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Columbine RPG - How Real Is Too Real?

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the too-soon dept.

Games 118

westlake writes "Washington Post columnist Mike Musgrove offers a rare and balanced view from the mainstream press of the Slamdance Competition and Super Columbine Massacre RPG. Surprised by the effective use of flashbacks and the authentic dialogue of the Columbine game, he goes on to say: 'But when it came time to start creating mayhem in the school's halls, I couldn't bring myself to push the buttons to continue. Odd, I suppose, because I have killed thousands of video game characters over the years. And though the game's chunky graphics are primitive...no game has ever made me feel nearly as queasy. I didn't want to be responsible for the real-world violence that happened that day, even in a game.' Ledonne figures that games will either grow into a medium in which it is acceptable to confront and challenge an audience with titles like his, or will devolve into a stagnant, failed format."

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118 comments

Historical games? (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#17666252)

I guess he's never played world war II games and the like.

Re:Historical games? (4, Interesting)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 6 years ago | (#17666324)

Too soon, I'm guessing. I thought about it... a Jack The Ripper game wouldn't be horrible to us, because none of us had to deal with it happening in our lifetime. WWII didn't happen in my lifetime, yet I love WWII games, and still study WWII after school.

Re:Historical games? (5, Interesting)

bigdavex (155746) | more than 6 years ago | (#17666454)

I think that's right.

Consider the Hindenburg on the cover of Led Zeppelin I [wikipedia.org]. That doesn't seem all that shocking now. Imagine 30 years from now a band putting the World Trade Center in flames on a cover.

what, like this? (2, Interesting)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 6 years ago | (#17666894)

linky [nzghosts.co.nz]

Okay, they did it several months _before_ 9-11, so the story goes. Just do it before the actual event and you'll really impress people.

Re:Historical games? (2, Informative)

xappax (876447) | more than 6 years ago | (#17666944)

Imagine 30 years from now a band putting the World Trade Center in flames on a cover.

You mean like this [snopes.com]?

Admittedly, though, they had the idea before 9/11.

Re:Historical games? (1)

Chaotic Spyder (896445) | more than 6 years ago | (#17667298)

The Hindenburg being a mistake, and WTC being an attack.. very different feelings associated to each event. Then add all of the conspiracy theories, these evens are not even close to comparable.

Re:Historical games? (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 6 years ago | (#17668360)

Then you disagree that the grandparents assumption that Columbine and WWII are similar.

Re:Historical games? (1)

Enoxice (993945) | more than 6 years ago | (#17667366)

That raises an interesting point...why is Columbine more taboo than 9/11? I mean, people still get all up in arms about this little Columbine game, but 2 9/11 movies didn't raise nearly as much controversy (that I heard anyway); as far as I heard, the media just went around asking people if it was too soon, there was no banning from theaters.

And, to do what everyone else who has replied to the parent has done:

Leftover Crack CD [betterpropaganda.com]

Re:Historical games? (1)

Jabrwock (985861) | more than 6 years ago | (#17667516)

I mean, people still get all up in arms about this little Columbine game, but 2 9/11 movies didn't raise nearly as much controversy (that I heard anyway); as far as I heard, the media just went around asking people if it was too soon, there was no banning from theaters.

No one was up in arms about 2 Columbine-themed movies either. Elephant and Zero Day both won acclaimation and indie film festival awards.

Re:Historical games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17667764)

there's a bit of a difference between watching a movie and playing a game that let's you be the killer. If there was a 9/11-based game in which you got to be the hijacksers, it would still be "as taboo" as this game.

Re:Historical games? (1)

rblancarte (213492) | more than 6 years ago | (#17668364)

This exact thing came up during the discussion of their removal [slashdot.org] (why that was tagged flamebait, I have no idea).

The point is that these guys went for pure shock value with their title and everything. I get their point, but at the same time, what do they really expect? Do you think a game w/ the game "Paparassi: Get Princess Dianna" would be treated any differently?

Again, the real problem is the approach. Think about how "Bully" was received when announced (and the original premise was thought to be you are the bully). The fact is that the reason this is attacked was the way their direct refference to, and blatant disrepect for their subject matter. Even just not even directly referencing the actual event (School Massare RPG) probably wouldn't have had the impact or results they are currently getting.

RonB

Re:Historical games? (1)

bluemonq (812827) | more than 6 years ago | (#17668988)

Maybe because the fact that the perpetrators were two *American* *teens* - making people have to realize that their own are capable of committing an act as heinous as this - versus 19 Arabs, who they can simply label as "Other"?

Re:Historical games? (1)

Ajaxamander (646536) | more than 6 years ago | (#17667576)

Not the trade center, but a disturbing image of something within the last 4 or 5 years: Legacy of Blood by Jedi Mind Tricks [amazon.com]

Re:Historical games? (2, Interesting)

Schnapple (262314) | more than 6 years ago | (#17668840)

Actually (and I don't have a source for this other than watching MTV back in the 90's) during an interview with Robert Plant he revealed that, prior to the release of the first album, Led Zeppelin was playing a concert and someone with the last name Zeppelin (descended from Ferdinand von Zeppelin [wikipedia.org], who owned the Zeppelin airship company, wound up backstage. She was an older woman and she was pleased as punch that Led Zeppelin was using their family's name in such a way. Then they showed her what the album cover was going to look like. She was outraged, told them they couldn't use it, said that she would sue, etc. Of course they did it anyway...

So yeah, even thirty years later it was a controversial thing to do. I don't know if they ever got in any real trouble over it (they used the zeppelin/blimp imagery on other albums as well) but I think part of it is that "zeppelin" because so synonymous with blimps that any "trademarking" was long since a moot point (see: thermos)

(side note: for those who don't know, the saying that something is going bad is "that will go over like a lead balloon!", i.e., it will crash to the ground - someone morphed this into "going over like a lead zeppelin" and they took the name from that - dropping the "a" of course)

Not just time difference (3, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 6 years ago | (#17667838)

I'm from the UK and I personally don't feel that offended by things surrounding the whole columbine situation. If however there were to be a game surrounding for example, the July 2005 bombings it'd bother me a whole lot more. Perhaps it's just me, but I'd guess if it isn't and this in fact extends to other people then how far you are removed geographically or possibly even from a cultural point of view also is a large factor. I'm pretty sure there's plenty of say, Afghans for example who absolutely would not care about this kind of thing.

