Super Slamdance Massacre

Jan 8, 2007 twenty past nine am

As you may have heard, the Slamdance Guerrilla Gamemaker Competition pulled Super Columbine Massacre RPG from it's list of finalist for <insert reason here>.

Apparently some people in the game industry are pretty upset by this, but my question is:  Why haven't the other finalist pulled out in protest?

Seems like it's for one of two reasons:

#1 -  They agree the game should have been pulled.
#2 -  They don't want to lose the chance of winning the award to stand up for something they believe in.

If it's #1, then I'm completely OK with that, but if it's #2, I'm really confused.   If I had a game in the completion, there would be no doubt that I would have pulled out.  No question.

If you are one of the other competitors and you disagree with the decision of Slamdance, please pull out.

If you're worried about winning an award, I'll personally award your game with the 2007 Grumpy Gamer Games are Art Award, guaranteed to move units.

UPDATE:

Braid dropped out 2 days ago.  
flOw also just pulled out.
Toblo is removing themselves from the competition.
Once Upon A Time withdraws.

Other people's comments:

Posted by Jay Barnson on Jan 8, 2007 twenty to ten am

Braid has withdrawn from the competition on principle, even though the developer personally isn't too fond of SCMRPG.

http://braid-game.com/news/?p=18

Posted by gnome on Jan 8, 2007 half past ten am

Actually case #1 is quite worse than case #2. Kudos to the people behind Braid! That's the spirit.

Now...

No one is to censor anyone until I say so. Ok?

Posted by against this game on Jan 8, 2007 twenty five to eleven am

I usualy agree with Ron, but this game should be taken off....... I am a little bit surprised that Ron wants this game in the competion....

Posted by Ron Gilbert on Jan 8, 2007 twenty five past eleven am

This should not surprise you.

Posted by Alan De Smet on Jan 8, 2007 two pm

My question is, "Why?"  If the SCMRPG is "bad" for just about any definition of bad, why not let the voting process handle the situation? Do the organizers not trust the voters?  If not, why not just have the organizers pick the winner directly, saving everyone a bunch of time?  If the game was good enough to be a finalist last November what changed?  If the game should be removed, surely it's worthy of a press release that clearly explains why this was done, and stating what clear rule will be applied in future years that can easily filter out such games.  Right now all we have is a general statement of "moral reasons," as though the morality in this case is somehow obvious or universal.  Absent a clear statement of exactly what was wrong with the game it boils down to "whatever the organizers don't like."  And rejecting games based on what the organizers don't like is a crappy way to run a indie game competition; it calls into question the validity of their goals.

Posted by LKM on Jan 8, 2007 twenty five past eleven am

I absolutely agree, this game should be censored. Here's a list of works I've compiled which should also be censored:

- Elephant. What was Gus Van Sant thinking?
- Schindler's List. The holocaust is a tragedy! We can't make movies about it! Oh, and every game which is about WW2, obvously. Especially if you can play a Nazi.
- The 9/11 Commission Report. What, now they're even writing books about these horrific things?

Posted by Ron Gilbert on Jan 8, 2007 twenty five past noon

There is even a comic book of the 9/11 Commission Report, and we all know that comic books are for kids.

Posted by Kroms on Jan 8, 2007 half past noon

I'm not sure how I feel about this.

If games are to become a medium of their own, how could they do this without lumping into controversial subjects? Especially independent games.

To give you an example, I recently rented the film Donnie Darko. Watching that (incredible) movie, I couldn't help but feel that this was a movie that no studio would have picked-up, not only because of its subject, but because of the feel of the film in general. This wasn't another Happy Gilmore/Mr. Deeds movie that was a guaranteed cash-in, but a film with lots, and lots, of risk.

The whole point of an independent game is to experiment. Facade is a great example of this, a wonderful experiment that unveils some potential for videogames. It's not the most fun of games (actually if you're having relationship trouble it's downright depressing), but it sure as hell pushed the medium forward in my mind.

Posted by Oded Sharon - Corbomite Games on Jan 8, 2007 five past one pm

I think I'm going to work an a new MMO for next year's competition:

"Ultra gay marriage MMORPG".

