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Search for missing Canadian teen gamer is over

The disappearance of fifteen-year-old Canadian boy Brandon Crisp has garnered international attention when it was discovered that he was addicted to the Xbox 360 game Call of Duty 4. Now more than three weeks later, the search has finally ended with the discovery of his body in a field near his hometown of Barrie, Ontario. While the search for Brandon is over, the debate about game addiction has just begun.

On October 12, Brandon ran away from home after his parents revoked his Xbox 360 privileges due to his unacceptable behavior and worries about the amount of time he would spend playing his games. The young boy rode away on his mountain bike with nothing more than a backpack filled with crackers and a few pieces of extra clothing.

Mass media turned its attention towards this story when Steve Crisp, Brandon’s father, indicated that the reason his son ran away was because of his addiction to the game Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Steve added “This [the game] had become his identity, and I didn’t realize how in-depth this was until I took his Xbox away. That’s like cutting his legs off. This is such an issue that hits every parent out there, with video games that are starting to control our kids’ lives. I just took away his identity, so I can understand why he got so mad and took off. Before, I couldn’t understand why he was taking off for taking his game away.”

Call of Duty 4

Brandon’s parents pleaded with Microsoft to disclose a list of players that Brandon may have communicated with or competed against recently over their Xbox Live service. The software giant, and maker of the Xbox 360 console, fully cooperated with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in providing such a list. Microsoft also offered to match a local reward of $25,000 for any information that would lead to the whereabouts of Brandon Crisp. Microsoft later increased the reward to $50,000.

Brandon’s story started appearing on news outlets and websites across the world but these stories focused more on his gaming habits than the fact that he was missing. The story of Brandon Crisp was no longer about an angry teen running away from home, but that of a perfectly normal teen corrupted by the evils of gaming. Not a single story bothered to ask why a fifteen-year-old was allowed to play a game that is clearly identified as rated “M” for mature. If his parents were so concerned with the amount of time their son was spending on the Xbox 360, why did they not use the built in “parental controls” to slowly wane their son off his addiction?

An article in the latest issue of Maclean’s (Canada’s longest running weekly national magazine) interviewed Jerald Block, a psychiatrist and self proclaimed gamer, on the Brandon Crisp story. He placed the blame of this tragedy squarely in the hands of gaming addiction. He indicated that this case is similar to the one in which Klebold and Harris, having just been cut off from playing Doom, opened fire in their local high school killing 12 students and a teacher, before they committing suicide.

Did Brandon’s gaming addiction lead to his death? Had he never played a game in his life, would his personality have exhibited a similar behavior over a squabble about his homework, or coming in late on a school night? These questions are for another day. For today we extend our heartfelt condolences to the entire Crisp family.

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65 comments on 'Search for missing Canadian teen gamer is over'

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Comment by dog eggs on 2008-11-06 16:23:13 | Reply

it’s just typical to blame the games when it’s the parents that should be held responsible the the content there chrildren view. I think the parents should be prosicuted for child abuse( negligence) letting there son play a game that is rated ‘m’ . Would they let him drink alcohol? Drive a car? See a prostitute? I doubt it. These ratings arnt there for fun they are there so that people know that it would be unsuitable for younger players!

Comment by UK JAY on 2008-11-06 16:23:39 | Reply

Im going to be honest and try not to be disrespectful as the teenager is dead. But I read this yesterday on an aussie site about how he was found in a field - I do not think the xbox has anything to do with it and I dont know why the family and news sites are focusing or always starting on the ‘because he had his 360 taken off him’

At the end of the day this lad was 15 and your emotions, feelings, hormones are all over the fucking place at that age… If he didn’t run out over the 360 I guess and assume he would have ran away over something else. To be that involved with a game you have to have mental issues & mental problems.

Also what caused him to die? It wasn’t the xbox, It wasn’t running away… what was the cause of death?

Comment by kidkit on 2008-11-06 16:47:04 | Reply

Yeah how did he die? starvation? foul play?