Re:Not just time difference (3, Insightful)

rblancarte (213492) | more than 6 years ago | (#17668530)

I have to agree fully with what you say here. I mean, this was a very up close event here in the United States. We saw the events of Columbine over and over and realize, this could have been any school USA. Plus there were a number of other events that took place too, Columbine being the most high profile.

The very event you talk of doesn't resonate nearly the same for someone on this side of the Atlantic. I am very aware of it, and watched the news very closely that day, but it just doesn't hit the same way as an event that happened in my own country, on my own soil. I am sure that the same could be said relating Columbine to 9/11 (though that did have a Worldly feel to it in it's impact).

Still, IMHO, the point is that they approached a subject in the completely wrong way.

RonB

Context (4, Insightful)

HappySqurriel (1010623) | more than 6 years ago | (#17666512)

I could be wrong, but I imagine that the problem is the context of the Violence/Killing ...

Few people would have a problem with a World War 2 game, whether you're playing for the American, Canadian, British, Russian, Austrailian, German, or Japaneese armies because in the context of war it's kill or be killed; in other words, society in general does not see a problem with killing an opposing soldier when you're a soldier at war.

In contrast I suspect that people would be outraged if you produced a game where you're a german soldier at Auschwitz and you're required to kill jewish prisoners.

Iraq? (-1, Troll)

NineNine (235196) | more than 6 years ago | (#17666790)

What about current games about the current US "war" in Iraq? I'd bet every nickel that I own that in 100 years, history textbooks will discuss the US genocide in Iraq and the war crimes that Bush is guilty of. It's pretty horrible, gruesome, and pointless, but there are tons of games celebrating it out now.

Re:Iraq? (0)

HappySqurriel (1010623) | more than 6 years ago | (#17667048)

What about current games about the current US "war" in Iraq? I'd bet every nickel that I own that in 100 years, history textbooks will discuss the US genocide in Iraq and the war crimes that Bush is guilty of. It's pretty horrible, gruesome, and pointless, but there are tons of games celebrating it out now.

First off I think you should spend some time and learn what genocide [reference.com] means in order for you to understand why the war in Iraq can not be considered a genocide.

Now using the American Heritage Dictionary definition of War Crime:

"Any of various crimes, such as genocide or the mistreatment of prisoners of war, committed during a war and considered in violation of the conventions of warfare."

The main argument that could be made for the US commiting warcrimes would be "mistreatment of prisoners of war" which I think is a bit of an exaggeration; I don't disagree that prisoners of war have been mistreated, but in comparison to prisoners in previous wars (and most prisoners of war through-out the world) I would say that the mistreatment is not grounds for the use of the term War Crime.

Now, I don't play many "War Games" so I couuld be wrong but I suspect that these games revolve around killing insurgents and terrorists which (for most of the world) is acceptable.

Disclaimer: I'm neither American nor did I support the US going to war in Iraq but I do think it would only cause further damage to the area for the US to withdraw their forces at this time.

mistreatment (2, Informative)

fantomas (94850) | more than 6 years ago | (#17667952)

".. in comparison to prisoners in previous wars (and most prisoners of war through-out the world) I would say that the mistreatment is not grounds for the use of the term War Crime."

During WW2 most parties adhered to the Geneva Convention and treated prisoners and civilians with some degree of respect. Acts of terror that were undertaken which did not respect this Convention have been rightly viewed with disgust ever since (for example, how partisans/insurgents across Europe were treated if captured). After WW2 the allies, including the Americans, brought the leading Nazis to trial. Publicly recorded, given defence lawyers, given the opportunity to publicly offer their side of the story. People who had committed terrible crimes and killed many thousands of people over long periods of time.

Now, there are people in Guantanamo Bay that the US authorities claim they have the right to keep as long as they like without trial, without access to any outside legal support, and that they can interview under duress (some may say 'torture') whenever the US authorities want to. Some of these people may not have even committed a crime, they might just have been in the wrong place at the wrong time (such as the British citizens who were released claim). Even those interned who have committed crimes haven't carried out acts on the scale of those leading Nazis who were given public trials.

This seems to me to be at the very least putting the USA in a morally difficult position; these actions may not be war crimes, but they are not attractive actions that will win many friends or allow the US authorities to take the moral high ground.

genocide (-1, Redundant)

NineNine (235196) | more than 6 years ago | (#17668620)

Here's the definition:
the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group.

Well, the US has singlehandedly killed, by some estimation, over a quarter of a million people in Iraq. Bush says that he's going to keep going until he decides that it's over. I'd say that we're well on our way to genocide. The only end I could possibly see King Bush as being happy with would be to wipe out every living thing in Iraq, and replacing them with white, Christian Americans (like we already did only a few hundred years ago). It may not be genocide yet, but I'd say that it's happening right now.

Re:Context (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 6 years ago | (#17666860)

I think the constant "LOL" chatting and ability to respawn are what take the edge off of most FPS games. It's hard to take it seriously when the guy you just killed says "good shot!".

Re:Context (1)

flewp (458359) | more than 6 years ago | (#17667442)

Or more accurately, at least in Counterstrike, the guy you just killed says "OMG HAX"

Re:Context (1)

anotherlogan (935804) | more than 6 years ago | (#17667774)

Easy. It's much more satisfying to kill a German Nazi, or a terroist on a battlefield than killing innocent children going to school.

Re:Historical games? (2, Insightful)

paranode (671698) | more than 6 years ago | (#17666526)

Or maybe he just has the mental capacity to realize soldiers fighting a war is not the same as a couple of punk teens murdering their defenseless classmates.

Why, exactly? (1)

Aurisor (932566) | more than 6 years ago | (#17669486)

Why exactly is it less reprehensible / offensive to see soldiers die than schoolchildren?

Some of the people who died at columbine are old enough to go to war. Some soldiers, due to financial stresses / family traditions are just as compelled to be at war as students are to be at school. Soldiers routinely die horrible deaths because some asshole two-bit third-world dictator is feeling too big for his britches, or some enemy soldier has a bad day, or some army bureaucrat screws up...I don't see how that is any more 'ok' than some high school bully popping a gasket.

I think if you feel any difference between seeing highschoolers get mowed down and soliders get mowed down, you should ask yourself why exactly you feel that way. Your answers might surprise you.

