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    Feb 22nd, 2012 at 10:06:21     -    Super Columbine Massacre RPG (PC)

    The third day of playing Super Columbine Massacre RPG was mostly just running around and doing what I was doing before. So to say the least, nothing was added on a gameplay perspective and I was extremely bored by this point of the game. I actually didn’t even know how to finish the game so I just ended up stopping the game all together (after meeting my 30 minute requirement of course). On a gameplay perspective, finding out my objective in this game was tough to do. It wasn’t ever really clear what I needed to do other than kill people who “I hate.” On a moral perspective I have already talked about the use of media as reasoning behind the Columbine incident and the difference between killing within this game as compared to other games. The last thing I want to talk about, since there is nothing really meaningful to talk about on a gameplay perspective, is the issue of responsibility by both developers and the gamers.
    Of course the developers have every right to make such a game as this one due to their first amendment right, but what responsibilities do the developers have with such power? Games are a form of mass media, thus they can reach a large amount of people and “influence” them. So does that mean that developers should develop their games according to how they best see fit or should they censor their work? How much responsibility do developers have to make a game that is ethical, tries to remain unbiased and still has a fun factor? In my opinion, the developers’ sole purpose is to make a fun game while warning the market of any possible distasteful content. I think the best possible way to do this is like the “No Russia” example from class. The player doesn’t have to play the mission and they actually don’t have to kill anyone. If the developers of Call of Duty or of the Columbine game chose to censor their distasteful content while giving the player no choice on if they can personally handle the content, then that we be more unethical than leaving the content in. Censoring their games would mean that the developers thought they had a good idea, but the player wouldn’t be able to handle the content, thus they think we are not smart enough or strong enough moral agents to come to our own conclusions. They would be taking away our responsibility as moral agents if they censored their games. I think it is the responsibility of the developers to make fun games and warn us beforehand of any bad content (such as ESRB ratings). On the other hand, the gamer has the responsibility of distinguishing between ethical decisions within games and applying those decisions to real life. If an individual cannot distinguish between ethical and unethical decisions within a game as compared to real life, then they shouldn’t be playing games like Super Columbine Massacre RPG. Gamers should be held responsible for their actions outside the game, not the developers. So although I think this game was boring, the developers did nothing wrong and didn’t infringe on anyone’s rights even through their distasteful content. So when it comes down to it, I can hold the developers responsible for making a boring game, but if I were to commit a crime and say this game caused me to do it, that would be ridiculous because I am responsible for my actions, not the developers or this game.

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    Feb 21st, 2012 at 07:36:24     -    Super Columbine Massacre RPG (PC)

    The second day of playing Super Columbine Massacre RPG was the day I started playing the “action” part of the game. At first, I have to plant some bombs in the cafeteria. Then once that is over, the characters are surprised to learn the bombs didn’t work, so they just start their attack anyways. The first thing to point out about the combat is that the game follows the Pokémon theme again. The characters and victims are treated as Pokémon with health points and an attack list. The problem I have with this gameplay choice is that unless you are trying to lose at this game, none of the victims can possibly beat you. It is near impossible for you to lose when you have guns and the victims just watch as you murder them. Put simply, this game wants you to just walk around and easily kill everyone ranging from teachers to preppy students.
    I found the gameplay boring but I also found it extremely distasteful. It wasn’t even fun to kill anyone in this game. I didn’t have the same emotional reaction in this game as I did when I play a game like Gears of War or Call of Duty. In Call of Duty, I am at least having fun defeating the enemy, but in this game, I feel like I am doing something wrong and it is not even fun to play. So that led me to a few tough questions, is it okay to kill people in video games as long as it is fun to do? Do I justify my unethical actions by the amount of impact they have on me? Does this make me an unethical person? I could argue that I am justifying myself through enjoyable actions but I think that is only fraction of the story. Another part of the story is that the people I am killing are not enemies but victims. They are not actually challenging me in anyway. I felt like I was slaughtering the victims rather than overcoming a challenge or trying to reach an objective. Also, when I kill an enemy in Call of Duty or another shooting game, I am killing a mindless, dehumanized character. The same can be said about this game since it is still a game but at the same time, because this game has already tried to recreate the day thus far with all the previous details, it kind of feels like you are hurting people who were actually hurt in real life. This game and the developers do nothing to turn you against this notion. The game itself doesn’t point you in any direction on how to feel about this game, it is just happening how the real life events might have felt. This leads me back to yesterday’s argument, it doesn’t matter what this game does to convince me of a viewpoint, I am still the only the person who can draw a conclusion from this game. I personally did not like this game’s actions sequences not just because it was boring, but because I felt like I was continuing to hurt a real person. Am I a worst person for killing virtual victims from a real event? No. Is this game unethical for giving me the option to do such actions? I still argue no. As long as I have moral reasoning, media cannot be unethical by itself. There can be unethical actions within the game or the developers can be unethical with the use of this game, but the game itself can never be unethical since it is just a piece of media.

