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    Oct 11th, 2011 at 15:37:20     -    Super Columbine Massacre RPG (PC)

    At least they stopped playing "Engel".

    On day three, I tried to avoid killing people and just get to the end of the game. Unfortunately the characters were running around so fast that they were difficult to avoid, and there is no "run from battle" option. I tried to end the battles as quickly as possible. I did initiate a fight in a few instances, such as when I entered a bathroom and saw four "Jock Type" characters picking on a "Cherubic Bumpkin". I was pleased when after killing the four bullies, Dylan and Eric let the kid go. Then I walked out into the hallway... and accidentally bumped into another Cherubic Bumpkin and had to kill him. It made me feel sick.

    After running around I finally found the library, and accidentally triggered the "Do you believe in God?" scene. The in-game character may have been a nameless "Church Girl" sprite, but Cassie Bernall was a real person. Yes, the maker of the game has a right to free speech, but this is egregious. I can't imagine how hurt her parents must have been.

    I went to the windows and initiated the ending. Dylan gave a speech about how he and Eric hated the world and wanted to be left alone on their own little island, but no one would listen to them. No one cared. And in a way, it makes sense that this would be enough to push two people who already had problems over the edge. They were in pain and couldn't conceive of any other way to relieve it. Note that I am not defending Dylan and Eric's actions; I am saying that it wasn't random. It made sense to them. What they did was unarguably wrong, but to them it was the only thing to do.

    Finally, the ending sequence started. Immediately, some gory photographs of Dylan and Eric's suicides appear on the screen, followed by a montage of crying survivors. After the sprite graphics throughout the whole game, seeing real images was startling and brought me back to the idea that this isn't really a game. It's a documentation, with some liberties taken as to Dylan and Eric's thoughts. It shows that there were real people affected by this tragedy, not just pixels on a screen. I actually found it to be a touching and tasteful ending to a game that I had absolutely no hope for. It didn't make the game worth playing, but I found myself thinking about the nature of humanity and our society. It's not a good game, and extremely offensive, but I did find it thought-provoking. And in the end, I don't think it glorified the events. I don't think it meant to hurt or offend. I think it was meant to make people think, and it succeeded.

    ... and then Eric wakes up in hell as a "demon god" with glowing red eyes.


    There was a good ending before this. Okay, not a good ending, but an ending that was better than the game. Why do you have to go and fight your way through hell as one of the shooters, using the power he gained from killing innocents to survive? After showing the real people that died and were hurt, why does it go and show a fictional location where the shooters have power and no regrets? Where they can live forever, strong enough to not actually have eternal torment? And why is Nietzsche there?

    If the game ended at the photo montage, I wouldn't have hated it. But that ending in hell destroyed any credibility the game might have had. It turned the game from something thought-provoking into something purely offensive and meaningless, a waste of time. I'm glad I never have to play this again.

    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Oct 11th, 2011 at 22:30:23.

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    Oct 10th, 2011 at 17:23:58     -    Super Columbine Massacre RPG (PC)

    On the second day of Super Columbine Massacre RPG!, I finally got to the combat sections. As I predicted, I found it incredibly disturbing. The casual language used in battles, such as "Nice one, man!" when Dylan or Eric get critical hits, contrasts sharply with the fact that they are killing unarmed students and teachers with illegal firearms and homemade explosives. Nearly all of the students and teachers are killed before they can fight back, and if they do fight back they only do one or two points of damage. Most of them, though, just "brace for assault", which is in some ways more disturbing because they're too scared to actually do anything.

    I have to wonder how many of the characters in the game represent actual people. Dylan and Eric are obviously real, as were Miss Kelly and the man that Dylan tells to go home at the beginning of the massacre. But I don't know if the killable NPCs scattered around the school represent or were modeled after actual people, or if they're just generic stand-ins. I haven't yet made it to the infamous "Do you believe in God?", so I don't know if that involves characters based off the people in the actual incident. Even if they are, though, I don't think it's right to have the likenesses of the actual victims in the game. It seems disrespectful towards them to be able to kill them over and over again.

    I never want to hear "Engel" by Rammstein ever again.

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    Oct 9th, 2011 at 14:02:30     -    Super Columbine Massacre RPG (PC)

    I started playing Columbine RPG a bit late, as my computer didn't want to run the game. Luckily I don't think I was missing out on anything. RPG Maker games have a tendency towards bad graphics and illegible text, and this one is no different. It took me a while to figure out what the characters were saying, which I think detracted from the experience of the game.

    I honestly can't tell if the player is meant to hate Eric and Dylan, or pity them. They're clearly filled with rage at... well, everything. After setting bombs in the school cafeteria, Dylan has a long speech about how he hates his city and the people in it who tell him how to live his life. It's one long run-on sentence, getting progressively more unhinged and calling out smaller and smaller infractions, until finally Dylan says that they should all "fuck off... and die". It's a clear look into a damaged and broken mind. But are we meant to believe that he's been broken by society, or should we blame him for letting such minor things get to him? Or is he simply mentally ill, and no one is really to blame?

    Personally, I both hate and pity their game incarnations. They planned to kill an entire building full of innocents for no real reason, and yet in the video they leave behind they say they love their families and that they don't want anyone who helped them to be arrested or harmed because "they didn't know". I found the video itself extremely disturbing, though, in part because of the use of actual photographs of Dylan and Eric. It's one thing to see them represented as tiny pixel sprites, but it's quite another to see their rage-filled faces staring out of the screen at me. It felt almost as if they were accusing me of making their lives miserable.

    I've only made it to the point where Dylan and Eric arm the car bomb, so I haven't actually killed anyone yet. I've mentioned in the GTA:SA GameLog that I don't like killing things that aren't actively trying to kill me. I don't know how well the "massacre" part of the game will sit with me, especially knowing that the students in the game represent real people.

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    Sep 27th, 2011 at 13:42:04     -    Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PS2)

    As I play GTA:SA for what will hopefully be the final time, I keep find myself being struck by the strange juxtapositions of a "normal" life and violent gang warfare. CJ goes to get fast food... and ends up participating in a drive-by shooting. He goes to play dominoes with his friends... and ends up at a black-market firearms dealer, shooting at a car with his pistol held sideways. He gets sent to kill some members of a rival gang called Ballas.... and ends up buying new clothes, because his fellow gang members are annoyed that he doesn't wear green like the rest of them. The mixing of these everyday and violent situations reinforces the fact that this _is_ CJ's life, that killing and stealing cars is just as normal as buying a pizza to him.

    I still can't get into the game. The missions seem randomly assigned, without a clear story thread linking them. I'm still disturbed by the ability to kill random prostitutes and steal police cars, even though I choose not to do these things. Ultimately, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas doesn't appeal to me enough for me to keep playing.

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