Journalist Reflects on Brandon Crisp Case, Terms CoD 4 Multiplayer "a Sad Place"

December 18, 2008 -

The tragic death of Canadian teen Brandon Crisp was easily gaming's saddest story of 2008.

In a sense, it was also one of the most frustrating stories for gamers as they watched their hobby maligned publicly, yet again. For several weeks in October and November, mainstream media reports fueled speculation that Brandon, a dedicated - perhaps even compulsive - Call of Duty 4 gamer, had been abducted by someone he met on Xbox Live.

Early on in the case there was even the highly improbable suggestion that Brandon had left home to join a professional gaming league. This was, perhaps, the modern equivalent of a 19th century child running away to join the circus.

Throughout the investigation and its aftermath, the notion that Brandon was addicted to Call of Duty 4 remained a constant theme. Not written about much, but just as likely, was the fact that Brandon was experiencing the same issues that plague many adolescents: difficulty in finding one's place and conflicts with parents.

In the end, Brandon was found dead not far from home. A coroner ruled that he likely fell from a tree soon after running away.

Now that a bit of time has passed since Brandon's death, Canadian journalist Jesse Brown takes a retrospective look at the case for his CBC Radio podcast. Unfortunately, what Brown ultimately serves up is a blanket condemnation of Call of Duty 4 multiplayer.

Brown, a non-gamer, spent time playing CoD4 and recording his impressions. In the end he was seemingly put off by the trash talk on Xbox Live. Hey, who isn't, from time to time? But there are ways to deal with XBL jerks that don't involve condemning the entire CoD4 experience, as Brown unfortunately does in his wrap-up:

Brandon Crisp played video games compulsively and Brandon Crisp died in the woods after falling from a tree. And those two things might not have anything at all to do with each other.

But as I played Call of Duty 4 late at night, crouching in a digital simulation of a snowy field and then collapsing in the leaves as a stranger somewhere in the world pushed a button and cursed in my ear, it was eerie to think that Brandon Crisp was here too, virtually killing and virtually dying thousands of times.

 

This world is a sad place and it's awful that Brandon Crisp spent so much of his time here when he had so little to spend.

What Brown doesn't get is that CoD4 may have become for Brandon a place where he could fit in, have fun and enjoy a sense of community and accomplishment.

GP: Thanks to GP reader Joseph M for the heads-up...

Comments

Re: God-fucking-dammit...

http://www.meikathon.net/roflmao/facepalm.jpg

Sortableturnip's Law: As an online discussion of video game violence grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Jack Thompson approaches 1

Re: God-fucking-dammit...

 Fail once, try try again?

Re: God-fucking-dammit...

He failed? I thought he made his point rather clearly. He is frustrated and baffled at the stupidity at others. Hence the "facepalm". Quite an old expression that has been used quite often because of the mind numbing actions of others.

Simply it appears our friend is frustrated, baffled, or dumbfounded by the stupidity of something in the article.

Re: God-fucking-dammit...

 Yeah, he failed. Apparently posting a second facepalm somehow reinforces his lack luster performance with the first.

Re: God-fucking-dammit...

I only counted 1 facepalm on here from turnip, i must have somehow missed the other one you're referring to, where the hell are my meds?

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Re: God-fucking-dammit...

How is he being emo?

more to the point, ohh look its a troll, hi troll!

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Re: God-fucking-dammit...

Who, me or him?

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"A Chrono Trigger is anything that unleashes its will or desire to change history!" -Gaspar

Re: God-fucking-dammit...

Derovirus would be the one being called troll.

-Gray17

-Gray17

Re: God-fucking-dammit...

 Oh, I see what you did there. Very clever. Very clever indeed.

Re: God-fucking-dammit...

No, I was just clarifying who zel was calling a troll. That's hardly worth being called clever.

-Gray17

-Gray17

Re: God-fucking-dammit...

http://schwillz.com/stuff/total/pics/troll.gif

Sortableturnip's Law: As an online discussion of video game violence grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Jack Thompson approaches 1

Re: God-fucking-dammit...