Re:Historical games? (1)

no reason to be here (218628) | more than 6 years ago | (#17666602)

History is history, not "reality." The events of WWII are distant and abstracted enough that we can participate in a simulation of that violence in a more or less detached manner. Even games based on more modern wars are distant enough from the typical gaming audience. i refer you to the article on /. not too long ago about Iraqi gamers who no longer play war games, as it reminds them too much of the real world; American gamers, for the most part, don't know what war is like, and i imagine more than a few come home with no desire to play war games (though i'm sure more than a few come back with PSD and the like, and use such games as a way of coping).

Moreover, in a "war" game, the other people are the enemy, they "deserve" to die, or, at the very least, they have to die to defend your country, preserve your own life, etc. The people shot at Columbine were innocent victims of two adolescents' uncontrolled rage at society. A lot of people cannot fit their heads around Klebold and Harris's motivation for their rampage, and so cannot get into the character. For something similar, consider a video game based on a horror film: are you playing the part of the teenager trying to escape or are you playing the role of the killer? Though i don't know for certain that no game exists that puts you in the shoes of Freddy or Jason or Michael Myers, i'd be willing to wager that such a game is by far the exception.

For those few who can understand the motivations of those two, let's hope that they play this game and it helps them to deal with their own issues in a more positive and constructive manner.

Re:Historical games? (1)

shotgunsaint (968677) | more than 6 years ago | (#17667652)

There was Splatterhouse, an older game for TurboGrafix 16 and Genesis (I think). You played a generic killer in a hockey mask killing things in a very Friday the 13th type setting. For the life of me though, I can't remember if you were killing campers or demons or what. The only thing I really remember is the sloshing, mucky sounds you made when walking anywhere and the bloddy footprints left behind you. Now THAT's gory!

Re:Historical games? (4, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 6 years ago | (#17666876)

Well, then there's maybe the fact that the vast majority of WWII games are about as close to "reality" as Doom with Ally/Axis player skins. Both the people you kill and the people you are fighting beside are anonymous and disposable with no connection outside of whatever you brought to the game with you. And they respawn 30 seconds later anyway.

Personally, his reaction makes sense to me. Like he says, he's killed thousands of video game characters. Yet rarely do they attempt to draw you into understanding your character as the killer, and understanding your victims, the whole scenario surrounding the killing. Rarely do they cover historical events, real murders, with any attempt at accuracy. So when he plays a game that does, it is as disturbing to him as watching a documentary about Columbine that then asks the viewer "So given you were them, would you have shot your schoolmates?" That's bound to create an emotional reaction that no FPS tries to.

Basically it supports what I've been saying all along -- despite all the "conditioning" he's received from playing video games, when the situation even got close to real violence, his natural reactions kicked in. Conditioning only works if you believe you are experiencing real consequences or rewards. The "real" rewards and consequences of an FPS are completely divorced from those of a real life murder spree, and no amount of Doom/BF1942 will forge an artificial connection in a normal person.

Normal people have no problem separating reality from fantasy, and thus no amount of "fantasy" killing will actually train them to kill in real life or be desensitized to real life killing. Only insane people who are incapable of this separation will directly transfer simulated killings into the real world, because for them the difference is blurry or non-existant to begin with.

Reload games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17670206)

"Normal people have no problem separating reality from fantasy, and thus no amount of "fantasy" killing will actually train them to kill in real life or be desensitized to real life killing."

Guess [americasarmy.com] not.

Re:Historical games? (2, Interesting)

Fozzyuw (950608) | more than 6 years ago | (#17667004)

Odd, I suppose, because I have killed thousands of video game characters over the years. And though the game's chunky graphics are primitive...no game has ever made me feel nearly as queasy. I didn't want to be responsible for the real-world violence that happened that day, even in a game.'

I assume he's saying he has played WWII games 'and the like', in this part of his story, but the point he was making is he's too connected to the Columbine murders to be able to enjoy the game experience. Someone else on /. has mentioned that, over time, other generations will not have this attachment, but see it as more of a historical background.

Then again, I've not played a WWII game who's plot was to push Jews through a gas chamber, but to stop them as a GI. I'm not sure how I would feel about playing such a game. I might be disconnected enough to do it, but I think I would probably just find no enjoyment in it.

In the same game, when you play as a Nazi against the Allies, it's usually staged in a sense that it's a competitive objective, win or loose, only your items or clothes are different. There is no real story or plot elements. It's first to 20 frags wins, kind of thing.

Most of those who play the Nazi or Terrorist (as in Counter-Strike) don't actually 'feel' they support the cause of game characters, but just playing a competitive game. Or, in other words, most people aren't playing a game to feel the 'enjoyment' of killing people, but to beat another team on a challenging game. Yet, when I first played Counter-Strike, my natrual feeling was to pick the Counter-Terrorists because I didn't like the idea of being 'the bad guy'.

This columbine game does not appear to be a team on team game, where the mentality is to 'win a game', but to retell a story and to make you feel how the character you're playing felt (the point of most RPG games) and to give you a perspective of what happened that day. Because of this, it makes most people uncomfortable.

Think of it like this. What if you played a normal student in columbine and not one of the killers? You only had some limited punch/kick/run/hide skills. Your choices are open, but you basically can try to escape the school or attack the killers. Would that be as objectionable? probably less commotion, but still plenty of people saying you're trying to capitalize on a tragedy.

How about if, there was a multiplayer option of two teams, like counter-strike, killers vs students. Students have to escape and killers have to prevent the escape. I would wager you see more objection than the previous idea, but still a fair number of people who do not mind playing on the 'killer' team, because it becomes a competition and not a idealogical support position.

Finally, you have the current game. You play the killers only, but get a good amount of detail of the event of that day. The gamer is interested in the historical context, but when it comes to the shootings of the students, the gamer has been setup to feel like they're the killer but most people don't like the idea of murdering people. Particularly people with names and faces you might associate with, opposed to faceless scientist hostages or security officers.

As it sounds, the game does a good job making you feel 'in the moment', but it shouldn't be a surprise to see people not feel comfortable 'pulling the trigger' because, unlike the movie Elephant, a game is to make you feel like you're pulling the trigger, and not the character on the screen, even if you emphasis with them.

Cheers,
Fozzy

Re:Historical games? (1)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 6 years ago | (#17667500)

I think a big difference between a WWII game and a columbine game is that in Columbine there were 34 victims killed or injured and these people were defenseless. Each of these people have names that you can easily look up. You've probably seen pictures of them and their parents. When you are playing the game, you are shooting one of these thirty four people. You could meet some of them - you could talk to their parents. You can read a list of their names [wikipedia.org].

