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Breivik ‘addicted to computer games’

Confessed terrorist and mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik has been described as being “addicted to computer games,” spending thousands of hours on war-themed games in the years before he bombed Norway’s government headquarters and gunned down Labour Party summer campers.

Newspaper Aftenposten reported Thursday that police have found logs indicating that Breivik spent even more time on computer games than he’d admitted to under questioning. He’d said he spent around 8,700 hours playing the games between 2006 and 2010. Police found that between November 2010 and April 2011, Breivik spent 500 hours playing “World of Warcraft” alone. He had claimed he spent all his time in the months leading up to his July 22 attacks on planning them.

In addition to playing “World of Warcraft,” Breivik also played computer games including “Modern Warfare,” “Elder scrolls,” “Dragon Age” and “Warhammer.” Hans Olav Fekjær, a Norwegian psychiatrist and expert on addiction, told Aftenposten that spending so much time on computer games “will often be so damaging that it would be called addiction.”

Breivik has claimed that playing war games was merely “camouflage” for planning his terrorist attacks, and that to “reward” himself, he decided to devote most of an entire year to them.

His obsession with “World of Warcraft” reportedly began in 2006, when Breivik moved home to his mother’s apartment in Oslo. Police believe he played “World of Warcraft” up to 12 hours a day over a two-year period.

Probing fellow players
Aftenposten reported that police are probing all persons Breivik has been in contact with, and that includes other game players. Police are also keen on establishing whether Breivik played in a group.

“We’re retrieving information from the (games) suppliers,” prosecutor Christian Hatlo told Aftenposten. At times, Breivik was believed to have been logged onto two computers simultaneously for playing, and police are also investigating whether Breivik paid others to play for him.

“World of Warcraft” is called an MMORPG – Massively multiplayer online role-playing game – and considered the most popular game in the world with more than 10 million subscribers. Around 70,000 of them are in Norway. Fekjær said the game contains elements that make it difficult to give up.

“You play on a guild, or team, with others and there can be great pressure against withdrawing,” Fekjær told Aftenposten, adding that many players can “disappear” into the games virtual and aggressive world. Breivik has used terminology from the game in his so-called “manifesto.”

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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