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    Nov 5th, 2008 at 13:44:30     -    Super Columbine Massacre RPG (PC)

    A new day, and another time playing Super Columbine Massacre RPG. This time I was waiting for some action but more than that for an advance in the game's plot. I continued from where I had left, Eric and Dylan in the Parking lot after they have killed everyone in the hallway. I lead them back into the school building and straight to the cafeteria. The room, full of people, was an "all-you-can-kill buffet". I went around killed everyone in the room with relative ease. I did notice though, that the protagonists can (although very hard to do) get killed after failing to use strong weapons on the "Jack Type" characters.

    Playing this RPG requires a minimum amount of thinking effort, and this is what makes it boring to me. All I had to do is get close to people and use my bombs on them. The fact that Super Columbine Massacre is not brain intensive, gave me the chance to think of something else while playing the game. I suddenly imagined myself in the place of the victims. How horrifying, how terrible this even could have been for the students that experienced this nightmare. Having watched the actual camera feeds from the real event, I realized that Reb and V wanted to make this an unforgettable experience even for those that survived. Yelling at people and pointing guns towards them while telling them that they were going to die, made the horror in their victims' eyes multiply; and along with that, caused their pleasure to increase. In the game you can use the same technique. You can yell at people and, depending on the character, you can lower their defense and attack scores.

    I found myself being scared. Not in a way a "Doom" game with its dark environments and sudden attacks from monsters gets you scared, but because this game was totally messing with my mind. Playing a WWII game that is based on real events can be intense, and I have, many times imagined myself being into the actual situation, but none of those games has caused me to actually feel fear. The events depicted in WWII games are very distant for my generation. Although I am aware they are real events, I also know that there is not a high chance of it happening again; but in SCMRPG you live a nightmare that one day it can be yours.
    How unethical is using a real event like that to create a game that is supposed to produce fun? Was the game designer's intention to produce art or he exploited a sensitive subject to make his game interesting.
    To be frank, if the game had another theme or the story-line was made up and not based on real events, I would probably have stopped playing it within the first few minutes. Its "loyalty" towards the real events is what makes it highly interesting. Like movies, music, paintings and other forms of art, games too are not always created to kill time. It is up to the artist how he will use his or her imagination and skills to portray his or her personal view and make the viewers/listeners sensitive to the subject. People got shocked because a game about Columbine was created but they didn't show the same level of amazement when a movie about the event was released ("Zero Day" was released in 2003); this is probably because of the interactivity a video game offers. Being in a position where you kill the teenagers in the school raises different emotions than watching the same event happening in a movie, even though the content would be much more realistic. What we don't understand though, is that we actually don' control Reb and V.

    This game doesn't put as in a position where we have to create total chaos by a school massacre. We don't have to kill the kids in the school. Kevin and Dylan did all that already. All we are doing is helping the story progress; we are not making it happen. We are just pushing some buttons around to see what's going on next. We don't have an alternative or another way of shaping the plot. So why feel guilty? Why feel like we are doing something unethical? Why feel like we are not respecting the victims of the real massacre?

    The actions of our main characters in the game are already part of history, they have already happened. We, as gamers don't have the choice to change it. We don't have the choice to stop the virtual Kevin and Dylan from performing the massacre. This game has a one-way only plot. This fact kept me from feeling guilty about the killings that I had to make. In my personal opinion the creator of the game decided to show his point of view of what happened by creating SCMRPG, just like a director would make a movie and a composer would write a song. It's not unethical to include current events in art, and video games are a form of art. It is true that victim families or anyone involved might get offended, but it will be in a way not too much different as a 9/11 affected person would get offended by a movie about it.

    While playing this game I can't say that I enjoyed it. The low quality of the graphics and sound plus the low interest combat scenes made it boring. Even in that case though, I have to recognize its artistic value and try to play my part on defending its existence. Super Columbine massacre follows the real events and provides details from them. The dialogues between the characters seem to be well thought and put there by no chance. I can only compare my experience playing it with watching a famous old movie like Casablanca: I know it's good, but I don't like it.

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    Nov 5th, 2008 at 05:28:55     -    Super Columbine Massacre RPG (PC)

    After a break of couple of hours I decided to go on into my second session of the game. After being disappointed with how slow and dull the game was at its beginning I was hoping for something more exiting this time.

