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    Feb 21st, 2012 at 22:40:24     -    Super Columbine Massacre RPG (PC)

    On my third playthrough I tried to see if it was possible not to kill anyone in the school and make it to where Dylan and Eric take their own lives. I found that with determination it is actually possible. If my movements did not interfere with the other students I was able to traverse the school without shooting them. The game is rather open ended; you can kill everyone in the school or kill no one. Depending on how you play, while killing them is encouraged and is hard to avoid, the game can end in a sadistic bloodbath if you kill everyone or in a rather more depressing and quick end where Dylan and Eric simply take their own lives. I was playing through hell but I was killed instantly by the Doom inspired enemies. After looking on youtube I found out that you had to kill all of the students in order to be a high enough level to completely finish hell. Upon completion you meet various historical figures and multimedia characters such as: Albert Einstein, Bart Simpson, John Lennon, Megaman, Mario, etc. They then talk to you about the prospect of god and judgment. The game truly ends in a sequence that contains a 16bit rendition with the events after Columbine. I think that it is troubling that the player needs to rack up kills to gain experience, but this also sheds light on other RPGs. In the same sense you need to kill all the enemies to level up your characters say in a game like Final Fantasy, Earthbound, or Chrono Trigger. This definitely explores the ethical framework of the traditional RPG. Though the enemies may be switched from dragons, chimeras, or malboros to harmless, innocent school children, the result is the same. Tying into this is the emotional aspect of the two gunman Dylan and Eric. While obviously I felt sympathy for the victims, I also felt for Dylan and Eric. When it is presented in an interactive form like this, in the back of my mind I kept saying to myself that I wish this could have been prevented. The dialogue sequences make the characters feel human and rounded, not the typical flat protagonist of many RPGs. Putting the gamer in their shoes really turns the tables. I think this is would be a great experiential game if played in the right mindset. Many games stray away from these larger issues and offer up a more senseless approach to violence. For a game to shed a light on the effect of bullying/ostracizing and portraying realism in terms of violence it definitely can contain a powerful message. While as immoral and sadistic this game may seem on the surface, to actual experience it firsthand is a completely different ballgame. It was an uncomforting game to play but what it lacked in gameplay and playability it made up for in its overall intent.

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    Feb 19th, 2012 at 16:25:08     -    Super Columbine Massacre RPG (PC)

    On my second play-through I finally was able to get to the cafeteria and plant the bombs under the two tables. I carefully maneuvered back through the hall and made it to the car. Both Dylan and Eric picked up the duffel bags from the trunk of the car. I then wandered around until I found that I had to go down to the cliff overlooking the Denver. The two then started a monologue about their lives in Denver, their depressing loneliness, and inability to fit in with the rest of the crowd. This section coincides with many RPG storytelling clichés; somehow this would not seem entirely out of place in a fictional RPG sequence, except for some of the dialogue. This part was made more disturbing because the backdrop of the city was an actual rendered photograph which gave it an added effect of realism. The quote right before the two pulled the guns out of the bags also made me very uneasy, “ I say ‘fuck you…..shut up…..and die.’” From then I finished the game up to where they commit suicide, but I’ll talk about elements that stood out to me. The combat system versus the innocent schoolmates and faculty plays out the same as any Final Fantasy inspired RPG with the typical options of choosing whether you want to attack, defend, what weapon/attack you choose to use, and various other options. Unlike Final Fantasy games, where the defeated enemies simply vanish into thin air once defeated, the victims you attack lie there after you kill them in pools of their own 16-bit blood. Another thing added is that the victims usually have no way to defend themselves and sometimes perform actions such as crying and kneeling down and praying making the player feel more responsible for their actions. Thus the traditional process of grinding, fighting NPCs to gain their experience points, is made into an excruciating experience. Another point in the game I’d like to elaborate on was the ending sequence where Dylan and Eric took their own lives. This then showed a video with actual photos taken from the Columbine massacre. These were made even more disturbing to me by the grittiness of the graphics and actions that I had performed in the game. Not to mention the sequence is very lengthy and shows childhood photos of both Dylan and Eric. I believe the developer had a very good intent behind this game to show a portrayal through the point of view of Dylan and Eric and also to be a satire on video game violence. After all, the kills in this game are far less than most full length titles that have been on the market, pretty much since the 16bit era.

