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    Nov 5th, 2008 at 13:27:07     -    Super Columbine Massacre RPG (PC)

    Over all, I have to say that I was definitely surprised by my response to this game. The title alone led me to believe that I would be horribly offended, and I would probably turn the game offf and delete it from my hard drive the moment I finished the assignment. However, the more I played, the more “entertained” I was.

    I actually thought the game was well made, and it was surprisingly fun to play. At first, I was somewhat disturbed by this reaction, especially since the subject of the game is so traumatic, but realistically, there is nothing wrong with this reaction. A well made game is a well made game. (It may not be the best game I’ve ever played, but it kept me interested)

    So, now the question is, why doesn’t this reaction bother me? The answer is actually much easier than one would expect. How many videogames are there based on war? Call of Duty and Medal of Honor are pretty consistent in retelling the stories of WW II., and with Call of Duty 4, we’re now entering the realm of modern warfare.

    These games are fun, people continue to play them, and they are continually entertained by them. I’ve read several logs complaining a bout the subject of Super Columbine Massacre. Many of them were offended at the thought of playing such a horrific game. How many of those people have played Call of Duty and thought it was a great game.

    No one seems to complain about WW II era games, but why is that? WW II is just as real as Columbine, and I’d argue it is a much more terrifying event. I don’t ant to downplay the tragedy of Columbine, but the events that occurred durring WW II were much more frightening, and much more widespread, yet people are disgusted by Super Columbine Massacre and not by Call of Duty.

    There is an inconsistency here. Both games depict real events, where real people died, but for some reason, the Columbine game is frownded upon. I think that the key factor behind this response is the character that you are forced to play.

    In Medal of Honor, and in Call of Duty, you traditionall play the “good guys” You’re on the winning side. You play as the US, or as Britain. (Sure, you can play as Germany or Japan in multiplayer, but in the story, you are restricted to the winning side). Super Columbine Massacre has gamers playing the “bad guys” You play the socially accepted criminal. A psycopathic monster who has no soul. (How much of that is true is up to interpretation)

    What would happen if Super Columbine Massacre allowed you to play as the other students? What would happen if your objective was to stop the shooters from completeing their mission? Would people respond the same way?

    Would people play Call of Duty if the series forced you to play as the Nazis? How would people respond if the missions required you to exterminate and torture people in concentration camps?

    Perhaps this is a better question: What about Grand Theft Auto? You are a criminal, a murderer, a thief. In Grand Theft Auto, even though you are the hero of the story, you are a villain. The actions you take inside the world of GTA are things that society would never accept in real life. I’m curious to know how many people in class hated Super Columbine Massacre, yet look forward to the next GTA release. How many of them can’t stomach the thought of playing as the shoorter, yet they love gunning down pedestrians in GTA?

    Super Columbine Massacre is based on real events. GTA arguably isn’t, but at the end of the day, those offended by Super Columbine Massacre should, at least in theory, be offended by GTA. The actions in both games are equally cruel and disgusting in real life. Why do people treat these games so differently? What makes GTA, or Call of Duty better than Super Columbine Massacre?

    They are all violent, they all contain events that are frightening in real life, and within the context of videogames, I’d argue that as videogames, they are all the same.

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    Nov 5th, 2008 at 00:52:56     -    Super Columbine Massacre RPG (PC)

    At this point, I think it's important to discuss the reason this game was created. At first, given the controversial subject matter for the game's story, I expected to see something over the top for the soul purpose of upsetting as many people as possible.

    However, that is not the impression I got after playing the game. There is certainly some shock value intended, especially considering the title, but even that is mostly designed to draw your attention. Quite honestly, had I stumbled across this title on my own, there is a good chance I would have played the game just out of curiosity.

    I don’t claim to know the creator’s true intentions, but I definitely recognize that there is more to this than just “Hey, look what I did!” There is some serious social commentary present in this game. It could be a way of addressing the excessive amount of violence in modern media, or it could even be a means of bringing this tragic event to life for more people.

