Following the terror attacks in Norway two weekends ago, retailers in that country have begun to pull major shooter and role-playing games from their shelves.Gaming business site Gamasutra has compiled reports from Norwegian gaming and IT news sources showing that retailer Coop Norway made the first move by stopping carrying 51 gaming and toy brands. The stoppage mostly includes shooters such as Homefront, Counter-Strike Source, Call of Duty titles, and Sniper Ghost Warrior, but also World of Warcraft.Anders Behring Breivik, who committed the attacks in Oslo and the island of Utoeya and killed 77, had posted online a rambling 1500-page manifesto prior to the attacks mentioning WoW and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and painting the author as part of a modern Knights Templar.Coop Norway director Geir Inge Stokke said in a Norwegian newspaper that the company moved to remove the games once “we realized the scope of the attack.” He added that it was appropriate at the moment to take the games down and mentioned the “negative effects of games like these.” Continuing, Stokke mentioned that the company will carefully consider when to put the games back on shelves, that the business involved is “of no importance,” and that he wouldn’t be surprised if other retailers followed suit.In fact, others have begun to fall in line. Norwegian entertainment seller Platekompaniet has pulled the same games from its shelves as well.The practice of removing games after a violent tragedy has a precedent in Europe. German store Galeria Kaufhof pulled all mature-rated games from its shelves following a 2009 school shooting.via GamasutraBlake’s OpinionMany countries have stricter attitudes toward violent entertainment than the United States. Germany, for example, makes the news several times a year for stopping the sale, or requiring serious modification, of particularly violent games.Stopping the sale of World of Warcraft and Call of Duty following their publication is a capricious and ineffective reaction. One level of Modern Warfare 2 aside, these games offer nothing of value to an aspiring terrorist. Moreover, it would require a perplexing combination of mental instability and determination to read 1,500 pages of nonsense and try everything the madman suggests. Stopping terrorist activity is always an admirable goal, but stopping selling a few games won’t prevent any would-be terrorist from plotting and only serves to annoy gamers.It is, however, free publicity for Coop Norway. The video games industry is thankfully outgrowing the outdated perception that this new form of entertainment is the primary cause of social ills. Bear in mind that The Beatles were viewed in a similar light by some in the 1960s. The recent declaration in the United States that video games are protected speech is a big step forward for the gaming cause worldwide, but that doesn’t mean that gaming won’t gradually gain acceptance in hearts and minds.