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    Feb 22nd, 2010 at 10:19:04     -    Super Columbine Massacre RPG (PC)

    In my third session, the killing of students continued. I hated that you can taunt the person you kill. Itís awful that they really did that, even to people who had never bullied them. Only in one instance did one of the killers decide to let someone go. After another half hour of killing, I got bored and gave up hope that I would advance much further in the game. I wanted to see what would happen after, but it seemed like I would have to play for hours to get to that point.

    In reflection, my favorite thing about this game is how it forces the player to emphasize with Eric and Dylan, at least a little bit. There were references to and cut scenes showing Eric and Dylan being bullied and taunted at school. Everyone can relate to feeling lonely and isolated and angry. Especially in the high school setting. This game humanizes them and shows that they were two messed up boys who handled their feelings the wrong way. I really appreciated that aspect of SCM.

    My least favorite thing about SCM is the realism. Not in the animation, but in the cut scenes and dialogue. This really happened, and I keep wondering what it would look like if this game were made today. Games are looking more and more lifelike, so playing SCM with that kind of development would be even more unsettling.

    After my third and final session of SCM, I decided to Google the game to read other reactions. There were a ton of people saying the game is unethical and should be banned, etc. I didnít like the game, but I think these people are not only missing the point, but kind of ridiculous. The point of SCM isnít to show how awesome or justified the Columbine shooting was. Itís to make points about media, violence, and the state of our society as a whole. It irks me that those who donít like the game donít acknowledge the developerís rights to freedom of expression and free speech. Even if the point of the game was to glorify Eric and Dylan, they have a right to do that. There are TONS of games that honestly glorify violence with no real point or statement, yet the media and watchdogs donít blast those constantly. Itís like violence isnít okay in a game like Grand Theft Auto or Super Columbine Massacre, but as soon as itís in a different setting like Bioshock or Just Cause everything is fine. This kind of hypocrisy really angers me. I donít like violence in games at all, which is why I donít play them. To me, it seems like everyone else could just have that mindset.

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    Feb 21st, 2010 at 17:12:19     -    Super Columbine Massacre RPG (PC)

    This time I actually killed people. I hated it. Killing in games is unpleasant enough for me, but these characters represents real teens that were murdered. When I shot girls, I remembered a time the parents of a girl who was killed in this shooting spoke at my school. I thought of those parents and the heartbreak they endured. I remembered how one of the boys asked her if she believed in God, and shot her when she said yes. I hated using guns and bombs to kill people. The cafeteria killing was even more unsettling because the students were running around trying to escape. When a bomb went off and there was fire, one of the guys said, ďgot any marshmallows?Ē

    After I killed some people, there was a cut scene about how lonely Eric (or maybe Dylan?) was and how he just wanted someone to notice how he sat alone in the cafeteria. This scene was so empathetic and showed how lonely and hurt these boys were. In my first GameLog I mentioned now liking how evil they seemed, so this cut scene definitely took away from that.

    Eventually, the game started to feel boring and repetitive. The shooting didnít really change or interest me, and I just wanted to be over. This part didnít seem realistic, because as I recall, it didnít last that long.

    The use of real stills and news clips was very interesting. There was a short clip of President Clinton talking, and I think that would take players out of the game and remember how shocked the nation was when this happened. It was a huge deal. Maybe this was done so that as the player kills, they know what damage it will have.

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    Feb 20th, 2010 at 16:19:21     -    Super Columbine Massacre RPG (PC)

    My first try at playing Super Columbine Massacre RPG was uncomfortable. From the first moments watching the cut scenes I found the game to be disturbing. It felt voyeuristic to read actual quotes and see images of the boys.

    It bothered me how during game play, I actually wanted to complete the mission. It took me a really long time to get past the narks and to the cafeteria, and I got really frustrated. I was actually getting angry with the innocent students for stopping me from planting bombs. I actually wanted to succeed in killing other students. One thing I noticed about the game is that it was probably easier to do in real life than in the game. Most schools have awful security and someone could just walk in with weapons and open fire, especially before Columbine happened.

    After planting the bombs, Dylan and Eric say on a bench overlooking the city. I really wasnít sure what to make of that. It seemed intimate watching two people process their last day of life. If this were any other game I wouldnít really think about it, but this is real. It's just unsettling.

    Iím aware that SCM is supposed to be social commentary, but I guess Iím unsure at this point what the developers are trying to say. At one point one of the boys even says something like ďthe mainstream media will have a blast with thisĒ. So far I see the portrayal and Eric and Dylan as evil, and I wonder if thatís making fun of how the media portrayed them. Of course what they did was horrible, but they were genuinely troubled young men, not necessarily evil.

    I think itís funny how there was a mention of Marilyn Manson and during the game I hear MIDI versions of Nirvana and Radiohead. The media made a huge fuss over what Dylan and Eric listened to, which Iíve always found to be ridiculous. I love Nirvana and used to listen to Marilyn Manson, and ended up a pacifist. Music hardly made me violent and angry. I think the developers included these references in the game to make a point about the mediaís affect on teens, kind of smirking at how the media blamed what Eric and Dylan listened to for their anger.

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    Jan 18th, 2010 at 13:32:05     -    Grand Theft Auto - San Andreas (PS2)

    On my third day of playing, I finally discovered an aspect of the game I enjoy- cheat codes. Some of them are really funny (wearing a jet pack, getting really fat, all of the prostitutes wearing dildos) and it helped me realize that the game and the developers donít take it as seriously as I have been.

    Today I tried thinking from the perspective of the game developers. One thing that Iíve kept saying in my game log is that the lifestyle portrayed isnít a healthy or glamorous one, and that itís harder for white kids from the suburbs to understand that. Then it dawned on me that probably 99.99% of the people making the game fit into that group. So to these developers, the thought of gang life isnít a reality at all. And it obviously sells. Just a random thought.

    The stereotypes in this game are really strong. Women are ďhosĒ and tools for men to use. None of the white people are threats, only the Hispanic and black people. Older people donít really enter the game. All cops are the enemy. The stereotypes are so prevalent that I stopped wondering if any white people were ďballasĒ or threats to my missions.

    In my game log yesterday, I talked about how there was a mission to beat up a crack dealer. I didnít think it made sense for CJ and the gang to do this, but my friend told me the police are in on it so that helped me realize that this is their only solution. In this case, they have to make their own laws and moral code because the moral code given to us by the government and law is failing. I guess it makes sense that they would have to take matters into their own hands. Beating up a crack dealer made me cringe, but the beatings and thefts and murders are seen as self-defense.

    I find it interesting how behaviors that I would never do in real life are rewarded in the game. In my first game log, I think I noted that if you want to advance in the game, there isnít room for ethical decisions. After realizing that, I just stopped thinking about what I was doing and didnít think twice before shooting anyone. After all, it gives my character more street cred and respect. I had to go buy some clothes to represent my gang, and I was praised for killing the people in the store instead of paying for the clothing.

    What is really starting to bother me about the game is how there arenít any real consequences for CJ or anyone else. The police rarely show up, and when they do itís just a matter of killing them and driving away in a new stolen car. There is no real accountability for the players. The player is invincible. If you die in the game, you start over. Since CJ is invincible, the player might get the subconscious message that they will be too if they do things like this in life. Right and wrong as displayed in this game are really ambiguous. In the game, what is considered wrong by most in the real world is right.

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