Breck Bednar

Murder Games, a docudrama on the murder of Breck Bednar, by Lewis Daynes, in a plot described as ‘sinister with sexual implications’ was shown last night on BBC Three. The programme got me thinking about my experiences as a gamer, and how something like this reflects on the gaming community.

I remember how exhilarating my first time online was, being with my friends, in our own online bubble. So it’s disheartening to see that someone – a psychopath – would use such a platform to manipulate someone to their death. I remember doing dungeons in World of Warcraft at age 11 with my dad and his ‘guild’, an in-game group of people. I had no idea what I was doing but I was loving it.

Breck’s father described his son’s online experience as a ‘virtual clubhouse’. That line stuck with me. Because that’s exactly what it is. It’s a small club, for you, your mates and the game you’re playing. When I was younger, I did the equivalent outside. I don’t mean I dug up dirt with my hands and made a house, but we were immature and warned about stranger danger.

Breck was 14 when this happened and as odd as it sounds… it sucks that he couldn’t play some of the newest releases. I know that sounds strange, ‘He died and you’re sad he couldn’t play the new Deus Ex’. By this, I mean, think of everything he has now missed out on. That’s how I see it. He now can’t update his tower with the best hardware, or see all of the amazing stuff the games industry is chugging out, because of the actions of a lying, manipulative individual.

I keep imagining, what if my friendship group had been targeted? I might have one fewer person to help me take down a boss in Dark Souls. Obviously, this is one incident. It’s important to remember that the vast majority of gamers are genuinely nice people. From helpful Minecrafters to those who give you hand in Warframe on difficult levels. Or even the rare cases when you beat an entire team and they don’t get salty, and you see a flurry of ‘Good Game’s in chat.

The actions of Daynes shook our expectations and perception of what it meant to game online. If you’re a parent reading this, ensure your child knows for certain that the people you meet online, while the majority of the time they are awesome (I’ve made some amazing friends through gaming), should still be treated with caution.

Breck’s story is likely to stick with me for the time being. As it should the entire gaming community.

The documentary Murder Games is now available on iPlayer.