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Norway killer cites video games as training tools

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(AP Photo/Hieko Junge)

Anders Behring Breivik, who has confessed to killing 77 people in Norway last summer, told the court Thursday that he used video games to help him train for his massacre.

Specifically, Breivik claims he used Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 as a tool to "train" for the killings, saying it helped him improve his shot with a "holographic aiming device."

Breivik was rather detailed in his statement about the game, saying it helped him develop target acquisition.

"It consists of many hundreds of different tasks and some of these tasks can be compared with an attack, for real," he said. "That's why it's used by many armies throughout the world. It's very good for acquiring experience related to sights systems."

"If you are familiar with a holographic sight, it's built up in such a way that you could have given it to your grandmother and she would have been a super marksman," he continued. It's designed to be used by anyone. In reality it requires very little training to use it in an optimal way. But of course it does help if you've practiced using a simulator."

The hearing wasn't the first time Breivik has mentioned the game. It first came up in a 1,500-page manifesto he wrote prior to his attack:

"I just bought Modern Warfare 2, the game," he wrote. "It is probably the best military simulator out there and it's one of the hottest games this year. … I see MW2 more as a part of my training-simulation than anything else. … You can more or less completely simulate actual operations."

Breivik has previously talked about his obsessive playing of World of Warcraft, spending up to 16 hours per day, but he classified that as a "hobby" and said the game had nothing to do with the killings.

"Some people like to play golf, some like to sail, I played WoW," he said. "It had nothing to do with 22 July. It's not a world you are engulfed by. It's simply a hobby. … It's a very social game. Half of the time you are connected in communication with others. It would be wrong to consider it an antisocial game."

Publisher Activision-Blizzard defended its game in a statement:

"We remain shocked and saddened by the tragedy in Norway," a spokesperson said. "We do not believe that this senseless tragedy is in any way connected to any form of media or entertainment."

The Norway shooting isn't the first time video games have been linked with mass murder. From the Columbine school shootings to the assassination attempt on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, games have repeatedly found their way into the headlines.

In 2011, however, the Supreme Court found there was not enough evidence to link games to real-world violent behavior — and ruled that the medium was covered by the First Amendment.

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