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    Feb 20th, 2012 at 19:16:09     -    Super Columbine Massacre RPG (PC)

    The first day of playing Super Columbine Massacre RPG was a surprise to me because I had no idea what this game was going to hold. I thought this game was going to be complete nonsense, have horrible game mechanics and, for lack of a better term, be stupid. The game plays similar to Pokémon as the movement follows a kind of blocky structure where you can only move up and down. I personally found the controls comfortable because I am so use to it (but I still find playing games on the computer annoying). There is no voice acting in this game but rather there are dialogue boxes similar to Pokémon again. So as far as gameplay, this game is Pokémon but with a different theme.
    On a story perspective, this game was not exactly what expected but I wasn’t surprised by what it held. Basically, I had to play as one of the Columbine killers from that day. The two main characters prepare to attack the school because they feel like the lives they are living are pointless and that they have been mistreated their whole lives. They complain throughout the whole beginning, they show actual conversations from that day before the attack and there is a surprising amount of detail on the events. It feels like we are learning about a new perspective of this day that we typically don’t see. That is not to say that these actions are justified, but at the same time, you kind of feel for the main characters because they are so lost in hatred. Basically, the beginning of the game is just wandering around the main character’s house getting ready to attack the school.
    The ethical theme I drew from my first play through is the mentioning of reasons behind the attacks. The beginning of the game mentions bullying, feeling like an outcast in their high school and loneliness as reasons these kids attacked, but they also seem to blame media culture. The two examples used are video games and music. They make it seem in the game the Doom the video game caused these kids to have aggressive behavior. And along with games, gothic/ rock music led to aggressive behavior. I personally think that these assumptions are nonsense. Of course media can have an influence on an individual’s life but like one of our readings from class, individuals are smart enough to draw their own conclusions about media. Media cannot brainwash two kids to go to their high school and kill other students. These two students had a lifestyle that involved playing the video game Doom, but Doom didn’t cause them to be violent. If that were the case then everyone would be violent because many students, probably even kids who were murdered on this day, played Doom. The game mentions Doom but it kind of laughs off the situation. I don’t think this game suggest Doom is the reason behind these two students actions, it just brings up the topic because it is so highly debated (it is making fun of the claims made by people that say Doom is the reason). I didn’t get to any real actions in the game thus far, but from what I can tell so far, this game is just another game that is open to interpretation to anyone’s views; it cannot force anyone to believe in anything. So although I think this game is a bit distasteful, I can’t say it is unethical for the same reasons I said San Andreas wasn’t unethical; it is still just a game. No one has to play this game (outside of this class), thus I see nothing wrong with developers using their freedom of speech even if it bothers others. So unless we are working under the utilitarian principal, where it could be said more people were unhappy about this game than happy, there is nothing unethical about releasing a video game into a free market.

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    Jan 23rd, 2012 at 11:14:54     -    Grand Theft Auto : San Andreas (XBX)

    The last day of playing San Andreas was kind of a dull experience in my own opinion. Most of the time spent was driving around doing chores for the other gang member. There were several gun battles occurring but generally it got tiresome to drive one gang member to work after killing a rival gang member or picking up the protagonist’s sister. I did manage to get a low rider and compete in a DDR style mini game. But as far as gameplay, there was not anything too exciting. As far as narrative, it was pretty straight forward, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t draw two points from this hour gaming session.

    The first point draws from my previous journal entries; the idea of ethics within the game. There is one mission where I am listening to the brother and sister of the protagonist argue about her dating a Mexican. The brother says that the Mexicans are no good people and she should stop seeing him. But the sister argues that the brother along with every other gang member is blinded by ignorance and racial stereotypes. That every gang member is a mindless drone serving a cause that they believe is good but in the overall scope of it all, serves no true purpose other than destruction. I found this interesting because this game finally challenges the actions of the gang and the protagonist by saying what you are doing is blind rage. Of course I agree to this comment but does the protagonist (outside the control of the player) realize this? Does he realize that killing, stereotyping and stealing are wrong? I cannot be completely sure how the game will unfold or how the protagonist will progress in moral thought, but at least the developers have brought up the topic. If the developers had never brought up this issue, this game would be solely supportive of unethical decisions. But now, we see that at least one character is questioning the protagonist, thus questioning the player’s actions.

    The second thing that branches off this topic is the idea of stereotyping and racial tension within this game. So far we have seen that ethnicity has played a pretty significant point in this game. The Blacks hate the Mexicans, the Mexicans hate the Blacks and the Blacks hate each other if they don’t represent their colors. It is first of all silly to hate anyone else due to ethnicity, but to hate each other of the same color does draw some questions. How much does skin color actually factor into the gang’s motives? How are we, as players of the game, supposed to perceive this life style of racial tension? I believe that overall the developers do a good job of making a point of the blindness of gangs. What good comes out of racial discrimination? Yet, the gangs are fundamentally built on creating enemies due to differences such as these. The same can be said about real life gangs. Now I ask, how often do we in our everyday lives draw differences in other people and create enemies because of that (not necessarily ethnicity)?

    Overall, San Andreas is still just a game that allows players to explore an unethical world that most cannot experience. Yet at the same time how real is this game and what can be drawn about this game on a moral standpoint? This answer all depends on how the player chooses to play the game; a reckless gameplay experience or a reflective experience.

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