Certain video games which were briefly termed "Murder Simulators" , usually the first-person shoot 'em ups, have been blamed as a contributing factor in youth violence. In the Columbine High tragedy, the press never failed to mention the video games that the punks who did the shooting were into playing. They couldn't run the story without going out of there way to mention the games. Also in the news, but only for one night and for little more than a video clip, was a story about an inner-city LAN party set up to give the deprived kids and gang-bangers a taste of a different life, a virtual world that they had only heard about other enjoying. The game "Half-Life", a notoriously realistic shoot 'em up, was set up, and the gang members almost immediately teamed up and began blowing the crap out of each other. They vented anger and frustration at each other as though they were out in the streets. After the anger subsided, the fun began. A hall that had been filled with swearing and tension gave way to the laughter of a good game of Steal the Flag. Afterwards, the youths said that it was fun because they knew they could "kill" someone in the virtual world, but that in reality he was really still alive and nobody was in trouble and nobody was left crying. Unfortunately, there was not enough funding to keep the LAN party going and the vioence returned, but to lower levels as the kids realized that in the real world, you don't just respawn somewhere else on the map. So, do first-person shoot 'em ups do good by most people, or are they a menace?