Comment by mass9 on 2008-11-06 17:16:12 | Reply

no autopsy results yet.
and my spelling is prob. way off….lol

Comment by keemira on 2008-11-06 17:20:07 | Reply

hypothermia

Comment by mass9 on 2008-11-06 17:30:31 | Reply

I can’t buy that.
Since Oct. 12th its dropped below zero degrees only a couple of times (overnight), and it hasn’t been colder than -4 yet.

source?

Comment by keemira on 2008-11-06 22:51:28 | Reply

well up by barrie its been pretty cold on thnks giving but idk for sure it was just a guess but anything is possible

Comment by gaz-danawalker on 2008-11-06 17:27:17 | Reply

i planted a claymore.

nah. i dont think the xbox is to blame here.
especialy if he was 15. his parents should have introduced a control over the console if they thought he was playing it too much.

Comment by Nick fury on 2008-11-07 06:18:09 | Reply

WRONG!!!

But morbidly VERY funny………………..

Comment by unleash on 2008-11-07 11:25:21 | Reply

Sorry to the family but, LOL!!!

Comment by Only Gunslinger (MoD Gunslinger) on 2008-11-06 16:37:36 | Reply

A few kids that like to play games have emotional issues, and the games are to blame.

I am pretty sure that any NORMAL person would realize you have your whole life to blame. It’s pretty fucking annoying how they point at the Xbox 360 for all of thier problems.

Fucking ridiculous. This child wasn’t mentally correct for fuck sakes, can’t you realize??

Comment by Only Gunslinger (MoD Gunslinger) on 2008-11-06 16:38:54 | Reply

“… whole life to game” =D

Comment by H34RT 4TT4CK on 2008-11-06 17:14:18 | Reply

Wow, this is so utterly retarted that’s not worth taking up space on this website.

Xbox gets the blame? How about the parents who weren’t firm enough in the first place, or even to take a active role in the kid’s life. The kid got addicted to gaming, well I wonder why? Dad sipping a beer watching tv with his fat belly showing, mommy bitchin to her bitch friends about god knows what. Kid has nothing better to do, thereby creating an addiction.

This running away was something else, a cry for attention that on the surface seemed to be related to his 360 being taken away, but underneath a boy who was severly underappreciated.

Hey you know what? I’m glad the little fucker died, one less whiny addicted bitch in the gene pool to contend with on top of already a whole horde of stupidity.

I don’t blame gaming, i blame parenting.

Comment by tart on 2008-11-06 17:33:40 | Reply

it’s retard you retard not reTART. whats a reTART?

Comment by H34RT 4TT4CK on 2008-11-06 17:51:37 | Reply

Oh yes, let’s take away from an otherwise good, well-worded and structured argument and throw it away because in my angst to type it out, I mistakenly put in T instead of D.

You are such a fucking moron seriously, if you know what I intended to spell, leave it alone and assume I know how to spell. Remember, this comment section doesn’t have an Edit Button.

Dumbass.

Comment by H34RT 4TT4CK on 2008-11-06 18:01:31 | Reply

Hey ‘Tard, since you’re so keen and cool on spelling errors, why don’t you give Brian Wray lessons on spelling, since he mispelled “Because.”

Again, Dumbass.

Lesson taken. :)

I corrected the mistake (I am sure other still exist)

Comment by H34RT 4TT4CK on 2008-11-06 18:44:50 | Reply

Hey good article man, I’m just picking on this noob for being a dumbass.

A reTART? Maybe one of those sour candies that starts sour…gets sweet and then gets sour again?

Comment by mass9 on 2008-11-06 17:26:09 | Reply

1 - People of all ages, for all reasons, run away from home everyday. Moreso on the holidays, and Oct. 12th was/is CDN Thanksgiving day.

2 - Had they not taken the xbox away, would he still lhave run away? Maybe not that day, but most people who think of running away, eventually will. Its not sensational and therefore wont’ make the news if there isn’t a hook. The gaming is the hook.

