With the January 4th murder of Katrin M. (name withheld) fresh on the minds of citizens of Munich, news reports as of January 26th have linked Final Fantasy, and other roleplaying video games to the grisly act. However, is this an accurate correlation, or is the media again found trying to draw connections between video games and real world acts of violence?
On the evening of January 4th, Katrin M. was coming off the subway when she was ambushed by 19-year-old Marco F. (name withheld) wielding a katana. Katrin was stabbed 18 times by her assailant, the fatal blow landing in her heart. German tabloid TZ describes the attacker as acting “spontaneously like a child who thinks no thought to an end.”
Further investigation into Marco F.’s personal life finds him a quiet, mentally ill teen, removed from society and preferring to spend his time on his computer playing roleplaying video games such as Final Fantasy. This seems to be enough for German newspapers to feature Marco cosplaying as “one of his favorite characters from the video game ‘Final Fantasy,’” an interesting assessment given that the character in question does not belong to the Final Fantasy series but is instead, as Kotaku columnist Brian Ashcraft points out, Neko Sakubara, from another Square-Enix title The World Ends With You.
Another in a growing trend of blaming video games for violent acts of late, one cannot deny the fact that there is a stark difference between violence-based games such as Call of Duty, the usual scapegoat for the media, and Final Fantasy, a series that prides itself on story and character development over violence. Perhaps Marco F. did use roleplaying video games as a means of escape from a world he did not connect with, but this seems to be more an isolated incident rather than more evidence to support the proposed restrictions on violent video games.
Yes, games like Final Fantasy contain swords, perhaps like the one used on January 4th, and yes Marco was known to take his roleplaying into the real world, donning the attire of his favorite character (albeit one that portrays combat through cartoonish magic), however the real issue here seems to be the perpetrator’s mental health, rather than his video game proclivities and this random encounter seems to simply be yet another example of the media pointing the finger at video games as the end-all be-all cause for youth violence.
TZ- Die wirre Welt des Mörders
Kotaku- Final Fantasy Blamed for Brutal Murder