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Title: Maybe it's all a game to
would-be cop killers
Sun, January 5th, 2000
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Wednesday, January 5, 2000
Maybe it's all a game to would-be cop killers
Teen just playing: mom
By DOUG BEAZLEY, EDMONTON SUN
Dimension-hopping killer robots might have been the culprits
behind a supposed plot to kill an Ontario cop at a New Year's
Eve bash, says a local sci-fi gaming fan.
"There are people that play these games who get so
they can't tell the difference between the real world and
the play," said Lance Goodale, a clerk at Warp 2 Comics
and an enthusiast of the popular futuristic role-playing
Three young men were charged with conspiracy to commit murder
late last month after police in Brockville, Ont., twigged
to their alleged plan to randomly stalk and stab a police
officer at a downtown party.
Police insist the plot was perfectly serious, but the mother
of one of the three claims her 18-year-old son was only
taking part in a Rifts match.
Rifts is one of the most popular role-playing games in Edmonton,
according to Darrell Minty, manager of Warp 2's sister store.
"It's right up there in the top three," he said.
Goodale said some of the Rifts plots are close enough to
the stalk-and-kill scenario alleged in Brockville for police
to confuse the two. "In Rifts, there are scenarios
that are quite similar (to what happened in Brockville),"
Rifts is set in a distant future involving dimensional travel
and intelligent robots. Players do battle, with the outcome
usually determined by a dice roll. And hostility to police,
said gamer Jay Fowler, is key to the plot.
Minty, meanwhile, said he doesn't buy the idea that police
could have mistaken a role-playing game for a conspiracy
"An RPG is just a book, a piece of fiction," he
said. "People who play these games like to stay in
a cosy room with a refrigerator nearby and eat cookies.
This is the sort of thing the media just loves to jump on."
CROSS-CANADA CRIME SPREE PLANNED?
But Goodale said there's a class of role-playing games called
LARPs, for "live action role-playing," in which
players dress up as game characters and act out plots in
"It's play-acting," he said.
The three Brockville-area accused made a brief court appearance
yesterday. Dillon Langlands, 18, and Lance Williams, 21,
will get bail hearings on Friday. The third accused, a 15-year-old,
appears in court Jan. 12.
Police claim the three planned to go to a public New Year's
Eve party and stab the first cop they saw, grab the slain
officer's gun and flee in his cruiser. The alleged plan
then called for a cross-country break-and-enter spree.