 Apparently he is as stupid as he is emo. Typical.

Re: God-fucking-dammit...

OK dude, seriously, enough with your ass-backwards use of the term 'emo.' Since, for crying out loud, 'facepalm' is a MEME. It's supposed to be humorous, light-hearted, a freaking JOKE. If you're looking for emo, you're barking up the wrong tree. I hear worse 'emo' arguments for Sora from Kingdom Hearts than your half-assed excuses for posting a picture showing one's disgust for what another person says.

If you're going to keep doing this, you might just get into trouble with the admins. Because come on, this whole argument is just getting tired, yet you keep bringing it up like you're trying to be clever or something.

Re: God-fucking-dammit...

"If you're going to keep doing this, you might just get into trouble with the admins. Because come on, this whole argument is just getting tired, yet you keep bringing it up like you're trying to be clever or something."

 Oh shit, I might get in trouble you say? Golly geewiz I better stop huh? Whiny little bitch needs to take off her rose-tinted glasses.

Re: God-fucking-dammit...

Ooh, profanity, such a great little comeback. If you're ten years old.

You're not contributing to the conversation, and where you're not getting all up in people's faces for being 'emo,' you're generally just attracting posts to yourself by posting against whatever the subject is. We don't need attention whores like you on this site, or any other.

It's people like you that should actually take Jack Thompson's advice about growing up and getting a life.

Re: God-fucking-dammit...

 I converse with you on your level to put you at ease. Now who wants an appy juice?

Re: God-fucking-dammit...

Great, nothing to counter my points with, so now you're just plain insulting me. Infantile insults at that. Thanks for fulfilling the fantasies of JT and basically being just like him. Thank you, and good riddance.

Re: God-fucking-dammit...

 Lol, oh sweet hypocracy, I <3 thee.

Re: God-fucking-dammit...

Ya thats what i meant with my post, how the hell does /facepalm = emo? does he even know wtf emo refers to? emo=emotional, usually in a sad sense. hence if someone lets say, spilled their drink, and got all sad about it, you'd reply: "don't be so emo". there is also a whole fashion style and music genre that uses the emo label to describe itself. Though i don't blame him for confusing the meaning of emo since it has become such an ambiguous label, none-the-less the use of emo there was just way out in left field.

that and lately he's been trolling for the sake of trolling.

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Re: God-fucking-dammit...

 So do tell, how is this sad little fuck not emo when he expresses a disheartened tone towards the actions of others. Others who are ultimately unable to impact him in any significant way. Sounds pretty emo to me.

"Oh dear, I'm saddened by this persons comment. All I can do is place my meaty appendage to my face and sigh in exacerbation. What shall I call this physical translation of appendage to face? Oh I know, my face is meeting my palm, so I'll call it facepalm. Oh ho ho, I am so funny."

 Seriously, what a fucking annoyance. Just stop. STOP I SAY.

Re: God-fucking-dammit...

Well what do you WANT him to do, rant like an immature idiot and make himself actually look MORE emo with his words? No. You're looking at this in the wrong way. You're the one being emo here making this out to be some gigantic thing wrong with the internet.

Re: God-fucking-dammit...

 No, the internet is fine, its douchebags like Shadow who ruin it. He is like that loser back in high school who tells the same joke EVERY FUCKING DAY because he has nothing else to work with.

Re: God-fucking-dammit...

You are getting far too EMO-tional over someone doing a facepalm.  Be less emo please.

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: God-fucking-dammit...

 This man deserves a cookie, he's the only one of your lot whose actually thinking.

Re: God-fucking-dammit...

He was talking to you, dumbass.

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"Game on, brothers and sisters." -Leet Gamer Jargon

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"A Chrono Trigger is anything that unleashes its will or desire to change history!" -Gaspar

Re: God-fucking-dammit...

Easy, facepalm is frustration, not sadness. and how the hell does 'exacerbation' fit in that sentence: to embitter the feelings of (a person); irritate; exasperate.

man you're just full of fail today.

 

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Re: God-fucking-dammit...