    After Eric plants the bombs in the cafeteria he heads to an open space park overlooking the city. There, he meets Dylan where they have a very interesting conversation about why they are doing all this and what their point of view towards this world is. Both of them seem very angry and unsatisfied with what the society they live in has to offer. Eric calls the scene of the two of them looking down to the city just a few minutes before they walk into their own death, depressing. In his next sentence though he acknowledges the fact that there is no turning around.

    The determination the characters have in the game depicts accurately the way the actual murderers were thinking. The massacre of Columbine was a very carefully planned operation. Files found by the police reveled this. Right from the beginning when Eric and Dylan have their talk over the phone, Dylan reminds Eric that the day has come. For a person that knows he is going to die, these statements show signs of a very disturbed personality. Planning your own death along with the death of others in cold blood is beyond any reason.

    In the next few lines Dylan calls Eric his "only friend". I consider this phrase very important for analyzing the motives of the killers. Eric has Dylan and Dylan has Eric. Both of them have grown up together and gone through the same struggle. Being together all the time they probably got bullied by the same people. They even might have watched helpless while their friend was beaten down. Anger and sympathy for one another lead the protagonists to their final “performance”. There is one more thing that someone can figure from their talks in the game, they want publicity.

    Eric and Dylan are doing their best to make worth of their deaths. They want their whole event to be publicized and covered by the media. I get this feeling by "listening" to Dylan asking Eric how he thinks everyone will feel after all this. Using bombs is also a sign of how the murderers want to create the loudest noise possible (metaphorically and literally speaking). The role of media in this case is huge. You don't have to be too old, or too educated to know that the media is "blood thirsty". Coverage of violent events is usually extensive and in great detail. This is not because all media are run by people that like watching violent scenes, but because the viewers do so.

    All of us slow down our cars on the highway, even if we don't have to, to see what happened on a minor accident. We love watching real-life car chase scenes from TV helicopters and there are countless shows that make use of real police car camera footage. Violence sells and those kids know theirs will sell too.

    At this point I have to note that I am not blaming the media for anything these teenagers did. To perform such a broad scale crime, without any feelings and in cold blood requires much more than just mere influence from the media or video games. Fortunately the voices that once insisted that video games and movies are highly responsible for teenage violence have gradually faded away. Scientists agree that there is no movie and/or video game that can put a gun on a kid's hands. Neglection, familiar instability and social abandonment are in my opinion the main reasons minors and young adults perform crimes like columbine. Eric and Dylan had all this well planned. Their anger built inside them as years passed and nothing was changing towards the better. They didn't just wake up one day and decided to destroy their school and kill everyone in it. I can't opt out mental instability, but I also cannot consider it as the main factor.

    Back to the game play factor of the game. After Eric's and Dylan's chat outside, the boys head for the school armed to the neck. From this point on I find the game really boring and predictable. There is no real challenge when you have to face unarmed kids with napalm bombs and C2 explosives. I hope the next time I play it the game manages to keep me interested in its game play as much as it is keeping me hooked up on its plot.

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    Nov 5th, 2008 at 01:49:01     -    Super Columbine Massacre RPG (PC)

    Having to play this game is a totally new experience for me. Of course I have played WWII games and controlled the German side, but this is different. I can compare this to a game that would make me push the button for the deadly gas the Germans used to kill the Jews to be unleashed. Super Columbine Massacre's title is pretty much self-explanatory about what this RPG is about, the school killing at Columbine.

    The game features Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold which are indeed the actual people responsible for the tragedy at Columbine. The ease in which the author of this game portrayed such a sensitive event, right from the begging, initially shocked me. This was probably because I am a college student and talking to a college student about a school massacre is, as we say back home, talking about rope at a hanged man's house.

    The story starts with Eric being awakened by his mother. The graphics are really basic for today's standards but even for when the game was released they would still be outdated. The reason someone plays this game though, is not to enjoy the amazing graphical environment, or the astonishing score and sound effects; this game is all about the dialogs, the story line that lead to the actual event, as well as the event itself. At first place I had to lead Eric to his basement.

    SCMRPG (which is the abbreviation for Super Columbine Massacre RPG and is used throughout the web) was made by a Single person, Daniel Ledonne. He worked alone for six months to create this RPG but that didn't stop him for putting together a good level of details in it. When Eric visits his basement, the player can lead him to several objects inside it. Some of those objects include the two black bags he has to carry to school as well as the weapons that the explosives they will use, I left those for later. When moving around to other objects though Eric responds accordingly. When I hit enter in front of the clock, I got him to tell me the time, when I tried to interact with a VCR sitting on the bench I got a message that instructed me to wait for Dylan. When I tried to make Eric eat the pizza that was laying around though, a flashback occurred.