3 - To blame his family is a bit short sighted. This was not a baby. He was a 15 year old guy, and in a hot headed moment made the choice to leave and not return. At 15 we all do things that should be reserved for adults, including drinking, unprotected sex and maybe, just maybe, trying to get a view of something deemed forbidden. An ‘M’ rated game is no different, and who’s to say that his parents bought him the game? Many 15 year olds have p/t jobs and if I was able to get alcohol and cigs sold to me at 15, then I’m sure any kid can find someone to sell them a game.

4 - Its on this site because even in a round-about way its related to the gaming industry. Is it not obvious?

Comment by H34RT 4TT4CK on 2008-11-06 17:59:35 | Reply

I’m not hating on the parents for buying him the game, of course I know anyone can buy anyone a game, alcohol, cigs, whatever if there’s money.

I’m blaming the parents because it’s obvious they were lacking any profound influence in his life. I mean his fuckwit dad admitted he had no idea he had such an addiction to his game, makes you wonder what else he missed don’t you think?

“Cutting off his legs?” No, that’s being a parent to a spoiled brat, if they hadn’t allowed him to run away, he would’ve lived, gotten over it, and start playing all over again a month later.

No, fuck the hooks, fuck the media attention, if there’s anything about a young gamer running away or killing himself or going on a murderous rampage supposedly sparked by a game, I blame the parents. You’d be hard-pressed to convince me otherwise, as I have millions of others, including me, as witness that games don’t make or break a life.

Comment by mass9 on 2008-11-06 18:44:28 | Reply

Sorry, but the culture of victimhood is a cop-out.
It wasn’t his parents fault that he left the house. It wasn’t his parents fault that he died.

A 15 year old guy made a terrible decision, and now his family, friends and really, his whole city, is suffering because of it.

The banning of the xbox was the tipping point, the straw that broke the camels back etc….but can anyone honestly say that that would be reason enough to run away?

c’mon…..there are deeper issues here but we don’t know and won’t know about them because they are not going to be as ’sexy’ as a gaming addiction.

Comment by H34RT 4TT4CK on 2008-11-06 18:47:31 | Reply

As far as irresponsibility is concerned, it’s pretty irresponsible to blame gaming for his death don’t you think?

Watch, one day, an investigative reporter will do his damn job and show everyone the true story behind every gamer’s death.

Comment by Veritas on 2008-11-06 21:29:31 | Reply

I don’t know about Canada, but in America, the legal age for adulthood is 18. 15 is not a “guy,” it’s a “kid,” and because of the reasons you listed in your point about what kids do at 15, that is exactly why they are considered kids and not adults. It’s because they’re idiots, and they’re still their parents’ responsibility.

Nobody’s saying they should have locked him in a crib. They’re saying he needed guidance, and that is precisely what parents are supposed to provide. These ones, apparently, didn’t.

No parent is perfect, but when your kid died because they ran away over an Xbox, you’ve fucked up big time.

Comment by mass9 on 2008-11-06 21:44:57 | Reply

see, that’s just it Veritas,

I don’t believe for one second that CoD or the xbox were the reasons for him running away.

Comment by Veritas on 2008-11-06 21:53:02 | Reply

I understand, I know you said “the tipping point” and what. Unless you mean you don’t think we’re being given the correct, or all of the, information?

You also mentioned hormones and all that crazy stuff we feel as teenagers, too. Obviously there was -something- wrong with him, and with his view towards his parents (and maybe vice versa), and that’s what I meant. Having an Xbox taken away sucks, but that’s all. Hormones suck, too. But for that to cause him to run away means something was going on underneath, and that is where the parents are supposed to come in.

I know mine helped me survive being a teenager. :P

Comment by H34RT 4TT4CK on 2008-11-06 21:57:22 | Reply

“This running away was something else, a cry for attention that on the surface seemed to be related to his 360 being taken away, but underneath a boy who was severly underappreciated. ”

That’s what I’ve been saying all along, and Detective Dipshit Foo Q thinks we’re all on against game censorship.

Comment by FF on 2008-11-08 22:30:42 | Reply

Funny you should mention “The Tipping Point”. If you read a book of the same title, by Malcolm Gladwell, you’ll see many references to studies that show peers have as much or maybe more influence in a childs life than their parents.

