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    Oct 26th, 2010 at 19:30:40     -    Columbine RPG (PC)

    Through the use of flashbacks and character commentary by Eric and Dylan (the shooters), Super Columbine Massacre (RPG), or SCR, begins the fulfillment of its intended goals. The creator, Ledonne, has achieved a socially contagious game that challenges the taboos of public conversation. Despite receiving heavy criticism and antagonism, Ledonne formulated SCR after weeks of in-depth research. While the final, absolute truth of why the tragic incident occurred will seemingly remain a permanent point of debate, Ledonne’s interpretation seems to cause unrest simply because it is based on factual, opinionated, and reasoned data.
    Super Columbine Massacre uses the cold moralities of both Social Contract and Utilitarianism. Social Contract essentially states any society is founded upon the basis of agreed upon limits in return for getting the benefits of that society. Society itself, according to Social Contract, exists so that humans may control themselves and avoid a constant state of violent self-interest. Any faction forced into inequitable limits, as opposed to the rest of the society, and that does not receive befitting societal rewards, has a right/expectancy to oppose the society by any means necessary to achieve a proper social contract. Eric and Dylan are considered part of an outcast faction in the high school society. Non-conformists are consistently bullied and harassed. For example, Eric recalls locker-room beatings simply because of his hair and clothing choices. Additionally, the shooters save a student being bullied inside one of the restrooms of the game’s high school level. Most schools at that time did not consider bullying to be an issue for serious caution. Therefore, non-violent measures such as petitions, asking for help, etc., were not effective or simply ignored. Some half-hearted attempts at intervention even led to more bullying. With these facts in mind, SCR’s creator implies, Eric and Dylan were only doing what was necessary for their faction to be regarded more equally in their society.
    Utilitarianism also employs a system of total happiness versus unhappiness to calculate the morality of an action. Rule Utilitarianism applies morality based upon a prescribed action being applied as a rule everyone must follow. In the shooting’s case, if the boys did not do anything, the rule would essentially state: “what would happen if everyone ignored abuse?” or “if everyone abused those who were different than themselves, what would happen?” Instead, through the action of violently removing their oppressors, the question becomes: “what would happen if everyone violently opposed those who oppressed them?” The answers in the first instance are both negative, while the alternative question produces a mixed positive-negative response that could be said to result in an overall happier society. The fear of violence will quell many problems, possibly even limiting other forms of discrimination. Act Utilitarianism evaluates an act based on the extended consequences of the action as a single instance. In the boy’s case, the short effect as limited to the school and families would lean towards the negative side; long-term results, however, include increased national regulation of bullying, heightened monitoring of gun access to minors, and a unifying of the surviving school families. This favors Dylan and Eric’s actions, in the end, by Act Utilitarianism. Thus, Ledonne’s game perspective as painting the boys as products of society, or even victims, has some level of moral validity.
    In conclusion, Super Columbine Massacre shows Eric and Dylan as two youths who made a choice. While some critics argue as to the irrationality of Ledonne’s portrayal, his usage of data-backed logic remains infallible. Through flashbacks, Ledonne offers players context surrounding the event, not just slanted news channel opinions or special interest group disinformation. The game, based on the shooters’ viewpoints, does make them out to be heroes of a faction inside a society. Yet Ledonne does this purposefully. He has expressed a viewpoint, supported it, and now expects gamers to impartially, logically, agree or disagree. Ledonne was not morally corrupt in his actions. Rather, his actions in making this game embody the spirit by which morals are created and reinforced: the act of impartial evaluation of the logic behind opposing viewpoints.

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    Oct 24th, 2010 at 22:05:50     -    Columbine RPG (PC)

    Super Columbine Massacre makes several morbid assertions and subtle comparisons about the nature of teens and the high school environment. For instance, the creator chose not to name any of the students or teachers individually; each was given a repeated categorization. This references the old opinion that schools remove individuality and “standardizes” students. The two shooters isolation and beatings were shown as direct results for being non-conforming. Another opinion was the ineffectiveness of teachers in the game. Instead of assisting students, teachers were always grouped in separate battles or groups of only other teachers. The author is making a comment on recent or perceived problems with teachers more interested in bonuses for high grades or being accused as lackluster due to reliance on tenures or failure to stay current in their field. He seems to say teachers are in the educational system only for themselves and, in fact, purposely attempt to pull down students. Dylan commented to one English teacher on how all of his papers were essentially graded as “trash” without a fair assessment, which was why she deserved to die.
    Danny Ledonne, however, creator of Super Columbine Massacre, was seemingly somewhat concerned with “socially conscious gaming” when he designed Super Columbine Massacre for play. A subtle comment, for example, was included regarding the feeling of isolation teens often feel in high school. Even Dylan and Eric, the shooters, showed only as single individuals while walking the school’s hallways. In classrooms they could provide support for each other, but the hallways seemed to be strictly about isolation. The coloring was stark white and enemies, even groups of enemies, appeared as isolated singular targets before being engaged. Interestingly enough, the game’s creator made the hell level eerily similar to the boys’ high school. The one noted difference being that the boys seemed more apt to fit in and thrive in hell than in their high school. In a way, Ledonne made the claim high school both is hell and prepares teenagers better for living in hell than in society.

