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Gaming party in Bundestag rankles MPs

The Local · 23 Feb 2011, 15:31

Published: 23 Feb 2011 15:31 GMT+01:00

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In addition to the committee meetings and parliamentary debate sessions on the Bundestag’s schedule for Wednesday, politicians can pick up a controller and try out of whole host of computer games, from the family-friendly Wii to violent shoot-em-up titles, which have become bogeymen to many a German lawmaker.

Bavarian MP Dorothee Bär, the deputy general secretary of the conservative Christian Social Union, said she wanted to provide colleagues with a “protected space where they can try out computer games, because while a lot of them talk about it, few know much about the games themselves,” she told public broadcaster ARD.

Representatives from game manufacturers will be on hand to help inexperienced hands figure out which buttons to push.

Many German politicians have been critical of video games, especially violent ones like “Call of Duty” or “Counterstrike,” where the goal is often to mow down as many enemies as possible. The games enjoy global popularity – there are an estimated 50,000 to 200,000 Counterstrike players always online – but many Germans worry the digital violence can be psychologically damaging to players and inspire real-world acts of aggression.

Some of those critical voices were not at all impressed with Wednesday’s plans for a so-called LAN party.

“I would have preferred that these killer games hadn’t been shown,” said Hans-Peter Uhl, the interior affairs spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives in parliament. “These kinds of games touch on people’s ugliest instincts and shouldn’t be made available to youth.”

Hardy Schober, whose daughter was killed in a 2009 school shooting, told ARD: “I feel mocked by these politicians who are going to a party to learn how to kill each other virtually.”

But Bär, 32, said she and the other two organizers of the event, Manuel Höferlin and Jimmy Schulz of the Free Democrats, feel it is unfair to always put the blame for youth violence on video games.

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“Brutal films like ‘Inglourious Basterds’ get an Oscar, so apparently there are other standards for movies as there are for video games, and that’s not right,” she said. “Computer games are a part of German culture now.”

The Local/kdj

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

16:11 February 23, 2011 by idiot
Nice idea.
19:28 February 23, 2011 by crm114
Ridiculous idea.
01:27 February 24, 2011 by dcgi
I didn't know you could play Counterstrike in Firefox ^_^
09:51 February 24, 2011 by Gaffers
Good Idea. People are always looking for an easy target to blame and video games are one of those. It's almost as if violence is a new phenomena because of games.

Also if they go online I may win a couple of games against them instead of having my butt kicked by a spotty 12 year old :-)
10:34 February 24, 2011 by marimay
Ew gaming. Waste of life.
11:07 February 24, 2011 by moistvelvet
In the case of Kretschner's school killing spree, I think it was perhaps the way other pupils and teachers treated him beforehand that was a root of his anger and path of destruction, not playing some harmless shoot-em-up.

Some people say these games are a waste of time and create violence, others say that they create relationships and team work, they offer an escape from reality just like any film, book or TV show.
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