This is a sad situation, but the game itself is not to blame. This boy obviously didn’t have the ability to deal with his emotions rationally, which is common among teens…long before the Xbox came along.

Comment by mickadily on 2008-11-06 17:40:07 | Reply

haha wat the fuck

Comment by SteelFox on 2008-11-06 18:01:04 | Reply

What the hell is your peoples problem, the kid died and your happy? how fucking senseless can you get? If it was your kid you would still say im glad the fucker died? You immature fools, why cant you pay a little respect to someone who clearly had a problem, you guys are just too caught up in playing your own 360 that you don’t want to blame it on thats…

Comment by H34RT 4TT4CK on 2008-11-06 18:06:23 | Reply

If it were my kid, I’d make damn sure what he’s doing isn’t detrimental to his health. I’d make sure what he plays he understand, I’d play with him, I’d be involved.

However, I have no remorse for stupidity, so the fact that this kid DIED will not jerk tears with me. Sure, death in and of itself is horrible, but circumstances change everything.
Girlfriend broke up with you, lost your job, your family abandoned you, you lost your car and all your savings, and you commit suicide, well sucks to be you.
Parents take away your Xbox because you became addicted to it and so you respond by running away and hiding in the cold? Dumbass.

Comment by mu on 2008-11-06 19:01:15 | Reply

wow, this article is a void of information.

a kid played cod.

a kid had his 360 taken away.

a kid died in a field?

no disrespect to anyone, but what the hell. there is not one shred of decent information in this article, and it is just begging for dipshits to talk smack over.

this is highly inappropriate.

HOW AND WHY THIS DUDE DIED HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ANY INFORMATION WE HAVE.

this article is in bad taste, and its lack of information points toward sheer sensationalism.

Comment by H34RT 4TT4CK on 2008-11-06 19:48:16 | Reply

To be fair, none of the other websites that covered this had much more detail themselves either. One article happened to mention that the Dad helped the kid pack thinking he’s only going to be gone for a few hours, maybe come back the next day.

Another claimed he asked directions to get to a major city where is XBL friends lived, 90 km away.

But if you’re looking for me, this and everywhere else, is the best you’ve got.

Unless you find something.

Comment by H34RT 4TT4CK on 2008-11-06 19:51:30 | Reply

Edit

If you’re looking for ‘More’, this and everywhere else, is the best you’ve got.

Game was rated M for mature. The parents knew he was playing the game. He shouldn’t have been playing it even though we all know kids do. Microsoft and the ESRB did there job and followed the rules set forth by the gaming industry to prevent minors from playing games made for Mature games. The Parents didn’t do there job in monitoring what there kid was playing. Who’s to blame? You decide. But again, Microsoft did there part with having a rating system in place, having a big “M” for Mature on the cover of the game, and even throwing in parential controls onto the 360.

Maybe parents should look more into what games they are buying their kids and regulate how much their kids play the games instead of expecting the gaming companies to do it for them.

Sad story but that’s no reason to blame the gaming industry on a terrible tragedy.

Comment by dog eggs on 2008-11-06 19:46:30 | Reply

Its not just the parents job - its was there DUTY to make sure that kid was safe and well looked after. THEY are the ones to blame not M$ not the game. THEY are the ones that failed to pay proper attention to the kids playtime and social habbit. sounds like the media were only blaming xbox because it makes a story!

Comment by Pedle Zelnip on 2008-11-09 17:25:02 | Reply

From the ESRB’s website:

MATURE
Titles rated M (Mature) have content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.

Note that it states that the game “may be appropriate…”, as in, it is the parents discretion. I’ve played CoD4, and I’d say the level of violence and gore in it is about akin with a typical action movie which teenagers go to all the time. So I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that a parent could see CoD4 being roughly analgous in terms of potential harm with a typical action movie, and thus didn’t see the problem with letting their 15 year old son (who is only 2 years under the limit *suggested* by the rating) play the game.

Sometimes it can be all to easy to play the “it’s the parents fault” card when we have 20/20 hindsight and are not a part of the individual circumstances.