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    Feb 18th, 2012 at 20:30:55     -    Super Columbine Massacre RPG (PC)

    My first play experience was an interesting one. I wasn’t sure what to expect because I’m familiar with many RPG series both current and retro. It is set up like Final Fantasy VI on Super Nintendo both with both graphic and interface similarities. Initially I was somewhat disturbed by the title screen, not knowing what to expect. The beginning began with a quote and then shifted into a rather innocent and harmless traditional RPG opening sequence: the protagonist wakes up in bed and begins his/her journey with preexisting and predetermined plans. I was intrigued to explore the room when I found out the spacebar was the action key. Most delighting was that the stereo in the room played a 16-bit version of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, because I am a big Nirvana fan. As I progressed through the game and made it to the basement to collect weapons as Dylan arrived at the house. I viewed items around the room some of interest were the Marylyn Manson CD placed on a desk and a video camera where Dylan and Eric made a message to be viewed posthumously. Later they arrive at the school and as I made my way through the halls to the cafeteria. This part was rather annoying because many of the graphics and game elements are ambiguous in this section making it very easy to get caught. I’m not sure if this was the developer’s intention to illustrate how calculated and orchestrated Dylan and Eric’s plan was. As I arrived in the cafeteria I walked in front of a camera and was immediately caught. This is when I was fed up with the game with roughly a half hour into playing. I took the beginning very slow so I could pick up on the details of the game and get acquainted with it. I thought this was a very unique take which was a double-edged sword: it somehow trivialized the event at Columbine by putting it into cute, Earthbound – style graphics and making the content in classic RPGs seem more violent. It most definitely gets the gamer to think, especially about the concept of violence in games.

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    Jan 26th, 2012 at 00:30:24     -    Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PS2)

    My last of the gamelogs was more about reflection than anything. The missions presented to me were a bit bland and I’d rather just linger in the artificial world than have my time drained capping fools for Big Smoke. As someone who has played this game before looking back on it is certainly a different experience. I feel that through the narrative story, characters, and setting the game tries to emulate two movies Friday and Boyz N The Hood. Both movies offer up a healthy serving of gang violence and troubled times. While Boyz N The Hood is a more realistic, provoking, and visceral film, Friday is more about childish antics, smoking weed, and cracking jokes. San Andreas is one of the most perfect marriages of both the two movies and the two themes. It has the ability to grip you with a tight and very engaging story and gives you the ability to mess around, or as Ice Cube in Friday puts it, “walkin’ up and down the street all day playin’”. For the start of my playing I began attacking my own gang members and seeing what their response would be. I began with a simple fist fight. Many times the gang members would run away from the conflict, not wanting to hurt one of their own. Other times they would fight back. Then I used a firearm to see what would happen. Almost instantaneously they would run away, not a single one drawing their own weapon. Curiously when I stole a car from a gang member he promptly pulled out his uzi and emptied the entire clip into the back bumper as I sped away. Being part of a gang requires the members to act as a family or a brotherhood but unfortunately when you kill one of your own in the game nothing usually happens. All the other people in the world virtual world you kill will result in negative consequences for the player, on most occasions, but killing your own brethren is completely overlooked. Another thing I did was wait until an ambulance arrived at the scene of someone who had just been killed in the game. This was a very interesting position because as soon as the medic inspects the victim they miraculously come back to life. First I shot the medic as he exited the ambulance. I felt morally and emotionally troubled by doing this; not only will this poor man die, but the man who was going to revive him is now dying inches away from him. Next I shot the medic immediately after he revived the victim. The recently revived victim dashed away, leaving his savior bleeding on the pavement. To me this was an issue; essentially I was playing with the lives of innocent civilians in the game more poignantly than if I had just ran them over on the street. I somehow felt a lot more responsible for their murders. The gamer is emotional drawn into the world because the main character has so many aspects that make him so much more life-like than say a Sonic The Hedgehog game or Mario game, especially when this game was released.

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