Dear Norway: Give Mass Murderer Anders Behring Breivik a PS3
One of Norway's most notorious killers is threatening a hunger strike if his PS2 is not upgraded to a PS3 according to a report by Kotaku.
In 2011 Anders Behring Breivik killed eight people in a bombing in Oslo, then went on to end 69 more lives when he attacked a Workers' Youth League (AUF) camp with a .223-caliber Ruger Mini-14 semi-automatic carbine and a Glock, legally obtained in Norway with extended magazines for the rifle purchased from a United States supplier. The massacre was prompted by Breivik's deep-seated Islamophobia, a fear of Marxism and communism, hatred of feminism, and a desire to market his far-right manifesto. Under Norway's laws he received the maximum sentence of 21 years in prison with a possibility of additional five year sentences renewed if deemed a danger to society.
Norway's correctional system is extremely progressive, based more on the idea of rehabilitation than retribution. Loss of freedom is the only punishment, and cells have televisions, computers, showers and sanitation. Inmates have access to first class medical care, counseling, and job training in order to reintegrate them better into Norwegian society. It works, too. The recidivism rate in Norway is just 20 percent, a third of that of America.
The inmates apparently also have access to video games, but Breivik claims that his limited selection as opposed to that of the other inmates constitutes torture and is an attempt to push him into suicide. Other inmates, whom Breivik is kept away from, are allowed more adult games and seventh generations systems, while he is restricted to PS2 and titles like Rayman 2: Revolution.
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After his arrest Breivik said he trained for his killings with Call of Duty.
I for one think that Breivik should get his PS3. Partly because of economics. There is no way that a used PS3 and a few games would cost more than a lawyer and a feeding tube. The second is ideological. If the Norwegian prison system is determined to try and teach Breivik something then I think the PS3 offers some very good titles that he might benefit from.
Journey: Breivik was diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder, a condition that preoccupies the subject with their own power, prestige, and vanity. You can see the extremity of his case in the fact that he killed 71 people to boost the popularity of his writings. Nothing can possibly be a better way around that fixation than a round of Journey. The whole purpose of the calm, uplifting experience is to contemplate your own smallness in the huge, towering mountain world filled with people questing towards enlightenment just like you. It's quite possibly the most Zen video game ever made, and the cyclical nature might do something to soothe the mind of the killer.
The Unfinished Swan: One of the ways we make the world a less-crappy place is learning how our actions affect others in terrible ways. One method I recommend for teaching that lesson is the bizarre and beautiful first-person puzzler The Unfinished Swan. Left alone after the death of his artist mother, a young boy follows a mysterious swan through a strange world created through the art of a selfish king who cares nothing for his subjects. The game is an inventive look and the nature of creation and destruction, as well as an exercise in working through grief. Plus, art is always a helpful pastime for the people with mental defects.
Rain: Another small hit that might benefit Breivik is Rain. You control an invisible protagonist who can only be seen when the rain is stopped by your form. If you take shelter from the storm only your wet foot prints can be seen. It's a melancholy title, for sure, but the sheer novelty of an unseen avatar might spark something in the narcissistic mind. The puzzles are a little frustrating, but it's a good stew-in-your-own-sadness title.
Ni no Kuni: The Wrath of the White Witch: Simply put, Ni no Kuni was one of the most amazing triumphs in video game storytelling ever. It's a Studio Ghibli RPG, which alone makes it an A-level dispenser of feels to even the most callous of players. Add in the quest mechanic of healing broken hearts infected with sadness and rage and the metaphorical journey offers a player much spiritual redemption. Plus, with well over 100 hours of gameplay it's destined to keep anyone quiet for many weeks.
Beyond: Two Souls: OK, most of the games I've mentioned fall under Breivik's definition of kiddie games, so let's give him an adult title. There's not much more adult than the life of Jodie Holms, connected to a mysterious spirit guide and a soldier in the war to hold back a demonic demon world. Choice is the name of the game here. Each choice has an amazing impact on the gameplay, and should be more than enough to serve as a simulator for bad behavior in the mind of a criminal.
As a bonus, it's a good chance to rock Breivik's rampaging Islamophobia. Jodie is sent on a mission in the mid-'90s Somalia back when the United States was forced to use the army to get humanitarian aid through to starving people. On a solo mission Jodie helps a young, Arabic-speaking boy with a gunshot wound and the pair forms an unlikely team in the struggle... at least until one of Jodie's targets ends up being the boy's father. It's a heartbreaking level that rocks you to the core, and might hopefully remind Breivik that there are in fact people behind the paranoid delusions that he so lightly put bullets through.
Give the man his PS3. He misused gaming to forge a bloody path... maybe he can use it again to cut a better one away from hate and fear.
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