Am I still eligable to go to the award ceremonies of the "Grumpies" ?
Can i sit next to Brad Pitt and Wil wright ?

Posted by Oded Sharon - Corbomite Games on Jan 8, 2007 ten past one pm

who is presenting the Grumpies this year ? What category is Tim Schafer presenting ?

Posted by Oded Sharon - Corbomite Games on Jan 8, 2007 ten past one pm

oooh, Did you see Angelina's dress from the red carpet event of the Grumpies ?

Posted by Alan De Smet on Jan 8, 2007 ten to two pm

flOw has been withdrawn for the same reason.

One of last years winners has asked Slamdance to reconsider, which seems like a good idea. (I don't believe they have a game the finals to withdraw this year.)

So all in all things are looking up.  Hopefully as word of this spreads more games will be withdrawn.  Hopefully that will convince Slamdance to fix their mistake.

Posted by born2code on Jan 8, 2007 three pm

Hmmm, tricky one, this. My opinion? It should be pulled from the competition (and no, I'm not a game-Nazi). But this game was bound to get strong emotional reactions.

If they really wanted it to be like this: (quote) Ledonne, who lives in Alamosa, said he created it as a way to both deal with the shootings on a personal level and get people to think about what lead up to the shootings.(unquote), then they should have at least communicated that, and maybe reconsider the (quite tasteless) title of the game. It just causes hurt to people to use a name like "Super Columbine Massacre RPG".

Posted by Alex on Jan 8, 2007 five to four pm

I see your point about the title but it's also clearly a parody of how computergames are normally titled. the parody inherent in the title is made even more obvious by the referral to something which is seen by most people as a horrific event.

I haven't played the game and it's not something I would like to play, so I can't comment on the possible intentions of the game and/or maker.

I don't think that something should be censored because it will illicit strong emotional reactions, as quite a lot of art does that.

But this is all rather beside the point - fact is, they selected the game in November themselves. That is what this discussion is about - first saying yes, then saying no, which seems hypocritical, to say the least.

Posted by LKM on Jan 9, 2007 five past midnight

What's wrong with getting strong emotional reactions? When exactly did emotions become bad? Suddenly, I feel like I'm living in some "Equilibrium"-type parallel universe. I like my emotions, thank you very much.

The title is a play on the old SNES game titles. It's supposed to be tasteless, probably to emphasize the absurdity of the whole situation.

Posted by josh g. on Jan 9, 2007 ten past eleven am

But why does the tastelessness being intentional let it off the hook for being tasteless?

I understand that it's parody, and I "get it".  But that doesn't change the fact that the title comes across as strongly exploitive.

Posted by LKM on Jan 9, 2007 twenty to noon

How did tastelessness get it on the hook? Apart from that, I don't think the title is tasteless, and the game most certainly isn't.

Posted by Joe Bourrie on Jan 8, 2007 ten past four pm

#3: They are trying to make a name for themselves and need the publicity.

If this had happened last year, it would have been a difficult decision whether or not I would have pulled Rumble Box from the competition.  In the end, as a nobody looking for publicity I probably would have stayed in.  The choice would be much easier now that I have already had a successful game.

The two games that have pulled out are from teams that already have a name for themselves (flOw had Cloud, Braid was J.Blo whom everybody knows).  To pressure the students that made Toblo or The Blob to drop from the competition seems to harm them more than it helps make a statement.  Slamdance might be their chance to get noticed and I would hate to see them get pressured into giving it up.

Posted by Feenwager on Jan 8, 2007 ten to five pm

You can't selectively censor. You either have freedom of expression, or you don't. Occasionally you'll see something you don't agree with, or may even disgust you (a Columbine Simulator disgusts me, by the way), but it has to be allowed to exist otherwise you start down the proverbial slippery slope.

Posted by M on Jan 8, 2007 twenty to six pm

I'm with Joe Bourrie.  Your statement reveals the Fallacy of the Excluded Middle (reference : http://changingminds.org/disciplines/argument/fallacies/excluded_middle.htm)
in that you stipulate there are but two rather extreme choices when there are in fact several other reasons a developer might not want to remove their game from the competition.  This tactic actually weakens your argument.