 Why can't I get someone atleast on par with me to argue with? I waste my time explaining things to these people.

"[Latin exacerbre, exacerbt- : ex-, intensive pref.; see ex- + acerbre, to make harsh (from acerbus, harsh; see ak- in Indo-European roots).]"

 To make harsh, as in, to add emphasis to his emo outburst by making an auditory additional to said gesture. Christ on a cracker man, stop wasting my time.

Re: God-fucking-dammit...

Onn no, to be on par we'd have to dumb ourselves down a lot.

2. violent and bitter exasperation; "his foolishness was followed by an exacerbation of their quarrel"

exacerbation is more of a violent or harsh expression, and you're saying he was sighing in exacerbation.  Which is rather counterintuitive. also harsh and violent are hardly "emo", which is the point i was making and you failed to grasp.

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Re: God-fucking-dammit...

 If you want to give half truths, atleast have the courtesy of hiding the indexing of the definitions.

Re: God-fucking-dammit...

why hide it, the other one is medical in nature but i figured you'd be sooo smart you'd know that.

since i was wrong about you, lemme serve it up

1. action that makes a problem or a disease (or its symptoms) worse; "the aggravation of her condition resulted from lack of care" [syn: aggravation

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Re: God-fucking-dammit...

 Such is the context I used it in, as this psychological state is indeed an aspect of his physiology. You fail, again. Do I need to continue to correct you or have you had enough?

Re: God-fucking-dammit...

Not nearly, since now you're just making shit up. The medical form refers to diseases and symptoms, try again yourself.

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Re: God-fucking-dammit...

(Posted at maximum size for full effect. My apologies in advance, EZK.)

WIN.


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"A Chrono Trigger is anything that unleashes its will or desire to change history!" -Gaspar

Re: God-fucking-dammit...

 You know why people don't respond to your gibberish? They are nice enough not to tell you to STFU. I happen not to be that nice. Do something original if you want to amuse me; posting the creative works of others to try and bolster your epeen is pathetic.

Re: Journalist Reflects on Brandon Crisp Case, Terms CoD 4

 In a world where the title "journalist" can be claimed by anyone, regardless of the integrety of their work, this persons comments are a non-issue. His opinion is that CoD 4 is a sad place; opinion being the crux of this discussion. Last I checked, opinions aren't worth the paper they are written on without proof.

Re: Journalist Reflects on Brandon Crisp Case, Terms CoD 4

Its the same with any of those so called "experts" on television. They're all just ignorant, biased **** with an agenda.

Re: Journalist Reflects on Brandon Crisp Case, Terms CoD 4

My thoughts exactly, you know the saying: opinions are like assholes, everyone's got one and they stink.  Even with proof it's still an opinion, that stinks :p

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Re: Journalist Reflects on Brandon Crisp Case, Terms CoD 4

Any new world can seem threatening or unfamiliar to someone from the outside, and I'm sure that effect is magnified when that world is even slightly stigmatized in the wider culture, and especially when the "investigation" is done as a followup to a tragic event. Had this reporter's story been done before Brandon's death, he might have highlighted some of the exciting elements of the game and downplayed the grim, depressing ones. It's human nature, though - you find what you're looking for. That doesn't make it right, but it explains it.

Besides, anyone who has played video games has "died" thousands of times with their characters. Does that make Mario or Sonic (or even CoD4) the next breeding ground for depressed t(w)eens? Probably not, unless they already were already in some other kind of negative situation.

Re: Journalist Reflects on Brandon Crisp Case, Terms CoD 4

Jesse Brown put up a response to several comments that echo the ones here -- CBC doesn't have permalinks available, but if you ctrl+F his name, you'll find it.  I think this bit in particular ought to chasten a few of the knee-jerkers around here:

"I've defended video games several times in the past from those who crusade against the. I still think video game "addiction" is a phony pathology. I also know that there are many smart, creative, social gamers out there playing many smart, creative, social games- and I think the doc reflects that."

Fancy that, a radio presenter on a technology show who actually seems to know what he's talking about.

