The families of several victims in the Columbine massacre have filed a lawsuit against 25 companies, including Nintendo of America and Sony Computer Entertainment, claiming that their products influenced the two gunmen.
The class action suit, which was filed on behalf of the family of slain teacher Dave Sanders and other Columbine victims in a US District Federal Court in Colorado, seeks $5bn in punitive damages from the entertainment companies.
The families said the massacre would not have occurred without the marketing of video games and, in particular, the game Doom.
Additional companies named in the lawsuit include Sega of America, AOL Time Warner, Virgin Interactive Media, Activision, Polygram Film Entertainment, New Line Cinema, ID Software and the creator and publisher of Doom, GT Interactive Software.
According to the lawsuit, without "the combination of extremely violent video games and these boys' incredibly deep involvement, use of and addiction to these games, and the boys' basic personalities, these murders and this massacre would not have occurred".
Sega, which declined to comment, issued a statement saying that it had not seen the lawsuit. AOL Time Warner also declined to comment.
Apart from the target-shooting game Doom, other violent titles mentioned in the lawsuit include Quake and Redneck Rampage.
The filing took place a day before the two-year anniversary of the tragedy in which two students left 12 other students and a teacher dead before killing themselves.
Separately, a former judge in charge of distributing a $2.8m settlement among survivors and victims of the Columbine massacre said that about $36m more is needed.
Jim Carrigan said that a fund-raising campaign should be launched to help compensate the victims and their families. "What we are trying to do is make the most of way too little. That's the problem facing all these families. Nobody is going to get adequately compensated," he said.
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