Autopsy results show that Brandon Crisp died of chest injuries sustained in a fall, likely from a tree, and that foul play is not suspected in his death. The 15-year-old from Barrie, Ont. went missing Oct. 13 after an argument with his parents over his confiscated Xbox 360.
The story continues to bring out experts and notable persons to make some sort of commentary on "video game addiction" which is what Brandon's father says is partly, or at least proximately, responsible for this tragedy. In a Canadian Press story, Vance Wallace, lead designer of Tomb Raider: Underworld, makes the common sense declaration that yes, games should be enjoyed in moderation, the same as anything else consumed for pleasure. Wallace also said the scapegoating of games is a reaction that predates even video games.
"I think that video games are the new Jazz music or TV," he told the CP at Festival Arcadia, described as Canada's premier gaming event.
"Whenever there's something that's understood by one generation and not understood by another, it becomes a scapegoat for people and they just say 'Oh that's obviously the problem."'
Elsewhere, the games-addiction storyline is still accepted at face value, which is a great message to send to parents who lack an understanding of video games and might overhear chatter that a cool title is engineered for a 420-hour experience. Says the Globe and Mail of Toronto:
Stephen Kline, a researcher with Simon Fraser University who has studied youth and compulsive gaming, said the sad ending to Brandon's life will make it difficult for parents to act if they see their children growing increasingly preoccupied with gaming.
"Coming out of this, I think a lot of parents will say, 'Well, what can I do? I can't take the game away. I think my kid will do a bump," he said. "There's a deep lack of information about what to do."
I'm not sold on "addiction" here. Doesn't mean it doesn't exist; does mean it should be or should have been professionally diagnosed. Why can't this just be a case of a typically messed-up teenager who did something rash, and instead of it ending with hugs and a good cry, his parents are bearing the anguish of his decision forever? When I was 15 I was obsessed with the idea of becoming a professional baseball player and had a screaming match with mother when she told me that was never gonna happen. Doesn't mean I was addicted to the thought or the game, and I didn't run away to play it, but I was definitely in my own world.
Autopsy Shows Brandon Crisp Died From Fall [Globe and Mail, Toronto]
Lara Croft Video Game Designer Says Moderation Key to Avoiding Addiction [Canadian Press]