There were a very large number of people involved in WWII. If you play as an american GI killing a japanese soldier, you don't know the name of the historical GI you are playing and the name of the historical japanese you are killing. Because you are playing a generic GI killing a generic enemy. You can't call the soldier's widow on the phone or see a picture of her.

I think that is one of the things that makes it different.

Re:Historical games? (1)

EmperorKagato (689705) | more than 6 years ago | (#17667794)

I do recall that some of these games are based off the heroics of a soldier who's name is given in the game.

Re:Historical games? (1)

Twixter (662877) | more than 6 years ago | (#17668484)

Come on. Everyone loves killing Nazis!There is nothing wrong with shooting Nazi, aliens, mutants, and "bad guys". But the innocent....and especially the already victmized, well that just makes you blink. It reminds me of an Arnie quote in response to the question..."You've killed people?" "Yes, but they were all bad."

Ahh, finally (4, Insightful)

ObiWanStevobi (1030352) | more than 6 years ago | (#17666398)

A discussion over whether it is playable as opposed to wether or not it should be legal to play. The game is simply one big shock value gimic. Due to its subject matter, it has recieved far more attention than a game of it's technical capability merits. It's a game everyone loves to talk about and use as political hay, but a game few really enjoys playing. After the shock wears off, it's not that enticing. Why have Vietnam games tanked? People just can't be compelled to play them, no matter how much curiousity is generated by the subject matter and media mudslinging surrounding the game. As a free sppech battleground, the game is valuable. As a game, it's a loser.

Re:Ahh, finally (2, Insightful)

flonker (526111) | more than 6 years ago | (#17666598)

I haven't played it, but in my uninformed opinion, if it can evoke such strong emotions, ie. "I couldn't bring myself to push the buttons to continue", it has something to it. I can't bring myself to play it, but for the same reason as I can't bring myself to watch movies or documentaries about concentration camps and similar horrors.

I suppose in one sense, the designers of the game failed, in that they didn't evoke enough empathy with the characters to get the player to react in the same way as the people did. But in another respect, they certainly garnered enough empathy for the victims. And that's what art is all about; evoking emotions.

Re:Ahh, finally (2, Informative)

Jabrwock (985861) | more than 6 years ago | (#17666648)

A discussion over whether it is playable as opposed to wether or not it should be legal to play.

Wired beat them to it [wired.com]. But it is a welcome addition to the ranks of reviews that actually try to tackle the game on it's own, without dismissing it outright just because it touches on a sensitive subject.

I always assumed that the Vietnam games failed because they sucked. I've talked to WWII vets who were quite comfortable playing WWII games, it was kinda nostalgic for them. All the excitement without the horror or something like that.

Re:Ahh, finally (4, Interesting)

jandrese (485) | more than 6 years ago | (#17667482)

I played through the game. The gameplay is simplistic, but the developers took the time to incorporate as much media and historical footage into the game as possible. The end result is a fairly well crafted game IMHO. Some aspects of it could use a little work--it follows the tried and true RPG "grind" of leveling up your characters. However, just like the real life version, the good guys aren't really a threat. It's possible to die if you're really sloppy right in the beginning of the attack, but after that you're doing the equivalent of killing rats in the forest for a couple of hours just to level up.

The second half of the game gets a bit more interesting gameplay wise, but the storyline really peters out. There's an island where you can talk to other characters for viewpoints on god and a final boss battle that still isn't very difficult. I have to admit that the second half of the game felt a bit tacked on.

... and then there's something called Bad Taste... (1)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 6 years ago | (#17666432)

I don't believe there should be a ban on this game, but I do believe that it's one of the worst ideas of a video game. One can only imagine the reaction (and thus consequencly the publicity) a game would provoke and receive if it was about the ascention of Hitler or Mussolini through the eyes of a supporter. Like I said before, I don't think there should be a de jure ban on the game, but there is definately going to be a de facto ban on the game.

Re:... and then there's something called Bad Taste (0)

hasbeard (982620) | more than 6 years ago | (#17666716)

I believe it goes beyond bad taste. What Hilter and Mussolini did was evil. What Harris and Kliebold did was evil. To derive pleasure from another person's evil actions is evil. To fantasize about committing evil actions is evil.

Re:... and then there's something called Bad Taste (1)

Jabrwock (985861) | more than 6 years ago | (#17667008)

To fantasize about committing evil actions is evil.

I'll assume you haven't played SCMRPG. It's not "fun". You can't "fantasize" about it. The graphics are so hokey you'd have to be a real sick bastard to conjure up images that gave you pleasure while playing it. Instead, I'd call it an interactive documentary on a controversial subject.

It's certainly not the first time an author has tackled a subject from the point of view of the bad guy. Edgar Allan Poe did the same.

Re:... and then there's something called Bad Taste (2, Interesting)

xappax (876447) | more than 6 years ago | (#17667174)

Wow, this is great, I always wondered how to tell what's good and what's evil. You know, I always thought there were these "grey areas", and I considered things from multiple perspectives...a real bummer when you just want to figure out who's evil.

But here on Slashdot is the very person who knows! Could you expand your list to cover politicians, rap groups, and shampoo brands? I'm eager to get started passing judgment on those around me!

Re:... and then there's something called Bad Taste (1)

hasbeard (982620) | more than 6 years ago | (#17668624)

Hi xappax, Actually, it would be interesting to know what you do consider evil. I gathered from your post that you feel I am drawing black and white lines where there are grey areas. Where are the lines for you? It's ok to consider other people's perspectives. But wouldn't you agree that at the end of the day, after you've thought about it, there are things that are just wrong? To keep this on topic, where are the gray areas where the game under discussion is involved? Do you think it's a good thing for people to enjoy a game where they are putting themselves in the place of killing innocent people (even people who only exist in the RAM of their computer)? What do you see as a gray area in that? What would you consider evil?

Re:... and then there's something called Bad Taste (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17667034)

Actually, Republic [apple.com] always looked rather interesting

Re:... and then there's something called Bad Taste (1)

GiovanniZero (1006365) | more than 6 years ago | (#17667650)

Actually, and this isn't flame bait, I think it'd be cool if they made a game about Hitler's rise to power from the eyes of a supporter. It might help people understand what the environment was like for people and how they were deceived.