    Though in the context of the game, I found it easy to forget I was playing a true story, once the game turns off, I realize that these events really happened, and that realization is more disturbing to me than the news coverage I remember from the actual event. Now, this reaction could be because I’ve grown up, and I’m enough older that I recognize how terrifying this event truly was, but I still think that “playing” through the events of that day opened my eyes to a new view of the tragedy.

    I personally believe that if the creator was simply out to offend people, they would have taken a much different approach to the game. The violence would have been more graphic, and the characters would not have been so stylized. In addition, I suspect there would have been more in the way of actual images from the event, as opposed to the pixilated violence currently present. I’m actually tempted to do some research of my own in an attempt to understand the true reason behind creating this game.

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    Nov 4th, 2008 at 19:03:15     -    Super Columbine Massacre RPG (PC)

    I went into this game not knowing how I was going to approach this little project. With San Andreas, there were some clear things that I knew from the beginning were good material, and a lot of that certainly carries over into this game (namely the violence), but I wanted to mix it up so I didn't sound repetitive.

    So how do I approach this game? I think this time around it's important to look at videogame violence in a more generalized fashion, rather than in the context of this specific game.

    For years, people have been saying that American culture is desensitized to violence in the media. I’ve always believed that, but only to a certain extent, but never to the extreme that some people claim. Even now, I’d say that a lot of those claims are a bit of an exaggeration.

    Then I played Super Columbine Massacre. I’m not terribly far into the game, but I found myself not even thinking about what I was doing. The game told me to plant a bomb, so I planted a bomb. The game told me to shoot anything that moved, so I did. That’s my objective, and I follow it blindly. The horribly pixilated characters, the splotchy red smudges that are apparently blood, even the stylized attack animations; none of it fazed me. I kept strolling along pulling the trigger and racking up the body count.

    It was not until I actually quit the game that I came back to reality. This really happened. Everything I was doing in this game is tied to a real event that tore an entire community apart. Columbine was a horrific disaster. People’s lives were changed after the events of that day, and it was terrifying. Yet there I was clicking away, never stopping to think, wait a second, this isn’t just a game.

    Personally, I think that was part of the intent behind this project. I think the creators of this game wanted to people to see just how immune our culture is to violence. If we were to see these events on the news, it we would be shocked, because that’s real life. Movies and games are apparently a much different story. As soon as we register that it’s fake, it’s suddenly ok, and it certainly isn’t shocking.

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    Oct 6th, 2008 at 13:47:45     -    Grand Theft Auto - San Andreas (PS2)

    For my last session of San Andreas, I chose to pay much closer attention to the story rather than the broader feel of the game as a whole, and though I was not able to progress very far into the story, it became very apparent that Loyalty is something that the characters hold very high in their world.

    While there may not be ethical “problems” in the traditional sense related to this, we did discuss virtues in class, and this game is evidence that even people whose actions are against the norm, can share similar virtues to upstanding citizens. The characters in San Andreas are members of a struggling street gang that is trying t push its way back to the top of the food chain, and they will get there by whatever means necessary, but there is definitely a code of honor among the gang members.

    One example of this is in the way they dress. One of the missions I received actually required me to change my wardrobe, because I needed to show my loyalty to the gang by sporting its colors. Also, during the various cut scenes early in the game, Carl is frequently ridiculed for abandoning his friends.

    I never learned why Carl left home, and maybe that isn’t part of the story, but when he returns, there is a lot of bad blood between him and the rest of the gang members over his disappearance, and much of that is tied to the death of Carls mother. One chracter even points out that Carl missed two funerals, and he has no business staying in the neighborhood.

    He then has to endure a series of small “tests” to prove that he loyal to the gang, and that he is not going to run away again. Even after he has been accepted back into the gang, the other Characters still repeatedly harass him for running away, and it seems like a form of ongoing punishment for ot sticking to the gang’s conception of loyalty and courage.

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