---
The Mammon Industry

---
Fangamer

Re: Journalist Reflects on Brandon Crisp Case, Terms CoD 4

His past defenses (which for the life of me I can't find, though I found one other veiled jab) don't change the matter of his current statements, which have been addressed aead. However, this part I want to address:

"I also know that there are many smart, creative, social gamers out there playing many smart, creative, social games"

This reminds me a lot of the entirely too common statement, "I know there are plenty of fine, honest, hardworking black people out there..." This is not a defense when you've made sweeping statements about blacks, it's arguably racist on it's own, but in context it's nothing more than a parting cheap shot dressed up as an apology. I don't see the same statement any differently when sweeping statements about the gaming community have been made.

Re: Journalist Reflects on Brandon Crisp Case, Terms CoD 4

And yet another journalist feasting on spiled blood.

 

Hurray for biase journalism and hurray for summing up people as one group!

"We may be human, but we're still animals" -Steve Vai (World's greatest guitarist!)

"We may be human, but we're still animals" -Steve Vai (World's greatest guitarist!)

Re: Journalist Reflects on Brandon Crisp Case, Terms CoD 4

Of course, it would be better in my mind if trash talk were better discouraged from online play, purely because it makes it harder for folks to embrace a new entertainment medium.

Doubly-so because these people are probably still learning said game and are therefor more likely to become a target of 'noob' comments and beyond.

Re: Journalist Reflects on Brandon Crisp Case, Terms CoD 4

This is a very sad piece to read, but predictable.  It would not be the first example of a 'journalist' from outside a community 'investigating' by joining for a day or two and then reporting (rather sensationally) about how horrible the community was.

Not too long ago a BDSM community event near philly was similiarly explored with similiar results.

Re: Journalist Reflects on Brandon Crisp Case, Terms CoD 4

I didn't think about it from that point of view...  If I went to Africa, India, or some other country and saw some of the things they do. I would prolly think that they were fucked up too, but I understand that is part of their culture.  I guess online gaming has more of a culture than I realized...  Kind of weird when you think about it like that...  Same goes with nudist colonies, Amish, and so on.

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Re: Journalist Reflects on Brandon Crisp Case, Terms CoD 4

In many ways online gaming culture in america is a subculture of the global net culture rather then a subculture within america, so it can be a double whammy for someone with a local-only perspective.

The net has become a virtual country with it's own ways of doing things ^_^

Re: Journalist Reflects on Brandon Crisp Case, Terms CoD 4

I highly doubt game addiction was even close to a part of this case.  There wasn't even an off chance that he joined a gaming league, and those police officers should have their asses handed to them for not dealing with this case like a normal run away, instead they wasted time with crackpot theories...  ones that have happened when?  Maybe I missed the story when the kid ran away and joined a gaming clan or ran away to a 57 year old man who was going to take advantage of him.  If so, please provide the link, because I won't believe it until I see it.

So now we have some moron that doesn't really get gaming trying to explain playing video games.  Yes, and lets have a similar idiot that know nothing about any field of science hang out with some people at NASA while they are planning a mission, and see how much they are able to follow, or better yet, since he was most likely bias from the start, a religious nutcase that thinks the world is 6000 years old be thrown in with a group of scientists doing research on evolution.

From what it looks to me, he could have been listening to music and cutting himself off from his parents, or talking on a chat program online, or texting on a cell phone, or countless other things.  If Brandon was sunk into the Harry Potter books reading them over and over again his parents would prolly think very little of it, but since it was video games, oh no.  If they would have taken any of those things away though, if that was his escape, he would have ran away.  Where is the facts, research, or other information that even angles this story to game addiction at all?  or even compulsive playing?  Nothing that doesn't point toward depression too from what I have seen.

Sometimes when people are depressed they have problems sleeping, and when you have problems sleeping for many nights,  you get sick of it and just decide to do something to waste some energy before going back to bed.  Heck, a lot of things could have caused a problems trying to sleep.  For me, it was a huge change in activity from working out 6 hours a day 6 days a week to not working out hardly at all.  I got sick of playing video games when I couldnt sleep at one point in time, and started working on different projects, then started researching physics, then mythology, then different religions, then...  Heck, I went to TED.com to watch lectures to come up with more things to research because of going through so much stuff I ran out of things to come up with to learn about. (I think I have an addiction to learning, so..?)

