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Connecticut town cancels controversial plan to destroy violent games

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Call of Duty: Black Ops II (Credit: Activision)

The Connecticut town that raised the ire of gamers when it announced plans to collect and destroy violent video games has changed its mind.

Officials in Southington, which is located just 30 miles northeast of Newtown, the site of last year’s horrific school shooting, opted to cancel the Violent Video Games Return Program amid widespread criticism from both psychologists and leading family-focused sites (including Common Sense Media).

However, officials were quick to put a positive spin on things.

"Today, after just one week, we are pleased to announce that awareness has been raised significantly, thanks to the support of the media and widely disseminated e-mail communications within our community through our local SouthingtonSOS member organizations,” the group said in a statement. “The result has been a swift, positive and supportive response of parents, young people and the general population of our community.”

Originally, city residents were encouraged to visit the local drive-in theater and deposit violent games in a trash bin in return for a $25 gift certificate to a family-friendly local attraction. Those games were to later be snapped into pieces and likely incinerated.

While accusations of censorship were a common refrain when the program was announced, officials had steadfastly maintained that the program was not mean to rival book burnings or other reviled programs. Rather, they said, the point was to encourage conversations between parents and their children about what was being played.

And they feel they have accomplished that goal.

"We succeeded in our program," spokesman Dick Fortunato told Polygon. "Our mission was to create strong awareness in Southington for parents and families and citizens and children. And we accomplished that. Our other objective was to promote discussion of violent video games and media with children and with the families at the home. And we've accomplished that in spades. So we deemed it became unnecessary to have the physical return on Saturday of violent games. Also because it would create an unnecessary amount of logistical details for us."

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