Comment by Pedle Zelnip on 2008-11-09 17:27:24 | Reply

Edit: the point I’m trying to make is that the M rating is intended as a suggestion to parents to look at the game and think about whether or not they’re comfortable with the content. It’s not a “absolutely no person under the age of XX should play this game”. Games that fall into that category get a AO or Adults Only rating. If CoD4 had an AO rating and the kid was playing it, then I’d have a different view, but a M rating is pretty well nothing.

Comment by Pedle Zelnip on 2008-11-09 17:29:55 | Reply

Edit pt 2: In fact, looking at the case, the parents were actually proactive and took the game away when they became concerned with their son’s behaviour as it related to the game. It seems to me they completely acted in the spirit of an M rating (consider it, then if you have concerns take it away).

Comment by FOO Q on 2008-11-06 21:07:03 | Reply

Funny how so many have distorted the facts here. Not once have I heard or read anyone directly involved with this case direct any blame on the game console or game itself being the primary cause of Brandon running away or his death. The game and Brandon’s gaming habits were only mentioned as evidence related to the investigation. His parents realized Brandon was starting to become more involved with this particular game than they felt was appropriate, so they deemed taking away the console as an appropriate form of discipline. Obviously this 15 year old (as is common at that age) took exception to this punishment and acted out by running away from home. What happened after that has yet to be confirmed as a request for an autopsy was only filed today….I know because I live 20 minutes from Brandon’s town, and I work directly with Law enforcement locally and have information that I obviously cannot discuss on a public forum. Microsoft was asked for their cooperation and aided without opposition because they were not approached with any form of accusation or blame. Microsoft even donated funds to help the search because the primary concern was the teenagers wellbeing NOT a response to any alleged accusation. Likewise the game itself, or the game developer have not been implicated at all as the cause of death. My God people, this has NOTHING to do with your beloved XBox 360 or COD4….the media has made these connections, not the parents/friends/families/volunteers, etc who had been searching for Brandon over the past month.
My condolences to the family in respect of their loss.

Comment by H34RT 4TT4CK on 2008-11-06 21:59:32 | Reply

Simple Math

Why did he run Away?

Parents - Xbox + addiction/irrational hormones = brash and stupid decisions, stubborn behavior.

You must not be a great cop.

Comment by FOO Q on 2008-11-06 22:11:46 | Reply

Who said I was a cop? I am not arguing the cause of him running away, just the misinterpretation of facts…it’s not that simple I assure you

Comment by H34RT 4TT4CK on 2008-11-06 22:13:19 | Reply

“and I work directly with Law enforcement locally and have information that I obviously cannot discuss on a public forum. ”

I don’t know what to make of this, do you?

Of course I do…not sure why it segregates me into being a cop and nothing else in the law enforcement field

Comment by FOO Q on 2008-11-06 21:16:33 | Reply

To add….the original report referred simply to a ‘video game’ that the son was addicted to…no specifics. Reporters are the ones who dug up the specific details and released the actual game and console brands. Don’t comment if you don’t know the facts people.

Comment by Veritas on 2008-11-06 21:35:14 | Reply

People are just lashing out because they know this only furthers the cause of those looking for censorship in video games, regardless of what the cause of the incident was.

I honestly can’t blame them, though.

Comment by FOO Q on 2008-11-06 21:52:52 | Reply

Actually you still miss the point - censorship is and never was in question here! The rating and the content of the specific game were NEVER mentioned as a cause or effect of this kid’s death. Brandon simply got drawn in by a game and played it beyond what his parents felt was an appropriate duration - their judgement call was to pull his console privileges….(a common parental reaction) however his response was to run away (a common teenage response). His death has NOTHING to do with the game or the content of the game, so what exact platform do you suggest game censorship lobbyists have with this incident? This has become a game argument because it’s on a gaming forum. The simple mention of specifics always seems to divert attention to sensationalism.

Comment by Veritas on 2008-11-06 22:19:51 | Reply

“People are just lashing out because they know this only furthers the cause of those looking for censorship in video games, regardless of what the cause of the incident was.