I would just like to see more research done in this world before people write stories like that.  Ask a gamers what it is they see, go in depth with the gamer.  (Hell all ask and answer some questions...)

Do you see a puppet like character, or a person you are shooting?
Definitely more so puppets, and with certain games like Gears of War, I focus more on where the hit boxes are for head shots and other critical actions that can kill people, unless I am having a bad day playing, then I smoke tag people and dont care if they kill me, because I am getting too unlucky.  Games that are less picky about shots, I will aim at the head or heart, but still it is a puppet not a person.

If you had a new shooter game, would you try shooting an animal like a chicken or not?
I would shoot it, maybe there is a hidden feature because of shooting it, same with random barrels and other objects in the game.  They may have some fun little thing where you can aim a shot right and launch it over a creek, or some sort of mini game or achievement.

How do you feel about idiots on XBL that curse and act like jerks?
They are stupid and annoying, that is why you can take off the headphones, turn down the sound, and other things in games. Sometimes when they are getting out of hand being a jerk to someone, it is interesting to ask them about their father who may have abused them or have left their mother right when he found out that she was pregnant.  It is cruel, but when people just get out of hand, sometimes you have to jab right into areas it sounds like they are probably trying to overcompensate for.

What is the longest time you have played a video game in a day, and what game?
For any 24 hour span, probably 20 hours at most, could have been Gran Turismo, one of the Final Fantasy games, or who knows what.  I have came close to that number a couple of times, even with Sim Tower once when I was playing around with some of the code hacks you could do to the game.  I flat out can't play a shooter for longer than a few hours because it just cant captivate me, unless I am playing story mode, but even then I get sick of it after a 6-8 hours if I even bother getting that far into it.

Have you ever been addicted to a video game?
No, but I did play EverQuest a lot after high school since I went from having things planned out for 15 hours of my day, to only 3-6 hours of my day.  So I needed something to fill that time, and video games did that for a while until I picked up other activities.

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Re: Journalist Reflects on Brandon Crisp Case, Terms CoD 4

A snowy field in CoD4 multiplayer? This 'journalist' must have downloaded a very exclusive map pack.

Re: Journalist Reflects on Brandon Crisp Case, Terms CoD 4

Not surprised, coming from a non-gamer. 

Yes the world is a big place with a lot to offer...but when you're a teenager you find yourself in a strange spot.  You've outgrown the desire to just sit around and play in the dirt (well, you can still do that but people look at you weird) but at the same time you're too young to go out and do much either because you're under the age limit for certain establishments, lack a vehicle to get to places that are fun, and/or lack money.  I hear a lot of adults, after seeing a group of teenagers just hanging out in a parking lot or wandering the streets, ask "Why are those kids just walking/standing around like that?"  It's because they're bored and have nothing else to do.  They could go to one of their houses and watch movies or play video games but then they get sh*t for "being lazy".  So yeah, world's a nice big place but a lot of options are not offered to teenagers.

And if you're a teenager with little to no friends, it's even worse.  At least when you have a group of friends you can all be bored together.  An expansive world just feels empty when you feel alone.

I suggest people go check out a documentary called "DarkOn".  It's about a group of LARPers in Maryland I think.  While I personally don't get LARPing ("Imagine the grass is red" - "Ooooohh, we're on Mars!") if the people involved find it fun more power to them.  Anyway they interview a few teenagers/young adults and you find that most of them are socially inept or marginalized by their peers.  When they go LARPing they get a sense of community and social interaction that they normally don't get at home/in school.  I see some similarities with the Crisp situation.

The constant playing of CoD4 was not the cause of his social issues, it was a symptom of it.  But far be it for any journalist these days to do his or her job.

Meh, it's too early for me to go on.  You guys get the point. 

 

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