leicester constituency.