Don't get me wrong, I'm in agreement that the decision made by the people behind Slamdance was faulty, but I also believe that the entire event does not need to be unilaterally shunned.  Slamdance is many things to many people, and the developers who choose to let their games remain part of the contest deserve the benefit of the doubt.  At least hear their opinions, before rashly concluding what their lack of action says.

Posted by Ninomojo on Jan 8, 2007 twenty five past eight pm

Does anyone realize that Super Columbine Massacre is not going to make game developers appear any smarter or more mature ?

Censorship is another story, but it's really easy to understand why such a game would be pulled out. To accept it is different.

Posted by LKM on Jan 9, 2007 five past midnight

Have you played the game?

Posted by Nathan on Jan 9, 2007 five to five am

I understand the whole "freedom of expression" and artistic liscence thing that is wanted in games, I just can't make myself feel comfortable with the concept.  Schindlers List and other movies (if we're going to compare games to movies) are more of an analysis of events, a dramatisation of history.  I, personally, cannot possibly equate this with Levelling Up by killing High School Kids (who, incidentally, really are dead) in order to get some sort of entertainment value.  Or maybe I'm looking at this from the wrong angle.

Posted by LKM on Jan 9, 2007 seven am

Trust me, FWIW, there's pretty much no entertainment value in this game. I would advise that people play the game before making up their minds. This is no "columbine simulator" (but even if it were, it should still not be pulled).

Posted by Sam on Jan 9, 2007 twenty to eight am

What in the hell are you talking about??

I just can't believe what I'm reading. You don't get it right?

This has nothing to do with "Super Columbine Massacre RPG", it doesn't matter at all if you agree or not with the game (by the way, has any of you played the game to have the slightest idea of what is it about?).
This is all about NOT ALLOWING CENSORSHIP. Expressing a controversial idea in form a game (just to give an example) is part of the freedom EVERY SINGLE HUMAN BEIGN should have. You can express ANY IDEA AT ALL with that same freedom.

With censorship you are taking away freedom, you are not allowing someone to express themselves. It's completely unnecesary, for christ sake we are human beigns we have brains. If you don't agree with their game, that's 100% perfect, just ignore it or express yourself on why you don't like it but by censoring you are letting dolphings (or dogs and cats for that matter) be smarter. Because censoring is an act of DE-EVOLUTION.

I just can't understand how in the 21st century there are still this kind of small-minded people. It's really depressing.

If I had a game of my own (Judgement Day: Hang Saddam) I would certainly pull it out from Slamdance.

Posted by josh g. on Jan 9, 2007 twenty past eleven am

This isn't about censorship.  No one is preventing the game from being distributed.  This is about whether or not games are being acknowledged as an expressive, artistic medium.

Slamdance's Gamemaker awards were a step in the right direction, initially, recognizing indie games alongside indie film as an art form.  Pulling a game because of controversial content despite the game having jury-recognized artistic merit (enough to be selected as a finalist) undermines the movement towards that recognition.

That's the issue.  This isn't about constitutional-rights censorship, it's about pulling the rug out from under indie game developers who are working hard to get games out of the stigma of what culture thinks games "should" be (ie. mindless, thoughtless entertainment that doesn't say anything important).

Posted by Sam on Jan 9, 2007 twenty five past six pm

I agree with you, but I still believe that this in fact was a way of censorship. I mean it doesn't necesarily need to involve "constitutional-rights" to be considered an act of censorship.

If you had 30 movies nominateed for the various categories at the academy awards and one of them (let's say... Pimp My Ride: The Movie) is suddenly pulled out....well, they are censoring it. Of course the movie was already released in movie theaters, but it was censored in those specific awards.

Bottom line, the incoherent fact here, as you point out, is that an already pre-selected game has been taken out and not because they broke any rule applied to Slamdance.

And basically that...

Posted by blombo on Jan 11, 2007 half past four pm

Are we not men?

