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    May 29th, 2012 at 04:07:24     -    Super Columbine Massacre RPG (PC)

    After playing a fair amount of Super Columbine Massacre now, I want to look back and reflect on the game. Going into the game, I expected to be put into a universe where you were on a mission to shoot up a school. After playing the game, I now realize Super Columbine Massacre RPG is a more specific commentary on the events which unfolded on April 20, 1999. I am not entirely sure if the fact that this game draws upon this specific event makes the game more or less disturbing overall. One thing which caught me off guard was the incorporation of real life photos as art assets within the game. Recreating the setting through the use of real photos of Eric and Dylan as well as real photos from the day of the massacre makes the game into more of a reflection on the event.
    One question I have is rather using games such as Super Columbine Massacre RPG to explore tragic events is ethical. While many people may wish to simply forget the horrific details of this day, is it good to examine the motivations of the people behind this event? The game seems to put a good deal of effort into examining the thoughts behind Eric and Dylan which drove them to commit the massacre, but is it responsible to have players carry out the actions of these individuals? From my experience with the game, it seems as if the author was mainly concerned with telling a story and not creating a game which was purely intended for entertainment.
    My main complaint of the game is with the game's brevity in explaining the background and motivations of Eric and Dylan. The game seems to place a large amount of emphasis on the actual act of going around and murdering everyone in sight, while only briefly touching on the buildup to this event. While the game offers a few moments of dialogue exchanges between Dylan and Eric, the exchanges seem rather shallow. From playing the game, it is difficult to determine the creator's original intention. At times, the game seems to want to give insight into the motivations behind the murders, while at other times the game losses any sense of meaning or direction while you go around murdering everyone. For this game to have been successful I believe maintaining a sense of meaning and motivation would have been essential. Sense I did not fully complete the game, I am curious as to rather the game ends with any sense of resolution or reflection on the columbine massacre.

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    May 28th, 2012 at 16:24:04     -    Super Columbine Massacre RPG (PC)

    Session Two

    Most of the writing from my previous session mainly focused on what was actually happening within the game, and not much of an ethical analysis, so for this session I am going to start by reflecting a bit more on the previous session. While playing Super Columbine Massacre RPG, my girlfriend saw the title screen and asked "Why the fuck are you playing that? That's disgusting.". I found this a bit strange since it is not as if I normally only play My Little Pony games. Why is it so offensive to think someone made a game about this sad event from history? People would say the Nazi movement from WWII was a far more horrific historical event, yet many games are made which explore this time in history.

    From the games I have played which cover the WWII Nazi era, I have never personally played a game which tells the story from the perspective of the Nazi's. Many games allow multiplayer matches which have a German team, but the main single player story does not focus on telling the German perspective of the story, at least from what I have experienced. It seems as if these types of games which explore these historical events may only be acceptable if they are not told from the perspective of the "bad guy". Perhaps people are comfortable with destroying these figures of evil, but when it comes to role-playing as a figure of a pure evil, one becomes a bit a more uncomfortable.

    Continuation of playing:

    I pick up playing from yesterday. I have currently just arrived at school with a car full of explosives and Manson's song Sweat Dreams looming over the scene. I am still stuck trying to make it through the hall, not sure why I keep getting caught. Success! After about 20-30 attempts, I have finally made it to the cafeteria, apparently there are security cameras which you have to avoid. With bombs planted in the cafeteria, I return to the car to grab duffle bags filled with ammunitions. With duffle bags in hand, I meet up with Dylan at a nearby park. As I enter the park, Creep by Radiohead plays in the background, a song about not fitting in. Dylan and Eric exchange a few words showing disdain for society. With bombs planted, we head off to watch the explosions. The bombs fail to go off, so the two decide to take matters into their own hands and head to the school to finish off the people with their guns.

    This is where the game seems to turn into mindless killing. There are various types of people walking around and your job is to basically kill everyone in sight. I think I have managed to kill off about 1/4 of the people at the school so far, but I am not really sure what the "goal" is.

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    May 27th, 2012 at 14:55:28     -    Super Columbine Massacre RPG (PC)

    Super Columbine Massacre RPG... the concept just makes me shake my head. The game opens up to Marilyn Manson playing in the background of the title screen, bringing you back to a time when the mainstream media was desperately searching for someone to blame for what happened at Columbine. Once past the title screen, I noticed the font used for the text is extremely difficult to read on my screen, not sure if this is an issue related to aspect ratio or what.

    You start as Eric, waking up in his room in the morning of the massacre. Interacting with the room pokes fun at some of society's phobias with violence in the media. You can turn on the radio which plays a midi version of the ultimate teen angst song - Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana. There appears to be some sort of PC which when interacted with prompts you with a graphic of the game Doom along with some dialogue about violence. To progress the story, you must interact with a phone which then has you dial your accomplice Dylan. Eric tells Dylan he will be in the basement getting ready, and for Dylan to meet up with him at his place.

    While talking with Dylan on the phone, one of the individuals asks how people will react. Eric responds "Make more gun laws, blame our parents probably". Ultimately he says who really cares, they all deserve to die for all they put us through. After hanging up the phone, you head off to the basement where you are to prep your supplies for the day. In the basement I stumbled across some papers relating to bomb making, and a Marilyn Manson which prompted dialogue about how such lyrics are sure to insight violent aggression. The music in the basement was a little eerie, like a calm reflection before the storm.

    After reaching the school, the next task was to get the explosives inside. You enter the school and have to make it down a hall without being detected by anyone. This part of the game was a little confusing, I tried walking down the hall several times several different ways but was "busted" each time. I was even getting busted without any other characters on the screen, so I have no idea how I am getting busted. I guess this is where I will stop for today.

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    Apr 18th, 2012 at 20:46:51     -    Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PC)

    After my first initial experience with the game, I figured it was time to explore how exactly the system judges one's actions. To experiment with this I decided to load up some cheats so that I could explore how executing actions with certain weapons would affect my wanted level.
    LXGIWYL = Weapon Set 1, Thug's Tools
    PROFESSIONALSKIT = Weapon Set 2, Professional Tools
    UZUMYMW = Weapon Set 3, Nutter Tools
    FULLCLIP = Infinite Ammo, No Reload
    My first experiment was with a flamethrower. With my flamethrower equipped, I walked up to a street corner where 6-7 pedestrians were walking about minding their own business. I then decided to light every pedestrian within range on fire. As 6 pedestrians went running around alight, I waited to see what the response from the police would be. Eventually the pedestrians fell to the ground one by one and I was shocked to see I was given only one star. Apparently in this game punching a pedestrian is equivalent to lighting 6 pedestrians on fire. With this case example I argue that the game is extremely inadequate at accurately measuring the morality of one's actions.
    If we were to look at this example from the perspective of utilitarian ethics, it would make sense to assign a value to how 'bad' things are. For example, we could possibly assign the following:

    Punching someone: 1 unit of bad
    Lighting someone on fire: 10 units of bad
    If you follow these hypothetical values, then my action of punching one person would be viewed as overall being 1 unit of bad. My action of lighting 6 people on fire would be 10*6 = 60 units of bad. Perhaps a two star wanted level requires 65 units of bad. If a two star rating does in fact require 65 units of bad, then the game views killing a cop as being worth more than 6 times that of killing a pedestrian since killing a cop instantly gives you two stars. While killing a cop in the United States often carries a much more severe penalty than killing a pedestrian, it is nowhere near 6 times as severe.

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