The vast majority of people had no idea of what was going on and what Hitler was doing. Even when everything was revealed many people didn't believe it because, for them, Hitler was a moral hero.

Though, I still wouldn't want the character acting as an executioner in a death camp.

Re:... and then there's something called Bad Taste (1)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 6 years ago | (#17668574)

they were deceived. The vast majority of people had no idea of what was going on and what Hitler was doing

Utter bullshit that was mostly debunked by historians since. I can very much understand that the truth of having known and done nothing was so horrific that people couldn't really accept it, but that doesn't mean I have to believe it.

Didn't know, huh? Let's see:

November pogrome [wikipedia.org]
"Don't buy from jews" campaign [wikipedia.org]
Death march of the Hungarian jews (in German) [mkoe-steyr.net] who had to march through half of Austria from Burgenland to Mauthausen. This was in spring 1945, at a time were much more was already known than in the years before, but many similar marches had happened before and are by now well-documented: the locals not only didn't object, but cheered on the Nazi criminals and laughed at the victims.

As an Austrian I long ago had to learn and accept that my fellow countrymen had liked what happened. It's a hard lesson about humanity, but you cannot escape it.

What next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17666464)

What next, Super 9-11WTC 3D? Inquisition Adventure?

Re:What next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17666688)

No, something more domestic like the Sims. Maybe Jeffrey Dahmer's Adventures in Cooking.

Re:What next? (1)

Jabrwock (985861) | more than 6 years ago | (#17666734)

How about "9/11 Survivor". It's an indie project where they tried to recreate what those trapped in the towers were experiencing. Some missions you can't beat because there's no way out. So it's either burn to death or jump.

Games aren't just for fun. Serious games try to convey a message, or pass on info. SCMRPG was like a documentary of the events, in detail. While on the way taking jabs at the gaming industry, the killers themselves, and anyone who might try to think this was somehow a game to train the next round of killers...

Slamdance (1)

travdaddy (527149) | more than 6 years ago | (#17666618)

I played this game, and while I didn't find any problems with the violence, I couldn't get past how boring the game was. My character had all the guns and my enemies were unarmed. The "real-world violence" that day was, well, not challenging. I'm not sure why this game is up for awards. To me, it was a boring RPG grinder. Gaming should be challenging, not an excuse to make the gamer read dialogue and look at pictures.

Re:Slamdance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17669620)

Part of the point is that, you're armed, they are not, it is simply a mindless slaughter.

Question (1)

bogie (31020) | more than 6 years ago | (#17666640)

How does everyone think a WWII vet would react if you strapped some headphones on to him and made him relive the D-day landing ala Medal of Honor?

Either we accept violent games as a legitmate pastime or we don't. Selectively barring certain game titles because they "hit too close to home" is about the worse solution possible.

Re:Question (1)

Bandman (86149) | more than 6 years ago | (#17668038)

I don't like the idea of games like this, but I certainly don't want to ban them outright. The market will be an effective enough bar on it's own.

a game that makes a point (1)

thelost (808451) | more than 6 years ago | (#17666662)

this is a conceptual game, in the same way that there is conceptual art. It makes it's point but is often only appealing in that sense, not in a greater aesthetic one.

Certainly I don't think it should have been pulled from slamdance and I'm with any independent game developer who pulls out of slam to protest this. Censorship is never the answer. Arguably it shows a lack of concern for all those involved in what happened in columbine (I stop short of using the word tragedy, i hate the word).

However having been one of those kids on the outside of school culture when younger when I watched columbine originally unfold and afterwards, I found that no lesson had really been learnt, especially by parents as to their personal responsibility and culpability for what happened.

While people ignore the way people who are 'outsiders' are treated as children in schools I think reminders like this are needed.

I think we as a geek community have proven that animation is not only for kids. Can games be for adults and deal with adult themes too? Perhaps Columbine rpg is not the greatest example as it is a shock title, but the point still stands.

Re:a game that makes a point (1)

Jabrwock (985861) | more than 6 years ago | (#17666810)

The game also makes the point that people are willing to stereotype the game and refuse to look at the issues it discusses (mainly the motivations behind the killers). Which is reflected in the fact that people just assumed they were evil incarnate, and left it at that. Instead of examining all the cues/influences in their lives up to that point. I'm still finding people who just assume they were brainwashed by Doom and M-Manson, and leave it at that, and pretend that if they just ban both, then this will never happen again...

Re:a game that makes a point (1)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 6 years ago | (#17667632)

The game also makes the point that people are willing to stereotype the game and refuse to look at the issues it discusses (mainly the motivations behind the killers). Which is reflected in the fact that people just assumed they were evil incarnate, and left it at that. Instead of examining all the cues/influences in their lives up to that point. I'm still finding people who just assume they were brainwashed by Doom and M-Manson, and leave it at that, and pretend that if they just ban both, then this will never happen again...
So if we carefully examine the clues we can be sure it won't happen again? No, there will always be mentally unbalanced people. At best we can perhaps learn some warning signs to watch for, although I don't think video games or music are going to be it.

Re:a game that makes a point (1)

Jabrwock (985861) | more than 6 years ago | (#17668004)

So if we carefully examine the clues we can be sure it won't happen again? At best we can perhaps learn some warning signs to watch for, although I don't think video games or music are going to be it.

Having a better understanding of them can certainly help us to spot potential warning signs. Better than being completely ignorant of the problem, or attributing false causes.

I agree that there will always be people who will be unbalanced. But at least if we know the flags, we can get help to those who are not fully gone. As M-Manson said in Bowling for Columbine "I would listen to what they had to say, because that's one thing no-one did." The point was that no-one paid attention AT ALL to these boys. Knowing them better might still not have prevented the act, but it's worth it to try talking about it.

Re:a game that makes a point (1)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 6 years ago | (#17669746)

The point was that no-one paid attention AT ALL to these boys
If I recall correctly, they were in trouble with the law and were on probation. So, obviously the police, judge, probation officer, etc. had to have paid SOME attention to them. In fact, I recall that there was some sort of talk of them telling the probation officer what he or she wanted to hear - I don't remember where I read this, though.

Re:a game that makes a point (1)

Jabrwock (985861) | more than 6 years ago | (#17670058)

Hmm, I did not know that. Doesn't surprise me though. Any idea what they were on probation for? Something minor? Or something more serious?

The reality test... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 6 years ago | (#17666676)

If the game makes you sick to your stomach, you crap your pants, and your moral compass is screwy as a real compass in the Bermuda Triangle, then the game is too real. You should stop playing that game and go back to playing mine sweeper.

