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    Nov 5th, 2008 at 11:11:53     -    Super Columbine Massacre RPG (PC)

    I'm trying to figure out how the actual game part factors into the experience. Seeing things from the shooter's perspective is definitely a huge plus for the message the designer was trying to get across, but the actual rpg parts seemed a bit less harmonious at first glance.

    One of the things it did nicely was give you the sense of powerlessness of the other students. Even if you're just punching them they go down in less than four hits, but you go down in about twenty. That's ignoring the huge number of bombs and ammo you are carrying around.

    I'm not sure if the stereotypes the boys see everyone as is from their perspective or from what they think society's perspective is. I'm sure reducing people to stereotypes makes it easier to kill them, of course. If one of the characters was "Sarah, the girl who tried to be your friend sophomore year" I know I'd at least have more trouble shooting her in the face. I feel a little guilty that I felt worse about shooting squishy nerdy folk and cherubic bumpkins than I did shooting the jocks.

    OH! I just remembered and didn't know where to put this. The first girl I attacked during my play was some religious girl, and the first action she used was 'pray'. I'm a pretty hardcore atheist, but shooting a girl who wasn't fighting back or even defending herself seemed pretty ...horrible..I can't think of much better way to describe it.

    The text the game uses is definitely carefully chosen, although I'm not entirely sure what it's supposed to be conveying. When you get an item it says 'our brave boys got a ________',(I'm a little frightened about why they steal all the gay guys' hotdogs). You dodge things 'matrix style'. Critical hits say 'nice one!'. The two boys are certainly having a good time, which kind of depresses the whole "They're doing this because it's a war and they have to so that the society they hate wakes up" thing.

    It also forces you to really massacre the school if you want to beat the game. I could kill myself without killing any students(Although some of them are really asking for it and run after you) but there is almost no way of getting through hell without levelling up quite a bit first, and the only way to do that is massacre everyone you see. I don't know if it's possible to just dodge all the demons, but I certainly wasn't able to.

    The entire purpose of hell seems kind of questionable, like the creator just felt like tacking more gameplay on. I don't know if getting further in hell actually unlocks more expositional story, because I always get killed pretty quickly (You wake up in hell with no guns, and I get bored grinding on students to level up [I wonder what reducing students to experience farms does to us]). The doom creatures make sense from a 'the media blamed doom' sort of way, but I don't know what the overarching plot is with that section enough to judge.

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    Nov 5th, 2008 at 11:11:09     -    Super Columbine Massacre RPG (PC)

    I feel like the last log was what I wanted the two to act like, aside from the whole shooting spree thing, but they also did a bunch of stuff that caused some cognitive dissonance with the whole thing. Every time they say they are fighting some war and feel like they have to, they go and brag about how they are going to get on tv. Every time they say they feel some huge weight of responsibility for what they're doing that day, they laugh about how much fun they are having.
    There is probably something I'm missing a bit since I have trouble figuring out exactly what about the whole society thing that they hate so much. When the boys are standing on the hill and talking about how everyone is an insipid parrot that keeps saying "try hard and be a good person and exercise and go to school and get married and youll have a happy life" I wanted to know more about how that concept failed them. The only frame of reference was the one not getting into the marines, but I feel like the game could have done a better job of explaining why they felt they ended up this way, even though it gave as good a representation of how they felt at the moment.
    The game definitely portrayed the event better than any other source I've seen before it. Before the game I had always viewed the killings as something of a curiosity. The media and the little videoclips they showed again and again never really got -me- to want to know so badly what made them do it. I'm probably a bit on the cynical, jaded side, but the game got me more upset about the whole event a lot better than anything else did.

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    Nov 5th, 2008 at 11:10:49     -    Super Columbine Massacre RPG (PC)

    My first impression from Super Columbine Massacre RPG is that I have almost no idea where to start with it. There are about six different themes running through my head and I don't know which of them to pick. I think the one that represents the point of the game so far is the video the two boys watch before they leave. They film is some soldier saying how we have no right to judge him as a monster because we cannot understand the horror he has faced. He told the story of how the contras that chopped off the children's arms were not monsters, but human beings that felt like they had to perform that act. They performed attrocities to achieve some trancendant goal, but it was probably torturing them every day of their lives. This brings up the question of what the circumstances were where chopping off a bunch of childrens' arms was the optimal path to achieve their goals, but they never really go into detail about that, unfortunately.

    A good portion of the game was set up to support this theme that they were not some completely alien menace even though they did a horrendous thing. On the video the two make, one of them says “I wish I was a fucking sociopath so I wouldn't have any regrets, but I do” and they spend a good portion of it saying they were sorry to their parents and friends. The one feels very responsible for his father, and talks about how he tried to join the marines for him and how he was the best parent ever. Before they shoot themselves, the one wishes he could have lived with the other on a desert island somewhere away from everyone telling them how to act and what to do with their lives.

    The suicide scene probably carries this more than anything else in the game, and was probably one of the most emotionally powerful scenes I've seen in a game ever. This is despite (or because of) it being a drawn out slideshow. The pictures of the boys growing up completely destroyed any perception that they were the demented monsters we liked to think of them as. They started out as normal kids like anyone else, the entire game seems to be an argument against them being insane psychotics. It forces us to look at reasons for the murders other than because they were abberants, and even as I write this I keep wanting to add an 'even though they probably were' after every sentence.

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    Oct 6th, 2008 at 12:05:24     -    Grand Theft Auto - San Andreas (PS2)

    The characters don't have respect for authority, and cops in particular for a very good reason. The cops in GTA are all corrupt. In the very intro sequence the main character, coming home to see go to his dead mom's funeral, is arrested, beaten up, and robbed by the cops before he even gets home. The cops are ineffectual and corrupt. They sit around a donut shopping making fun of you while they make you run errands for them. These errands are hardly more moral than anything your character has been doing throughout the game. One of them has you illegally torching a house because the cops don't feel like arresting the people in it.
    The other nameless cops you see around the world aren't much more moral than the Samuel L Jackson cop. When you kill someone the cops don't follow unless you kill a cop or go on a spree. Even then the cops are mostly concerned with appearance and revenge. They tire of you easily, and one of the better ways of making them hate you less is to bribe them.
    When CJ tries to 'be clean', he isn't rewarded. He's punished the same way he would have if he had gotten the money selling drugs. The game makes a point of valuing 'family' over personal ambition. It doesn't matter that CJ has been away from the neighborhood for years. When he returns all of his old friends from Green Street expect him to help fight the Ballers because Green Street is his home. It's similar to Faulkner's “Barn Burning” where the boy is expected to hurt people and destroy property because his dad did, and nothing the boy does is going to change his blood. In his eyes joining the gang is a moral thing because CJ feels he can make the neighborhood a better place.

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