    The flashback shows the two friends planning their "event”. They are discussing of where to find the weapons as well as the explosives. When done with this flashback, I went ahead and interacted with a pile of CD's that was sitting on the corner of the room. That brought up a Meryl Manson CD. With it, came a note saying that Meryl Manson Lyrics are believed to cause abnormal and violent behaviors to teenagers. Eric makes a comment about how seeing that CD on him, people will start discussing how bad that kind of music is for teenagers. Indeed, on the actual events, endless talks and debates were held about the influence that music, videogames and movies have to teenagers. How recklessly thought that can be? It sounds more like an excuse for refusing to see what the real problems of teenagers are, what was the real cause.
    The media can impact any of us and teenagers even more; there is no doubt about that. Though, it is outrageous to blame the media and the game industry for making violent games as the reasons behind such a great tragedy. The same society that failed to search these students’ souls was closing its eyes and blaming a form of art that millions of other teenagers enjoyed every day.

    Back at the game, I pick up the bags and explosives; this triggered the arrival of Dylan.

    Earlier in the game, Dylan and Eric had a phone conversation. In this dialogue the motives of the characters are being reveled. Revenge and anger seem to have occupied our protagonists' minds. They seek to be satisfied by causing a catastrophic event that will give out a message to everyone that treated them unfairly and badly. Later on, I lead the boys to their school. Over there I plant the explosives in the cafeteria and this is where my first session of the game ends.

    From a first look and impression, I get the feeling that this game is more like an interactive documentary of what happened in Columbine that day. Having seen the game played by others, I know that there will also be extensive killing (although the graphical violence depicted is minor), but if someone asked me now, I wouldn't think there is something wrong or unethical with the way the story is shown so far. I am sure that as I proceed further in the game, controversial aspects of it are going to be reviled.

    This entry has been edited 2 times. It was last edited on Nov 5th, 2008 at 01:57:21.

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    Oct 6th, 2008 at 13:24:21     -    Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PC)

    Instance number3:

    This was the 3rd and last time I played GTA: San Andreas for this assignemnt (and overal too). The unrealistic nature of this game in addition to the annoying controls made it frustrating to play and not at all enjoyable.

    After completing the mission where I had to give CJ a haircut I moved on to the next one. Now, my goal is to spray over some gratifies other gangs had created; respect is sounded a couple of times while watching the cut scenes.

    The laws of GTA are primitive. The authorities play absolutely no role in the well being of this society. "Control" is defined by the gang members and is gained by the use of guns and violence. The only thing that is stopping CJ from stealing cars and driving over people is armed men who, although, are not part of the law enforcement. Relating all this to the material of this class I could say that the gang members are not following the principles of the social contract theory.

    The idea of the Social Contract derives from the fact that people have to give up certain rights to a centralized government in order to preserve the well being and the order in their society. The way CJ and his friends act has nothing to do with that. Their choices are affected by their instincts. Survival and control of an area are feelings that human beings share with many members of the animal kingdom. The more civilized a person is the more he or she gives up these feelings for reason and rationality. The GTA: San Andreas society is far from being civilized. Although most of the surroundings (high buildings, bridges, parks) give us the idea of a rich society the acts of the people do not comply with it.

    While walking in the streets of the city I saw men hitting police officers for no reason, gunmen shooting pedestrians for fun and policemen acting violently in remote places against unarmed civilians. I understand that such instances may be part of the every day events in the United States but a city where all this happens in every corner in every street would never be able to keep its residents for too long. This is because even gang members and armed men need quiet people and families that mind their own business in order to benefit from them. But in the real world, don't expect any family or peaceful civilians to stay in a city like this for too long. So, are GTA series a representation of the American way of life?

    I spent around 4 hours playing the game and I understand that many aspects of it are influenced by real live events and experiences; but the city of Los Altos is more like a caricature of some parts of the American society and not a realistic representation of it.

    Finishing this report I come the conclusion that the society of GTA follows no ethical lines that my mid would understand as reasonable and realistic. This is why games like this have to treated as only what they are. A way of passing your time and not a way of being better in real life.


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