Interesting effect.... (1)

revlayle (964221) | more than 6 years ago | (#17666708)

Maybe this game has a more "profound" effect on people that one would think. if certain people have to stop and think whether they can push "that" button and go on with a re-enacted set of killings (albeit very SNES/16-bit like)... maybe the game has pulled off the intended effect the author was looking for? (that is besides, getting some sort of media attention... pre-meditated or not)

Reminds me of the Beslan incident (1)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 6 years ago | (#17666742)

I was browsing for some new Rainbow Six maps a while ago and came across a forum post that claimed that somebody made a hostage rescue map based on the Beslan school. My first reaction, without reading (or even opening) the thread was that it could be interesting to see. So I clicked the thread in hope of a link, but there was none! The original poster provided no links, screenshots, or anything else besides the baseless claim.

Nevertheless, it was enough to get everybody pissed off and write a few pages of insults, directed at the unknown author of the map which doesn't even exist. Inhuman, immoral, evil, you know, the standard stuff used in such cases. There was only one post in the whole thread that questioned the existence of the map, but it didn't even slow down the flames.

They claimed that it was disrespectful to those involved in the event, but I don't see how it could be (if it was done properly, but since it doesn't exist we'll never know). If it actually was a single player R6 map, you'd be playing the CT units trying to rescue the hostages and kill the terrorists. It could help remind people of what happened there, and allow them to look at the events from another perspective, and not just from the news cameras which were far from the events, but close to the dead bodies.

Re:Reminds me of the Beslan incident (1)

gknoy (899301) | more than 6 years ago | (#17668234)

Excellent point. Rainbow Six is one of the games which I most like, in terms of immersion. (well, the series. ;)) It has an amazing balance between the value placed on hostage lives (do NOT let them die!), but still isa great combat shooter.

In Half-Life, you can shoot scientists, and nothing happens. There's no accountability if you kill friendlies (if they even allow it). In Rainbow Six, it's possible to do -- but there are consequences (failed mission) for killing teammates or hostages. One of my MOST VIVID gaming memories, ever, is of failing a mission because a hostage ran between me and the terrorist as I was shooting him. A "Khaaaaaan!" moment if there ever was one.

I would LOVE to play Rainbow Six campaign scenarios which were based on historical incidents. Even if it were a "Kobayashi Maru" sort of run where the odds are stacked against you (and perhaps even impossible, for it to be truly KM-like). Kudos to any developer or fan that makes one that is any good. :)

What seems interesting about this game, is that it allows you to CHOOSE take (virtual) actions which many would consider are reprehensible. Even more interesting (to me at least) is that several players have reported that .. they just can't do it. I don't think I would derive any joy from it. I think this, in itself, makes it an interesting game -- that many people just cannot bring themselves to play it. Similar to how I don't want to watch a movie about the WTC, or flight 93 (did I get that right?), or the Texas Chainsaw Massacre -- it certainly doesn't appeal to my tastes. On the other hand, I don't feel that they should be banned, pulled, or considered Not Art.

the video game equivalent of Lolita? (1)

Speare (84249) | more than 6 years ago | (#17666784)

There are a lot of people who have already done this soul-searching in the literary world. One fictional example is that of the book, Lolita. The movie adaptations are a pale shadow of the psychology involved, but if you've seen any of them, you can probably understand my point.

Even if you're in no way a pedophile or pederast, it can be a very challenging read. In that story, you are in the mind of a fictional character who IS a pedophile. The first half of the book is just his anticipation in his desires, his plotting and scheming, his self-loathing yet determined goal-seeking behaviors. This is uneasy enough to absorb for the reader, whether you're a parent, a real-life victim, or neither. The second half of the book, once he "consumates" his desires, is another whole exploration into the mutual consequences that both parties face.

Yet somehow the book of Lolita has gone from a sick idea, to a banned idea, and back to a respected and deeply studied piece of high literature. The author Nabokov is no longer immediately assumed to be of the same mindset as his character Humbert: there is a presenium, a barrier between the author and the character, as well as between the character and the reader.

The creators of this Columbine RPG didn't just go out on a lark splashing gore on the screen and laughing at the jock victims. From all I've seen about the game (haven't played it), they took an approach that MADE the player squirm with empathy, that defied the player's logic and made them squirm DESPITE the graphics, DESPITE the gameplay issues itself. What is highlighted is the psychology that led to the events from all parties: cruel clique objectification and lack of adult-guided social nurturing at a critical point in the adolescent mind. I don't mean to sound like a Jon Katz here, but we've already discussed this, but this work appears to have legitimate merit which should be recognized, instead of assuming that it's a depraved training manual for mayhem.

Here's my 2 cents... change goes in the penny bowl (2, Insightful)

Captain Sarcastic (109765) | more than 6 years ago | (#17666812)

I haven't played it. I don't want to play it. I don't feel any desire to emulate Klebold and Harris, and I have no particular desire to find out what it's like to gun down children in the halls. (Mind you, there was a time or seven hundred in my youth that I might have, but not any more.)

Having said that, I agree that censorship is the absolute wrong thing to do. I can deal with unpalatable games far better than I can deal with someone saying, "This is taboo, you may not show it."

It's a case of the cure being worse than the malady.

so you're saying it will be really popular? (3, Insightful)

fantomas (94850) | more than 6 years ago | (#17667540)

"Mind you, there was a time or seven hundred in my youth that I might have

So you're saying - big potential audience amongst school aged kids?

Re:so you're saying it will be really popular? (1)

Captain Sarcastic (109765) | more than 6 years ago | (#17669446)

No, you seem to be saying that.

What I am basically saying is "Popular" != "tasteful", but "unpopular" != "suitable for censoring". Past that, I make no comment.

Call me sick... (2, Interesting)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 6 years ago | (#17666908)

But I enjoy games like the one in TFA...not because I want to go on a murderous rampage, good lord no. I am quite sane and can differentiate between "right and wrong" and "real and fantasy" I think it is because I accept and acknowledge that I have a sadistic side. I enjoy seeing people in pain. ::shrug:: I can't help it, I do. I love gore for the sake of gore movies, the whole "torture horror movie" movement going on...hell, Men Behind the Sun is one of my favorite movies despite the appaling part of history that it covers.