D-E-V-O

Posted by Alan De Smet on Jan 10, 2007 twenty five past eight am

Updates: Everyday Shooter and Book and Volume have been withdrawn.

Posted by Oded Sharon - Corbomite Games on Jan 10, 2007 half past noon

Oohh ! you got linked from watercooler games as one of the websites involved in the sundance fiasco !

Yay for the Grumpies !

Posted by Tramb on Jan 11, 2007 twenty past four am

Mmmhh, ok, let's admit this game was not tasteless enough to be censored. (Btw I don't care about this)
Would a paedophilia game be enough? A gas chamber tycoon?
What is the limit?

Posted by Joe Bourrie on Jan 11, 2007 twenty past nine am

@Tramb
I think you're missing the point.  This isn't a "Columbine Simulator", it is a social commentary that uses Columbine as a way to drive it's message.  Whether or not it does it's job very well is up for debate, but the intent is not to exploit or trivialize the shootings.

Could you make a paedophilia game that does the same?  Possibly, but I have no idea how.

A gas chamber tycoon?  Well, lets take that further and say it's a Nazi Concentration Camp Tycoon.  And yes, this could be made in the same way SCMRPG was done and it would be equally protected as art (assuming that the game is not just there for exploitation and shock value).

Slamdance showed Waco Ressurection in it's first year because it put you in a situation that you could not get anywhere else.  But most of us shunned Ethnic Cleansing because it was a pointless and completely exploitative game.  It all depends on the context.

Posted by Vincent on Jan 11, 2007 twenty five to noon

Also, such "exploitative" games would never be considered as a contender anyway. No one is demanding that SCMRPG should be a finalist just because some people say it should be, the issue is that it was a finalist but was then pulled because of alleged outside pressure. That rather compromises the integrity of your festival. And considering that the games industry has very few of such festivals to begin with, I'd say it even "compromises" the games industry.

Posted by BrainFromArous on Jan 19, 2007 ten past two pm

I first became aware of this when Greg Costikyan rallied 'round the flag to defend the game's artistic worth in "Super Columbine Massacre: Artwork or Menace" here:

http://www.costik.com/weblog/

He wrote:

"And a game such as Super Columbine Massacre can lend insight into the events of that terrible day that newspaper reports, or somber and thouthful essays, cannot. Not necessarily better insights-but different ones-precisely because it makes you complicit in recreating the events."

So... would a "First Person Rapist" game be ok? Or how about "Klan Kommand," an RTS that has you controlling a group of KKK terrorists as they turn over school buses, bomb churches and lynch people while avoiding the FBI? New insights, right?

This is not a 1st Amendment issue since no state action is involved. But it is still a moral issue. Contrary to what is implied with Greg's "Artwork or Menace" subtitle, creative expressions do not occupy some kind of a conscience-free zone. A work of art might well be simultaneously technically superb AND morally despicable. Calling something "art" does not immunize it from moral criticism - assuming it even IS "art" and not mere pandering to trangressive chic, that lowest of aesthetics.

Unless the Slamdance folks came right out and said that they have no moral standards for submission content whatsoever, they are certainly entitled to make moral judgments. They'd be well within their rights to consider the game, find it loathsome and rejected it. Fair dinkum.

Where they dropped the ball was in hiding behind the excuse of 'protecting our contest.' Nonsense. Goddamn it, Slamdancers, have the moral courage to stand behind your decision for its own sake or let the game in. Because your approach transforms what could have been a principled stand into cowardly ass-covering.

Perhaps the call from Slamdance to Ledonne went something like this?

"Well, we are okay with your game, Danny, but... well... you know. We're worried about hurting Slamdance. Times being what they are, right? Hot Coffee. 9/11. Britney driving with a baby on her lap. Nothing personal, kid. It's not like we're unhip or something. We wouldn't want to judge you. We respect you as an artist, of course. Now get out of here before someone sees us talking together."

As for the game itself, I direct you to the "Artist's Statement" on the game's website:

http://www.columbinegame.com/statement.htm

While I'd rather hoped to have left this sort of pretentious, self-serving claptrap behind in college, it does make my case better than I myself could. It fairly screams RATIONALIZATION!

