Norwegian mass murderer threatens hunger strike if PS2 not upgraded to PS3

Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik threatened to go on a hunger strike over "torture"-like prison conditions. Among his complaints? He wanted to upgrade consoles and "more adult games" he could choose himself, according to Agence France-Presse.

Breivik killed 77 people during a rampage in July of 2011, including bombings in Oslo and the shooting of youths at a summer camp. He is serving a 21-year sentence, but in November of last year he sent prison authorities a typed list of 12 demands. Some were broad, such as the right to communicate more freely with the outside world. But the list also included some very specific demands about video games. He wants an upgrade from Playstation 2 to a PlayStation 3, and more mature gaming options.

"Other inmates have access to adult games while I only have the right to play less interesting kids games," he wrote. "One example is 'Rayman Revolution,' a game aimed at three year olds." Rayman Revolution does appear to have received a 3+ rating from some European rating processes. However, that means the game is suitable for persons aged three and up, not just pre-schoolers. A search of ESRB ratings for Rayman games shows the series ranges from "E" for everyone to "E+10" for those ten and older.

Breivik reportedly sent another note near the end of January asserting that his conditions had not suitably improved.

During Breivik's trial, he testified that he spent a year playing 16 hours a day of "World of Warcraft" starting in December 2006. “I know it is important to you and the media that I played this for a year,” he told the court. “But it has nothing to do with July 22," he argued. "It is not a world you are engulfed by. It is quite simply a hobby.”

However, he also claimed to have spent four months ending through February 2010 playing "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare" for six hours a day. And he said that game helped him practice using the aid of a sight and hone his shooting skills.

What, if any, link might exist between aggressive behavior and violent video games remains a topic of debate. Some research suggests that it might delay "moral maturity," while others suggest that it improves learning skills.

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government.
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Andrea Peterson · February 14