A government-sponsored Russian TV news channel has suggested that the recent terrorist attack at Domodedovo airport may have been carried out by people "trained" with video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
The Russian TV report features footage of MW 2 intercut with real footage of the attack, and an interview with Walid Phares, a Fox News terrorism analyst. Phares says, "I think those who have been radicalized already — let's suppose in this case jihadists, Al Qaeda or [some] other kind — they look at the games and say these games will serve them to train."
I'll admit it: When I saw the terrifying footage of the attack, my first thought was: "Visually, that's reminiscent of the "No Russians" level of Modern Warfare 2." But because the real Russian attack was a terrible tragedy, and video games are cartoons we use to pretend to be super-heroes, I thought pointing out the comparison would be tasteless and silly, so I didn't bother, figuring that no one would be crass or clueless enough to suggest that there's anything but a coincidental connection between a video game level and real tragedy in which 35 people were killed and 110 injured. I was wrong; never overestimate the taste of "The Media."
It's interesting that the blame is being pointed at video games as opposed to films. No one is suggesting the as-yet-unknown group behind the suicide bombing were influenced by movies, in spite of the fact that many movies feature violence in airports. I think this is because movies have been around long enough to seem "safe" to the established powers, where games cause fear. Non-gamers have an unspoken (and maybe subconscious) fear of the effects and content in games, because they're unfamiliar with the medium.
As video games become more prevalent, and technology allows for better representation of reality, we're going to see more coincidental connections between what happens in games and what happens in real life. Get used to it, I guess.
Neither publisher Activision nor developer Infinity Ward have issued commentary on this issue.