What really stands out, though, is how this game's designer, Danny Ledonne writes:

"Since 1999 so many mistruths have been spoken and political postures have been struck in the wake of the shooting that I didn?t want to fall into the speculative pitfalls of much of the media?s coverage."

and then proceeds to plummet head first into an even deeper pit, having swallowed the Bullied Victims Strike Back canard of Columbine hook, line and sinker. He closes his "Meditation" (sheesh) with this:

"Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, through their furious words and malevolent actions, can be understood as the canaries in the mine?foretelling of an ?apocalypse soon? for those remaining to ponder their deeds."

O RLY? So we're all about to become remorseless psychopaths with God complexes? Because that's what Eric Harris was, according to the team of psych experts assembled by the FBI. Read all about it here:

http://www.slate.com/id/2099203/

How did Danny Ledonne's "considerable research" (Greg Costikyan's words) miss this?

This is the problem generally with 'political' art of all kinds; all too often the artists themselves have a mudpuddle-deep understanding of the issues involved. The same 'creative' mindset which (might) make them good artists makes them lousy analysts and teachers.

In this case, based on the "Artist Statement," the verdict is pretty much in. Grandiose poseur-speak aside, Danny Ledonne comes off as someone who simply does not understand what happened at Columbine or why. This cripples the instructive value of his creation because art based on falsehoods doesn't give us what Costikyan calls "insights" into anything - apart from having some limited exemplary value as to the urban legendry of famous crimes.

One last thing, for now. This is from the Manifesto.com page for the game:

"After solving puzzles and encountering Satan comes the final cut-scene of the game: a ceremony outside the high-school, with the game putting in the mouths of the speakers a variety of the conventional sentiments the tragedy evoked. One speaker demands gun control, another a ban on violent media, a third the need to re-Christianize society. The sentiments are enough almost to make you wish you could take Harris and Klebold back to the school, at least in their game-character guise, and murder these idiots"

Because mass-murdering psychopaths might have their faults, but at least they're not 'squares', right?

"...because Super Columbine Massacre does a far better job of getting inside, and trying to understand, the events of that terrible day than these speakers do."

Said speakers having been reduced to caricatures, that doesn't sound too tough. Of course the actual mourning and remembrance ceremonies held at the school prominently featured real survivors who had seen their classmates murdered in cold blood. So much for "insightful, somber, and respectful treatment" of the material.

Posted by Bryan M. on Jan 24, 2007 five to seven pm

"....that has you controlling a group of KKK terrorists as they turn over school buses, bomb churches and lynch people while avoiding the FBI? New insights, right?"

Sounds like the craptastic game Ethnic Cleansing. Maybe if they put some real names, faces, and a story to the KKK guys in a contained setting it might have some kind of worth? Compare apples to apples. Not to parakeets.

"They'd be well within their rights to consider the game, find it loathsome and rejected it. Fair dinkum. Where they dropped the ball was in hiding behind the excuse of 'protecting our contest.' "

The game was sought out, competed, and was selected as a finalist by the committee in charge of running the contest. Then, one man (not a "we" as their website states. Do not pluralize the single, please) - Peteie McPete decided to kick it out. Disrespecting his subordinates, disrespecting the competition. That is pretty low.

"having swallowed the Bullied Victims Strike Back canard of Columbine hook"

Ummmmm... where? Where? Is it somewhere further in the game than I am currently? Because... So far, so far it's presenting these kids as disapproving of humanity as a whole, and their one-year plan is clearly intended as a mass murder + suicide.

"This is the problem generally with 'political' art of all kinds; all too often the artists themselves have a mudpuddle-deep understanding of the issues involved."

It's not political. It's not "art" - whatever it is we've defined that is. It's a simple, underwhelming game a guy put together in RPG Maker for his friends to try out.

"O RLY? So we're all about to become remorseless psychopaths with God complexes?"

Um... no? I think... you kind of have to be born that way to become a psychopath? "Canaries in the mine" is referring to social decay, apathy, narcissism all that good stuff. Apocalypse is obviously a strong word to describe the direct result of this, hence "why it is like all in quotes, dude."

