Connecticut Town Sponsors ‘Violent Video Game’ Buyback

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By Patrick Coffee Comment

We’ve registered our skepticism of the usual “violent video games and movies did it” scapegoating that followed the tragic Newtown shooting last month, but some people take this idea very, very seriously.

In fact, one Connecticut town recently went so far as to organize a voluntary video game return program, offering residents a gift certificate in exchange for their “violent games”, which will be collected and destroyed.

Each resident who returns a single game will receive a $25 gift certificate (which is significant considering how low the buyback value of these ~$60 games usually turns out to be).

The town’s school superintendent says that the purpose of the drive is to encourage parents to have a “real, sound conversation with their children about video games”–if they are uncomfortable with their kids’ gaming hobbies, they should turn the games in to the town government, to be destroyed on January 12 (officials will also accept violent movies and/or music).

We’re not quite sure what the ultimate effect of this initiative will be, but we know that top game makers are feeling the pressure to issue some kind of public response. Tell us, PR pros: Should companies like Electronic Arts respond to the recent swell of stories about “shooter” games? If so, what could they possibly say?