I love games like manhunt, where you stalk your prey. Games like The Warriors where you can beat someone until they puke. I love ultra-violence, the more realistic the better. I have been watching Faces of Death since I was 8. I have perused ogrish.com (before it changed to an "uncensored media resource") for countless hours. I love watching videos of real death, destruction, and violence.

In real life? I would never hurt a fly. I hate hurting people, either physically or mentally; purposly, or accidently. I don't like being mean to people. I like helping people. I like helping people recover from trauma, be it physical or mental. In my every day "real life" persona, I am a great guy that will give 20 bucks to a stranger so he can eat a nice meal.

But I also have a dark side to me. Thankfully I have a playground for those dark desires. A place where I can go without harming anyone or anything. Now, I'm not saying that if I didn't have video games that I would harm people; All I need is my imagination and I'm fine...ever read JTHM from Jhonnen Vasquez? In interviews with him, he says that he draws the things he always wishes he could do to people but never personally could.

I have a sick and twisted mind. I know this. I do not deny it. But I also do not supress it; I allow it to come out in a controlled, harmless, and entertaining manner. Don't get upset reading this; deep down inside you is the same dark little monster inside everyone else.

The question is, are you able to accept that and move on, or do you continue to deny it until one day you actually do something stupid and kill a bunch of people like at columbine?

Re:Call me sick... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17669058)

Ok, I'll bite.

The structure of the mind, or internalized duality that you describe appears to me as two rigid boxes in a void. Are there really just two playgrounds in your head, one from Sesame Street, and the other ... well. As we experience life and make choices every day, our mind absorbes this self-selected feedback, and I rather suspect the amount of time that one devotes to any particular passion or pursuit greatly affects our future actions and perceptions.

I can remember playing GTA3 for about 36 hours straight, and looking at the road and other cars and pedestrians in a whole new light the next time I was behind the wheel. That took a while to wear off ...

Perhaps there is a line that must be drawn in the sand. Do you really want someone who enjoys fine graphic literature such as FANSADOX do be working in a daycare? The cubicle next to you? Now, I'm not saying this should be illegal, or that information of any kind should be repressed, or held to the highest common threshold. But I am saying that even if we all do have a dark little monster, as you attest, there is little to gain by feeding it regularly.

--AC

Re:Call me sick... (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 6 years ago | (#17669284)

I work in cubicles next to people. I work with cancer patients, Narcolepsy patients, Alzheimers patients, you name it patients all day 5 days a week. To the people here, I am a loving and caring guy willing to put my own work aside to help you with your work. They see the 7/16ths (000 ga) tunnels in my ears and they know I'm not "normal", but they also know that I'm a really nice guy and a hard worker and have a good work ethic.

I don't care what the person next to me does behind closed doors. If they aren't hurting anyone, why SHOULD I care?

As far as feeding it regularly, I find it healthy because again it provides a place as an output. I can easily imagine in my head chopping the arms off of someone very slowly and smile at them and help them with their work at the same time.

My ACTION will always be to help them with their work. It will NEVER be to chop their arms off. It's not because I could get in trouble for doing it, it's because I understand and realize that this would cause them great pain. I have absolutely ZERO desire to be the cause of someone's pain, be it physical or mental.

If you don't know what I am thinking, why does it matter? I have absolutely no intention of hurting you, and frankly couldn't even if I WANTED to. So why worry?

  Granted, most "sick" people aren't like that....or are they? There are more of us around than most folks realize...

Re:Call me sick... (1)

14CharUsername (972311) | more than 6 years ago | (#17669672)

Yeah, you might be a nice guy right now. But if you're under a lot of stress, or something really horrible happens, or maybe you just didn't sleep enough last night, or maybe one night you have too much to drink.... What happens if, just for a second in a moment of weakness, your perception of reality blurs a little. Just enough to fool yourself into thinking you're in a videogame where it's acceptible to be cruel.

All I know is that I'd be nervous being around someone like you.

Re:Call me sick... (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 6 years ago | (#17669974)

....if I got "blurred" and suddenly thought I was inside a videogame, I think I would have many more issues than an overactive imagination.

See, if you read my original post, I know the difference between right and wrong. I know if I am sitting on my couch with a controller in my hand or if I am controlling a ~3500 pound hunk of metal.

I am neither delusional nor insane.

Unlike most people that say "oh I can't watch that its too realistic" or whatever...I can understand that something on a screen is VERY different than something in real life. Even if it is video or pictures of actual death...it is still not the same as seeing it in real life with your own eyes. I have ZERO desire to see it in real life...this is actually the single reason why I didn't join the military; I couldn't bring myself to doing that to a person.

Unless you have some form of advanced mind reading, I can assure you that you could NEVER pick me out on the street and think "oh, he is dangerous." Because I'm not. I look completely harmless, and I am completely harmless.

As far as being nervous around someone like me...you would never know I was that way anyhow:-)

Here's a good question...where's JT? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17666940)

Where the heck is Jack Thompson now? The guy was screaming to ban Bully from his state (if not the world) because in his mind it was a Columbine simulator (which it isn't, hell it's T for Teen), harassed the judge when he didn't get his way and got himself a contempt charge, and pissed on the gaming industry as a whole in an attempt to kill the first amendment. Now we actually HAVE a Columbine simulator and he's gonna sit there and thumb his ass?

Oh wait, that's right, it's not a Rockstar game. Doesn't matter if the hot coffee company isn't involved.

I certainly don't support him, but he's sure doing a half-assed job of being an asshole.

Re:Here's a good question...where's JT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17667156)

He's apparently busy pretending he saved a 20-year old from a gamer-den (think drug-den) when in reality the guy visited a girl he met online and played some MMOs at her place for a week while not calling his parents whom he lives with.

Kill the Nerd (1)

ProteusQ (665382) | more than 6 years ago | (#17667116)

I'm waiting for an RPG game where the player, a jock, racks up points for killing, maiming, and otherwise torturing nerds... maybe even Slashdot readers specifically. Get points by shoving the nerd's keyboard up his rectum or overwriting his Linux laptop with the ProJock version of Windows -- maybe shaking nerds down to pay off the principle to look the other way? The end game ought to be piling the dead nerd bodies on the football field and setting them on fire, with cheerleaders egging you on the whole time.

That would be a *really* good way of finding out how open-minded the /. community is.

Re:Kill the Nerd (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#17667746)

That would be a *really* good way of finding out how open-minded the /. community is.