"Because mass-murdering psychopaths might have their faults, but at least they're not 'squares', right? "

Were you old enough to remember how TV and Newspapers and schools reacted to this incident? It was insane.

"Said speakers having been reduced to caricatures, that doesn't sound too tough."

The entire game is a caricature. The ceremony isn't supposed to represent any of the actual victims - none of the unarmed kids have names. It's supposed to represent how our culture reacted to it.

GUYS - I have another idea. Let's all focus on Hitler's mass genocide of Jews during World War II! Let's ignore the Rape of Nanking or the other massive atrocities committed by Japan. Let's ignore the lesser atrocities Russia and the U.S. committed, too. Because, like, knowing and thinking about things, things like history, is bad.

Also... I suggest we maybe play the game before bashing/praising it so we don't have to quote Some Guy second hand, because I read Some Guy's quick article on the game too, and it fails to mention how Mr.Man was rejected from the marines due to his Luvox.

A fellow I went to MEPS with was rejected from getting into the Air Force since his mother put him on some anti-depression meds as a youth. He probably hasn't turned into a mass-murderer; probably a modest pot peddler.

Posted by potential on Jan 20, 2007 twenty five to eleven pm

If any games pull out thanks to Grumpy Gamer and get the 2007 Grumpy Gamer Games are Art Award I also guarantee that it will move units because I will be one of the ones first to buy whatever game dev's have enough sense to pull out.

I'm tired of the censorship, I really am.

Posted by BrainFromArous on Feb 2, 2007 five to three pm

Bryan M,

Thanks for replying. My answers below...

***
"....that has you controlling a group of KKK terrorists as they turn over school buses, bomb churches and lynch people while avoiding the FBI? New insights, right?"

Sounds like the craptastic game Ethnic Cleansing. Maybe if they put some real names, faces, and a story to the KKK guys in a contained setting it might have some kind of worth? Compare apples to apples. Not to parakeets.
***

My comment was in response to Costikyan's remarks defending the instructive/artistic value of SCM on the grounds that "insights" will result from complicity in deeds. I challenged this.

***
"They'd be well within their rights to consider the game, find it loathsome and rejected it. Fair dinkum. Where they dropped the ball was in hiding behind the excuse of 'protecting our contest.' "

The game was sought out, competed, and was selected as a finalist by the committee in charge of running the contest. Then, one man (not a "we" as their website states. Do not pluralize the single, please) - Peteie McPete decided to kick it out. Disrespecting his subordinates, disrespecting the competition. That is pretty low.
***

My point is that moral criticism is not, in itself, invalid or suspect. How the game was ejected from Slamdance is a separate issue from WHY it was.

***
"having swallowed the Bullied Victims Strike Back canard of Columbine hook"

Ummmmm... where? Where? Is it somewhere further in the game than I am currently? Because... So far, so far it's presenting these kids as disapproving of humanity as a whole, and their one-year plan is clearly intended as a mass murder + suicide.
***

From the "Artist's Statement:"

...In an age when hastily-formed scapegoats and false dichotomies of ?good? and ?evil? run rampant, SCMRPG dares us into a realm of grey morality with nuanced perspectives of suffering, vengeance, horror, and reflection. In the words of Harris? friend Brooks Brown, there are ?no easy answers? to such a socially indicting tragedy...

Suffering? Whose suffering? Vengeance? Vengeance by who, against whom and for what, exactly? And "socially indicting" clearly, unmistakably assigns responsibility away from Harris and Klebold. In fact, there are a number of of things in the Statement I could quote to support this.

***
"This is the problem generally with 'political' art of all kinds; all too often the artists themselves have a mudpuddle-deep understanding of the issues involved."

It's not political. It's not "art" - whatever it is we've defined that is. It's a simple, underwhelming game a guy put together in RPG Maker for his friends to try out.
***

It's not political? Read the Artist's Statement again.

