We have been hearing the argument that “video and computer games are way too violent” for years. With the growing number of shootings, society has come to the conclusion that these games, along with music videos and movies, have encouraged impressionable children to believe violence is acceptable.
So what happens when a game is created as a re-enactment of a terribly violent event that has already occurred? Instead of creating a fantasy story about shooting and bombing, it takes the player through actual events of a grim reality. That is exactly what “Super Columbine Massacre RPG!” tries to accomplish.
“Super Columbine Massacre RPG!” is a downloadable computer game based on the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. The game re-enacts the event through the eyes of the two killers, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris.
Players go through stages of the game where, in order to proceed to each level, they must kill fellow schoolmates and bomb a cafeteria. As if the concept is not disturbing enough, the game, with its primitive graphics, has actual pictures and quotes from the killers. But don’t worry, the player is not “rewarded” in the game by surviving. Harris and Klebold kill themselves at the end of one scene and the player continues on, fighting demons in hell.
How appropriate. The creator, Danny LeDonne, who refers to himself as the “Columbin,” argues against the notion that his game is morally offensive. He said on the game’s Web site that it is not provoking violence, but instead is a great way for people to learn more about the Columbine incident and helps the “understanding of the Columbine shooting become deepened and refined.”
As can be expected, there is much backlash about the integrity of the game. It was pulled from the Slamdance 2007 competition where it was a finalist. Even though the game is not released for sale, it is still available to the public by Internet download. It’s rated “M” for mature. Or morbid, take your pick.
Even more distressing than the game itself are the comments made by players on the game’s Web site. The comments were left by players with screennames such as HomicidalMadman, RebGirl and RebandVodkaFan, (Reb and Vodka being the actual nicknames of Klebold and Harris).
The message boards are filled with sayings like, “There should be more school shootings,” “Columbine was a tragedy because more people should have died,” and “The victims deserved every last bit of torture.”
It is impossible to successfully read through these horrific thoughts without wanting to gouge out your eyes in frustration.
Rather than creating a site for students to learn about the tragedy of Columbine, this page has become a worshipping ground for Harris and Klebold and their legacy of violence.
Aaron Ruby was quoted on the site, saying that the game “did a better job of portraying the consequences of violence than any video game ever made.”
He implies that because gamers are playing through the eyes of a killer with an agenda, the idea disturbs the gamer so much that they are forced to become more aware and educated about the magnitude and effects of such violence. Instead, the players become immersed in the game and action itself and become desensitized
to violence. Some events are simply too tragic to recreate as a form of entertainment.
A computer game depicting 9/11 surely would not be tolerated, so this shouldn’t be either.
Michelle Sears can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.