Read it again, please.

I know that this has nothing to do with censorship.

I said that censorship lobbyists will be able to manipulate the situation to their advantage, because that is what they always do, and that is why people are lashing out.

Now get off of your high horse before you fail to comprehend someone else’s post, please.

Comment by mass9 on 2008-11-06 23:39:03 | Reply

lol, ok.
Censorship isn’t the issue TODAY, but you can be sure that the Jack Thopsons of the world are licking their collective chops and preparing a class action suit as we speak.

but anyways, autopsy is scheduled for Friday.

Comment by 88 on 2008-11-07 10:38:22 | Reply

i really am sick of parents and the whole world for blaming all of realitys’ problems on video games its getting really old…

Comment by Pedle Zelnip on 2008-11-09 17:35:43 | Reply

See the post above mentioning that the parents are NOT blaming the gaming industry. That connection was made by the media, in particular the person interviewed in MacLeans (which IMHO has traditionally always been somewhat sensationalistic, and less journalistic).

Cool your jets, this isn’t about a pissed parent blaming their incompetence on video games to alleviate their guilt, it’s just a story that happened to occur around an event associated with CoD4 and the 360.

Columbine on Duty

Comment by Takumi on 2008-11-08 10:34:16 | Reply

I kind of feel bad for the kid though and his parents where tossers, his dad actually helped him pack his bag? i think he needs locking away.

Comment by Pedle Zelnip on 2008-11-09 17:33:13 | Reply

For all we know the conversation went like this:

Son: Dad I’m going to my friend Bobby’s to study.
Dad: Okay when will you be home?
Son: In a couple of hours.
Dad: Well take a lunch.
Son: Can you help me pack it?
Dad: Sure….

There’s no way we can know if the father was aware that the kid was planning on running away.

Comment by Takumi on 2008-11-09 01:20:27 | Reply

I heard he died from some sort of chest trauma, probably OD’D on all those crackers

Comment by mass9 on 2008-11-10 22:30:52 | Reply

he fell out of a tree.

Comment by H34RT 4TT4CK on 2008-11-11 03:04:28 | Reply

Maybe he was sniping at some Russians?

Comment by gaz-danawalker on 2008-11-12 12:54:36 | Reply

Funny if he was addicted to viva pinata or something.
Or even better Beautiful Katamari. He done rolly pollys for the full three weeks.

Comment by Jose on 2008-11-12 20:40:52 | Reply

Failure
1.-Of him by getting addicted to the game.
2.-Of his family that didnt know what his boy was doing most of the day.
3.-By the seller of the game or the one who gave it to him.
4.-Of friends that couldnt help him do something else.
5.-Of society, that cant find a place to enjoy teenagers.
6.-Of media instead of looking blamers looks for a way to solve this “enviroment”.
How many more “Brandon`s” are around just living a gamer life because they can`t hold on to the normal ones.
May sound fatalistic but games as many things in live are for enjoing not for living thru it.

Comment by mu on 2008-11-15 01:23:23 | Reply

“failure of society, that can’t find a place to enjoy teenagers.”

hmm. that is an interesting perspective.

Comment by Chrystal Walter on 2008-11-13 05:18:35 | Reply

ysajmgx9kd262s85

Comment by Smitty on 2008-11-14 03:08:43 | Reply

See Xbox kills people just like I’ve been saying all along, they need to take the system off the market quickly before any more innocent people have to die. I hope the family sues Microsoft for Millions and win and puts them out of the console business for good.

Comment by Takumi on 2008-11-14 10:29:26 | Reply

Why so the playstation 3 can just get owned by the wii? Even if microsoft do go out of business youll always be bottom of the pile.

Comment by you fuckers deserve it he didnt on 2008-11-15 12:54:34 | Reply

you fuckers who joke and laugh over a kids life are the problem in this world…lets see how you all bitch and whine when you get the rrod

Comment by you fuckers deserve it he didnt on 2008-11-15 12:56:29 | Reply

and lets hope nothing bad happens to your families

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