***
"O RLY? So we're all about to become remorseless psychopaths with God complexes?"

Um... no? I think... you kind of have to be born that way to become a psychopath? "Canaries in the mine" is referring to social decay, apathy, narcissism all that good stuff. Apocalypse is obviously a strong word to describe the direct result of this, hence "why it is like all in quotes, dude."
***

From the Statement:

...Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, through their furious words and malevolent actions, can be understood as the canaries in the mine?foretelling of an ?apocalypse soon? for those remaining to ponder their deeds. With ?Super Columbine Massacre RPG!,? I present to you one of the darkest days in modern history and ask, ?Are we willing to look in the mirror??...

You'll recall that actual mine canaries were caged, unthinking animals killed by an unseen force they were helpless to defend against or even recognize. The very use of that phrase connotes that Harris & Klebold are in a similar position of victimhood. Otherwise the expression simply doesn't work.

This misapplied canary metaphor also directly supports my earlier charge that the game perpetuates the 'Killers Were Victims' canard mentioned previously.

Finally, if the canary remark refers to social decay, apathy, etc. then what's  that business about the willingness to look in the mirror? Impersonal forces of cultural and social entropy can't do that.

***
"Because mass-murdering psychopaths might have their faults, but at least they're not 'squares', right? "

Were you old enough to remember how TV and Newspapers and schools reacted to this incident? It was insane.

"Said speakers having been reduced to caricatures, that doesn't sound too tough."

The entire game is a caricature. The ceremony isn't supposed to represent any of the actual victims - none of the unarmed kids have names. It's supposed to represent how our culture reacted to it.

GUYS - I have another idea. Let's all focus on Hitler's mass genocide of Jews during World War II! Let's ignore the Rape of Nanking or the other massive atrocities committed by Japan. Let's ignore the lesser atrocities Russia and the U.S. committed, too. Because, like, knowing and thinking about things, things like history, is bad.
***

1) I was 32 in 1999. I'm old enough to have personally experienced the anti-D&D panics of the early 1980s. I am well-acquainted with this sort of thing.

2) I'm all for caricature. But when the thing being caricatured is the remembrance ceremony wherein actual victims and survivors are portrayed and dolts and fools and their personal, real, human suffering is served up for mockery... that's something else.

3) Don't forget the Armenian genocide, what China did (and does) in Tibet, the fearful slaughter that attended the breakup of the British Raj in India and thereabouts, the rivers of blood soaking Africa since the end of colonialism (and often during it, such as with the Belgian Congo), etc.

On the other hand, if ignoring history means no more goddamned WW2/Normandy strategy and FPS games, I'm all for it.

***
Also... I suggest we maybe play the game before bashing/praising it so we don't have to quote Some Guy second hand, because I read Some Guy's quick article on the game too, and it fails to mention how Mr.Man was rejected from the marines due to his Luvox.

A fellow I went to MEPS with was rejected from getting into the Air Force since his mother put him on some anti-depression meds as a youth. He probably hasn't turned into a mass-murderer; probably a modest pot peddler.
***

I played the game. As for Costikyan, his choice to pointedly champion the game's instructive and artistic value makes his comments more than fit for public debate.

Posted by J on May 26, 2007 four am

"My comment was in response to Costikyan's remarks defending the instructive/artistic value of SCM on the grounds that "insights" will result from complicity in deeds. I challenged this. "
Not really. You've said it's a bad idea and offered some rather extreme examples, but you haven't attacked the position in a logical fashion. And I can't see any substantial difference between a game that lets you play Nazis and films or novels that have Nazis as protagonists.
"From the "Artist's Statement:"
So, again, you pass judgment based on some vaguely-worded statements on the author's site, and totally ignore Bryan M's point about not having played the game. Okay. But don't expect anybody to take these strawmen of yours seriously.
"You'll recall that actual mine canaries were caged, unthinking animals killed by an unseen force they were helpless to defend against or even recognize. The very use of that phrase connotes that Harris & Klebold are in a similar position of victimhood. Otherwise the expression simply doesn't work."
Haha, oh wow. You could try thinking a little less literally. And stop being a judgmental dick.
"I played the game."
I really fucking doubt it. Why would you quote the author's statements when you could more easily, concretely, and irrefutably reference the game?


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