This week’s What I’ve Been Reading is mainly video-game-related. But if you’re interested at all in crime in the media, corporate business practices, or Internet safety, then you should take a peek.

  • Over at British gaming blog Rock Paper Shotgun, John Walker has an analysis of the media coverage of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik’s testimony, in which Breivik mentioned that he spent a lot of time playing World of Warcraft and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Media outlets have been taking Breivik’s words out of context in a weird attempt to prove that his obsession with certain video games was what drove him to plan his attacks. I’m not from the school of thought that believes violent video games can never make players more violent, but I take issue with blatant misinformation from news media; their duty is to report the facts, not to sensationalize them in order to jack up pageviews and ratings. Until news media stop their dishonest practices, we won’t be able to have an honest, nuanced conversation about violence in video games.
  • Somehow, somebody has gotten his or her hands on the Valve employee handbook. It provides a lot of insight into how the makers of Half-Life and Portal operate. Apparently, they have no set management structure, and employees are told to work on whatever project they think will benefit the company most! This is a must-read for anyone who’s interested in organizational behaviour or human resources.
  • And in news that should come as a surprise to no one, Facebook is being sued. This time, it’s for not doing enough to prevent the sale of Facebook Credits to minors. I don’t really know where I stand on this issue. Believe me: I love ranting about the evils of corporations, and if Facebook games are openly encouraging minors to make in-game purchases without parental consent, then their makers should be fined, if not jailed. However, it’s usually easy for companies to argue that such advertising isn’t directed at minors. Moreover, at a certain point, parents’ responsibility must kick in. They can’t simply expect the Internet to police itself at all times. They should be at least somewhat aware of what their children are doing on the Internet, and they should be wary of giving their credit card info to their children.

Have an opinion on any of the linked articles? Have an opinion on my opinions? Have a burning urge to type out the lyrics to a Britney Spears song? Feel free to sound off in the comments.