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    May 16th, 2010 at 22:03:14     -    Super Columbine Massacre RPG (PC)

    I decided to replay the game, this time going through and killing everyone. Literally. I walked through the entire school and the parking lot and bumped into everyone. Only three people were spared. The one "positive" aspect of this was the extra flashback scenes. After killing everyone except for one person in the gymnasium, I saw the flashback of Eric Harris being bullied by some “jocks” who didn’t like him because of the way he looked. I also saw the flashback of Dylan Klebold controlling the lights for a production of Frankenstein. I made sure I killed everyone the game allowed me to before going to hell. In fact, I went through and killed them without thinking, even though it felt like I was killing the same person again and again and again because many of the characters look the same (probably due to technology restrictions).

    When I got to hell, I found this experience much easier to play than last time. I was about a level 27 this time, which means I was actually able to put up a fight. I was still careful to avoid fights until I had killed enough demon soldiers for exp’s sake. Finding things like the chainsaw, chain-gun, body armor, satanic bible, and so on also made the playing experience easier. I think I was right before: in terms of the game, you get rewarded for the more you kill. In terms of SCMRPG!, this reward is easier battles. I was able to take out anybody I came across, only as Klebold. I felt powerful. There’s no one who could stop me, other than running out of ammo, but even then, the brass knucks and chainsaw made it easier.

    When I found Harris, I actually became bored. Yes, I was relieved on the one hand to find a partner and someone I needed to complete the game. It was also nice to know that the battles would be over that much quicker because I had built both of them up. But it was actually boring to go around with him knowing that it would it take three moves at the most to win each battle. I still walked around trying to avoid any and all combat, this time because I just was tired of the game. It felt really exhausting looking at the same characters on the same map and using the same sure-fire techniques to win every battle.
    In addition to the boredom, I got lost. I went through some transporter and never really found my place again. I knew where I had to go, but because everything looked the same, my mind couldn’t absorb any more of the same textures.

    I’m not really sure what to make of this game. I haven’t finished it, and I’m not sure if I am going to. Personally, the fact that it is Columbine surprisingly doesn’t bother me. Initially, based on the title only, I thought this game was going to glorify Harris and Klebold. But from I what I played, I can tell that it really does not. Instead, I think it offers an interesting point of view. Experiencing, or attempting to at least, from the two’s side is something that has never really been discussed. They have been demonized, perhaps rightfully so for mass murder, but no one has really sanefully tried to see it their way. In that sense, I think the game succeeds.

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    May 15th, 2010 at 22:03:01     -    Super Columbine Massacre RPG (PC)

    I walked through Columbine High School. I was supposed to kill students by walking into the classrooms and physically touching students to cause a battle. I decided, as I did in the parking lot, that I was not going to kill anyone. I walked through all the classrooms because I was curious if I could find any more items or trigger any more flashbacks featuring Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. I couldn’t find any, so I decided to head towards the library, which is where I knew the two committed suicide (I did this so I could move on to the next stage of the game). On the way to the library, I accidentally bumped into a student, which triggered a battle. The student was described as “openly gay.” I set the battle techniques to auto; Klebold fired and the student was dead. After this killing, which I did not want to do, I entered the library and the dialogue read, “Any jocks ….” which is what the two said when they entered the library in real life. I didn’t kill anybody in the library on purpose; I was hoping to play through the game without killing any students, and I was upset that I bumped into the one in the hallway. I explored around the library, careful to avoid touching any of the students. When I crossed in front of the library windows, the police showed up. The firefight between Harris and Klebold and the police was completely out of my control. After that, dialogue began between the two. They said they just wanted to “end it” and not live on a planet and in a situation in which they were constantly bullied. They commented that at the last moment of their life how everything seemed all for nothing or had no purpose. The game also gave a situation in which the two lived on their own private island. They said how happy they would be, until someone would inevitably come and ruin their happiness by making them live the status quo. The game then shows photos of the two after they’ve committed suicide.

    After the library scene, I found myself as Klebold – in hell. I found it nearly impossible to avoid combat with the various demons and lost souls in hell. And, to make matters worse, I had virtually no combat experience because I decided to do what was right and avoid killing people. In a sense the game was punishing me for NOT killing. It was really frustrating, to be honest. Here I was avoiding killing, only to go to hell and have to face creatures that could kill me with one combat move. I suppose I feel a bit mislead by the game. I read, “You decide how many they kill.” I decided. The first time playing, I accidentally killed just the one student. I reloaded from my save and killed zero students. Zero. Yet, the game put me in hell anyway, severely outmatched and nearly impossible to win.

    Does the game consider suicide a guaranteed way to get into hell? I don’t know for sure, I’m not in the heads of the creator. I know a lot of people have a negative view of suicide; after all, it is still murder. But I always took a different approach to it. I always viewed suicide as something someone never really has complete control over because s/he is not in a completely rational state. This isn’t to praise the act, but I think people need to be a bit more sensitive to the subject.

    Or, the game put me in hell because of the intention to kill. Is the intention the motivating factor? I also can’t say for sure. The game certainly made me think about it though. Because I didn’t kill any students (on the second play), would my motivations incriminate me? Hypothetically speaking, I never killed anyone. The bombs that were planted didn’t go off, and since I made sure not make contact with anyone that would trigger a battle, I never physically did anything wrong. But that should not excuse Harris and Klebold. They set out to kill people. It wasn’t like a spur-of- the-moment/ emotions-got-the-better-of-me situation. They took careful time and planning to create bombs, buy weapons, and plan their actions precisely to the minute. So it’s really hard for me to say one way or the other IF and only IF they never killed anybody. Their mental and emotional states are extremely hard to judge. For example, in their last video, they apologized to their parents, but they still nonetheless carried out their actions. I’m currently frustrated and will try a different method tomorrow.

