Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Yesterday, after the CIA generously released 470,000 files found on a computer in Osama Bin Laden’s Pakistan hideout complex, it came out that among them was a trove of video games ranging from Counter-Strike to a smutty anime game. News spread that the most famous terrorist of all time may have also been a huge video games and anime freak.

I’m here to tell you that, probably, Bin Laden wasn’t guzzling Pocky and gunning down aliens in Half-Life. Another theory is likely.


Sure, a small library of games (plus emulators for these games) including Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, Yoshi’s Island DS and Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars exist among the hundreds of thousands of files on a computer in the compound that housed Bin Laden. There were also sexy games like Perestroinka Girls. Movies like Antz, Cars and Resident Evil appeared among those files, too.

And yet, if you see bold proclamations that “Osama bin Laden was a Steam user” or “Osama Bin Laden Files Reveal That He Played Video Games And Loved Anime,” pause for a moment and consider this: The computer was not necessarily Bin Laden’s personal computer. The CIA refers to its contents as “files recovered in the May 2011 raid on Usama Bin Ladin’s compound.” I have not yet found a definitive source proving that the computer was Bin Laden’s personal gaming hub. A lot of people might have had access.

Housed alongside Bin Laden and his wives in the three-floor Abbottabad, Pakistan safe house were about a dozen children ranging from infants to teens, Pakistani security officials have reported. Not all of them were Bin Laden’s, too—apparently, Bin Laden’s courier’s wives and children also lived in that large complex.

It’s entirely possible that, contrary to widespread reports that “Osama bin Laden liked retro-games and anime,” it is one of these dozen children who is, in fact, a nerd.

Senior reporter at Kotaku.

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