Just like with this game you would have a mix of people. I for one, and many others, would be on the side of freedom of expression. There are already games out there where you manage a concentration camp. I find those to be absolutely abhorrent but I wouldn't ban them either. Even a game like that can make a point, intentional or not, about what went on. The idea of the game might or might not be to have fun but either way it can make the point that what you do in the game that probably makes a "good" person a bit nauseous was the day to day responsibility for some people - and they did it. Can you imagine what would make a person behave that way? Me neither, but some people obviously did it. It's an important lesson in the realities of the human psyche.

Slashdot is like any other place in that it is not homogenized. We have a mixture of populists, anarchists, liberals, and conservatives. We have a combination of the champions of the weak and those who take advantage of them. We have both those who stand up for their beliefs and those who have no beliefs in particular. Expecting Slashdot to react with one voice is foolish. There's even Microsoft and Sony apologists all over the place, in strict opposition to the slashbot groupthink (no matter how justified it might be in these occasions.)

Re:Kill the Nerd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17667816)

And who would make it?

We seem to be glossing over something here. (2, Insightful)

goldcd (587052) | more than 6 years ago | (#17667264)

Most games are sold as pure entertainment, they may have a historical theme, but usually that's just to add colour and to bring with it an implied back-story.
When somebody sits down to write a game called Columbine RPG, they're doing something different - they're provoking people. Provocation isn't good or bad though, basically just makes people think.
Now I don't know if this was the intention of the games author, but is has made people think a lot more about the content of their games. Germany bans a game for blood and we ridicule them. We spend an evening slaughtering thousands of 'space aliens' or 'WW2 germans' and we shrug it off, it doesn't register what we're doing represents. We are jaded by it all
A game like this gives us a kick up the back-side and makes people feel uncomfortable. We have to explain why we think one thing is right and the other isn't (and people seem to be having difficulty with this). This is a good thing. This is art.
Games whatever people might wish to think aren't even touching emotional depth. Oh we may all post about how we felt when Aeris died, but ffs, compare this to literature and it's nothing. The emotional peaks in games are so few, that we trumpet every single mediocre one of them. Well here's another one, just as valid, just a different type.

Re:We seem to be glossing over something here. (1)

powdertoastman (1048506) | more than 6 years ago | (#17669050)

I basically agree that it's provocation to name the game as such. Having played the game, however, I find nothing really appealing about it. The graphics are about as good as tetris in my opinion and I'm into high fidelity games, so this one is a thumbs down IMHO. I have to wonder, in light of a recent politician's remarks (who shall be nameless in this post to avoid off-topic flame wars), would a game titled "Super Slave Trader RPG 2007" (lemmings, anyone?) or "Jesus de Nazareth: El Crucifixio" (el diablo, anyone?) would garner as much (negative) public commentary as the super columbine RPG? In other words, (no pun intended) would the columbine game be less provocative if named differently or are some titles of games so emotionally charged as to be completely off-limits? Things that make you go hmmm ...

Go Hmm indeed (1)

goldcd (587052) | more than 6 years ago | (#17669784)

I'm completely agree that the game itself isn't a technical masterpiece - but that's how we used to look at paintings. High art used to be photorealistic, then impressionistic, then abstract - painters (and their reviewers) no longer rank based on technical ability. Jeff Koons has an idea, somebody makes it reality and that's credited as his 'art' and has a price-tag to match.
Literature, if you look at Irvine Welsh, it's not 'Queen's English' it's like impressionism, it's thousands of words sprayed to convey more than the actual narrative they contain.
Now I'm not for a second saying that a poorly designed or implemented game deserves play-time based upon it's provocative title and mediocre content - but even without playing it, you must agree that its existence has expanded the perceived range of the medium?
I fully realize that I've gone off on one here, but I just wanted to point out that this game has contributed more to 'games' that some random Fifa/Madded '04 game that we may enjoy at the time, but leaves us with the next yearly update.
This game has made an impact and could only have come from the Indie scene of one guy and a compiler. If this doesn't count, then I've no idea why the competition existed in the first place.

I heard they nerfed the shotguns. (1)

neo (4625) | more than 6 years ago | (#17667330)

Too many people were complaining in multi-player mode that the shotguns were "gay". That and the pipe bombs didn't work. Basically the game sucks.

Another excuse for more control (1)

CharliePete (923290) | more than 6 years ago | (#17667548)

Our wars are fought far away by those that have, at least temporarily, been removed from society. What happens in war has come to be viewed as a grim necessity however the war itself might be viewed. When the violent deaths of people much like those we know happen so close to home there is much greater emotional charge. We are separated from the horrors of war but not those tragedies that happen to those much like ourselves so the response is understandably greater. While I support the right for these games to be created, regardless of the outcry, and feel that any rejection of them should be done with our wallets I am concerned that this game, and others like it, will likely be used as an excuse for legislation to further control just what we are allowed to say and do.

Re:Another excuse for more control (1)

goathens (924972) | more than 6 years ago | (#17669342)

but, if we fear that this game will provoke freedom-limiting legislation, doesn't that mean that we don't really have the freedom to create/say/play what we want in the first place?

Wired reviewed it too... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17668128)

Contrast the Washington Post's review with this very positive one [wired.com] from earlier this week. Looking at it as art, Wired suggests that it is a well-researched game that explores issues of bullying, responsibility, blame, and video games themselves.

I found this very telling from the WP article:

Ledonne, who turns 25 today, says he was bullied as a kid and might have headed down a road in life similar to Harris and Klebold's had he not found other outlets. "I wanted to explore who they really were, and I didn't have the funding to make a film," he said.

It's clear to me, based on this and other things the author has said, that for him the game is a mode of expression, much as a film might be, and a medium for exploring issues related to the tragedy. The game isn't being exploited financially (it's a free download), the artist/author has taken a personal hit for making it (at least according to the web site)... and it's not like it's a 1st person shooting "simulator".

I was also interested in reading that nearly half of Slamdance's other video game authors [slamdance.com] decided to pull their games in protest of the festival's decision.

Seems the game is much more artistic social commentary than it would appear at first.
 

It's not about how real something appears... (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 6 years ago | (#17668290)

it's about if people can distinguish reality from virtual reality. If people can't then they have a problem and they should be helped.

censorship is never the answer (1)

stim216 (881386) | more than 6 years ago | (#17670018)

Censorship is pointless, if something is horrible and no one likes it, no one will buy or play it. Free market is self governing.
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  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
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