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    May 12th, 2010 at 21:07:36     -    Super Columbine Massacre RPG (PC)

    Day one of playing Super Columbine Massacre RPG! I found the game to be quite different from what I expected. Before I started playing the game, I read about it on its Web site. SCMRPG! Wasn’t exactly what I expected it to be: just based on the title, I figured it would be walk into Columbine High School and shoot the students and that would be it. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold would commit suicide and the game would be over. Starting up as Eric, I was supposed to call Dylan and gather-up the bombs in the basement. I thought the game gave some interesting background on the two growing up in suburban Denver. For example, the basement has a Marilyn Manson CD. When the player picks it up, the game dialogue says, “The lyrics are sure to inspire rage and killing,” or something along those lines. I thought that was a terrific piece of satire on the part of the game designer because Manson as well as the videogame DOOM were two early influences blamed by the American news media for the killings. I thought this was a great way to point out to the player how ridiculous or unfair this type of blaming was.

    The game also has some interesting flashbacks, such as when the player presses the action key by the pizza box, which shows Harris and Klebold detonating their first bomb and planning the eventual Columbine murders. The video camera staged the real-life video message left by the two. Personally, I had not seen the actual video before, so it was good to see it in the game because it gave some important background information on the two’s mental state and motivation for the killings. I actually found this to be a somewhat sympathetic depiction of the two that changed my perspective on them. On the one hand, what they did was definitely wrong. There is no excuse for their cold-blooded killing. Nor should they be given any praise. But on the other hand, I thought the game did a good job of opening up to the other perspective by simply using real evidence. Harris and Klebold, according to the video message they left, had regrets about what they were about to do and apologized to their family and friends, asking the police not to arrest nor blame them for Harris’ and Klebold’s actions.

    I decided to play through the game and collect as many items as I could, while trying to avoid killing as much as I could. Sneaking into the school to plant the bombs was not difficult, just took a little while to get used to the movements of the hall monitors. After I planted the bombs, I was supposed to sneak back out and go to the car to grab the gear. While gearing up, the game gave more insight into the Harris’ and Klebold’s mind: they were tired of being mocked and bullied growing in a predominately white, upper-middle class suburb. When the bombs failed to explode, the two’s plan had to change, so they decided to go into the school and start shooting, following their “animal instincts.”

    I had the option to kill students in the parking lot. I chose not to. To me, the Columbine shootings are such a terrible event that I really didn’t feel up to “killing” anyone. The game, in its attempts to show Harris’ and Klebold’s motivations, could not convince me to kill anyone. I ducked and dodged everyone in the parking lot. I for one would not do the killings. In my mind, I thought, “Am I avoiding killing because it’s Columbine or because I don’t play any kind of violent games and am not used to the task.” I think this is an interesting conflict for someone who does play violent videogames. Does the fact that the game relives Columbine change how people play it? I haven’t finished the game yet, but this is one aspect of it that makes SCMRPG! interesting. After I got through the parking lot without any kills, I entered the school and entered the first door on the right. It was at this point the game froze …

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    Apr 18th, 2010 at 17:43:30     -    Grand Theft Auto - San Andreas (PS2)

    Third and final day of playing Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. I started playing today’s round by going to the gym as I was not looking forward to more of the same gameplay. The most frustrating experience was “Drive-By.” “Drive-By” required me to drive the car while other members of the gang leaned out of the windows and shot at members of the Ballas gang. I had to replay this mission several times because I kept failing at it. I had a hard time driving at the right speed. For difficulty purposes, the game was designed so that it would take more shots to kill a rival gang member than to destroy CJ’s car. I don’t know why this frustrated me. I mean, “reality,” “realistic,”“realism,” and other variations of the word “real” went out the window a long time ago. But it was still a frustrating experience nonetheless.

    This mission in particular was an interesting personal experience. Here I was getting frustrated because I couldn’t murder quick enough. As I posted previously, GTA desensitizes me during the gameplay. During the last part of “Drive-By” before I was chased by the cops, I drove through the park and ran over, backed-up, and re-ran over the remaining members of the Ballas gang. I don’t know what was going through my mind at this point, only that I wanted those guys dead and it better be fast. After running over these human beings, I was chased by the cops until I had the car spray painted.

    One of the other missions I did was sneaking into an old Army veteran’s house and stealing his guns with Ryder. Instead of going in guns blazing, the game had me sneaking in wearing a ski mask. Except for the bright green shirt and bright green jeans I was wearing, it was a nice idea on the part of the game to not only make me a tagger and killer, but to make me a burglar as well. The mission was simple enough. It was interesting to note that the man I was stealing the guns from was not only white, but a Vietnam veteran who has a Confederate flag in his living room. This is another example of the continuing stereotypes involved in this game. In addition to CJ and his game being stereotypes of poor African-American gangs/ neighborhoods (based on their dialogue, dress, radio stations in the cars), Rockstar and others involved in the game automatically assume that all Vietnam vets are either state’s right advocates or racists. I highly doubt it is the former, based on the other characters involved in the game.

    I found Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas to be a desensitizing exhibition of violence and stereotypes. While CJ was probably thrust into his situation and the police are as corrupt as they come, I still cannot see any justification for CJ’s actions. I’m not sure how the rest of the game plays out or if everything comes full circle, but how this series continues to sell is beyond my understanding. During gameplay I wasn’t bothered by the serious lack of morality involved; it was when I reflected on what I just did for a period of time did I realize how immoral GTA is.

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