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Eidos in clear over Columbine

Out of Firing Line

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In April, families of the victims of the 1999 Columbine high school massacre launched a legal assault on a number of entertainment companies, accusing violent games of being behind the shootings.

Rather than, say, lax gun controls, rampant bullying and persecution of anyone considered "different". Unlike high school bullies though, games publishers are an easily identified and relatively rich target for gratuitous litigation, and the Columbine families and their lawyers are hoping to cash in to the tune of $5bn.

Eidos were initially on the list of 25 companies under fire, which seemed to have been assembled by rummaging through the belongings of killers Klebold and Harris and simply suing everyone who had published a game they owned or might have played. Eidos were listed because of Final Fantasy VII, as they published the PC port of the game.

But while the Russians are currently blaming Final Fantasy for a spate of teenage suicides, Colorado judge Lewis Babcock apparently decided that as the game didn't feature any guns the charges against the company should be dismissed.

Still in the firing line though are companies such as Sony, Nintendo, Sega, Activision and id Software, with everything from Doom to Redneck Rampage now involved in the finger pointing.

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