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    Oct 23rd, 2010 at 20:21:05     -    Columbine RPG (PC)

    Super Columbine Massacre earned its reputation for controversy. The story demonstrated several non-standard viewpoints and provided an ideal subject for critical thinking and analysis. One of the more striking controversial subjects in the game was the treatment of religion. In the context of the game, high school students are enemy monsters. Depending on label type, such as nerd or cute girl, attack and defense patterns varied. Most students either attacked or huddled in fear. Religious students, however, had the power to heal. This was where the creator’s subjectivism appeared. The religious students could only heal themselves and almost never attacked unless first taunted into becoming berserk. Their main action was to kneel and pray, instead of fleeing or defending themselves, increasing their “holiness”. All their ability allowed, however, was an extended time of beating on them. This was a definitive choice of the game’s creator; he forced players to use harsher weapons on religious students to kill them. Furthermore, after killing enough religious students, Eric purposely asks if they still believe in God. The response was essentially [I don’t know, it’s what my parents believe…]. After which the two shooters call them morons and kill them. It seems the whole game has an underlying message that believing in any sort of religion is a crutch for idiots. The developer does not offer any logical or factual supportive basis for this approach; he simply presents a string of suspect, opinionated examples. Even if game character conversations were based on reality, the high-stress environment would still inhibit most people’s rational train of related thoughts.
    After the two shooters die, the creator continued to mock religion by creating an “after the fact” level where the two player characters fight on in hell. Hell was portrayed as a great video game, based on the real-life game Doom. On the “Island of [Lost Souls]”, the boys find a wide range of characters all “unjustly” sent to eternal damnation. Each of the doomed characters makes fun of the Christian God by saying such things as: “He is culturally [insensitive]”, “…He said no androids in heaven…”, etc. It seems the creator focuses primarily on Christian Catholicism for the definition of God. Yet, when the shooters confront the evil iconic figure (devil), the creator chooses to personify him as the well known character Satan from the popular television show South Park. This character usage creates a sense of relation and comfort to players familiar with the show. Basically, the author encourages players to view religion as non-sense and wrongfully oppressing.
    In short, Super Columbine Massacre gave an extremely biased opinion of religion without proper argumentation or facts. It used singular, opinionated examples to provide an overall explanation of the creator’s seemingly personal views. The creator has a right to individual feelings, but also has the responsibility of being more ethically astute when producing an object for mass viewing or usage.

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    Sep 21st, 2010 at 19:41:01     -    Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PC)

    GTA—San Andreas (Day 3)
    In terms of issues, GTA: San Andreas displays a positive viewpoint on health. In the early portions of the game, when main protagonist Carl Johnston (CJ) has just been dropped off in his old hood, he comments on the prevalence of drug pushers in the area. His brother indicates they moved in when the neighborhood declined. This is a subtle prod that drugs are a handicap to normal, healthy living. During the actual play through of the game, Carl will usually receive a significant monetary reward for killing drug peddlers on the street. This acts as a positive reinforcement to specifically target the drug dealers in the game. The game’s creators have created a political statement through player incentive that removing drugs from everyday life has pleasant outcomes. This seems to imply the question: Is GTA: San Andreas influencing players to improve their health?
    A supportive example of this question lies in the leveling system of GTA: San Andreas. CJ begins the game as a scrawny individual unable to run long distances. After a basic missions, the player gains access to a gymnasium where CJ can work out to improve his body. Working out is limited by realistic hindrances such as fatigue, hunger, or time. Players are forced to remember when they can next enter the gym and to monitor their character’s body. Negligence to CJ’s health results in the game’s difficulty increasing as he fattens, loses health, and cannot run. Game designers planned for players to be interactive with their character’s physical well-being. A system of rewards, for proper actions, and punishments, for negative actions, is basic psychological strategy to create and reinforce new patterns in individuals. The foundations of habits do not have to only be from the physical world. GTA: San Andreas, a digital world, has the power to influence its players. The answer to the posed question, based on the aforementioned examples, seems to be yes.
    The next issue to take into account is the moral correctness of a game influencing people’s health. From an impartial viewpoint, no physical harm seems to be resultant from the game’s emphasis on healthy habits. Real world people are also not forced to follow the game’s ideas of healthy living; they can choose to accept the views or not. Reasonably, the positive outcomes also favor the idea of GTA: San Andreas promoting healthy choices. Buyer lifespan is extended providing more real-world income. From the opposite side, promoting negative health habits world be illogical. Poor health shortens players’ lives and reduces potential revenue for the GTA: San Andreas creators. Furthermore, GTA: San Andreas uses positive health as a way to increase in-game social interaction. CJ receives more compliments and attention when he is physically fit, both from females and his gang members. Furthermore, several missions cannot be completed in vehicles and rely largely on the player character’s own strength. An example of this is when CJ’s brother is set to be arrested at an intra-gang meeting. Another mission involves silently killing guards at a rappers house to obtain some secret music lyrics. Speed and endurance factor towards the players chances of both success and survival. Missions designed like these enforce the idea that, sometimes, the only reliable object around is one’s own body. These combined examples show why, in general, the game leans more favorably towards a fit, well-muscled, individual.
    GTA: San Andreas creates an environment where one’s physical substance plays a key role in game success. By using non-vehicle missions, a stats system based on user-dedication to healthy living (Via exercise and food intake planning), and positive game rewards for higher personal health, GTA: San Andreas does influence players to actively manage their own health. No one suffers injury from learning positive ways of bettering themselves, and future revenue streams are prolonged by however many players decide to take a page from GTA: San Andreas.

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    1Columbine RPG (PC)Playing
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