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by Michele Steinberg and Anton Chaitkin

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“Death Can Strike Anyone. For the Right Price. You never know when death will come—unless you make a few special arrangements. Because once the Hitman takes your assignment, someone takes a bullet. It’s not a righteous way of life, but we all have to make a living. Even if it means making a killing.”

This is from the advertisement for the role-playing video game HITMAN: Codename 47, in the May 2000 issue of Computer Gaming World.

The advertiser for this product, the British firm Eidos, promises the child customer who buys its game, realistic training as a mercenary assassin.

Selling this violent filth is a very lucrative business for its perpetrators, who seldom appear before the public. Yet, the revenue from this sordid enterprise, between $9 and $11 billion per year, is now surpassing movie theater ticket sales.

The identity and background of those responsible for this mayhem, if widely known, might cause them considerable trouble. A case in point is Midway Home Entertainment, peddlers of some of the bloodiest violence to children.

In December 1999—seven months after Littleton—the Chicago City Council voted to grant $2 million to Midway, to keep its corporate headquarters in the city. Although it was reported that Midway publishes Mortal Kombat, a game in which a character may tear out the vital organs of his opponent, the full nature of the company’s deadly activity was not known: Midway is one of the biggest retailers of Doom and Quake, the advanced point-and-shoot “death match” games which have trained the Columbine and other young shooters to kill mindlessly.

Midway’s website carries this ad for Quake:

Gun ’em down. . . . Blow ’em to pieces . . . or DIE!

”Incorporates the ferocity of the single player game with the supreme bloodlust of the two player Deathmatch. . . .

”Realistic explosions echo and reverberate, transporting the player to a hellish, dungeon-like environment. . . .”

The corporate entity known as Midway Games is a legal fiction. It is actually a 1998 “spinoff,” and was still housed in April 2000 with its former parent company, WMS Industries. WMS is one of the largest manufacturers of slot machines—the oldest and best-known of the ‘addictive’ electronic games.

The Top Ten Killers

In a press release Feb. 1, 2000, Midway Games reported the “top ten in killer games,” that is, the leading U.S. video-game sofware companies, as ranked in order of their unit sales:

1. Nintendo of America, Inc.: Manufactures Pokémon, Game-Boys, and equipment for satanic video games.

2. Electronic Arts, Inc.: Produces Road Rash, which features a hit and run, criminal assault on police.

3. Sony Computer Entertainment: Equipment for satanic video games. Was a defendant in the lawsuit on behalf of the three girls killed by video game addict Michael Carneal, the 14-year-old shooter in Paducah, Kentucky.

4. Midway Home Entertainment: Mortal Kombat, Doom, Quake.

5. THQ, Inc.: Summoners, which deals with evil sorcerers, satanic monsters.

6. Acclaim Entertainment: Hard Core Wrestling (such as nails in head, strangulation), Hard Core Revolution, and Real F’n Wrestling.

7. 989 Studios (Sony): Produces Everquest. (In this, followers of the god Cazic-Thule inflict “pain, misery, violence, torture, living sacrifice.”

8. Activision, Inc.: Soldier of Fortune (assassination, race war).

9. Namco Ltd.: Soul Calibur. In this, “The Evil Seed is loose, threatens to swallow souls in its chilling wake.”

10. Hasbro Interactive: Official U.S. distributor of Pokémon (abbreviation for “Pocket Monsters”), the killing game designed for toddlers beginning at 2 and 3 years old; Dungeons and Dragons, the medieval satanic and magic fantasy game; Risk II, a “ruthless quest for world domination". One of the Hasbro Board members is Paul Wolfowitz, the co-head of George W. Bush’s team of foreign policy advisors.


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