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    Feb 20th, 2012 at 23:37:58     -    Super Columbine Massacre RPG (PC)

    I just wanted to be open to the game and see what feelings I experienced. It is hard to sympathize with the killer’s actions but the game shows how hurt the shooters were in life. I would say the game is bipolar. In some instances it glamorizes the violence. This is seen by the congratulations the killers get as they kill more people. Yet it shows pictures of the tragedy in a slide show and the pain the killers caused. The game makes it really hard to distinguish the real victims. The game portrays the shooters as troubled kids that took out their anger on the students who hurt them. In one cut scene it shows one of the shooters sitting alone in the cafeteria and this isolation is a root cause of their anger. I find it hard to identify who the maker of the game feels is the “real” victims. Before the decent into Hell there were a lot of pictures that show the shooters as typical teenagers. I would say that they look surprisingly normal and just like anyone else. I do not feel the game gives the player any ethical framework to use besides the hard coded murderous one. One of the few times I felt the severity of the real life tragedy was walking through the hall and the bodies of the students I killed where still there. That gave me pause. I reflected and confirmed that what the shooters did was wrong and everyone is hurt by violence.

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    Feb 19th, 2012 at 18:29:15     -    Super Columbine Massacre RPG (PC)

    I continue to play the game but I fail to make the connection between the game and the tragedy. The more I play the less is becomes associated with Columbine. In a way, I am sad to say, this game trivializes the incident. The over simplification of the victims as the jock, preppy or openly gay student do not allow the player to see them as a “real” victim. In the game once the shock factor wares off it becomes just a game. I correlate this to a radio shock jock, once they make their inflammatory comment it becomes just a hollow statement without substance. I find it sadly comical that the maker of the game tries to justify his game by describing it as a type of social commentary. It is funny he calls himself an artist when he is just someone who wants attention and is using the shock factor to do it. Plus it is not like he did "art" to make the game he used RPG maker. In the game I finally was able to plant the bombs, gear up and start the “killing”. By this time the suspense of the game play is over and just becomes an objective to complete. If I was to say that I had any connection to the game it would be the music. It was more fun to recall the music of Nirvana, Rammstein and Marilyn Mansion in the game than play it. I forgot that I listened to that music at one point and see now that listening to it did not make me into a violent killer. Some individuals are predisposed to metal illness, one of the characters was on an antidepressant, and music doesn’t turn someone into something they already are. There will always be a part of human nature that seeks explanations and people do not like simple ones. Those kids were disturbed and not monitored by their parents. It may be a simplistic explanation but the fact is they were sick and nobody intervened. Propane bombs and Tec-9’s in the basement of a home is failed parenting not the music or game industries fault. There is acceptable individual expression and there is a cry for help they should have been watched. Trench coats, combat boots and Apocalypse Now should say a little something to the parents. The kill scenes in the game do little to show the impact of a real murder. I would argue that games like this fail to show the true horror of a person’s destructive actions. It took me awhile to get past the hall monitors and when it was time to kill, they where my first target. This seems like a disturbing realization but it shows that a game is not reality. A game can’t force a dual reality that is part real life and combined with the experience of the game. The reality is that a player gets detached from the context of the game—the real life massacre—and plays to win. Basically it is entertainment and whatever power you want to give it over you are free to do so. If you want to be a homicidal teenager mad at the world that will be your perspective while playing. If you want to feel the sensation of being the actual character that will be your perspective. I assume whatever perspective you use to play the game will be to fulfill whatever desire you have. There is no way those fight scenes transport the player to actual situation and experiences the moral dilemmas of real life murder. After all it's all in the players head so if it is sick to begin with sickness will come out.

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    Feb 17th, 2012 at 17:02:23     -    Super Columbine Massacre RPG (PC)

    For myself the time leading up to playing the game were more suspenseful than the actual game play. Reading about it and even the subject matter give it a “forbidden” sort of feel to it. Generally I was pretty interested to see what how the game portrayed this incident. After playing it I do not understand the controversy entirely. I do feel that making a game about the Columbine incident seems offensive but the game itself is nothing compared to any new first person shooter. I am not a “gamer” and did not get far in the game. I got to the point of placing both bombs under the table. Since I lack any experience with games it took me a considerable amount of time to even get to that point. I actually had to go and watch YouTube videos to begin to understand the concepts and how this game works. After I understood that you could view objects in the environment it interesting. The only interesting thing about the game is the cut scenes that show dialogue between the characters. I read the media’s reviews on the games website and how some people can’t even play it. For me the cartoon look of the game was a huge disconnect from the actual gravity of the situation. I remembered the Columbine incident and the game was one way to see little details about the incident that I did not remember. The scene about how they acquired guns and played with explosives was to me more educational than part of the game. Instead of playing the game I would rather watch the videos of other people playing to see all the cut scenes. I did not gain any enjoyment from the game play. My frustration in trying to figure out how to play denied me of having any other feelings towards the game. If I had an easier time playing maybe I would have more of ability to self reflect on the content of the game. I think this is what we saw in the readings. No matter how disturbing a game may be if you cannot access that content you cannot experience it. If the game was not assigned I would not replay it. After playing and watching the game’s trailers and reviews I think all those people that say this makes people violent did not play the game. I will admit that people do range in sensitivity to certain subject matters. If people found their own game play disturbing I would say that they are more easily “transported” (identifying the media as reality) in other forms of media such as movies. One thing that I found interesting about my experience is the game did not make me want to be violent in real life—I did not in any way connect or sympathize with the two main characters—but in the game I wanted to get to the violent parts. I think this is more of a curiosity.

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    Jan 25th, 2012 at 22:38:09     -    Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PS2)

    Today marks the end of my requirement to play San Andreas. At first I was thrilled to play such an interesting game. Then as time wore on the shock value wore off. How many times could I run over people and still be amused? Even thought it was immature to giggle about picking up hookers it’s not so much fun after the first time. I think this final reflection on the game allows me to understand rewards and punishments in a game and how it affects the user. I can say that what you do in a game is similar to real life in a sense. Playing a game like Grand Theft Auto can be a metaphor for life. The shock of having so many options is overwhelming just like many college kids away from home. In the game you have to try the “bad” things like killing and prostitution. Then the amusement is gone. College is no different for many people. College kids find themselves with so many options that they have to try some of the “bad” ones, such as underage drinking. Does everyone at college try immoral things? The answer to the question is no. The same can be said for the game, not everyone will do bad things. With this in mind I will argue that games cannot make someone “bad”. Can a game make someone immoral? No, but if someone had predisposition for violence it could exaggerate it in the real world. This predisposition is not the games fault and would manifest in other ways. After I redirected my moral compass for the game I stuck to the missions. Those missions became rather boring. In the end the shock of the violence wore of and became expected. Am I desensitized to the real world? No, the violence on the news is still shocking. My values remain the same in the real world. I do not see, at least for myself, that an ethical framework of a game affecting me outside of it. Then again I am not a young child who could be more impressionable.

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